I could finally see the entrance, the tunnel was right there.
A small house had been built next to the entrance, posssibly to provide a guide or a map. It was neither, it was no more than a rest house for the Tunneler. Tunneler…. singular.
I approached the door and a muscular disgruntled man was just sitting there, crumbling little rocks into sand. He had been ordered out of the tunnel by a pirate with some pokémon, a tunnel that he alone had been digging for quite a while. I hadn’t noticed at first but his were the biggest and more calloused I had ever seen, even more so than the woodcutter. He was master of some martial art I could not pronounce, but that wasn’t enough to face a pokémon in battle. He needed help removing the intruder.
Since I was already headed that way, I offered to help. He smiled and warned me to mind the dusty air inside the tunnel, almost like fog.
I thanked him and proceeded to the entrance and only then did I notice a distressed old man with tears in his eyes, pacing back and forth and talking to himself, as if trying to make up his mind.
He was another pirate victim. This time the pirate had stolen his pokémon, his oldest friend, his only family. The man steadied himself and started to march towards the entrance. Anger was now present in his eyes, the kind of anger you feel when you lose a loved one. It was love that was giving him the strength to go after his friend.
The man could barely stand, much less face a felon, so I grabbed his shoulder and offered my help in retrieving his pokémon. He smiled, relieved, adn thanked me for my offer.
This pirate was proving to be more troublesome than I had thought. I now had to be careful not to hurt the old man’s pokémon in case the pirate used it in battle.