When Indy opened his eyes, they lay outside the church. The sun was still shining. Had it happened at all? Where was it? Indy ran his hands along his belt. Along it, the sword hung beside his whip. It did. It did happen. Indy stirred. Pain shot through his entire body. He looked at his arms, which were slightly burned. First water, then fire…no wonder he warned me I'd leave weaker than I came. It sure as hell is true. Indy turned over. To his enormous shock, he found himself surrounded by curious people. Indy rose shakily to his feet. How long have we been lying here?
Lauren, too, opened her eyes. She didn't feel too badly, considering. Her hand was slightly scalded and she was sore all over, though. She coughed and turned to look around, suddenly noticing the crowd that surrounded them. She painfully got to her feet to join Indy, who was conversing with an inhabitant, a wizened old man with a cane.
"How did you find it?" was the man's first question, instantly realizing what Indy's prize was.
"It's a long story," Indy said, his voice horse with exhaustion. "Do they all know?" he asked nervously, gesturing at the rest of the people.
"No. Only I. It is an old, old legend from before their time." Indy nodded. "They would not believe." Lauren leaned on Indy, pulling back when she saw him grimace in pain. "Are you hurt?" the old man inquired, scrutinizing Indy as best he could with his poor eyesight.
"I could use some rest," Indy admitted. Oh boy, that is an understatement. If I don't lie down and get some food, I'll probably collapse.
"Come with me." Indy gestured to Lauren, and she followed them through the crowd. Faces turned towards them as they passed, all full of wonder as to why the two strangers were found lying unconscious outside the church.
Minutes later Indy and Lauren were sprawled out on the old man's small cot. Indy fell asleep instantly, but Lauren was somehow unable to. As tired as she was, her experiences had shaken her to the core. The old man noted her uneasiness and brought her a soothing, delicious fruit. Lauren tried to relax and smiled at the old man to thank him. Too bad she didn't speak the language, she thought regretfully. Indy stirred a few hours later and was treated to a delicious meal by Lauren and the old man, who had worked together to create quite a feast, considering the food shortages in the country.
"Thank you!" Indy exclaimed, eagerly digging into the warm food.
"No, thank you," the old man replied. "You have restored my faith." Indy smiled warmly. Whatever made people happy…suddenly, though, he remembered seeing St. George. Had he been hallucinating? It's possible. I'll never know, Indy thought amazedly. Before he knew it, he found he had told his entire experience to the old man, who smiled broadly, revealing his missing teeth.
"Don't worry, my child." My child! Geez, he sounds almost as bad as my father. "It is all as it has been written. That someday a stranger would come and break the curse. You are blessed, now, with this sword. What will you do with it?" Indy sighed, knowing his answer would come as a disappointment to the man.
"It belongs in a museum. I will give it to my friend, who owns one."
"Wise choice," said the old man, "some things are best left alone, are they not?" Hmm…the old man had more sense than he thought he did.
"One question," Indy asked, "according to the legend, there is one thing I can't recollect. Is there a guardian? What explained her disappearance?" The old man looked thoughtfully into the distance, picking his teeth with his fingernails. He grinned suddenly.
"The guardian takes the shape of what it sees. It's true shape is nothing - do you see?"
"Ohhh….so when I raised the knife, it took its own true shape - none." Indy sighed in comprehension. Indy moved to get up, but sat back down abruptly. Boy, I feel awful. The old man chuckled.
"You have done great things. You need rest. You have brought this city back, you know. There were terrible things here, with the Italians that came. But they haven't come back. The people have, though. They know the danger is over." Indy grinned. The old man then turned to Lauren.
"Your companion - she too is very wise. She knows a great deal, does she not?" Indy nodded. "You have much to thank her for."
"I do, and will." Indy turned to Lauren and translated the conversation. Lauren glowed with satisfaction. "And be sure that I'll explain a lot to you later," he continued, yawning, "but not now." Lauren felt calmer already, though. She would just have to accept, she realized, there were some things mysterious and unknown to people - but still ultimately the most fascinating of all.
"Well, thank you," Indy said gratefully to the old man, finally getting back up. He grinned. Lauren understood as well, and embraced the old man impulsively, her hug explaining what she could not say with words. The old man chuckled again.
"Be off with you, and back to where you belong. Good-bye." Indy and Lauren strode out of the room, waving one last time.
"How are we getting home?" Lauren queried.
"Umm…I'll see if I can get a friend of mine to fly us back."
"A friend?" Lauren asked nervously, thinking of Vinny. Indy laughed, his tanned face relaxing into a broad grin again.
"No, no, no. Don't worry."
"You know people everywhere, don't you?" Indy said nothing, but his grin spoke for him. Soon enough they were sitting in an airplane, preparing for takeoff. Indy pulled his hat over his eyes in his trademark fashion, and Lauren slid against him, fast asleep.