Dreamweaver Chapter 48
Day 6 since entering the gnomes’ warren…
I continued to go through the chi exercises and the different sand vortex adaption exercises. Each day I also go through the mana training exercises that fox girl has been teaching me. I’d been going for several hours. It was hard work. By the time I get anywhere I’m sweating like crazy from exertions.
How much longer before I could heal more and be stronger I kept wondering? I wash my face for a long time trying to get rid of stress from the water skin I’d been lent by the gnomes. It’s something I’ll have to give back later, since it’s on loan.
Was this the limit of my strength? I wish I can do more. There are so many people in need too.
Pushing harder I also worked and jogging too from one side of the room to the other. But I avoided the stairs since that wouldn’t help my knees.
After several hours working at it, that’s all I could manage?
I was breathing hard.
“Haa, haa, wow that was hard.” I wipe off the sweat from my forehead. Then I just stand ready to pass out.
Fox Girl was still missing. Or maybe just hiding from me.
This early part of working with her was the most critical. If I just let things happen without trying hard I would forever be behind and not catch up to where I needed to be.
But then I had another thought. What would happen if I opened the demon box and sorted through its inventory while inside the dream state? Would things look the same?
Ever since discovering the human meat stored in it a long time ago at the beginning I’d been reluctant to use it much since that had weirded me out so badly. But recent explanations by Fox Girl had shown me this wasn’t just a magic item, but an actual artifact of some kind.
But of course there would be human meat both finished and unfinished in jerky form in the demon inventory slot system because the previous owner was a boss orc.
There had to be more to it. I felt there were a lot of mysterious and suspicious things about that spatial inventory box.
Careful I opened the box.
Sure enough my axe was there. The clothes that I’d salvaged from the others were also still there. The slots were mostly empty in the normal un-hidden area. I’d thrown away the meat but not other things that I wasn’t sure about.
Then I triggered the hidden area to open.
Think, I told myself.
If Fox Girl had a slave collar then she must have a soul crystal. There had to be a way to get this thing to work too. If she had her own crystal then she wouldn’t be trapped in the box anymore. That was my biggest inspiration so far. It feels like a solid lead.
But where was it?
What had I missed?
I scratch my head a lot going over it.
There were a bunch of different types of gems of all kinds in a really big pile, but they were all of them broken for unknown reasons why. Some of the pieces were jagged and sharp enough to get cut on if I didn’t handle them right. I also was careful not to lose any of the shards yet, since they were also clues about the box’s uses.
For now I bypassed the broken gems and crystals to go over the intact ones in the hidden area of the box.
I looked at the first four crystals that I originally possessed carefully. It also didn’t look like there was anything strange about the other six unused crystals. I went over them carefully thinking that one of them might belong to Fox Girl’s. Maybe she did something to make it look like an empty one. Since her power was altering reality it was very possible.
After careful and thorough examination nothing looked out of the ordinary. So I replaced them all back in their own slots one by one. I even took note of the measurements as best I could, which all seemed to be the same. So I returned to looking at the original four, pulling them out gently as if they were made of fragile glass.
The first one was obviously Sunghee and I matched what she looked like in the crystal. I put it back in its slot because there wasn’t anything else I could learn from it at this time.
Then the next one, I looked at Ayumi Sensei looked like she was sleeping even in a crystal form. But that was different from Sunghee’s, which showed her in a laying down position but in stasis and not asleep with eyes closed. I put it back. The third one was Haruka, which seemed to have a bewildered and terrified expression standing in air. I put them back. Nothing was out of the ordinary. Again, there was nothing that could give me any clues.
But when I looked at the fourth crystal which was the girl who had died I was surprised. This crystal was cracked and fragmented. The color looked somehow soiled too.
How strange. It wasn’t cracked and fragmented before. I also had been extremely careful not to have anything hit the box or knock it around. Though I suspected it wasn’t fragile anyway, even if it were to be knocked around. I wasn’t going to test that idea though.
But if they crack when the ‘jailed occupant’ dies that makes sense.
Also the girl in the broken and cracked crystal was no longer visible, I realized. It was like the crystal had been emptied somehow. That wasn’t surprising, but the crystal being cracked was very surprising. So if the captured person inside the crystal were to die…or vice versa.
The crystals weren’t reusable or were they? It could be a chance it would break or not break? Then that meant I had to be careful how they were used.
Wait a minute. I noticed something else different from before. I compared this cracked and broken crystal with its shard pieces to the others.
“EH?!!!!!!” I exclaimed aloud in shock.
The other broken crystals matched this broken one almost exactly in dimensions. It was a spine chilling revelation. I was surprised I hadn’t noticed it before but it made sense.
The broken crystals were the same type?!
In other words all of these hundreds of shards were the broken past used soul crystals used as magic prisons.
At some point this thing was filled with prisoners!
That meant there were dozens of broken crystals that had once held prisoners in them.
Dozens…This thing had ruined many, many lives. I was put into a daze thinking about it.
Was that what Fox Girl meant earlier?
The former owner had tortured tons of women in here. Or were there several previous owners? He may have been using it some kind of sick and twisted demon Pokemon style living.
Actually the second idea was probably more likely. It’s likely that orcs wouldn’t be able to create a box like this. So how had the orc boss captured it? He’d either slain or stolen it from the previous owner. And if there was one owner before him then it’s possible there were others?
Were the dead then used as re-agents and materials to keep it going?
It was a sad realization. I felt a lump in my throat. So many broken crystals in that pile; it made me sick to think about.
I couldn’t have noticed that before because with the other crystals being broken in my shard pieces it wasn’t easy to tell that when put together in their normal unbroken formatting they would have the exact same size and shape as the others.
It was lucky I’d not thrown anything away except the meat or I would have never have discovered this.
But then I had another painful thought that gave me a lot of remorse.
Did our fighting the boss orc cause some of these crystals to be broken? What if one the killing blow and explosion of the orc we’d caused some of them to break? I was worried as I thought about this.
It was a terrible fear that ate at my heart.
I had to do something about it. It was an awful feeling that wouldn’t go away.
I would have to talk to both Sunghee and Fox Girl about this. I would have to be very careful if I didn’t want to ruin people’s lives like the previous owners had for others.
But I had another idea at the same time. If we had done something like this…would I be able to fix any of the crystals by magic after I pieced the shards back together? There was the possibility that it would work if I used other restorative type magic right? But would healing have to be changed or adapted to work on items?
Maybe dwarves might now about this?
But I had to be careful who I trusted.