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    A Bird In The Sand Is Worth...

    Leona Jarnefeldt
    Leona Jarnefeldt

    Main Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Rising Star- Guild Master- Neutral Guild Ace- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- I Have Friends...- Hired Help- Idolize- The Completionist- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Taskmaster- Halloween Social - Halloween job event participant - Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Master [1000]- Senior [500] - Novice [250]- 3rd Place Event/Contest Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Summer Special Participant- Player 
    Lineage : Nemean Lion
    Position : Saint of Courage
    Posts : 1428
    Guild : Silver Wolf [Guild Master]
    Cosmic Coins : 5
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : N/A
    Experience : ‭2,440,110

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Wind Strike Magic
    Second Magic: Wind Summon Magic
    Third Magic:

    A Bird In The Sand Is Worth... Empty A Bird In The Sand Is Worth...

    Post by Leona Jarnefeldt on 9th May 2019, 11:08 pm

    Job Details:

    Job Title: 100 Year Free-form
    Rank: 100 Year
    Job Location: Anywhere
    Solo Word Count: 12,500 words
    Group Word Count: 25,000 words
    Additional Requirements: N/A
    Job Description: Whatever the player chooses
    Enemies: Whatever the player chooses
    Reward: 155,000 jewels


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Golden Lacrima is valid until 9/22/2020. Proof of purchase is here. Page 18, Post Number 441
    Leona Jarnefeldt
    Leona Jarnefeldt

    Main Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Rising Star- Guild Master- Neutral Guild Ace- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- I Have Friends...- Hired Help- Idolize- The Completionist- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Taskmaster- Halloween Social - Halloween job event participant - Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Master [1000]- Senior [500] - Novice [250]- 3rd Place Event/Contest Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Summer Special Participant- Player 
    Lineage : Nemean Lion
    Position : Saint of Courage
    Posts : 1428
    Guild : Silver Wolf [Guild Master]
    Cosmic Coins : 5
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : N/A
    Experience : ‭2,440,110

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Wind Strike Magic
    Second Magic: Wind Summon Magic
    Third Magic:

    A Bird In The Sand Is Worth... Empty Re: A Bird In The Sand Is Worth...

    Post by Leona Jarnefeldt on 9th May 2019, 11:29 pm

    -Forgotten Deserts, Midday-

    Wearing a white t-shirt with desert camouflage shorts and tan hiking boots, Leona wore her Argent Gloves and Adaptable Armor and carried her Silver Longsword on her left hip. On her back was her backpack of supplies, mostly bottles of water but also two one-gallon containers of water and her old canteen. She trudged through the sand and saw a scorpion meandering about on its search for shelter. Leona left it alone and kept moving forward.

    She had been hired by Dr. Anna to help with the exploration of a region of the Forgotten Deserts that had lines traced in the sand. However, these were no ordinary lines in the sand. They were left behind by a civilization that had vanished centuries ago for unknown reasons... ever since their discovery fifty years ago archaeologists had been hard at work attempting to discover their meaning. Many archaeologists had tried to discover their meaning and many had given up in frustration.

    Now it was Dr. Anna's turn to take a shot at solving the mystery. She and some young aspiring archaeologists had set up camp about a month ago and had been hard at work but had made very little tangible progress. Dr. Anna had called upon Leona to see if the Silver Wolf Guild Mistress could make a find that galvanized the academics and helped solve the mystery. The blonde was not sure what she could offer that the doctor did not have, but she was willing to aid the archaeologist the best she could.

    Leona was mildly amused by the situation. No matter how far she tried to get away from a desert she always seemed to find her way back to it. Maybe it was coincidence or maybe it was fate. Leona was born in the desert... hopefully that did not mean that she would die in one too.

    The blonde covered her mouth and nose with her right hand in order to keep a cloud of sand kicked up by the wind from entering those vulnerable places. She really needed to invest in eye protection like some goggles at the bare minimum. Her mild annoyance at the weather was mitigated when she spotted a campsite with tents and three people standing in front of it as if waiting to greet her.

    Leona arrived at the site and was greeted by Dr. Anna and two young female assistants with shoulder-length blonde hair who towered over the diminutive doctor. All three were clad in khaki shirts and khaki cargo shorts with brown boots. Behind them was a small tent city of four square tents and two long rectangular tents that were presumably meant to house any artifacts that they managed to find at the site.

    "Welcome, Miss Jarnefeldt! It's been awhile since we last met!" Dr. Anna greeted the mage warmly. Her assistants raised a hand in greeting and Leona returned the gesture. The bespectacled scholar motioned for Leona to follow her and the mage obligingly followed Dr. Anna into one of the two long rectangular tents. Inside on a wooden table was a series of photos taken from above, presumably from a plane or satellite.

    -Inside the tent-

    "I have called you here to aid us in exploring this area. As I mentioned in my letter to you, we are attempting to solve the mystery of how these lines came to be and what their significance is." Dr. Anna briefed Leona. Leona listened patiently as the doctor pointed to the photographs sitting on a wooden table and then motioned for the mage to take a closer look at them. Leona looked at the color photos and saw tan lines on the sand that resembled a bird of prey with its wings outstretched and its beak facing left.

    "You see it, right?" Dr. Anna asked. Leona nodded.

    "We've been sweeping the area around it for the past month or so. We've turned up nothing. All the ceramics and what little writing the ancient people left behind was collected by previous archaeologists, which is both good and bad." Dr. Anna began to explain, sweeping her hand to a large book with a dull brown cover. It was entitled The People Of The Wind: The Lestrek People of the Forgotten Deserts. An assistant picked up the book and showed it to Leona, opening the cover to show that Dr. N. D. Anna herself was one of the authors of the book. The Guild Mistress was duly impressed.

    "It took my mentor and I five years of research to write that book. We were one of the last few teams to find anything of value at this site. My mentor was convinced that the Lestrek people didn't leave all their valuables in the open, but rather hid them in a repository beneath the sand. Unfortunately, he died of old age before he was able to prove his theory." Dr. Anna explained the significance of the book to the mage.

    "It's good because those recovered items are where all our knowledge of the Lestrek people come from. It's bad because we have nothing to show the university for its sponsoring our expedition. We can't go back to the university empty-handed." The bespectacled doctor told Leona. It sounded like the costs of the expedition were rather expensive. She was sure that there was a heavy initial outlay at the start and then mounting expenses continued to chew through the budget. Leona's experience with paperwork taught her that seemingly large amounts of money could be whittled down in a hurry.

    "What can I do to help?" Leona asked the doctor. She took off her glasses and rubbed her eyes.

    "My old mentor seemed to think that the beak of the bird pointed to something significant. I haven't been able to find anything. Maybe you can find something that'll help us along." Dr. Anna suggested. Leona would be happy to oblige the good doctor.

    "OK, I'll follow the beak and see what I can find." Leona replied. She turned to leave the tent when her client spoke again.

    "Good luck out there. If you find anything, let us know immediately." Dr. Anna commanded Leona. Leona nodded and left behind the relative comfort of the tent to go find the bird in the sand and see if its beak was a hidden clue to wealth or other artifacts that Dr. Anna could use to prove that her late mentor's theory was right.

    [Word Count: 1,096]
    [Total Word Count: 1,096/12,500]



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Golden Lacrima is valid until 9/22/2020. Proof of purchase is here. Page 18, Post Number 441
    Leona Jarnefeldt
    Leona Jarnefeldt

    Main Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Rising Star- Guild Master- Neutral Guild Ace- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- I Have Friends...- Hired Help- Idolize- The Completionist- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Taskmaster- Halloween Social - Halloween job event participant - Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Master [1000]- Senior [500] - Novice [250]- 3rd Place Event/Contest Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Summer Special Participant- Player 
    Lineage : Nemean Lion
    Position : Saint of Courage
    Posts : 1428
    Guild : Silver Wolf [Guild Master]
    Cosmic Coins : 5
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : N/A
    Experience : ‭2,440,110

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Wind Strike Magic
    Second Magic: Wind Summon Magic
    Third Magic:

    A Bird In The Sand Is Worth... Empty Re: A Bird In The Sand Is Worth...

    Post by Leona Jarnefeldt on 10th May 2019, 5:49 pm

    -Forgotten Desert, near the expedition base-

    Leona had walked the distance from the camp to the bird's beak and stood at the point of the beak. She observed it and saw that it indeed pointed left. In front of the beak was nothing but sand; there was not even a single sand dune around that would be a logical point of interest. Then again, the Lestrek people did not want to clue potential thieves in on where their valuables were hidden, so it made sense to hide the items somewhere where thieves would not be bothered to look. That included further out in the desert, so that was where Leona went.

    She stood in front of the beak, then turned around and walked slowly while placing one foot in front of the other. If there was anything hidden in the sand a slow approach would have a better chance of finding it than a hurried search. Leona had all day to search, so she would take her time unless otherwise told to hurry up. She continued walking until she was almost beyond the edge of the camp, then kept going in a straight line. She suspected that there was a panel with a switch or level hidden under it somewhere in the area.

    Leona walked carefully until she was outside the camp and looked around her. There was nothing but desert for miles around. Leona stayed the course and kept going straight until she could barely see the tents on the horizon. So far she had not found anything of interest in the sand other than tracks where snakes had slithered off to parts unknown. As long as those snakes left her alone she did not care where they went to.

    Leona paused in place and took her backpack off to get a bottle of water to drink. The sun was out and the temperature was high. Common wisdom for desert travelers was to stay in the shade until nightfall and travel at night, but Leona was comfortable enough with the desert and carried enough water to make travel by day somewhat safe. Leona twisted off the cap and drained half the bottle in one go before pocketing it to save for later. Leona was glad that the Adaptable Armor was made for extended wear in any weather because it had the potential to retain heat and become rather uncomfortable.

    As it stood the Adaptable Armor was still comfortable to wear, which was an asset because she was concerned about outlaws trying to attack her or the archaeologists to claim the artifacts after they were uncovered. That concern was why she wore the armor in the desert to start with. Leona took a deep breath and started walking forward again while hoping that she found something.

    Leona walked along until she tripped over something in the sand and fell on her stomach. The blonde was glad that no one was around to witness her fall. She got on all fours and turned around, crawling back to the point where she had tripped over the solid object and feeling underneath the sand with her hands. Persistent searching soon found the object that she had tripped over. It was square and felt like a frame of some kind.

    The mage began shoveling dirt away with her hands and eventually uncovered a raised frame composed of tiles and a sandy pit in the center. She began to dig out the sand with her hands and slowly uncovered what looked like a lever. Once enough sand had been removed Leona reached down and gripped the end of the lever, then pulled it up. She heard a mechanism move and felt the sand nearby give way.

    Leona stood up straight and dusted herself off, then turned to face the location where the sand gave way. She found a staircase in the sand that led down into something that resembled a vault. The excited mage quickly called out Ramses and let him land on her right forearm.

    "What is your bidding?" Ramses asked Leona.

    "Go back to the camp and let the people there know that I found something that they'd be interested in." Leona ordered Ramses. The owl stretched his wings and prepared to take off.

    "It will be done." Ramses told his mistress before taking off and flying to the right to visit the camp and carry out his orders. Leona stayed behind to guard the newly opened vault from raiders... or to keep any enemies within from getting out and threatening Dr. Anna and her helpers. Leona stood in front of the vault and looked into the darkness for any movement or other activity. She was fairly certain that the Lestrek people had built defenses into their vault to protect their treasures.

    -Twenty-five minutes later-

    "Your pet owl told us that you'd found something." Dr. Anna said to Leona as Ramses landed on her right forearm and stretched his wings. The proud owl looked indignantly at the doctor, then turned to face Leona without comment. He clearly did not appreciate the "pet owl" remark but kept any remarks to himself. The doctor's two blonde assistants came jogging up with excavation equipment like shovels and pickaxes but found that they were not needed.

    "I certainly did. I think I found the entrance to an underground vault." Leona told the doctor and motioned to her right with her hand. The shorter woman looked towards the staircase and was surprised to see what Leona was talking about.

    "I can't believe it. My mentor was right. There's a whole unexplored vault full of who knows what left behind by the Lestrek people. I wish he was here to see it." Dr. Anna said in a low voice. Leona kept her eye on the entrance because she did not entirely trust appearances. She did not think that the vault was empty. There had to be some measures in place to thwart thieves and she would discover what exactly they were before the doctor did and ended up on the wrong side of a spike trap or a pitfall trap.

    "I don't think it's safe for you and your assistants to go in there, Doctor. I'll go in there and clear the way." Leona suggested to the diminutive scholar. The doctor's eyes met Leona's eyes and she crossed her arms as she thought over the mage's words. She then hmmmd and nodded.

    "That's a good idea. I'll let you go ahead and scout the vault for traps and enemies. None of us are fighters, so we'll just get in your way. Once it's clear, let me know." Dr. Anna informed Leona of her decision. Leona nodded.

    "Will do, Doctor." Leona promised the doctor that she would let her know once the path was clear for her and her assistants. She then faced the stone stairs that led into the vault. It was time to earn her pay.

    [Word Count: 1,175]
    [Total Word Count: 2,271/12,500]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Golden Lacrima is valid until 9/22/2020. Proof of purchase is here. Page 18, Post Number 441
    Leona Jarnefeldt
    Leona Jarnefeldt

    Main Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Rising Star- Guild Master- Neutral Guild Ace- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- I Have Friends...- Hired Help- Idolize- The Completionist- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Taskmaster- Halloween Social - Halloween job event participant - Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Master [1000]- Senior [500] - Novice [250]- 3rd Place Event/Contest Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Summer Special Participant- Player 
    Lineage : Nemean Lion
    Position : Saint of Courage
    Posts : 1428
    Guild : Silver Wolf [Guild Master]
    Cosmic Coins : 5
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : N/A
    Experience : ‭2,440,110

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Wind Strike Magic
    Second Magic: Wind Summon Magic
    Third Magic:

    A Bird In The Sand Is Worth... Empty Re: A Bird In The Sand Is Worth...

    Post by Leona Jarnefeldt on 12th May 2019, 11:54 am

    -Inside the vault-

    Leona carefully descended the stairs and felt an immediate difference in temperature. After being out in the scorching desert sun for hours, stepping into the underground vault felt like walking into a walk-in freezer. She did not mind being in a cooler environment. The heat retained by the Adaptable Armor kept her warm enough for the temperature difference to be bearable.

    In front of Leona was a lengthy hallway wide enough for three people to walk side-by-side. The walls, ceiling, and floor were all carved out of stone. Nothing about the floor tiles seemed out of place, but that did not mean that the floor was free of danger. Recalling her previous experience with Ike in the desert temple, she began to look around for any clues that could show traps hidden in the floor. Her search was interrupted by a female voice calling from above.

    Dr. Anna called down through the opening to the vault to offer a light to the mage.

    "Do you need a torch or flashlight?" Dr. Anna inquired.

    "No thanks, Doctor. I can see just fine." Leona answered. Her natural low-light vision had taken effect and she could see clearly in the darkness. Carrying a torch or flashlight would only add an encumbrance she did not need. In theory that encumbrance could also apply to her backpack, but she did not want to explore without it since her entire water supply was in there. She also never knew when she might need to carry something that she had found in it.

    "Do you see anything interesting?" Dr. Anna asked Leona. The blonde mage looked around her and noticed that there was text chiseled on the stone walls in a language that she could not read. Ahead of her was a large stone door with a bipedal bird carved on it. Perhaps Dr. Anna could help decipher the text on the wall.

    "I see carving that's in an old language. I can't read it." Leona gave her response. Dr. Anna walked down the stairs with her two assistants following close behind holding battery-powered lanterns in their hands. The doctor and her assistants sauntered up to the wall and the two blondes held up the lanterns to illuminate the section of the wall that the doctor was trying to read.

    "Hmmm. It's Ancient Lestreki. Not too many people can read it nowadays. Most of those who can are academics or the occasional devoted hobbyist." The diminutive scholar commented. She studied the characters carefully and moved her head to follow the flow of writing.

    "The Lestrek people didn't write down too much because they had a strong oral tradition. They preferred to preserve knowledge through story and song because they felt that writing everything down would dilute its meaning and possibly warp it." Dr. Anna explained the significance of the writing. Leona knew exactly what she meant. The people of Nebdoui were transitioning from an oral tradition to pen-and-paper literacy and Leona had firsthand experience with what it was like to learn to read and write like the rest of Earthland did.

    "What does the writing say?" Leona asked Dr. Anna.

    "Oh, right. The writing tells about a shrine to the Great Bird of Prophecy, a bird that the Lestrek people held in high regard for its powers of prophecy. It could supposedly see the future and would impart what it saw to priests who attended it." Dr. Anna got back to the subject and told Leona what the writing meant. In light of that information the carving of the bipedal bird on the door made more sense. This was not a treasure vault. It was an underground temple.

    "Is that why the strange bird's carved on the door?" Leona asked the doctor while pointing to the door with her right hand. The three archaeologists shifted focus from the wall to the door that they had been pointed to and started to walk when Leona held a hand up.

    "Hang on. I'll go first." Leona told them. Dr. Anna nodded and Leona began to walk forward, stepping on every tile so that if a trap went off it would not harm the archaeologists. She had a greater resistance to injury than they did, so something that could cripple or kill the scholars would only inconvenience her. So far there were no signs of danger, but she insisted on going first.

    Leona tested each and every tile in the hallway and came up empty. For once not finding anything was a good sign. She did not think that the architects would set traps near the entrance to the temple while it was still in use by the faithful, but she could not claim insight into any ancient people other than the people of Ancient Desierto.

    The quartet made their way to the door and Dr. Anna began to inspect it under the lamp light of her dutiful assistants. Leona saw that the bird had a round head with a single long feather trailing down the back almost like a ponytail. It had a face design on its chest and its wings resembled a robe.

    Leona waited patiently while the doctor examined the carving. It did not take long for her to come up with a name for what the blonde mage was facing.

    "This carving is of the Great Bird of Prophecy. It was revered by the Lestrek people for reasons I explained earlier." She told the mage. Leona looked around for a lever or other means of opening the door but could not see one yet. Was it hidden in the floor or behind a wall panel?

    "You're wondering how to open the door, right?" The doctor casually asked Leona.

    "Ummm... yes." Leona admitted defeat with a face flushed from embarrassment. The doctor examined the door and pointed towards the left side of the stone door.

    "It's pretty easy. All you have to do is push it open." Dr. Anna told the mage. It was a good thing that the lanterns were not on her because Leona was embarrassed by how easily she had missed that detail. In her defense she was far away from the door and had not gotten close to examine it.

    "OK." Leona said meekly. The archaeologists parted to give her space and Leona walked up to the door. She placed her hands on it and pushed the door open without breaking a sweat.

    "All right. We'll wait out here while you go in and check for traps." Dr. Anna said to her hired helper.

    [Word Count: 1,110]
    [Total Word Count: 3,381/12,500]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Golden Lacrima is valid until 9/22/2020. Proof of purchase is here. Page 18, Post Number 441
    Leona Jarnefeldt
    Leona Jarnefeldt

    Main Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Rising Star- Guild Master- Neutral Guild Ace- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- I Have Friends...- Hired Help- Idolize- The Completionist- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Taskmaster- Halloween Social - Halloween job event participant - Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Master [1000]- Senior [500] - Novice [250]- 3rd Place Event/Contest Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Summer Special Participant- Player 
    Lineage : Nemean Lion
    Position : Saint of Courage
    Posts : 1428
    Guild : Silver Wolf [Guild Master]
    Cosmic Coins : 5
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : N/A
    Experience : ‭2,440,110

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Wind Strike Magic
    Second Magic: Wind Summon Magic
    Third Magic:

    A Bird In The Sand Is Worth... Empty Re: A Bird In The Sand Is Worth...

    Post by Leona Jarnefeldt on 14th May 2019, 9:02 am

    -Inside the room-

    Leona carefully stepped past the threshold and into the next room, which was of medium size and boasted a large statue of the same bird that was etched onto the stone door she had shoved open. She immediately began stepping onto every stone tile in the area to set off traps before the archaeologists did. They were peering beyond the stone door and their curiosity was piqued by the statue which dominated the room with a pose that exuded an air of regal calm and authority. Its wings were folded at its side and it looked down upon Leona with a neutral facial expression as if it were judging her.

    At its feet was a raised platform that looked to be an altar with five stone steps leading up to it. Etched on the front of the altar was an image of the Great Bird of Prophecy and more of the letters of Ancient Lestreki. Flanking the altar were two golden bowls filled with oil; presumably the torches were lit during religious ceremonies. Dr. Anna would have to provide a translation of what was etched on the front of the altar.

    Speaking of which, they had already moved past the threshold and were fast approaching the stone statue of the Great Bird of Prophecy. Leona could only watch as the trio walked briskly towards it without caring about where they were walking. She could only hope that nothing happened to them before she could get to their side.

    To the mage's relief nothing bad happened to the curious academics as they approached the altar. The two assistants lit the way with their lanterns and the diminutive doctor began to read the letters. Dr. Anna began to translate the altar under the watchful eye of Leona, who was looking around the room for signs of trouble. On the left side of the room she noticed a door just like the one they had used to enter the room

    "To see the true wonder of the bird, make an offering of valuable metal." Dr. Anna read aloud.

    Leona had an idea of what that meant. Gold or silver would fit the bill, but where could they find some on short notice? Dr. Anna and her assistants pondered that question while Leona walked over to the door and began to push on it to try and open it. Try as the blonde might, the door refused to budge. Even the Argent Gloves were of no help; the door simply would not open.

    "You wouldn't happen to have an appreciable quantity of gold or silver, would you?" Dr. Anna asked the dreaded question. Leona's eyes turned to the Silver Longsword on her hip. She was loathe to part with it because it was her best means of protection from spirits and other supernatural entities. However, there might not be any choice in the matter. She would have to part with it if she wanted to explore the rest of the underground temple.

    "I have a Silver Longsword." Leona answered, drawing the gleaming blade from its scabbard to show it to the doctor. She nodded in approval.

    "That should do it." She said to Leona. Leona certainly hoped that it would. She would be giving up a valuable weapon for this expedition. The mage approached the altar and gently laid the sword lengthwise onto the smooth stone surface. The doctor's assistant's gasped and jumped back as the room suddenly began glowing an unworldly blue.

    "The torches... they're lit!" Dr. Anna exclaimed. Leona was surprised that the flames were blue instead of a normal color. Of greater interest were the eyes of the statue, which flashed white as its wings dramatically flared out. The sound of stone grinding against stone filled the air.

    "The door's opening!" One of the assistants exclaimed, pointing a finger towards the door on the left side of the room. True to her word, the door had opened, granting the party access to what lay beyond the threshold. Leona looked towards the altar and her Silver Longsword had vanished without a trace. Her heart sank into her stomach. She really liked that sword.

    "Great! Let's go see what's inside!" Dr. Anna excitedly exclaimed before walking briskly towards the newly opened door. Leona sighed. As knowledgeable about ancient civilizations as the doctor was, she did not have any self-preservation instincts whatsoever. The blonde mage put aside the issue of her missing longsword and hurried to get in front of the doctor before she did something that would get her hurt or killed. Leona squeezed through the door just before the doctor did... following close behind were the two assistants carrying the lanterns.

    -Inside the hallway-

    Leona jogged a few more steps and paused in place as Dr. Anna and her assistants passed through the doorway. She looked around and saw a lot of empty torch sconces lining the hallway, which was the same length and width as the hallway at the beginning of the shrine. Leona noticed Dr. Anna attempting to get ahead of her, so the blonde had to quickly get in front of the doctor to test for traps.

    Leona began testing the tiles and had found nothing so far. Maybe this temple was just an ordinary place of worship and not a place brimming with death traps. She would have to hope that was the case because Dr. Anna's curiosity was getting the better of her.

    "What does this say?" Dr. Anna asked no one in particular as she began to examine a part of the wall with the Great Bird of Prophecy and letters carved beneath its feet. The assistants hurried to the scholar's side and lit the wall with the yellow glow of their lanterns. Leona laid eyes on the section that had piqued the doctor's interest and saw why it was interesting.

    The bird and the message had been separated from the rest of the wall by a square with rounded edges chiseled around it. Leona watched as the doctor began to translate the writing.

    "Those who wish to see the wonder of the great bird must pass through three trials." The scholar began translating. Leona wondered what those three trials were. She also wondered how she was going to get the doctor and her assistants through the trials without them getting hurt or killed. Dr. Anna was not the most careful of archaeologists... she hurried into new rooms instead of letting Leona explore them first to check for danger.

    Leona was getting worried because Dr. Anna had spotted another section of wall similar to the section she had just translated. Maybe the new section would offer clues about the "three trials" that they would have to pass to get through the temple. Leona could only hope that one of the trials did not involve heights. She really hated heights.

    [Word Count: 1,159]
    [Total Word Count: 4,540/12,500]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Golden Lacrima is valid until 9/22/2020. Proof of purchase is here. Page 18, Post Number 441
    Leona Jarnefeldt
    Leona Jarnefeldt

    Main Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Rising Star- Guild Master- Neutral Guild Ace- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- I Have Friends...- Hired Help- Idolize- The Completionist- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Taskmaster- Halloween Social - Halloween job event participant - Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Master [1000]- Senior [500] - Novice [250]- 3rd Place Event/Contest Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Summer Special Participant- Player 
    Lineage : Nemean Lion
    Position : Saint of Courage
    Posts : 1428
    Guild : Silver Wolf [Guild Master]
    Cosmic Coins : 5
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : N/A
    Experience : ‭2,440,110

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Wind Strike Magic
    Second Magic: Wind Summon Magic
    Third Magic:

    A Bird In The Sand Is Worth... Empty Re: A Bird In The Sand Is Worth...

    Post by Leona Jarnefeldt on 14th May 2019, 11:08 pm

    While the Silver Wolf Guild Mistress was keeping a watch for danger Dr. Anna had found another panel and was busy reading it for clues to impart to the blonde mage. Getting any clues she could was important because not only would Leona have to complete the trial, but she would also have to get Dr. Anna and her assistants through the trial as well. The doctor's tendency to put the pursuit of knowledge ahead of self-preservation was not making Leona's job easy, but it was part of a Wizard Saint's job to save people, even if she was saving people from themselves.

    "Oh! Here we go!" Dr. Anna exclaimed.

    "The first trial is the trial of wisdom. Let's see. It says that in order to pass one must forsake the things of the world and seek only knowledge." Dr. Anna translated the inscription. Leona wondered what exactly that meant. She would find out soon enough because at the end of the hallway was a large stone double door with the Great Bird of Prophecy carved onto it. Dr. Anna's attention invariably turned towards it and she began to walk at a brisk pace, leaving Leona scrambling to catch up to the academic before she did something that got her in trouble.

    Leona hurried ahead of the doctor and used the strength imparted by the Argent Gloves to push the door in the middle and open it for the party. As soon as it opened it began to slide closed, lending a sense of urgency to the situation. Dr. Anna and her assistants hurried through the door and Leona sprinted in after them just as the door threatened to close on the mage. Leona sighed with relief as the door slammed shut behind her.

    -Inside the room-

    The quartet found themselves inside what looked like a large rectangular room with heaps of treasure lining both shelves on the wall and the floor itself. There were Jewels beyond counting, gold coins overflowing from wooden treasure chests stationed in the few spaces where there were not Jewels or coins lining the floor, elaborate gold and silver jewelry heaped on top of gold coins, and . Dr. Anna and her assistants were astounded at the sheer wealth just lying before them. Leona was also amazed... she had never seen this much wealth in one place, not even in the sultan's palace in the Tri-Council City or in the Emperor's palace in Midi.

    In front of them was a large set of double doors with a slot next to it. At first Leona wondered if they could buy their way out of the room but then remembered the advice to abandon worldly things and seek only knowledge. There had to be a relation between the slot and the clue.

    "Just look at it all." The awestruck doctor finally managed to say aloud. The three blondes with her were certainly looking at all the treasure. There was so much of it here that no one present could even begin to calculate its total worth, which was easily in the hundred millions if not low billions. Leona had to focus on finding knowledge, but she permitted her mind to wander for a moment. It wandered to the possibilities that could be made a reality with all the money in the room.

    A quarter of the treasure here could buy the Tri-Council City and still have plenty left over for whatever Leona wanted. Half of the treasure could buy Desierto in its entirety or turn Nebdoui and its allies into a force to be reckoned with by being able to buy high-quality weapons with which to keep raiders and slavers at bay. It could also be used to turn the already formidable Silver Wolf Guild Hall into a truly unassailable fortress and the remainder would go into its coffers, making Silver Wolf one of the wealthiest guilds in Earthland.

    Leona was brought back to reality by Dr. Anna, who suggested that they being to search for something that represented knowledge.

    "That's a good idea, but where do we start looking?" Leona asked her. The doctor put her hands on her hips and looked around the room. Her eyes immediately went to the treasure chests.

    "I'd start searching the treasure chests. There's gotta be something in there that can help us. Besides the money, that is." Dr. Anna offered a suggestion to the mage. Leona could tell that the scholar was not entirely immune to her mind wandering in mid-task. The mage walked over to a treasure chest piled high with gold and silver necklaces and began shoveling it out onto the Jewel-encrusted floor.

    The jewelry clinked as Leona shoveled it out with her hands in search of the real prize. It was slow going, but Leona eventually reached the bottom and had nothing to show for it. She turned to the doctor, who was up to her elbows in Jewels from digging in a chest in the corner of the room. Her two assistants were digging through jewelry and gold coins but were getting nowhere fast.

    "Who knew that gold coins were so heavy?" A blonde with a ponytail held up by a green tie asked her companion.

    "Well, metal DOES weigh a lot, so..." Her companion, a blonde with shoulder-length blonde hair that hung freely, answered in a matter-of-fact tone.

    "I've got nothing." Dr. Anna commented before withdrawing her hands from the chest.

    "Me neither." The ponytail-wearing blonde said.

    "Same here." The other assistant chimed in.

    "I didn't find any knowledge." Leona commented. The quartet turned to the nearest treasure chests and split off to begin emptying them in the hopes of finding whatever it was that they were after. The sound of coins and Jewels clinking soon filled the room as the explorers set to work looking for the item that would help them complete the first of three trials.

    Leona was busy digging through a chest of elaborately engraved gold and silver rings, which was a lot easier to dig through than Jewels or gold coins because the rings were lighter and thus easier to remove by hand. The mage got halfway through the chest when she felt her fingers touch something that was rectangular and kind of heavy. Her fingertips felt something soft and wrinkly... it felt like paper on her fingertips.

    The blonde mage resumed digging and eventually pulled from the chest a book with a solid gold cover and silver hinges. Dr. Anna and the assistants spotted the find and abandoned their own efforts in favor of crowding around the elaborate book. The diminutive doctor took it into her hands and began to appraise the find with her eyes. She then looked up from the book and towards the three blondes who had gathered around her.

    "The inscription said to seek knowledge. I strongly believe that we are holding the best symbol of knowledge that one can find. Ladies, I believe that we have found what we are looking for." Dr. Anna announced to the quartet. Leona's eyes then turned to the slot next to the door on the far side of the room. Maybe the group had to drop the book in the slot in order to be able to progress further.

    [Word Count: 1,236]
    [Total Word Count: 5,776/12,500]



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    Leona Jarnefeldt
    Leona Jarnefeldt

    Main Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Rising Star- Guild Master- Neutral Guild Ace- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- I Have Friends...- Hired Help- Idolize- The Completionist- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Taskmaster- Halloween Social - Halloween job event participant - Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Master [1000]- Senior [500] - Novice [250]- 3rd Place Event/Contest Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Summer Special Participant- Player 
    Lineage : Nemean Lion
    Position : Saint of Courage
    Posts : 1428
    Guild : Silver Wolf [Guild Master]
    Cosmic Coins : 5
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    Experience : ‭2,440,110

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Wind Strike Magic
    Second Magic: Wind Summon Magic
    Third Magic:

    A Bird In The Sand Is Worth... Empty Re: A Bird In The Sand Is Worth...

    Post by Leona Jarnefeldt on 15th May 2019, 12:17 pm

    Dr. Anna held the book in her hands and looked it over with an awe that bordered on religious. In her hands was a tome worth an untold sum of Jewels. Leona was fairly certain that its contents were as valuable as Jewels because the doctor said that the Lestreki people did not leave very many written records of their society. She could tell that the doctor was loathe to part with the gilded book the same way Leona was loathe to part with her Silver Longsword earlier in the temple. Leona had given up her sword to help the team... now it was time for Dr. Anna to give up the book so that the quartet could progress.

    "Are there any other books that we can find?" The ponytail-wearing blonde asked the group.

    "Why do you ask that?" The other blonde assistant inquired skeptically.

    "Did you ever see that adventure movie where the guy was in the underground temple and he had to pick the right cup to fill with water and then drink from it? Remember what happened to the guy who picked the wrong cup?" The first girl asked. The second assistant thought it over for a moment and then looked her companion straight in the eyes.

    "You know, that's a good point, Melanie." The other blonde conceded. Leona had no idea what they were talking about, but the implication was that there were dire consequences for picking the wrong cup in the movie they were discussing. The implication was that picking the wrong book to put in the slot might not end well for the quartet. With that possibility in mind Leon instantly went to digging in the first treasure chest she got to.

    Leona soon heard the two blonde assistants join her in the endeavor to find another book... if one even existed. While the three blondes worked Dr. Anna was standing in the corner looking longingly at the book. It was clear that she did not want to part with it. Leona turned back to the chest and continued digging until all the gold coins had been removed. There was no book in the bottom this time.

    "I've got nothing." Leona commented to the assistants. They pulled their hands out of the chests with nothing to show for their efforts either. Dr. Anna finally saw the slot next to the double doors and looked at Leona. Leona looked back at her, then turned to dig in the next container.

    -Thirty minutes later-

    The three blondes had worked hard to empty all the treasure chests in the room and had nothing but sore arms to show for their work. Having dug through and emptied all the containers, they were sure that any other books were not in a chest. Melanie's eyes turned towards the piles of coins and Jewels that liberally coated the floors of the room.

    "We might have to go digging under the piles of money to find what we're after." Melanie suggested. Leona saw the piles on the floor and in the corner and concurred with her. The other assistant walked to the bottom left corner of the room near the entrance and began to dig through the pile of money.

    "Pick a corner, any corner." The assistant said dryly. Melanie and Leona went to the top left corner and top right corner respectively and went to work, ignoring their sore arms and sifting through more money than they could even begin to count. It was slow going because there was so much to dig through, but after a solid six minutes of digging the second blonde stood up straight with empty hands.

    "I didn't find anything." She declared. Leona reached the bottom of her corner and stood up to show that her hands were empty too.

    "Nothing here." Leona chimed in. Melanie was still digging in her corner and was about to give up when she paused. She sifted through the pile faster and soon pulled out an old book that was in surprisingly good shape despite its age. On its cover were characters of the Ancient Lestreki language. Melanie blew the light coat of dust off the front cover and handed it to Dr. Anna, who put the new book on top of the old one.

    "Hmmm... this is quite the find, Melanie. It looks like an Ancient Lestreki book. It's at least five centuries old... and it looks like it was just made only five years ago." Dr. Anna commented on the condition of the older book. Leona and the second assistant walked over to the doctor and looked towards the slot. A choice would have to be made.

    "It looks like we're not getting out of here without putting one of the books in the slot. We're going to have to choose which one goes." Leona said to the doctor. Dr. Anna looked up at the mage with a pained expression on her face.

    "I know, I know. But which one? The riddle said to forsake all of the worldly things and seek only knowledge. The best representation of knowledge is a book, but which book?" Dr. Anna replied to Leona's statement with a very good question. While Leona, the second assistant, and the doctor thought over the perplexing question, Melanie took the older book and pushed it into the slot before anyone could react.

    "What? Why?" Dr. Anna asked her assistant in a tone of sadness and frustration.

    "It's the old book, Doctor Anna. Think about it. That shiny book is made out of gold and silver, which are worth a lot of money. We're not supposed to pursue money. We're supposed to pursue knowledge." Melanie defended her choice with conviction. Her voice sounded confident, but Leona could tell that the youth was hesitant about going up against an authority figure and a mentor. The door next to the slot rumbled and the bird etched onto the door glowed white. The sound of stone grinding against stone echoed throughout the room as the door opened towards the group.

    "It looks like you were right, Melanie. It was a risky move to make, but you were right. Well done." Dr. Anna praised Melanie for her bold decision to take the old book and push it into the slot without hesitation. The ponytail-wearing blonde blushed at the praise from the doctor and her face showed both relief and embarrassment. She was likely feeling a rush of euphoria because she still had a career to look forward to after the internship was over.

    "How did you know?" The second assistant asked.

    "It's easy, Stacy. In the movie the guy picked the old cup because it was the right choice considering the clue he was given. I picked the old book because it best fit the description of what we were supposed to look for." Melanie answered.

    "That makes sense." Stacy conceded again. Dr. Anna set down the book of gold and silver on a stone shelf that was dotted with gold and silver necklaces inlaid with rubies.

    "All right then, the temple's not gonna explore itself. Let's get going." Dr. Anna told the group. Leona led the way while Melanie and Stacy hurried to get their lanterns and Dr. Anna made sure that they did not get left behind. Once the quartet were through the doors they shut behind the quartet, leaving them in another dark hallway.

    [Word Count: 1,254]
    [Total Word Count: 7,030/12,500]


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    Golden Lacrima is valid until 9/22/2020. Proof of purchase is here. Page 18, Post Number 441
    Leona Jarnefeldt
    Leona Jarnefeldt

    Main Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Rising Star- Guild Master- Neutral Guild Ace- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- I Have Friends...- Hired Help- Idolize- The Completionist- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Taskmaster- Halloween Social - Halloween job event participant - Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Master [1000]- Senior [500] - Novice [250]- 3rd Place Event/Contest Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Summer Special Participant- Player 
    Lineage : Nemean Lion
    Position : Saint of Courage
    Posts : 1428
    Guild : Silver Wolf [Guild Master]
    Cosmic Coins : 5
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    Experience : ‭2,440,110

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Wind Strike Magic
    Second Magic: Wind Summon Magic
    Third Magic:

    A Bird In The Sand Is Worth... Empty Re: A Bird In The Sand Is Worth...

    Post by Leona Jarnefeldt on 15th May 2019, 1:08 pm

    -In the hallway-

    The quartet found themselves in another dark hallway that was soon lit by the lanterns that Melanie and Stacy dutifully carried. The good doctor began to immediately look for another panel that contained clues to the next trial that they would have to undertake. After a minute of searching she located the panel and began to read from it while Melanie and Stay lit it for the doctor's convenience. Leona relied on her natural low-light vision to look for trouble while the translation work was taking place.

    "OK, it reads here that the next trial is the trail of faith." Dr. Anna read aloud for Leona's benefit.

    "It reads that we are to believe in the Great Bird of Prophecy and follow it regardless of the danger in our path, for the Great Bird will watch over the faithful and protect them." Dr. Anna finished reading the inscription. Leona was more than a little confused. A trial of faith? What did that mean?

    "OK then. Looks like we've got another trial ahead of us. I'll lead the way." Leona told the party.

    "By all means, go ahead." Dr. Anna said to the mage, making way for the mage to go first. Leona walked down the hallway with her three charges in tow until they got to another stone door with the Great Bird looking down on them in judgment. It slid up and open without them having to do anything other than approach it, something which raised a red flag for Leona. When things were that easy it was often a trap.

    "Be careful, guys." Leona warned the group as she went in first. They followed behind her and the door closed behind them, leaving them in a room full of raised square platforms. Leona frowned when she saw what was ahead of them.

    -Inside the Chamber of Faith-

    "Well, it looks like we're gonna have to jump for it until we get across." Dr. Anna said to the three blondes as they stood on a platform that faced a door on the other side of the room. There was a series of raised square platforms that were raised above the floor and held in place by solid iron chains, one attached to each corner of the platform. The setup vaguely resembled a chess board. Below the platforms was a floor that was a good ways down, giving the explorers a visible incentive to not miss their jumps.

    "Great." Leona commented sarcastically. She hated heights and she hated having to jump on platforms suspended over heights. One of her greatest fears was laid out before her, much to Leona's considerable chagrin. There was no way out of this room other than to cross, so she had to take this challenge.

    "Good luck Leona!" Dr. Anna wished the mage. Melanie and Stacy gave thumbs-up signs to the blonde, who turned back to the platforms and began thinking over her first jump.

    "Remember that the Great Bird protects the faithful!" She called out a reminder. Leona recalled the clue and started looking around for any places the Great Bird was carved. A glance at the walls showed that there were no statues to jump towards, so the blonde exerted a little effort to think critically and looked towards the platforms she had to jump on. That was it. She spotted the Great Bird of Prophecy on some of the hanging platforms. It had its wings outstretched and it was facing forward like it was flying towards the viewer.

    "The Great Bird's on the platforms! The Great Bird's etched on some of the platforms!" Leona called out to the archaeologists. She then jumped towards the first of them, which was right in front of her. She landed on her feet without any problem and began looking for the next safe platform, which was to her right. Leona ran and jumped for it and landed without trouble. So far, so good.

    Now that she was on the second platform she began to look for other points that were safe to jump on. She spotted one to her right with an ordinary platform between her and the safe one. Leona took a deep breath and got a running start, then jumped and landed on the next platform, then kept running as it swayed under her feet and nearly threw off her jump as it wobbled first to the left, then swung in a slow arc to the right. She jumped and landed on the safe platform but landed on her backside.

    Leona took a few moments to breathe and looked around to assess her progress. She had not even reached the one-quarter mark yet... she had a ways to go before this trial was over. Leona stood up again and surveyed the platforms around her to locate the next safe zone. The good news was that one was in front of her. The bad news was that she would have to jump on two consecutive danger zones to reach it.

    The mage took a few steps back, then got a running start and made the leap onto the first platform. Doing her best to ignore its rocking and swaying, Leona kept running forward and managed to stay on her feet as it wobbled from side to side and jumped. The blonde landed on her feet and stopped in place because the platform took a sudden dramatic tilt backwards, nearly dumping her off of it. She stayed steady and waited until the platform dipped forward, then jumped and barely managed to land on the safe platform in front of her; the jump was so close that her heels were hanging off of the edge of the platform.

    The panicking blonde rolled her arms in circles in an effort to balance herself enough to either recover completely or to at least fall forward. The latter happened. Leona fell forward and landed on her chest, but at least she did not fall into the pit looming behind her. The mage stood up and called out to her charges.

    "I'm OK!" Leona called out, doing so to reassure herself as much as she was reassuring them that she was OK and able to complete the trail. Leona looked around and found that she was now at the one-quarter mark of the room. She was not sure how much more her legs could take, but she would have to hang on for the sake of Dr. Anna and her assistants. They looked to be healthy, but they were not athletes by any stretch of the imagination.

    Safe Platform Markers:
    A Bird In The Sand Is Worth... Xatu-f

    [Word Count: 1,112]
    [Total Word Count: 8,142/12,500]


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    Leona Jarnefeldt
    Leona Jarnefeldt

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    Lineage : Nemean Lion
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    Guild : Silver Wolf [Guild Master]
    Cosmic Coins : 5
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    Experience : ‭2,440,110

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Wind Strike Magic
    Second Magic: Wind Summon Magic
    Third Magic:

    A Bird In The Sand Is Worth... Empty Re: A Bird In The Sand Is Worth...

    Post by Leona Jarnefeldt on 15th May 2019, 4:10 pm

    "Great! Keep going!" Dr. Anna urged Leona. Leona frowned a little at the doctor's encouragement. It was easy to say "Keep going!" when one was not afraid of heights and one's legs did not feel like jelly. Leona kept her comments to herself and looked for the next safe point to jump to. She spotted one to her right, so Leona stood up, took a few steps back, and ran forward before jumping and landing on her feet. She looked again and saw one to her left, so she turned around and ran before jumping on it and skidding to a stop.

    She regained her balance and glanced around for another safe platform to jump to. Again she spotted one, but this time there were three consecutive normal platforms between her and the next safe point. Leona stretched her legs and faced the first normal platform, then backed up and got a running start. She leapt and landed on all fours on the next surface, which began to wobble as she stood up and ran forward, leaping just as the platform suddenly took a dip downward. She landed on her knees and scraped them on the stone, but she did not have time to be hurt because her precarious perch began to sway left and right with her still on it.

    Leona forced herself to stand up and run for it, leaping onto the second platform and causing it to sway dramatically upward, almost dumping the hapless mage backwards into the pit. She stood her ground and waited until the surface leveled out before running and jumping for the third platform. Leona barely missed the edge and landed on her feet, falling forward in the process. She forced herself up and got her bearings, then ran for it and jumped for the safe point. Just before she jumped the platform dipped down.

    Leona gasped as she reached out for the edge of the safe point and grabbed onto it with inches to spare. The blonde pulled herself up and crawled onto the platform, then crawled to the center and lay on her side while panting. She had barely made that jump and she knew it. After a few minutes of recovery she got up and looked for the next perch to jump to.

    Thankfully it was right in front of her. Leona stood up and got a running start, leaping to the platform with ease and landing in the exact center of the bird's chest. She did not know how many more jumps and landings her legs could take before they refused to work, but at least she had reached the halfway point of the room. Now she only needed to jump to ten more platforms to reach the end of the room and complete the Trial of Faith.

    She needed to jump across ten more platforms to reach the end. Eight of them were in a row and the last two were to the left of the eighth platform, which was one of the two that bore the mark of the Great Bird. The other was the last one just before the other side of the room. The ninth was an ordinary platform, as were the seven before the first safe zone.

    Leona's work was cut out for her. She had to fight both her fear of heights and her aching legs that were pleading for an end to the painful cycle of run, jump, and land. She was getting close to the end of the trial. She just needed to muster the energy to see it through and reach the other side. That was easier said than done... until she felt a sudden surge in adrenaline that gave her exactly the boost she needed to get the job done.

    Leona faced forward and began to run with greater speed than she had before. She jumped to the first platform and landed, then kept going and jumped across the next two like she were skipping on level ground. The energized blonde repeated the process and leaped across the next two platforms without losing speed, then jumped to the third. She landed on the sixth and was only one away from a steady landing zone, a fact that gave her the determination to keep going.

    She ran forward and jumped, landing on the seventh platform and enduring the swaying until it leveled out. As soon as it leveled out she ran and leaped for the eighth platform, landing on the bird's face and turning to her left. Ahead of her was the last of the wobbly platforms before she reached the tenth one and safety. Leona faced it, sprinted forward, and leaped for it. She landed squarely in the middle of the platform and decided to push on despite the perch rolling about and threatening to dump her backwards.

    Leona steadied herself and made a running jump to the last platform. She landed on all fours in the middle of the safe platform. She stood up and made one last jump, reaching the other side with ease. Upon landing she noticed a lever located next to the door.

    "You made it!" Dr. Anna called out joyfully. Leona did a fist pump and grabbed the lever, pulling it sharply down. The stone door opened up, but that was not all that happened. The sound of stone grinding against stone rumbled and echoed throughout the room as the floor shook a little, but not enough to endanger the mage's footing. To her surprise and joy the pit filled in with a rising floor that had square holes that fit the hanging platforms exactly. Now it was completely safe for Dr. Anna and her assistants to cross over without having to jump for their lives like she had.

    "C'mon, hurry!" Leona urgently called to the archaeologists. She did not know how long the floor would remain filled in, so she tried to get them to cross as quickly as possible. The trio got the message and sprinted across the floor, arriving at Leona's location within a minute and a half of the call being issued. The doctor was quick to congratulate Leona for her success in completing the Trial of Faith.

    "Way to go, Leona! I knew you could do it!" Dr. Anna congratulated the exhausted mage as she walked by with Melanie and Stacy at her side. The adrenaline surge which had propelled Leona across the seemingly endless series of platforms had worn off and she was feeling the full effects of her physical activity. Her legs were begging her to stop moving and to stay still for an hour or two, but she had to keep going. Dr. Anna and her assistants had already moved into the next hallway.

    Leona forced herself up and hurried into the next hallway. As soon as she had done so the door closed behind her. The exhausted mage hoped that the third trial was a lot easier than the two trials that had come before it. Almost anything would be easier than jumping from platform to platform while trying to avoid falling into a pit.

    [Word Count: 1,198]
    [Total Word Count: 9,340/12,500]
    Power of Apocalypse has been used. It has entered a cooldown of six posts.


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    Leona Jarnefeldt
    Leona Jarnefeldt

    Main Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Rising Star- Guild Master- Neutral Guild Ace- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- I Have Friends...- Hired Help- Idolize- The Completionist- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Taskmaster- Halloween Social - Halloween job event participant - Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Master [1000]- Senior [500] - Novice [250]- 3rd Place Event/Contest Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Summer Special Participant- Player 
    Lineage : Nemean Lion
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    Posts : 1428
    Guild : Silver Wolf [Guild Master]
    Cosmic Coins : 5
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    Mentor : N/A
    Experience : ‭2,440,110

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Wind Strike Magic
    Second Magic: Wind Summon Magic
    Third Magic:

    A Bird In The Sand Is Worth... Empty Re: A Bird In The Sand Is Worth...

    Post by Leona Jarnefeldt on 15th May 2019, 5:29 pm

    -In the hallway-

    Leona slowly and painfully walked over to the archaeologists, who had already located another inscription and were busy deciphering its meaning. Leona hobbled over to them and watched for trouble as the scholars did their job. If the name "Three Trails" was accurate, this would be the final test of the group before they earned the privilege of seeing "the wonder of the Great Bird of Prophecy." Leona hoped that the end reward would be worth all the trouble that the quartet had gone through to get this far.

    "Here we go! Notes on the final trial, the Trial of Endurance!" Dr. Anna said to Leona. Leona did not like the sound of that. She had already underwent one trial of endurance when she took on and completed the Trial of Faith. What physically taxing feat would she have to do this time?

    "Press forward no matter what lies ahead. Follow the Great Bird, who rewards those with the ability to endure." Dr. Anna read the clue to Leona. Leona took that statement and tried to determine what it could possibly mean. The group then walked down the hallway towards an open door that led to a large room. Up ahead was the final trial the group would have to face.

    -Inside the Trial of Endurance-

    The quartet walked into the room and the door closed behind them. Ahead of the was a large hallway dotted with stone walls that reached up to waist height on an average person. At the very end of the corridor was a giant fan placed behind metal grills that were in place to protect the fan... or to keep supplicants of the Great Bird from getting sucked into it and meeting a messy end. Leona looked at the three archaeologists to hear what they had to say before things got underway.

    "Well, looks like we're in a primitive form of a wind tunnel." Dr. Anna said to Leona.

    "It looks like you're going to have to go through the wind tunnel and make it to the end. We're not as physically fit as you are, so you'll have to do the legwork for this trial." Melanie said to Leona.

    "I'd use the walls for cover whenever the fan begins to blow. If you don't the sheer force of the air will just knock you back to the beginning and you'll have to start all over." Stacy offered her advice to the blonde mage. Leona's legs were screaming and pleading with her not to run or jump again for a good long while, preferably for the rest of the day. Leona would not get the luxury to rest until the quartet were through the temple, so she clenched her teeth and mustered the energy to continue.

    "OK. I'm going for it. Wish me luck!" Leona said to the group, who smiled and gave her thumbs-up gestures before the mage started to walk forward, aiming for the first half-wall. As soon as she set foot on the gray tile floor the fan at the end of the hallway began to spin and the wind picked up. Leona broke into a jog and reached the half wall, ducking behind it just as the wind began to increase in speed to the point she would have been blown backwards had she been out in the open.

    Leona felt her hair blow about as the air pushed against the stone wall to no avail. Once the blades of the fan began to slow down she stood up and ran for the next wall to take shelter behind. Once she had ducked behind the second wall she began to notice a pattern to their placement. They were placed in a zig-zag pattern like the flags of a ski slalom course. That made her life easier because all she had to do was sprint from cover to cover instead of having to make a straight run for the end of the tunnel and hope that she was fast enough to make it before the fan blew her backwards.

    Leona waited until the fan stopped, then bolted for the third piece of cover. On the way her foot felt a tile sink and the wind reversed direction, almost catching Leona and dragging her forward before she reached cover and crawled behind it. Leona flattened herself against the floor and waited for the wind to die down before raising herself to her knees.

    That unexpected change in direction got Leona to thinking. If she were able to find a way to regulate the speed at which she was dragged forward, she could use it as a shortcut to get down the hallway and save herself a lot of time and energy. However, there was also the possibility that her plan could backfire in the worst of ways and she could end up getting sucked into the fan blades and turned into chunks of Guild Mistress. Leona decided against it and opted to expend a little more time and effort so that she stood a chance of getting out of this temple alive and intact.

    Leona turned her attention from the fan blades to the floor to try and spot any more tiles that could change the direction of the wind. She did not see any on her first look around and was about to stand up when the wind began to blow forward. Leona remained where she was and waited for another gap before even thinking of making a move. Once it stopped she stood up and sprinted for the next wall, sliding down behind it just before the wind picked up again.

    Leona's legs had gone from passive rebellion to open mutiny at this point. They were hurting badly and could not bend very well, let alone support her weight on them. The mage remained in place because her legs simply refused to cooperate with her. Three on-and-off cycles of the wind tunnel passed as the blonde sat helplessly, unable to move her legs.

    She needed to get moving again, but how? The adrenaline surge from earlier had long since worn off and so did the increase in speed that came with it. She was not sure that she could muster another miraculous burst of energy like the one that had gotten her through the Trial of Faith. Leona did not have very much left in the tank, but she would try to get moving again so that her charges did not have to take risks that could end up getting them killed.

    Leona recalled the part of the inscription that said to follow the Great Bird. She looked around for signs of it but could not see any carvings on the half-walls or on the full-height walls that composed the corridor that the challenge took place in. What could she do to ensure that she survived long enough to complete the Trial of Endurance?

    Maybe she should take a closer look at the floor. She was already seated, so it would not require very much effort on her part to get into place for an easy search. Leona turned to the next half-wall and began taking a closer look at the floor tiles to see if she could find any with the mark of the Great Bird carved upon them.

    [Word Count: 1,240]
    [Total Word Count: 10,580/12,500]
    Power of Apocalypse has five posts of cooldown time remaining.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Golden Lacrima is valid until 9/22/2020. Proof of purchase is here. Page 18, Post Number 441
    Leona Jarnefeldt
    Leona Jarnefeldt

    Main Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Rising Star- Guild Master- Neutral Guild Ace- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- I Have Friends...- Hired Help- Idolize- The Completionist- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Taskmaster- Halloween Social - Halloween job event participant - Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Master [1000]- Senior [500] - Novice [250]- 3rd Place Event/Contest Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Summer Special Participant- Player 
    Lineage : Nemean Lion
    Position : Saint of Courage
    Posts : 1428
    Guild : Silver Wolf [Guild Master]
    Cosmic Coins : 5
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : N/A
    Experience : ‭2,440,110

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Wind Strike Magic
    Second Magic: Wind Summon Magic
    Third Magic:

    A Bird In The Sand Is Worth... Empty Re: A Bird In The Sand Is Worth...

    Post by Leona Jarnefeldt on 15th May 2019, 8:33 pm

    Leona stayed where she was because her legs were refusing to move. She examined the floor and the walls for any sign of the Great Bird but did not see it. Maybe the clue on the wall was not a clue at all but a simple statement of fact... only those with the will to endure the challenge would make it through to the end. Leona would not have any special help this time. She would just have to power through this challenge on her own. That was easier said than done.

    Leona somehow found the will to stand up and gripped the top of the wall to use as leverage to force herself up for one last effort. If she could make it through another sixteen walls, she could get through the obstacle course and complete the trial. All she had to do was time her movements just right and endure the challenge that the wind tunnel added to the task. With great effort Leona forced herself to her feet as the wind died down and jogged to the next wall, inching closer to her goal with each modest success.

    She hustled to the next wall and the next and the next before she had to take a knee behind shelter and take a short break. The wind picked up and blew her hair about but otherwise did not deter the fatigued mage, who waited for her chance to move. When the time came, she took it. She sprinted to the next wall and dove behind cover before the fan could reverse and pull her into harm's way... she was glad that she wore the Adaptable Armor because otherwise her torso would have taken a beating from all the diving to safety she had been forced to do over the course of the job. Now only ten walls stood between her and the end. Leona pushed herself off the stone floor and waited for a break in the wind tunnel.

    When the fan finally stopped blowing Leona hurried to the next wall and ducked until the blades slowed down, then sprinted to the next and took a knee. She waited two full cycles to give her legs some time to recover before the sprint to the next wall. They were trying to rebel on her again, but Leona stretched them and forced them back into compliance, or at least made them cooperate enough to get her behind another wall or two.

    Leona dashed for safety and made it to the next shelter, then the next, then the one after that. Now six five walls stood between Leona and the end, but getting closer to the fan blades meant that the force they could put out was also increased. The increased force of the air would tax Leona's decreasing reserves of stamina even more, which was a sadistic joke because the end of the trial was so close. The blonde wanted to just make a dash for the next wall while the blades were spinning down, but getting greedy now would only undo all the hard work she had put into making it this far. She just stayed where she was and took a break to build up enough stamina to make the next sprint.

    Leona passed four full cycles behind shelter until the fourth finally stopped stopped. She burst from behind the wall and dropped behind the fifth, then waited again and rushed for the fourth before the fan could blow again. She paused in place and waited, then seized the opportunity to make a dash to the third, then the second before the fan could spin up again and push her. The door was so close by that it was painful, but she was not going to blow it at the last moment by getting greedy and pushing her luck. It was best to just wait for the right moment like she had all along and let her legs recover before making the final push for the exit.

    Leona took a deep breath and stretched her legs. The end was near. All she had to do was wait for the right time and go for it. Once the fan quit blowing her hair around she rushed for the final wall and dropped to a knee, then rushed for the doorway and a lever placed in front of it. Leona hurried over to pull the lever but felt her foot sink as a tile dropped. She knew what that meant... the fan was going to reverse course and pull her in!

    She grabbed for the lever and wrapped her hands around it, then pulled down with all her might and tried to get to the doorway before she was pulled in and turned into minced mage. Leona grabbed the left edge of the doorway and hung on with what strength was left to her as the fan pulled at her with all its mechanical might. Her legs lifted off the ground as she resembled a flag in a windstorm and she was parallel to the floor.

    Leona held on until she felt the fan blades slowing their rotation and eventually stopping entirely; the exhausted mage was left lying on the floor but was otherwise unharmed. The half-walls slid into the floor and the fan blades did not move again. Leona stood up and staggered for the doorframe, turning back and shouting to the archaeologists.

    "COME ON! IT'S CLEAR!" Leona shouted to them. She leaned against the stone door and waited for her charges to catch up. Now the mage could finally slow down and give her exhausted legs the break they deserved after all of the challenges they had gotten her through. Leona heard the trio catch up to her and stood up straight to face them.

    "Looks like we made it, Leona. We completed all three trials and now we're here. We couldn't have made it without you. Thanks." Dr. Anna thanked the Silver Wolf mage with sincerity. Leona was glad to see that her efforts had not gone unnoticed by the scholar.

    "It's no problem. Now, let's see what the wonder of the Great Bird of Prophecy is all about." Leona said to Dr. Anna and her assistants as the mage shoved the door open.

    "After you. You got us this far, so you should have the honor of going first." Dr. Anna said to Leona. After spending a good deal of time in the temple chasing the diminutive scholar the woman was finally letting Leona go first. Leona was more than a little amused by that but kept a straight face and thanked the doctor for the honor.

    "Thanks Doctor Anna." Leona said laconically before mustering the energy to go forward one last time. They had finally reached the end of the trials and were about to be rewarded for their trouble. Hopefully there was something in the next room that was worth all the trouble it took to get this far.

    [Word Count: 1,174]
    [Total Word Count: 11,754/12,500]
    Power of Apocalypse now has four posts of cooldown left.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Golden Lacrima is valid until 9/22/2020. Proof of purchase is here. Page 18, Post Number 441
    Leona Jarnefeldt
    Leona Jarnefeldt

    Main Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Ten Wizard Saint Member- Rising Star- Guild Master- Neutral Guild Ace- Y-Rank- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Forever Solo- Christian Minecraft Server- I Have Friends...- Hired Help- Idolize- The Completionist- Achiever- Expert Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Taskmaster- Halloween Social - Halloween job event participant - Richie Rich- Rich- Veteran Level 2- Veteran Level 1- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Obtain A Secondary Magic!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Master [1000]- Senior [500] - Novice [250]- 3rd Place Event/Contest Winner- X-Mas Event Participant- Summer Special Participant- Player 
    Lineage : Nemean Lion
    Position : Saint of Courage
    Posts : 1428
    Guild : Silver Wolf [Guild Master]
    Cosmic Coins : 5
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : N/A
    Experience : ‭2,440,110

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Wind Strike Magic
    Second Magic: Wind Summon Magic
    Third Magic:

    A Bird In The Sand Is Worth... Empty Re: A Bird In The Sand Is Worth...

    Post by Leona Jarnefeldt on 15th May 2019, 9:17 pm

    -Inside the final room-

    Leona escorted the trio of scholars into the room, then paused in place to catch her breath. All the repetitive jumping, stopping, and running had finally caught up to her. The archaeologists fanned out and began exploring the room, which was a large square room with a giant stone statue of the Great Bird of Prophecy dominating the room from the center. Leona stayed where she was and wearily looked for threats as the doctor and her faithful assistants did their thing and looked for items of value to take back to the university. Maybe something in here would be proof enough to the expedition's financial backers that their money had not been wasted.

    In front of the statue was a simple stone altar with five steps leading up to it and the same golden torches flanking the altar. Their setup was exactly the same as the shrine at the entrance to the temple. Leona stood in place and finally worked up the energy to shuffle forward a bit to make sure that her charges had not gotten into any trouble. She was rewarded with the sight of the doctor protectively clutching the same old book that Melanie had shoved into the slot in the room where the Trial of Wisdom took place. Dr. Anna had found what she was looking for.

    "I believe this belongs to you." Melanie said, approaching Leona with a sword. It was Leona's Silver Longsword that she had laid on the altar to let them pass beyond the entrance shrine.

    "Thanks Melanie." Leona thanked the blonde as she took the sword back and placed it into the scabbard that had been hanging on her left hip for the entire trek through the temple. Leona had gotten back her sword and was now equipped to fight supernatural threats again. The mage now felt ready for anything again.

    The weary mage looked around the simple room and found that there were a few artifacts left behind by the ancient Lestreki people. There were a few pieces of gold and silver jewelry that were mostly necklaces, some beautifully painted pottery that depicted birds and animals native to the desert, and other items that would be of great interest to the doctor and the university. Dr. Anna approached Leona while cradling the book like one would an infant.

    "I... I can't believe it. My old mentor Dr. Morton was right. There was something to the bird in the sand. I only hope that he's able to see this." Dr. Anna said softly. Leona was not sure if the brown-haired scholar was about to cry or if it was just her glasses gleaming in the light, but the doctor was having an emotional moment. The blonde left her alone and let the doctor rejoice in the vindication of her mentor. All the effort had been worth it.

    Leona remained silent and let the scholars explore and examine the room until they were satisfied. Leona looked for an exit and eventually found a lever to pull on the right side of the room. When she pulled it a door that blocked access to a set of stairs that led up and out of the shrine slid up and allowed everyone access to the outside world again. Leona was glad to see the sun and feel its warmth on her skin after spending so much time deep underground.

    "We'll get the rest of my assistants and the senior archaeologists to collect these artifacts. But first there's one last thing I'd like to ask of you, Leona." Dr. Anna said to the blonde mage. Leona turned towards her.

    "What is it, Doctor?" Leona asked the doctor.

    "I'd like you to stay behind and watch over the shrine while we go get help. I know it's selfish of me to ask you to do this after everything you've already done for us, but I need your help one last time." Dr. Anna asked of the blonde. Leona did not even need to think about her response.

    "I'll stay behind and watch over everything." Leona assured the scholar. The mage did not want anyone to run off with the artifacts that she had worked so hard to secure. Dr. Anna smiled for the first time since the quartet had entered the temple.

    "Thanks." Dr. Anna said simply before hurrying off with Melanie and Stacy to go get help in collecting and transporting all of the artifacts. Leona stayed behind to make sure that nothing went missing between now and when the doctor and her small army of helpers arrived. Leona sat down on the stone floor and stretched her legs. The hardest part of the job was finally over.

    -Three hours later, Dr. Anna's camp-

    Leona sat on a wooden chair inside Dr. Anna's tent and sipped on a lukewarm bottle of water she had pulled from her backpack. She could see the assistants and archaeologists hard at work examining and cataloguing the artifacts from the shrine at specially made workstations. Leona sat back and watched the scholars do their thing while her legs periodically throbbed to remind her that she would not have gotten this far without their help. Leona did not need any reminders of all the legwork she had done to make this job a success.

    It was a rough job with more than a little peril, but in the end everything had worked out for the best. Dr. Anna had some artifacts to take back to her university and Leona had gotten her valuable Silver Longsword back. Silver Wolf had achieved another success to add to its tally. Scholarship on the ancient Lestreki people had received a big boost thanks to the old book that the quartet had discovered. Leona could not have asked for a better outcome to this day.

    Maybe one day Leona would become something greater than an amateur scholar and would have a chance to gain fame for something other than fighting. She was working towards that goal, but it would take a long time before it would be reached. Perhaps perfecting scholarship was a goal that could never be reached, only pursued until the end. The unusually pensive mage sipped from her bottle of water and listened to the archaeologists excitedly discuss their findings and how they would change the historical record of the Lestreki people as contemporary scholars knew it. Leona was not educated enough to fully understand the implications of today's discovery, but she knew that it was going to be a big boost to Dr. Anna's career.

    That was all that the blonde needed to know for now. Leona hoped that she would at least get a favorable mention in a future book written by Dr. Anna. If she did not get a favorable mention, then it would be OK because this job would count as a success either way. In the end that was all Leona was really worried about. If she took care to make sure that jobs she took succeeded, in the long run everything else would sort itself out.

    With that philosophy in mind Leona finished her bottle of water and reached for another one.

    [Word Count: 1,216]
    [Total Word Count: 12,970/12,500]


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Golden Lacrima is valid until 9/22/2020. Proof of purchase is here. Page 18, Post Number 441

      Current date/time is 13th November 2019, 2:23 am