Keeper of the Spatula

Chapter 16: Shocking Betrayal

An hour after SpongeBob separated from his friends and went with Plankton to continue his journey to the Arctic Ocean, the sponge was struggling as hard as he could to climb up cliffs and keep himself balanced over ledges. The only thing that could make it harder was if it rained- but SpongeBob refused to say it as if it would tempt fate.

When SpongeBob climbed close to the top of the mountain, Plankton jumped off of SpongeBob’s head and onto the ledge as the sponge climbed up and flopped on the ground in exhaustion.

“Nice job, SpongeBob.” Plankton said with an encouraging smile. “We made it.”

“…Great.” SpongeBob responded with an exhausted tone.

“Now all we have to do is cross this cave over to the other side and we’ll be closer than ever before.”

“I don’t know, Plankton.” SpongeBob said nervously. “Last time I went through a cave was when we lost Mr. Krabs. The last thing I’d wanna do is lose another friend.”

“Don’t worry, SpongeBob.” Plankton assured. “Those two idiots aren’t here to slow you down anymore.”

SpongeBob wasn’t sure if what Plankton said was supposed to make him feel better or not, but the singe-cell organism went on, “The only way down is to cross this cave. I’ll bet it’s as safe in there as anything can get.”

“Well…okay.” SpongeBob put on a determined face. “I’ll do it.”

He began to march his way toward the cave while Plankton waved to him. “I’ll be right behind you all the way, SpongeBob.” But once SpongeBob was out of earshot, Plankton chuckled evilly. “Let’s just hope this Eli person is enough to get SpongeBob to drop that spatula.”

Meanwhile, Squidward was carefully making his way down the mountain in order to start his long road home. However, he missed his step and ended up falling on his face when trying to slide down.

Squidward groaned in pain as he stood up, but then angrily grunted, still fuming over what had happened earlier. “Little ingrate…” he mumbled as he continued onward. “I waste a whole week of my life helping him on this journey from heck and what do I get?” then he turned around to notice someone missing, “Patrick, hurry up or I’ll leave you behind! And don’t think I won’t!”

“Sorry,” Patrick said as he walked over, now eating something. “I was still pretty hungry.”

But Squidward quickly noticed something familiar about what he was eating. “Hey, where did you get that?”

“I found it.” He answered as he took a bite of the slice of meat.

“But that’s a krabby patty. Where could you have possibly gotten a krabby patty from?”

“I found it over there.” Patrick pointed in the direction behind him. “There are a couple other things to eat too.”

Squidward walked over to examine what Patrick was talking about, and he soon noticed a bunch of scattered ingredients like lettuce, tomato, onions, and patty slices. They were the missing krabby patties that SpongeBob was upset about. Squidward soon put two and two together.

He frowned angrily and clenched his fists. “Why, that little…”

Back up the mountain, SpongeBob quietly began to enter the cave and looked around the dark tunnel. SpongeBob crept through and noticed small burn marks on the cave walls and his feet kicked a few small bones scattered on the ground.

As SpongeBob nervously continued his way through the cave, he suddenly tripped and fell on the ground. When he sat up, his eyes widen to see it was a skull of some poor unfortunate passerby.

SpongeBob timidly chuckled and said, “Sorry about that.” Then he quickly got up and continued on his way.

From the darker shadows of the cave, something long slid on the ground and slithered quietly toward SpongeBob.

The sponge’s eyes widen as he spotted a charred scallop; and when he touched it with his finger, it suddenly disintegrated. SpongeBob gulped in fright and came to the thought that there really was something living in this cave. But what?

This was answered in a manner of seconds when he heard the noise of a pebble dropping behind him and he spotted a long green eel with sharp teeth in its mouth and red eyes. Sparks of electricity appeared over its body, revealing that it was an electric eel.

SpongeBob screamed as the eel swung its tail at him, but the sponge quickly dove on the ground and rolled away. The eel snarled and lit its body with electricity as it tried to grab SpongeBob in order to shock him.

He quickly jumped into a corner and backed against the wall, trying to remain as hidden as possible. SpongeBob held his knees close to his chest and shivered in terror. “First snakeheads, now electric eels…WHAT KIND OF OCEAN IS THIS?!?!”

He then noticed the eel’s tail once again trying to strike him around the corner with electricity generating on it. SpongeBob screamed and quickly jumped out of the way of the strike.

From outside the cave, Plankton noticed the flashes of light coming from the inside. “I better go see if SpongeBob is out of the picture yet.”

He walks in and notices SpongeBob franticly trying to dodge the strikes of the eel known to most as ‘Eli’ around these parts. His eye widens at the sight of it. “I don’t believe it…” he grew a joyful smile. “She’s better than I dreamed!”

As SpongeBob ran from wall to wall of the cave to avoid the strike of Eli, he cried out, “Plankton! Help me!”

“Don’t worry, SpongeBob, I’ll help you!” Plankton responded, “Right after I help myself to that spatula when you’re eel chow!”

SpongeBob continued to dodge the attacks of Eli. He had no idea why Plankton refused to help him. Was he planning all along to steal Hoagie’s spatula? When SpongeBob was running, he tripped on a rock and fell to the ground, which caused the spatula to fall out of his pocket. Eli swung her tail at SpongeBob as it charged with electricity. But SpongeBob quickly grabbed the spatula and blocked the swing.

This was a mistake. The electricity traveled down the metal of the spatula and through SpongeBob’s arm, zapping his entire body. He shrieked in pain and dropped the spatula, cutting off the electricity. He panted heavily, feeling as if he had been wrung dry.

When SpongeBob bent down and picked up the spatula, Eli grabbed him by his knapsack with her tail and lifted him up into the air. SpongeBob flailed his arms and screamed, presumably about to be eaten. But then, he calmed down, and thinking quickly, tossed the spatula at a rock pile and caused it to roll across the ground trampling Eli and causing her to drop him on the ground.

SpongeBob got up and saw the eel had fallen unconscious. He weakly picked up his knapsack and pocketed the spatula before stumbling out of the cave while dragging his bag across the floor.

Once SpongeBob had left, Plankton ran over to the unconscious Eli and started shouting in her face, “Wake up, you buffoon! You’re letting him get away with my spatula!”

At this, Eli opens her eyes and gives a deadly glare, alarming Plankton, who backs away in response.

Meanwhile, SpongeBob had finally exited the cave, still looking worn out from the struggle with Eli, and was still dragging his knapsack across the ground without care. He stopped for a moment and took in the fresh breeze. Then he turned his head to the left and noticed that the mountain had a smooth-looking trail that could take him to the bottom where he needed to go.

SpongeBob let out a relaxed sighed and grew a warm smile. “Despite that little turmoil of near-death, I guess it’ll be smooth sailing from now on.”

As he began to blissfully walk toward the trail, he failed to notice from the shadows in the cave, a light of sparkling electricity lit up to reveal Eli now back on her metaphorical feet.

SpongeBob continued to happily march toward his destination, not noticing Eli slithering over to him with killing intent in mind. However, when SpongeBob did notice- it was far too late.

Eli wrapped her tail around SpongeBob and lifted him off the ground; and once he was in her coils, she gave a long painful zap of electricity to SpongeBob, who gave a muffled shriek.

“Whoa,” Plankton said in awe as he watched the whole thing from the entrance of the cave.

After Eli finally finished electrocuting SpongeBob, the sponge was now charred and smoking as he closed his eyes and slipped out of consciousness.

Eli began to move her sharp teeth close to SpongeBob, about to eat him. But this was interrupted when a pink flash appeared in front of her. It was Patrick, who was clamped onto Eli’s mouth refusing to let go.

“What the Davy!” Plankton shouted in surprise.

The eel swung her head back and forth in an attempt to throw the starfish off. But Patrick refused to let of and grunted fiercely as he shouted, “I won’t let you eat my best friend!”

All of Patrick’s interference caused Eli to release SpongeBob, letting him fall flat on his face onto the ground. Eli slithered backwards blindly as Patrick refused to let go, but then she lit her body with electricity that finally caused Patrick to release his grip. The eel snarled at Patrick, about to exact revenge, but Patrick grabbed the mini-fridge off his back and smacked the eel across the face with it, pushing her off the cliff and off of the high mountain.

This didn’t stop Patrick from looking off from the cliff and shouting after her, “And don’t ever let me catch you trying to eat SpongeBob again!”

After witnessing the whole event, Plankton stood there by the cave entrance, looking dumbfounded as he slumped over, “Well, I didn’t expect this to stop me from getting that spatula this time.”

Then he noticed Squidward running past him from out of the cave, which the single-cell quickly hid behind a rock to avoid being seen. Squidward spotted SpongeBob’s blackened body lying on the ground and quickly rushed over to him. He turned SpongeBob over on his back and noticed he was still unconscious.

“SpongeBob?” Squidward called as he shook him. “SpongeBob, wake up!”

At this, SpongeBob’s eyelids twitch and he suddenly coughed out a puff of black smoke before opening his eyes half-way. “…Squidward?” he spoke in a raspy dry voice.

“SpongeBob!” Patrick shouted as he ran over to him. “That eel tried to eat you, but don’t worry. Ol’ Patrick taught him a lesson. I wish you had been awake to see it.”

“…Patrick.” SpongeBob spoke again. “…You guys came back for me.”

Squidward replied, “Well, I’m sure you’re aware by now that you’ve been duped by Plankton himself.”

“Yeah,” Patrick nodded. “But since we’re all here, we can go to the Arctic together again.”

But suddenly, SpongeBob took a large gasp for breath and didn’t seem like he would be standing up anytime soon. “SpongeBob!” Squidward shouted in worry. “Are you okay?”

“I…I…don’t know.” SpongeBob said between breaths. “But…But please forgive me.” He grabbed onto Squidward’s tentacle. “I…I…don’t know why I said all that stuff before. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry, SpongeBob.” Patrick said with a smile. “We forgive you. We’re not even mad.”

“That’s great…” SpongeBob replied with a weak smile before taking another gasp for breath. “…Cuz I don’t think I’m gonna make it to the Arctic.”

“What?” Squidward asked in shock. “But what about all that stuff you said about it being an important journey, and fulfilling your promise to Mr. Krabs and for Hoagie, and all that other nonsense you said that I wasn’t paying attention to?”

“And what about all the stuff we’re gonna do once we get back home?” Patrick asked, now looking depressed.

“I’m sorry…” SpongeBob said, now panting even more. “Take care of Gary for me, and tell…Hoagie…that…I’m…”

And just like that, SpongeBob closed his eyes and his hand fell limp to the ground and breath was still. “SpongeBob?” Patrick asked with tears in his eyes.

Squidward even began to cry over the loss of SpongeBob. “How dare you go like this!” He shouted while sobbing. “How dare you drag me out here, make go through treacherous things, and then leave me stuck out here; you stupid barnacle head!”

Then he stood up and turned away, slumping over. “Come on, Patrick. Let’s go.”

Patrick stood up and began to follow Squidward, sadly looking at his deceased friend one last time before catching up to him. When the two were about to go back through the cave, they heard footsteps approaching from behind and quickly hid behind a large boulder to see who it was.

From out of the mountain trail, came three large green frogs, wearing armor plates and leather, and all looking very unfriendly to approach. One of them noticed the dried up SpongeBob on the ground and approached him.

“What do you make of this?” he asked as he poked SpongeBob with a long stick as if he were road kill.

The second approached him as well, staring at the lifeless sponge. “He looks dead. We should probably clean up the mess then.”

The last frog (who unlike the other two had a left glass eye) inspected the cave from outside. “It don’t look like Eli’s in here. I’m guessing that one must’ve had a run in with her.”

“It looks like Eli got the last hit on this little piece of cheese.” The first frog pointed out as he kicked SpongeBob with his webbed feet.

“Let’s sweep him off the mountain side.” The second frog suggested again.

“Wait just a minute!” the third frog demanded as he approached SpongeBob, and then spit out his long tongue and ran it across SpongeBob’s face before pulling it back in. “Just as I suspected. This one is a sea sponge. He should count his blessings for it after running into her.”

“What’re you talking about, Kip?” the second frog asked in an annoyed tone.

The third frog, apparently named Kip, continued to explain, “Bein’ that he’s a sponge, her shock had wrung him out dry. If it were anyone else, they’d be dead right now. Once this one’s body has reabsorbed all the moisture around him, he’ll be waking up in about an hour or so.”

From behind the boulder, Squidward and Patrick’s eyes widen at this, before ducking their heads down in order to avoid being seen.

“So what do we do with him then?” the first frog asked.

“Let’s bring him with us.” The Kip answered. “He’s bound to have something valuable on him that we can make money off of; and once he’s woken up, he’ll probably make a great stew.”

Kip began to walk back down the mountain trail while the second held SpongeBob’s knapsack, and the first frog carried SpongeBob in his long tongue, hoisting him in the air.

Once the frogs were out of sight, the two contemplate on what they just heard. “Brrr…” Squidward shuddered as he held his arms. “I hate frogs. They’re nothing but slimy, wart-carrying, disease-ridden creatures.”

“I like their tongues.” Patrick said and attempted to mimic the frogs’ long stretchy tongues.

“Well, at least we know SpongeBob is still alive- yet at the mercy of those horrible putrid frogs.” Squidward sighed and slumped. “And with the spatula in his hands, there’s no doubt those frogs are gonna keep it for themselves.”

“That’s weird.” Patrick said as he reached into his pocket. “Cuz I have it right here.”

He pulled out none other than the golden spatula, much to Squidward’s surprise. “What? When did you get that thing?”

“I took it from SpongeBob after he died. I thought we can finish the quest and destroy the spatula ourselves.”

“Yeah…great idea. Just be careful with that thing.” Squidward took a step away from the spatula. “There’s something about it that’s dangerous. When I held it last, it made me feel…odd.”

But Patrick stared at the spatula with a blank look. “I don’t feel anything. But it is making my head tickle.” He chuckled dimly. “It’s funny!”

Squidward sighed and walked ahead. “Well, I suppose we should get to the Arctic and get rid of that thing before it influences anyone else with a brain.”

“But wait. Are we gonna go get SpongeBob from those frogs?”

“Well, what can we do?” Squidward asked as he glared at Patrick. “I said I hate frogs. And I’m sure as heck not gonna go marching to their place when there could be more of them waiting.”

“But they said they were gonna have SpongeBob make a stew!” Patrick cried out. “And SpongeBob doesn’t like stew!”

As Patrick continued to cry over the oblivious danger his best friend was in, Squidward grunted in annoyance and finally said, “Fine! I guess I do owe that little twerp one anyway.” He began to walk down the mountain trail where the frogs headed. “Alright, Patrick, let’s get that idiot out of yet another predicament he’s gotten himself into.”

“Yay!” Patrick cheered as he followed Squidward. “We’re gonna be heroes again!”

But from the entrance of the cave, Plankton emerged from his hiding place with a furious look on his face. “I’ll get that precious spatula…” he growled through his teeth. “…If it’s the last thing I do.”

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