The bell on the shop door rings, unaware that he has company, the vendor sings to himself.
"Oh I come from a land you might know so well
The vendor turns around and looks a bit embarrassed, "Oh, a customer! Come, come, see the hottest wares at the best prices going today!"
The customer, a typical teenage youth of today, looks around the shop looking slightly bored. "So, what ya got?"
The vendor looks flustered slightly as he scrabbles about under the counter. "Well look at this!" He pulls out, rather blindly, an antique looking food processor. "Anything you want, chips, greens absolutely anything and this is the machine for you! The best thing, it is completely indestructible yeah?" He taps the machine at the corner of the desk, "You could drop this..." The food processor breaks into tiny pieces. "Meh, well... how about this..."
"Forget it man I'm out of here."
The youth turns to walk away, but the vendor pulls something out of a pocket, "I see you will only be interested in the best of the best yeah?" At this, he flourishes a dusty lamp, the vendors voice is now a conspiratorial whisper, "Don't be fooled by this lamp's humble appearance, as with many things, looks can be deceiving." Seeing that his customer is uncertain, he leans a bit closer, "This is no ordinary lamp, it once changed a young woman's life, a woman, who like this lamp, was more than she seemed, a diamond in the rough. Perhaps you would like to hear the story?"
At this, the vendor pours some sand from the lamp into his hand. "It began long ago in a dark place where a dark man waits with a dark purpose..."
The sky is lit with stars as a cloaked man waits. On his shoulder is a grey rat, its tail resting around the man's neck.
Knowing that he is late, a dangerous thing to be when dealing with a sorcerer of Ethan Rayne's power, an overweight thief stumbles in the sand as he runs. As he comes skidding to a halt, he falls, landing face down in the sand. He lies for a while, out of breath, before standing up. The cloaked figure, Ethan, looks down at him. "You... are late."
The eyes of the thief grow wide in fear, sweat appears on his brow. "Oh a thousand, no, ten thousand apologies oh patient one."
Ethan waves the apologies away, interested in only one thing. "Did you get it?"
The thief pulls half a medallion from his pocket, "I had to slit a few throats, but here it is." Ethan holds his hand out expectantly, the thief draws back. "Nuh uh, first the treasure you promised."
The rat shifts slightly, suddenly it's tail flicks out and wraps itself around the half medallion, the tail then holds the medallion to it's master who pets the rats head. "Trust me my friend, you will get what is coming to you." Ethan pulls out the other half to the medallion and fits the pieces together, suddenly, it sprouts wings and flies into the distance. "Quickly, follow the medallion!"
The two chase after the medallion which leads them on a merry chase towards a large sand dune. When it reaches the dune, the two medallion halves spilt and plunge into the dune looking like eyes. The dune rises and a tiger's head is formed. Ethan looks on in awe. "After all these years, the Cave of Wonders. Now remember, take anything you want, but the lamp is mine."
The thief walks towards the head, a loud voice emanates from the mouth. "Who dares disturb my slumber?"
The thief kneels and bows his head, "It is I, Razeem, a humble thief."
The tigers head looks on at Razeem and says nothing, Razeem takes this as a good sign and walks into the mouth. Now that they are alone, the rat talks to her master, "What hellhole did you dig this guy from?"
Ethan puts a finger on the rat's lips as he watches Razeem go down the steps. Suddenly, the tiger roars and closes its mouth, a pile of sand shoots up burying Ethan and his familiar. As for Razeem, no one ever heard of him again.
The tiger's voice comes from the sand as Ethan pulls himself up. "Only one may enter here, one whose worth lies deep within. Find thee out the diamond in the rough."
Ethan splutters and his rat looks irate, she sounds irate also... "That's just great! "Find thee out the diamond in the rough" just great! We will never get this stupid lamp!"
Ethan again outs his finger to the rat's mouth, "Patience Amy, we will get our prize. It seems Razeem was less than worthy."
Amy's voice is laced with liberal amounts of sarcasm. "Well colour me surprised why doncha! We got a big problem here... a big prob..."
Ethan cuts her off, "Indeed we do, we must find this person, this 'diamond in the rough'..."
"Stop thou red haired charlatan!"
A young woman with fiery red hair scampers up a ladder on top of a building. In her hand, she holds a loaf of bread, her clothes are tattered, a loose blue shirt and tattered denim jeans, the woman looks down at the bread in her hand. "All this for a loaf of bread? Sheesh."
Seeing the guard who had shouted and two others, a woman with long black hair and another, darker skinned, woman, hot on her heels, the redhead holds onto the bread with both hands and uses the bread to slide down a clothesline, sliding into and dislodging many items of clothing on the way. Her progress is halted when the shutters of a window are slammed shut and she slides to the floor.
The blonde guard looks down searching for the redhead, "You shall not get away so easy thief!"
The redhead grabs a shawl and wraps it around herself before looking at the bread, "You call that easy?" The redhead steps into a doorway, trying to cover her face.
A couple of women stand in the doorway and one winks at the redhead, "Getting in trouble a little early, aren't we Willow?"
Willow winks back, "Buffy couldn't catch me if I had my eyes closed! Besides, you're only in trouble if you get caught... eep!"
"Gotcha you red haired hussy." Willow is picked up and slammed into the doorframe. Buffy looks up at her captive.
Willow groans, "I'm in trouble."
Buffy has a smug look on her face, "And this time..."
A black and white kitten jumps onto Buffy's head, pushing her hair into her face and forcing her to let Willow go. "Perfect timing Miss Kitty," Willow grins as she runs away, she shouts over her shoulder, "Hey, Faith, Kendra, see if you can give me run for my money this time!"
"That girl is wicked dead," the dark haired woman mutters to her companion.
"She be beggin' for t'it mon."
Faith raises her eyebrow and gives a short laugh, "You offering?".
Willow jumps onto a barrel and looks back, Miss Kitty purring near her feet. "If you two lovebirds are done making out... I believe we are due our morning exercise..." Willow and Miss Kitty take off.
Buffy catches up with Faith and Kendra and spurs them on, "Come on! We'll get the flamin' scoundrel this time!"
Willow caught what Buffy said as she ran and mutters "I don't think so," as she grabs a pole and uses her own momentum to do a quick 180 degree turn running past the guards. Buffy matches this move perfectly, hot on Willow's tail (and nearly stepping on Miss Kitty's) and Faith does also, Kendra is not so fortunate as she stumbles and falls, but quickly gets to her feet and resumes the chase.
Willow runs a slalom between market booths like a game of crack the whip, earning curses as she knocks fruit off carts. Willow grabs a falling apple and throws it over her shoulder, Buffy ducks, Faith didn't see the apple until the last second but spits it with her sword before shaking it off.
Willow heads towards a set of stairs, Miss Kitty streaking ahead. As Willow turns a corner, Miss Kitty stops and her tail just happens to conveniently raise an inch or so, Buffy and Faith jump over it but Kendra catches her foot and takes a nosedive. Kendra hits the floor hard, "Stupid domesticated animals."
Willow runs hard, occasionally zigzagging, knowing that in a straight race, Buffy would probably catch her, in one occasion, Faith zigs when she should have zagged and bangs into the fire-eater... causing what would most likely be the cause of heartburn in the next half hour or so.
Kendra, by now, has caught back up, Faith quickly shakes off the effects of her collision and runs to catch up with the chase. A passer by happens to drop a piece of rope which wraps around Kendra's ankle, she stumbles and runs full pelt into a sword juggler causing swords to fly everywhere. Passers by duck as swords whiz through the air. Miss Kitty screeches to a halt as a sword lands in front of her. She turns around to face the guards, her tail wrapping around the sword and actually wielding it, Miss Kitty shakes her armed tail at the guards, Faith and Kendra back off slightly.
"This is wicked whack, that kitty has a sword."
Kendra looks shocked and exclaims, "Ow can a little kitten 'ave a sword?"
Faith looks grim as Miss Kitty advances, "How the hell would I know? Do I look like an animal trainer?" Willow, heading back for her compadre, giggles and Faith hears before growling, "Don't you dare answer that scoundrel!"
Buffy draws her sword, "You idiots, we all have swords... bigger ones!" Realising this, Faith and Kendra pull out their blades, Miss Kitty sheepishly lays her sword on the floor before Willow grabs her, picking her up.
"Come on Miss Kitty... now is not the time to play." The chase is again on but as they head inside a building, running up stairs... only Willow is rapidly running out of floor to run on.
"We got you now scoundrel!" Buffy roars. Willow makes one last gasp attempt at freedom and grabs a carpet, with a taunting wave as she runs, Willow runs towards the window and dives out, streamlining her body against the carpet. Before she hits the floor, Willow holds the carpet in both hands above her like a parachute, floating to the floor.
Buffy watches the back of Willow as she runs for safety. "You will taste my blade scoundrel!" she shouts, then quieter, she mutters "and if we should meet on a dark night, you have a date with Mr. Pointy."
Faith looks confused, "Like, is that a good thing or a bad thing?"
Kendra catches up and mutters "It good if you be kinky mon."