[two girls breathing, crunching footsteps approach; branches swishing aside]
TESCHIA: I swear, this jungle’s thicker every time we come!
URAWHA: And Honor always wonders why we’re in such a bad mood when we get there.
TESCHIA: When she bothers to get there on time.
URAWHA: Ah, ooh, branch in my face! [snap] Ow!
TESCHIA: Serves you right for laughing at me the other day. You almost got me caught!
TESCHIA: When I was grabbing that little kid’s scarf.
URAWHA: [giggle] Oh, yeah. How much do you think we’ll get for that, anyway?
TESCHIA: I dunno. Fifty, maybe more. I wouldn’t give it to my little kid.
URAWHA: Yeah, people around here aren’t so bright. You wouldn’t believe what I [snap] Oops, sorry. You wouldn’t believe what I got from this lady in the middle of the street just before we left.
URAWHA: [grunts] Let’s see if I can… get it out… dumb pack… yeah, here it is.
TESCHIA: It’s pretty. What is it?
URAWHA: I have no idea. She was wearing it around her neck on this cheap leather band; didn’t even notice me. It looks like gold, doesn’t it?
TESCHIA: Yeah, but it’s no bigger than a coin.
URAWHA: It’ll still bring a price; it’s pretty heavy.
TESCHIA: You know, I’ve seen that twisty design somewhere before.
URAWHA: That’s what I kept thinking, but I don’t know where. C’mon.
TESCHIA: Maybe you should just give it to me instead of selling it.
URAWHA: [laughs] You may be my sister, but I don’t like you that much!
TESCHIA: Hmph. Look, there’s the rock — we’re almost there.
URAWHA: Twenty sols says Honor’s not there yet.
TESCHIA: Honestly, I think she’s afraid of the place unless we’re there.
URAWHA: Well, who wouldn’t be afraid of a ruined city in the middle of the jungle? That’s why it’s the perfect meeting place.
TESCHIA: Yeah, I guess it is kinda weird.
URAWHA: And awing. Every time I look down at this view, I’m amazed. Who the heck built this place anyway?
TESCHIA: Well, if you listen to the dumb legends —
[footsteps restart, on stone this time]
URAWHA: — which I don’t —
TESCHIA: They say some mystic clan of healers used this as a hospital or something.
URAWHA: Well, let’s go sit on the hospital and wait for Honor.
TESCHIA: Like always.
URAWHA: [grunts] These carvings are getting weathered to the point where we can’t even climb them anymore.
TESCHIA: Here, give me your hand. [grunts] There we go. Eventually we’ll be able to get up just using all these vines, I bet.
URAWHA: What a view!
TESCHIA: Yeah, it’s… oh, my!
TESCHIA: Urawha, look! Look!
URAWHA: What? Where?
TESCHIA: Over there, on that other building?
URAWHA: What, that tall, crumbly one?
TESCHIA: No, the one that’s mostly intact. Look at the door!
URAWHA: Oh, my goodness! Is that the same…? [rustling] It is! It’s the same design as this necklace!
TESCHIA: Quick, let’s go look at it! [feet thud on the ground]
URAWHA: Wait for me! [feet thud, run]
TESCHIA: It really is the same.
URAWHA: What a coincidence! That something I stole would be from the same place we meet our contact to sell all our stolen stuff!
TESCHIA: What do you think is behind this door?
URAWHA: Is it a door?
TESCHIA: Yeah, look at the seams. They’re kinda hidden in this twisty pattern.
URAWHA: Oh, I see. I wonder… What’s this little indentation here?
TESCHIA: It’s about the size of that pendant.
URAWHA: Lessee… [click] It fits! [rumble] Oh, my goodness! [rumbling continues; silence]
TESCHIA: We’re probably the first people to have opened this door for hundreds of years!
URAWHA: Well, what are we standing around for? Let’s see what’s inside!
TESCHIA: Honor’s not here yet… maybe we should leave something so she’ll know where we went.
URAWHA: You sound like you’re worried we’ll never come out of there.
TESCHIA: Well, it is really dark inside. There’s probably a million spiders.
URAWHA: Don’t worry, we’ll light the torches. [rustling] Here’s one for you.
[fire; footsteps resume; all noises get reverb]
TESCHIA: This is steep.
URAWHA: At least it’s dry.
TESCHIA: Honor’s going to freak when she gets here and we’re not there.
URAWHA: And then she’ll be even later next time.
URAWHA: Which way?
TESCHIA: Let’s go back.
TESCHIA: No matter which of these three we choose, it’s sure to get us lost. They’re all the same width as this passage.
URAWHA: Look, I’ll leave something here. [rustling] See, when we find that cloak across the tunnel we’ll know this is the way we came.
TESCHIA: [sighs] So which way do we go?
URAWHA: Who cares? [footsteps resume]
TESCHIA: Ah, a level passage — much better.
URAWHA: See, this isn’t so bad. No spiders, even.
TESCHIA: I think they like moisture.
URAWHA: That would explain why the jungle’s so full of them.
URAWHA: Oh, and here’s another one.
TESCHIA: Now which way should we go?
URAWHA: Feel the wind from this third passage? Let’s go that way.
TESCHIA: All right; this time I’ll leave my cloak. [rustling; footsteps resume; wind]
URAWHA: Pleasant breeze here.
TESCHIA: Yeah, right. I’m freezing.
URAWHA: Hey, is that light ahead?
TESCHIA: You’re scaring me.
URAWHA: But look! Here, I’ll hold my torch down behind me. See, it’s light!
TESCHIA: It’s probably a door outside, which would explain the wind.
URAWHA: The light looks kinda red.
TESCHIA: You’ve been in the dark too long.
[foosteps, reverb increases]
TESCHIA: Well, I guess it’s not a door outside.
URAWHA: What is this room?
TESCHIA: And how can all these torches still be lit after however many years?
URAWHA: It’s so huge…
TESCHIA: It feels so empty…
URAWHA: You’d think it would be dirty or broken down or something.
TESCHIA: What’s that, on the opposite wall? [footsteps run]
URAWHA: It’s… weird.
TESCHIA: Yeah. Who carves a giant face into the wall of a big empty room?
FACE: I might ask who creates this ridiculous humanity to run around being absurd.
URAWHA: [softly] All right, there’s a giant stone face talking to us…
TESCHIA: [softly] Yeah, I noticed that…
FACE: In response to your rude question, nobody “carved” me. I grew, just like you did. When the people of this city found me in the jungle, they presumed I was some sort of mystic spirit and brought me here to their temple.
URAWHA: Then what are you really?
FACE: I’m merely myself. I do possess a perception greater than that of humanity, but I am no god.
TESCHIA: You seem to be immortal, though.
FACE: That I do not know.
URAWHA: So, who were the people that lived here?
FACE: They were a hard-working race; they hunted and gathered fruit and built up their great walls. They were very honest.
TESCHIA: [softly] I think that was aimed at us.
URAWHA: So, what?
FACE: If I were to reveal to you the hiding place of a great treasure, would you abandon your evil, thieving ways?
URAWHA: Not so fast… money always runs out eventually.
FACE: If it is used to begin a respectable trade, it can, in a sense, last forever.
TESCHIA: Sounds good to me.
URAWHA: Well, what do we have to do?
FACE: First you must swear.
URAWHA: All right.
FACE: Swear that, once you have gained the treasure of the ancient people, you will never steal again.
TESCHIA: I swear.
URAWHA: I swear.
FACE: Very well. The destruction of the city came about through war, but the leaders were determined that their enemies should never have the city’s treasure that they sought. They hid it in the jungle so that someday it could be found and used for good.
TESCHIA: How did they know someone would ever find it?
URAWHA: Or that their enemies wouldn’t?
FACE: That someone would eventually find it they had no doubt, since they had entrusted to me the duty of revealing its secret. That their enemies would find it they did not fear, as they had placed a severe curse on any who did not seek it in the correct manner.
URAWHA: And why are you willing to give it to us?
FACE: The purpose of the treasure is to do some good. In giving it to you, I am setting you on the path to honesty; that will help both you and the people around you.
URAWHA: Ha! How do you know we won’t just take the treasure and live like we have? [silence] What, why are you looking at me like that?
FACE: I told you that I possess a higher level of perception than humanity. I can see the goodness in your hearts, and the willingness to abandon your path of evil. Otherwise I would not have greeted you at all, despite your sister’s rude remark.
URAWHA: All right, I get it. So where’s this great treasure?
FACE: It lies beneath a stone hill two miles to the east; it is the hill from which I was born.
TESCHIA: Beneath the hill?
FACE: To retrieve it, you must speak the correct verse. It is inscribed in the wall to my right.
URAWHA: It’s in the old language… read it, Teschia.
TESCHIA: Bala hiero to ute / Meno u niwakawe / Raditama ikori / Ken daima sortei. But I don’t know what it means.
FACE: It is nothing more than a children’s rhyme used in ancient times. The leaders thought that would be cleverest to keep their enemies out.
TESCHIA: I’ll write it down. [rustling pack / paper]
URAWHA: So what else do we need to know?
FACE: Just this: that if you speak the treasure’s location to anyone else — forever more — you will turn instantly to stone.
URAWHA: Harsh! Well, that shouldn’t be too hard. You done, Tesch?
URAWHA: Well, sir giant face, thanks a lot. You want us to come back and report to you or something when we’re done?
FACE: I will know. Only see that you keep your promise. That I will also know.
TESCHIA: We will. Thank you!
[footsteps recede; silence]
HONOR: There you are! When I saw that that door was open, I was seriously worried; I shoulda known you guys would do something stupid like going down in there!
URAWHA: How’s it going, Honor?
TESCHIA: How’s life in the big city?
HONOR: Dull, as always. How’s the tiny town?
URAWHA: Interesting, as always. But, we got bad news.
URAWHA: We’re going straight.
TESCHIA: We just decided that this whole thief thing isn’t right for us.
HONOR: Whaddya mean? You guys are the best thieves I’ve ever marketed for!
URAWHA: Well… we just decided.
HONOR: That’s going to cut into my business something big. [sigh] Well, what do you have for me today?
URAWHA: Umm…. there’s more bad news. We’re returning all the stuff we’ve stolen since last time.
HONOR: What?!? How can you do this to me?!?
TESCHIA: But we’re going to pay you a cancellation fee!
HONOR: Oh. How much?
URAWHA: We’re not sure yet. Can you wait here for a couple of hours?
HONOR: You’ve got to be kidding me. You guys are just going to run off home and leave me here, right?
TESCHIA: C’mon, Honor, you know us better than that. We’re serious.
HONOR: Oh, whatever! Why should I trust a couple of thieves?
URAWHA: We’re not thieves anymore; I just told you that!
TESCHIA: Besides, why would we fire the flare and come all the way out here to meet you if we were just going to run off?
HONOR: You must think I’m crazy.
URAWHA: Look, either you wait here for us and we bring you the cancellation fee, or you go home unhappy. What will you do?
HONOR: [sigh] I’ll wait for you. Where are you going?
URAWHA: To get your cancellation fee.
HONOR: Whatever. All right. I’ll wait.
TESCHIA: See ya in a few hours.
URAWHA: Just what I wanted — another walk through the jungle.
TESCHIA: And you sound so unhappy.
TESCHIA: Ah, we’ve been walking for an hour! Shouldn’t we be there yet?
URAWHA: Yeah, I think so. We’ve been going straight east.
TESCHIA: Who would ever have thought that we’d be this lucky? I mean, a treasure buried under a giant rock hill just two miles east of a place we go all the time, and all we — [grunts, gasps; crackling]
URAWHA: Oh, my! Teschia! What’s…
TESCHIA: Help me… [chokes]
URAWHA: But… how can this be happening? The face said we’d turn to stone if we told someone where the treasure was hidden! Oh! [cries]
HONOR: I guess that’s my fault, then.
HONOR: I’m sorry. I was so curious about what you guys were up to, I followed you and heard what Teschia said.
URAWHA: It is your fault! What am I going to do?
HONOR: Who is the face?
URAWHA: A strange creature we met inside the building in the city. It told us about the treasure…
HONOR: Then let’s go ask it how to save Teschia!
URAWHA: We can’t just leave her here!
HONOR: Do you want to carry her? She looks like a piece of art… she must weigh a ton!
URAWHA: [sighs] Tesch, I’ll come back, all right? Don’t worry; I’ll save you somehow. Let’s go, Honor.
HONOR: It’s getting dark.
URAWHA: That happens when you’ve been walking around in the jungle all day. Look, there’s the city ahead. [footsteps on stone] Hurry up. [footsteps run, get reverb, continue; girls pant] Face! Hey, face! Wake up!
FACE: I do not sleep.
URAWHA: How do I get Teschia back from being stone?
FACE: Are you willing to make a sacrifice?
URAWHA: Of course!
HONOR: Urawha, are you crazy?
FACE: City child, you would do as much for someone you love. Urawha, you must smear the statue with your blood, and she will return to life.
URAWHA: H-how much blood?
FACE: That is all I can say.
URAWHA: All right… let’s go back.
FACE: Humans are so intemperate.
[crunching footsteps, swishing branches]
HONOR: Urawha, are you sure about this? [metal ringing] Urawha!
URAWHA: I don’t know if I can do this…
HONOR: But you just said…
URAWHA: I mean, actually cut myself with this dagger. I guess I’ll just think about Tesch… [gasps]
HONOR: Oh, my…
URAWHA: Come on, Tesch… [gasps] Wake up! Ooh…
HONOR: Teschira! You have to wake up!
URAWHA: [gasps] I can’t lose this much blood… Tesch! Tesch! Tesch!
HONOR: Urawha, you’ve got to put something on that… it’s going to kill you!
URAWHA: Teschia! Please! [grunts, falls]
TESCHIA: [gasps, grunts] Oh, I’m covered with… [gasps]
TESCHIA: Urawha! What happened?
HONOR: To rescue you, she cut her wrist. I don’t know…
TESCHIA: Quick, help her sit up. I’ll tie it. [rip] Are you all right?
URAWHA: I… I don’t know… Are you?
TESCHIA: I feel fine.
URAWHA: Then so do I.
TESCHIA: Can you stand?
URAWHA: Yeah… Let’s go get that treasure.
HONOR: This is too weird.
TESCHIA: You’re telling me.
HONOR: It’s enough to make anyone go straight.
TESCHIA: Let’s go.
HONOR: We’ve got to talk about this…