The sticky heat of high sun finally woke Elios and his friends as the sweat on their bodies began to become uncomfortable in the confines of the small metal box. Elios pushed down on the lever that opened the door, a soft breeze of cooler air rushed into the box. As Elios stretched his cramped joints, his eye caught a small pocket he had not seen earlier as it was below the round wheel; inside he found two small soft wud blocks, the same type that they usually used to light their fires with.
Elios pulled out the two blocks and looked at the two sides, one was blank but the other had the ancients strange symbols on it, although Elios could not read he still wondered what was a,
Maybe it was the name of the ancient that was now a pile of bleached bones on the floor of the box.
Shrugging his slim shoulders he started to open the block, to his surprise and for the first time that he could remember, Elios saw that there were not only the strange ancient symbols on the thin wud but also the ancients had somehow made pictures of artefacts and people appear on the thin blocks. As he looked at the miracle of the pictures, something seemed familiar but he couldn't recognise it.
Elam and Elvan slid past him to stand outside as he sat and looked at the marvel he held in his hands, how could the ancients put these very detailed pictures onto thin wud blocks. Again something tugged at his mind but still evaded recognition. In the mean time the other two boys had begun to play with the decayed cloth behind the smaller box and, after some testing, Elam took out his small bled and tried to stab into the heavy cloth. To his surprise the small bled pierced the cloth with ease, Elam continued to pull the bled downward as it sliced through, soon there was a slit about eight hands long, Elam pulled open the sides and pushed his head through the opening.
Elvan watched his friends back as his head disappeared through the long slit, suddenly he became worried as he saw the back muscles of Elam stiffen and suddenly Elvan was standing back from the slit with a look of awe on his young face. Speechless he turned to Elvan and could only point at where he had been, Elvan took his place and, with a little trepidation, pushed his head through, soon he too pulled back with the same awed look on his face, both boys looked at each other and turned to call for Elios both at the same time.
Elios heard his named called by his two friends and, as he lifted his eyes from the picture he saw what it was that had been evading him, there, before his eyes was the same view he had seen on the thin block. What had confused him was that the picture had shown only half of the round wheel but now he could clearly see the round parts with symbols inside a gles cover. Each one was exactly the same as in the picture and had the same small symbols as the ones shown.
'OIL PRESSURE, TACHOMETER, SPEEDOMETER, AIR PRESSURE, FUEL, WATER TEMP'
All of them were the same, he had no idea what they meant but it was clear that this particular thin wud block was used for information on this strange metal box.
Hearing his name called again, he placed the thin block on the hot slippery seat and left the smaller box to see what his friends wanted. Once outside all his friends could do was point to a long slit they had made in the cloth of the larger box. With a slight stammer of excitement, Elam told Elios to look through the slit to the inside of the box, always inquisitive, Elios did as he was asked, it took him only seconds to see what had caught their attention.
The larger box was huge, maybe two lengths wide and about five or six lengths long, it was also about ten hands high, inside it was almost full of boxes. Some were made of hard wud, others of the softer wud that melted when water was poured on them and further to the back in the dim light coming from the slit, were lots of metal boxes, some small and other large, some quite long and thin. Others square on all sides, this was a treasure trove of artefacts, the boys had made their fortunes on only the second day of their freedom but, what were they going to do with it all? Elios pulled his head out of the slit with the same awed look on his face as his friends had.
Elam was the first to speak.
"What are we going to do with it all, Elios, there's way too much for us to carry and some of those boxes look really heavy?"
The two boys watched as Elios got that funny faraway look on his face as he thought about Elam's words; finally he looked up at his friends.
"We have to find a place to hide it all, this must have been here hidden under the sand since the age of the ancients and some wind must have come along lately and uncovered the glass that I saw from the ridge."
The other two boys nodded in agreement, after all, Elios was the real smart one among them and had always had good ideas that seemed to work well for them all, Elvan was the next too speak.
"So what do we do Elios?"
"I think you two should go along the cliffs here and look for a cave we can hide all this in, so it needs to be a deep one and quite large. Elam, you go up that way but keep a look out on the other side of the valley as well, there may be a cave over on that side if nothing is on this one. Elvan you go down that way, we need to find something not too far away or it will be too hard to carry all the boxes, it's going to take a lot of our time as it is."
The two boys nodded in agreement then Elam asked Elios.
"What are you going to do Elios?"
"I'm going to try to wriggle in there and find out what's in some of the boxes if I can get them open, this is going to take us a long time to move, there's so much in here."
"How long do you think, Elios?" asked Elvan.
"I don't know, it will depend on how far away the cave is but we're going to need to find food and water while we're here or we will have to go to the Oshun and back each time we run out of stuff to eat and drink and there's the chance someone else will come and take all this away while we are gone."
Elam closed his eyes for a minute and then answered Elios.
"Ok, what if we work today and move what we can after we find a cave, then, tomorrow one of us goes to the Oshun and find water and food and brings it back for the others, that way two of us can go on moving everything, we're only half a dei away so one person moving quickly can be there and back in one dei."
Elios and Elvan looked at Elam and nodded their heads in agreement, it was a good plan and two of the boys could stay and guard their new found wealth.
"Good, that's settled then." Said Elios, "You two go and find us a cave while I try to see what we have, with so many boxes in here there has to be lots of artefacts of value, we might even have enough to get our own breeder cliff."
Elam and Elvan smiled broadly now that they all had a plan of action, so, without further words the two boys went their opposite ways to find a cave for their treasure, Elios returned to the slit in the heavy cloth and, with a little squirming and scrabbling he emerged inside the huge box. He was right up on top of all the boxes and there was not much room between him and the top but he didn't worry, at times like this it was an advantage to be as slim and small as he was.
Confronted by so many choices, at first he didn't know where to start, the first thing he noticed was that the hard wud and soft wud boxes on which he was sitting, were placed in a certain order, there were ten boxes making a square then a small gap and then the ten boxes he was sitting on. Looking down into the dimness, he saw that the whole large box was set up in the same way, two rows of boxes stretching right to the far end, only the type of box was different. It appeared as though all the soft wud boxes were up close to him, then came the hard wud boxes and after that the rows of metal boxes. This was going to be hard work for three young boys but the treasure was too big and valuable to leave for others.
As far as Elios could see in the dim light, all the boxes were marked with the same ancient symbol as he had seen on the thin wud block with the pictures. All were marked with some sort of heavy black paint that said 'USMC' Elios thought that whoever was 'USMC'he must have been a very wealthy man to have owned all these boxes, His mind roamed for a moment as he thought of what might be hidden inside the boxes, maybe some of them would be full of clear gles, or maybe special metals and tools, his imagination ran wild as he thought of what all that wealth would mean for the three friends.
Elios looked down at the top of one of the boxes he was sitting on, it had two sides folded together and was fastened by a lot of strange thin bits of metal going from one side of the gap to the other and was obviously meant to keep the two sides together. Elios tried pulling the sides apart but the slim metal pieces gave him no space to get his thin fingers inside deep enough to get a good grip, Elios sat back and thought for a little and then drew out his small bled.
Carefully he pushed the small thin bled under one of the metal pieces and slowly pulled upwards, with surprising ease, the metal piece popped out of the soft wud and Elios saw that it had been bent under the wud to hold it, now that he knew what to do he quickly went down the line of metal pieces and popped them all open, with shaking fingers he levered open the folded sides to look at what the box held.
Once open, Elios looked inside the box, there, neatly lined up were row on row of round metal cylinders, each tightly packed next to the other. Elios tapped the top of one with the handle of his bled, it was very thin metal, he wondered how long they were so set to work to remove one of them, they were so tightly packed he had a small problem just pulling one out but when he had finally got it slightly above the rest it was easy to grab it by the top and pull. To his surprise it was not very long at all, maybe less than a hand, around it's middle was more ancient pictures and symbols.
Elios looked at the beautiful picture, he had never seen anything like it before, it showed a strange round item that was almost the colour of the sun, above it were the ancient symbols that he could not read.
He shook the cylinder and to his surprise he was sure he could hear some sort of liquid inside the cylinder, he shook it again, yes he was right, there was liquid inside but also something else, something that was more solid. In the silence of the box, Elios usual inquisitiveness took over, he shook it again, when it would not open he tried twisting it back and forth, still it would not open. Elios tried knocking it on top of the other cylinders in the box all he came up with was some small marks and dents in the cylinder.
Elios looked around for something more to hit the cylinder with, how could something so small be so tough, he tapped it with his bled, it rang with a dull 'tonk' sound, as hard as he tried to think, Elios could not come up with a way to open the cylinder. Finally, in total frustration, he stabbed it hard with his bled, his hand was immediately covered with an oily type of wetness as it spurted up from the small slit in the top, surprised at the result of his frustration. Elios absently licked his fingers without thinking it may be deadly to him.
Elios gasped as a sweet almost sickly tang hit his tongue, he immediately sucked another finger, he had never tasted anything like it. If it was poison too bad, it was too nice to be bad he was sure, he sucked another finger clean and then tried tipping the cylinder up to his mouth so he could suck some more of the great liquid out. It filled his mouth and he swallowed slowly to savour the exquisite taste, Elios body shivered with delight as the liquid ran down his throat, this would be something special for his friends when they returned.
When the cylinder was empty, Elios shook it again, there was still something inside but it sounded more solid but how to get the cylinder open, Elios sat for a while and let his mind work unhindered, eventually it occurred to him. He stabbed his small bled in again and again until he had made a larger hole in the top and then he bent all the cut pieces back and there, sitting in the cylinder was something that looked close to the picture on the front.
Elios pushed his finger carefully into the opening, the thing inside was soft and moist, Elios took his bled and pushed in into the thing, it sliced through without effort, he turned the cylinder upside down and shook it, suddenly, Elios lap was full of the small soft things that had rushed out of the opening, he looked down at the mess in his lap.
Elios could only smile at the sight before himself; he picked up one of the slippery things and brought it close to his mouth, carefully, almost daintily, he placed it on his lips. Again he very carefully took a small bight, flavour of things unknown exploded in his mouth and without further thought, he rammed the rest of the soft food into his mouth and chewed with an enthusiasm that he had never had for food before. It didn't take long before he had eaten every one of the slippery things, his fingers were sticky along with his slender legs and crotch. The mess was everywhere, deep inside his body began a deep childish chuckle as he realised that he had found a source of food and drink so they would not have to go to the Oshun while they moved their treasure. Elios hugged his sticky body with glee as he waited for his friends to come back.
Elios looked down at the box he was sitting on and began to count the rows of cylinders, where he had removed the first one he could see that underneath there were more rows of the same cylinders, on the top row there were two plus ten cylinders less the one he had opened, so that meant there were another two plus ten on the next row below. That was a lot of food and drink for three boys, they would have plenty for their time here to move the treasure.
Elios heard a faint bird call from outside and knew that at least one of his friends was returning. Reaching down he grasped two more of the cylinders for his friends to try and wriggled out of the box. Fine grains of sand had soon stuck to his sticky legs and hands but he didn't worry about it, his mouth was still tasting of the sweet juices he had discovered.
Jumping to the soft sand, he waited patiently as he saw Elvan coming towards him waving his arms, it was obvious he had found a cave for them but how far way would decide if they used it or not. Elios waited for his friend to arrive next to him, the look on Elvan's face told its own story as he saw the condition that Elios was in, covered from waist to knees in sand that seemed to be stuck on his skin and the huge smile on the smaller boys face told elvan that something good had happened.
Elvan also noticed that Elios was holding two shiny cylinders in his hands and wondered what the boy had found that was so interesting, Elios was the first to speak.
"Did you find a good cave?"
"Yes, it looks like it might have been made by the ancients but it's a long way down the valley, what have you got there?"
"Ok, we'll wait for Elam and see if he found anything, these? Well these are a special surprise for you and Elam, but you have to wait till he gets here so you can both try them together."
Elvan looked again at the condition that Elios was in.
"So you tried one already by the look of you."
"Yes, I had to see if it was safe for us, but trust me, you're going to love the surprise."
Of course Elvan trusted Elios, he always knew what was right, he smiled at the smaller boy and sat down in the sand to wait for Elam as he looked again at the strange cylinders that Elios held in each hand. Not a lot of time passed before Elam's birdcall was heard coming from the other side of the valley, as the two boys looked up they saw Elam running towards them, he had a big smile on his lips as he neared them.
Elam collapsed on the sand beside his friends, still panting a little from his short run.
"What did you find?" asked Elios.
"An ancients cave just over on the other side of the valley, I saw it when the sun got low enough to break the shadows."
"How do you know it's one of the ancient's ones?" asked Elvan.
"Easy, it's perfectly round and has a thick grey ancient stone hanging over it; you can still see the red spots of the round steel they used in the stone."
"It seems closer than the one Elvan found, I think we should use it, did you go inside to see how much space there was?" replied Elios.
"No, it's got a lot of stones and things blocking it, but we can clear them away and take a look to see if it's big enough."
"Ok, well I've got a surprise for you."
Elios put the two cylinders on the ground and watched the expression on Elam's face as he took his small bled out ready to open them for his friends.
"What are they?" enquired Elam with a little scepticism in his young voice.
"Wait and see." Replied Elios as he stabbed the first of the cylinders, twisting the bled to make the hole bigger, handing the first one to Elvan, he then opened the second one for Elam.
"Put the hole to your mouth and suck hard, see what I've found, it's good, I promise."
Elios watched the expression on the two boys faces as they followed his instructions, the look of awe and bliss on their young faces as the first of the liquid ran down their throats gave Elios a warm feeling of accomplishment at his find.
Elios waited until the two boys had sucked all the liquid out of the cylinders and were about to throw away the rest, even though they could feel that there was still something inside.
"Wait." Called Elios as he reached over and took the two cylinders back, quickly he began to puncture them again until he could fully open them for his friends, telling them to hold out their hands, he tipped the strange yellow things out so they could see them.
"Eat them." He said with a little amusement in his voice as he knew what their expressions would be. The two boys trusted Elios not to play with them so followed his suggestion and began to put one of the pieces into their mouths, it took only a short time before all of the pieces were in their mouths and being chewed with such delight that they almost choked in trying to hurry.
After the two were finished and had licked their fingers clean, Elam asked Elios.
"That was amazing, I've never tasted anything like it, is there any more of them?"
"Yes plenty, I counted at least four plus ten in the box and there were a lot of boxes that look the same in there."
"That's good, we can eat those and not have to go to the Oshun all the time for food and water, we can stay here and move all this treasure into the cave instead, I think we can also work during the dark as well, it's not far to the ancient cave from here." said Elam.
The other two boys nodded in agreement, the sooner they could move the treasure the better and safer it would be for them and their find. As the boys sat there after their great food surprise, Elios had been thinking about the cave Elam had found, if it was a big one they would need some light to look inside and to work with during the dark time.
Searching in his sak, he pulled out the thin wud roll and asked Elam about the fire stone; soon the boys had collected what they wanted and, leaving the sak's behind, trotted over to the other side of the narrow valley until they came to the dark hole in the shadow of the cliff that Elam had found.
Just as he had said the overhang of the ancient's stone kept the hole hidden from normal view but it was filled with sand and stones, the three boys looked at each other and then set to work. Luckily it was not packed tightly and they were soon crawling deeper and deeper into the round cave hole. As they got deeper, Elios took the lead as he was smaller, he continued to push the stones and sand behind him for Elam and Elvan to take to the outside and throw away,
Finally, just as the darkness was about to start, Elios hand pushed through the last of the sand, there was a gust of moist cold air that ran across his hand and hit him refreshingly in the face. It smelt a little stale but the cold moistness felt good on his hot skin, all three boys were now tired and dirty, their small bodies covered in sand and grit as they felt the refreshing cold air. Elios pushed back more of the loose sand until he could worm his way through, all he saw was more round hole and darkness, where ever this went it was not short.
"It looks as though it goes deeper, let's go back and have another of those foods and sleep in the box again. In the morning we can come back and see where it goes." said Elios to the other boys.
Both were in agreement so they backed up out of the pipe and set off for their little camp in the small box, although feeling tired from the exertions, they were happy how their second dei of adventure had turned out. They had a good dark time cave to sleep in and a pile of treasure to start their lives with as well as a new food that was so good to eat.
There were no boy games that night, they were too exhausted by their work and the excitement of their adventure, they just curled up in each other's arms and fell into a deep sleep until the first rays of the rising sun woke them for their next dei. Elios was closest to the door so he rose first and went out to get three more cylinders of the food. Sitting on the sand he was about to stab into the first one again when he stopped and took another look at the cylinder, his agile mind went into overdrive as he tried to work out a better way to open them.
Slowly it came to him and he rested the point of his bled at the very edge of the cylinder and gave the handle a hard hit with his other hand, next he began to work the bled back and forth around the edge of the cylinder. This he found, was a lot easier and tidier, in no time at all he had the three cylinders open and ready for his friends who, on hearing Elios at work, were quick to jump out of the box and join him for their feast.
While they ate their food, the boys discussed how they were going to search the new cave until finally, they came up with the idea of using some of the thin wud they had collected at the breeding cliffs to make a light so they could see into the dark of the pipe hole. Elios got three pieces of the thin wud and rolled them very tightly into three thin sticks, Elvan got the fire stone and along with his bled, got enough spark to light one of the wud sticks. The light wasn't a lot but it would do for the small pipe they would be in. Elios quickly put out the light by pushing it into the soft sand and they began their walk back to the new cave.
Once at the mouth of the pipe cave and as the rising sun began to warm up the small valley, the boys could still feel the moist cold air coming out of the hole. There had to be something good deeper inside for the air to still be cool like it was. Maybe even it had a lot of water inside; that would explain why it was so moist and cold. Elios didn't think the air was as stale as the previous day and hoped for something good when they got to the end of the pipe.
The three boys wriggled their way deeper into the pipe, when Elios got to the last sand barrier he had cleared he looked ahead. The rising sun had lightened the inside of the pipe and Elios could see that in front of him, about three lengths away, the pipe was blocked by a sheet of what looked like coarse cloth. Elios moved forward until he was close in front of the barrier, reaching forward tentively he pushed gently at the cloth, to his surprise it felt like fine metal and flexed with the pressure of his hand, he had never seen metal so fine, the ancients were a very smart race.
Pausing, Elios thought for a bit and then pulled out his trusty bled, it was now a little worse for wear as he had now opened nine cylinders and there were small nicks in each side. He would soon have to find a hard stone to make it sharp again, suddenly, as if a light had come on, Elios saw the strange two coloured stone that Elam had found so long ago and his face lit up with a huge smile, at last, another question answered. That was what the strange stone was for, he looked over his shoulder at Elam and gave the boy a huge smile but said nothing about what he had just thought, instead he turned back to the metal cloth in front of him and stabbed his over used bled though it.
To his surprise, the bled slid through easily and Elios began to saw it back and forth cutting through the metal cloth with ease. When he had cut all around he pushed it through the hole and tried to see into the dark depths in front of him. He heard the cloth hit something hard below him but it was too dark to see anything, he called for Elvan to light one of his homemade sticks. When that was done and Elvan had passed it forward, Elios leaned closer to the edge and tried to see inside, below him he could just make out a large stone floor, in the dim light he also saw what looked like tables and seats but they were indistinct in the dim light. The drop to the floor was only about one length so Elios wriggled about until he had turned himself around and he was able to ease his young legs through the newly made hole and drop lightly onto the stone floor.
He was quickly followed by the other two and in the dim light from the fire stick and their natural ability to see in very dim light, the boys looked around. The cave was huge, they could see the tables and seats but not the other three sides so both Elam and Elvan lit the other two sticks Elios had made and spread out.
The cave was bigger than the boys thought, it seemed to stretch to the ends of the earth. Each boy picked a direction to go and kept in touch by calling back and forth until they came to the side wall they had been seeking, turning they could see the dim light of each other. The cave would be big enough for all their treasure and have a lot of space left over, the only difficulty would be bringing all the treasure through the small pipe and putting it down on the floor without damage. The three boys started back to where they could just make out the dim light of the pipe.
Elios sharp mind did not take long to find an answer to getting in and out of the pipe. The tables had the seats attached by some strange means but Elios was not about to worry about small things like that, he had the other two each pull a table over beside the one he had got to. Putting their two tables beside each other with the ends against the wall, Elios pushed his in front making a large platform to stand on and easily reach the pipe to go in and out on. This would make it easier to unload their treasure, they agreed that they had seen enough and it was time to start moving their find to the new cave.
On returning to their treasure box they sat down and began to work out how they were going to move all the boxes inside. It was obvious it was going to take a long time and the need for light in the new cave was something they had to fix. After a lot of thought they came up with the idea of firstly taking as many of the hard wud boxes first and then using them to light a fire in the cave to give them enough light to work with. Even though the hard wud boxes were further back in the large box it would be better in the end they thought.
Elios was the first to wriggle his way into the treasure box and, as he moved he tried to work out how best to get the boxes they needed out to the hole they were working through. It took a while to work out how to do it but first he had to be able to get rid of some strange metal belts that were around all the piles of boxes. There were two straps running from front to back and two more from side to side, the metal straps were about a finger wide and black but very thin and strong. Finally Elios knew what to do with the strange cutting tool he had found so long ago.
Calling Elvan he asked him to find the small metal three cornered tool and bring it to him. Once he had it in hand he set to work on the belts, as he had guessed they were cut through easily and soon the four belts were pushed aside and Elios could start to take out the boxes. He noticed the same symbols on the box but some extra ones as well that meant as much as the others, nothing, they read.
This meant nothing to him as he continued to push and pull the box free until it was clear of the others he then pushed it towards the opening. It was heavier than he had first thought but kept moving it until it was outside. He then went back for the next one and the next one until they had more than four plus ten outside on the sand.
The three boys tried lifting a box each but they were too heavy so then they had to set about working out a way to move them all to the new cave. It was Elam that came up with an idea, why not open one of the boxes and see what was inside, maybe there would be something they could use. It didn't take long for the others to agree and begin the struggle to open one of the hard wud boxes. It was not easy but they soon found that if they pushed their bleds into a thin crack at the top, they could lever upward and pull out the long bits of steel holding the top on. Soon they had the first one open and too their surprise it was full of folded material like they had never seen. Touching the material, all three were overwhelmed by the softness and warmth coming from the surfaces, Elvan was the first to pull one free, it seemed light in his hands but so soft, he tried to pull it apart but it was too strong, Elam came up with the idea first.
"Why not use one of these on the ground and put a full box on top, then we can hold the loose end and pull it over the sand, that way we can move three boxes at a time."
Too the others it seemed a good idea so they set about pulling more of the cloths out and laying three of them on the sand then the three boys lifted a box between them and placed it on each of the cloths. Moving to the front they each picked up the two corners and began to pull them towards the new cave, it was easier than they thought it would be as the loaded cloths slipped across the soft sand with ease and they were soon at the opening of their new cave.
Once at the pipe they pushed the first box in and Elios began to push it forward to the opening into the cave. Elam and Elvan followed close behind with theirs and quickly Elios was pushing his box through the opening and heard it hit hard on the tables below with a crash and loud thud. Elios then climbed through and moved it out of the way as the next one came falling through, he was just in time to get out of the way as it crashed to the hard floor and one corner splintered to show the cloths inside then Elam dropped down and moved out of the way for Elvan and his box.
Once inside the three boys began the work of breaking open the boxes for fire wud and stacked the cloths on another table away from the opening. Once they had the first box open it didn't take long to break them down to smaller pieces and, as the tables were made of metal, they built a small fire in the centre of one and lit it. When it was fully alight they could see more of the huge room, they built the fire a little bigger so it would last until they came back and then jumped up and went for the next boxes.
The boys were so happy at solving all the problems that, with the help of some extra cylinders of the special food, worked right through the high sun time until all the boxes they had taken out and put on the sand, were now in the new cave. It was time to start on the soft wud boxes with their food in them, the boys walked jauntily back to start on the next exercise.
Elios used the same tool to free the food boxes and while they were heavy, they were nowhere near as heavy as the hard wud ones and when they had all the boxes outside, they found they could carry one each easily to the new cave but they had to make more trips as there were far more of the food boxes than the cloth ones. It was nearing dark time when they had finished, that and having to break hard wud boxes for their fire took them a little longer and even though they were tired, they felt a great deal of satisfaction in their dei's work.
After resting for a short time, the boys decided to eat some more food from the cylinders mixed with some bred and then keep carrying more of the boxes from their treasure box. The boys continued until it was almost high dark, by then they were tired and every muscle ached like never before but they had managed to clear all four piles of the soft wud boxes and a small number of the hard wud ones as well. On their last trip for the dark, the two bigger boys had taken one large box between them and Elios had found a small one that was by itself on the floor, immediately he recognised some of the symbols as those of the picture block had had on the outside.
The second set of symbols he had not seen before but the first ones were the same and he hoped they would have more of the great pictures in them as well, it would give his inquisitive mind something to do when they were finished. On their return to the cave, they built up the fire with the last of the hard wud they had ready and sat around to rest, their young chests heaving as they tried to gasp in a little more air from their exertions before they went to sleep, there would be plenty of time in the morning to look over what they had so far.
The three boys set out a number of the thick cloths on the floor to make a soft bed, discarded their sweat soaked breach-clouts and used one of the cloths to wipe most of the dirt and sand from their bodies as the fire flickered and sent strange shadows around the new cave. Elios settled down as he always did with his back to Elvan's front while Elam lay next to him with his front facing Elios. Elios liked being in the middle of his two friends, it made play time so much better but for now they were all to exhausted by their long dei and heavy work, if something happened to the rest of their treasure while they slept, at least they had a lot of it in the cave.
During the dark and before the new sun rise marked another dei, Elios felt cold and without thought wriggled from between his friends and got another of the cloths to cover them all, he was almost immediately warm, these cloths were a real find and so soft on his young skin. Elios began to get hard from the feel but then sleep overtook him again and he wriggled down close to his friends and fell asleep.
The new sun was well up in the sky before the tired boys woke again. The faint greyness from the pipe and their own excellent vision made it a little easier for the boys to see around them. There seemed to be boxes lying everywhere, after a small discussion, Elam said it would be better of Elios stayed in the cave to put the boxes in some sort of order while he and Elvan continued to move more of them over. It would be slower but then at least they would have some sort of way of finding out what they all were, if Elios started to open them and look inside.
They all agreed and after a small meal, the boys set about their tasks, it was going to be another long day but with luck they might be able to get most of the boxes in today, even if they again worked through the dark again. They had only one more pile of heavy wud boxes to go and then there would be the four piles of metal boxes. Those might be quicker as a lot of them were quite small and had a handle on them for carrying as did some of the larger ones although those looked as though the boys would again have to carry them one at a time between the two boys.
Once the others had left on their first trip, the silence descended on the new cave. At first Elios felt a little intimidated by the silence but then he heard a familiar sound, somewhere in the far reaches of the large cave was water. He could hear a steady, drip, drip ,drip, of water hitting something metallic, he looked around but could see no sign close to him of the water, somehow they had to get more light into the cave. Elios turned back to his job of sorting the boxes.
Firstly he decided to place all the boxes with the same symbols in one place and stack them up around the nearest wall. It was a slow job as there were now so many boxes and he had to strain his eyes to make out the symbols and check that each one was the same before he could put them in their right place. As he was doing this, the other two boys were still pushing new boxes through the pipe so Elios had little time to think about anything else.
Time had passed and it was now just on high sun so the other boys joined Elios in the cave for a rest, they had finished all the hard wud boxes and were ready to start on the metal ones but decided to rest during the heat of the dei. It had been hard work the previous dei working through high sun and they felt it would be better to wait now, after all there were only four piles of metal boxes left and they were sure that they could have them all moved some time in the dark time.
The boys rested during the high sun and then set to work again once it had cooled, some of the larger metal boxes took both Elam and Elvan to move over. The smaller ones were easier although there were many more of them but with the aid of the small handles the boys were able to tuck one under each arm and one in each hand and carry four at a time. They were a little heavier than at first thought but not as heavy as one of the boxes, it was about one length long and eight hands high and wide with a handle at each end. It was awkward to move with them but they soon worked out a way of walking side by side with the box between them and made good time back to the cave.
Elios was being swamped by the new boxes but again went back to his system of matching the strange symbols on each box and placing them against the near wall. They were now stretching down into the darkness of the cave as he sorted them out, the sweat running down his naked body as he moved one after another into place.
Finally the other two boys returned with the last metal box, it had grown dark and Elios had broken down one of the hard boxes to make their fire. With all the running around sorting the boxes, Elios had not had time to open even one of them so he got a surprise when he broke down the box marked.
The unusual looking items had almost no relationship to anything Elios had seen before just like all the other treasures so he left them in a pile beside the other two unopened boxes and lit the fire. His two friends struggled with the last long metal box and then collapsed on their sleeping pad, throwing their breach-clouts to the side and wiping their sweating bodies with the cloth they had used the previous dei.
Elios decided to open one of the other soft wud boxes to see what food or drink was inside, they had now had two dei's of the same food and while it was still something special he wanted a change. While the others rested on the sleeping mat he went in search of something new and finally settled on a box marked.
On finally opening the box after the same struggle with the small metal pins, he saw more metal squares inside. They were made from the same metal as the cylinders but this time they were square but smaller at the top than the bottom, looking at the bottom of the square cylinder he saw a strange piece of metal attached, it looked like a thin rope. At one end was a small loop and the other had a thin slit in it.
Elios played with the piece of metal until it began to move away from the base and finally it dropped into his hand, scratching his head in wonder he began to look more closely at the cylinder, at last he saw, right at the bottom, a small piece of the cylinder was laying out from the rest. Using his finger nail he pulled at the tab until it was sticking out from the body, he then looked at the thin wire and the tab, shortly it clicked into place, he pushed the slot in the wire over the tab.
After a little trial he worked out that if he rolled the wire backwards he could wrap the tab around the wire like a belt. A minute later and he could smell this strange meat smell coming from the cylinder. Finishing with the tab he pulled it off along with the bottom of the cylinder, inside was a pinkish mass, it was firm to the touch but smelt like some type of meat. Elios put his finger to his lips to taste, it was different from any meat he had eaten before but was still nice.
Elios pulled out his bled and cut into the soft mass, taking a piece he put it in his mouth and chewed slowly, it tasted good but somewhat oily. Elios turned the cylinder upside down and shook it until the mass dropped into his hand, he cut it into three pieces and took it over to his friends.
Handing the mass to the other boys, Elios got out the last of their bred and along with the meat mass ate it all up, the others following his example. It took no urging by the others to send him over for more, at the end of three cylinders they were full to bursting, the only thing they needed now was water but it was too dark to go searching until the new sun rise. The boys settled down for the rest of the dark time and drifted off to sleep, their young bodies still stiff and sore from all the work they had done over the last two dei's.