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The Temple of the Imperial Dragon

one year ago
Commended by mizal on 4/24/2019 1:35:07 PM
“Almost there now!”
The mountain temple of the shone like polished glass in the afternoon sun, providing the sight for which Hamm’s heart had lusted for so long. He had wanted to see it since the preceding Tuesday. That’s three days. Long time that. He had to take a moment to breathe in the sacred air around him. After all this time, he had made it, and he was going to savor the moment before taking his prize, just as was known for doing before every meal. Soon, he would have everything he needed.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“Ah, fiddlesticks,” Hamm muttered. He was still lacking his greatest prize, the keystone to the culmination of his life’s work. Without it, all his research and long hours of toil were for naught. He leaned against the table, unsure of what to do. Then his gaze came to rest upon the telephone, and he remembered a favor a certain someone owed him.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Peals of laughter rang through the restaurant, joining the symphony of chatter. It was just after six, the tile floors and brick walls did nothing to dampen the noise of happy, slightly inebriated diners, and Hamm loved every moment of it, just as he did every night. His companion was not so comfortable. A young woman sat upright across the table from him. Her dress was plain and very conservative, but the quality of it and her accessories showed her to have some means. Her posture was stiff and upright, and her lips were pressed together.
“Just spit it out if you need something,” she said.
Hamm shifted in his seat before smiling. “I just wanted to catch up on things. It’s been a while.”
“Jack still has that job, Isabelle started kindergarten this year, and I’m currently in an overpriced restaurant with fifteen too many intoxicated matrons. Now what is it?”
“I guess I can stop stalling now,” he said with a chuckle. “I need a favor from you, one that you really do owe me after what happened in Kansas City.”
“And to think, I entertained the idea that you did that out of the kindness of your heart.”
“I was hoping you’d be a good sister and do the same for me.”
She placed her hand at her temple and shook her head. “I’m not do—”
“Not exactly, of course. I just need you to pull some strings for me and get me a team for my journey—” He glanced around before whispering, “for my journey to the Temple of the Imperial Dragon.”
“I can’t hear you. It’s really loud in here.”
Hamm motioned for the woman to lean forward and whispered directly into her ear, “I need a team for my expedition to the Temple of the Imperial Dragon.”
For the first time that evening, the woman’s stoic expression broke, and it turned to a mixture of suspicion and awe. “The temple…was destroyed.”
“That’s where you’re wrong.” Hamm took a scroll from the inside of his jacket and unfurled it across the table.
“Where did you find this?”
“That’s a story for another day. Can I expect your support?”
“Only if I can share in the rewards.”
“Are we ready to order here, or do we need a few more minutes?” a chipper voice broke through their conversation.
“I’m ready. Are you ready?”
“Yeah, we’re ready.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The first two days of the expedition went by uneventfully. It was almost enough to make Hamm nervous, almost. He should have been nervous, however, because the calm was broken up on the third morning by a wild scream. It sounded like a panther. It would have been better had it been a panther. A naked man covered in red and yellow paint came crashing through the trees, swinging a club. He took out two men before one of them filled his body with lead. Hamm knelt down to inspect the body.
“Well, that was a close one. Good thing you took him out there though!” He turned to address the group at large. “The danger is passed. Good work!”
And so they did. The rest of the journey up the mountain was also uneventful. Then the temple came into view, and cheers of triumph filled the jungle and rang across the mountains. After savoring the moment, Hamm beckoned the men to follow him and cautiously entered the temple.
There were no booby traps to worry about, for they had all been set off by other men who had foolishly come before without having the temple’s blueprints. Here Hamm had the blueprints, and he didn’t even need them! Fate was truly smiling on him. Then he tripped over something. It was a fresh corpse with its skull caved in. The man in the jungle must have gotten to him, Hamm figured.
“It’s too fresh,” the man who had killed the Jungle Guy said. “WATCH OUT!”
Another scream echoed through the temple, and another painted man swung through on a rope and clubbed the man in the head. The shots of the team’s rifles rang out, but the painted man was hidden from sight before anyone could hit him. Then he came swinging through again, and…dead. Probably should have continued with the sneak tactics, but being of a savage race, he couldn’t help lacking that level of higher cognition.
Now Hamm could turn his attention back to the more important matters at hand. The treasure he sought shown like a diamond on a pedestal at the other end of the room, thanks to a well-placed window. Reverently, they made their way up to it, and Hamm cautiously reached out and took hold of the bottle of sesame seed oil. Then he opened it and carefully poured one drop onto his finger before putting his finger into his mouth.
“How does it taste, boss?”
“Rancid.”

The Temple of the Imperial Dragon

one year ago

Is this a preview of your new story

 

The Temple of the Imperial Dragon

one year ago
No, sir. This here is a standalone thing I wrote as penance for my sins.

The Temple of the Imperial Dragon

one year ago
You are much faster than Ozoni.

The Temple of the Imperial Dragon

one year ago
You know I can't stand to miss too much there. :D
I am glad you enjoyed the story--or at least made it look like you did

The Temple of the Imperial Dragon

one year ago

Hamm didn't sex up his sister. I'm kind of surprised. 

The Temple of the Imperial Dragon

one year ago
They broke up when she got married.