Treasure Hunter For Hire: Chapter VIII
Dinner was finished. Everyone was retiring to bed, tired from all the singing, dancing and general merriment. Desmond himself was about to take, the leader of the villagers, Aurel’s leave when he noticed that the leader seemed troubled about something. He was fretting nervously, shifting in his chair, rubbing his hands together and beads of sweat were trickling down the side of his face. Desmond asked him, “What happened, sir? Is there something troubling you?”
“I’ve been wanting to talk to you about something young man but didn’t know how to breach the topic. Could you come aside for a moment?”
Desmond and his best friend, Collin exchanged curious glances. Collin, understanding that Desmond wanted permission to withdraw, nodded his head slightly. Desmond turned around and went after Aurel to the back of the hut, that had been made into the dining hall for the night.
“Young man, you have shown an immense amount of bravery in defeating that monster. We cannot thank you enough for your efforts. It has been a menace to us for so many years now that I have lost count. But, you must have some questions yourself, I presume?”. Desmond nodded in agreement, eager to know why Aurel had called him to talk so privately. Aurel turned away from Desmond, put his hands behind his back and started speaking.
“It has been more than 20 years ago when the attack happened on Poshya. I don’t remember the exact number, my memory fails me, the disadvantage of age you see. But the events of that day will be with me as clear as crystal, till the day I die. The attack happened very suddenly. No one had any idea that such monsters even existed, if we knew, we would’ve made precautions against it. Everything in sight was burning, the huts, the shops, the people. Those monsters at that time had the ability to breathe fire, the monster you fought didn’t have it, because he was the only mutant among his tribe. Well, as you know, we escaped. How? Even I don’t know. It was a mixture of adrenaline and survival instincts that kicked in. My whole family died, my wife, my two kids. Everything I loved, destroyed right in front of my eyes. I turned my heart into steel and ran. We ran until we found ourselves surrounded by tall trees. The shouts of the dying were far behind us, so we figured this might be a good place to rest for a while. You must be wondering why did we choose such an isolated place for living and did not go to the nearby city. If we had gone, nobody would have believed us. Our lives would have been miserable. We had small children with us, we couldn’t risk that. So I and two other men, after settling down here, went to Esterdell to request King Alder for provisions and medication for the wounded and diseased among us. We told him all that had happened, everything. He listened very carefully, nodding his head all the while and fortunately he believed us. He told us he had heard about the Poshya attack and right in front of us, he ordered to gather his most skilled warriors for battle. He gave us medications for the meantime and promised that he would take care of everything here onwards. After a couple of weeks after coming back here, we heard the news that King Alder had defeated all the monsters. What we didn’t know was that one of them had escaped the mighty king’s wrath.”
“By the time the king approached us with provisions and houses in the city, my people were so comfortable here that they unanimously, turned him down. All was happy afterwards. We tried to forget our grieves, and decided to move on with our lives as one big family. One of our man used to go out regularly for the groceries and other much-needed things, to the nearby city. One such day, he was gone out as usual but didn’t come back on time. His mother started to worry for him and so we sent two other men to search after him.”
Aurel turned towards Desmond sharply and said, “You know what we found? We found him dead. You want to know where? He had bled to death in the woods surrounding the lake the monsters used to live in.”
Desmond was speechless. He was listening to this tale with astonishment and wonderment. “It was only the start. After the 1st death, we found ourselves 5 more men short. All died due to various injuries that looked like bite marks. It was enough indication for us to figure out that the monsters were still alive in those cursed waters. From then on, we have been living a life of utmost terror.”
“So, why have you called me out here, so privately, to tell all this? You could have told this story in front of Collin too. He is my best friend and I place immense trust in him.”, inquired Desmond.
“You see, my boy, all these years I have spent my life figuring out why the monsters attacked Poshya specifically. It seems I forgot to add a vital information to my narration. That night, when I was running from the monsters, to safety, I found the head priest of Poshya lying in the ground among the bushes bleeding profusely. As I was passing by, he faintly called out to me, I reached towards him, sat beside his body and started to apply pressure on his wounds in the hope of recovery. He coughed and said in a feeble voice, “Don’t Aurel…*cough* *cough*…don’t…no use…I’m going to die anyways. *wheeze of breath* I have…something.”, he opened his bloody hands and I saw a small green stone lying there, shining brightly, innocently. “Take this…*cough* *wheeze* and keep it….safe.”, and so he died.”
“I did not think much of it at that time. I usually kept it hanging around my neck, tied with a string. I started seeing visions soon after, from the future, from the past, and beyond. I saw a blurred figure, white hair just like yours, holding a sword just like yours, fighting. I saw the past, why the monsters attacked. They wanted the stone, because this stone has magical powers. It was made for the one who would kill all the monsters and would be the last one standing. They wanted it, so that they can destroy it. King Alder didn’t kill all of them, one escaped. You are the true owner of it. Ever since that monster died, I’ve been hearing someone calling a name, in my dreams, it’s yours my boy. The stone is calling out to you. Take it.”
Saying this, he handed Desmond the green shiny stone. It was tiny but considerably heavy. It was square-shaped with some kind of symbol engraved on it that Desmond had never come across. A jute string was tied to it. Desmond, first eyed the stone, then the leader and then back the stone. What was he supposed to do now?
The next chapter will follow soon.
The writer of the story “An Adventurous Story: Treasure Hunter For Hire, Chapter VIII” is Gitanjali Mishra. Connect with her on Facebook.
- An Adventurous Story: Treasure Hunter For Hire, Chapter I
- An Adventurous Story: Treasure Hunter For Hire, Chapter II
- An Adventurous Story: Treasure Hunter For Hire, Chapter III
- An Adventurous Story: Treasure Hunter For Hire, Chapter IV
- An Adventurous Story: Treasure Hunter For Hire, Chapter V
- An Adventurous Story: Treasure Hunter For Hire, Chapter VI
- An Adventurous Story: Treasure Hunter For Hire, Chapter VII
Other Short Stories:
- A Heartbreaking Short Story: REVENGE
- An Unexpected Tale: Ghost of a Fly
- Childhood Lessons: School Is In Session
- A Strange Love Story: Love In Captivity
- A Woman With Split Personalities: Dissociated Journal, Chapter I
- A Woman With Split Personalities: Dissociated Journal, Chapter II
- A Woman With Split Personalities: Dissociated Journal, Chapter III