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Cassie Drake: Archaeologist, daughter of Nathan Drake who uses her brains to solve puzzles.
Derek Lowell: Archaeologist and best friend of Cassie who relies more on sight.
Erkin Yura: Friend of Cassie and Derek and marine archeologist from Astana.
Joshua Hale: Friend of Cassie and Derek and pilot that frequently flies them.
Austin Harris: Leader of an extinct secret society bent reviving itself through wealth and immortality.
Cassie Drake, Derek Lowell, no longer amateur archaeologists, are working their way up the ladder in becoming legendary. The Philosopher's Stone is every crooked man's dream. A stone capable of granting immortality and turning any metal to gold is rumored to be hidden in a lost city somewhere in Europe and like always, Cassie and Derek are always up for an adventure.
Many have said of Alchemy, that it is for the making of gold and silver. For me, such is not the aim, but to consider only what virtue and power may lie in medicines.
June 6, 2030
La Mosquitia, Honduras
"Happy Birthday, Cassie," Derek Lowell exclaimed as he carried Cassie on his back. "Today, you are sixteen and you want to explore the jungle, searching for a lost city?"
Cassie jumped off of him and landed on the rough ground. "Why, of course." Her voice gave a clear indication that this is what she wanted as she wiped herself with her hands. "I mean, instead of forcing my Dad to get me another clown for my birthday, I want to do something special. I want to sneak off as early in the morning and go hunting for a lost city." She walks down a dirt hill, looking at her watch to make sure that it was still dawn in the Honduras time and her parents were asleep. She was even lucky Derek's parents brought him out here.
"And the fact that I even agreed with you," Derek began as he climbed down and followed her.
"And the fact that you agreed to come with tells you what?" Cassie asked, feigning offense.
"Nothing," he reassured her promisingly before he slipped and slid down the hill a few feet before catching himself. "I'm always game for a big adventure with you." He caught up to her as they reached a part of the hill that was able to be walked down instead of climbing down. He watched her pull out a gold-colored pocket-sized journal and flip through a few pages. "Remember when we went deep-sea diving in the Atlantic?"
Cassie looked up from her journal at him and nodded. "I sure do; now shut up so I can figure out what this code means." She holds the journal up for him to see. Strange hieroglyphs were written all over the journal page in multiple colors (blue, red, yellow, green). They did not form any type of words either of them had seen before, almost like they were forming shapes. This wasn't a drawing of Cassie, just something she copied that looked ancient enough to trace a map to which lead to their current location in the Honduras jungle with their parents still sleeping, scheduled to wake in four hours, just three miles away in houses made of wood.
The cryptic map they traced on the journal leads them up a steep hill made of dirt and pushing vines and leaves out the way. Cassie sat on the seat of her khaki pants with Derek sitting beside her with their backs to the rocky wall behind them. Derek looked out into the jungle while Cassie continued to study the cryptic shapes.
"Are you sure that cryptic map leads us here?" Derek failed to elude the trepidation in his voice. "I mean, I don't want to get lost in a jungle and swept up by rebels like in that movie, The Rundown."
Cassie chuckled slightly and playfully punched Derek in the shoulder. "Trust me, I can read the stars if we get lost." She looked up and saw it was dawn before continuing. "' Sides, I left a trail for us to follow back to our campgrounds. By my estimation, we left two hours ago and we have two hours until our parents wake up so if we want to get away with our crimes, we have to make this adventure as brief as possible."
The rocky wall behind them suddenly gave away and the two sixteen-year-olds went tumbling backward into the darkness with rocks from the wall hitting them as they rolled. The golden journal slipped from Cassie's fingers like butter and out of sight. Cassie and Derek collided when they both hit rock bottom only a few feet down, Cassie's knee slammed into Derek's gut with Derek's sneaker connecting to Cassie's jaw. Derek yelled in pain as predicted while Cassie burst to her knees to clutch her bleeding lip.
"Shit," Cassie cursed at the blood on her lip. She winces and licks the blood away to get the blood back in her body. "Taste like metallic shit as well." She took out her flashlight that she brought with her and shone a path in front of her just as Derek finally got up to his knees. She realized that her left hand was empty and gasps in horror. "The journal, where's the journal?!" She gets down to her arms and knees and digs her way into the ground like a prairie dog, terrified of what's become of the journal. Derek had to restrain her to calm her down over losing the journal. Because they've been best friends for six years, he was allowed to wrap his hands around her body and physically restrain her from getting more dirt in her nails. Once he realized that she was still hysterical, he tried another tactic by telling her that it was just a journal. "Trust me, it's just a journal that anybody can get." She throws the flashlight into the corner like a little girl and buries her face into her hands out of frustration. "And, luckily for us, Cassie, I have a photographic memory and I can literally paint a picture for you."
Cassie's eyes transported to Derek's in an instant, a smile crossed her face. She hugged him tightly after jumping to her feet. "Thank you so much, Derek. I swear, I owe you one you beautiful son of a bitch. I could kiss you right now!"
"First of all," Derek spoke calmly, "Why the hysteria over a lost journal?"
Cassie steps away from Derek to pick up the flashlight she threw. She shines it in Derek's direction with the beam hitting him in the chest. She sighed in exhaustion before explaining, "I just really wanted to figure out the secret behind this adventure. I mean, we come across a journal with weird hieroglyphs or whatever and we trace a cryptic map leading to this rock that we feel inside, and I just wanted to discover something big. Instead, I ended up losing the journal. Some birthday am I right?"
She half-expected him to laugh with all his strength, but he just laughed quietly and put a hand on her shoulder as a sign of reassurance and that there was nothing to worry about. "You really want to become a legend, don't you?"
"Of course I do, but I want to be my own legend. I don't want to be known as The Daughter of Nathan Drake. I want to be Cassie Drake, the legendary adventurer."
Derek nods before saying, "I want to be just like that as well. At least no one will recognize me via predecessor relatives." He nods towards the darkness behind Cassie. "What say we finish this adventure with me being the map?"
Without even missing a single beat, Cassie ran down the dark tunnel that the cave had to offer with Derek catching up.
It almost seemed like this cave was nothing more than a dead end. They have been searching throughout this cave relentlessly for the past thirty minutes and they still turned up nothing. They lost the journal so they were relying on Derek's photographic memory but since the journal only detailed them to their current location and not inside the cave, they were relying purely on instinct. As they walked through the cave, Derek reminded the rambunctious Cassie that if they found nothing in the next thirty minutes then they had to get the hell out of dodge and hightail it back to the campgrounds.
"I wish we brought Vicky," Cassie mentions offhandedly. "Vicky could always sniff out the good stuff."
"Not going to argue with you on that one," Derek replies. "Next time, we gotta bring her."
Cassie was about to say something else until her keen ears picked up on something. She stopped dead in her tracks and held up a fist to quietly signal Derek to stop. Not a single one said a word for the longest time, each listening to nothing but the sound of water dripping, or so they thought that was water dripping. Cassie leaned in closer to get a better hearing and she now identified that water drop sounds as shovels smashing into the ground.
Someone else was in the cave with them.
She crouches down and turns off the flashlight. Derek, being the gentleman, sneaks forward a few feet, hands blindly reaching out for whatever was in front of him. He gripped at the rock wall and followed with Cassie clinging one hand to his belt.
They blindly made it to where the rocky wall curved and led into a junction. Derek leaned his head out to get a better view, using his left eye to see. His night vision was starting to turn on and he could barely tell from the darkness, there were three silhouettes and one raised a shovel-like object over its head and swung into the ground, creating an ear-piercing screech, louder than before. Derek winced and motioned for Cassie to get back.
Cassie inwardly shook her head no and moved beside Derek, pressing her chin to his left shoulder so she could see what he was seeing.
The three silhouettes crouched down and the one in the middle picked something up and examined it. Cassie could tell it was rectangular and flat. She deduced that it must've been some kind of scroll or a piece of paper of some kind. Either way, the head of the silhouette in the middle was gazing down at the paper intensely while the other two silhouettes just stared blankly in opposite directions like they were guarding something.
What the hell is going on here, Cassie thought to herself. She focused on her hearing because she could just barely hear a faint voice utter something in a monotone that resembled a cultist saying some kind of chant.
"Poshuk oznachaye zhadibnist! Otrymannya Tse oznachaye zhyttya ʹ"
Cassie could not tell what language they were speaking. For all she knew, they could've been aliens talking to each other in gibberish. She was multilingual, but she was very limited. She could only speak seven languages and that included English, Latin, Hawaiian, Spanish, Polynesian, German, and Arabic. To hear another language made her feel inferior and she scooted as close as she could to plant her body to the wall to see if she could hear something else come from this man or woman's mouth. Given how deep the voice was, it was a male.
He put the piece of paper down several feet away and closer to Cassie's position. She quickly snatched it from the rock it was lying upon and inches herself away but she made a mistake. Her shoe accidentally kicked a rock and it caught the attention of the three shadowy figures. One of them was growling out of their wits while the other two stayed as silent as possible. They stared in Cassie's direction and she hid behind the wall with Derek and they slowly got the hell out of there.
It's here, the third installment of Cassie Drake's adventures. Please tell me what you think so far, review, follow, and favorite the story. And, as always, have a great adventure with this story.