Heflin stood ankle-deep in grass and wildflowers. Sogol hunched over a series of dark, black piping and a collection of multi-colored Chance Crystals neatly laid atop a leather pouch.
"You won't get it working," Heflin said.
Sogol, sitting on his knees, swatted away a fly and continued twisting the pipes and tapping them with a rock hammer. Heflin walked further up the hill and away from Sogol's tinkering. He surveyed the valley beneath and the ridge opposite their perch. Heflin stopped. Something was matriculating up the hillside at a rapid clip. It puffed angry, hot smoke and rumbled the soil under their feet.
"Leave it! It's coming back!" Heflin said to Sogol and grabbed his arm. "It's halfway up the hill!"
Sogol scrambled to collect the piping and the crystals. "We can't just leave them!"
"It can smell the crystals! If we leave them, we live!" Heflin slapped the crystals into the grass and yanked Sogol towards the top of the hill. The two men charged the steep hillside, Heflin sweating through his beard, Sogol still clutching one of the black pipes from the alchemist.
They reached the crest of the hill. The machine sped closer. Heflin peaked over his shoulder. The device rumbled just a few feet behind them.
"Just roll! Roll down the hill!"
The two men dove down the opposite side of the hill. They spun towards the ground. The whole German countryside became a blur of green meadow and azure sky. Sogol clutched the pipe to his chest. They settled at the base of the hill.
"Oh god--" Heflin grabbed Sogol's shoulder. The angry machine had lost its grip on the soft meadow soil. It tumbled towards them like a meteor of hot metal and heavy stones.
Sogol opened his left hand. On his palm sat a single green Chance Crystal. "That thing will destroy the whole meadow. We can't run far enough."
"It won't work," Heflin grabbed Sogol's wrist and tried to pulled him away. But Sogol ripped his hand free, dropped the crystal into the pipe, then shook the pipe back and forth as though punching the air repeatedly.
"It's our only chance!" Sogol whipped the pipe towards the ground, and the crystal shot from the pipe and hit the ground with a splash of light. The meadow underneath them dissolved into liquid time, and Sogol and Heflin and the alchemist's mechanical guard dog disappeared into the void.