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The Treasure Hunters

by Casey Gilman

The Final Chapters: Mechanical Magic

Healing Potions

"What could've happened in here?!" Locke demanded to know.

He and Celes were in the storage room of a potion shop. Though the potions weren't actually magical, they did had some incredible effects.

"The blood on this door, and the fact that the door is off it's hinges, could mean that there was some kind of fight," declared Celes.

"It couldn't have been much of a fight," replied Locke,"or else we would've heard something."

"Let's see if anyone outside saw anything," suggested Celes.

The pair walked out the back doorway, which led outside. There weren't a lot of people around. Locke noticed a middle-aged gentleman, standing there in the grass.

"Excuse me, sir," Locke said as he approached the man,"Did you see anyone come out through that door in the last five minutes, or so?"

"Actually," replied the man,"I did see three suspicious men leave that building. They were carrying some old man, I think he was the owner of the place. I thought it looked out of the ordinary, and one of the three men said they were going to get medical treatment for the old man."

"Which way did they go?" asked Locke.

"Toward the south entrance of the town," answered the man.

"Thank you," replied Celes.

"Hey!" said the man,"I know who you two are! You two helped save the world! You're Celes, the ex-general, and you're Locke, the thief!"

"I'M A TREASURE HUNTER!!" Locke became infuriated.

"Locke," said Celes, putting her hand on his shoulder,"Try to calm down. We need to think about the task at hand."

The man hurriedly walked off. Locke let him go. He had always hated being called a thief. Thieves were low-lifes, who stole from others. Locke only took things that didn't belong to anyone.

"Now let's go find that old man," suggested Celes.

"Okay," replied Locke, putting that last incident out of his mind,"I've got a feeling, that they weren't taking him for any kind of treatment. Besides, we're headed south anyway."

"Why?" asked Celes.

"We've got to go back to that cave, and try to find out were Makrahcken took off to!" answered Locke.

In all of the recent excitement, Celes had almost forgotten about the golden sword. But Locke was always thinking about priceless ancient relics. Celes knew that, deep down, the sword was not the only reason she was here with Locke. But she didn't have time to think about that now.

"Right," said Celes,"Let's go."

* * *

Quite some distance away, Makrahcken and his bird, Kouse, perched on his left shoulder, were making their way across a small path in the mountains. It was getting late now, and the sun was ready to set.

"Well, Kouse," started Makrahcken,"It's been about a day since our encounter with those two weaklings. I bet the man is only a rotting corpse. I bet the woman is so sad, that she wishes I had finished her off, too. I took one life, and ruined another. It sure has been a good trip!"

Makrahcken chuckled, and continued,"I also made off with quite a prize. Didn't I, Kouse?"

"Prize! Treasure!," squawked the dark, vulture-like bird.

"Yes, my pet," replied Makrahcken,"I sure like treasure. Especially one that is this priceless! I fear our lord might be angry, but I got bored. You know what I mean, Kouse?"

"Need treasure," Kouse squawked.

"Yes," said the tall, dark-clothed man, in his deep, charismatic voice,"When I heard some of those thieves talking about this great prize, I had to go check it out. And if our lord is displeased, then it's too bad for him!"

"Too bad for him!" cried his companion.

"Yes," said Makrahcken,"He'll just have to realize, that if I get bored, I leave."

The pair were almost at the very peak of the mountains in this range. It wasn't very high compared to other mountains in the world. Makrahcken saw something to his left that caught his eye.

"Interesting," remarked the dark man,"No matter, we shall proceed."

Makrahcken entered a small cavern entrance in the side of a mountain cliff, with Kouse still perched on his shoulder.

* * *

"Are you sure these are footprints? Let alone, the footprints of the men?" asked Locke.

"Positive," replied Celes,"I learned a lot when I worked for the empire."

Locke and Celes were following a path of small marks in the ground. Due to her military training, Celes instantly recognized them as human footprints. They didn't show up real well, because the ground was relatively dry. It was going to get drier, too, for the pair was following the trail into the desert. They had walked around it before, when they were coming from the cave, and Locke had hoped they wouldn't have to go into it. Locke was used to caverns that were cool, damp, and dark, not deserts that were hot and dry.

"I don't think anyone could find medical help here," said Celes, after they had made their way into the desert. Locke was relieved to see that the sun was setting, so it wouldn't be hot for long. He couldn't keep his mind off of the sword. Even in the dark cave it seemed to glow with a bright radiance, that Locke couldn't describe. He couldn't wait to get his hands on Makrahcken, either.

'Locke seems distracted,' thought Celes,'I bet he's thinking about that sword. I just can't understand him sometimes. A weak old man's life is in danger, a weak old man that saved Locke's life, and Locke is still thinking about his treasure. Is he that selfish?'

Just then, Celes saw three figures in the distance.

* * *

"Alright, old man, we've bandaged you up! Now, we want to know your secrets!" three thieves in brown leather clothing were hovering over the old man from the potion shop. The man had just come to, and found himself lying in the desert sand.

"What secrets?" asked the man, whose voice was weak.

"We want to know how to make your new potions!" replied a thief with brown hair.

"Are you going to sell the potions to people, like I do?" asked the frightened man.

"We sure are," said a thief with jet black hair,"At a very high price!"

"We'll be rich!" cried the third thief, who had blonde hair.

'I really don't have much choice,' thought the old man to himself,'And besides, they'll actually be helping people, by giving them my potions.'

"Alright," declared the old man, "You win. I have the formulas hidden in a pocket of my coat."

He pulled out a small scroll from inside a pocket off his leather coat. It was well hidden, for the thieves had already searched him, and they hadn't seen it. He handed it to the thief with black hair, who was on the right.

"They're all here," said the thief, "From tonic to elixir!"

"Excellent," replied the one in the middle, with the brown hair,"Of course, old man, you do understand that we want everyone to buy from us. We can't have any competition, if you know what I mean."

He pulled out a knife, which he carried in his belt.

"Goodbye, old man," said the thief, "You've been a big help."
Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy VI
Version 6
©1997–2019 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

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