Alice spoke into her walkie-talkie. "567721, calling in with 567722 and 567723 on the line."

A voice responded back.

"Did we acquire the Stone?" Alice dropped her head with a sigh. "Negative, Alpha took care of it."

The voice replied.

"No, neither did Alpha, Bravo nor did Vita Longa saw through our deception. We have proven ourselves that we are capable, my Leader."

The Leader spoke again.

Beck joined the chat. "567722 to Leader, what are our orders?"

Carter spoke. "Query for 567723: Do we kill Alpha?"

The answer came through for all of them.

"Yes, our Leader," the three of them said.

The walkie-talkies went dead.

Alice turned to her siblings. "At least our Leader isn't mad at us."

"Who would've known," Beck said, "That Overlord was working behind the scenes this entire time."

"It was fun to play the puppet master," Carter said. "We infiltrated Vita Longa and lied played with Cassie Drake all whilst keeping our identities as Overlord spies a secret."

"It is amusing," Alica agreed, "But as long as our plan succeeded, then that is all that matters."

"Right," Beck said, "Our Leader anticipated that Cassie might be successful in intervening so our Leader gave us our own objective to complete: Ensure the downfall of Vita Longa."

"That's right," Cassie said, "If Overlord can't have the Philosopher's Stone, then no one can have the Philosopher's Stone."

"And Cassie did all the work for us," Alice said with a grin, "I am beginning to understand our Leader's interest in Cassie Drake."

Her brothers smiled.

"Seriously," she switched off her serious tone, "I really need a vacation."

"So do we," Beck and Carter said.

"Also," Beck began, "Can we spend the night at your house? I want to spend time with my nephew."

Carter held up a hand. "Same here."


One Day Later

It has been thirty-six hours since the climax of their Ys adventure. The quartet of adventurers was in Paris at the same coffee shop that Cassie was chased from. This time, there were no mercenaries or acolyte members watching over them. The Three Mercs - Alice, Beck, Carter - handed the Voynich Manuscript back over to the fortune hunters when they realized that they were the only surviving members of the cult and they were mercenaries so they had no business with the Voynich Manuscript.

Cassie sipped her coffee as she asked, "What was your favorite part of this adventure?"

Joshua scratched the back of his head to come up with an answer. "I don't know if I can properly comment. I didn't go to any tombs and I didn't even get to see the lost city. Erkin got to go to Atlantis a couple of years ago and he went inside the Tomb in Germany. I barely did anything."

"This is real life, not a TV show," she rebutted.

"Easy for you to say," he shot back, "You've been inside every tomb and you got to see the lost city and the Philosopher's Stone. The only one out of us four."

"I vouch for Joshua," Erkin said, "I barely had action time. I barely held out my own with that guy on the boat and I had to be saved by Derek. At least he got an action scene."

"Just to let you guys know, I only got inside one tomb," Derek said, "I mean after we got separated, I barely got to explore the tomb or see the tomb."

Cassie shook her head, "I don't think you guys would've wanted that to be the case. The snake guardian was made of pure gold and if you looked into its eyes then it would turn you into gold. Derek, you are too wide-eye to survive this encounter, Erkin, you are physically weak. Joshua…" she couldn't think of something to say, "You probably could've survived."

Joshua felt complimented.

Derek spoke up. "Did you at lease see the Philosopher's Stone or at the very least, touch it?"

"Nope, it's like what I said." She stated everything again for the third time. "That's why I couldn't touch the Philosopher's Stone unless I desired immortality."

"And are you sure that the stone was destroyed?"

"It was destroyed when Ys sank into the ocean forever. There's also no way that Heisenberg could've survived as well. He still would've drowned and I'm pretty sure that the snakes still would've turned him to gold."

"What about the fourth element?" Derek asked upon recalling the four symbols. "What is the fourth element?"

"There was salt, sulfur, and mercy, then the finale: Sand."

"How did you deduce that it was sand?"

"Think of it like this." She holds up her coffee cup. "There are four things needed to make a cup of coffee. You need sugar, coffee beans, creamer, and a cup to hold it. The first ingredient is salt and then sulfur, which had been added as the two main elements with mercury used as a sweetener you could say. And as for the fourth symbol, I noticed it too late."

She paused. "The golden snake, also known as the Basilisk, was shot by a rocket launcher by Marcel. The first thing that happened was that it put up a fight but there is one thing I remember Marcel saying: It's bleeding sand. That's where I came up with the idea that sand is the fourth element. The gold on the snake is not actually gold but sand that had been hardened by the salt, sulfur, and mercury ingredients. The sand is the cup of the snake's skin."

"Then how does the snake turn people into gold by a sneer glance?"

Cassie had been pondering this question ever since she escaped the lost city but she couldn't come up with a logical explanation. The best she could was that it was some kind of spell that the alchemists cast upon the snakes. Anybody with half a brain could figure that it is impossible to turn a human being into gold by a mere glance so they had to abandon the natural route and just go with the supernatural explanation.

"Magic."

"I don't believe in magic," Joshua said, "I would believe in magic if I could but all of this is just science. I mean, I didn't see any supernatural power."

"To each their own," Derek cocked his head, "Cassie and I have our experiences with the supernatural. Either way, it doesn't matter."

"But now that the adventure is over, what are you guys doing now?"

Cassie rubbed her forehead in circles as she wondered what would happen next. She licked her lips as she widens brightened in anticipation. "I'm going on a nice long-earned vacation. Somewhere warmer than Hawaii and cozier then the college dorm I sleep in. I'm going to spend one week at a spa and dive at a beach with warm waters. One week all by myself."

"Seems like you've got your next few weeks planned out," Joshua nodded.

"Sounds like that was planned to a T," Erkin noted, "You sure that wasn't your plan from the beginning?"

"I'm sure," she said and hid her smirk with her sipping coffee.

Actually, my ideal vacation is just hanging out with Derek. That's what I've always wanted, just to hang out with Derek but I think I have a habit of bringing danger to him. I still haven't forgotten what happened in Italy and how I felt. The guilt still gets to me and as much as I want to spend all my time with Derek, I think he would be better off without me.

"What are you thinking, Cassie?" Derek asked, his perspective nature drawing him to her.

Damn it, was I thinking aloud? Damn you, Derek, and your observation skills.

Then again, while Derek was hawk-eyed, Cassie was quick-witted.

"Thinking where to go that would be perfect based on the whether. It is February after all."

Is that what you were really thinking? He wondered. I guess I'll never know.

Man, Cassie smirked, I have quite the life. I mean, I'm a legendary treasure hunter, I've got a diverse set of friends, and I'm the descendant of Sir Francis Drake. I have feelings for Derek and I can't express them. I've made so many enemies that I lost count. I've destroyed so many lost cities that I'm more of a graverobber then archeologist. Mom and Dad warned me about this life and I only have one thing to say to that: They were wrong. I love this life. I love the thrill of risks, I like that my life is in danger. Call me crazy, call me an adrenaline junkie but I was never destined for a normal life. This is my normal life and I love every bit of them.

Subconsciously, her hand was on Derek's but neither one bothered to mention it.

The End of Chapter 8


And that does it for the third entry of Cassie Drake's adventures. I already have plans for the fourth entry so keep a close eye out for new publishes. Also, I intend for the fourth Uncharted installment to be drastically different from the previous fanfics and games.