-In the vault, fifteen minutes later-
Instead of standing around in darkness waiting for Ami to return from her errand, Zack and Kim had chosen to load their backpacks with the silver coins and take them to the surface in person while Diana remained behind to make sure that things ran smoothly in the vault and help the other assistants if they needed help until Zach and Kim could get back. It was the perfect excuse for them to get out of the dark vault and back into the daylight for awhile. While Diana did not particularly want to stay underground, but at least there was plenty of lantern light to keep the dark thoughts at bay until she could get back to the surface and see real daylight for the first time since going thirty meters underground. Still, she could bear it for the payday that waited for her once the job was complete. She had not gotten this far in her career by giving up whenever things got tough.
Diana watched the other assistants work in silence and watched for any last-minute threats like angry spirits coming to take vengeance on the living for entering their vault and taking the precious metal housed within it, but so far everything was quiet, which was just fine by her. She would take "easy money" earned by standing around in the darkness like she had taken the "easy money" from being Angela Helton's shopping partner/club partner for a day. Unlike some mages Diana did not feel like she had to fight something to earn a payday. As she watched the assistants work she felt like this would be an easy payday because the most difficult part of the job, which was getting the vault open, was over. Now all she had to do was wait until Ami, Zach, and Kim got back and carry out any more instructions that Professor Fauntleroy or Zach had for her.
Speaking of Ami, the winged android began a controlled descent from above and blocked out the sun as she descended to rejoin Diana. With her jet-black metallic wings and the way her body was framed by the column of sunlight as she blocked out the sun Ami looked like a dark angel coming to claim the huntress, but that was Diana's dark thinking trying to assert itself. Ami was no dark angel... if anything she was a blessing to the huntress who needed someone to help her and watch her back while she masqueraded as a Guildless mage, who arguably had as tough a job as a contract killer.
Guildless mages did not have a formal support network like guild mages did. While Guildless mages had a lot of freedom and did not have to answer to a Guild Master or Guild Aces, they also had no one to turn to should they need help with a particularly tough job, need a particular piece of equipment, or need medical treatment. They also had to take whatever jobs they could find by word of mouth or by stumbling upon them instead of perusing a literal job board with jobs just waiting to be taken.
"Hi Diana! The professor was glad to see those silver bars!" Ami informed her owner of how the professor had received the precious metal. Diana was pleased to hear that the hard work of Zach, Kim, Ami, and herself had not been wasted. That news was a ray of sunshine in the darkness.
"Did he happen to say which ancient people built and owned this underground vault?" Diana asked Ami. The latter shook her head.
"Not at all, Diana. In fact, I think the professor doesn't know who built and owned the vault. He's really interested in the silver, though." Ami answered with a piece of news that Diana found interesting. Diana was pretty sure that the professor had found something that he could use to extend his career and possibly outdo Dr. Anna, but then she remembered that in seven days Dr. Anna was coming out to Mysterious Canyon to pursue a find of her own. She knew that Professor Fauntleroy did not care for the female doctor in the slightest, considering her a lucky amateur who had made a big find only with the help of a Wizard Saint. Diana also knew that the older man would defend his find tooth and nail; the huntress did not want to be around when the inevitable turf war between the two academics started. Those kinds of disputes could get messy.
"Has Professor Fauntleroy given me any additional instructions?" Diana asked Ami. Again Ami shook her head.
"He hasn't given you any new instructions, Diana. He just wants you to stay down here and make sure that everything runs smoothly." Ami told her. Diana was not very excited to spend the entire time she was in Mysterious Canyon in a dark hole, but several months ago she had been cornered in that cave near the canyon entrance by Marauders until Ben came to her rescue, so the experience was not a new one to her. She would just have to follow her current instructions until the professor or Zach told her differently.
"OK. I will stay down here until I am told to return to the surface." Diana said to Ami. It would be slow going, but all Diana had to do was wait out the clock. She could do that.
-Eight hours later, on the surface, nightfall-
After eight hours spent standing in the vault and doing nothing but standing around and looking at ancient stone houses, it was good to finally feel sand under her boots again.
Diana had spent so much time underground that she was starting to worry that she would never get to see daylight again. That was technically true because when Diana had finally received permission from Zach to leave the vault and go to the surface it was nighttime, but that was a trivial concern for someone who had spent over half their life in darkness. When Ami lifted Diana past the rope ladder and out of the vault into the moonlight, Diana breathed air from the surface for the first time in over eight hours. She stretched her legs and looked around the deserted dig site that was dotted with holes and piles of dirt. Excavation had stopped for the night; looking at the expanse of the site made Diana feel oddly alone despite having Ami by her side and the professor's tent being only a brief walk away from here.
Diana then looked towards the sorting tent and saw a lit lantern sitting on a table inside the tent, so chances were good that the professor was in there burning the midnight oil. Chances were also good that at least Zach or Kim were with him trying to determine the identity of the civilization the vault had belonged to. With nothing better to do and still under contract to the professor until the job was considered complete, Diana decided to pay the tent a visit. With Ami following close behind her, Diana walked towards the sorting tent and reached it after nearly two minutes of walking.
Reaching out with her right hand, Diana pulled aside the tent flap and went inside. Ami followed right behind her, making sure that her wings did not catch on the flap and pull the entire tent down when she entered.
[Post Word Count: 1,242]
[Total Word Count: 12,166/12,500]
Last edited by Diana Winchester on 1st May 2020, 11:10 am; edited 1 time in total