Chapter 111:

The Temple of the Crystal Slab - Part 1


The second time made the whole process much faster. Knowing the spell before activating it had this kind of effect. And so, by burning the insides of her body and her recently acquired energy reserves, the whole floor lightened up in golden.

Even the fox fires were overpowered by the golden hue of the magical circle, but then, everything turned off.

The room became covered in darkness, even if only for a moment, until new flames appeared on the slits of the wall right after. And even the less sensitive members of the group could feel that a barrier was surrounding them now.

“This place ate my wisps!” Minako was the first to say something after the whole process was over, and she didn’t seem very happy. “It wasn’t even a dispel, it ate it whole… That’s so weird, is it not?”

“It must be somethin’ beyond the gates… The barrier’s strong, but it ain’t nothin’ more than a stealth one.” The girl that activated the whole system explained while looking at the floor and the now very clear grooves on it. “We lucky they didn’t damage too much… A deep enough scratch’d blow all up.”

“Not in the literal sense, right?”

The blonde sword-mage asked in a worried tone, receiving what was both a non-answer and an answer from her partner. A very peculiar stare that only made the petite girl even more worried.


“Anyway… Which door should we try first y’all? I'm guessing they go all to the same place, but who knows...”

The clear deflection only made the room go silent, likely because everyone could understand what the crazy inquisitor did. And that was with the fact that they didn’t even know the scale of what a failed enchantment could do. Especially with how much energy was being siphoned to it at the time…

Rules and regulations for enchanted items and enchanters were very strict for one reason. And that was all she would note about this.

“I really don’t get what you have on your head…” Karim sighed once more, reaching the point at which she would start ignoring all. “Let’s go with the right one then.”

“I don’t feel anything in particular on them, so right seems good. Or should I draw some cards again?”

“Nay. The read from before said white, did it not? I don’t wanna waste yer energy fer now.” Anna dismissed with a glance and went to the chosen door. “Yer cool with it too, ain’t ya, Col?”

“I don’t see the difference, so yes. The right one is fine.”

“Ay! Follow me, gals.” The redhead nodded to herself and went on, forcing herself to slowly push the door while waiting until she could look inside. “Other light ‘ere, but nothin’ else… The room’s bright too… Yeah, all’s fine.”

She then rushed on and opened the whole thing in the fastest swoop she could, which wasn’t that fast no matter what. Letting a proper and very powerful light leave the next room.

And as everyone else got used to the sudden flash, Anna was already inside what seemed to be the exact same room she was inside a moment earlier.

The only real difference was that the stairs went down instead of up as if the whole thing was upside down. A small problem when the only foothold was no more than a meter large before the huge gaping hole in the floor. It was almost as bad as being dangling in the air.

Being there felt very bad to Anna for obvious reasons. It was way too tall even if she knew there were either right at or below sea level, which didn’t help much with all the thinking she had to do.

“Holy shit that’s a big ass hole! I mean... I mean what I meant!” The less controlled of the four girls shouted out the moment she entered the room. “By the way, you’re doing fine there, Anna?”

“Ay, ay, doin’ fine ‘ere… Only keeping to the border fer safety.” The redhead glued to the wall answered without moving her eye away from the roof. “And look! There’s the huge energy thingy I felt early.”

Right above them, even if all Anna could really see was a huge shining spot, there was an agglomeration of crystals. They weren’t full of energy, Anna was sure of it since she would be very much blind if it wasn’t the case. In fact, she was betting that they were on their last legs, barely holding out even. The inquisitor even felt that it was lucky that they arrived here before it dried out.

But if that thing turned off, whatever the big reason why this huge energy source existed would stop working. And then, if it was meant to hold something, things could go very bad very fast.

Likely not a problem if it was below the ground and disconnected from the surface, but a huge one when the doors were there. And more important, when Anna and her team were stuck there too.

Even with the maiden’s prediction telling her all would be fine, the redhead could only think that…

“This isn’t looking good, or safe, or a good place to be. It’s looking too suspicious and too dangerous.” Karim noted right away as if she could read her partner’s mind, which wasn’t very expected considering she couldn’t see anything Anna could. “We should retreat now, maybe bring the fairies inside.”

“Nay. We’ve no time.” The redhead took a deep breath and tried to step away from the wall. “We go down now… Gimme some lights, fox.”

“Hmmm… Oookay?” Minako answered without much sureness, creating new flames to follow her around. Flames that she promptly sent down the hole.

“Good. I’ll lead the way.”

The inquisitor started to head down with uneven steps she was betting that only Col would be able to notice. She was trusting in the white card and her instincts, so there should be no problem, but staring at an abyss was never easy. It didn’t bring good memories to say the least.

The other girls started following as they lacked a choice, but it wasn't a reason to slack. She was the stealth member, chickening out right now would be putting them in danger…

Although she wasn’t sure why she cared about it.

Such a weird feeling. Very weird indeed. Just like forgetting things or losing focus, both things that were somehow happening lately even. Was making her think if it had something to do with the curses she absorbed back at the temple… But it was something to think about later again.

Now she had to keep her mind sharp and her legs moving. Don’t think about the height, think about nothing that wouldn’t solve the problem.

But then something weird enough to call her attention still made her fast pace slow down.

The crystals on the roof were leaking their energy all across the room, this much Anna could see, but not something else was in her line of sight. Something that seemed to be, at the same time, a different and equal energy source that came from below. And more than that, both of these were clashing right in the middle of the staircase.

It was very eerie and it seemed that even her companions could feel that crackling impact of the two energy sources, but that was only the beginning. Something even weirder soon appeared in front of them, the second energy source from what the redhead could see. A single chained boy stuck in the depths of the pit.

It seemed that they had just found what was meant to be sealed inside this temple.