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.
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?"
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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."
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.