“I never thought we’d die in a place like this.” “You’re really not helping the mood.”

“I never thought we’d die in a place like this,” Ezik said.

The walls of the chamber stretched up high above them, the flow of water that had begun as a trickle down the intricate etchings was now a raging torrent of freezing seawater. The raised dias, the last dry rock standing, would soon be submerged like the rest of the vaults beneath it.

“You’re really not helping the mood,” Drake replied.

“Just stating the obvious.”

Drake pulled his diary out of his backpack and started flicking through it again. It had lead them this far, surely somewhere he had found the solution to this problem, an old etching or note from some obscure cave wall. All he needed was peace. Peace from the ocean rushing in above them and peace from Ezik’s inane questioning.

“Maybe start with how this whole thing began,” Drake said.

“You slept with that Argentinian student at the Pinai archaeology site.”

“After that.”

“She took your dig diary and left you chained to a totem pole. Naked.”

“I was not naked,” Drake said.

“Does a necklace count?”

Drake sighed, flicked to another page and found an old passage, something about swallowing oceans. Sumerian. Close enough.

“You found her eventually, dragging me along,” Ezik continued. “You know I hate high altitudes. My nose gets all runny.”

“Oh I’m sorry for taking you to the birthplace of the Carpathians. Next time I’ll leave you at the base camp with the pack mules.”

“I’ll remember that. And I’m sure she does.”

“She took my book. Fair’s fair.”

“And it had nothing to do with you being naked?”

“I wasn’t naked,” Drake said again.

“Anyway. We go from mountaintop to cave network. I still don’t know how the SAS owed you a favour.”

“I helped them with a thing once.”

“Were you naked then too?” Ezik asked.

Drake felt his fingers clench around the small book and wished, not for the first time, there was some ancient booby-trap he could leave his travelling companion to face.

“So we find the cave which leads to the tunnel which lead to the vault, which lead to the really cool floating silver ball thing!” Ezik said. “And then I definitely didn’t maybe not potentially have not done what you told me to not do.”

“Was that a quadruple negative?” Drake asked.

“It was so cool!” Ezik said.

“It was a millennia old relic and you just had to touch it.”

“Shiny!”

“Old.”

“Magic!”

“Booby-trapped,” Drake said.

“Oh yeah.”

Drake flipped through the last pages of his book. A lifetime of notes and observations, ruined by a kid with eyes like a magpies.

“It’s probably time I came clean,” Ezik said.

He watched the water rise, until it began to gently lap at the edges of the platform they’d taken refuge on, before rushing across the surface. It was cold. They’d freeze to death if submerged.

“I may or may not be able to get us out of here.”

“What?” Drake asked.

“Remember when you found me?”

“Sleeping in a crypt in Ulaanbaatar.”

“Kinda. More like hibernating. For a thousand years. Give or take.”

“What?” Drake said. Again.

“I can fly. And lift a small building. Shoot lasers. Run really fast.”

“Lasers?”

“May have lied about that one,” Ezik said.

“But you can fly? As in, you could fly us out of here?” Drake asked hopefully, looking up at the slowly shrinking oubliette above them.

“Yep,” Ezik said.

“Well then, come on, let’s go!” Drake said.

Ezik frowned awkwardly and shoved his hands into his pockets.

“What?” Drake said.

“Well,” Ezik said slowly, “it’ll only work if you’re naked.”


Prompt originally posted by Gravitiaxis on reddit and received 7 upvotes.

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