by John Rivas
A treasure hunter goes on an exciting treasure huny.
|The weary traveler looked down into the distant center of the mountain, glowing and pulsating like a heart. The people back in the village had told him about a legendary treasure stored here, at the very bottom of the hungry volcano. Unfortunately, by bottom, they meant inside the bottom of the beast, but he has been searching for this treasure for half a decade, he wasn't going to give up now.
He began searching for a way down. He traveled halfway around the volcano before he spotted one, a small pathway, barely half a foot and easy to miss, slowly edging it's way down into the fiery belly of the beast. He carefully set himself on the ledge, as flashbacks of previous treasure hunts flew through his mind. He shook his head clear, he must concentrate, one wrong move and it's a long way down into burning nothingness.
He eased his way down, slowly putting one foot in front of the other. Every now and then he came across various sized gaps, he would carefully and thoughtfully traverse these gaps and carry on. Slowly, the burning circle below him grew closer and closer, hotter and hotter. He was so close now, he could see the lava, the living, breathing heart of the murderous mountain, bubbling with the different shades of red and black.
A little further on, he looked around and saw it, the entrance of the cave he seeked, containing the treasure he so desired, set on a small cliff a few feet above the liquid fire. He was nearly there! He started to move, when the ledge suddenly crumbled. Using the reactions he gleamed from previous hunts, grabbed the ledge, saving himself from a fiery death. He was close enough to be able to crawl along with his hands, making sure his feet didn't get too close to the burning lava.
He climbed up onto the ledge containing the cave, and rolled over. After a little rest, the treasure hunter got back up, eager to explore the cave. The further into the cave he explored, the cooler it got.
Finally, he spotted it, on a rocky pedestal: the crystal skull. He examined the pedestal and concluded that it was booby trapped. Then he examined the chamber it was in, knowing that the builders would devise a way out of the cave. That's when he felt it, a small draft of air. He followed it to a small crack, too straight to be natural.
Using the knowledge he learned over many years, the hunter moved his hands up and down the rock, eventually finding the switch to open the hidden door. But first he must grab the skull. He walked over, grabbed the skull, and gingerly put the skull in his travel bag. As he made to step away from the pedestal, he heard a soft ticking, then a roaring noise. He turned around, and to his dismay, saw the glow of lava filling the cave, hungry for the intruder.
He rushed over to the hidden door, and pressed the switch. Immediately, he heard the movement of ancient gears, and the door fell open with a loud thud. Behind it stood a long stone ladder. Crossing over the fallen door, the Explorer grabbed onto the ladder and climbed as quickly as he could.
After a few minutes, he could see the soft glow of lava, meaning that the scalding liquid had entered the exit. He hurried even more. The lava was raising, centimeter by centimeter, inch by inch, moving closer and closer to its prey. The adventurer couldn't tell how long he had been climbing, or how close to the exit he was, for all he knew was that the fiery beast was so close that he could feel it's sweltering heat.
Suddenly, he bumped into something blocking his way. He pushed with all his might and the stone block swung open. He climbed out as quickly as he could and swung the ancient stone trapdoor back over the hole, trapping the lava, which had been inches from his feet. The traveler collapsed, exhausted, sore, and blistered, but victorious. He finally had it. After five long, grueling years, he had the final crystal skull.