I slowly glide through the haul while erasing all signs of my presence. Then I take a turn. There’re around twenty doors made out of wood that closely resembles oak. If I remember correctly, and I’m sure I do, the one I need is the third to the right.
I grab the handle and open it. Everything turns red. Damn. The left one that is then.
And it’s correct! No prize though. Yet. Behind the door is a giant structure with a lot of beehive-ish cells.
Some odd gnome in a silly looking coat detects me and fires a magical construct that looks like a green shark with wings. It will probably take a second for it to hit me so I fly out of the way. Golden spikes jump from under my feet and dissapear with a wave of my hand.
I look at the gnome, who’s recklessly firing pumpkins made out of fire with carved faces on them at me. Another wave and they got dissipated with a pop. I stare at him, and his coat, along with his hair and himself as well turn into green mist.
All in all, the fight took six seconds. High-level spirits look down on magic research as they are extremely proficient at magic by nature, so the me who’s spent a few millennia around a witch that’s as good at magic as an elder dragon has an advantage all other spirits will never have. They look as sloppy as drunk amateurs to me actually.
Musing about irrelevant things, I fly up to the cells and find the one I need. I may mistake doors and paths but I will recognize the effects the cells impose on the prisoners any day.
I gather up the energies around me and compress them and then gather some more and compress some more until I’m satisfied. I can’t help but sigh as I look at the blue particles that begin to flow. I really have a ways to go. With desired proficiency, there wouldn’t be any visual effects as no stray energy would be used to make them. The guards should be here any moment now so I quickly lock the space around me to keep off any pests that might wanna get in the way.
My middle and index fingers form a gun shape for style’s sake and I blast at the cell until there’s no energy left. I could go the long way and disable the barriers and traps and alarms and what not, but brute-forcing it is a quicker and much simpler way to solve the problem. Besides, who cares about the commotion? I think everybody in the castle, or potentially the realm has their hands full with Shuffy, and I already set off the main alarm anyway.
After my happy trigger time all that’s left of the cell’s entrance is a molten smoking pile of metal that leads to a dark cave.
As I step into it, it tosses me into a pocket dimension and the dimension tosses me into another one and it continues until I reach an endless plane with short grass all over it.
I reach a grim-looking gray box, 3-meters in all directions, that has a transparent panel on one of its sides.
The inside is filled with black gas that constantly forms cloudy shapes in the middle and dissolves them.
Since I have a bit of time I decide to open the box in a fun way: that is by forming a comically large blue sledgehammer and smashing it against the transparent pane like there’s no tomorrow.
*Smash* The pane breaks apart magnificently, glossy shards fly in all the directions and the skies turn red and thunder can be heard everywhere. Umm, I missed me some havoc! I should explode a castle or two later!
The mist gathers in one spot and forms a human body. It’s a male youth with tidy black hair, black eyes black nails and a black suit. His ghastly white skin adds to the contrast. And his body gives off a creepy vibe as if he has no bones and he’s as soft as a pillow or hollow inside.
I jump at the figure and give it a hug. Uncle Jim is a very rare example of my and Aurora’s friends. He’s a deity that was worshipped by a bunch of mortals as an evil god though the person in question never really did anything and was just playing around. Not his fault that he looks creepy and has this I-will-eat-your-soul vibe. Oh, and he has no name so I started calling him uncle Jim and somehow it stuck.
We used to hang around and explore stuff and one time he accidentally got caught by the forces from Fey and probably has been in the cell ever since.
We could try to get him out but going against an entire realm full of high-level spirits that are out for your blood is something neither I nor Aurora would want to do, even for a friend.
This time it’s different though.
“Stop calling me that you rascal! And thanks for getting me out by the way. I was running out of books.”
A low and emotionless voice calls out. The disparity between the way he looks and sounds and how he really is is hilarious. That’s why I call him uncle. He’s pretty average on the inside, despite all of his atmosphere and power. Like your average uncle next door! Not that I ever lived in places where there could be anyone next door.
“So, uncle, I know it’s a bit sudden but could you help me out a bit?”
I retold the current situation as well as answered some questions.
“Um, so… let me recap all you just said right now. Basically, Aurora messed up that experiment and ended up sealed inside the amulet you prepared for the Righteous Lands? And then you two transformed her soul into some kind of thinking thing and now she’s somewhere out there but you don’t know where? And you attracted a being from that weird space you call River of Souls that chased you around for who knows how long and now you want me to help you get rid of it and find Aurora? Am I getting it right?”
“Yes, all correct!”
By the way, don’t get mistaken about the name of the Righteous Land. It’s actually a vicious living realm that influences mortals into worshipping it and then takes their souls for consumption. The name comes from the common translation from the languages of the civilizations it controls. But that’s off the point.
Uncle stares at me with a strange look and sighs. Anyone else would think I’m being bullied by a yakuza boss.
“Ok, I won’t question anything you said and neither will I try to make sense out of most of it, but! Could you at least be more descriptive about the… what do you call it?”
“Why Shuffy? Whatever, about Shuffy?”
“I don’t know much myself though”
I really hate the airhead persona that comes out whenever I talk with others. I really wanted to be more constructive but ended up trying to make the situation we’re in sound as silly and ridiculous as possible. On the side note, I actually have no idea about Shuffy.
“You know nothing at all? Not how it looks?”
“I haven’t seen it in person”
“How do you know that you haven’t been running around like an idiot then?”
“I wasn’t! I felt it was there! It-it was like it was looming and then-bam! And before anything happened I ran.”
What I meant was that I felt its presence but considering its place of origin, it probably never had a physical body in the first place. As Aurora told me once, the River of Souls is probably the most distant place from the material world and the raw metaphysic concepts are more widely used. The souls themselves are the representations of the overall personality and defining features of a living sentient being. Most would perceive them as golden stars flying through the void, though neither space nor energy or matter have much influence on that world. So, why would a being that exists on such a high level ever need a body? My childish persona prevents me from explaining it. And it’s hard to fight against my nature. Thankfully, uncle is more or less used to me and understands what I want to say, if not completely then at least enough to take action.
“Okay, let’s go take a look at your ‘Shuffy’. You messed the spacial settings of this prison up pretty badly, huh.”
Uncle turns into mist again and glows ominously and we get teleported outside the cells. There’s no one around. Is Shuffy the cause?
“Well, since there’s no one to greet us it means we’re pretty low on their priority list. I feel a bit sad now.”
We stroll through the castle and no one shows up.
We get to the throne room’s entrance. Huge gates with too many decorations to look good are closed. Hm, they are usually always open though.
I look at uncle
I dramatically raise my fist and it glows.
I lower it.
I draw my elbow back.
I throw the punch and a blue stream erupts from my hand. My vision is filled with blue.
When it’s over in the place of the gates there’s a lot of dust that blocks the vision.
And when all is cleared I gasp as I see a very familiar figure.
A tall slim woman in an elegant grey dress with very few frills and other decorations. Her raven black hair that slides down her shoulders and reaches her waist. The youthful face with charcoal black irises.
She extends her smooth hand towards us and her long and thin fingers are directed at me as if she calls me over.
“A-Aurora?” Is all I can muster in shock.