Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Laufey's Treasure - Chapter 22

The hall was lit, the prize in sight, but Laufey had not the courage to enter. His hands were clammy and sweaty, nervous and on edge. Geira kneeled down in front of him, and turned her head back to look up at him.

"It's lit," she said in a matter of fact voice. "They know we are here."

"If there is something there," clarified Anke, "I'm not going in..."

Laufey lowered his head and tried to think. Leaning over Geira, Laufey peeked his head around the corner and saw nothing but an empty bay. He heaved a sigh of relief and scooted past her, around the corner, and into a very empty chamber. Each of them followed him likewise.

The room could have been a manufacturing hall or a hangar. Laufey could not tell the difference either way. There was no dust or soot anywhere. The room was empty, save for a pile of large metallic containers piled in the center of the room, where a human-like figure stood in stasis. Laufey was educated on robots, and other artificial creatures, having remembered that they were prominent in the Old Age. The one before him looked deactivated, otherwise immobile, with two large bracers around the robot's feet.

"Is that what we want, what's inside those containers?" Geira asked.

Laufey wasn't sure, were he honest himself. He watched the Triplets approach the stack of cases, and saw them begin to taken them apart. Kaun pulled off the topmost case with the help of Keli and Kaupi and set it down gently onto the metal floor.

"I'm helping myself," he said wearing a wily grin. "You all can stand there if you like."

"I'm going to fly," Keli said agreeably, looking at Kaupi from across the case.

"Not before I do," Kaupi said defiantly.

"None of you are going to do anything," Ragna interjected harshly. "Don't be foolish."

The triplets froze, looking up at Ragna's scolding gaze and shrunk away as Geira stepped between them, waving a construct window over the case. She frowned and opened the case, finding it nearly empty. Only three vials were left.

"I don't even know what these are," Geira said frowning. "How do we know which one the abomination needed?"

Laufey shook his head. He didn't know, not in the slightest. Before he could say another word, he watched Anke open up a second case from the pile. Inside it was gold, a good amount he gathered. Each of them looked on the pile with wide eyes. All of them smiled, except Anke, who scratched his head with confusion.

"Does it seem strange to you," he said, glancing back at them, "that there's a pile of gold and the exact item we need, right here in this very room completely unguarded?"

"Who leaves a room completely empty with only a pile of cases?" Geira added, speaking to herself.

Laufey scanned the room slowly. Something was amiss. What, exactly, he couldn't determine. Snapping his fingers, he generated a small construct panel and moved it over his eyes and looked out into the room. He toggled the virtual switches through each viewing mode: infrared, xray, heat vision, electromagnetic. They all yielded nothing. Then beside him, through the corner of his eye, he saw the robot twitch.

Twisting his body around, he pulled them behind him, and narrowed his eyes. In his hands Construct weapons were generated, and Laufey bore down on the machine that slowly began to tremble and stir. Bearing his teeth, Laufey raised the construct sword in his hand to the neck of the robot, which curiously looked back at him. Anke shivered behind him in fear tugging on his shirt. Laufey was responsible for them. He could feel it.

"What do you want," Laufey demanded.

The robot twisted it's neck nearly a hundred and eighty degrees, then twisted back around to the front. Creases around it's mouth curled jauntily into a crude grin. Raising it's hand forward it projected the image of a dove in it's hand as an offering of peace.

"Nothing," it said in a gritty, rotary voice. "But I should ask you the same."

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