The Other Half | TWIN Anthology

in Scholar and Scribe2 months ago (edited)

📚More in the TWIN Anthology 📚
A Stone's Throw From Death | Best Served Cold | The Hunter And The Lurker | Sober Minds | Beasts | Linked

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"I, fffff -"

"Feel."

"Feel! L-l-like I, l-l-ov, love! you?" Sylla looked at Serje with a sheepish expression. "You're really stupid you know that?" She ripped the parchment in half. "And sweet, I guess."

Serje's smile was coy. "Babe, if you rip every note I hand you, how will you learn to read? I'll run out of parchment!"

"First of all, you never run out of parchment. Second, I don't have to learn to read. You got that covered."

"Love..."

"Don't love me! How about this? I learn to read when you learn how to handle a sword."

"I know how to handle a sword1" Sylla's look was unconvinced. "Alright fine! But learning to read is much easier than learning swordplay."

"For some." She kissed his cheek. "Not all are made equal, my love."

Sylla swayed as she went to sit at the rudder. The Caster that set them off said their course would hold true, so why did Sylla have to risk moving around so much? Didn't she know that if she fell the boat would keep moving? And if she was in the water and Serje was on the boat... did she want them both to drown?

"Sylla!" Serje blurted. "I cannot understand you sometimes, why must you -"

"I don't trust Casters. I'd rather be here, in control. Just in case."

"But if you fell in the water -"

"I would swim back." She gave him one cackle. "You know what? You are sweet."

Serje slumped between the two benches and pretended he was in some horse wagon. The swaying did little for his illusion. Why did it have to be a deserted island? It seemed the Gods found his misery amusing, for it never stopped. Why couldn't the treasure be buried down the road from the village? No! It had to be across a vast body of water to an island nobody had ever visited, buried by ghouls and gnats and -

"Stop sulking! We're almost there!"

Sure enough, the cursed swaying soon stopped and Serje dared to look up again. Land. Blessed land! Serje exhaled and got out as quickly as his talents permitted.

"Serje. If you hate the water so much, why go through all this trouble?" Sylla's sword was in her hand, unsheathed and ready just in case. "And how do we know that blasted Caster sent us to the right batch of dirt? My runes are calm so at least we're not in any immediate danger."

"I gave him a small fortune to cast that spell, for one thing." Serje rummaged through his travel bag, then pointed towards the small peak in the distance. "For another, that's a three-headed grassy hill. Surrounded by a dense forest. It fits the descriptions I gathered, see?" He held up the small scrapbook he'd been creating for the treasure, Sylla gave him a look of death. "Oh, right. Sorry. See, now, if you knew how to read -"

"Right. So let's say our course was true. How do we find this blasted treasure?"

Serje got out two big sheets of bamboo paper, some navigational tools, a magnifying glass, and a blue sparkling stone.

"Hey! That stone! You told me you sold it!"

"You would've given it away. Now shush. Let me concentrate."

"You kept it from me? I mean... I wouldn't have pressed so hard if I knew it's -"

"Shush!"

Sylla shrugged. She didn't care about the stone really. Just that Serje didn't trust her with it. Granted, she was pretty adamant to give it to that traveling circus... Perhaps Serje was right... No! He gave up to fast on her. If he bothered to explain it like she knew he could, she would understand. Bah, let's fetch some food. Sylla left Serje to his devices.

By the size and coloration of the moss on those rocks, this island should have crabs. Sure enough, she found about a dozen laughing in a makeshift pond near the beach. So careless. This island really is abandoned. She caught three, and let the rest escape. On her way back she smelled berries. Yes. Poinsonless pink berries, Shrudewood they were called. Tasteless, but perfectly eatable. She gathered a handful.

When she returned Serje had that smugly satisfied look on his face. "It's on this beach."

"Is it now?" Sylla set to build a fire. "My runes aren't active, and I'm pretty sure this island is uninhabited. Can we eat before you make me start digging?"

"I'll dig too!" She gave him a look. "Alright, alright. We eat first. But I want to get back to civilization s soon as possible."

Sylla smirked as she removed the crab meat. "Civilization? Love, you do understand we've been going from rundown village to ancient dungeon back to savage mountains for months now right? What civilization?"

"Yes. But if we find this treasure, we could relax for once."

Sylla didn't bother to look at him. "I'm relaxed now."

Serje went back to his charts and instruments and Sylla started preparing the crab stew. The berries were a perfect addition to give the broth texture. It took her up to an hour to finish, at which time Serje did not look up from his maps. She sat by the fire and started eating. After a while, he noticed and ran over, grabbing the bowl she'd poured for him.

"Hey. This is pretty good."

"You're doubting my cooking now?"

"I thought this place was desolate. Where did you find the ingredients to make it this delicious?"

"Mm, you think love, I see. It's why we are the perfect team."

"That we are." Serje finished his broth at a rapid pace. "So? We're starting?"

Sylla sighed. "Alright. Where do we begin?"

First stop was underneath a humongous boulder just inside the jungle. Sylla dug for nearly an hour in three different spots - nothing. She was glad for the island's serenity. Truly, a nice place to live, to retire to. Unknown to most, and calm, peaceful. Sylla was so glad they'd come here.

Second stop was near where Sylla caught the crabs. A shipwrecked poll was impaled on the sandy shore. Serje was convinced this was it. He hopped from one foot to the other as Sylla dug. His excited face fell to ruin when Sylla shook her head. He still had hope, however.

The third and last spot he could find with his calculations was on the other side of the island. The beaches here were rocky but still pleasant. The water also seemed a different color. Beautiful. Sylla set to dig beneath a natural formation of Obsidian. The ground around it was black and hard to dig through. Sylla did it without complaints until it was obvious this was wrong as well.

"It can't be wrong..." Serje said, his face distraught. "This was my last variation... Sylla, we have to go back to the others, search thoroughly."

"Love..."

"It has to be here! The Shaman wouldn't lie to us. The marking of the island also fit!"

"I think he sent us to a randomly selected deserted island -" Sylla sat on the rocky beach.

"The charts also align perfectly with my readings -"

"- and I'm grateful for it."

"- we'll have to go back to - what?"

"Don't you think it's pleasant here? The air is so nice, the ground is so still."

Serje let out a long sigh which stopped when Sylla grabbed his hand. He felt her pull him down beside her. Serje sat, pensive. Jittery.

"Does this treasure mean that much to you?" Sylla asked, her head resting on his.

"I... I've been searching for it for months..."

"Then we'll find it."

They sat there for a while, Sylla calm, Serje not so much. His nerves did seem to calm as time passed. By the time the sun started to set, he leaned into his lover.

He sighed, relieved. "What would I do without you?"

She chuckled. "Isn't it beautiful?"

"It is." They kissed. "I'm...I'm sorry love..."

"It's alright. I had fun, plus it was good exercise."

Serje smiled. "I don't deserve you."

Another chuckle. "No, you don't."

"The sunset is beautiful. This is an amazing place."

"Serje," Sylla whispered. "I want us to return here. When... when we're done with all this."

Serje squeezed her tight. "Me as well, my love."

The sun fell, the stars rose, and their love towered above it all.

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📚More in the TWIN Anthology 📚
A Stone's Throw From Death | Best Served Cold | The Hunter And The Lurker | Sober Minds | Beasts | Linked

Obligatory shout-out to the 🍕PIZZA🍕 gang, 🤙 gang. 🤙

Where will we find Serja and Sylla next? 🤷‍♂

👊 Follow me on my HIVE blog 👊

Image source.

Stay safe out there, and be strong. 😌

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I believe they found their treasure. No?
I like that Serje and Sylla share such harmony. They belong. Oh, they surely belong on a beautiful island hidden from the noise to the gaze of beautiful sunsets.

I guess I’m trying to say Nice post! 😂 I love your writing.

Thank you very much your kind words internet lady. 😁

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