“So, Theron, conveniently left this small detail out when leading us all the way to this place. This appears to be more than just a volcano and a tomb to hold a Firestaff in place. Well, now more than ever, we need to tread lightly!” said Karna, with a worried concern that was apparent in her facial expression.
“Karna, do not worry; with your skill, there is nothing we cannot tackle together!” said Rheill. She then smiles, although still cannot get the thought out of her head that she was not told the truth by Theron, but she decides to press onward with the others.
Also, Sana and Isai notice that Karna is more worried than usual as well, but they both feel the same feeling inside themselves. Rheill hides it better than the others and remains confident.
“Rheill’s confidence has lifted Karna’s spirits back up, but could he be hiding it better than we are?” whispered Sana to Isai.
The cavern seems to go on and on forever, further than the human eye can see, yet it does not change apart from the darkness ahead, due to the burning torches lighting range.
“My light spell is getting better now; we will no longer need to carry torches. In fact, drop it and put it out; I will test it here,” stated Sana.
Isai obliges and puts the torch light out; suddenly, darkness engulfs the party of four so quickly without any traces light remaining. Karna could not see the rest of her party and she freaks out because of it and then yells, “What the hell are you doing! There could be anything wandering around this area as it has not been scouted yet!” shouted Karna.
Sana mumbles the rune again and this time the area is brighter than even the burning torch could show.
“Wow, most impressive, Sana! This passage seems to go on forever,” said Isai.
“Well, let us tread carefully,” said Karna quietly, no longer freaked out, as she can see her surroundings clearly again.
They continue down the corridor and Sana examines a wall closely as it is a different colour compared to the grey-jagged rocks.
“Wait, everyone, this wall looks odd; it is a different colour,” said Sana.
Rheill replies, “Move out of the way; it looks like it is about to collapse.”
Next, Rheill strikes the wall with his falchion and the wall collapses with a single blow as it was not even a normal wall, but a man-made wall coloured almost the same. Only the smart and intellectual could spot it as it was placed to hide something.
“An opening!” said Karna quietly.
“Be careful!” whispered Isai.
Karna motions with her hands as she draws out her falchion and readies herself for combat, but then realizes it is an empty corridor of razor-sharp rocks much like the outside. At the end of the narrow cavern-type corridor, are some objects, but there is a flashing light that keeps beaming over the end of the cavern. The light is blue, but it is transparent as well.
“There is a strange light flashing; it could be some kind of trap!” said Rheill.
“Throw something at it to see if it is harmful, but use a non-weapon type object,” suggested Sana.
“Try a Screamer slice; it will not hurt if we lose just one. In case it rebounds at us, a dagger or arrow could injure or kill us,” said Isai.
“Pass it here please, Sana,” asked Rheill, being the strongest of them all.
Rheill throws it and the Screamer slice just falls, down but at the start of the passage. Rheill grabs it and gives it back to Sana.
“Seems it teleports whoever tries to steal the objects back to the entrance. We need to be faster than the light, but the objects are in arm’s reach. Karna has really fast reflexes due to her training; she could try it?” suggested Rheill.
“Yes, I can do it! If I only put part of my body through it, it may separate my arms from my body, so I will step through it in full!” replied Karna, thinking safety first.
Karna moves closer to see what the objects are, “There is a compass and a helmet. which covers most of the back, but it is not ideal protection against the face and there are also two sets, of leather armour. Also, there is another water-skinned bottle as it looks empty. There is lot of treasure here and I will need to throw the stuff out, so please stand outside the corridor!” yelled Karna.
The others take heed of Karna’s yelling and get the hell out of the way. Karna watches the blinding light closely, memorizing the pattern as she leaps through it. Her timing could not be more perfect; she passes through with ease. The reflexes and agility of this woman are insane; she has a rare gift, indeed.
Karna places the helmet over her head and then dresses into one of the sets, of leather armour over the top of her corset and her warrior hide. She is now, much more protected than before as she throws the other set, of leather armour through the blue light and they are teleported to the entrance. She takes the water-skinned bottle and compass and places them inside of her backpack. She then watches the timing once more and easily passes through to meet the others. Rheill takes the second set, of leather armour from the ground and dresses himself in it. Now, Karna and Rheill are not fighting half-naked any longer.
“That is an improvement,” said Sana, “not that you looked bad half-naked, either!” joked Sana.
They laugh for a bit at the joke before pressing onwards.
“Let us go back upstairs and fill this water-skinned bottle I found and get some rest before continuing onwards since we are close to the water supply,” mentioned Sana.
They all take Sana’s advice and go upstairs and drink from the fountain and rest near the stairs against the wall; they all eat more Screamer slices. Still being the only food source, they have, to keep themselves alive in the dungeon and now the razor-sharp cavern. They all fall asleep very quickly as all four of them are fatigued from the battles before deciding to press onwards after they are well-rested.
They all rub their eyes, as they awaken, “I hope we can find a water supply to wash soon!” said Karna.
“Maybe on the next floor as it is a cavern; we can find an underwater area which will have pure, clean water as well,” replied Isai.
Sana re-casts her magical light spell; Karna fills up her water-skinned bottle. Rheill is the only one now without his own water bottle. He feels slightly left out, although not too bothered as he knows Karna and the others will share with him when he is thirsty. The party of adventurers, heads back down and quickly moves forward past the secret that they discovered in the previously, concealed cavern corridor. They come to another intersection which branches to the west; they know this via the compass that is now possessed by Karna. It is small, so she wrapped it around her hand that is carrying her small buckler after she took it out of her backpack earlier.
“Do we continue, or go left?” asked Karna.
“Let us see what lies ahead first,” replied Sana.
Next, they decide to push forward and then they come to another portcullis; this time, they are smaller squares at the bottom. They appear as locked doors, much like on the floor above, but the portcullis fit the cavern perfectly, so Chaos has built these to hinder people’s progress.
“These are locked!” said Isai, as he spots the golden locks on the left-hand cavern, which have been carved into the grey rocks perfectly.
“This lock looks like the ones on the floor above that were opened by the gold keys. This time it has a golden-plated design and it looks like there are two more behind it as well,” declared Karna, as she sees through the openings in the door.
“We should go back then and go left,” suggested Rheill.
“Well, there are no other ways we can choose, Rheill!” said Karna, making fun of him, but in a playful manner.
Now, taking Rheill’s advice, they go back and take the right passageway. After heading down the intersection, this time they come to the end of the corridor of razor-sharp rock and it carves into a large room as the cavern ceiling heightens.
Sana suddenly speaks, “Look on the right wall; there is writing carved there that reads ‘Choose your door, choose your fate!’”
Karna replies, “Caution! Scout the room now, anything could be here, but it sounds like there are doors for us to choose!”
Karna and Rheill unsheathe their weapons and move into the larger cavern-like room and spot six doors, two on each side of the large cavern. They notice a golden chest on the floor as well, although they see no signs of life in the cavern.
“Okay, the room is empty apart from this chest; maybe we should open it for clues?” queried Rheill.
Karna and Rheill examine the chest for traps, locks or anything suspicious, as it appeared too easily obtainable. The golden chest looked clean of traps, so Rheill decides to open it and they find two scrolls, which were dust-free; also, a bit of food; there was a huge drumstick from unknown beast.
“Wow, that must be some beast; never seen a drumstick this big before, it is enough for all four of us to eat!” said Karna.
Next, Rheill takes the food and puts it inside of his backpack, as Sana and Isai’s backpacks are full of Screamer slices already and to share Karna’s carried weight, as she needs to fight. Also, inside the chest are two golden coins that are completely fresh and unscathed; some strange magic again is at work here. Karna takes them and puts them inside of her pouch and then she gently passes the scrolls to Sana to read as she is better at reading lore and languages because she is a sorceress.
Next, Sana reads aloud, “‘Cast the Rune Symbol ‘ZO’, to open doors from a distance that are not locked!’” She then reads the second scroll out loud as well, “Cast the Rune Symbol ‘YA’ for a stamina potion. It will re-energize the weary. This is for you, Isai, as you are the Monk/Priest!” exclaimed Sana.
“So, we know the contents of the chest; it is too heavy to move about. Now we need to examine each of the doors carefully; I see writing on each one!” replied Isai.
Isai reads each of the writings aloud that are etched into the cavern walls starting from the west side, “The Matrix.”
He then reads the door adjacent to it on the right and it reads, “Time is of the Essence.”
After turning east, the next door reads, “Creature Cavern.”
The door next to the creature cavern door also reads, “Room of the Gem.”
“Interesting rooms, there are two more,” said Karna in a gentle voice.
Next, she reads the last two out softly, “Chambers of the Guardian and the other one says The Vault.”
“So, which one should we pick; it seems we need to enter at least three of the rooms as there are three locked doors, but there could be more,” said Rheill.
“Well, the Creature Cavern, sounds like it is infested with monsters and would be the most dangerous, the Matrix sounds like a maze and we have lots of food. Should we pick this one in case we get lost?” asked Sana.
“Sounds good,” replied Isai siding with Sana, Karna and Rheill also nod in approval at her suggestion.
All, of the doors look exactly, the same as before with the button in the top right-hand corner to open them up, except for the one door. The one that is different is in front of the writing that read ‘The Matrix.’ It is made, out of steel and is a full metal door that looks stronger and more reinforced than the rest, but it has the same automatic button in the corner to open it up. Karna chooses the door that looks different and gently presses the button with her index finger and it opens, up automatically. They explore the first corridor which is a winding cavern passage; all of them take extreme care not to stab themselves on the dangerous stalactites hanging from the ceiling.
They tread carefully then see the cavern divides into many different columns of razor-sharp rock, which looks very odd that a cavern would shape itself like this.
“Now, this is a maze!” shouted Rheill.
Karna shakes him, “Do not shout, it might collapse… you, silly person!” replied Karna in a quiet, but forceful voice.
“Sorry, Karna, but which way? Let us go left,” replied Rheill.
Karna takes the lead, but readies her shield and falchion in case of anything lurking around; they step on one part of the Matrix and suddenly they are facing another way.
“Stop, there is some strange magic here!” declared Karna.
“What do you mean, Karna?” asked Sana.
“Step back and look at the compass!” replied Karna, holding it up as they see it is taking a ninety-degree turn every time they step on the spot.
“I see what you mean, Karna; good thing we found that compass, or we would have gotten lost!” said Isai.
They use the compass to head west, which was the direction they were trying to go and they finally reach the corner of the cavern. Suddenly, Karna leans against the wall and she almost falls over, but holds her balance and goes through the wall and vanishes. The wall on the left of the corner was like it was not even there, it did not exist; it was an illusion.
“Karna!” said Rheill, trying not to shout.
“Relax! I am fine and I have found a wooden shield in here which is much larger than this rubbish buckler; it is another secret room!” replied Karna.
Next, she walks back through the wall and the rest did not believe what they are seeing with their very own eyes. It was like Karna was almost a ghost, moving like an ethereal being.
“Wow, that is some magic that is in this place; let us not linger here any longer, this is spooky!” said Sana, in a worried tone of voice.
Karna is now holding a much larger shield; it is bigger and will be much better for protection, although, it is only made, out of hardwood. The shield appeared as if a few blows from a huge mace or club could possibly shatter it.
“Rheill, did you want the buckler; do you prefer to fight with two swords, or a two-hander?” queried Karna.
“Yes, my style is two-handed fighting; just leave it on the ground, dear!” replied Rheill.
Now they hug the western wall of the Matrix and find another spinning corridor, the compass shows them this. It is held, wrapped around Karna’s left hand that is holding her new wooden shield. They find that the whole area is full of columns and that it is nothing but a square room. On the northern side of the area, there are niches, but there is nothing else here.
“There must be something here, we are missing something!” said Sana.
“You are right, there is possibly a new type of switch we need to find; let us examine these small dead ends that are here, more closely,” replied Karna.
“Here, this looks like a switch!” declared Isai.
“Get ready, I am pushing it now!” said Rheill, as he presses it down and suddenly the cavern walls move to the west of their position.
“Look! A new area and I see a golden key and a new type of sword, but nothing else of much use,” said Sana.
“Quickly, we have wasted a lot of time here! We will need to eat and drink again. We have found no new food in here at all!” stressed Isai.
“Isai, do not despair; we have lots of food left still,” replied Sana.”
“Yes, but it will not last forever,” answered Isai.
Karna rushes over to collect it and before she picks up the sword, she notices the sword is shaped with a curve and it is long and much better for cutting stuff. As she picks up the sabre, she notices that it is wet, “Why is this sabre wet?” questioned Karna of the others.
She sheathes her new weapon away; she decides to keep her old falchion as a spare sword and hooks it on the leather belt part of her new leather armour.
“No idea!” replied Rheill.
“Just grab the damn key and stop screwing around!” said Isai, still worried about not finding any new food sources.
Karna grabs the gold key on the ground; suddenly, water smashes through the cavern wall and starts filling up the room they are in.
“The wall has given way!” yelled Rheill.
“Run! We must retreat back towards the big room; this, is why the door was reinforced!” screamed Sana.
All four of them run and try to outpace the water flow, but it is filling up far too fast and they are now afloat on top of the water. The water is stone cold and freezing; they swim towards the exit. Luckily, the spinners in the area were disabled by the rushing water, which seemed to have been a trap triggered by something, somewhere where the gold key rested.
Suddenly, Karna starts to struggle because of her shield and she only has one free hand to swim with and her helmet is not making matters any easier.
“RHEILL, HELP ME!” cried Karna.
Rheill was fine because he had both his swords inside of his scabbard. Karna goes underneath the water, but Rheill then grabs hold of Karna and lifts her head above the water as she starts to fall to the bottom.
“Karna, I have you, you are safe! Both of you just get out and get ready to shut the door when we are through it!” shouted Rheill.
The water is now coming in at full force and it is bashing them against the rocks, but luckily the razor-sharp were worn smooth by the power of the crashing water. Isai and Sana quickly swam back the way they came, memorizing the way so Karna and Rheill could follow the correct path. Rheill holds Karna against himself while swimming; she then wraps her arms round him to hold onto his back. He shows his dominance and power; without this Karna would have surely have drowned here today. Somehow, Rheill never gave up on Karna, because he refused to allow Karna to fall under and die in the Matrix. They get knocked off course by a sudden surge of water, but Karna uses her old falchion that Karna had held onto and was held by her belt. Luckily, she decided to keep it as it just saved their lives and she slams it into the cavern wall while still on Rheill’s back.
“Rheill, grab the sword handle and push towards the door!” screamed Karna.
Karna was not the lightest of females; she is toned, but very built from her sword and shield training, although he manages to keep her up perfectly fine. Rheill uses one last ounce of strength and swims towards the door into the winding corridor as the surge was not travelling in this direction, but against the pillared area instead. Once he got out of the surge’s path, it was much easier for him to swim, even with Karna on his back. The water was shallower here and at the end of the passage it was almost completely empty. He finally pushes Karna through the door; she tumbles through it and onto her back, she is breathing hard, but she is okay. Rheill dives through the door after her. Isai and Sana push the button, the surge of the water dies down as it reaches the door and the door holds the water in that area.
All of them are drenched and soaking wet, but they have no other clothes to change into. Next, Sana casts a warmth spell that she had learnt from her magic school to keep them from freezing to death.
“We should rest now. Karna, are you okay?” asked Sana.
“Yes, I am fine. I am just not the best swimmer in the world. Thank you, Rheill, for saving me again,” replied Karna.
Karna then cuddles Rheill tightly and leans on him; he wraps his arms around her gently and they embrace in a sweet cuddle. They reluctantly separate, but sit together as all of them eat, drink and rest for the night because they are exhausted from the flooding event that just took place. Rheill is especially fatigued as he had to keep Karna, along with her equipment, and himself afloat on top of the rushing surge of water. During the night, they find it difficult to sleep at first due to the roaring, rushing water behind the door, but it eventually subsides after a couple of hours.
Contents Page – View
Chapter 6 – view
Chapter 8 – view