It took another hour before the tyre tracks they had been following disappeared. So that was where their guide left them. He would later be exiled from his town for it. From there-on-out they hiked up to where they thought the tracks would go. And of course they left Dasia in charge of the map, which meant they got lost again.
‘See this is why you don’t leave me in charge of maps.’
‘We can get out of this,’ Elizabeth said hopefully.
‘I hope you’re right. The last time we got this lost we were on our fake honeymoon to capture Kenneth,’ Jax reminisced.
‘A fake honeymoon?’ Clive quizzed.
‘Yeah, we had to make the world think we were on a break so his guard would be down. It was an amazing holiday. And we got Kenneth.’ Dasia said.
‘When are you two going to get married?’ Elizabeth pushed.
‘An excellent question ma’am,’ Clive said. This made Jax and Dasia very awkward.
‘I’ll go climb a tree to get the bearings,’ Dasia said, dropping her bag at the base of the closest tree. She began to climb up, although it looked like she tried to run up. Jax and Clive dropped their bags onto the ground and they all waited patiently.
‘Can you explain what that was about?’ Elizabeth asked, now slightly pacing. Clive leaned up against a tree and folded his arms. He knew what was coming was good.
‘Dasia doesn’t like talking about things like that. We have spoken about it but with all this work, it’s just not ideal,’ he explained. At this moment Clive cleared his throat, and Elizabeth looked guilty. ‘What?’
‘Would you like to explain or shall I ma’am?’ But Clive knew the answer already.
‘I will.’ Elizabeth took a seat in front of Jax, who also sat with her. ‘After you went on your “honeymoon” and told us it was fake, I decided to carry around a marriage certificate in case you decided you and Dasia wanted to marry. I mean, I am the Queen, and the perks of this job means I can do anything I want.’
‘Within reason,’ Clive interjected.
‘Yes. Thank you Clive.’ Jax chuckled.
‘I see something!’ Dasia shouted down to them as she scrambled down the tree.
‘You don’t say a word,’ Jax said as he stood again and put his bag on his back.
‘And the same for you too,’ Elizabeth replied. Dasia reached the ground and took the map off Clive, who was trying to fold it correctly. According to the Queen in an interview about her final years on the throne, he would go around cleaning up after the cleaners his OCD was that bad.
‘If we go North East, I saw discarded boxes in a pile.’
‘How far?’ Jax asked as he took the map off her so she could put her bag on.
‘About a day and a half. Going by my calculations, but we all know what they’re like.’ Everybody muttered in agreement. ‘Thanks. I think if we keep walking until the last bit of sun, we can set up camp for the night and be closer when we set off tomorrow morning.’
‘Sounds like a plan. Is everyone ok to keep going?’ Elizabeth asked. Everybody agreed. And so they continued.
Now, according to tracking information and the diary kept by Clive during this expedition they walked for about 5 more hours, the Madagascan sun beating down on them and all of them suffering their own personal struggles with fatigue, exhaustion, cuts and bruises and dehydration. They waded through thick jungle with Jax leading the way, cutting down obstacles with the biggest knife he was allowed to pack; he apparently had an obsession and a huge collection that spanned across he numerous properties they had.
At 8:30pm, 3 hours after the sun set, the group finally found a spot to make camp. It was a quiet one, only the sound of exotic birds, the monkeys and lemurs and all the exotic creatures your imagination will let you have. Granted most of the animals that were released back into the wild were genetically modified in order to survive the human race, or re-create the extinct ones. Clive and Jax set up the tents while Elizabeth and Dasia collected firewood so they could cook whatever they could find. But Dasia had been around Jax long enough to know how to live off the land. So shortly after the tents had been set up the group settled down to squirrel stew, something quite delicious according to Clive.
They settled down to sleep an hour later, Clive and Elizabeth in one and Dasia and Jax in the other.
‘I’m sorry I got us lost today baby,’ Dasia said as she turned to Jax.
‘It’s fine babe. You did well.’ Dasia smiled. She knew it was a lie, but she still liked it. ‘How are you?’
‘I’m ok. You?’
‘I’m good too.’ And suddenly Dasia was being dragged out the tent by her foot. Jax tried to grab her but couldn’t catch her. He pulled the Bowie knife out from under his pillow and went after her. He got out, only to be greeted with an arrow in his face. Dasia was being held at knife point while Clive was protecting Elizabeth with himself.
‘You strangers shouldn’t be here.’ And a face was soon put to the deep rumbling voice. ‘Let her go.’ Dasia was released and pushed towards Jax.
‘Who are you?’ Jax asked.
‘I am Mahir. Leader of this tribe.’ He stepped into the moonlight and an old, wrinkled man stood majestically. His arms were tattooed with symbols and his eyes scarred with years of fighting and loss. I saw a photo that Clive took. He looked awesome.
‘Sir, I am Queen Elizabeth the Tenth from the United Kingdom and these people are the world renowned monster hunters. We are here-‘
‘I know why you are here,’ he interrupted. ‘This place is not safe for you. Come with us, we will take you somewhere safe for the night.’
So everybody packed up camp, with the help of Mahir and his men of course. They were taken deeper into the jungle where they were met with a civilisation. Again, I’ve seen a photo so my words may not do it justice, but try and picture it the best you can. It was a small town, but they lived in the trees. The bridges they used to connect themselves to each other hung with old vines. The ground was hardly stepped on, plants growing almost half way up the trees. The stairs to start this tree house adventure was a rope ladder as soon as you entered the town. As it was night and cool, the low clouds gave in a foggy look and the moon light only added to it’s ominous feel. Some lights were on in the tree houses, others were in the dark.
‘Welcome to our home.’ Everybody stared in awe at the town in the sky.
They were shown to their huts for the night. And even though they were surrounded by people, Jax and Dasia felt like they only two people in the world. They laid next to each other that night, Jax had his arms wrapped around Dasia tight. He wasn’t going to let her go that easily again.
‘I’m sorry I didn’t catch you.’
‘Don’t worry about it. You came after me, that’s the main thing.’
‘I’ll make it up to you when we’re back I promise.’ Dasia put her finger over his lips and hushed him. She knew he hated it, but she also knew he wouldn’t stop apologising; something which she’d claimed as her job when they started dating. I got that from her biography.
‘You have nothing to be sorry about. I’m alive, I’m ok. Ok?’
‘Ok.’ Jax smiled at her and kissed her forehead. ‘Want to hear something funny? But you can’t tell Elizabeth I told you.’
‘If it’s a secret then you can’t tell me.’
‘You want to know though.’ He gave a smug smile, something he knew Dasia couldn’t resist.
‘Ok, I pinky promise I won’t say anything to Elizabeth.’ Jax shifted so he was propped up on his elbow.
‘Remember when we went on the honeymoon?’
‘Well when Elizabeth found out it wasn’t a real marriage and whatever, she got a marriage certificate so she could marry us.’ And that was when Jax got nervous.
‘Huh, don’t you think the bed would be crowded with 3?’ He stared at her. ‘It was a joke? You know, because you said-‘
‘I know, I get it.’
‘Mmmm, a bit.’ Dasia sighed.
‘But what do you think?’ And for once he was genuinely curious.
‘It would be nice. I mean, we’re not getting any younger. And if Talon is determined to take over the world, we have to do anything we can to stop him.’
‘Ok. Let’s do it.’ They both sat up.
‘What, what are you saying?’
‘You’re right. And forgetting all the work stuff, I love you Dasia. You’re the best thing that ever happened to me. And if we weren’t in this line of work, I would have married you in a heartbeat years ago.’ He got on one knee. ‘Marry me. Because you’re the biggest pain in my bum and I wouldn’t change it for the world.’
It took a moment, more to recover from the shock of his romantic outburst. ‘Ok.’
‘Yes, I will marry you.’
They got up and went to Elizabeth’s hut, who squealed like a teenage girl and dragged them inside. Clive took a photo of the moment the couple exchanged vows, Elizabeth shedding tears as she officiated the ceremony.
Together they spoke the words: ‘I vow with all my life to protect you. To guide you through the light and dark. I proclaim to the universe that you are my true love, watching the stars glitter in your eyes. I commit to you for life.’ Throughout the whole thing they held hands, even when signing the marriage certificate.
‘I now pronounce you man and wife.’ Elizabeth gleefully.
‘What about rings?’ Clive asked.
‘I can help with that.’ Jax put his hand in his pocket, pulling out his wallet.
‘There are no shops around here baby,’ Dasia smiled. Jax opened his wallet and in the pocket where most people would keep coins, Jax pulled out two rings; one for him, and one for his new wife.
Dasia’s eyes lit up ‘when did you get those?’
‘I bought them a year and a half into our relationship.’ He shrugged and gave the rings to Elizabeth, placing his wallet back in his pocket. ‘I was just waiting for the right moment.’ They exchanged the rings, Clive now tearing up too.
And let’s just say, the rest of the night was probably one to remember.
END OF PART 4.