Note: Items in the illustration are not to scale, but I’m too lazy to change them.
Previously: Twain prepared to explain his plan for the cup and the crystal to Digger.
Twain shook his head as he pulled the crystal out of Diggerâ€™s pants pocket. The crystal was oblong and narrow, about the size and shape of a laser pointer. Twain snapped the leather thong threaded through a hole at one end of the crystal and threw the thong away. The crystal itself fit neatly into the hole drilled into the top of the wooden pedestal, though it was only deep enough to fit the top half.
Twain then grabbed the crystal cup. The cup itself had a sort of central pillar sticking up in the middle. It was hollow, Digger knew. Heâ€™d seen the hole in the bottom when Twain had shown him the cup the day before. Twain fitted the cup between the four arms of the pedestal, and slid it down so that the blue crystal was now inside the hollow central pillar. The leather loops went up on either side to hold the cup in place. Twain now held a crystal goblet with a wooden base.
â€œWhere did you get that?â€ Digger asked.
â€œI made it,â€ Twain said. â€œRemember, the cup is hundreds of years old. By the time Kessler got hold of it, the wood and leather had pretty much rotted away. So I had to make a new one.â€
â€œSo what does it do?â€ Digger asked. He took a bite of the sausage biscuit and grimaced.
â€œItâ€™s a cup,â€ Twain said, opening the cooler. â€œYou drink out of it.â€
â€œYeah, but what good is that?â€ Digger asked.
â€œA lot,â€ Twain said, lifting out a white plastic jug full of amber liquid, â€œif youâ€™re drinking this.â€
â€œShendu guots,â€ Twain said. â€œOr guatsu, if you want to get technical. The name translates roughly to â€˜divine juice,â€™ or you could say, â€˜juice of the gods.â€™â€
â€œWhat does it do?â€
â€œEverything good and nothing bad,â€ Twain said. â€œItâ€™s like the ultimate superfood, according to the Chinese. Itâ€™s insanely rare and expensive. The fruit only grows in a remote region of Mongolia.â€
Digger swallowed the last bite of his sandwich. â€œMongolia? Wait a second. There was an index card in the drawer with that crystal. I didnâ€™t read the whole thing, but it said something about the Cobalt Czar.â€
Twain smiled as he filled the crystal cup with juice from the plastic jug. â€œYeah. This was the artifact I was researching when he caught me. See, the juice by itself is amazing, but when you drink it out of this cup in particular…â€
â€œIs it going to help me track down the hostage or something?â€
â€œOr something,â€ Twain said. He turned toward the door.
â€œHey, where are you going?â€ Digger asked.
Twain opened the door and set the cup down on the walk just outside. The sunlight hit the cup and refracted through the blue crystal to give the entire thing an eerie blue-green glow. â€œIt needs to charge for an hour,â€ Twain said.
â€œAnd then what?â€
Twain grinned. â€œAnd then you drink it and save the day.â€
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