Robert Frost wrote the poem, The Road not Taken where two paths diverge to different opportunities like the one in this story. A decision may lead to demise if not thought through properly so always choose wisely.
"We've arrived," the peach-skinned Cretin guide Ishkes declared as he stopped his speeder bike in front of a large rock wall. "We've reached our destination."
"Mr. Jaanii is right about arriving at sunset here in this part of the canyon planet," Nirlunal, the nerdy-looking Iorthian finds manager of the Sigma Team from the Ugreron Archaeological Organization said as she stopped and unmounted her bike.
"Looks huge, right Tris?" Theiarilla, the Paphoneid science manager unmounted the bike she and Tristaneo, her fraternal twin shared for the journey.
"Pretty empty looking façade," the tall buff twin and excavation director replied slinging his bag over his shoulder. "Should we start digging?"
"Hey, no digging!" Ishkes barricaded the young Paphoneid with his arm as he walked towards the rock wall. "Shall I tell you again about the prophecy about this wall?"
A loud stomach growl was heard behind the group of explorers. "Shall we talk about that during dinner?" The timid Duhrlinae site manager Shrusei blushed.
The small archaeology team settled near the wall on tents. Nirlunal cooked chowder for her coworkers. All of them sat down in front of the fire to eat.
"Ms. Nirlunal, this porl'wag chowder taste so good. Can you teach me in cooking this when we get back to Ugreo?" Tristaneo smiled and slurped the broth.
"You should not flirt with your sister around, Mr. Lugno. Say, how do we make those doors appear here, Mr. Jaanii?" the Iorthian lady inquired to have a better conversation among the species.
"Before the wars ended, the last leader who ruled our tribe hid a scroll somewhere in a cave near our settlement. That was before the settlement was destroyed. During the second millenia when the systems' wars had ended, a bounty hunter found a scroll in that same cave aside from the mission he finished."
The little group of culture preservers finished their dinner one by one and piled their wooden bowls on the ground with their spoons on top as they intently listened to the middle-aged Cretin native.
"Now this hunter is quite the kind one that he searched for our settlement, the one my kin are staying at present. He gave that scroll to us without any hesitation for more bounty."
"Why did he do that?" The Paphoneid lady looked puzzled at the bounty hunter. "Isn't it that all bounty hunters don't give treasures back but sell it for profit?"
"Maybe he's an odd one just like you, Theia," Tristaneo scoffed at his twin and smirked. Theiarilla frowned and pinched his nose.
"Ow!" the Paphoneid buff yelped. Theiarilla shushed her twin. "Stop being rude. Now, Mr. Jaanii, can we please continue the story before my brother ruins it again?"
The guide nodded slightly smiling and proceeded to the story. "Our new chieftain at the time hid it in their home since none of the ones left spoke ancient Cretin during that millenia. This story which was passed on for so many generations inspired me to learn the language so I travelled to Ugreo for it. Years after, I went back here to study the scroll."
Ishkes set his projector inches away but between Nirlunal and Theiarilla for them to see the scroll in a magnified hologram version. The scroll contained illustrations showing a vision of a future that is yet to come for the whole Borean Galaxy systems. Below it is the prophecy written in ancient Cretin runes with ink from a rare blue corkus flower. The team eyed the scroll with amazement.
"Wow!" Shrusei murmured. "There's a lady opening a door on a rock wall."
"That's the first part of the prophecy, which as written below: After serenity and calm, the moon goddess Luminae will descend upon the galaxy to find two doors and open it," Ishkes described the first illustration.
"But isn't it that your leaders especially the men can also open it?" Theiarilla asked curiously.
"That's a good question, Ms. Lugno. You see, before the wars ended, Cretins still speak the ancient language. When peace reigned in the Boreas, Cretins still tried to open it with the incantations taught by our ancestors. The men recited it and also the women but to no avail, nothing happened." Ishkes sighed sadly.
Theiarilla looked at the man sadly. "Anyway, we'll help you for this. What does the other illustrations mean, sir?"
"Luminae in our ancient symbols mean woman so our women also tried to make the doors appear. On the next drawing, Luminae recites the incantation and is letting three droplets of blood seep in the rock wall on it's keyhole while a moonbeam streamed to illuminate the keyhole. My kin did this ritual too figuratively and literally but to no avail, no door showed on the wall."
"The moon looks silver and big. How many moons do you have here, sir?" Nirlunal inquisitively looked at the drawing.
"Two. And tonight they will be merging together forming a big silver moon."
"We can do the ritual tonight." Theiarilla beamed and looked at everybody in the group. "By the way, what is written at the bottom of the second drawing?"
"It says there that: When the moons become silver and its beam shine upon the keyhole, Luminae will offer three drops of blood singing the prayer she taught the forefathers. The merging moons happen only once every century, too. In the last drawing, Luminae makes two doors appear and opens only one door from the two revealing what lies ahead for the future of Boreas."
"Hmmm. This sounds complicated." Tristaneo looked at his sister. "And scary," she added.
"What would happen if we open two of the doors?" Shrusei asked after a few seconds of silence. "Would that be possible Mr. Jaanii?"
"I'm not sure because only one door could be opened by a person. Let's just see if it can open two later, if we do the ritual."
After clearing the bowls away and preparing for the merging moons, the crew planned who would be offering their blood and chanting the prayer. It was midnight when the moons began merging together. One moon crawled to the right, while the other on the left. Gusts of wind blew repeatedly on the canyon walls.
Silvery lights slowly focused on different parts of the rock wall slowly becoming one like the moons who possess those lights. The bright silver moonbeam showed two keyholes. Theiarilla and Nirlunal both offered blood from their left thumb and let it flow on both the keyholes. They both sung the chant fast after the three droplets of blood seeped in the wall. They repeated it twice more after seeing the moons have not moved away from each other yet.
Gradually, two glowing doors with ancient runes carved on them appeared. The women stepped back as they waited for it to open. The doors both opened showing treasures of culture from the left and illustrations of history on the right.
"So it is true." Theiarilla looked at Ishkes. "What would we do next sir?"
"The door is only open for three days and if we don't go out of it before the third day ends, we will be trapped there for eternity." Sadness and fear casted over the faces of the archaeology team.
"Let's just research what we can get. Can we get some samples of the treasures for your Cretin tribe, sir?" Nirlunal glanced over the crew's guide.
"Surely, if it is permitted by the enchanted canyon walls." The Cretin guide nodded.
Shrusei tied a rope on two short pikes of wood in case they get lost inside the cave, they can just find the rope to get back outside. Tristaneo and Nirlunal went inside the left cave while Ishkes and Theiarilla went to the right cave with their equipments for their research and for culture preservation.
Inside the right cave, the two members of the team saw illustrations about Boreas' history as a whole. Each planets and moons' achievements and failures are recorded.
Theiarilla scanned pictures of the illustrations sending it to Ishkes for translation. "Sir, I mean to ask you this earlier before we entered. What type of blood does this cave want to make those doors appear?"
"I am not sure but it's possible that bloodline of leaders is what activates it in a way." Ishkes answered touching the walls and feeling it before scanning one of the walls.
"I'm not even a leader in my own right." Theiarilla sighed and wondered more about it. "Oh well, my ancestors would have been leaders. My twin there is more of an alpha than I am. Nirlunal, too."
"Maybe your skills would not be showing now but later in your life." The two smiled to each other and went on to their scanning.
"Once our alarm buzzes, we'll get back to camp first sir so we could get a rest and continue the scanning and researching for tomorrow."
Meanwhile on the left cave, Nirlunal eyed the pots, jewelries and remnants of the ancient world. "Oh, good Kyr! These relics are made by the Cretins? Wow! This sure is a find for the future of the galaxy."
"Nira, what if all these relics that are preserved here and the history from ancient times written on the cave are all part of a big time capsule?" Tristaneo brushed his fingers on a chest beside him.
"That's one good theory, Tris. If this is a time capsule, maybe we should offer one relic from our time if we want to close this forcefully." Nirlunal astonishingly looked back at Tristaneo as she picked up a jar with coins and some gems inside it.
A sharp beep suddenly rang from both the caves. "Time to get some rest."
While two of the members emerged from the cave, Theiarilla and Ishkes haven't gone back outside.
"Nira, Tris. Where is Theia and Mr. Jaanii?" Shrusei ran to them as soon as he saw sight of the two with a concerned look on his face.
"Nira, stay here and be wary of beasts or anything. Use the blaster I gave you last year, it'll help and protect you. We'll just find my sister." Nirlunal nodded as Shrusei and Tristaneo rushed inside the right cave to find the latter's twin.
Nirlunal clasped her hands in prayer and went inside her tent to find the blaster. The two men ran further inside the cave's chambers. "If anything happens to Theia, I'd be responsible for it. I should have accompanied her, too. We should have went inside the next day instead."
"Hey, we'll find her, Tris. Don't worry. You know I'm afraid to lose her too right?" Shrusei reassured his bestfriend. As they were searching for Theiarilla inside, Shrusei tripped on a light beam and tumbled meters down on a cliff revealing a clearing with lots of skulls and bones.
He dusted himself off and stood straight up slowly glancing at Tristaneo. "Tris, get down here. I think I found something."
His bestfriend skidded down and stopped beside him looking at the sight. "Shru this is..."
"A burial site for sacrificed people. Yes, Mr. Lugno and Mr. Carphil, you are right." Ishkes walked out of an entrance hidden on a wall with his hands at his back and smirking. "Well done young ones. You've proved your part as good archaeologists. You even found us here."
Ishkes pulled the Paphoneid girl with a somewhat invisible string of chakra. He made him float too tightening the string around her body. "Tris, Shru! Help me!"
"Shru, how do we outwit that stupid old geezer? You're better at this," Tris grips on his laser blaster tight through gritted teeth.
"Sir, can we have a truce or deal about this? I'm begging you. We love that girl as much as you want to have her as a sacrifice."
"Okay then, all I need is the blood from the Lugnos. I discovered here that they are the long lost descendants of the goddess Luminae," Ishkes sighed sarcastically. "And for this cave to stay open, their blood is needed. A bag would be enough but I kind of want this to be open eternally so sacrifices should be made."
The old man pulled out a knife from his hand and pulled the floating girl in front of him slowly going for the throat. "Stop!"
"We can donate you bags of our blood as long as we live. Just please don't kill my sister. If you don't agree take me instead. She has a better life ahead more than me. Just please don't kill her." Tris put down his blaster slowly and lifted his hands up.
Shrusei inhaled some air and slowly put down his blaster too. The young man focused on the middle-aged Cretin's eyes. With a gesture of his hand, he twisted both the Cretin's right and left arm until it all went around his back. "Tris, go!"
Tristaneo mouthed Theia to run as he simultaneously grabbed his blaster and shot the unexpected villain on the arms, legs and lastly the head. The man laid flat on the ground.
With his actions, the Durhlinae scanned him for information and found out that he's a criminal disguised as a Cretin guide. Shrusei reported to his colleagues that the mab can read ancient Cretin. "But even if he did, he's not as nice as he was back when he was younger."
Tristaneo nodded and asked, "Should we give him to the space cops?"
"He must." Theiarilla sternly looked at her brother. "He put our lives in danger just for a stupid time capsule. Yeah, the stuff here are essential but if we take it, we should ask permission to the right authorities and not from people like him."
The next day, they contacted the cops to rescuing his body inside the cave. They thanked the cops. "Thank you too, kids. We won't be able to really capture this guy without you and you made him sleep for a couple of months before he realizes he's in prison. Good job for that."
The crew laughed with the uniformed men. Before going back to Phuronhu-shi, the ladies left some mementos and closed the time capsule's doors.
When they reached back Phuronhu-shi, the Sigma team conversed with the tribe's leader, Alnor Jaanii. "I apologize for what my uncle caused you. He's slightly off with his head in a way since he found that scroll. He must have stolen it from someone that's why he went crazy. Our tribe has that trait if we stole something, it'll drive us crazy. Well then, thank you for returning my uncle to the cops and a thousand gratitudes to saving our tribe's wealth."
"Is it true that my sister and I's blood are the only ones who can open those rock walls?" Tristaneo cocked his head to the side as if wondering what the answer would be.
"Well no, Luminae, our moon goddess does not just represent women but people with honest intentions. It's the reason why uncle can't open those doors because he thinks it's his loot and will all be his when he opens the door," Alnor answered.
Oh's and ah's are heard from the small crew of explorer friends. After copying the relics they bought back to the leader, they went back to Ugreo to analyze and finalize their research.
Surely opening doors not explored yet are good things but as you unlock that rarely probed place on the other side of the entrance, be also courageous especially in times of peril and problems you encounter in that place. Carpe diem.