“Explain yourselves,” commands Khazaduul the Bloody. Guards in gold and purple silk tunics point their sharp spears in the general direction of the four heroes’ necks. James audibly swallows.
“Silence,” commands Khazaduul the Bloody.
“Well is it silence, or do you want us to explain ourselves,” Tracy responds.
“Beep!” ZoopZoop squeaks.
“How dare you question me,” Khazaduul the Bloody says. He starts to laugh. “But you know,” he continues laughing, “it hasn’t happened in such a long time it’s actually, what’s the word?”
“Humorous, my emperor?” answered a guard.
“How dare you speak to me. Guards! Seize that guard and take him to the highest tower in the deepest dungeon,” Khazaduul the Bloody says. Three purple and gold blurs drag the offender out of the court and into a dark hallway. “Humorous,” the emperor resumes laughing as if the action was a dog-eared page of a book, “that’s the word. I find it humorous that you speak to me that way, and your creature there amuses me too.”
“Beep!” ZoopZoop says.
“This other person is boring,” Khazaduul the Bloody says pointing at James. “Amuse me,” he says.
“Um, please don’t kill me?” James asks.
“Humorous again,” Khazaduul the Bloody laughs while clearing a tear away from a spherical scar on his face, “can you believe this?” Khazaduul the Bloody asks his court. There is silence. “I said, can you believe this?” Laughter erupts from the court.
“I’m very sorry but we really must be going,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. “Tracy, James, ZoopZoop, say goodbye to your new friend.” All four heroes wave as Ozburtle mutters an incantation. A blip noise is made, and the four heroes are now in a torch-lit room the size of a football field with countless amounts of treasure: gold coins, gold bars, rubies, opals, pearl necklaces, emeralds, and diamonds in large mounds like ant hills. Ivory water fountains speckle throughout the mounds and are flanked by statues of marble, gold and silver depicting heroic battles and what must be the gods, goddesses and herpes of Romduppleschwoop 4.
“We found it,” James says.
“Don’t be dumb James,” Tracy says. “If we could have just warped here or whatever then I wouldn’t have had to rob that bank, you wouldn’t have needed to varnish that desk with minotaur pee.”
“So that’s why you robbed the bank? Why haven’t we used the money or mentioned it since… well, since we were still on campus?” James asks. Tracy turns away from James and walks in front of Ozburtle.
“Ozburtle,” Tracy says, “Why was Khazaduul the Bloody able to notice us?”
“You know,” Ozburtle the Wizard says as he throws a roasted chestnut into his mouth, “I thought about that before when I bought these babies,” he says as he shakes his half-eaten bag of roasted chestnuts.
“And,” Tracy says.
“And,” Ozburtle the Wizard says as he moves his eyes like they were riding a wave, “you know how I had that orb. My orb?” he asks.
“Yes,” Tracy says.
“I call him Orby,” Ozburtle the Wizard says.
“Get on with it,” Tracy says.
“Well, Orby sometimes has a mind of his own,” Ozburtle says as he runs over to a pile a few feet behind Tracy and starts raccooning into the treasure.
“Wait, so did we time travel or did we just communicate with a facsimile of Khazaduul the Bloody?” James asks.
“I don’t know? Why do you care? Don’t worry about it. Now the three of you come over,” Ozburtle the Wizard says as Tracy, James and ZoopZoop gather around him. “I will say that the orb can only go into locals that have been uploaded into the wizard’s guild online database. The treasure is known to have existed and a wizard was here which is why we have this,” Ozburtle the Wizard looks to the left and to the right, “simulation.” He keeps digging into the treasure. “Unfortunately, as you three might expect, Khazaduul was not the most trusting and would have doused the wizard with a treasure spell.”
“So are all these piles—“James begins to ask.
“Dead wizards, yes. The emeralds are eyes,” Ozburtle says and hands James two emerald. James dry-heaves and drops them.
“The treasure you two have been looking for is a bunch of wizard corpses?” James asks.
“Well when you put it like that everything sounds awful,” Tracy says.
“And the statues weren’t wizards, and not all the piles are wizards. Many are just people that displeased the emperor in some way. Get the green light to shine over here Tracy,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. Tracy raises the eternal green flame torch over Ozburtle’s head.
“What are you looking for?” James asks.
“Now that, James, is a very good question,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. He throws aside more gold coins. “We are looking for the heart of Prospero the Wizard. The hearts are the rubies. All knowledge is centered in the heart of a wizard.”
“Not the brain?” James asks.
“James, I’m talking about magical knowledge. The science I use is all up here,” Ozburtle the Wizard points to his head. “This, with the help of Tracy’s engineering knowledge, is how we outfitted that Tesla for interdimensional travel. Well, to be fair, Elon is about two updates behind on that, so it wasn’t too difficult since he did all of the brunt work. But,” now the wizard pointed at James’ chest, “this is where magical knowledge is kept. It’s unmeasurable by science and by Jove I’ve tried, from Angstroms to Parsecs, but anyways, Prospero is the wizard that captured the essence of this room with his magic so if we discover his Ruby,” Ozburtle looks left to right as if to see if any unwanted travelers have entered into the space, “in theory we should have the knowledge of how he got in there.”
“And then we can use that to find the treasure in the real world, or at least our world,” James says.
“Exactly,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. “You get a chestnut,” he says, and offers the bag to James.
“Right, Ozburtle, but we still haven’t figured out how to tell which ruby is Prospero’s heart,” Tracy says.
“Minor details and inconveniences Tracy,” Ozburtle the Wizard says. “And speaking of,” Ozburtle clears his throat, “’my hands are turning into gold.”