Indiana Jones opened his eyes. Instead of the cramped, dark chamber of the Temple of Shadow’s inner sanctum or the confusing phantasmagoria of the two temples in the throes of the ‘conjunction,’ he was in the polished, high-ceilinged Temple of Light. The golden rays of the morning sun streamed in through the open skylight and glittered off the artifact in Indy’s hand.
Looking down at the medallion, Indiana nearly dropped it in surprise. Instead of the shining half-disc of the Medallion of Light or the dark shape of the Medallion of Shadow, he held both joined seamlessly as one. The archeologist turned the combined artifact over in his hands, examining it from every angle. From all available evidence, it was an unbroken whole and had always been.
The same couldn’t be said for the Temple of Light. Silver Trowel’s destructive magic had torn through the twin temples, rending asunder architecture that had lasted for centuries. Indiana Jones frowned, worrying for a moment that he might be trapped after all—but the tunnel Daring Do had used was every bit as real for him here as it was in the sanctuary’s darker twin. Sparing one last glance at the empty chamber, Indiana bent low and climbed into the secret passage.
Crawling through the bowels of the Temple of Light, Indiana found himself searching his mind like a child scraping his tongue over the unaccustomed gap left by a lost tooth. His brain felt as if a heavy weight had been lifted from it. The alien memories of Daring Do were gone. In some ways, it was a relief. But part of the archeologist almost missed the rare opportunity to experience first hand even the echoes of a new and unfamiliar civilization.
Fortunately for Indiana, the effects of the conjunction seemed to be at an end. No invisible but still lethal traps awaited the archeologist as he moved cautiously through the temple’s corridors, revolver at the ready. Even the German soldiers and their local allies seemed to have abandoned the entryway, leaving their dead sprawled on the bloodstained floor. Doctor Jones grimaced and waded carefully among the bodies, grateful that his was not among them.
The steps of the Temple of Light were still cool despite the warm sun as Indiana Jones took a seat outside the wrecked temple gates. Indy thought about the weight of the combined Medallion of Light and Shadow in the pocket of his well-worn jacket. It would probably be a good idea to get it back to the States as soon as possible. Even with Jägermeister dead, the Nazis doubtless had other agents they would use to try to retrieve their prize.
A flicker of movement made Indiana glance momentarily to his left. Oh, Daring was here. He looked back over the valley and—wait. What?! Doctor Jones nearly gave himself whiplash looking back for the pegasus, but she was gone. If she had ever been there in the first place. The archeologist chuckled. He must just be tired.
Come to think of it, it would probably be a while before Marshall College would be able to secure funds to get Indiana Jones out to this area of the world again. It would be a shame to waste the rare chance to investigate the rumors he’d heard about some of the Tibetan monasteries to the northeast.
Adjusting his fedora, Indiana stood and stretched. With a smile on his face, he walked down the steps of the Temple of Light and trudged down the mountain path, towards the next adventure.
* * *
Daring Do opened her eyes, wincing as she scented the tang of blood and death in the air. Something near the edge of the chamber whined and rubbed its face. It was Flint, the wrappings on his shoulder stained red by his slowly bleeding wound.
“Hey, Flint,” Daring called in greeting.
The diamond dog nearly fainted in surprise, although that might have been more due to blood loss. “Daring Do!”
“Come on, I told Indy I’d get you out of here. Let’s go,” the mare directed.
Daring went to tuck the Medallion of Shadow back under her pith helmet, but stopped and stared. Where before she had held only half of the twin artifacts, now the pegasus had the complete set. The two medallions formed a single plate-sized disc of metal, somehow seamless despite having been split down the middle between its dark and light halves.
Daring Do examined the joined artifact for a moment and glanced around the chamber. The low, claustrophobic room was unquestionably the inner shrine of the Temple of Shadow, without any of the strange additions caused by whatever arcane disturbance had joined the two temples partially into one. The mare shook her head. Magic, eh? Maybe somepony back in Canterlot could make sense of it all.
With the diamond dog following, Daring climbed back into the tunnels used by the trap maintenance pony. The dazed unicorn was still there when she came out the other end. He glanced nervously at the emerging adventurer. “Oh hello, Miss. Name’s Sprocket. Sorry about the mess. We’ll have this cleaned up and the temple in working order again soon. Can you come back in a week or so?”
“Maybe,” Daring allowed. “Actually, I wanted to discuss booby traps with you…”
“I haven’t had a chance to reset the traps yet after some idiot set them all off,” Sprocket sighed. “If you just give me a bit of time, though, I can—OH CELESTIA NOT THE FACE! NOT IN THE FACE!”
Several very satisfying minutes later, Daring Do left a battered Sprocket behind and helped a limping Flint to wade through the carnage of the entryway. The mismatched pair paused on the steps of the temple, looking out over the early morning vista of the Ridgebacks. Daring sighed. It was good to be back on somewhat familiar ground.
A shifting shadow to Daring’s right made her turn in that direction. For a heartbeat, she could swear she saw the grizzled features of Indiana Jones as he rested on the steps, and then the image was gone. “Flint, did you see anything?”
“What Daring mean?” the diamond dog asked, cocking his head. “Flint see lots of things.”
“Never mind,” sighed the mare. It was probably a trick of the light. On the bright side, though her mind was playing tricks on her, it wasn’t doing it with somepony else’s memories any more. Once again she could be sure that the past events she was dredging up were hers and hers alone… although now that she thought about it, Daring Do somewhat regretted never getting the chance to visit America, or Germany, or the other places she’d glimpsed in Indiana’s memories.
“So, where Daring go now?” inquired Flint. He stretched and straightened. The natural resilience of a diamond dog was doing wonders for his alertness despite the continued throbbing in his shoulder wound.
“Well obviously…” Daring trailed off. Her usual answer would have been something like, ‘on to the next adventure!’ But the pegasus felt tired. Dead tired. She pulled out the combined Medallion of Light and Shadow again, looking contemplatively into its reflective surface.
“You know, I think I’ll take this thing back to Canterlot,” Daring said slowly as ideas slotted into place in her head. “Maybe… Maybe see about putting some of the stuff I’ve collected in a museum. I feel like it belongs there, honestly. I bet a lot of colts and fillies would like to see artifacts like this and learn about far off lands and interesting cultures.”
Flint cocked his head again. “Daring think colts and fillies might follow in Daring’s hoofsteps?”
Daring Do speared Flint with an appraising gaze. “You know, I think Indy was right. You are smarter than you look.”
The diamond dog glanced around nervously. “Please Daring, don’t tell. Flint never live it down!”
“All right, Flint. Well, let’s go.” Daring trotted down the mountain path, Flint close behind as they headed off… towards the next adventure.
* * *
Far above the pegasus and diamond dog, a hawk circled. Making one last loop to be sure, it turned and flew south. Its journey took it over the tall, craggy spines of the Ridgeback Mountains. The raptor flew over rolling hills and broad, expansive plains. It flew with little food and less rest, stopping only infrequently. Finally, the bedraggled bird glided in for a final landing in the humid, shadowy depths of a jungle far out of its native range.
The hawk hopped across the weathered stone of the ruins and arrived at the foot of a large throne. From the royal seat, a hulking, blue-furred creature glared down at the bird. “Well, hawk? Why do you disturb the rest of the great Ahuizotl?”
Fluttering up to the throne, the bird of prey squawked quietly into Ahuizotl’s ear. The strange creature listened intently, his eyes narrowing with every passing second. “Daring? The medallion, gone? And all lost?!”
The large blue creature snarled, baring its yellowed fangs to the sky as it shook a clawed fist in the air. “Foiled again. Curse you, Daring Do—eh?”
Once again the hawk seemed to whisper quietly to the evil beast. Ahuizotl’s eyes widened in surprise. “A what? Who is that?”
Ahuizotl listened again, his lips curling away from his sharp, predatory teeth. He surged to his paws and snarled angrily. “Then fine! Curse you too, Indiana Jones! With myself as my witness I, Ahuizotl, swear this: somehow, I will have my revenge! A plague on all adventurers!”
The blue-furred villain collapsed back into his throne and made a shooing motion with one paw. The hawk squawked enquiringly. Ahuizotl sighed. “Yes, yes. You have done well, my minion. Now, go! I have plans to make… Such plans…”