Ophelia glanced back at Filorya. The pacifican was watching her route with great interest, but seemed more curious than anything else.
Ophelia sighed and focused on her piloting. She trusted Yuri to react to any potential trouble.
“I don’t like it,” Leon said. “After all the problems we’ve had with them, we’re supposed to just trust her because she takes some stupid oath?”
“It is an important oath for her people,” Farah pointed out. “Besides, she hasn’t done anything besides follow us for a bit. We shouldn’t hold her responsible for the things other pacificans have done.”
“If Ophelia believes she’s being sincere, I’ll work with her,” Leon said. “But I’m not going to be friends with her or anything like that.”
“I don’t know if she’s staying around after this mission any way,” Farah said. “Just try to be nice.”
“Nice is you and Paul’s strong point, not mine,” Leon stated.
“You’re nicer than you like to let on,” Farah said. “I believe in you.”
“Oh, hush,” Leon said.
They watched as the shuttle returned. Ophelia disembarked first followed by Filorya. Yuri brought up the rear.
Filorya knelt immediately. “Honoured Ancestors, grant me your strength!” She crossed her arms over her chest and basked in the ruins.
“I hate to ruin your moment,” Ophelia said, “but we do have a job to do. If you please.”
“Of course, Mistress,” Filorya said. She rose. “Let us go to the first plaque.”
“Please, just call me Captain or Ophelia,” Ophelia said.
“As you wish, Mistress Captain,” Filorya said.
They moved to the first plaque. “This one says it is dedicated to those who overcame their physical limitations with great cunning,” Filorya said. “We will find such heroes as Gil’ori the cunning or Huth’pia the conniving resting here.”
“So, we can just go inside and start gathering?” Ophelia asked.
“No, there will be a trial to claim the treasures inside,” Filorya said. “This one will be a test of cunning.”
“How can you be so sure?” Leon asked.
Filorya turned to him. “One does not seek to claim the treasures of a great hero without proving their worth. It would not be proper.”
“Let’s leave it for now,” Ophelia said. “We’ll read all four before deciding where to go first.”
Filorya nodded. The group moved to the other structures. One was for warriors of great strength. The next for warriors of superb skill. The final was for heroes of superlative vitality.
“So, which one first?” Farah asked.
“We’ll try the strength one first,” Ophelia said. “I’m quite confident in this group’s physical abilities and I think it’s prudent to look at what kind of trials we can expect before moving on to the more complex trials.”
“Makes sense,” Farah agreed.
“Doesn’t really matter to me,” Leon said. “Let’s go.”
They went inside. The trial was simple. There were large weighted slabs covering shelving units. They had pulleys attached so that a single person could pull one up with one arm and grab whatever was inside with the other.
“Yuri, you can grab the things from one shelf yourself,” Ophelia said. “Leon, work with Farah. One of you pull the slab up, the other can grab whatever’s inside. I’ll work with Filorya.”
“Captain Mistress, I request to undergo the trial myself,” Filorya said. “If I can not… if I fail, I will not protest or begrudge your help. But I wish to see if I can manage it as it is intended.”
“All right,” Ophelia agreed. “If that’s what you really want, I won’t stop you.”
“Thank you, Captain Mistress,” Filorya said.
Ophelia groaned aloud. She really had to break Filorya from that habit as quickly as possible.