They journeyed deeper into the forest, Roxanne cursing herself at her stupidity. Choosing the first boot mender she saw. . . .there would have been plenty of time to find a decent one!
She was out of focus from that fight with the goblioids. What was with Remeck anyway? Couldn't he have used his own weapons? Seven goblinoids was serious enough. Most were stupid, but the smart ones (rare as they were) were even stronger then normal ones. There had to be around three smart ones, which was why they she and Remeck had nearly been killed.
His taking the fight seriously would have been nice. Perhaps he was still green? No, not likely. While he had probably seen little action in the field so far, Remeck was obviously military born and bred.
Having to use her flute, however, was a low blow. Roxanne barely remembered the last time she had used it before the other day. It was two, three, maybe four years ago? Once again, Roxy silently cursed herself as they moved forward, then let out loud as the bandages on her foot caught on a tree root and sent her sprawling into Remeck's back.
"Ow! What the-" Remeck turned around and steadied her. "What was that?"
Still swearing under her breath, Roxy knelt to rearrange and tighten the bandages. "Nothing. Just a damn tree root." she muttered.
"Sorry." she added as she stood.
"Don't worry about it." Remeck replied. "You alright?"
"Of course I'm alright. I just tripped." she snapped. "Can we get moving?"
"Well, sure." Remeck turned around, then paused.
"Sometime this year would be nice." Roxy said.
"Yeah, I'm sure it would." Remeck walked slowly then faster. Roxanne followed.
What's wrong now? She wondered as they moved. Could he be upset about the incident at the marsh? It must have had the same effect on him as it did her, since he didn't seem too happy about it. Unless he had some sort of hero complex?
After about ten to fifteen more minutes of walking (maybe more, but Roxanne was definitely not a timekeeper), Remeck stopped cold, causing her to bump into him.
"What? Why'd you stop?"
"We're here." was Remeck's explanation.
The edges of the entrance were covered in tree branches and vines, but there was a large, gaping hole in the middle where the two soldiers had come through.
Suddenly, Roxy noticed that it was deathly quiet.
There was no sound except the that of hers and Remeck's breathing. There were signs of the soldiers having stopped for a while but other then that there was nothing. No animal trails or feces, no night birds singing. . . Even the trees seemed too quiet.
She felt the blood drain from her face as she realized that this could be a smaller temple, similar or even connected to the Heart of Baron. Did all of these places have such a sense of death?
Remeck seemed frozen, too. If they didn't go in, they would never find those soldiers or what was inside the temple. Forcing herself to calm down, Roxy pushed Remeck forward, praying that he wouldn't freeze up. "Go! We can't go back there with nothing to show for it!"
Without replying, Remeck slipped inside the temple. Roxy followed. They went through a small tunnel, inside which they had to duck their heads, until they came to an open space.
"Do you have a light?" she asked.
"Yeah, I do." Remeck yanked off his backpack and rummaged around for a minute before pulling out a portable flashlight.
He shined it around. They were in some sort of cave, and there were three more tunnels.
"Which one do you think-"
"Right." Remeck said. "Care to lead the way?"
"You have the light." Roxy said, having no intention of taking it from him.
"Okay. . . ." Remeck slowly stepped forward and began to walk down the next tunnel, Roxy following close behind. They did the same thing for about two more turns before Roxanne felt the sense of death which had attacked them outside the temple grow sharper.
"Stop." she ordered. To her surprise, Remeck obeyed, and began to shine the light around.
They were inside what looked and felt like some sort of antechamber, carved from rock and simple. Domelike, almost, with walls which were about nine feet high. A tall set of double doors was across the room, one of which was half open.
Roxy and Remeck looked at eachother, both surprisingly hesitant.
In unison, they stepped forward and walked towards the door. The flashlight Remeck held flickered, blinked, then went out as Roxy reached out to pull the door all the way open.
Remeck cursed quietly as he tried to get it to work. "The battery must be dead." he muttered, stuffing the useless thing back into his bag.
"We'll figure something out." Roxy assured him as she forced the door open. "Just wait."
They walked into the next room, the sense of death growing higher as they went. As the pair took small steps forward, Roxy cursed herself once again, this time for feeling like such a coward. What was wrong with her?
Then, she stopped. The dreaded death sense was growing, and she couldn't stand it. Reaching into a pants' pocket. Roxy yanked the flute out of it and began to play.
"What are you doing?" Remeck asked, turning in the direction of the music.
But as he did, he saw the most curious thing. Roxane noticed it, too, and her eyes widened.
The walls of the temple were glowing a bright, clear, beautiful green. Roxy stopped playing, turning around the room to see what had just happened.
Then the color began to leave the walls.
"Keep playing!" Remeck exclaimed. "I think that. . . .I think this place likes it."
"I noticed." Roxanne glared at him and began to play. As she did, the walls became brighter. And she grew calmer, which was the only upside to carrying around that stupid flute.
As the walls grew brighter and brighter, the center of the room began to light up as well. It was a giant crystal. An emerald, no less. Roxanne kept playing, taking a breath every sixty seconds so that she could keep going.
Remeck gasped as the room was fully lit up. "I. . .I found them." he managed, pointing to the giant emerald.
One was lying on the floor, looking battered, with a sword handle clutched in his left hand, surrounded by tiny metal shards. The other was somehow trapped inside the emerald, a surprisingly peaceful look on his face.
Roxanne dropped the flute.
Quickly picking it up, she grabbed Remeck by the arm and dragged him out of there.
"Roxanne, wait! We can't just leave!"
"Too late. We're going."
"We can't just-"
"Oh, yes we can! We just got lucky."