The sun was high in the sky, he felt like he had been walking forever. He was tired, thirsty and hungry, but he persevered, the pay day would be worth it. No one had made it this far, not that he was aware of anyway. His Mother-in-Law had unwittingly sent him on this quest. A gift for his birthday, typically thoughtless, just a book she had picked seemingly at random from the shelf of a second hand book store. The title though had peaked his interest, 'Lost treasures of the Modern World' and flicking through it he had read stories of treasures including a Diamond, Ruby, a Priceless work of Art.
The book had inspired him, he had been in a bit of a funk, drifting along, aimless. He found himself wanting more, perhaps if he could find one of these treasures, he could reclaim his life. Looking more closely through the book he found a story of a treasure close to home, little was known and it was more of an urban myth. There was a poem that was supposed to unlock the secret, no one had managed to understand how though. The book detailed a few of the more famous attempts to find the uncertain treasure, He was surprised at how many people had given it a go considering the lack of clarity as to the nature of the prize.
The repeated failures and lack of solid proof had led to this treasure being largely taken as a fiction. However to him it was a life line and he clung to it, like a child gripping the handle bars on their first ride. He had spent time at the Library, researching and taken to hiking out into the countryside, his fitness had improved, he had more energy and he had rediscovered his drive and sense of self. It had all led to this point, the hunt. His excitement had been so high as he had set off, full of hope and energy. Now nearly six hours into his hike, the reality of the task had worn away at his enthusiasm.
He could feel the sweat as it trickled down his face, the burn in his calf muscles as he climbed this hill, that seemed to go on and on. He distracted himself by going over the Poem in his mind...
For treasure so pure,
Seek the right way.
Check your face to be sure,
A shadow can make you sway.
Can you look beyond beauties allure,
To find what you seek and take away?
A simple little poem and it played over and over in his mind as he climbed this final stretch, he had pinned all his hopes on his understanding of this little riddle. Was he right? He would soon be in position to find out, he checked his watch and picked up his pace. The excitement started to return, feeding strength to his tired limbs, there was no time to stop and free the water bottle from his pack. He looked up at the sun nearly at its peak, and he stumbled over a loose rock causing debris to slide down the side of the mountain and kicking up dust. He cursed his carelessness and looked once to the ground, picking his path with care.
He was sure this was the right place from the poem, from what he had deciphered so far he took 'Face' to mean mountain face, and although this was only just classed as a mountain its formation at the top resembled a profile of a face as well. He had climbed the face that had the full force of the sun and had waited for a day like this, with not a cloud in the sky. He was just below what would be the chin now. He stopped and shrugged the pack from his pack. It was a relief not to be carrying the weight and he rotated his arms in their sockets. He had about five minutes, taking the water bottle he finally took a long swallow of the luke warm liquid.
As the water slid down his parched throat, he caught sight of a glinting. It was so brief that he nearly missed it. He put down the bottle and looked again, but could not locate the source until he tilted his head back as if he was going to take another swig. There just above a boulder he could see the glint again. He was just about to head off the source of the glint when he remembered the words of the poem. Looking beyond the glint he squinted and strained his eyes, not sure what he was looking for. Then he noticed the crevice between a couple of rocks, if he had been stood anywhere else he would never have noticed it.
He made the climb stopping to check the source of that glint. It was truly beautiful, the quartz catching the sun, it had obviously been place just so, it was worth a lot in its own right. As beautiful as it was he wanted to know what awaited in the crevice. Climbing on, he reached the crevice and peered in. It was too dark to see, he put his hand in and felt around, there, his fingers brushed past something that felt like fabric. Grasping it, he pulled the small bundle free. He pulled the material free and found himself looking upon a Ruby the size of an egg...