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Mau comforts Daphne (and us) by saying "there would probably be bones […] Bones didn't try to kill you" (10.1). Um, try telling that to special effects guru Ray Harryhausen.
Inside the cave is a row of sitting skeletons. It's the Grandfathers. Dead, honored warriors. Thousands of them.
Despite the fact that they're literally surrounded by creepy skeletons, Mau, Daphne, and Ataba travel deeper and deeper into the cave.
Mau and Ataba bicker about the gods (or lack of them) the entire way.
If we were in Daphne's shoes (she's not wearing shoes anymore, but you know what we mean), we would roll back the stone and leave them in there.
At the end of the tunnel, they find a giant golden door. Their multicolored lamplight flickers off it, "red, yellow, and green" (10.67) like a traffic light. Should they stop or should they go?
Duh. They go, opening the door and descending into the sea cave behind it. The steps are god stones that lead them to a giant statue of the gods.
Daphne sees something incredible, but Mau and Ataba are too busy arguing to notice.
Being underground for so long is affecting Ataba's breathing, so Mau urges Daphne to leave, even though she's trying to show them what she sees.
Mau's shout to leave causes one of the Grandfathers to fall over, then another, then another, "like a trick with dominoes" (10.128). We've heard of dominoes being called bones, but never knew it could be literal. It's like this, except with skeletons.
The centuries-old skeletons crumble into dust, a choking cloud that chases the three out of the cave.
After a long run, they reach outside, and fresh air. The cloud of dead Grandfathers escapes into the air.
As their eyes adjust to the bright light, a foreign voice speaks to them: the voice of Mr. Foxlip, one of the mutineers from the Sweet Judy.
He and his buddy, Mr. Polegrave, have arrived on the island, and oh boy do they look like trouble.
Daphne thinks fast, trying to save herself and the island people. She tells them that her father will pay them if they bring her safely to Port Mercia.
It almost works, until Ataba charges at them, railing about the gods in his native tongue.
Ataba grabs a spear and brandishes it at Foxlip, who shoots him dead.
Well, gee. We didn't exactly like him, but still: not cool, Foxlip.