Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Treasure Hunter

It fell from the air, swilring metal talons above its bulbous head. The spinning claws caught hold of some leafy palms, ripping their limbs away without mercy. It rumbled, a low whoop whoop sound vibrating off its body. Bizarre legs touched the ground, and then in a moment it was silent and still.

Brrda watched from the brush, Retsis dutifully at his side. The tiger growled softly at the odd creature as its belly swung open and a portly man emerged from within. This was the second of his kind that Brrda had seen in recent weeks, and like the one before, he was causing trouble in the Secret Land.

The mighty Temple of Mrrda had once been a beautiful palace of gold and stone, but it was now defiled and crumbling. The gold had been stripped away, and each week this man returned in his bizarre bird to gut the temple even more. Brrda typically cared little for the treasures of his ancestors. The animals had no use for such gems, and there were no other men with whom to trade. Were it not his sworn duty as the Savage Savior of the Secret Land he would have left the man without bother. But such was not an option.

He and Retsis sat for a bit, waiting for the man to delve deep into Mrrda's temple. Brrda had studied the man's routine, and knew that he would soon emerge pushing a cart full of treasures, and then disappear into the bird's stomach and they would fly away. Gone until the next week. So Brrda made a plan.

Once he was certain that the man could not hear them, Brrda motioned for Retsis to follow quietly. They stalked across the clearing, the short grass tickling between their toes, and cautiously approached the sleeping bird. Its stomach, or perhaps that was a mouth, had been left agape. This would not have been the first beast Brrda had slain from within, but he was surprised to find no heart or lungs inside. Instead he discovered the creature to be made of metal with padded seats and a number of boxes attached to its ribs. From within the bird looked not too different from Brrda's own home.

This is no creature, Brrda realized. This is some kind of flying den. The man must live here.

Quickly he changed his plans. But too late. The man's whistling echoed up from the depths of Mrrda's temple. Brrda and Retsis hid silently beneath a strange brown and black sheet as the man returned. Brrda knew he could easily defeat the man, but for some reason he hesitated. Before he could rekindle his courage the bird's mouth slammed shut, and Brrda found himself laying beside a pile of sparkling, glittering jewels. Retsis thumped her tail impatiently, nudging the savage's shoulder with her head.

The portly man waddled to the front of the room and sat himself in a chair. All at once the bird came to life, roaring and rumbling and stirring most violently. The commotion startled both Brrda and his loyal companion, and they burst from their hiding spot beneath the sheet. The man glanced over his shoulder and spotted his stow aways, giving a surprised yelp as he dove from his seat and reached for a bag on the floor.

The man yanked a gray and white tube from the bag. There was a whistle, something like one of the large flightless birds which stalked the jungle, and at once Retsis had fallen. Brrda leaped away, diving behind the treasure. He looked at his comrade, afraid for her life. Her eyes twitched with the effort to stay open, but the struggle was too much. Brrda's gaze traveled from his friend's face to the dart in her kneck. Rage boiled inside him.

The Savage Savior burst forth, tumbling over and around the pile of treasure. He felt the wind as a dart sailed past his ear. He felt the string as one scratched his face. In an instant he was on the man, grabbing him by the neck. There was a sort of ping sound, a pain in Brrda's gut. Weariness came over him. His eyes traveled down. A dart in his stomach. Then there was sleep.


Dave Tycoon, world class treasure hunter, returned to his seat and resumed control of the helicopter. He massaged his sore neck and examined it briefly in the mirror. There was a dark red patch where the wild man had grabbed him, and though it would bruise, it would go away with time. Cursing, he glanced at his new cargo.

Then an idea struck him. He reached behind his seat and rummaged through the bag, finally fumbling over his cell phone. He flipped it open, punched in the numbers. Smirked when the other line clicked on.

"Hey there, this is Tycoon," he introduced. "You tell Ringmaster I've found something which might... peak his interest."