Author’s note:

Must.... not…. fall… to temptation…. to play Overwatch

Must…. finish… writing…. first…

(Internal struggle intensifies)

Chapter 56- Climb

***July 5th, 965 A.F. (Night)***
***Ajax McGuire***

         Seeing that it was the end of the maze and nowhere to go, I quickly set my sights on another hatch. There was no time to lose. Crazy Wyn… wait that doesn’t sound right, she is already crazy. I mean crazier Wyn, is still hot on my tail, and I have no idea how close she is. I closed the hatch clumsily with my remaining working hand and headed towards another random hatch.

        As soon as I loosen up the lock, I immediately regretted I chose that particular hatch. I saw a few trickles of water flow into the cubic room through the seams of the doorway. Soon a waterfall appeared underneath the hatch. Sensing trouble ahead, I instantly tried to turn the hatch clockwise to re-lock the door, but it was too late. The water pressure from the other side was too high, and it blasted the hatch wide open. I was knocked backward, all the way to the other side of the room. Luckily, by the time I hit the wall, the water that was bursting out of the floodgate dissipated enough and I didn’t take much damage from hitting the wall. However, I was still pinned down against the wall by a column of water.

      Holding my breath, I struggled to move away from my pinned position. At first, I went with my instinct and tried to walk forward but to no avail. I was instantly pushed back as soon as I took one step. There was no way I can overpower the tremendous force. I quickly changed tactic and tried to move sideways instead. Using the notches on the wall made of gears and cogs as leverage, I used all my strength to pull myself away. It was a hard struggle since the water was already knee deep, sapping away all my strength.  After a good half a minute of effort, I finally manage to break free from the pressure. The first thing I did after freeing myself was closing my eyes and float on my back, taking long deep breaths to recover my strength.

           As soon as I regained enough strength and my breath were no longer as labored as before, I opened my eyes and changed into a doggy paddle. Looking around, I knew I was in deep trouble. The column of water was no longer visible. The water level rose above the hatch and became a strong underwater current. I tried to dive underneath the water to open the hatch close to me, but it was impossible for me to achieve the goal. Even if I somehow managed to open the lock, the water pressure alone would make it impossible for me to open the hatch.

          Seeing the water level rising in the room, I naturally eyed the hatch that was on the ceiling. Once it rose enough, I should be able to use that to escape. Awkwardly swimming to the center to the room with one hand, I waited patiently underneath the hatch. Being surrounded by ice cold water, the wait was unbearable. I can feel hypothermia slowly setting into my body.

          Just a few inch before I could grab onto to the hatch door, I had a sudden thought. What if the next room is also trapped, or worse, crazier Wyn was waiting there? With this room completely filled with water, I would be left with no route to escape. It would be an all or nothing gamble. My instinct told me that there was a better way to handle this situation. I needed to think outside the box.

         As soon as I had that thought, the perfect solution dawned on me, and I immediately put the plan into action. With my good hand, I reached into my pocket and put on the ring of holding my mother gave me. It was hard to concentrate in the frigid water, but after a few tries, I finally managed to activate the ring. It released a green glow and soon, a vortex formed by my hand as the water was sucked into the ring. For a second, I was worried that my plan would not work since I saw the water level kept rising, but soon, I was relieved. I could feel the undercurrent weakening which means that the water stopped flowing. The water level inside the room finally started to drop. Before long, my feet finally touched the ground, and I didn’t have to swim anymore.

          I didn’t stop the activation of the ring, however. I kept it turned on until all that was left was a few puddles of water in the room. After that, I placed my bad hand on the floor. For the next part of the plan, I will need to use both of my hands. Taking a deep breath and gritting my teeth, I prepare myself mentally to bear the pain.

“This is going to hurt a lot.”

         I jumped a bit and pushed as hard as I could. A loud pop resounded in the room. Electricity traveled through my arm and spread throughout my shoulder. If I would have to guess, this is how being shot in the shoulder by a gun would feel like.


         I laid on my back staring at the cog-filled ceiling, taking labored breaths to recover myself. After the initial pain had subsided, I tried to move right arm a bit in a circular motion. My shoulder is still suffering from a bit of pain, but it was nothing that I couldn’t bear with. It’s a good thing I regained the use of my right arm.

        I stripped myself naked and summoned a towel from the ring to dry myself. It wouldn’t be funny if I escaped every but eventually die from complications of hypothermia. I am also euphoric that I remembered the advice from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to always bring a towel. At first, when I packed everything for this trip, I did it as a joke. I thought that I shouldn’t need it since the inns that we stay at would provide the towel for us. Now I can see the infinite wisdom of Douglas Adams.

       After drying myself and put on the extra set of clothes that I stored inside the ring, it was time for the second part of my plan. I went towards the hatch that I opened before, the hatch that leads to nothingness. I opened the hatch and stuck my head out to look up and assess the situation. I couldn’t see a damn thing in the total darkness. I raised my hand and aimed my hand towards the top.


       I quickly cast a no attribute spell that I have learned to light the way. A small ball of light shot out of my palm and traveled upwards. The ball of light crept along the wall slowly before fading away into the darkness. It lasted long enough to give me all the information that I need. I was tempted to do the same thing for the other way, but then, I remembered the golden rule for climbing.

“Never look down. Never look down.”

      My plan was to go outside of the box. Since all the rooms I have been in was a cube, the whole dungeon should be a cube as well. Using the outer walls, I would climb to the top of the cube. From there I should be able to see everything. I could then use that information to escape. By doing this, I could avoid all the traps in the dungeon and on top of that, figure out which way I need to go instead of blindly charging through everything.

      Luckily for me, the room that I was in was near the top of the dungeon. It looks like I only need to climb five, maybe six rooms up. It would have been hard if it was any more than that. Grabbing on the ledge, I pulled myself outside and cast illuminate again. This time, the image that I had in my mind was slightly different from before. Instead of shooting out in a straight line, I had the ball of light float an inch or two above my shoulder so that I could see where I was going.

       I raised my hand, securing my fingers in between the gaps in the wall made of gears and cogs. After confirming that it was securely in place, I put my body weight on it, pulling myself up. At the same time, I lodged my feet into another hole, securing my position. I can feel the pressure of my weight on the edge of the cogs. It was lucky that the edges were dull. If they were just a bit sharper, I was sure that I would cut myself, and it would have been impossible to climb. Seeing that my first step was successful, I continued the treacherous climb.

About the author


  • Slayer of Soles


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