Friday, April 6, 2012

Young and Simlish #13

And so it was that Stardust once again found herself delving into the depths below Shang Simla. This time into the heart of the Temple of Heaven, the highest point in Shang Simla. Also rumored to be the deepest tunnel system in Shang Simla, though no one's been able to confirm this. The quandry is that Pangu's Great Axe is enchanted to be able to demolish the greatest of boulders, but the paths that are believed to lead to it are blocked by unbreakable boulders! Her previous services have afforded Stardust the ability to spend a month at a time in Shang Simla, but she fears this will be a month spent wandering aimlessly underground. Even so, if she's to make any progress at all it would be best to start early.

She finds a staircase leading under the Temple easily enough, but is immediately confronted by a dead end. There is a slot for her keystone, but no locked doors in sight. She takes some time to meditate, spiritually steadying herself for what may lie ahead, before continuing on. Inserting the keystone into the slot rewards her with a hidden door appearing to her left. Surely anybody could have done that. Making her way through the darkened corridors she begins to understand the problem. There are several doorways blocked by boulders. As a test she taps one with her pickaxe, but the tip breaks off! Unbreakable indeed. So fascinated is she by these blocked doorways that she doesn't register the rising temperatures until the sweat is pouring off of her. Up ahead she notices yet another doorway blocked not by a boulder, but a mass of fire traps.

The plaque near the doorway reads:

Turn Back All Who Would Enter! Only a true decendant of the Sorcerer Pangu shall reach the end of this tomb. All others will be doomed to wander for eternity in it's depths.

Well, that's certainly an imposing warning, but surely no proper archeologist would be deterred by such superstitious nonsense, right? Stardust took a deep breath and turned to confront the first fire trap when suddenly the flames flickered and died before her. With no warning the path was clear. She wasn't sure if she felt better or worse about that little development, but soldiered onwards anyway. Two weeks and countless traps and dead ends later Stardust found herself face-to-face with an Axe. Was it Pangu's Axe? It is impressive, sure, but enchanted?

While Stardust stood pondering the Axe, it began to quiver in it's mount on the wall then vanished and appeared in her hands. She was so startled she nearly dropped it and was, to be quite honest, intimidated by the weight of it. After all she's been through it would be silly to not test this Axe on one of these unbreakable boulders. She braced herself for a massive impact and was too surprised to believe that this Axe cut through the boulder like it was butter! With the boulder gone she could see a long corridor stretched out ahead of her and an eerie light glowing beyond. Now there has to be something interesting back there.

The room may not look like much, but the chest held a treasure greater than any she had seen yet. Scrolls. So many scrolls! All documents of some kind or another and she had every intention of either reading them or having them deciphered. She passed every other boulder on her way out of the tomb. Let Mr. George T Crumpleman swing this thing around to his heart's content. Stardust has had about enough of tombs and relics and legends.

As soon as she was back out into the fresh air, Stardust called Ari to fill him in on what happened. He seemed skeptical that it was just "luck". The mummy's curse was real enough, she should not discount the magic surrounding Pangu's Great Axe either. "Take the rest of your time to go through those scrolls you found, perhaps those are what that archeologist fellow alluded to in his letter." She thanked him and promised to be home soon. In the meantime she rented out a nice vacation home near the market, purchased herself a decent laptop from what she was nearly certain was the black market, and settled in for some research.

A quick bit of searching and Stardust found herself a very handy Simji-to-Simlish translator online. Once she got into the swing of entering in the characters translating the scrolls was fairly easy. Mostly they depicted some "Great" wars, and how the Sorcerer Pangu finally defeated the evil Don Hao and imprisoned his spirit deep beneath the Dragon Cave. Although it didn't mention why that wasn't blocked by indestructable boulders. These historical scrolls deserved to be donated to the local museum. The last, however, was far more disturbing than any of the rest and was going home with her. There's no way it could be real, and she wanted Ari's take on it first. He's been reliable and invaluable so far, perhaps he can help her make sense of it.

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