The Pharaoh's Pet

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The Pharaoh's Pet

Post by The Merciful Overlord on Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:00 pm

Serenity waved the two along quietly after having looked over the side of the hill. Liora climbed slowly up first, followed by Jake, both of them keeping low to the ground. Serenity's long hair was pulled back into a high ponytail and her dark blue eyes were focused on the camp site on the other side of the hill. "There's only about five of them," she whispered, with Jake on her right and Liora on her left. "What do you think, what should we do?"

"It's up to you," Jake said, scanning them over. "Looks like they have some pretty good weapons on them, armor too. I think one has a bow."

"No horses," Liora said quietly, sounding disappointed.

"We've only been walking for a couple days, Liora."

"Yeah, and soon it shall be a couple weeks. Know you how much good horses would do us? The time we could save?"

"Do not be so spoi-" Serenity went to retort, only for her head to be pushed down by Jake.

"Shhh!" he whispered, lying flat on the ground. "I think one might have seen us," he said, almost inaudibly. A few minutes passed before any of them moved again. Jake was the first one to move, his silver hair peeking out over the hill just before his eyes did. "It's fine. There's only a few options before us. Should we ambush them, the night will have to come first, for us to move into position around them. Even should we avoid them, night would still have to come first. We cannot get around them without being seen during the day's light."

"They shall have to look for firewood, will they not?" When Liora nodded, Serenity continued. "When they do, we shall take them out individually. When one does not return, another shall take it's place to search for their companion," she said. "Everything will be all set up. All we've to do is lay in wait among the trees."

Jake couldn't help but to give a smirk at Serenity. "You've not changed at all. An ambush it shall be." Liora, on the other hand, didn't seem too keen on the idea. She was a long-ranged fighter, or not a fighter at all. Serenity saw this in her sister's eyes and gave her a reassuring smile. "Don't worry. Jake and I will take care of them."

Following their plan of taking one out at a time, the group of three treasure hunters had claimed the bandit's weapons and camp. Serenity hadn't known at first that they'd been bandits, nor would she have cared if they'd been normal travelers. The weapons that had gone to each of them had been a bow and a quiver full of arrows to Liora, a full length sword and several chakra bombs to Jake, and a dagger and a few poison coated throwing knives to Serenity. Each of them got armor (too big for the girls, yet fitting Jake almost perfectly) and a cloak for the cold nights. Out of them, Serenity got the darkest cloak, as she was the one who was quicker and quieter through the shadows. To their great surprise, among the items in the camp, was a map that happened to be following the same route they'd been going, and a nice few bags nearly full with gold coins.

Serenity sat back against one of the tent poles and laughed. "They were looking for the treasure same as us! I'd say we just took out competition!"

Liora looked down and held her bow on her lap. "You shouldn't be so carefree about taking lives Ser..."

Serenity raised an eyebrow. Her younger sister was sitting on the other side of the fire from where she was, and Jake on the side of the fire that was to her right. "If they'd found us where they were headed, they might have struck first, Little Lily. We would have been out numbered, and you'd have not a bow, and Jake not a sword, and I not a dagger. This route was safer for us all," she said kindly.

Liora kept her gaze down. She knew this was how her sister was. It hurt her to know that her sister was actually manipulative, and not at all as kind as she pretended to be. But despite that, Liora nodded. She wondered if Jake saw through her sister's disguise. It wasn't that she didn't love Serenity, she really did. Her older sister had done what was necessary to keep the two of them alive during the hardest times. She'd always been there for her.

Looking at the two sisters, Jake finally spoke up. "We should sleep. Morning will come fast if we don't take advantage of the dark hours." He was the same age as Serenity, two years older than Liora, with unusual silver hair and blue-ish grey eyes. He'd met the two in their village while he'd been a traveling warrior. One of the only people stationed in her village that was able to use what was currently being called 'chakra'. He'd tried teaching the girls how to use it, but it hadn't gone so well.

Despite what Jake had said, morning came faster than any of them would have liked. And regardless of Serenity's grumbling, they ended up moving on. The area they arrived at, upon following the map, was nothing more than a thicket of jungle. There were wild animals at every turn, though none of them seemed particularly aggressive. Jake stopped walking after they passed what he thought to be the same large tree they'd passed at least three times. "Something's not right here," he said, his eyes a bit narrow.

Serenity nodded in agreement. "We've passed this tree before," she said.

Jake shook his head. "It's not just that. It's like...we're walking in a straight line, but somehow we keep ending up back where we started..." When Liora looked off to the side, both Jake and Serenity looked at her, but Serenity spoke first.

"Li? What is it?"

Liora looked around, grasping her bow nervously. "I feel like some of the animals are watching us," she said quietly. "I think they know why we've come."

Serenity shook her head. "Don't be silly, Li. They're just animals."

Jake looked around. "I don't know. She may be right Serenity. Let me see the map. I want to take another look at that riddle." Serenity handed him a folded up piece of paper, which had been hand drawn by Liora off of a book before they'd left. Jake cleared his throat a little before reading aloud. "Though riches and treasures may you seek, a greater treasure lies at the peak. Wisdom, kindness, and courage the Pharaoh hast, though his time now gone, his traits be passed. The base of the temple be the top of the world, the first challenge be it's sight unfurled." He stopped reading. "The Pharaoh's temple...all clues lead here, the mountain highest in the Meso Jungle, but..."

"But a temple that big should be simple to see," Liora chimed in quietly.

Serenity blinked. "Wait...I understand!" When her sister and Jake looked at her, she smiled. "See, the first challenge is it's sight unfurled. The temple is hidden by something!"

Liora simply looked confused. "Something that big? Hidden by what?"

Jake gave a grin and his eyes were gleaming. "My clan wasn't the first to learn how to use chakra," he said. "It's such a curious power, who knows what can be accomplished by using it. There must be a gate keeper, or something of the like," he said. "Liora, did you see which animals were watching us?"

Liora nodded. "The one that was always watching us was a giant monkey." She shivered. "He's still up in the trees, I think."

At that, Jake looked up, only to see that there was not a monkey watching them, but a giant ape. A large, black gorilla. "We mean no harm to the temple you guard," Jake spoke up. At that, the three of them all had to take a step back, Liora muffling a scream when she fell backwards, as the gorilla jumped from the trees and landed in between all three of them.

"You are not the first to spout such lies!" It roared angrily, turning to face Jake on all fours, it's black eyes staring madly at him.

Jake swallowed, a hand going to his sword in defense, though he didn't draw it. "We've come to see about the Pharaoh's traits, that are meant to be passed on," he said, keeping his eyes on the beast, while Serenity pulled out the poison knives she'd claimed the night before, and Liora scrambled to her feet, her hands finding there way nervously onto her bow.

"The Pharaoh?" The beast looked around at the three, taking a step back from Jake as it saw the others were also reacting defensively. "Prove it."

Jake paused, then looked at Serenity. "Present him the map Serenity," he ordered. Serenity nodded and produced the map from inside her cloak, opening it in the direction of the giant ape. "This is the map we have been following," he said. "We don't have any interest in the treasure, at least not this time," he told the guardian honestly.

The ape watched the three for a moment. "Mind you the traps within. The Pharaoh's Pet may not be so kind as I." The air started to shimmer mysteriously as the ape spoke again. "Be wary that the Pharaoh was not courageous, but fearless," he said, the temple which looked similar a pyramid appearing and replacing the multitude of trees behind the four living beings.

"There's a difference?" Serenity spoke up, her dagger pulled, just in case. The ape just looked at her before running and jumping onto the temple, climbing over it, and disappearing behind it. "Let's go then," Serenity said, starting towards it.

Jake put a hand on her shoulder. "You think it wise to just wander in? What of those traps it mentioned?"

Serenity shook her head. "We'll worry about them as they come," she said with a smile. When Jake looked off to the side, Serenity tilted her head a bit and lifted his to look at her. "I'll go first then, okay?"

At that, Jake looked almost alarmed. "No. We'll go together, but we're going to be cautious about it, understand?"

Liora couldn't help but giggle a bit at the two. They had a weird way of showing affection. Coming between the two, Liora wrapped her arms around them with a bright smile. "What are we waiting for? Who knows if this place has a time limit before it disappears?"

Jake smiled and nodded. "Serenity, watch the ceilings for traps, Liora, the floors, and I'll watch the walls," he told them. At that, both the sisters smiled and said at the same time "Alright!" And started into the temple.

It seemed to be going smoothly for the most part, until Liora spoke quietly. "I think we're being followed." At that, they all stopped, and looked behind them, just as a shadow seemed to disappear into a wall. Swallowing, Liora moved closer to Serenity, who wrapped her arm around the younger girl's shoulders. Jake frowned, then looked back in front of them. "Change of plans," he started quietly. "Serenity, you watch behind us, keep your back against mine so we don't get separated by accident. Li, you keep an eye on the right wall and the floor, I'll watch the left wall and the ceiling." Giving Liora a kiss on top of her head, Serenity slowly moved so that her back was against Jake's, and walked in step with him.

After a few more minutes of walking, Serenity turned her head slightly, but kept her eyes on the road behind the group. "There's definitely something watching us. But that's all it seems to be doing."

Jake then shook his head a little. "Then just let it watch us. We're no harm to this place. The riddle even said that the traits are meant to be passed on. They should have no reason to stop us."

"Unless they find us unworthy," Liora said nervously, shivering a little bit. "Er, wait. I...think I just felt a draft."

Jake looked around as the three stopped. "Where from?"

"I think it was from-" Just as Liora started, the ground under Serenity and from the path they'd came collapsed under her, as the older blond just caught onto the end of what was left of the path ahead of them. "Serenity!" Immediately, Liora dropped to her knees to grab onto her sister's hands, but she wasn't all that strong. "Jake, help!" Just as Jake went to drop down to help, a spear shot across the hall, missing his stomach by only a little.

"Damn, Liora, stay down!" With that, Jake quickly looked around for holes in the wall where spears might come from. However, at the same time, Serenity was slipping from Liora's grasp, even though she was trying to hold onto the ledge as well. Looking over her shoulder, she swallowed when she realized the pit of impossibly sharp spikes below her. Holding on with one hand, Serenity took out her dagger and stabbed it into a crevice in the ground in front of Liora and held onto it. When Jake went to drop down again, a spear flew over his head this time, but he managed to grab onto Serenity and pull her up with Liora's help. Breathing heavily, and shaking ever slightly, Serenity pulled her dagger out of the ground. "We have to run, before the rest of the floor collapses," she said, pulling the two up.

"Spears are coming out of the walls, but I can't see where from," Jake said.

"Just stay low!" Serenity said, pulling the two along. If spears were going to go off, they'd hit her first. And it did, slicing across her back, making her stumble forwards until Jake got her arm over his shoulders.

"Just hang on until we get to a doorway," he told her, internally grateful there was one in sight. When they got to the large doorway, they stopped, panting for breath. "Are you okay?" he asked, sounding concerned, at which time, Liora came up to Serenity, who was leaning on the wall, panting.

"Ser, y-you got hurt! How bad is it?" she asked, her face a mask of worry.

"It's nothing," she said. "I've had plenty worse." She paused, then pointed into the room they were about to enter. "Look. At the other end of that room."

"I don't see anything but the torches," Liora said with a frown.

"Exactly. There's only two of them, isn't there? Where else is it that you only see two torches?"

Liora stayed silent, but Jake spoke up. "A doorway," he said, giving Serenity a smile. "I had expected there to be more than just that," he said simply, to which Serenity replied with a light glare, making him chuckle. "Sorry." Moving forward, Serenity was the one to stop them this time, before they entered the room from the short hallway. "Don't you think this is too convenient? The hall just happened to lead us to this very room, where the doorway to the Pharaoh is obviously in front of us?"

Liora looked at Serenity. "What if it isn't the door to the Pharaoh?"

"That's what I'm saying. What if there's just a pit on the other end? Or some hungry animals?"

Jake looked carefully at the wall between the torches. "It does seem unlikely that this be the door to the Pharaoh. But I suppose there's only one way to find out. The two of you wait here a moment."

Serenity immediately grabbed his arm. "I'll go."

Jake pulled his arm away. "You're already injured."

"And it'll be pointless for the two of us to both be injured."

"If you get injured again, it may well be the last time. And I won't allow it. If there is a trap ahead, it will be easier for me to dodge. We are finished discussing this," he said, his blue eyes a bit narrow as he turned and started into the room. When Serenity went after him, Liora grabbed her arm and held her back. "He'll be fine," she assured Serenity. To all of their great surprise, no traps went off as Jake approached the door. Looking back at them for a moment, Jake turned and looked around the wall for a switch. When he tried pulling down one of the torches, rather than the wall opening, the floor tiles dropped under him in a trap door. "Jake!" Serenity yelled, running over to the hole, Liora quick behind her.

"I'm fine," came Jake's voice from the hole. As Serenity looked over the hole, she saw a pretty long drop, but at the bottom there seemed to be some sort of dark cushion littered with feathers. "There's a tunnel down here. One at a time, drop down and I'll catch you both," he said, looking up at them.

"No way," Serenity called. "What if there's no way back? We'll find something to pull you up with."

"What if there's no other way forward?" Jake retorted. "Come on, we'll find a way out later. If there was a way in, then there must have been a way for the builders to get out as well."

Serenity frowned, silent for a few moments before sighing. "Liora, you drop first." Liora, who was afraid of heights, backed up a bit. "A-are you crazy, I'll break my neck!" Serenity merely shook her head. "Jake will catch you. Don't you trust him?" Swallowing, Liora nodded, though tears of fear were starting from her eyes. "I-I do, bu-but what if he misses?" Serenity gave her a smile. "Then you'll land on that cushion down there, just like Jake did," she said, to which Liora shivered. Serenity edged Liora to the side of the hole. "On the count of three, okay my Little Lily?" When Liora nodded, Serenity started counting, and on three, gave Liora just a little push. There was a short scream as she fell, only to fall quiet when Jake caught her. "Alright Ser, now you," Jake called, to which Serenity nodded. "Give me a little time," she said, getting up. Walking over to the two torches, she carefully pulled the one that Jake had not. Blinking when the wall did indeed slide open, she peeked inside. "Serenity? What was that noise?" Liora called. "The wall ope-oh no. Uh, Jake?" "What?" "Get ready to run," she called down, jumping down, just as fire shot over the hole. "The hell was that?" Jake asked as he caught her. "Don't know, big, and scaly, should probably run now," she said, scrambling off the feathered cushion. What peaked it's head into the hole next was a large green dragon, blowing fire into the hole, just missing the three treasure hunters as they ran into the tunnel Jake had mentioned before.

"Why'd you have to pull the other one?" Jake called to Serenity over the sound of a roar. What was heard after that was something that made all of them look back in fear. The sound of a very large, very angry bird, followed by the pained roar of the dragon. Looking at each other once, the three took off running down the tunnel, only to come to a very large room, filled with treasure and in the middle, a coffin with the outline of a man protruding from the stone cover. "Th-this is it?" Serenity asked, wide-eyed. "This is...amazing," chimed in Liora.

"Girls, we still have something large and angry behind us," Jake said, looking behind them. As soon as he'd said so, there was the sound of claws scraping in the tunnel as something walked in their direction. "Get to the coffin, whatever it is probably won't attack if the Pharaoh is in it's way," Jake instructed, as the three of them ran behind the coffin. Upon closer inspection, it was shown that the coffin had three orbs placed upon it; one of blue, one of yellow, and one of a deep magenta. Liora gave a start upon looking at them. "Are these...?"

A moment later, a large black bird, easily twice the size of any of them, walked from the large tunnel, it's eyes red and beady. To say the creature looked majestic would be an understatement. "Why have you come?"

For once, Jake didn't seem to be the one to be courageous enough to respond, his eyes wide with both fear and awe upon looking at the creature. "We're treasure hunters..." Serenity spoke, in an almost cautious tone.

"B-but we haven't come to take any of the Pharaoh's gold o-or jewels or anything like that," Liora chimed in quickly, in a slightly higher pitched voice than was normal for her.

"Then what have you come to claim, if not treasure?" the large bird spoke, it's eyes seemingly analyzing the three of them.

When Jake finally spoke, the bird's eyes shot to him as if only noticing him. "We've come to seek the traits that are to be passed on from the Pharaoh."

"You'd rather that, than all this material treasure?" The bird asked. Jake nodded. "You think yourselves worthy of the wealth to be claimed from the Pharaoh's body itself?"

" not for us to decide," Jake said with a swallow. If a bird could be said to look pleased, this one was.

"Do you know, just what it is that you seek?" When Jake was silent, the bird nodded in what seemed like understanding. "Each trait you seek comes with it's own potential. You cannot choose your trait, nor will you know the potential you have received until you learn it on your own," it spoke. "Not all potential is that of good. Would you still wish to claim them, if it would cause you misery? If it would cause you the knowledge of true pain?"

There was silence for a few moments until Liora spoke. "Would...we be able help o-others with, p-potential?"

The bird looked at her. "Only if you so choose."

Serenity finally nodded, as if having come to a decision. "Well then, why not."

"Before you choose, there be one more point of knowledge that you must receive. For each of you that dies, your potential shall be passed onto the remaining hosts. In the end, only one will truly be the closest to the Pharaoh. Only one will know his true power, and his true suffering. Yet should you have offspring, none of that potential will be passed along to them. Do you still wish to claim such troubles?"

Serenity, Jake, and Liora all looked at each other silently, and as if coming to a unanimous decision, looked back to the bird with a nod.

"Yes," said Jake.

"Absolutely," came Serenity.

"Y-yes," Liora lastly said.

The bird looked upon them, and approached, to which all of them replied with several steps back. Looking at the yellow orb, the bird's eyes flashed brightly before it rose from being ingrained in the coffin's stone, and floated before them all. "You there. Boy with the silver hair. Upon entering this temple, you have shown remarkable wisdom. This gem be granted to you." Swallowing, Jake walked nervously forwards and took the yellow orb, which was roughly the size of a large marble. Next floated up the blue stone. "The one who is to claim the stone representing kindness...will be you, young one," the bird said, looking to Liora. Serenity walked up with Liora, protective of her younger sister. When Liora took it, she looked at it a moment before saying "I don't...feel any different." Last to float up was the magenta stone, of which Serenity looked at before taking. "This one is not of courage, but the lack of fear you've shown coming to this place." The bird looked at the three of them, it's eyes narrow. "Each orb will break as you die. But you will not die, should your orb break. Your potential, however, will be passed on to the others, as if you had." Jake looked at the Pharaoh's coffin, then to the bird curiously. "If the Pharaoh had died...why are these orbs still in tact?" He asked.

The bird looked at the silver haired individual. "He had made them in order for them to be passed on, nothing more, nothing less."

Serenity looked down at her orb, and then around the room, which seemingly had no exit except for where they had come. "....Hey Jake." Jake looked at her curiously. "How do we get out?"

Liora gave Serenity a light glare. "Ser, don't be so rude!" she said quietly, before looking back to the bird with a deep bow. "Thank you so much." She then straightened up. "I...hope you don't mind my asking, but...what are you, exactly?"

"I'd have thought treasure hunters to have done more research. I am a blackbird, the Pharaoh's oldest companion. I am here to guard him in death, and to protect from grave robbers." At that, Liora swallowed. "Do not fear. You are no threat to this place." Upon flapping it's wings once, dust kicked up all around the room, revealing on the floor behind the three, a hidden door. "Use that to leave. There are no traps, for it is the Pharaoh's escape. Now you all carry a part of him with you. No traps in this temple will be a trouble to you, should you decide to come once more." It's head tilted. "But next time, I may not be so lenient as to allow you a safe exit."

Looking to each other, the three looked around the room once more, Serenity apparently disappointed the only treasure they'd come out with were orbs. The three of them turned and gave the bird a bow either way, each thanking it in their own, unique (maybe even slightly brisk) way before making their way through the trap door, and back out into the jungle.

Looking at her orb, Serenity tossed it up and down a couple times, before putting it into her pocket. "So. What's next?"

Liora only shook her head. "We should take care of your back," she said, putting her hand lightly on the cut from the speak on her older sister's back, to which Serenity flinched a bit. When Liora's hand started glowing, she quickly pulled it back. "Li...what was that? The wound it got smaller," Serenity said, twisting a bit and looking at Liora. Lifting the back of Serenity's shirt just slightly, Liora gasped, sending both Jake and Serenity into a small panic.

"What, what is it??" Jake said quickly, going over to the two.

"I think...I can heal..." Liora said, half in shock.

Jake blinked. "Heal? Do you think that's from...?" The next moment there came a rustling sound from above them, and Jake pulled the two to the side before the giant ape jumped down from the trees. "....I....just....saw him jump...." Jake said slowly.

Serenity tilted her head. "What do you mean?"

"Before he jumped...I...saw it," Jake said.

The ape nodded. "Looked like it. It looks as if you three got what you came here for," it said. "You should probably go then. This place is not safe at night."

Serenity blinked. "Night? We arrived here in the morning though," she said, looking around only to find that the sun was indeed setting.

"So...I can heal...and Jake can...see the future? Then...what's yours, I wonder, Serenity?" Liora said curiously.

Serenity shook her head. "I don't know. I'm sure we'll find out soon enough though," she said, sounding excited.
The Merciful Overlord

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