For this one I got the_mysterious_m and chose the prompt
"Paul and Vechs going on an adventure. I just want something with these two."
(I agree, M. That is sort of why I got a bit carried away with this.) Enjoy ^^
A knock on Vechs’ door woke him before the sun did. He blearily sat up from his bed and shuffled to the door, wondering for only a second who on earth was calling at this hour, before all the memories of weeks of planning flooded back into his brain.
“Paul!” He opened the door to his older neighbour bearing a heavy pack full of supplies.
“You awake yet, Vechs?” he joked. “Ready for our adventure?”
Vechs yawned instinctively then put a hand to his mouth. “Just let me get changed. I’ll be right back.”
He turned back up the stairs to his room and Paul let himself in the house, setting down his bag and sighing at the relief. He’d only carried it from his own house to Vechs’ and his shoulders were already sore. He had left ample space in his backpack for artefacts and trinkets from the places they would discover. Despite this, it was quite heavy. It seemed like a long time before Vechs returned, carrying his own large bag down the stairs. He had on his goggles and helmet, and sturdy walking boots. Paul nodded in approval.
“You look ready to go. Come on, let’s get moving.”
It was still dark outside; they had planned an early start in the hopes of getting as much exploring done before night as possible. Paul had picked a direction he hadn’t explored yet, and had brought plenty of empty maps with the intention of filling them in as they discovered new terrain. Their planned path took them first through a forest. In the early darkness it was eerie, the tall trees and silence blocking out the outside world as they walked deeper into it. Paul lit two torches and handed one to his companion, the fires casting just enough light to see the path by.
Paul hadn’t been exploring for a long time, and it was good to be headed off on an adventure again, especially with his young friend. Planning the adventure and gathering supplies for the last few weeks had been almost as fun as the actual adventure itself would be, and the excitement had been slowly bubbling up for a while now. Now, the pair was silent, enjoying the beauty of the forest and the darkness.
It was a while before a hint of orange could be seen through the leaves, the rising sun slowly lighting the forest. Paul didn’t recognise the place; they had walked far enough that they were already out of terrain he had previously explored. As the tree trunks turned golden, he nudged Vechs.
“We’re adventuring now. I’ve never seen this part of the forest before.”
Vechs looked around. They had come to a small glade, circled by large trees. The grass was dark and soft, and a few rocks and oddly rectangular stones were scattered in the circle.
“What d’you think those are?”
“We should rest,” Paul said, “and inspect those. They’re very interesting.”
Vechs dropped his bag with relief and stuck his torch in the ground. He grabbed some bread to eat and went to look at one of the rectangular stones. It was crumbling and green with moss. Vechs absently brushed one of its faces until the moss rubbed away. Under it were some odd carvings in a light-coloured stone. Vechs squinted at them.
“I think these are part of a larger structure,” Paul called. “They’re in a square.”
Vechs stood up and looked at Paul’s motioning hands. He looked around the glade at the stones. Paul was right; when he looked at the stones, they lined up in a hollow square in the centre of the glade. Vechs looked at Paul again, who was scribbling in a journal with his toungue sticking out.
“Day one…. Found clearing with…. Stones maybe part of an old ruin…. Very interesting.”
Vechs smiled, and went to look at the other stones. They all had similar carvings and were half-buried in the ground. One of them had a little, half-circular depression in the top, which Vechs noted with interest. He could tell the stones must must be a part of an old building, as Paul had suggested. He bent close to inspect another of the stones when he heard Paul yell.
Vechs whipped around at the sound.
Paul was a little way off in the trees. He sounded distressed, and Vechs rushed to him. Paul was shaking his leg, something caught around it. Vechs could see it was a wire, and one end was fastened to the ground.
“Are you okay? What happened?”
“I got tangled in the wire,” Paul laughed. “No harm done though.”
Vechs helped untangle his leg and once he had, inspected the wire. One end had clearly frayed away, but the other was tied firmly to a wooden peg in the ground. Paul found another peg with a short piece of broken-off wire tied to it a little way off.
“It must be a tripwire,” Paul said. “Lucky for me, it’s broken.” He picked up the peg and put it carefully in his pack, then jotted down notes in his journal.
Vechs said, “Shall we keep looking around?”
Further investigation around the temple turned up many more pegs, most of them broken and few with any wire left at all.
“If these tripwires were connected to any traps,” Vechs said, “this would be a minefield. Totally impossible to get in the building unless you knew some sort of secret.”
Paul took out a small trowel from his pack and began digging in the earth beside one of the pegs. Vechs frowned, but when Paul’s expression changed and he peered at the dirt, Vechs bent to get a closer look. Paul picked up a pinch of dirt and spread it in his hand.
“Redstone,” he said, pointing at the fine red dust glinting against the soil. “I’ll bet anything the tripwires were hooked up to redstone, that triggered some traps.”
He tipped some of the redstone into a small glass bottle, scribbled on its label, and stowed it in his pack.
“So an old structure, surrounded by traps…” Vechs mused. “Whatever was in it, it must have been pretty important.”
“I bet it’s long gone now,” Paul said. “Ruins like this tend to get raided.”
“Shame,” Vechs said. “I’m still going to look around anyway.”
Paul nodded, and Vechs turned back to the square of stones. He wanted to see if there was anything significant in the centre, what would have been inside the building when it was intact. Something strange in the grass caught his eye, and he strode confidently over to it.
Vechs heard the click, but it was too late; by the time his brain realised what was happening, his foot had moved off the stone plate buried in the grass.
A boom resounded through the glade and Paul looked up in time to see the dust from the explosion billowing between the trees. He dropped everything and ran, yelling Vechs’ name. As he approached the smoke and dust cleared a little, and he could see there was a large crater in the centre of the square of stones. Vechs was nowhere to be seen.
“Vechs!” Paul’s voice echoed and he peered curiously into the hole, breathing heavily. The hole was deeper than it should be. It went straight down to a small cavern at the bottom with a faint light, and the walls were covered in dry, brown vines.
“I’m here,” said a strained voice. Paul looked sharply to the side and saw Vechs, clinging onto the vines just below the surface.
“Vechs! Are you okay?”
Vechs nodded. “I didn’t die, so that’s good. The explosion knocked me down here. But I can’t hang on for much longer.”
“I’ll get a rope and haul you out,” Paul said, fumbling in his pack.
“Wait!” Vechs said. “I want to explore down there. There’s a light. Looks like there was a secret cavern under the building. As long as you think you can climb down, of course.”
“Good idea,” Paul said. “I’ll be fine. And you know what I always say about holes in the ground.”
Vechs nodded and grinned. Paul carefully backed over the edge of the hole, gripping the vines. Once he was at Vechs’ level, the two began to climb down the vines. It was a long way down, and it was tiring, but they eventually reached the bottom. There was a small chamber with nothing but a stone pedestal and a dimly flickering torch.
“Disappointing,” said Vechs. “What do you think was on this?” He brushed the top of the pedestal with a hand.
Paul shrugged. “Treasure. Some precious artefact. It’s long gone though,” he said mournfully, turning to look around the small room. There appeared to be nothing on the walls but vines, and the floor was made of mossy, cracked stone.
Vechs sighed. “This pack is getting really heavy. I’m going to take it off while we look around.”
Paul nodded distractedly, inspecting the floor. Vechs took off his pack and set it on the pedestal. He rough creak and looked around, then the floor dropped out from under him and he found himself falling.
Vechs yelped. He looked down to see a bubbling pool of bright lava coming up fast to meet him.
Oh great, he thought. I’m going to die.
A cold sensation overcame him as water streamed over him. Vechs coughed, and felt his feet land on a hard surface. Stepping out of the waterfall, he saw that the water had cooled the lava to hard black obsidian. He looked up. There was a hole in the ceiling and water was flowing from it.
“Are you okay?” Paul yelled down, concerned. “I saw the floor open and you disappeared. I quickly poured water down to slow your fall.”
“Good thing you did,” Vechs called back. “There was lava down here.”
“I’m guessing the weight of your pack triggered something in the pedestal that opened that panel of the floor,” Paul said. “Here, I’ll come down too.”
Vechs watched Paul gently ride the water stream down to stand beside him. Vechs wiped the water from his face.
“What do we do now?”
Paul looked around. There was only one apparent way to go; a low tunnel that opened into a larger cavern at the end. He shrugged, and pointed down it. The pair started down it.
It was only when they were halfway down the tunnel when Vechs realised he’d left his pack behind. It wasn’t really a problem, as he knew Paul had more than enough stuff in his to supply both of them.
The cavern at the end of the tunnel was huge; it had a conical hole in the centre with a wide path around the edge that spiralled downwards. There was no barrier or rail on the side of the path, and Vechs could not see what was at the bottom. Upwards looked like natural rock formations, with no other pathways.
“Down?” Paul asked.
“Sounds good to me,” Vechs replied. They started down the spiralling path, making sure to keep well to the cliff side. They edged downwards.
“At least we haven’t encountered any mobs yet,” Vechs commented. Paul nodded as a dreadful sound echoed through the cavern.
“Oh for- ” Vechs recognised the sound. He turned around and saw the huge, floating form of the Ghast in the cavern above them. It screamed again, and Vechs grabbed his bow. He saw Paul doing the same.
“How did a Ghast of all things get in here?!” Paul exclaimed. Vechs loosed an arrow and it hit the Ghast, making it yelp horribly. The creature released a fireball and Vechs grabbed Paul’s arm, dragging him down the path. The fireball hit the path, blasting away a large part of it that crumbled into the dark below.
“Fff-uck,” Vechs said loudly. The Ghast moved lower. He shot another arrow. It arced through the air over the Ghast’s form.
“Dammit.” Paul fired this time and hit the Ghast. It screamed, and Paul readied another arrow. Vechs had it this time though, his arrow hitting and killing the huge creature. It let out a final scream and sank to the ground.
“Phew,” Paul said. “That was close.”
“The path up there is totally wrecked,” Vechs said. “At least we didn’t die though.”
Paul nodded. “Shall we continue?”
They continued down the path as it spiralled in. It seemed quite safe and the pair became more confident and walked in the middle of the path, until a faint rumbling began beneath their feet.
“What’s that?” Vechs wondered out loud.
The rumbling grew more violent, and small rocks began to crumble and fall from the cliff sides.
“Is that an earthquake?” Paul said.
Vechs glanced behind himself and yelped. “NO!”
Paul looked around and saw what Vechs had seen. There was a huge round boulder rolling down the spiral path behind them.
“Run!” he said. Vechs was already running. The boulder was already gaining on them and Paul could feel it under his feet. He ran down the spiral path as fast as he could. Vechs was ahead of him and almost at the bottom. Paul glanced back at the boulder, then back at Vechs, who had reached the end of the path. He was wedged in a small nook in the wall, just big enough for him. Beyond the end of the path was nothing, just a steep drop into abyss. Paul finally caught up with Vechs and looked around.
“There’s nowhere to go!” he said, panting. The boulder was coming ever closer. It was a choice between being crushed by the boulder or falling into the black abyss below.
“Paul, get in here!” Vechs had come out of his nook and was pushing Paul into it.
“But you’ll- ”
“Better me than you!” Vechs shoved Paul into the nook and leapt out of the way just as the boulder rolled to the end of the path.
“Vechs!” Paul yelled. Vechs had disappeared as the boulder passed his little hidey hole. He peeked out just in time to see the boulder roll off the end of the path and fall into the blackness. He didn’t hear it hit the bottom.
“Vechs!” he yelled again, coming out of the nook.
“I’m here,” said a strained voice. Paul looked down to see a pair of arms straining to hold on to the side of the path. Vechs’ head popped up.
“Oh thank god,” Paul said. He reached down to help Vechs back up onto the path.
“You have to stop doing that, okay?” Paul said. “You’ll give an old man like me a heart attack one of these days.”
“Sorry,” Vechs said. “I had nowhere else to go. Lucky there was a ledge a little way down that I could just get my feet on.”
“That was terrifying,” Paul admitted. “Ready to keep adventuring?”
Vechs nodded. “But where? There doesn’t seem to be anywhere to go from here.”
“Last time we thought that, we were wrong,” Paul said. “Let’s look around. Just stay away from the edge, please.”
There wasn’t much to look at. The path ended and there was nothing more than the little impression in the wall. Vechs and Paul searched around for several minutes in confusion. Paul was about to suggest they head back up the path until he took a closer look at the place Vechs had hidden to escape the boulder.
“There’s a ledge down there,” Paul said, peering over the edge.
“Yes. I could just get my feet on it,” Vechs said.
“Maybe there are more ledges lower down, and we could climb down.”
“Why would we go down there? It’s pitch black!”
Paul shrugged. “Holes in the ground. Adventure. Come on, Vechs. We could be discovering something that nobody has ever seen before!”
Vechs sighed. “Okay, but you’re going first.”
Paul nodded. “Precautions, first.” He set down his pack and opened it, taking out a post, a hammer, and a long length of rope. He drove the post into a crack in the rock wall of the cliff, then firmly tied the rope to it. After checking to see that it held, Paul stepped carefully backwards onto the ledge. Vechs watched anxiously, wishing that he hadn’t made Paul go first.
“Are there any more footholds?”
Paul, still holding the rope, lowered one foot until it hit another ledge. “Yes! I’d bet anything they go all the way down.”
All the way down to where? Vechs thought, but kept silent as he watched Paul descend. It was terrifying to watch the older man go down into the darkness, so Vechs quickly turned to back down the side and onto the ledge. Gripping hard onto the rock with one hand and the rope with the other, he followed Paul’s lead down into the dark. Despite feeling that it was a big mistake, just to be going down into this darkness without knowing, Vechs was feeling the thrill of adventure. He could understand why Paul wanted to explore so much.
“Vechs,” Paul called up eventually, “Do you hear water?”
Vechs strained his ears and could, just faintly, make out the sound of rushing, rumbling water. It was too dark to see below his feet though, so he kept climbing, following Paul. Luckily the footholds were evenly spaced apart and easy to find, so their descent was confident and sure. The noise of water grew louder, sounding like a large waterfall.
“I do hear that,” he called back.
The descent continued until Vechs heard a splash and a cry from Paul.
“You okay?” he called in concern. The was a silence and the sound of more splashes and a spluttery cough that echoed up through the cavern. Vechs began to move down more quickly. “Paul?”
“It’s okay,” came Paul’s voice, through a cough. “Just watch out for the waterfall when you drop, ok?
Oh thank god he’s alright, Vechs thought. Then he thought, drop?
He stepped down but the next foothold was not there. The shock made him lose his grip and he slipped down, falling into a roaring wall of water. It rushed around his head and knocked out all his senses, and he was blind and upside-down until he found himself on the ground, gasping in air.
A hand helped him to his feet.
“You okay there?” Paul asked. “You took a tumble there.”
Vechs opened his eyes, but he couldn’t see much. The air around him was clouded with a thick black haze. He could hardly see a foot in front of him, and the only landmark was the sound of the waterfall - but that noise seemed to surround him, and he couldn’t place the exact spot it came from.
“I hope my torches survived the water,” Paul said anxiously, but when he lit one it spluttered for a second before staying alight. He breathed out, holding the torch aloft to look around. The light didn’t carry far, but it did reflect off the waterfall in front of them. He turned slowly, allowing the torch to illuminate the space they stood in.
They were just inside the edge of a circular waterfall that started around the rim of the circular hole that they had just descended from and came down in a solid sheet to finish the walls below. The water seemed to have some place to drain off behind it. In the centre of the circle was another pedestal, this time some glistening substance that refracted the torch’s light.
“Ooh another pedestal!” Vechs said. He went to step towards it, but a firm hand on his arm jerked him back.
“What?” Vechs said to Paul. Paul pointed at the floor with his torch.
Vechs looked at the floor and saw that, a couple of feet in it disappeared completely, leaving a gaping void between the small rim around the inside of the waterfall and the small platform floating with the pedestal in the centre. He gasped and stepped back quickly, almost into the water.
“Vechs, don’t step into the void please,” Paul said.
“Why not?” Vechs joked.
“We need to find a way to get on to that platform.”
“There could be something behind the waterfall,” Vechs suggested.
“Or it could be another drop into the abyss,” Paul said. “We need to be careful.”
“Let’s just have a look, don’t be so cautious old man.”
“Watch your attitude,” Paul said, but smiled. He looked on as Vechs carefully stuck his head into the waterfall, only to immediately retract it, coughing.
“Okay,” he spluttered. “That didn’t work. It’s all or nothing. Do you have any more rope?”
Paul nodded, opening his pack to retrieve another length of rope. Vechs tied it firmly around his own waist.
“What are you…?”
“Hold this,” Vechs said, giving the other end back to Paul. “If I scream, pull me back up.”
“I can’t lift you!” Paul said, fearfully.
“Yeah you can. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.”
“Uhh… Vechs, I have a bad feeling about this.”
“Just do it. What’s the worst that could happen?” Vechs said, then plunged through the waterfall.
Paul covered his mouth to hide a yelp, but the rope stayed slack. He waited with held breath until Vechs called from behind the wall of water,
“It’s fine! There’s stuff behind here.”
Paul dropped the end of the rope and picked up his pack, then after a second of hesitation jumped through the water after Vechs. After the blindness from the crashing water, he found himself on solid ground. He opened his eyes and looked around. He was standing in a room that must be a donut shape around the circular waterfall. The outer wall was made of a blueish, faceted crystal that reflected light in many colours. He looked around for the source of the light and found there was a gentle glow emanating from the floor, but no sign of torches or lamps.
“This is pretty,” Vechs commented.
Paul nodded, shaking water from his hat. “What do we do then?”
At the enthusiastic response from Vechs, the pair gathered up the rope them began to walk slowly around the room. Vechs stopped to take a closer look at the crystal walls, noting the many intermingling and detailed carvings in it. Some parallel lines caught his attention and he noted it in his mind. Meanwhile, Paul peered at the floor. Vechs caught up to him.
“Look at this.” He pointed to the lines.
“What are those?”
Vechs placed a forefinger on the top vertical line and began to walk, tracing it all the way around the room.
“This line goes all the way around the room. So does this one a few inches below it, and it looks different to the carvings.”
“How so?” Paul asked.
“It’s more like… a crack.”
“I’d bet that this slice of the outer wall can rotate around. It probably is part of the puzzle.”
“How do we move it then… wait,” Paul said. He frowned and looked at the floor. He bent closer to inspect markings on it.
“I think we might have to line up the symbols on the floor to the ones on this slice of the wall,” he said. He pointed to some arrow-like symbols on the floor. “See?”
Vechs looked at the wall, then the floor. He could see how the arrow symbols would have to line up.
“Move it. How…?” Paul muttered.
Vechs shrugged. “I don’t know how its meant to be done, but we’re doing it this way now. Do you have any more posts?”
Paul put down his pack in confusion, taking out his stake and hammer and handing them to Vechs.
He grabbed the stake and drove it in the bottom crack, hammering it in firmly. When he grabbed the wedged post and pushed it as hard as he could, the thin section of wall creaked and shuddered slightly. With the help of Paul, Vechs pushed the section so that the symbols were perfectly aligned with those on the floor.
“Did we d- AAAH.” Vechs was cut off by the wall suddenly shooting out sharp spikes at neck level. He ducked and grabbed Paul, pulling him to the ground. The sound of more spikes ejecting filled his ears. He didn’t want to move, so he stayed down until the noise stopped. As he slowly opened his eyes to see rings of spikes lining the outer wall, he noticed that the waterfall had also stopped. Turning towards the centre of the room, where he could now see the floating pedestal, he could now also see the small bridge that had appeared over the hole in the floor right to the pedestal.
“Paul, look!” He pointed, and Paul looked. He turned to Vechs to grin, and they both scrambled to their feet, avoiding the spikes with care.
“Do you want to go and get whatever’s on that pedestal?” Vechs asked Paul. “Go on, do it.”
“Oh, if you insist.”
Paul walked slowly to the bridge, careful to avoid the edge of the hole into the void. He walked across the bridge in awe. As he got closer he could see the small object on top of the pedestal. It was disappointingly small. When he was next to the pedestal he reached out his hand to pick up the small, perfectly round gold sphere. It fit perfectly in the palm of his hand. He stood staring at the pedestal for a second…
He whipped around to see Vechs calling, and realised the ground around the void hole was rumbling. He sprinted back across the bridge, holding the orb tightly in his hand. As he watched, the crystal wall around the edge began to crumble and break, falling down in shards of sharp crystal. Vechs was trapped between the crumbling outer wall and the void in the centre. But it was soon clear that behind the wall, there were now opened pathways; three around the rim of the room.
“Do we have to choose one?” Vechs asked above the noise.
Paul shrugged. “I’d guess so.”
They looked at the three options. All were identical, black entrances to tunnels with no promise of what lay beyond. The only thing that differentiated them was a single symbol above each. The symbols were completely unrecognisable, so Vechs suggested they pick a random one and start walking.
“Fine,” Paul said. “What’s the worst that could happen?’
Vechs giggled a little, but said nothing as they walked towards the entrance with a triangle shape above it. Paul lit a couple of torches and handed one to Vechs so they could see through the foggy darkness.
For a long time, all there was was the small tunnel. It was dry and dark, and by the torchlight not much could be seen aside from cobwebs and the occasional bat. Vechs was ready to say that it was downright boring, but held his tongue as they walked in silence. He was glad to be drying off though.
After a while, the tunnel began to slope gently upwards and curve slightly.
“Now we’re getting somewhere,” Paul said, but soon the upward motion began to flatten out again. Vechs sighed, and then realised that the floor was wobbly and his feet were cold. He looked down, just as Paul said,
“Vechs! Watch out!”
The torch only just revealed that the floor had turned to quicksand. Vechs struggled to get out, sinking in up to his shins. Paul seemed to still be on dry land, and Vechs twisted to see him frantically opening his pack. Vechs was already in up to his knees, and beginning to panic.
Paul had stuck his torch in the soft ground and was pulling a board out of his pack. Vechs frowned and wondered how he’d gotten the large plank in the pack, but gratefully said nothing and grabbed it as Paul slid it out onto the surface of the quicksand. Somehow he’d sunk up to his waist, and his lower body felt like it had been clad in heavy, immobile armor. He attempted to kick his feet but they were bound by the gluggy mud.
“Vechs, get out now! Use the board!”
“I’m trying,” he said in frustration. His stomach was now under the surface, and it was hard to move. Paul was muttering at himself and Vechs tried to pull himself onto the board. He grunted and slid back down up to his chest.
“Fu-udge! I can’t get out!”
Paul had never heard Vechs so panicked, and pushed the board out further in an attempt to scoop up his sinking friend. Luckily the board floated because of its flatness and width, and…
“Hang on, Vechs! I have an idea!”
“What?” Vechs said.
“Stop moving for a second. Try to get yourself horizontal, so that you float. Like the board.”
“Just… I don’t know.” Paul waved a hand.
Vechs stopped flailing his legs and found that the pressure released a little. Using the board to lever himself, he slowly got himself horizontal, although it was difficult for most of his chest was now submerged. But eventually he was floating just under the surface, and slid onto the board with ease. Paul grabbed his arm to help him out, then pulled him to standing and brought him to his chest for a quick hug.
“Don’t do that again, okay Vechs? It scared me. A lot.”
Vechs nodded, looking down at his sodden, dirt clothes. “I’m sorry. How are we going to get across?” He waved a hand at the quicksand pools before them.
“I think if we are careful, we can use the board to float across. We should go on our stomachs though.”
Paul was right; with the board flat on the surface, they could carefully make their way across the pools of quicksand that blocked a short portion of the tunnel. On the other side the trod more carefully, checking for other traps and obstacles with the torch light.
Presently, the thick fog lifted and the the tunnel curved up once more. A small amount of light entered the tunnel, and Vechs began to dry off for the second time. As they went up, small vines and moss began to appear on the walls of the tunnel. It was quite pleasant now, much better than it had been in the dark, and Vechs was enjoying the walk despite the drying quicksand covering his clothes.
Eventually, the tunnel came to a dead end, but it was easy enough to see, from the light coming down from cracks above, that there was surface above them. Paul pulled a couple of shovels out of his pack and they set to work, digging up to find themselves in the forest.
Vechs blinked at the light, looking around as the haze disappeared from his vision. He recognised their location; they were in the forest they had started in. He turned and saw the glade a little way off, with the crater from the explosion still there.
“Paul,” he said slowly. “We’re almost back at the start again.”
Paul looked around in confusion. “So we are. Would you look at that?!”
“We did a loop. A loop underground,” Vechs said, striding towards the glade. “And all we found was a silly little ball.”
“it’s not silly,” Paul said, but Vechs was already far ahead. He sighed and followed him.
“Why did that whole… system exist if it was just going to bring us back here?”
“Maybe we should have followed a different path,” Paul said, shrugging. “But it doesn’t really make a difference. We had fun adventuring down there.”
They arrived in the clearing where the deep hole still was, and the square of stones surrounding it. Vechs cast his gaze over them. That must be it. They would leave, adventure on, and soon forget the memories of this place. That was what exploring was, he guessed, but it left a lot to be desired…
“Paul, what are you doing?” Vechs interrupted his own thoughts with the question. Paul was kneeling down beside the foremost stone, the one perfectly in the centre of one side of the square.
“Look here,” Paul said. Vechs knelt beside him to see the little round divot in the top of the stone, surrounded by carvings. “It fits perfectly.”
Paul held the gold orb above the divot. Vechs could see that, as soon as Paul placed the orb, it would indeed fit perfectly in the depression. Vechs glanced at Paul a second before he let go. The ball settled into the little divot, made comfortably for it, and there was a second of nothing before the ball began to glow. Rays of light began to stream from the orb, and in seconds were too bright for Vechs and Paul to stand. They shielded their eyes, moving backwards out of the bright light. Even through his eyelids and fingers Vechs could see the light reach its brightest, then fade down to nothing. He opened his eyes cautiously and blinked. He looked at Paul, who was already moving back to see what had happened.
The orb remained but its surface was cracked like an eggshell. Paul frowned. The symbols and characters on the stone had turned into easily readable letters.
those who brave the troubles in the darkness
to bring the sun back up to the daytime
are offered a reward fit for a true adventurer;
the eye of the day and the sight of the heavens.
The Adventurer’s Eye.
Vechs read out the words, then Paul reached out to pick up the ball again. The gold flaked off in his hand to reveal what was underneath; A glass orb filled with a shimmering, swirling substance that moved constantly. A bright fleck of red danced inside it, darting like a firefly then moving to one side of the orb. When Paul touched where the speck contacted the glass it was hot. Something drew him to follow the direction the speck pointed.
“What does it do?” Vechs asked quietly.
“I think it is trying to lead us somewhere,” Paul said. “Like a compass. But I’d say that it wants to take us to our next adventure.”
The orb buzzed quietly in his hand.
“I bet that thing glows in the dark, too,” Vechs mused. Paul handed him the orb to inspect as he bent down to pick up his pack again.
“You ready to continue exploring?” he asked, straightening up.
“That was just the beginning?” Vechs asked in reply.
“Of course,” Paul said, taking the orb back and holding it out so he could see the bright red pointer. It insisted they follow into the forest, so Paul took a glance at Vechs, who grinned and nodded slightly. They set off into the forest, following their new, bright guide towards their next adventure.