Two entities stood upon the sacred alter; one on the ascending steps, the other at the very top. A ghostly voice once again echoed across the ruin walls.
"Again, I ask thee..."
"Humanity loves it more than life,
They fear it more than death.
The wealthy yearn for it,
The poor are its abundant keepers."
The man swallowed hard as he glanced back towards the bottom of the stairs. It was at this point that he considered that disturbing these sacred ruins might have been a bad idea. No amount of treasure could amount to the blood that had already been shed.
'Answer, or suffer as they did.'
No contributory thoughts entered the man's mind. His entire body trembled as the scent of fresh blood once again entered his nostrils. If he didn't want to end up like the others, a response would have to be constructed.
"There's a key part to this." he thought.
The entire irony of this question seemed to be that it was directly targeting his group. They spent their days keeping to themselves and treasuring only their vast wealth; a starving, dying person on the street would mean nothing to them. Perhaps the idea was to associate themselves directly to the 'humanity' that was referred to in the riddle.
'Humanity loves it more than life.' He thought of Sam, the first man to answer. A wild gambler who took every chance he had to gain money, he had joined the group for that sole reason.
'They fear it more than death.' The one that entered his mind was William, the serial rapist that had been living the majority of his life as a criminal. With his record, they would definitely put him on death row if caught, yet here he was without a care.
'The wealthy yearn for it.' Turning back, he saw Alexander, the treasure hunter that had set up the entire trip. Blinded by riches, he had only invited people of his type to come along.
'The poor are its abundant keepers.' Miles was someone that the man knew too well. The murderer of his sickly mother who had been released due to a lack of evidence.
His heart ached as he attempted to look at himself as a human.
"And I am Kyle Browne, the spiteful and hateful individual that killed Miles. I should be dead like the rest of them, but here I stand. What do I now value more than life? What do I now fear more than death? What do I, a hateful man, yearn for? What do the beggars on the street own that I don't?
Taking a deep breath, Kyle faced the ghostly spirit hovering over the locked box.
"My answer is...nothing."
The spirit let out a shrieking sound as it evaporated into the heavens. Reaching the top of the alter where the treasure box lied, Kyle gave it a soft brushing with his hand and turned around to face his dead companions.
"For you, greedy humanity. Everything you deserve is in here."
I'm going to post this as my final entry as well- didn't have much time to think about this month's entry.