I hurriedly began my search for everything I would need for the trip. One spare change of clothes was easy enough to come across. Rations were also easy to obtain, but I couldn't find my PDA. It was an important tool to me, maps had become increasingly impractical over the years. I began to search, pulling out drawers and opening cupboards. My search was abruptly interrupted by a sharp knock,
"Come in." I suspected it to be Winston with the coffee, but a much deeper voice spoke.
"Lady Croft, we have great news, as we were clearing the rubble, we found a book. It has been a little charred at the edges, but it may still be legible.”
I looked around to see a familiar thick brown journal. It brought back memories of adventures in Egypt, and in more recent years, Paris. It was the journal of my one time mentor, Werner von Croy. The man nodded politely, and left the journal on a nearby table, before he departed to his work. I could still not believe my eyes. It was a sheer miracle that the book had survived the fire, I placed it slowly into my bag, because I knew for this particular expedition I was going to need all the guidance I could get.
I was finally ready. Now would have been the time that I would give Zip a headset and he would be able to see my every move, but he wasn't here. He had seemingly managed to cope with the aftermath of the fire and Alistair’s death, but a few days after the doppelganger’s appearance, he left suddenly, leaving only a brief note, explaining that he could no longer work in such a dangerous place with such a ‘deranged woman.’ The words stung at the time, but no more.
I doubted that I would see him again.
Winston led me out to the helicopter, and I clambered in. He looked like he wanted to say something.
"Winston? Are you alright?"
"Yes Lady Croft, I am well, but I'm just worried about you. There has been too much death of late. Please be careful."
"Thank you for your concerns Winston. Treat this trip like any other, I promise you, I'll be fine, I always am."
I waved goodbye as the blades began to turn. Winston smiled, nodded, then returned slowly to the manor. I was airborne, and alone, giving me time to plan ahead. This time I felt no reason to be afraid. I had no arch nemesis fighting for an artifact, nor did I have to stop an evil force destroying the world as we know it. It was just a rescue operation. I had no need for fear. I could take on fifty yetis all before breakfast if I really wanted to.
I smiled to myself. I loved the exhilarating feeling I always got from flying. It reminded me of what was to come.
And hopefully, I would find the treasure that isn't a gemstone or key, or even a piece of a greater puzzle, but simply my friend. I knew that however perilous, I would enjoy it, and that just a few of my questions would find an answer.