Wednesday, December 28, 2011

GEN IV: Chapter 25

For Jennifer and Logan, the flight to China was short and fun. The two kept each other company very well, and Logan, being so excited to go, talked most of the way.

The plan landed early morning in Shang Simla and the two travelers found the best place to stay. Even after such a long flight, neither of them were tired so they went out to the market together. The plan was to check out some of the shops and maybe purchase something to take home.

That was not what happened.

Walking past the biggest building in town caught Logan's attention.

"Oh look! Let's go check that out!" he said as he started to jog toward it.

Jennifer stopped him, "Oh right now? I thought we were going to go shopping. That's over that way." She pointed toward the shopping district of town. "Remember?"
Logan looked disheartened slightly, "Oh, C'mon. Shopping is boring! We have a few days. No need to do it right now is there? Let's go look at the art."

Jennifer paused, then sighed in defeat. "Fine." She said, then she laughed. "You win, we'll shop later."

Logan pumped his fist downward, "Alright!"

When they stepped in, they were awed by the vastness of the building, and the statues. They were just about to start making the rounds and look at everything when Logan noticed something on the floor.

"Check this out Jenn, what is it?"

Before his question was answered and before Jennifer could turn around to see what he was talking about, Logan stepped on the panel in question.

Directly behind where Jennifer stood, the floor dropped down and revealed a staircase.

Jennifer's heart skipped a beat and she stared at her brother. "I'm so glad I wasn't standing there! You should be more care..ful...." Her sentence was cut off by her own curiosity as her eyes drifted toward the steps.

"I wonder where that goes." She paused to think. "Well we aren't going to find out, let's go. Shopping now."

"Oh you've GOT to be kidding right? We have to go down there, have to! You can't just leave me hanging like that. Let's go."

Again, before Jennifer could respond, Logan was starting down the stairs. Jennifer sighed, glanced around to make sure no one was in there to see them, and followed her brother.

Logan found a stone key on the floor when he entered, and of course, he picked it up. Right away he found the place for it.

Just as Jennifer was reading the warning sign posted on the wall Logan put the stone block in a panel on the wall.

"Uh. Logan this thing says we need food and a tent. Maybe we should.."

"We aren't waiting." Logan interrupted. "Where's your sense of adventure Sis? We'll be fine." He said to her as he walked through the door that had unlocked before them.

In the next room there was a statue and another floor panel. Jennifer hadn't noticed that the panel was there and was just walking toward the next door when she stepped on it, when she did, the door in front of them unlocked. She looked at her feet as Logan blew past her.
"Thanks Jenn." He laughed and walked through the door. Then he noticed it slammed behind him before she had come through.

"Whoops." He said.

Jennifer had stepped toward the door to follow Logan, but when she removed her feet from that part of the floor, the door had closed. She stared at it for a moment before taking in the rest of the room.

She looked at the statue, figuring in her head that the door had closed because there was no more weight on the switch.

She shrugged and started to pull the statue on it. "Let's hope."

It worked, the door opened, she quickly passed through the door hoping it wasn't going to close on her. When she got in the next room Logan was walking toward her.

"I'm sorry! I don't know what happened."

"Okay, well. Let's just be more careful okay? Stay together."

"Well I haven't figured out how to get out of here yet. There are two thingy's on the floor. Ones a gear looking thing, the other is feet - like the first ones."

Jennifer smiled, then walked to the statue in the middle of the floor and pulled it onto the panel with the gear shape on it, the two of them heard a click and knew it had worked. Jennifer looked at Logan. "I learned something in there."

Logan cheered for his sister. "Way to go Jenn. Show off those muscles! See now you're getting into it." He walked to the other panel and stood on it but nothing happened.

"Hmm.. I know this is what you're supposed to do. I wonder why it's not happening." Logan stomped his feet, but still nothing clicked. He got so frustrated with himself, thinking that he was wrong, that he started to jump on the switch landing as hard as he could. After a few angry grunts and stomps something finally clicked. The chain on the door in front of them dropped to the floor, unlocking the obstacle.
Logan panted, "Shit, that took a lot of work!"

Jennifer laughed and started toward the door, Logan following close behind, still breathing heavy.

They came to a room littered with those statues. Of course, because of Jennifer, Logan knew what to do with them. He pushed them out of their way and just so happened, right onto a trap that he was unaware of. Thankfully the weight of the statue broke that floor trap so they didn't have to worry about it anymore.

"Cool." Said Logan. "That gets rid of that worry."

Jennifer let out a breath that she didn't know she had been holding.

Logan looked at her and smiled, "Fun isn't it? Aren't you glad we came?"

Jennifer rolled her eyes and pushed him forward, past the statues."Just go."

"Now, where's the switch to get this door open?" Logan asked, looking around.

He saw the corner of a floor panel underneath a pile of rubble. Logan sighed. Well I guess we'll have to get this cleared out. He then heard his sister laugh behind him.

"We? Oh no, not we. You're the one who's going to be doing that" She smile at him. "I'm a lady after all, you're the man here." Logan and her laughed together and he picked up a pick axe that was lying nearby.

"At least they make it easy by leaving tools lying around." Logan said. It didn't take much for Logan to have the pile cleared away, exposing the panel beneath. Logan stepped on it, luckily this one didn't give him any trouble, but it didn't do what he thought it would either. It actually opened up a secret door behind him, which Jennifer saw, and also made a hole appear in the wall nearby, which Logan noted.

"Hmm. Okay then." He said, "I'll go see what that hole's about."

Jennifer was about to go through the door when she remembered that herself and Logan needed to stay together. So she watched him bravely stick his arm in that dark, old hole. She even cringed a little when he did so.

As she watched him she thought about how she would never have done that if she could have avoided it. No one knows what the hell could be in there. She thought.

Just as that ran through her head she saw her brother pull his arm out. He was covered in bugs. Beetles, spiders, and caterpillar looking things were all over him. She squealed, but he remained calm.

Logan had felt the creatures crawling on him the moment he stuck his hand in the hole. He figured something like that would happen, but it wasn't going to stop him. He continued to try and feel around, but after a while there seemed to be too many bugs on him, they were preventing him from feeling other things.
So he pulled his arm out and just brushed the creatures off to the floor. Now there would be less in the hole. He stuck his arm back in and almost immediately found a switch, which he pulled. He heard a click nearby and a chain fall to the floor. The door they had originally wanted to open was now unlocked, but the two new explorers would try the secret door first.

Jennifer stared at Logan. "That was disgusting. Truly disgusting." She said to him.

Logan chuckled a little, "They are just bugs, nothing special and I'm sure nothing poisonous."

"Well I hope not for your sake." Jennifer shuddered as she walked through the secret door that had opened earlier.

The two of them wound their way through a maze of statues, and found many treasure chests. They both opened some and delighted at what they found. One of the chests had some dried food in it, at first that was unappealing to both of them, but after a moments consideration they realized how hungry they were and chose to try it.

"Yech.. this is so not good." Logan said.

Jennifer laughed at him and agreed that it wasn't the best, but could do in a pinch. She could tell that it was very low quality as well, so it would not last long and she hoped they'd find the exit soon, though she had started to enjoy herself.
They left the secret room and went through the door Logan had fought off bugs to unlock. When they entered the found a small room with nothing but a door and what looked like a well.

"Let's go look at that thing on the wall, that's probably how we open the door." Jennifer said.

While she was talking, Logan, who was not paying attention, looked at that well with a gleam in his eye. "Cool." He whispered. Without taking into account that he should tell his sister what he was doing, Logan leaped on the stone edge and jumped in, diving all the way to the bottom.

Jennifer turned at the sound of splashing water, then she turned further to ask Logan if he had seen something, but found him gone. She glanced around the small room looking for him, and even stepped through the previous door to call for him. When there was no answer, she unhappily deduced that he had jumped in the water.

She stared to pace as she waited for him to come up. Minutes had passed and she started to worry.

Logan had found a jewel at the bottom of the well, and intrigue took him. He continued running his hands on the bottom and sides of the well. Almost a minute had passed holding his breath when he found a huge hole in the side. Figuring that for a tunnel he swam through it, coming up when the tunnel turned upward just a short distance later.

He hoisted over the edge and found himself in a very similar room as the one he left, with only two differences. No door, and a treasure chest.

"This place is awesome!" Logan said aloud, to no one.

He examined the chest and found a stone key, like the one at the entrance, only shaped as a star. He figured it was to unlock the door in the other room and picked it up. Doing a quick look at the wall Logan figured for sure there was no other way out than swimming again. So he dived in and felt his way out, hoping that there was only one tunnel.

When he surfaced and jumped over the edge, as soon as he planted his feet firmly on the floor he was confronted with a very distraught sister.
"What the hell is your problem Logan? You don't just dive off into some strange water without telling me! Where's you're head? Anything could have happened to you down there! Anything! Damnit I thought I told you to stay together." Jennifer took a deep breath, she was just about to start into him again when he interrupted her.

"Okay okay! I'm sorry, you're right. I was just way too excited to wait. This is so awesome, I'm having a blast. Forgive me, I didn't mean to upset you."

Jennifer noticed the not so subtle gleam of joy in Logan's eyes and her irritation for him started to slip. "Still. Be a little more careful." She said softly. "Well, did you find anything? How did you hold your breath for SO long? Are you okay?"

Logan chuckled. "Yes, I'm fine. Actually I wasn't holding my breath the whole time, there was a tunnel down there that led to another room. I found a star stone in there. I'm guessing the one to this door." He jabbed his finger in the direction of the locked doorway, then smiled at Jennifer. "Jenn, I am sorry, I didn't mean to scare you."

Jennifer sighed, and with her exhalation the rest of her annoyance seemed to leave her body. "It's okay, I'm just glad you're not hurt, or worse. C'mon, lets open that door."

Logan did as his sister suggested. Dripping wet, he lifted the stone into the slot and the door unlocked. They both happily stepped through into the next room, which contained a few treasure chests and a foot panel. Jennifer opened one chest, as Logan did another. They found some coins and gems, also a small statue. Logan went to open the third box while Jennifer stepped on the panel.

A hidden door opened when Jennifer stepped on the correct tile, and she could see through enough to recognize the first room they had come into. They were out, this was the exit. She sighed with relief, ready to leave this place. Then she realized that she was actually having fun too. It was nice to spend time with just her and her brother, exploring and getting into things.

"Okay all done, got some cool stuff ya know." Logan said, breaking Jennifer's train of thought.
"Cool. Well here's the exit, we are back at the beginning." She took note of Logan's look of disappointment. "Don't worry, I'm sure there are more things to do here in Shang Simla."

Logan smiled at her and they both turned to leave.
Logan and Jennifer climbed the stairs back to the main room. When they reached the top they saw a man sitting in a chair, just to the left of them. They both paused when they saw him, thinking they would be in trouble.

An uncomfortable silence was held between the three of them for a few seconds before the man spoke.

"Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still."

"Oooookay." Logan said, and turned to leave. Jennifer smiled at the strange guy and followed Logan.
When they got out into the sunlight, Logan and Jennifer noticed that it was nearly the end of the day.

"Okay let's get some food and head back to our hotel thingy." Logan said.

"Sure, I am hungry."

They walked toward the market together. Jennifer started to fall behind slightly as she was enjoying the scenery while walking.

"Oh Logan look! Another foot thing, I wonder what it does."

Before Logan could do anything, Jennifer was on top of the panel, opening some stairs right next to them.

"I thought you were hungry?" Logan said, smiling.

Jennifer shrugged, then started toward the stair. The truth was, she was looking for the same thing Logan felt, that excitement that he had.
Down those steps, the two of them were greeted with a great hall lined with soldiers. Jennifer loved them, she stared at them all in turn, studying them.

Logan didn't really see the statues, or the art side of this exploration, he was more interested in the fact that one section of the wall was colored differently than the rest. Also there was a section of the floor that was different as well, right next to the discolored wall. He examined everything closely, looking for an explanation for that.

Jennifer continued down the hall to the next segment, which contained more statues. She loved looking at them, learning different cultural designs and decorations. There didn't seem to be much else down here but the art, but she was enjoying herself none the less.

Logan happened to hid just the right part of that wall he had been examining. Something happened that made him step back. That section started to shake slightly, dust and dirt falling off of it here and there. Eventually, it revealed a door. He pushed it open and found a tiny room, with just a few gems on the floor and some coins. Of course he picked it all up to keep. No one is going to need this stuff right? He thought to himself.

Jennifer was starting to make her way back to the front, gazing at the sculptures along the way. Her hunger was fast returning and she was finally ready to sleep as well.

Logan stepped out of the secret room and called for Jennifer. His hunger was taking over every other emotion he had, it felt as if his stomach was eating his backbone.

"C'mon amateur explorer! I'm starving, let's get some food." Logan called.

"Coming!" Jennifer shouted back.
When they came out, the sun was almost down and it was getting a little chilly. They quickly made their way to the market.

Jennifer found the nicest looking place to eat and ordered her and Logan some eggrolls, which were ready in a flash. The two of them sat down to eat their dinner, mostly in silence because they were too hungry to talk. Toward the end of the meal, the conversation picked up just a bit.
"Well, that sure was a lot of fun. I'm glad we did this." Said Jennifer.

"Me too. Oh that was great. All that cool stuff we found, I wonder how much it's worth!"

Jennifer chuckled. "You know, I have to say, you really freaked me out about those bugs. How did you stay so calm? I would have screamed my head off. Well actually I would never have stuck my hand in there, so wouldn't have been in that situation."

"Eh, they are just bugs you know. They aren't going to hurt, unless you try and hurt them. Besides we are so much bigger than them, how could you be so afraid?" Logan smiled at Jennifer. "Man up." He said, then he laughed.

"Whatever." Said Jennifer. "Lets get to bed, I'm exhausted. We'll see what the day brings tomorrow. Late, because I'm so tired, I think I could sleep for 12 hours!"
At base came, they found a room that housed two twin beds to suit their needs and climbed into bed.

That night was filled with dreams for both of them.

Logan dreamed of finding many secret doors and passages filled with treasure. He also dreamt of finding some rare gems worth millions back home.

Jennifer dreamt of the statues she found, and bugs. The bugs drove her nuts, and were stuck in her mind, she woke with a start as her dream took her in places she didn't want to be. Shaking her head to rid of of the horrible beasts she lay back down to fall into a better dream.

To be continued...