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I hate socks.
Prompt: Betrayal is in the air.
Garret looked over the list again. It was short, and the items were familiar to him: boracic acid, whiskey, lemon, and a cinnabar crystal. The first three he already had, and retrieving the crystal would take him about half a day – not nearly the amount of time he had told Amai. She couldn’t know he’d been preparing for this eventuality for years, and what she didn’t know would hurt her. He shredded the paper with his fingers and prepared for his trek to the Kastanes Caverns.
The caverns were dark, and Garret walked slowly and carefully, lighting his way with a small oil lantern. The sound of his feet against the loose earth shuffled against the stone walls, echoing and multiplying until it sounded as if there were fifty men sneaking through the passages.
Finally, he came to a small pool. He was deep underground by now, and the air and water were still. He set the lantern atop a large rock and sat down in its light, pulling his pack onto his lap. From it he pulled a large loaf of bread and a large thermos. He opened the thermos and the scent of beef stew overwhelmed the stale air of the cavern. Garret set both items in front of him, leaned against the rock, and feel asleep.
Two hours passed before the water began to ripple. Garret sensed the change and woke, but did not move or open his eyes. slowly, a large pale creature pulled itself from the pool. Slime oozed off the creature, leaving a slug-like trail behind it. It stopped in front of the food in front of Garret, and the skin flaps over its large nostrils vibrated fiercely as it inhaled the enticing scents. Garret woke, pretending to just notice the presence of the creature, and gave it a half bow while remaining sitting.
“Garra…” the creature exhaled with a gurgle.
“Walla,” Garret addressed it. “I have brought you a gift.” He cut a bowl out of the bread and poured the now cold soup into the center. He placed it closer to the creature and sat back again. Walla fell upon the food with much gurgling, and when he rose to face Garret again, there was an extra large pile of slime where the food had been.
“I have come for the items I gave you for safekeeping.”
The creature stared motionlessly back at Garrett.
“Of course I do not expect to abuse your kindness. I have another gift, to thank you for their safe return.” Garret returned to his pack and pulled out a bag of apples. He cut one open, and the creature’s nostrils flared wide as it caught the sent. In a sudden motion, it slipped back into the water. Garret set the bag of apples beside him and waited.
A few minutes later the monster returned and tossed a sopping wet bag at Garret’s feet. In return, Garret stood and threw him the apples. While the monster fell upon the bag, Garret quietly picked up the bag and his lantern, and left.
Once he was a decent distance, Garret stopped to check the contents of the bag. From it he pulled the cinnabar crystal. He wiped it off before storing it in his pack. He reached back into the bag and slowly pulled out a deep green hallo crystal, in color and properties the exact opposite of the cinnabar crystal. And the key to his plan.