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Phoenix, Meadowlark, Rysarian, and Quinn walk into the next room. It’s lit, and the same green stone as the room before, but the only thing in it is a set of stairs. The groups starts climbing. After a couple flights, the get to a landing with a door on it. The stairs continue going up, but the group looks at the door. It’s similar to the one before, but it doesn’t seem to need a key.

“That is a door,” Quinn says, looking at it.

“That is a nice door,” Ryarian says.

“Should we open it?” Quinn asks.

“Not it!” Rysarian says quickly. Phoenix rolls her eyes and walks up to the door. As soon as she touches it, it pushes in slightly, then slides up into the wall, like the other doors. The others follow her into the dark room. The only light is a torch in the middle, and Meadowlark, Phoenix, and Quinn all squint as they look around. Rysarian easily sees everything in the room. Once he decides there’s nothing there worth taking, he describes it to them.

“There are other torches in the corners of the room,” he says. “And, on this far wall, over here,” he says, walking over to wall opposite the door, “there’s a ledge about ten feet up with one on it, too.”

“So how many are there total?” Meadowlark asks.

“Four down here, one in each corner, then one on the ledge. So five total.” Rysarian explains.

Meadowlark pulls out her own torch and lights it. Everyone’s able to see the room, now. Rysarian looks closer at the torches, but there’s nothing interesting about them. Phoenix walks around and lights the four torches around the edge of the room, but the go off a couple seconds after she lights them. Rysarian teleports up to the ledge and lights that one, but that one also goes out.

“Maybe they have to be lit from the one in the middle?” Meadowlark says. She goes up to the middle torch and inspects it, but there’s only some magic to keep the fire going. The fire itself isn’t magical.

“Let’s try lighting them all at once,” Phoenix says. “Meadowlark, you go by that one, Quinn, you can take that one. Rysarian, stay on the ledge. I’ll take these two by the door.” Everyone does as they’re told. “Ready? Three, two, one, light!” The each light their torch and Phoenix quickly goes to the last torch before the others go out. They wait a couple seconds, and all the torches stay lit. A small chest falls from the ceiling, landing in front of the ledge. “Go ahead Meadowlark,” Phoenix says before Rysarian can get down from the ledge. Meadowlark goes to open it and pulls out a small gear key and puts it in her bag.

They head out of the room and up the stairs. Another couple flights later, there’s another door, just like the last one. Phoenix opens it and it’s a large room, about fifty feet wide by fifty feet long, but only thirty feet tall. On the far wall, about two-thirds of the way up was a square inset, like a mini room in the wall. The group could see a small pillar up there with a white circle with a dot inside it on the pillar. A similar symbol was on the ceiling about fifteen feet away from the inset. A silver crystal was floating just a foot down from the symbol on the ceiling, and similar crystals were in each corner and one on the ledge.

“Those look expensive,” Rysarian says.

“I think we have to collect them,” Phoenix says. “I think I’ve heard of something like this before. Meadowlark goes around and collects the four in the corners, each giving off a chime as she picks them up. Rysarian walks over to the far wall and jumps, catching on to the wall and climbing up to the small room, picking up that gem. It was an easy climb, with the rough green stone of the walls.

“That’s five out of the six,” Quinn says.

“How are we going to get the last one?” Phoenix asks. Suddenly, a chunk of broken chainmail tied to a rope flies at the crystal from the inset room. It only makes it about ten feet before it falls, crashing against the wall. “Wow. What are you doing?” Phoenix yells at Rysarian.

“I figured it would knock it down or something!” Rysarian yells back, pulling up the rope.

“Nice, that worked out so well!”

“Do you want to try it?” Rysarian asks.

“Why don’t you just use a dagger?” Phoenix asks.

“Well you’re standing there, I didn’t want to throw something sharp that way. Why don’t you get out of the room?”

“Uh, no. I don’t trust you.”

“Then I’m not going to throw it!”

“We can move!” Phoenix says, walking over to the wall with the ledge, but not standing underneath it. Meadowlark joins her. Safely out of the way.

“Fine, I’ll try a dagger,” Rysarian says. He pulls out one of his daggers and throws it perfectly aimed at the crystal. It also chimes before disappearing. Another small chest falls in front of the ledge. Meadowlark opens it up to find another small key while Rysarian collects his dagger.

“Ready?” Phoenix asks. They all head out of the room and up more stairs. Surprisingly, finding another door exactly the same as the last two. They walk in and see a room very different, though. The four are standing on a ledge about three feet up from the center square of floor. A ramp connects the two. Three other ramps lead to ledges on past the middle square. Four dragon statues, each a different color, sit in the corners of the lowered square floor, each also having a pedestal in front of them. In the middle of the room are four more pedestals. There’s a charred body in front of the red dragon statue, a red gem sitting on the pedestal in the middle.

“This seems fun,” Rysarian says dryly.

“Oh look! There are tablets on the walls!” Quinn says, finding the two on either side of the door they just walked through. Two other tablets are on the walls on the far side. Quinn walks around and reads them all. “The dragon of poison despises all others. The crystal of water longs to be with the sword of flames. The arcing lightning of the blue dragon dances across the watery crystal. The red dragons flames lick all but the sea’s sword.”

“It’s a puzzle,” Phoenix says excitedly. “I love puzzles like this.” She goes down to the main floor. “So we have four dragons. Red is fire, green is acid, blue is lightning, and the white dragon is ice. It looks like there are four crystals and four swords, each a different color.”

“And obviously this red crystal doesn’t go here,” Meadowlark says, looking down at the charred body.

“The crystal of water longs to be with the sword of flames?” Rysarian repeats. “But which crystal is the watery one? The blue one?”

“But the white one is ice,” Phoenix says. “Shouldn’t that mean the blue one is lightning?”

“But do they actually correspond to the statues? Or are they different?” Meadowlark puts in.

“Well, I’m just going to try something,” Phoenix says, walking over and picking up the red sword. She takes it over and puts it in the slotted pedestal directly in front of the blue dragon. It slides in to the hilt. Nothing else happens. “I think that means it’s right?” Phoenix says before walking over to the red crystal.

Rysarian goes and picks up the white crystal, putting it on the middle pedestal in the corner of the blue dragon. Lightning shoots out of the dragon’s mouth, jolting Rysarian.

“Well, I don’t think that was right,” Rysarian chokes out.

“Um, no,” Phoenix says. “But, it said The dragon of poison despises all others, so it should only like its own, right?” She goes and picks up the green sword and the green gem, putting them on their respectful pedestals in front of the green dragon at the same time. The green sword slides in, the gem rests on its pedestal. Nothing else happens.

“So the watery crystal is actually the blue one,” Meadowlark says, switching the white crystal with the blue one, cautiously watching the dragon. The dragon seems content.

“So which is the Sea’s sword? Would it be the blue one?” Phoenix asks.

“Well, if it is, then the white one would go here in front of the white dragon,” Meadowlark says, taking the sword and sliding it into the pedestal. It seems like it was the right decision. Phoenix takes the blue sword and puts it into the last pedestal in front of the fire dragon. A small chest falls from the ceiling on the ledge across from the door, beside where Quinn was still staring fascinatedly at the tablets. Rysarian went to collect the small key. He also picks up the chest.

“What are you doing?” Phoenix asks.

“This is a nice chest. I’m going to go put it at the entrance. And get the other chests, too,” he says, jogging down the stairs when they leave the room. The other three wait for him.

When Rysarian jogs up the stairs, Quinn is sitting cross legged on the floor, the journal in his lap, his glasses slowly sliding off his nose. Meadowlark is swinging her sword around, the whistling music barely audible as her cat circles around her feet. Phoenix is laying flat on the ground, staring up at the ceiling and reciting historical sonnets in her mind.

“Are we going?” Rysarian asks. Meadowlark swings her sword one last time before putting it back in its sheath, Phoenix jumps up, ready to get going.

“Quinn,” Meadowlark calls. He looks up at them, his glasses at the tip of his nose.

“Oh, he’s back. Are we going then?” Quinn asks, shutting the journal and putting it in his bag as he stands up. The group goes up the stairs, another two flights, finding a shockingly similar door to the last three.

“I’m starting to get worried about this,” Meadowlark says. “I don’t know why.”

“Well, we’ll probably have to go through this at some point, anyway,” Phoenix says, touching the door to open it and walking in. The others follow, Meadowlark walking in last. The room is large and long. On the far side there’s a large stone button on the floor. The door behind the group slides shut, then a metallic sound follows. The group turns around the see metal bars covering the door.

“I knew it,” Meadowlark mutters.

“This isn’t good,” Phoenix says.

“You think you could smash that?” Rysarian asks, taking a step back towards the door. A squawking shriek echoes around the room and the group looks back to the room at large as two green humanoid lizards with leather armor fall down to the ground, one to the left side of the room, one more on the right. They hop where they stand, squawking to each other and swinging their short swords before they see the group.

“What are you things?” Meadowlark taunts, walking up towards the one on the right. “You’re kind of ugly. Lizard soldiers?”

“It’s called a Lizalfos, and I think you just made it angry,” Quinn said as the Lizalfos jumps up and down, it’s yellow eyes glaring at Meadowlark. Phoenix walks up to the middle of the room and throws one of her javelins at the one to the left. Ryasarian follows quickly behind her, throwing a dagger at that one as well. Both weapons hit and the Lizalfos shrieks angrily. The two hunch their shoulders and shuffle forwards, their short swords out. The one on the right stabs at Meadowlark, the one on the left swinging at Rysarian, who’s able to dodge. Quinn, finally realizing that there’s a fight, turns his focus away from examining the metal bars, wondering if there were pressure sensors on the floor that caused the bars to come down, and moves up beside Phoenix, pulling out his barbed wire and lassoing the lizard on the left, causing the Lizalfos to let out another shriek. The barbed wire cuts deep into its scales, and red blood oozes out.

Meadowlark attacks the Lizalfos beside her, her sword swinging through the air, music playing to encourage her comrades. Phoenix flanks the Lizalfos with Meadowlark and swings her hammer, making a solid connection to the leather covered shoulder. The Lizalfos side steps, swinging its short sword at Phoenix, causing a minor cut on her arm. The other attempts another strike at Rys, but again it misses. Quinn flanks that Lizalfos and charges up electricity in his hand before touching the lizard, sending a wave of electricity through it, the barbed wire adding another shock to it.

Meadowlark walks around the Lizalfos, flanking it again and gives it a Warsong Strike, her sword coming down and slashing it across the back, since it’s focused on Phoenix. Blood pours from the deep cut. Phoenix adds another heavy blow to the wounded lizard.

Rys attacks the Lizalfos, tripping a little and almost missing, but with the Lizalfos so badly wounded and tied up in barbed wire, he lands enough of an attack that the Lizalfos falls to the ground with a final shriek. Rys then moves closer to the other fight. The last Lizalfos sidesteps again, unluckily putting itself right in the middle of the three attackers, striking out at Phoenix. Quinn takes the last side around the Lizalfos and deals the final blow.

The two Lizalfos lie on the ground for a couple seconds before turning black and puffing up into smoke. In the center of the room, behind where Meadowlark’s standing, a light glows up from the floor and a large chest appears. Phoenix walks up to it and open it, pulling out a pair of boots, the bottoms covered in metal.

“These are so heavy,” Phoenix says. “And they’re too small for me.”

“I don’t want those,” Rysarian says, coming up to stand beside her. “But I’ll take the chest.”

“I’ll help you carry it,” Phoenix offers, not willing to wait for him to drag it down the stairs again.

“The metal bars are still down,” Quinn comments.

“Maybe if we stand on this button over here?” Meadowlark says, walking onto the switch. It doesn’t do anything.

“Here, let me,” Phoenix says, walking over to it. As soon as she steps onto it, it collapses to be flush with the floor and the metal bars slide up. A small chest falls to the ground. “Quinn, why don’t you grab that one while we take this down?” she says, going back to the chest. Quinn nods and goes to the chest. Phoenix and Rysarian carry the chest back down to the room that had the jars, leaving it with the other three small chests that Rysarian had piled there.

They had back up, Meadowlark and Quinn join them as they continue up the stairs. Another two flights up and they are at the top of the tower. One door is on the landing, bigger than the other ones in the tower, but not as big as the front door. There are four inserts for keys. Meadowlark puts in her two, Rysarian puts in his, and Quinn puts his in as well. The door slides open. Inside is a fairly small room with a small pedestal with a lectern on it in the middle. The four circle the lectern, looking at a dark green book on the lectern.

“Quinn?” Phoenix asks.

“I can’t read that,” he says, shaking his head. He opens the cover and the first page had extremely complicated picture, impossible to understand. Phoenix reaches out and picks it up carefully, looking at the binding and flipping through the pages. It was completely blank. She could smell the dusty old parchment. The leather binding was dark green, with light green leafing in the designs of it. Phoenix puts it back down, flipping to the picture, and leans in, tilting her head curiously. She runs her finger over the picture. Suddenly, she’s not able to move her finger off of it as wind whips around her. Energy fills the air against her skin and she feels a pull.

“Not it,” Rysarian says quickly. Meadowlark sighs, but reaches out and touches the picture. Rysarian looks around, thinking. Carefully, he reaches out. And closes the book. He puts it in his backpack and carries it down the stairs. He’s determined to make sure the chests get on the boat.

Previous: Wind and Riddles --- Next: Webs and Fire

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