The Second Test

by Dmuk

(This little scene is a 'rewrite challenge' I did after seeing the last Indiana Jones film, where a particular double-crossing character could have met her demise with a lot more flair.  Here's my treatment as I would have liked to have seen it filmed instead.  The scene picks up  in the Grail Chamber, where there are all too many cups to choose from...   -dmuk)

"Well, here's to everlasting beauty," Elsa said, bringing the golden cup hesitantly up to her full lips.

She drank, swallowed hesitantly, then smiled. The liquid was not poison – the foul elixir that had turned her associate to dust in an instant.  Raising the elegant cup high to toast her success, she then paused. A far-away look came into her eyes – not fear, more of surprise. For in the bowl of the golden cup a light glimmered, dim now but quickly growing stronger. Brighter still it shone, a tiny sun. The girl remained motionless, entranced.

Indy and the others drew back as the light became even brighter, casting stark shadows on the coarse rock walls of the Grail Crypt. It was painful now to gaze at. Elsa was lost in the brilliant nimbus. A small gust of wind stirred the age-old dust. Abruptly the light faded, seeming to return back into the cup from which it had burst forth.

Elsa still offerred her toast to the creator, but did not speak. As the others recovered their eyesight, a freshly minted miracle was revealed to them:

Where once Elsa Schneider had challenged the gods, now a slender golden figure stood; mute testimony to forces beyond scientific comprehension. Her glistening face and eyes reflected highlights from the softly glowing candles, holding forevermore a look of awe and wonder. Her fine silk blouse and slacks now shone with a sparkling auric hue, matching her veritably gold-blonde tresses. Elsa’s bronze desert tan had been transmuted into a far more precious metal. She was now an exquisite memorial, each stunning feature immutably set into golden perfection – the sensuous curves of her body; the delicate wings of her long eyelashes, the burnished mirrors of her fingernails; even the tiny golden lumps of mud that had adhered to her high boots.

The ancient Knight approached silently, reverently, and lifted the empty cup from her cradling golden fingers. He turned and placed it back within its niche on the dust cloaked shelf.

"Wrong again," he wheezed, "That one belonged to Midas..."

Indy approached the golden statue now, emotion clouding his usually impassive features. He might possibly have loved her, given time. She had been so much like him in many ways. Reaching out to caress Elsa's hard, smooth cheek he discovered that the solid metal still held some warmth. He thought about giving her a parting kiss, and decided against it. There was still treasure to be found.

Muttering, "Well, she got her wish; eternal beauty alright," he strode back to where the Knight waited at the altar of the Holy Grail.

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