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The Unsuspected Treasure


by hawkmissle

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It was a beautiful summer day.

     The sun shone down upon pearly shores of Mystery Island, its golden light reflecting off the turquoise waters surrounding the beach. The volcano seemed at peace; its lava bubbled as calmly as lava can bubble, as the light bounced off its shale cup. Myncies and Kougras kicked sand all about as they battled in a friendly game of beach volleyball. Nimmos smiled and flung themselves at each other, practicing moves learned in battle school. Tourists drank cool smoothies in the heat and watched the locals, occasionally joining in the day's festivities, ignoring the fact that they had no idea what they were doing. Laughter prevailed on the calm winds. Everything, and everyone was happy, and in harmony. Everyone, that is, except a certain Techo by the name of Phileus Gadror.

     Phileus was sailing alone in his little ship a short distance from the shore. A scowl was etched in his face as if in stone, and he certainly was not happy, nor was he in harmony with anything. You see, Phileus had spent most of the morning, and indeed most of his life, searching for treasure. This treasure, he believed, might finally make him happy, a feeling he had not felt for so long he scarcely remembered what it was, but Phileus would not have to wait much longer for this joy, as for the good of the reader I have skipped through many monotonous decades of Phileus' life to the very day in which he would find that which he so desired.

      Phileus gazed down into the sparkling waters about his ship. For many hours, all that he had seen was his scowling reflection staring back at him. Suddenly, quite literally out of the blue, a light beneath the waves caught his eye. Upon looking closer at the light, Phileus saw that it was a heavy chest stuck deep within the silt of the ocean floor.

      "My treasure!" Phileus exclaimed. "It's found, it's found!" Phileus then conducted a sad little jig in his joy, before he was hit, as if with lightning, with the realization that regardless of his dancing the treasure was down there, and he was up here, and the two were quite useless to each other. Phileus was crestfallen, and merely moped in his non-ingenuous dismay until he was greeted with a splash just off to the port side of his ship.

      "Why the long face?" asked a kind looking Flotsam.

      "What's it to you?" asked Phileus, who became scared the Flotsam would steal his treasure.

      "I hate to see someone looking so sad," said the Flotsam. "I'm Flip, by the way," he said, doing a flip in the crystalline waters to punctuate his statement.

      "Who gave you a name like that?" asked Phileus hurtfully. "And why are you hanging about my treasure?"

      "Your treasure, huh?" asked the cheerful Flip. "How exactly is it yours if it's way down there, and you're way up here?" Phileus poised himself to retort when Flip spoke again. "No matter. I can go down and get it for you."

      "No!" screamed Phileus, who was quite unnecessarily afraid that the treasure he called his own would be taken from him.

      "You sure? Okay, I'll be off then. Good luck with the treasure!" trilled Flip cheerfully, swimming off to who knows where. Phileus remained in his ship perched above the treasure until the sun's rosy tendrils began to descend beneath the horizon. After hours of time spent uselessly staring at the chest, Phileus began to regret sending the cheery Flotsam away. After all, Phileus thought, sharing the treasure was better than not having it all, and the Flotsam's enjoyable demeanor had put something into Phileus' heart. What could it be? Certainly not happiness, Phileus reminded himself. Only one thing could bring that to him. Then Phileus heard a sound that oddly enough gave him a certain degree of joy, a splash from a certain Flotsam whom the reader has already been acquainted with.

      "You're still here?" Flip laughed. "My offer still goes."

      "Well," said Phileus reluctantly, "I could use a little help."

      "Oh, but there's one stipulation. You'll have to say please," added Flip with a grin.

      "I most certainly will no-" Phileus caught himself, and gave the matter a little thought. "Could you please help me?" he groaned.

      "Oh, and you'll have to smile." Despite himself, Phileus' frown began to cave upwards. He liked this little Flotsam.

      "Please?" said Phileus with an exaggerated, but increasingly real smile.

      "Of course, all you had to do was ask," said Flip mischievously. With that, he dove beneath the surface that now glowed as obsidian from the soft glow of the moon. Phileus began to worry slightly as the minutes trickled by. Not because he feared for the treasure, oddly enough, but because he feared for Flip. Minute after minute ticked by, kept by the cadence of Phileus' rapidly beating heart. Tick, thump, tick, thump. The seconds rolled into minutes, and the minutes in turn into an hour. Not a sound escaped the often merciless sea, and Phileus felt himself grow more frightened.

     Finally it was time enough. Phileus was frightened for the young Flotsam's life, and so with an inhalation, both of air and bravery, Phileus jumped into the midnight depths. The cold was a shock, as was the inky darkness, but after hours of staring Phileus knew just where he was going and swam purposefully toward his goal.

     As it turned out, Phileus was right to be afraid. Flip had freed the chest, but was stuck by the tail to a piece of kelp. Phileus swam purposefully past his dream, and to the Flotsam. Gripping the kelp, he heaved, and with a start the vegetation snapped, and Flip shot forward. Phileus allowed himself to buoy to the surface. As his head broke the surface, he took a gulp of air and stared around him for Flip. Unable to see him, but weak with cold and effort, Phileus clambered back aboard his ship. He stared about for several seconds, searching, until Flip broke the surface, carrying the chest about his tail.

      "Got it!" he called. Together the two hoisted the chest aboard the ship. It was a small chest, made of wood and metal, with a large padlock around its latch. Phileus looked at it with excitement.

      "Open it," Flip called out. So Phileus took a hammer he kept below deck, and with a tinge of completeness, smashed open the lock. Suspense reigned. Flip tried to peer over the side of the boat to see that which had caused the day's events. Phileus slowly and carefully lifted the top of the chest, and peering inside, he found... nothing.

     The chest was empty, and yet something was not empty on that day. That little piece of Phileus' heart seemed full now. Not by the treasure, which was truly nothing but air, but from the quaint friendship that he had formed. It was Flip who filled his heart. It was Flip who, after so much trial, caused the stony face to break open in true jubilation, as Phileus smiled as full a smile as has ever been smiled, and laughed.

The End

 
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