With some effort, Lei and Rai manage to open the towering doors to the Manly Mausoleum. The inside was disturbingly peaceful. The pair had been to many tombs, crypts, and mausoleums but all showed wear and tear from age. But here it was almost pristine like it was just built. The inside shone with gemstones like the main building. Massive coffins 10 feet long at a minimum filled the room. The gemstone statue of a muscular man in lavish robes wearing the Savage Crown stands proudly at the back of the room. A grin plastered to his face as he struck a dramatic pose. Behind him sat three Yokai; a Tengu with his hands together forming the ninja hand seal of Rin. His middle fingers raised and pressed together. A peculiar mouse Yokai that seemed to be wearing a monk’s garb. Whether he started as the mouse or monk before becoming a Yokai remained unknown. And finally, a rotund Tanuki Yokai that sat gleefully by his friends, each no taller than Rai. At the base of the statue “Here lies Mario the Manly, creator of our greatest treasure. Guardian over our only home. Founder of our new life.” was engraved. In front of the statue sat a single coffin much like the rest albeit adorned with shining white and orange gems. But on the left, right, and backside of the statue lay three small coffins. No doubt the coffins of the three Yokai present in the statue.
“They were important enough to get statues but not enough for a reference in the engraving. I wonder who they were.” Lei thought to herself. “Find anything Rai?”
“Uh uh…I just keep smelling ocean.” Rai rubs his nose frustrated.
“Coffin tops are probably too heavy for us to move by hand…” She glances back at the statue briefly before coming to a decision. “I hope you don’t mind me potentially desecrating your graves. Rai, get close to me.” Pulling the Staff of Nirvana from her back, it begins to glow with yellow Aether. She remained calm and focused on what she wanted to do. With Rai standing behind her, she raises the Staff of Nirvana skywards and summons a mighty squall. The burst of wind was enough to blow off the tops of all the coffins and send them flying to the opposite side of the room. The display was violent but thankfully the statue remained unfazed. “You take the right and I’ll take the left.”
“Okay Cheater.” Rai replies following his orders. Lei sighs and begins to search her half of the room.
In the past, Lei wouldn’t have wanted Rai to see what was inside the coffins. But life was rarely kind to both of them and for better or worse he had matured in areas earlier than some. All before they even began treasure hunting. In her search, she found that inside the coffins the dead remained as they were upon death. Some had taken considerably more punishment than others. Fitting given what the Savage Crown was said to be capable of but not a pretty sight. “You okay Rai?” She calls out concerned.
“Yes!” He replies from across the room.
“If it gets too much just-”
“-I know!” He interrupts. “Um…Lei? We’re looking for a crown right?”
“Yes, Rai.” She replies moving onto the next coffin.
Rai pauses and glances back inside his coffin, looks at the statue, looks back, then at Lei. “Um…Lei?”
“The crown we’re after looks like the one the statue’s wearing right?”
Rai looks back in his coffin once more and pulls out a bronzed crown. “Is it supposed to be bronze? Cus its bronze.”
“I don’t think so. If it’s like everything else it’ll be covered in showy gemstones you’ll see from a mile away.”
“Oh.” His ears lower but twitch back up when he sniffs it. He glances at a still busy Lei briefly before following his the scent from the crown. The scent of salt water. The trail leads him back to the very first coffin he came across. The dead body inside was the only one he saw that was horribly disfigured as if it fought a Dragon army alone. Limbs were missing and horrible gashes that showed their organs were plain to see. Except that fact stood out to the young boy. The other corpses had injuries from magic, blades, and assorted blunt objects but nothing as severe. Almost as if this one was placed specifically because of how grotesque it was. Placing the crown on its head, a passageway opens leading down into the floor. “Ooooo.” Rai’s curiosity was peaked and he instinctively followed.
The path led down deeper into the island, leading to an underground cave that held a treasure trove. Piles of gold, silver, diamond, gemstones, and Aether Crystals filled the cave to the brim. Statues of treasure hunters made of gold or diamond stood spread across the trove. Each bore an expression of fear or showed signs of attempting to escape. Not that it mattered to Rai, all he could see was a mountain of shiny things. Racing down the stairs on all fours he forgets his mission. Not even the statues could deter him. Sitting on the ground he begins to play with the treasure that seemed boundless before him. His ears filled with the sound of moving coins he fails to realize a portion of it wasn’t from his own actions. A shadow casts itself overhead and puts an end to Rai’s playing. Looking upward he sees two massive serpentine heads. Their eyes were gold and its scales shimmered purple, magenta, indigo, and gold vibrantly. It’s massive body hidden beneath the mounds of gold and extending partly into the cave’s water.
“Hi.” Rai greets them innocently.
“Who are you? Did you come to take my treasure?!” The left head shrieks in a formal and disturbingly flowery tone. The Devian Hydra was believed to have gone extinct, exterminated by the Chernabog. Given their greedy nature it’s less likely they were actually extinct and simply holed up in their own personal troves.
“Nah, I just like how shiny it is.” Rai smiles.
“Yes, it is shiny isn’t it. Our treasure is the shiniest in all the land.” The right head thinks aloud as it lowers to Rai’s level.
“It’s MINE and not YOURS! SO DON’T TOUCH IT!” The left head snarls with fangs bared. At a moment’s notice, it could eat Rai whole and he wouldn’t even realize what happened.
“What my better half means is that this treasure is ours. You shouldn’t be here let alone touching it little one. Our trove isn’t for others to visit freely.” The right head interjects.
“Is that why they had you trapped here?”
“Trapped? Nonononono, I let them build around me! They bring me treasure to let them stay in my home.” The left head was adamant in establishing what their relationship was.
“All we had to do was deal with potential thieves. Are you a thief boy?” The right head inquires.
“Nuh uh. I’m a treasure hunter!” Rai declares proudly.
“A treasure hunter?” The Devian Hydra questions in unison. To which Rai nods.
“I go around Zeratal finding lost treasures. Then I bring em back to Elysium. That way they don’t stay lost and forgotten. Like um…like if a library got burned down and you had to find if any books were left. Oh! Or if you were down to your last piece of meat and had to save it for later.”
“The others called themselves treasure hunters…” The left head says lowly as it moves toward Rai’s right side.
“They did didn’t they?” The right head replies as it moves toward Rai’s left side.
“But I like this one. He’s honest. I HATE liars almost as much as I HATE people who try to take MY stuff.” The left head hisses.
“As do I.”
“But he entered our territory without permission. He’s an intruder. Let’s eat him!”
“Eat me? But I don’t wanna get eaten!” Rai whines.
“No, we won’t eat you. We’ll just turn you into a part of our collection. What’s better than getting to admire something shiny then to become something shiny? Besides…you entered our territory and nobody leaves after that.” The right heads eyes begin to shine brightly as they leer at Rai. A barrage of hail strikes him in the right eye without warning. “SHAAAAAAA!” He shrikes and swings his head wildly to the side. His remaining eye releases a beam of light that creates a trail of gold and diamonds where it lands.
“Lei!” Rai calls out excitedly. His sister stood at the top of the stairs with the Staff of Nirvana in hand.
“Get away from him you bitch!” She orders accompanied by a violent thunderstorm. Lei was fiercely defensive of Rai and with the Devian Hydra in her sights, she’d make sure it never threatened anyone again.