Sutek's Ancient Tomb
"Nooo, Sarina!” Torin called desperately.
His friend teetered precariously on the brink of the pit. Her hands grabbed fistfuls of air. But it was futile really. She fell all the same.
Torin sighed a soft sigh. His shoulders drooped slightly. He walked slowly over to the edge of the pit.
“Why do I get such a strong sense of déjà vu about this?” He asked the ceiling.
Maybe, he thought, it had something to do with the fact that he had seen this before. In fact, it was the fifth time this month he had watched Sarina fall into a similar pit.
“Are you okay, Sarina?” he called down.
She was. The Aisha was sitting up already. She had survived many bigger falls than this one.
“Hold tight,” he called to her “while I figure out a way to get you out of there.”
Sarina had the good sense to refrain from pointing out that she could hardly go anywhere. She sat against the side of the shaft she had fallen down and investigated her bruises. I should really stop doing this, she mused.
At the top of Sarina's pit, Torin was scurrying about busily. He fished a rope out of his pack. Then he began to look about for something to tie it to.
There was nothing.
Nothing on the ceiling. Nothing on the floor. Nothing on the walls. Nothing.
The sandstone corridor at this point ran straight for a good twenty metres before turning a corner. And in that stretch, there was not a single statue or ornament to offer an anchorage point. He supposed that whoever had built this Gebmid had made it that way on purpose. When you set a trap, you don't want to make it too easy for your victim to escape. But he wished they hadn't.
For once, Torin was stumped. He had never failed to get Sarina out of a fix before. He turned around helplessly on the spot several times. There were no answers. But he couldn't just leave her there. With a sigh, he sat down and began to sort through the pack. There had to be something there that he could use. But as one useless item after another presented itself to him, Torin began to doubt.
For her part, Sarina was feeling much better. She was never out of action for long. That wasn't her way. She had too much to do! Her eyes had begun to adjust to the gloom of the pit. She inspected her surroundings carefully.
Higher up the shaft, the walls were carved to be perfectly smooth. She supposed that was to make climbing difficult. (The designer of this Gebmid really had put a lot of thought into his traps.) But here at the bottom of the pit, the walls were roughly hewn stone. The dim, flickering light of her torch cast deep shadows off every indentation in the wall. An instinct told her that there was more to this pit than just being a trap to fall into. She began to run her hands along the rough surface. She allowed her fingers to search for the things that her eyes could not see.
Torin knelt in the Gebmid corridor. In his hand was a telescope which he was looking thoughtfully at. He extended the telescope to its full length and surveyed it critically. It would do. He proceeded to tie the rope around it.
A screeching, grinding sound issued from deep within the Gebmid. Then, with an enormous metallic thud, it stopped.
“What was that?” breathed Torin. Underneath his orange fur he'd turned pale with fear.
From the bottom of the pit, he heard Sarina's voice call out a guilty, “Sorry.”
Torin became aware that he was frozen in shock. He slowly lowered his arms. His heart was still beating faster that he had thought was possible. Slowly, apprehensively, he turned... to see a massive, wrought-iron gate had slammed down just behind him. If he'd been a few paces further back...
“Sarina,” he called down the shaft, “you seem to have just blocked our route back to the entrance.” He made a valiant effort to keep the accusatory tone out of his voice.
“Sorry,” came the sheepish, muffled voice again. Then it was followed by an exclamation of excitement. Torin couldn't quite make out the words.
“What was that?” he asked, as he stretched the telescope across the mouth of the pit. Then he called, “Below!” as he tipped the coil of rope down into the hole as well.
“Torrin, I think you'd better come see this,” Sarina called back.
Torin rolled his eyes heavenwards. That was just like Sarina, fall into a trap, set off another trap, just about murder him, and then expect him to climb into the trap she'd just fallen into.
“Why do I put up with this?” he asked of no-one in particular as he started climbing down the rope he had just set up for Sarina. He hoped the telescope was strong enough to hold his weight.
Evidently it was. Torin reached the bottom safely. His eyes widened as he saw what Sarina had unearthed. The same switch that had activated that enormous wrought iron gate also seemed to have opened a rift in the wall of the pit. Torin and Sarina squeezed through and found that it opened into a wide passageway. Torin shook his head, stunned.
The designer of this Gebmid had been truly fiendish, he thought. No wonder generations of archaeologists had gotten lost in his mazes without ever getting close to the treasure chamber. It would take a very intelligent neopet to consider that the way to the treasure chamber might be through a trap! Or a very foolhardy one, he reflected, as he watched Sarina run ahead of him like an excited child. Exhausted, he hefted his pack onto his back and followed after her.
The traps and mazes seemed to cease along this corridor. It was as though the designer had already used his final and best ploy. Once you had found the passageway in the trap, you had as good as found the treasure. The corridor they were following ran more or less straight for the length of the entire Gebmid. Ahead of him, Sarina had reached the end of the passage.
When Torin finally drew level with her, she was kneeling, contemplating a strange lock on the door. It was a grid of strange and colourful symbols.
“Look Torin!” she said cheerfully, “This is such the coolest lock!”
She touched a symbol and swiped it to the left. “See, I can flip a pair of symbols!” she enthused, “but they always flip back again afterwards,” she muttered, frowning.
Torin reached past her and flipped a pair of symbols himself. He flipped a blue Anubis symbol so that it formed part of a row of three. To Sarina's great delight, the symbols stayed flipped, and the three Anubi disappeared. Only to be replaced by more symbols.
“You know, Torin, I bet if you get the right combination, this lock will open!” she gushed excitedly.
Torin stood and watched as Sarina tried one combination after another. She seemed to have a child-like patience for this!
By the next morning, Torin had had enough.
“Sarina, I'm going home,” he told her, “Did you want to come?”
“No... not just... not... at the moment...” she told him, as she tried yet another unsuccessful combination.
Torin rolled his eyes and trudged wearily away. And Sarina? For all I know, she's still in that Gebmid, playing with that lock. And the treasures of King Sutek remain as safe as ever.