Leon cracked his knuckles. “All right, I’m lifting it.”
“I’ll grab the treasure,” Farah reassured him. “Just warn me if you need to drop it.”
“I won’t drop it,” Leon stated. He grasped the handle and pulled it down. The slab was pretty heavy. Probably around two hundred thirty kilos, but he managed to get it moved. Farah reached inside and pulled out a jewel encrusted weapon. It looked a bit like a sickle, but with a jagged edge.
Leon let the slab down with a sigh of relief.
“I’ll open the next one,” Farah said.
“I can manage it,” Leon said.
“I’m sure you can, but it’ll be easier on both of us if we trade off,” Farah said.
Yuri opened hers one-armed without any real problems. The weapon inside hers was more like a bladed war fan.
Filorya pulled. She didn’t have Yuri’s mechanical strength, which made it quite a challenge. Most people, pacifican or otherwise, would have just called for someone else to help so they could get the treasure more easily.
Filorya, however, wasn’t most people. She had spent her adolescent years reading about the great heroes of the past. She had deeply admired them and trained to try and become as much like them as she could. For her, this was a test she couldn’t decline. One that would prove she hadn’t spent all that time in vain. All she had to do was pass.
She pulled. Slowly, but surely, the slab was rising. As it rose, she could sense her triumph getting closer. Finally, the treasure behind was revealed. She reached in with her free hand, grabbed it and was finally able to let the slab drop.
“You may have been able to acquire that treasure more quickly if you had pulled the lever with both arms and then released your grip with one of them,” Yuri stated.
“I didn’t think of that,” Filorya admitted.
“Well, we’ll load up the treasure from here and move onto the next building,” Ophelia said. She looked at Filorya. “I thought you weren’t going to make it for a moment there. Congratulations.”
“Thank you, Captain Mistress,” Filorya handed Ophelia the jewelled weapon she’d retrieved.
She noted that Yuri had three while Leon and Farah had gotten two. Still, she was proud of herself for taking on the trial by herself and passing it.
They dropped off everything, carefully placing the weapons in secure containers, before moving on to the test of skill. It was also fairly straight forward. There was a table covered with jewels and jewelled weapons past an obstacle course filled with spinning blades and other deadly devices. The entombed bodies had their coffins lining the walls as though they were being given preferential treatment as spectators.
“Yuri, take a bag over there, grab everything and come back,” Ophelia said. “Even if one of those things manages to hit you, you should be fine.”
“Please wait, Captain Mistress,” Filorya entreated. “I would request the honour of challenging this gauntlet first.”
“You just recovered from exposure,” Ophelia argued. “And you could easily be killed if you get hit. Yuri stands the best chance of getting through safely.”
“Perhaps, ” Filorya agreed. “But I am not officially a part of your crew. If I fail and am slain, you will lose nothing. If I succeed, you will have your prize.”
“I don’t want to see you get yourself killed just for your pride,” Ophelia stated.
“Just let her do it,” Leon said. “No reason to interfere with her life goals.”
“Please, Captain Mistress,” Filorya entreated.
“All right, fine,” Ophelia agreed. “If it really means that much to you.”
“Thank you,” Filorya said. “I am in your debt.”
She took up her position, observed the course for a moment and ran in.
“Nice of you to help her out,” Farah whispered, nudging Leon.
Leon shrugged. “I just don’t care if she fails.”
Filorya dived under a crashing piston, narrowly side-stepped a swinging blade and vaulted over some spikes.
The course was designed so that it had to be moved through quickly and decisively to avoid injury. Filorya suffered some minor cuts from narrow misses on her way through, but managed to complete the course and reach the goal.
She’d completed two trials. She really hoped that Ophelia would let her challenge the other two.