What he witnessed left him enchanted. His mind did not register the tremors under his feet, the dancing inscriptions on the Wall before him were too mesmerizing.
It was not like he had expected. There was no Hall or Platform, the Wall just appeared before him, ending the long passage of nearly two kilometers.
Two distinct colors of Inscriptions were before him. One was bright gold, and the other was fiery red. And as the Golden inscriptions blinked, soon, the red ones brightened up to shut them down.
There was a rotating wheel on the Wall. It seemed to be made of a silver liquid, the viscosity of which led him to believe that it was Blood, and it moved anti-clockwise.
What surprised him the most was that the Wall seemed to have a heart inside of it, and it was beating rhythmically, reverberating everything around it.
Shazan did not dare to get close to the Wall. He stopped several meters away from it, observing it with keen senses. His heart was beating anxiously.
He did not wish the seal to break open. He had no heart of watching what catastrophe waited behind the door.
Minutes passed, which felt like an eternity. And when the Wall finally stopped beating, he let out a relieved sigh. He walked over to the fading inscriptions, and it was then that he felt a constriction on his mind. He fought it, and it wore off without any resistance.
It was the enchantment that tried to control his mind into doing something, but his mental strength was too much for it.
He wasn’t relieved when he won the battle. He turned around to look at the people standing behind him, but he did not find any anomalies.
“Did you feel any mental constriction just now?” He asked them gravely.
All of them seemed surprised at his words, but they shook their heads in refusal.
Shazan frowned at their refusal.
“What is it?” The King was the first person to ask.
“I felt as if something tried to control my mind.” He told them and then looked at Queen Izna.
“I didn’t feel anything.” She furrowed her brows and shook her head.
“Alright…” Shazan smiled at them. “Forgive me for what I am about to do then.”
He let loose his mental strength and held their minds in control. Only Queen Izna’s mind resisted a little, but it surrendered as well.
There was no one present here who could challenge his mental strength.
“Tell me, what do you want to find in the Treasury?” He asked them loudly.
“Nothing…” The King answered him confusedly.
Caius obediently shook his head, and Rani-Ma did the same.
“Nothing,” Akash and Kashish answered in unison.
“I don’t want to find anything is the Treasury.” Queen Izna replied plainly.
Shazan freed them as soon as they answered, but there was one person who had not answered him yet.
There was a clear struggle on her face, and it seemed as if she was in a lot of pain.
“Maira, answer me, what do you want to find in the Treasury?”
The rest of the people soon realized what he had done to them, but they did not say anything to him or even feel mad at him. They realized what he did was the right thing.
The strength he had used should have been enough to make Maira answer him without hesitation, but she was struggling.
“Maira…” Rani-Ma worriedly stepped closer to her. She pleadingly looked at Shazan to free her, but even she realized that they had to know what was going on here.
“Is it the Flute?” Shazan asked with a smile as he intensified his mental strength.
Maira didn’t say a word nor did she shake her head. However, her eyes blinked in a positive answer.
The little detail did not miss anyone present there.
Shazan freed her from his mental strength, and as expected, she wobbled on her feet and tried to run out of there to look for the Flute.
He did not have to take any action because Queen Izna had already acted.
She appeared in front of Maira, dodged the fist the little girl hurled at her in frenzy, and then grabbed her before knocking her unconscious.
Rani-Ma went forward and took Maira in her arms. She worriedly inspected for any anomalies in her grandchild’s body, and she was relieved at not finding anything wrong.
“Is her mind…”
“I let go of it before it could be harmed,” Shazan answered Kashish before she could finish her question.
The Inscriptions on the Wall were still faintly blinking.
“How long had this lasted on Wednesday?” He asked the King.
“Around three hours, only then did they stop blinking.” The King did not dare to look at the inscriptions again.
“We need to do something about that Flute…”
Queen Izna did not even get a chance to finish her words when the entire cavern brightened up in red light.
The tremors returned, stronger than before, and the Wall started beating again. The Wheel rotated faster and faster until it was at a speed they could not keep up with, and then, they heard an indescribable sound.
They felt as if they had been thrown in a cold abyss, and their chests felt congested. The sound was not harsh, but it held a might in it that they could not fight against, and it was the sound of a Flute.
“No!!” The King cried out in agony but helplessly stood there.
All of them realized that something dreadful was about to happen to them, and they hopefully looked at the Wall to see if it would hold.
What they saw were burning inscriptions. The Golden inscriptions got brighter, and the Red ones were burned out of existence.
“The seal is gone…” Shazan whispered grimly.
The sound of the Flute stopped, but the tremors and the inscriptions did not.
“Rani-Ma, Princess Kashish, take Maira away from here,” Shazan asked them with a pale smile. “And send the Guards inside.”
The First Queen was reluctant to leave them here, but she knew that Maira was unconscious, and she would be a burden to them as her focus would only be on protecting her grandchild.
“Alright…” She nodded with misty eyes and ran out of the Cave, carrying Maira in her arms.
Kashish worriedly looked at her son who was staying still as a statue. His handsome face was wearing expressions of solemnness that no mother wanted her child to have.
“Go,” Akash nodded at her. “And check what happened out there. Father was guarding the Flute…” He didn’t dare to finish his words.
All of them were worried about Vikaros, but they knew that they had to stay here.
“What if he’s under the influence of the enchantment?” Kashish asked worriedly.
“Rani-ma, you, and Elder Amraaz should be enough to overpower him…” Shazan told her.
However, he had fears that the Flute might have given Vikaros some strength.
“And, would you make sure that my Ella is safe?” He requested her. “She’s in Maira’s courtyard. She was sleeping…”
“Okay…” Kashish nodded to him and then turned around to leave hurriedly. “Be safe!” Her fading voice asked them pleadingly.
Shazan loosened the buttons on the cuffs of his shirt, and then he took off his shoes. He carefully rolled up his sleeves and then turned to look at the Wall that stopped trembling.
All of them watched in a daze as the wall turned illusory, seemingly made out of a layer of water, and the ripples on it made the Inscriptions blink. The spinning Wheel had disappeared.
A Dozen High-Guards, who were standing outside all this time, arrived behind them.
“Your Majesty,” One of them stepped forward after assessing the surroundings and asked the King for the instructions.
“Prepare for Battle.”
The King gave a simple order, and the High-Guards took off their cloaks and readied the blades they were hiding. Each of them had a pair of Daggers, a Sword, and a pistol.
“Akash…” Shazan looked at him and smiled. “Move to the Middle Line. I, Caius, Queen Izna, and those four Guards,” He pointed at each of them, “will stay on the frontline.” He chose the strongest batch to stay at the front.
“I will stay with you,” The King shook his head and stepped forward.
“I understand your sentiments,” Shazan smiled at the old man. “I do not doubt your strength, but as the King of Aryans, your priority should be to preserve your wellbeing. If you stay at the front, the Guards will not be at ease, and we don’t want any mistakes to happen here.”
“Grandfather…” Akash too was reluctant to leave them at the front, but he knew that he was not as strong as the ones he chose for the frontline.
“Alright, we will take the Middle Line.” The King of Aryans nodded, much to the relief of everyone.
Minutes passed as they waited for something to come out of the Dimensional Wall.
Shazan took this time to explain to them that the creatures they may be facing would be one of the three types of creatures drawn on the walls of the cavern.
“No matter what they look like, what their size would be, do not underestimate them when they appear before you. Those creatures are the Annihilation Beasts, meant to eradicate every sentient being on this planet. They will not be weak.”
The group waited in silence for something to appear out of the Wall. Every breath they took was heavy.
Their eyes stared at the Wall, and the moment they dreaded finally arrived.
Two curved blades stepped out of the Wall, and under their confused gaze, a silver spider-like creature, as tall as an adult man emerged. It’s eight feet were all made of stainless blades, and it’s entire body seemed to be made of metal. Unlike the spiders, this creature only had three eyes, and they were black, with a faint silver star in them. Its head was small and had two antennas on it.
The light inside the cavern dimmed when the creature appeared, and as soon as it laid its eyes on the people present there, it lept at them at a speed that scared everyone.
They only heard a few clanks of blades against the floor, and the creature covered the distance of several meters, appearing before Shazan in a blink of an eye.
Its bladed feet launched at him, intending to dissect him in one swoop.
Shazan heard his heart thump hard and then leaned back, avoiding the blade to miss his neck by a centimeter. He could feel the coldness of the blade without experiencing its touch, and it sent shivers down his spine.
He did not get time to get away, another Blade was upon him, and he was not stable enough to avoid it. He prepared his Aura Shields and readied to suffer.
Blades clashed, erupting sparks, and the High-Guard who had intervened at the final moment was sent crashing on the wall with a great force.
Shazan glanced at the man who had saved him a moment ago and felt relieved to see no wound on his body. However, the saber he was holding was now cleft in two.
He channeled his Aura and formed a blade in his right hand.
Caius was already above the head of the Spider, coming down with skewers in his hands.
Shazan and Queen Izna coordinated with him as they used their Aura blades to attack the spider from its sides, but the creature did not seem flurried at their attack. It brandished its feet to meet those Aura Blades, and completely disregarded Caius’ attack.
The Aura Blades clashed with its feet and were shattered as soon as they met. The queen stumbled back in shock, but Shazan moved around, jumped with all his strength, and tried to climb the spider.
He could see that the Spider’s blades could not reach the top of its back, and he wanted to attack it from there, but to his shock, both he and Caius seemed to have slammed against two disc-like shields and were spent flying away.
The others who saw this did not waste any time and hurled several Aura-Fused Daggers at the creature. They could see that the Daggers would be useless on it, but that was not their intention.
Out of the dozen daggers hurled at it, 10 were repelled by four illusory discs, and the two that clashed on its body left not even a scratch.
The men kept hurling daggers, but the number of discs did not increase. However, they discovered that those four disc-like shields could move in any direction to protect the spider, and they were about half a meter in diameter.
Shazan got up on his feet and observed the Spider engage in the battle with the group. Caius and Queen Izna were leading, and the four High-Guards were flanking the Spider. So far, they had not suffered any cuts, but they had suffered internal injuries. The strength behind its bladed feet was too great for them who were in the Fourth Realm of Initial Phase.
Only Queen Izna could handle an attack, but even she would be sent stumbling back with aching arms.
The weapons of the guards were nearly destroyed, and it was then that all of them backed off.
The middle line of guards unleashed their firearms on the spider, but to their disappointment, the bullets could not harm the creature. The discs repelled the bullets and even the ones that managed to hit its body were repelled without injuring its metal skin.
It was only one spider, but they were all helpless against it.
“Its head seems to be its weakness!”
Shazan called out to them.
He had observed that a shield would always stay covering its head under the shower of those bullets.
“Attack its head!” He called out to the Guards and then looked at Caius and Queen Izna.
He did not need to say anything to them as they flanked the creature, forming Aura Swords, and attacked it.
Shazan too formed an Aura Sword and attacked it from behind.
The creature saw through their plan and turned around, but the bullets stopped raining on it when it did. The Guards it had turned its back to, threw explosives at it.
The grenades struck it’s back and exploded, not harming it in the least, and the fire explosives were useless too. However, it closed its eyes when the fire had erupted, and it tried to turn his head away from the fire.
The three of them did not waste the chance. They attacked it from its blank spots, but the discs got in the way. A Guard who was standing close lept with his half-broken saber, and as a disc moved to stop him, the three of them attacked again. This time, there were four of them, and the three discs could not stop one of them. The disc covering the head remained there.
Caius’ Aura Sword struck the section that joined its head to its back, and the Spider screeched in pain as a cut was left there. Silver blood dripped from the cut and evaporated. In its anger, it jumped up in the air, struck Caius with its back, and as he lost his balance and dropped sideways, it hurled its bladed feet at him.
The Aryan’s ability allowed them to peek at what was about to happen, and Izna acted without a second thought.
Shazan followed her and did not allow it to succeed as they took the brunt of the force on themselves. They shielded for Caius, and they both crashed in the sidewall.
There was a trail of blood flowing out of the corner of Izna’s mouth, but Shazan did not suffer any internal injury. His body was stronger than hers.
They did not have the time to take a breath as the spider again launched itself at the receding Caius.
The rest of the Guards rushed forward to help him and succeeded as they could peek at the upcoming attacks of the spider.
It was then that the King acted together with two women.
The women were from the clan of Charm Witches. And they used their ability to bind the creature. From their shadows, emerged dozens of bindings, and they wrapped around the body of the Spider, hindering its movements.
The spider was too strong for them to bind it completely, but they did manage to hinder its movements.
The creature screeched in anger, and then it opened its mouth to throw a silver thread that formed into a javelin, at one of the women.
The King and Akash had already seen the attack coming and they deflected it with all their strength. Their Aura shield shattered in thousands of grains of green light, but it managed to change the direction of the Javelin.
The Javelin that the creature had spit crashed against the wall and impaled it. A wall that was sturdier than the best of metals was impaled as if it was made of rubber. There was only a dull sound before half of the javelin disappeared inside the wall.
Every one of them was scared. No one dared to take the attack head-on, and to the relief of everyone, it seemed like the Spider could not create such javelins often.
The people coordinated, and as before, Caius and Izna managed to land a few cuts on it.
Shazan knew that they could not keep fighting for long. Izna and Caius were at their limits, and the rest of the group was no better.
He sneaked to the wall where the Javelin was impaled, and he spent great strength to take it out of there.
The Piercer at the top was still sharp, and Shazan held it tightly before rushing at the Spider.
“Caius!” He shouted.
The prince of Moon Clan backed off from the spider and used his remaining strength to form illusions around it
“Attack it from the left and right!” Izna called out and took the back herself.
The Guards attacked from the sides, Izna from the back, and Shazan’s illusions from the front. The two women had blood flowing out of their mouths as they used their remaining strength to keep the spider from moving around much.
What they did, proved enough. The Four discs and its feet engaged the oncoming attacks.
Shazan jumped high in the air, turned upside down, and exploded aura under his feet. He came crashing down on the Spiders back of the head.
The spider sensed the danger, and it tried to send one of the discs to stop him, but it was a fraction late.
Shazan pierced the Javelin where Caius had first left a cut. It was where the metal armor was weaker, and he succeeded.
The javelin pierced deep inside that cut, and the Spider was stunned before it powerlessly dropped like a sack.
He pulled the Javelin out a little, before impaling it deeper inside the body of the spider. He did it once more to make it certain that the creature was dead.
And only when a great amount of blood pooled out of the wound, did he get off the creature and took out the Javelin.
Mystically, all the blood that flowed out soon evaporated. And before their stunned gaze, the body of the creature started evaporating as well.
In the process of a few minutes, the body was gone. And all those who were right next to it, found their strengths return greater than before, and almost all of them had their injuries healed to an extent.
“Alright…” Caius smiled brightly. “Let’s wait for another one.”
Everyone looked at him with complicated gazes, but no one said anything.
♛ Author’s Note:
I hope you liked the chapter. There’s one more! Hurry up and read the next one!
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