-Morning, the next day-
Diana had fallen asleep on the cot and woke up with a dry taste in her mouth. She really needed something to drink, but she did not want tea. At least not yet, anyway.
She sat up and felt that her shoulders were back to normal. She also noticed that the professor was not behind the table or at the tea kettle getting another cup of tea; in fact he in the tent anymore. She realized that around the same time that she heard shouting distorted by distance coming from a ways outside the tent. Was the professor being abducted by outlaws or was he being chased by ghostly warriors who had left their temple on a mission to reclaim the golden idol?
Diana jumped to her feet and darted to the tent flap. She threw open the tent flap and hurried outside, fully prepared for a fight.
-Outside the tent-
A drowsy Diana looked around the immediate area for her client. She gazed left to the sunken temple entrance and did not see him nor any warrior spirits, so she could rule that out as the cause for his disappearance. Diana looked right and did not see him there either. She then looked to the ground in front of her and saw bootprints that led straight ahead into the sandy dunes a short distance from the camp. Diana hurried straight ahead and heard more unintelligible shouting in the distance. She had to hurry!
Diana ran just to the right of the tracks so that she did not obliterate them with her own footprints. She spotted a human figure in the distance waving their arms above their head and running towards what looked to be a caravan of three horse-drawn carts full of something. The blonde did not stop to think about what the figure was running to. She needed to see if the figure was the professor. Diana ignored the wind kicking up sand in her face and pushed on.
-Approximately ten minutes later-
After running for around eight minutes Diana finally caught up with the figure and the caravan they had been running towards. The blonde heard more shouting, but this time she could easily make out what was being said. She could also make out the identity of the figure, who had literally jumped onto the back of a wagon loaded with wooden crates of something important.
"PRAISE THE WIZARD SAINTS! FINALLY, SOMETHING TO EAT OTHER THAN BEEF JERKY!" Professor Fauntleroy exclaimed in joy. Diana relaxed now that she knew that her client was not being abducted by outlaws. She looked over the people on the wagons and saw that they were dressed in khaki clothing similar to what the professor was wearing. They were also far younger than the older man... they must have been his assistants. The older man spotted Diana and jumped off the wagon, running over to her with arms outstretched and embracing her in a tight hug.
"THEY MADE IT, DIANA! THEY MADE IT! MY ASSISTANTS CAME BACK WITH FOOD! REAL FOOD!" Professor Fauntleroy exclaimed, hugging her so tightly that her arms were pinned to her sides. Even though she did not like being touched, Diana kept quiet and wore her poker face since the eyes of his assistants were upon her. After a full minute of hugging and exclamations of joy the older man released her and turned back to the caravan.
"COME ON, BACK TO THE CAMP WE GO! WE DON'T HAVE ALL DAY!" The excited man ordered them. He then hopped on board the first of the three wagons and the black-haired youth holding the reins started the short journey back to the camp. Diana hopped on board the back of the second wagon and rode it back, observing the third wagon following behind and listening to the creaking of wheels as the wagon moved through the sand.
-Back in camp, inside the professor's tent-
Diana stood near her cot and did her best to keep out of the way as the assistants unloaded crate after crate of supplies, setting them off to the right corner across from the entrance. The stack of crates took up half the space allotted to them and threatened to encroach on Diana's cot. The professor stood at the table with the tea kettle happily eating something from a brown wax paper package that resembled a military Meal, Ready to Eat. He appeared genuinely happy to have something to eat other than beef jerky, which was of questionable nutritional value. Another thing of questionable nutritional value was his habit of drinking tea constantly, but people made lots of little compromises to get through the day. Diana was no different.
"That should be the last of 'em. We've got food, water, tea, flashlights, batteries for flashlights, sanitation supplies, shaving cream..." A young woman with curly, waist-length red hair wearing brown semi-rimmed glasses listed off the supplies that had been brought in. Diana was somewhat surprised at what it took to keep such a small camp operational, but there were about fifteen people here, thirteen of which were Professor Fauntleroy's assistants. Diana mentally paused when she noticed the number thirteen.
Diana did not like that number at all, not since her family was all but exterminated by poisoned wine over four years ago. Her family numbered thirteen people altogether. She too would have succumbed to poisoned drink had she not been busy on a "job" at the time of the wine tasting.
"...Diana? Diana, are you all right, my dear?" Professor Fauntleroy asked. The blonde forcefully dragged herself way from the daydream and back to the present to face her client and answer him.
"I am all right." Diana assured him, wearing a well-practiced mask of serenity. The blonde was lying through her teeth. She not sure if she would ever be truly all right. Diana had not been "all right" ever since she was a young girl who had just discovered her special, deadly magic at the expense of an innocent household servant's life.
[Post Word Count: 1,045]
[Total Word Count: 8,831/12,500]