People looked at him oddly as he passed. He wasn’t surprised in the slightest. After all, he would find it odd for a boy, especially one of his age, to be carrying a pink elephant statue on his back.
Maybe a year or two ago he would have been horribly embarrassed, maybe even enough so he would have refused this task. Now he didn’t give a damn. The elephant statue was much more valuable than an eccentric trinket, and only a few knew of its true power.
Philip walked quickly through the crowd, nevertheless eager to get away from the scrutinizing stares and not-so-quiet snickers. He was almost to the shop, almost home free from the ridiculous weight upon his back.
The bell rang as he opened the door, and Philip had been about to shout to Eric about finally getting the statue. Another customer was there, though, so Philip held his tongue and ducked his head before fleeing into the shop’s back room to wait for Eric. After seeing Philip enter the shop, Eric all but kicked the redhead girl out of the place, so anxious was he to see the statue that Philip brought.
“This gaudy thing is what we need?” were Eric’s first words.
“It better be,” Philip said, steadying the statue upon the cluttered desks. The elephant was created of porcelain, perhaps once translucent, now dirty, with lifeless, dull green eyes and a chipped trunk. “I followed the instructions carefully and this is where the scavenger hunt ended.”
Eric felt the hollowed groove atop the elephant’s head. “Then get the ruby. If this works, we’ll be rich.”
“This sounds ridiculous.” Philip fetched the ruby from the locked safe kept under the desk, despite his disbelief. “Imagine, this elephant statue giving us treasure…”
“It’s supposed to lead us to treasure,” Eric said, and Philip could almost see the gleam in his friend’s eyes. “Once the ruby is reunited with it, the elephant’s trunk will just point us in the right direction. No more pawn shop for us!”
Eric slapped Philip on the back, and Philip scowled. “Watch it! I almost dropped the ruby!” Eric didn’t seem too perturbed as Philip regained his grip on the jewel and inserted it into the elephant’s head.
For a moment, nothing happened.
“I told you this was useless,” Philip said.
“Wait, wait, maybe we need to rub it like a magic lamp–” The instant Eric touched the ruby, a flash lit up the room. Once Philip could see again, he gasped.
Eric was inside the elephant statue.
“Eric?” Philip whispered, and he poked the elephant’s stomach. “Are you alive?”
Eric, to Philip’s relieved surprise, turned and looked at him, his eyes still gleaming. “I know where the treasure is.”