Notes: I'm super-busy this weekend (due to a hopeful opportunity to see the real Monkees), so here, have the chapter early!
Mike had almost given the call for a tactical retreat when several of Panama Hat's flunkies now approached them from all sides, trapping them.
"Uh, listen…" Mike said. "You can have autographs after the festival's over, okay? Heck, we'll even pose for photos, but we've gotta—"
"I'm not talking to you, Boy," Panama Hat snarled, shoving Mike out the way.
The Texan toppled over to the floor, clutching his guitar so that it wouldn't be damaged in the fall.
"Mike!" the others exclaimed.
Davy scowled as he looked back at Panama Hat, taking a step towards him.
"You're the one I want to talk to," the man said. "Those three may leave if they want to do so."
"Well, we don't wanna do so!" Micky retorted, as they helped Mike back to his feet. "Anything you've got to say to Davy, you can say to us."
"And before that, I demand to know what you've done with my grandfather," Davy insisted.
"We haven't done a thing to the old fool," Panama Hat insisted. "I had one of my men hiding in your back garden the last several days. You boys would do well to make sure windows are closed before you discuss about finding ancient artifacts."
"They knew we had the medallion all along…" Peter realized.
"You had us worried when you met with the old lieutenant," the thief continued. "We were certain you would have given it to him, but it seems that he was wise enough not to get involved. No matter. I'm here to take it off of your hands, if that is what you wish."
"It is not what I wish," Davy retorted. "This medallion is mine."
There was something in the way that Davy stressed the word "mine" that sent a chill down Mike's spine. For the briefest moment, he considered that giving Panama Hat the medallion may not have been such a bad idea after all.
"You're not being very smart," the man said. "Why waste your time holding onto a grubby, little trinket like that? I have plenty of other art treasures worth infinitely more; we could organize a trade for it. Or, if you don't want anything else, we can negotiate a monetary price."
"No, thanks," Davy said.
The man blinked in surprise, and then chuckled.
"I see. So, you know of the significance of the trinket you carry. Then it is clear that I must put my cards on the table."
"Doesn't matter," Mike said. "We're not playing this game. Now I suggest you let us go before we get security over here to make you."
"This is a just-once-in-a-lifetime deal, Boy," the man said. "But let me introduce myself. My name is Sydney."
"Sydney what?" Peter asked.
"That's it—just Sydney!" the man snarled at Peter.
"Well, Mr. Sydney, I might as well tell you that it doesn't matter what you offer us," Davy said, folding his arms stubbornly. "We're not selling the medallion, and we're not trading it, either."
"Come on, Boy," Sydney said, smirking. "Since you know the legend, you know as well as I do that the medallion is absolutely useless on its own. We're both in the exact same position, aren't we? We're stuck with an artifact that, without the others, won't do a thing. You want more, don't you?"
Davy turned his head ever so slightly towards Sydney, but didn't say a thing.
"You know what the three items can unlock—endless gold. And that's more than enough for the both of us, get my drift?"
"What are you saying?" Davy asked, his voice steady despite the nervous look in his eyes.
"I'm saying that we each have one of the three items we need to unleash the Golden Spell," Sydney said. "We could join forces—travel to Peru together to retrieve the Flail. And then we could be the richest men in the world."
"You think I am kidding or lying?" Sydney asked.
"Yes," Davy, Micky, and Peter chorused. Mike didn't say anything; he was looking at Davy—and at the look in his eyes.
"See some reason, Boy," Sydney said, smirking. "You're a struggling musician—that's evident enough from where I'm standing. Don't you want to be wealthy and able to win the world?"
Davy bit his lip as Micky and Peter now looked to him for his reply, and Mike continued to watch him.
"Your friends would be taken care of, of course," the man continued. "You'll have more than enough gold for all four of you to live in luxury for the rest of your lives. Isn't that what you want? Isn't there someone you want to impress—someone to whom you want to prove that you're not just a struggling musician?"
Davy's fingers twitched, and he absently clutched at the string around his neck upon which the medallion was threaded.
"What do you say, Boy?" Sydney asked.
Davy opened his mouth, but he didn't have a chance to speak.
"Okay, that's it!" Mike said, grabbing Davy by his shoulder and pulling him to his side. "We're done here—done! I'll answer for him: we don't want any part of it, now clear out of here!" When Sydney just smirked in response, Mike's voice rose as he called towards a uniformed officer. "Security!"
Sydney cursed, and he and his men began to disperse as Security arrived on the scene. In the ensuing commotion, Mike led the tactical retreat, and the Monkees, instruments and all, managed to get away and head for their hotel.
Mike was not in a good mood. Upon arriving at the hotel, he immediately ordered Peter to start packing their instruments and luggage away while he instructed Micky to get on the phone to the airport and see if they could get their tickets back to the States rescheduled to an earlier flight instead of waiting for morning, and then to call the people in charge of the rock festival to see to getting the rest of their money sent to them in California.
"What do you want me to do?" Davy asked, moving to help Micky and Peter, but stopping as he found Mike grabbing his shoulder.
"You are going to have a little talk with me—right now," the Texan said, pulling Davy to the quietest place he could find—the elevator in the corridor.
"Mike, what's going on!?" Davy asked, baffled, as Mike closed the door. "Peter could use some help, packing four sets of—"
"You were thinking about saying 'yes,' weren't you?" Mike accused.
"What are you talking about?"
"Back there, when old Panama Hat was trying to sweeten the pot for you with that proposed alliance," the Texan quipped. "You were actually considering taking him up on his offer, weren't you!?"
He got distracted as the elevator doors opened as a woman attempted to get inside with them.
"Sorry, this one's taken," Mike quipped, closing the doors again. He ignored the woman's "Harrumph" of annoyance and turned back to Davy. "I want the truth, Davy. Were you going to say yes?"
"Well, I figured that we ought to weigh all our options, at least," the younger boy said. "I mean… Well… We could sure use the money, couldn't we? That's the entire reason we took this gig with the rock festival."
Mike facepalmed, growling in frustration.
"What is with you, Mike?" Davy asked, blinking in surprise.
"What's with me!?" the Texan repeated, incredulously. "Are you listening to yourself!? Since when have you ever even considered making a deal with a known thief!? He stole that crook from the museum! You were there! And now you're telling me—I said this elevator's taken!" he roared as the woman tried to open the doors again. He furiously shut the doors and turned back to Davy. "And now you're telling me that you're willing to trust this creep and go after the gold?!"
"What's wrong with just using a little bit of the spell?" Davy asked. "Think about it, Mike—all those pebbles and shells on our beach? We could just turn a handful or two into gold, and we'll be set for life!"
Mike looked at him, incredulously.
"Why are you looking at me like I've got two heads or something?" Davy asked. "You're the one who keeps saying you want to be a success!"
"I don't want to buy success; I want to earn it!" Mike quipped back. "And so should you!"
"Well, we're doing great so far, aren't we?!" Davy retorted, sardonically. "Never mind that Rico was most likely calling you a boor again while you were singing! If we were rich, he'd stop that, you know!"
Mike gritted his teeth, stung.
"What's wrong with just using the medallion and the other items for only a little while?" Davy went on. "I'm not trying to make myself king of the world, you know; I'm just trying to make life easier for all of us—not just me. So why do you seem to have such a big problem with that!?"
"My problem is that this medallion you've been lugging around is messing with your head! It's—will you stop that!?" Mike bellowed, as the woman attempted to open the elevator doors a third time. Mike closed the doors again, this time not removing his finger from the button as he turned back to face Davy. "That medallion is doing terrible things to you, Davy! It's turning you into someone you're not—horrible and greedy and caring only about getting rich!"
"What are you talking about? It's me—it's Davy."
"No," Mike said, shaking his head. "No, it's not. It's not you. I don't know who this is, but whoever it is, I don't like him. I want my best friend back!"
Davy blinked, biting his lip at Mike's last words.
"But, Mike, I'm still—"
"Don't," the Texan instructed, quietly. "Don't try using words to get yourself out of this one. The longer you hold onto that medallion, the more I lose my best friend—and the more you lose yourself, too. Don't do that to us—or to Mick or Pete, either. Don't hurt us like this. Please."
"Mike, I… You know I'd never want to hurt you."
"The prove it," Mike said, holding his free hand out. "Give me that medallion—right now. You made a vow to all of us, remember?"
"Yeah, I remember," Davy said, his fingers grasping the thread around his neck. He started to remove it, but stopped.
"…What are you waiting for?" Mike asked, his nervousness and worry growing as Davy's grip on the thread tightened.
"Well, I was just thinking," Davy said. "It might be a better idea if I hold onto it for just a bit more; Panama Hat might expect that I'd give it to one of you, and we wouldn't want him trying to—"
"At this point, I'd rather just let him have the darn thing!" Mike shot back. "Anyone can have it—just not you!"
"So that's it, isn't it!?" Davy quipped. "You want it for yourself! And here I was, all ready to share it with you and Micky and Peter!"
And that was when Mike snapped.
"I don't want it!" he retorted. "I want it to let go of you!"
He rushed forward, grabbing for the medallion himself. Davy's eyes widened, and he quickly grabbed Mike's wrist, trying to stop him.
"Leave me alone!" Davy ordered. "You're not the boss of me! Grandfather isn't, either, but you definitely aren't!"
"Well, I just made myself the boss!" Mike retorted, grabbing for the medallion with his other hand, only to have Davy grab his other wrist.
The exceedingly-annoyed woman outside now attempted to open the door a fourth time; with both of Mike's wrists in Davy's hands, there was nothing to stop her from succeeding this time.
Seeing the opportunity to flee, Davy shoved Mike aside and dashed past the woman and out into the corridor.
All the righteous anger Mike was feeling left him as he stared blankly after the English boy. He leaned against the wall of the elevator, not even paying attention to the woman as she screeched at him for being rude.
He hadn't intended to lose his temper, but seeing Davy slowly turning into this person he no longer recognized had been too much. And all of those things he had said… Mike had to repeatedly remind himself that it hadn't been the real Davy talking—because Mike knew that that the real Davy was his friend.
And, for his sake, he had to hope that it wasn't too late to save his friend.
With a sigh, Mike sunk to his knees onto the elevator floor, blinking back a tear that had been threatening to escape his eye.
How? How had things gotten so out of hand so quickly?