• Savagely, they were pushed through the prison tent entrance, causing them to trip and fall to the ground. “Well,” Blake asked from there he sat a few feet away, “How’d it go?”

    “Considering that I still have all my fingers, I’d say that it went rather well.” Max replied as he stood up, “Looks like I’m going to be taking him to Excalibur after all.”

    “What?” Blake exclaimed, “What on earth would possess you to do something like that?”

    Max gestured to Jen with his head, “Her, for one.”

    With a start, Blake finally noticed the other person that was in the tent. “You’ve got to be bloomin’ joking me.” He said, gaping at Jen, “I saw you get shot with my own eyes. We both thought you were dead.”

    “I would have been, if the pendant from the necklace that Max had given me hadn’t blocked the bullet.” Jen answered with a small smile, “Knocked the wind right out of me, though.”

    Max peeked through the tent flap at the ensemble of Russian thugs in the camp outside. “I’m just glad you’re alright.” He told her, “Id give you a hug, but my hands are a bit tied up right now.”

    Jen grinned, “I’ll consider that a rain check.”

    “I’m sorry that you got involved in this.” Max said as he glanced at his old girlfriend with a concerned look.

    Jen shrugged, “It’s okay. I had as little a chance of staying out as you did. Got some kind of escape plan yet?”

    Max frowned, “Still working on it.”

    “Well, you’d better think of one fast, mate,” Blake said, “because I don’t think a pot of gold lies at the end of this Russian rainbow.”

    The following morning, the three of them were removed from their tent and forced to board a boxcar on a nearby cargo train that was headed to the northern section of England. By the time they reached their destination in the rural English countryside, Max’s tailbone was so sore that he found it difficult to stand up quickly, thanks to the near-constant jarring of the train as it traveled. A small convoy of jeeps and trucks awaited them and, with Max in the lead car studying the ancient directions on the map, proceeded to the location indicated on the manuscript. After nearly and hour and a half of searching, they came across a gently-sloping hillside with the ruins of an ancient burial site that apparently marked the location of King Arthur’s tomb and what remained of the city of Camelot.

    Dimitri smiled with anticipation as his men began to uproot the soil near the center of the graveyard. They quickly hit a concealed stone slab and after several minutes of prying, they managed to lift the slab and shove it off to the side. Max was the first to enter, carefully walking down the chipped stone staircase and into the murky, mold-smelling catacombs below. Followed closely by Dimitri and two other guards with AK-47’s trained on both Jen and Blake. Along the way, they encountered several, well-designed traps and pitfalls, all of which Max was forced to disarm. After a couple of hours of navigating through the complex maze of passageways, they eventually came upon an expansive chamber filled with medieval relics and golden trinkets piled high in organized heaps. On the far wall stood a life-sized statue of King Arthur himself, and in its cold stone hands lay the legendary sword, Excalibur, the blade still shining bright despite the centuries of neglect.

    Greedily, Dimitri rushed up to the statue and seized the ancient weapon in his massive hands. The crime boss lifted the sword over his head, relishing in his triumphant victory. Max suddenly took advantage of this distraction and grabbed the rifle of one of the guards, yanked it from his grip, and slammed the butt into the thug’s face. As the first assailant went down, the others brought their weapons to bear, but were gunned down moments later by Blake and Jen who had similarly disarmed their guards. Max then whipped around and pointed the rifle’s muzzle at Dimitri.

    “Ha!” Dimitri laughed, “Do you really think a bullet can kill me now? I control the power of Excalibur, and with it I shall make you pay for all the pain that you have caused me!” he pointed the tip of the sword at Max, hoping to send some kind of magical attack towards his enemy…but nothing happened.

    “What’s the matter, Dimitri?” Max asked sarcastically, “Forget to put batteries in it?”

    Dimitri’s eyes grew wide with confusion, “H-How can this be?”

    “Excalibur doesn’t have any paranormal powers.” Max explained, “It never did. The only reason why it united so many people was that it provided a symbol of hope that they could all rally behind. Swords back in those days tended to do that to people.”

    The confusion in Dimitri’s eyes suddenly changed to burning rage, “You tricked me. For that, this blade running through your heart will be the last thing you ever see!”

    With that, Dimitri leapt towards Max, sword raised. Calmly, Max aimed for the Russian’s forehead and squeezed the trigger. Dimitri suddenly ceased his crazed assault and tumbled to the ground, a bloody bullet hole between his brown, lifeless eyes. Max lowered the rifle and gazed at the still body of his long-time adversary, “I’ve been waiting to do that for years.”

    Suddenly, the chamber began to tremble violently and several rocks began to tumble off the ceiling. “Come one, let’s get out of here.” Blake said, “Last one up top gets to buy dinner!”

    Max nodded and removed Excalibur from Dimitri’s dead hand before sprinting off after his friends, tearing through the maze of corridors as the tomb collapsed behind them. They quickly reached the surface as the dust and soot from the implosion spiraled up through the cold night air. The three of them then commandeered one of the convoy jeeps and made their way back to the train station.

    Three weeks later, at a museum in the great city of London, Max assisted in the unveiling of the new exhibit housing Excalibur and what little artifacts excavation teams were able to recover from the old burial site. Not long after the ceremony, he was knighted by the Queen of England. Because of his assistance in the finding of Excalibur, Blake received a portion of the finder’s fee and immediately bought his dream mansion in the heart of Beverly Hills in America. As for Jen, she and Max became engaged and married near the white cliffs of Dover. Max would find much more artifacts scattered throughout the world, but none could come close to the discovery of the legendary sword, Excalibur.