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Apr 17, 2024

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Reinventing the Lightbulb - Part 14


Previous - Reinventing the Lightbulb Part 13


Raziel shakes his head, and says, “No…they really don’t deserve it…but we don’t need to be as hopelessly cruel as them. First things first; we need to get them in there, and find a way to destroy that rope. I’m thinking…fire.”

Zorro blinks, squinting, “Cutting it doesn’t work?” He scratches his head, “I mean, whatever’s quickest and gets the job done. I don’t want to wait for fire to finish burning through a rope. I mean, that just sounds like a plot device to add tension to see if they notice the smoke in time. This isn’t a novel, Raz!”

Raziel nods slightly. “Yes, but they can still pull on the rope if part of it is still there. Rather hard to do with ash. And I’m not implying some sort of dramatic, slow burn. I’m thinking more along the lines of…” The tiger spreads his arms, making a kind of roaring, whooshing flame-y noise. It’s mildly convincing.

Viktor nods, looking around. “Zoh, to the vorezt vith one or two ov uz, vhile the other three ztaahy to maahke zure they’re aahll in there?” Zorro scratches his head, “Well, first we’ll need to decide how to set the thing on fire in a manner that will make it blaze right.”

Raziel nods to Viktor, then Zorro. “Yes…I doubt the red fox will be much help…but we shouldn’t leave him alone at camp, either. But we don’t really have anyone to spare…Viktor’s magic may be useful, Zorro is small and inconspicuous, I have a gun, and the tribal girl knows the inner workings of this place.” The tiger looks down to Zorro, and says, “Honestly, for the fire, I thought we could just scrape some tar off of the torches, put it in a jar, light it up, and throw it at the rope.”

Zorro hmms, “Well, I guess so. That’s pretty handy.” He nods, “Alright, then.” The fox looks up at Raziel, “Maybe you and Viktor should stay back, since you have proper fighting ability, and I’ll lead the girl and the fox who /has yet to tell us his name/…” he looks at the fox to see if he hears that, “Out to the front. Alternatively, one of you could come with us to distribute firepower in case you think someone may lay ahead.”

Viktor looks down the way they came from. “Vell, iv they’re zuppozed to kome here, goink outzide zhould be pretty zaahve. Aai’ll ztaahy here vith Raahziel aahnd gaahther torch taahr.”

The red fox looks up at the mention of him never mentioning his name. “Eh…. right. Well, you can call me Barry. Barry Miles.”

Raziel nods. “Sounds fair. But first…” The tiger looks over at the tribal girl. “Can you show us where exactly the rope is? We’ll likely get one shot.”

The girl rubs along the surface of the slab. “Door needs lift up. Rope on other side…..” She reaches up as far as she can to the top. “…. Here. At top. Only place see rope out of stone. Many of our women come here for services to high priest. We like know how altar works. We observe and tell others.”

Zorro looks to Raziel, and to Viktor, “Does that cover it for you? Shall I take her with me?” The fox tilts his head.

Raziel shrugs. “I think so. We get the tar, we wait for the ‘spirit men’ to go in, we toss the tar up there, and get the %^&* out before we get crushed, trapped, or butchered. Seems simple enough to me.”

Viktor shakes his head. “No, it would haahve to kome open bevore they get there, zo I would put the taahr up virzt, then vaahit vore them to kome, aahnd then tozz aah lit torch aaht the taahr, iv it burnz through virst and the vaahll zlaahmz klozed on them, or they lower it bevore it burnz through, either vaahy it iz lezz chaahnze to be traahped.”

Zorro nods, and looks to the jackaless and Barry, and motions of the two to follow. “Let’s get a move on. We should be able to hide in the forest until our comrades are done.” He looks to Viktor, “If you want us to take the statue, hand it to me now. We want to make sure to get some distance on those guys.”

Raziel holds up a fuzzy finger. “I…like Viktor’s plan better than mine. Shall we get to it?” The tiger pulls a small, already grease stained bowl from his pack, and begins scraping excess tar from any torches in sight - and as much as he can from any unlit ones.

Viktor hands off the statue and moves over to torches as well, putting them out and scraping the tar off them as well, scooping it into the jar. “How much do you think ve need?”

Zorro ummps. He carries the heavy statue, and ambles toward the exit with the other two critters to let the fighters do their thing.

Raziel considers this for a moment. Enough to get a fine coat, but not enough so that the tar is the only thing that burns. Actually…we should have just about enough. Also, make sure the torches have a fairly even amount left; we want them to still be burning when the spirit men arrive, so as not to arouse suspicion.” The tiger approaches the stone slab, reaching up to see if he can get at the rope.”

Viktor starts lathering tar on the torches again, then looks to what Raziel is doing. He comes up and tries to find a way to get to the rope as well, then finds a chink in the wall on the side of the slab, large enough to fit a hand through. So he sticks his paw in and grasps around, coming to the edge of the slab, and at the edge of that slab is where a very very thick cord of rope is attached to it, to lift the massive thing up. “Hey, hey here. Here iz plaahze where the rope iz aahtaahched. Thiz workz better too. Ve kaahn vaahit till they’re aahll inzide aahnd the door iz klozed, then ve kaahn put the taahr on aahnd light it aahvter they’re inzide.”

Raziel nods, and tries to fit his arm around to inspect the rope as well. “You’re right! Now…where can we wait? We need to find someplace that we can’t be seen, but we can still see them.” He looks at the arctic fox, a grin slowly spreading. “Or…/hear/ them…”

Viktor smiles as well, nodding. “Though, yoo’ll probaahbly haahve to kaahry me out, liztenink taahkez aah lot ov energy, though….. aai’ve been praahticink zometink. Ve zhould vind aah zpot to hide.”

Raziel looks around, scratching his head. “You didn’t see any small tunnels, or…alcoves, or something like that, did you? That would probably work.”

Viktor shakes his head. “No. Aai vould zaahy down the haahll tvoaahrdz the vaahy out, but aai don’t know iv they’ll kome from thaaht vaahy.”

Raziel nods slowly, and idea forming. “Let’s stay towards the tunnel that faces the cliff; they’re not very likely to come in that way, as opposed to the one directly opposite, at the ‘front’. I have a feeling that most will come from the stairs, but…best to be safe.”

Viktor says, “But thaaht’z aaht the oppozite zide ov thiz chaahmber izn’t it? Aai don’t know iv vhaaht aai haahve plaahned vill vork aahz vell.”

Raziel shrugs. “You pick the spot, then. I know so little of the layout in here…” The tiger walks slightly farther down the hallway, looking for anywhere nearby that they could use.

Viktor looks around trying to spy a spot. Knows even less, this is his first time concious in the pyramid. Or the ‘altar’ according to the jackaless. “Thiz iz impozzible.”

Raziel shakes his head. “Very rarely is something truly impossible. We’re just not looking hard enough. Or getting lucky enough…” Wait a minute. The tiger looks up, checking the ceiling for any alcoves - like the ones the tribals use for the boulders they like so much. While there are no boulder alcoves, there’s four pretty good sized ones containing odd, disfigured looking statues in them, and two of them look big enough to hide behind.

Raziel sighs. “Viktor! Look over here! I think these could work.” The tiger experimentally tries wedging himself in one of the larger alcoves, tring to remain out of sight - no small task, given his size.

Viktor sees this and moves over to the other large statue, squeezing himself uncomfortably behind it as well, trying to make sure none of his white fur is showing. Wouldn’t that be obvious. “Yez, theze zhould vork pervektly.”

Raziel snickers slightly from behind his statue. “Doesn’t it figure that the two pasu with bright white fur are the ones who have to hide in plain sight…” The tiger maneuvers his arm to check his watch, and asks, “How long do you think we’ll have to wait?”

Viktor concentrates a moment, scoping out with his hearing real quick, then breaking the spell. “Aai don’t know. They’re not komink. Hopevully not too lonk.”

Raziel nods…not that anyone can see it. “The waiting game it is. Not my favorite, but I’ll make do.”

And the time rolls on by, what feels like hours, Viktor himself starting to get drowsy and nod off here and there, till the sounds of chants and laughter and shouts fills the air as a hoard of ‘spirit men’ walk up the stairs, nearly to the top. Soon the men walk on by, towards their chamber of things and stuff, whatever goes on in there. Viktor watches intently from behind the statue, spying two of the tribals play-fencing with his forks, making him wince and clench his teeth with each hit.

Raziel hides quietly behind his statue, waiting - not daring to make a move as the tribals walk by. The tiger cringes at the sight of Viktor’s forks in their hands…though not for quite the same reason. They’re going to have to get those back, eventually…

Zorro’s chillin’ out front with the foxies and the chicas. It’s going pretty well. He regales them with tales of his bravery in the face of certain death, and how he once took on a tiger with he bare hands. Well…Zorro is pretty sure he rubbed Raz’s tummy once. True story.

It doesn’t take very long for the caravan of tribals to make their way through, being only forty or so at most, if that, though it’s tense and soon the sounds of laughter and cheering and chanting fades away, and the loud stone on stone clunk can be heard, most likely the door is shut.

Raziel slowly peeks his striped head out of the alcove, looking up and down the hall, before stepping back into it. “Alright,” he whispers, “How about we go trap ourselves some power abusing, gladiatorial combat forcing, ritualistically sacrificing jackals?” The tiger grabs a torch off of one of the walls, waiting for Viktor to follow suit.

Viktor squeezes himself free, following suit and catching up to the tiger as fast as he can, nodding some. “Time vor zome paahybaahck.” He thinks quietly then, shakes his head. “No, juzt kaahpturink them is enough. Paahybaahck vaahz me deztroyink their aahrenaah.”

Raziel nods, and begins walking towards the closed chamber. He doesn’t need any payback either, really. He already shot at least…well, a whole bunch of them. He digs out the small container of tar from before, opening it up. “Well…here goes nothing.” He covers a rag in the gloopy, flammable stuff, and reaches around to begin covering the rope with it.

Viktor comes into the room as Raziel rushes up the stairs and into the corridor to lather up the rope with tar, though something else catches Viktor’s eye before he runs off to do the same, or really just stand there. Lathering the rope with tar is a one man job. Anyway, Viktor finds a small pile of things in the hallway to the chamber containing the stairs to the room, and in that pile is his forks, among a conglomeration of, well, everything the tribals had on them that they could take off. Really the only thing missing was their loincloths, which Viktor is very thankful they aren’t there.

Raziel carefully administers the last of the tar to the top of the rope, setting the rag down and picking the torch back up. As he prepares to set the rope afire, he mutters to himself, “I wish I could say it was nice meeting you all…but it wasn’t.” WHOOSH! The rope bursts into flames, clearly illuminating the crack in the wall - but it’s too late to do much about it now.

Viktor grabs his forks out of the pile and moves into the chamber, climbing up the stairs and meeting with Raziel, watching the bright glowing crack as the rope burns inside. “Vell….. it vaahz vun…. no?”

Raziel drops the torch, and turns around slowly. “Fun? FUN?!?” The tiger tries to keep a straight face, but ends up grinning despite it. “Well…maybe a little. I’m sure the guys in /there/ aren’t, right about now.” He inclines a clawed thumb to the slab, and walks over next to Viktor. “Hey! I see you got your forks back. Great. Shall we go find Zorro et al?”

Viktor nods and holds up his forks. “Yez, they vere in aah pile aahlonk vith their thinks. Heh, not aah dink on them. Yez, letz go vind our kompaahny.”

Zorro is outside, talking with the fox and the jackal girl. He’s making big paw motions, “And then, Raziel says to me, ‘Zorro, you take the gun. I’m tired from all the ass I’ve kicked already. You have to finish the job.’ And so I took it, and I aimed it, and the bodies were falling everywhere, left and right.” He sniffs, wiping an eye, “It is a sad thing to have to take a life. But to rescue the innocent, I will do it.”

Raziel is tempted to investigate said pile for SHINY THINGS, but…eh, he already has one of those from this trip. No reason to make it less special. He follows his hastily constructed mental map of the interior of the temple, and eventually, finds his way to the exit - just missing the end of Zorro’s story.

Viktor follows behind Raziel closely, not wanting to get lost, stumbling out behind him and into the clearing, where the rest of the group is. “Aahlo everyvone. Aai got my vorkz!”


Next - Reinventing the Lightbulb Part 15

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