Oh, I got a real good one.
We’d found it. The secret Conqueror treasure room. It took us days of searching the forest, but we finally discovered a hidden entrance—and the chest, which sat now on a raised pedestal.
“What do you think is in it?” Conor asked. He seemed a little nervous. Beside him, Briggan stared at the chest, his fur standing on end.
“Only one way to find out,” I said, rubbing my own spirit animal's head. I undid the clasp and opened the lid, but found out too late what was hidden inside. I instantly noticed the wire inside, and the chest suddenly burst into flames. All around us there was the sound of clanking metal, blaring horns, and all other noises I couldn't make out. An alarm, and a loud one at that.
"Run!" Conor shouted, he and Briggan already running for the cave entrance. I called for Lucius, my tiger spirit animal, and we ran for the entrance as well.
"Naten," Lucius said through our mental link, "the entrance is closing, fast!" I looked to the entrance of the cave, Conor and Briggen already outside, and saw a giant stone slab descending from the ceiling.
'Not good,' I thought to myself, 'if I don't hurry, we'll be trapped inside.' I ran as fast as I could, but it was too late. By the time we reached it, if I even tried to crawl under, there was a very good chance I would have lost an arm or leg. We helplessly watched as the stone slab closed the entrance, trapping us inside.
"Conor," I shouted as loud as I could, "can you hear me!?"
"Yeah," Conor replied, his voice muffled. "Are you alright?"
"Other than the fact that we are trapped, I think we are good." I thought about our options and only one came to mind. "Conor, go back to Greenhaven and find Olvan. Tell him what happened, we'll try to figure a way out." I heard Conor's muffled reply, followed by their muffled footsteps.
"So what's the plan?" Lucius asked me, his head tilted to one side. I took out my weapon, a recently found iron hammer, and looked at the stone slab. I had tested it out on some rocks earlier, ones that were as big as Lucius, and it would only take a few hits before they crumbled. It should be the same with this rock. I relaxed my body, closing my eyes so I could concentrate. I opened my eyes and ran forward, swinging the hammer straight for the stone. Unfortunately, the plan backfired the moment the hammer made contact with the stone. The moment it impacted, the hammer bounced back and began vibrating like crazy. I had to drop the hammer on the ground and waited until it stopped before picking it up again and placing it in it's holster. "Plan B?" Lucius asked.
My eyes darted around the chamber, trying to figure of a way to get out. I noticed there was some light further down the cahmber, and said, "This way. There might be a way out over there." We hurried over to the spot where light was coming out, and found what appeared to be a crawl space. Lucius sniffed the hole, I think to find out if there was anything out of the ordinary. "Well?" I asked him, anxious to know what he smelled.
"Nothing," he replied. I was still unsure, and he continued, "There's not a single smell. No wildflowers, no damp air, just nothing." I bent down and looked through seeing only white.
"I'm going through," I said, getting onto my stomach. I began crawling and wiggling my way through the hole, as did Lucius once I was through. We looked around and saw nothing but white. White, white, nothing but white for miles. "What is this place?" I asked, hoping Lucius's animal instincts could help us out.
"I can't say for sure, but I believe this is the Spirit World. The place where all spirit animals are born." I stared around in awe, but something didn't feel right.
"We should keep moving, I guess," I said, trying to keep my voice from fading out. We began to walk, and I asked Lucius where the other spirit animals were. However, when I tried to speak, no words came out. I stopped, and Lucius looked at me. I tried shouting and screaming, but nothing happened.
"Naten, is something wrong?" Lucius asked. However, this time he actually moved his lips and spoke. I was entirely freaked out by this, and a thousand questions ran through my head. At the same time, a thousand voices began to scream and shout around us. I stopped thinking, and the voices stopped as well.
'I've heard of strange things happening before, but this is ridiculus,' I thought, finally figuring it out. 'In Erdas, you had to speak with me through the mind. Now that we're in the place where you came from...'
"You are the one who must now use your thoughts," he finished. I nodded my head and looked around. I noticed some gray mist, which was hard to see, forming a few feet away and asked Lucius what it was. "A lost spirit," he said in a sad voice, "one that has lost its way." The mist solidified, and a tiger appeared in front of us. But I knew this tiger. The stripe patterns, they were always different from one tiger to the next, so this tiger was...
'Mom?' The tiger turned, and it was her. The one who raised me before she died of illness. I shouted called out to her as I ran towards her, forgetting that I couldn't speak, and dropped in front of her, giving her the biggest hug I could manage.
"Naten, get away! It isn't your mother!" I heard Lucius say. Then, everything began to turn for the worse.
"Naten," she asked, her voice sounding demonic and unearthly, "why did you leave me?" I let go of her and saw the scariest sight of my life. My mother, whose face I knew contained only love and compassion, was infected with Bile. Her face was twisted in a snarl, froth coming out of her mouth. I ran away from her, back to Lucius, and witnessed her body disappearing in a cloud of smoke, followed by an evil, unearthly laugh.
The room almost instantly turned black, and a large figure stood in front of us. I couldn't see any of his face, only outlined by a red glow. "So, you are the one they call the Keeper?" the Devourer asked, pointing what appeared to be a finger at us. I could only nod my head, and he laughed even harder. "Pathetic! I don't know how you defeated even Drina, but I will acknowledge you are not to be taken lightly. Heed my warning, boy! When the final battle comes, you and all those you care about will perish, their spirits lost forever! Now, begone!" He swiped a hand over us, and the ground under our feet began to crumble. Then, we began to fall.
You know how sometimes in a dream when you're falling, you suddenly wake up feeling like you actually dropped into bed? That's how I felt when I opened my eyes. I shot up, only to be pushed down again by a hand. I looked up to see Lenori's face who said, "Thank goodness you are awake Keeper." I laid back down on the bed I was in, and looked around. I saw Lucius was on the ground next to me, asleep but also beginning to wake up. "Conor and Olvan found you outside the cave. You were unconscious for almost the entire day." I looked around more and saw I was in the ward, a sort of hospital. The doors opened, and Conor, Abeke, Meilin, Rollan, and Olvan came inside the ward, instantly going over to me.
"Glad to see you're not dead," Conor said to me. I smiled in response, and the others began to ask me other questions about what happened, but Olvan silenced them all.
"Let Naten rest for now, I'm sure he can tell you all the details later." The four nodded and said goodbye to me before they left. Olvan looked at me and asked, "Naten, I must ask. Did anything happen down there?"
I looked over to Lucius out of the corner of my eye, who slowly shook his head. I looked back at Olvan and said, "No sir. After the entrance was blocked, Lucius and I found a way out. When we did get out, I guess we passed out from exhaustion." Olvan asked if I was sure there was nothing to tell him, and I nodded again.
"Alright, if you're sure," he said. "Get some rest." He and Lenori also left the ward, and I laid back down and drifted back into the dark.
Sorry it's so long, but I got into this too much and, well...hope you liked it!