Short Jim, the pirate, shook his head. “I know you’re new to this, but I think it’s obvious. If you want to find the treasure, you have to go hunt for it.”
Isaac frowned. “What if you don’t want to find the treasure?”
Jim raised an eyebrow. “If you didn’t want to find the treasure, you wouldn’t be here.”
Isaac thought for a minute. What had he been thinking about when he came here? “I just wanted an adventure. I don’t want to be stuck here being king of something.”
“I’m sure it will all work out,” Jim said.
Isaac wasn’t so sure. “I thought you wanted to be king of the bakeries. And that one guy got turned into a dolphin.”
“What was that? I think you were mumbling just now. Well, off you go.” The pirate made little shooing motions with his hands.
Isaac sighed and looked at the map. There was a big red x in the bottom right corner, right at the edge of an island. He turned the map to face Jim and pointed to the x. “It says that I need to go here. How do I get there?”
“That’s where we are now,” Jim said.
Isaac looked around. “So, where’s the treasure? Should I start digging?”
Jim laughed. “No, you’re just starting out. It will be a while before you find the treasure.”
“But if the x is here, the treasure should be here too.”
Jim held out a hand, and Isaac gave him the map. Jim pointed to the x. “X marks the start. Everyone knows that.”
Isaac looked at the map again. “But it doesn’t say where the treasure is. What kind of treasure map is this?”
Jim rolled up the map and handed it back to Isaac. “If it told you exactly where to go, they wouldn’t call it a treasure hunt, would they? It wouldn’t be any fun if it was as easy as using a map to find the address of some place in the next town over.”
Suddenly the task seemed overwhelming. “It could be anywhere, on any of these islands?”
Jim nodded. “Except right here, of course. This is where you start.”
“It would take forever to dig up all of these islands. I don’t even have a shovel,” Isaac said, feeling a little panicked.
“No, no, no. You don’t have to dig to find the treasure.”
“Then how do I know I’ve found it?” Isaac asked.
“We’ll tell you of course. Some of the other kings and I will meet you there and we’ll have a bit of a celebration. A proper feast. And then we’ll crown you king of whatever and it’ll be done.”
That didn’t sound so bad. But it didn’t sound like a treasure hunt. In fact, “That sounds more like hide and seek.”
“Then you’ve been doing treasure hunts all wrong,” Jim said.
“But it’s how all the pirates do treasure hunts. You know, fifty paces past the rock that looks like a skull and such.”
Jim shook his head. “That is a terrible way to write directions. Did they lose their treasure all the time?”
“I don’t know.” Isaac shrugged. “Maybe.”
“Well, I am the king of the pirates, and I’m telling you that this is the proper way to do a treasure hunt.” Jim stood tall for a moment. Then he took a step forward and slid backward. “I’ll see you later.” He took a few more steps and started to disappear into the jungle behind him.
“Wait!” Isaac tried to run towards the pirate, but he instead was moving backwards. He was suddenly standing ankle-deep in the ocean, and Jim was gone.
Isaac asked his questions anyway. “But I don’t know how to get to the other islands or if there’s anything dangerous. What if I get hungry or thirsty?”
No one answered. He’d have to figure it out on his own.