The sphere the phantom o.., p.20
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       The Sphere: The Phantom of the West Rim, p.20

           Fandy Adams
 

  “Wait a minute, this worm just remain still with his maw opened wide to the sky?” asked Scarlett.

  “Yes, I was like seeing the entrance to the underworld, the pit to the deepest hell. At the time … I felt strange, from what I read about this worm I’m sure it was quite aggressive on the surface. But what I saw that time was shake my belief, it was so calm, no it was frozen as if it was controlled by someone. At the time I could imagine who had such power to summon and control the Great Ancient, till I saw him …”

  “Who?” asked Scarlett.

  “The Dark Lord.” answered Morran

  “Dark Lord?!” said Scarlett curious.

  “He’s flying out from the dark pit, soaring to the blue sky with the wings of shadows, so natural and elegantly he was as if he and the great worm was bound by genesis.”

  “I don’t understand what he saying.” whispered Rey to Scarlett.

  “He’s playing sage,” Scarlett whispered to him then he turned to Morran. “But the Dark Lord was born by this worm right?”

  “No, no, no, I've heard that theory. But what I had seen was different…, Lord Azriel like not paying respect to this worm nor even touch it, as if he himself disgusted with this creature.” Morran looked up at the gloomy ceiling. He tried to remember how long he has been here but his mind couldn’t figure it out, either yesterday or forever. Then he continued. “He seemed had no connection at all with this worm, at that time I thought that Lord Azriel was the true Archeon while this giant worm was just the vessel of his own.”

  “What did you see about him? What he’s doing?”

  “When he came out ... strange, he brought, no, but levitate a body. It was flying like hell gave back something to this world.”

  “A body?” asked Rey.

  “Yeah a body, living or dead I do not know, too far my sight to determined that.” Said Morran, he paused for a moment then he continued “And then, when I thought I had hidden and far enough …” Morran paused again, there’s a slight tremble in his voice. “Suddenly all cold and tremble came upon me. My heart pounding and I felt breathless. Far away I saw the Dark Lord had no sight on me, yet I felt his eyes surround, watched over me. I didn’t know what happened next, few seconds was cut off and suddenly I fell before him. Dark and tall he stood, covered by flame of shadows, the black flame that had no heat nor gives a light but all surround become rotten. I know that place well, green and live, but the rottenness had consumes the grassy field slowly and turned it into dead barren. I tried to fight back but …”

  “But what?”

  “I don’t know, I felt old more than I am now, fatiguing I was only by raised scepter and cast a common magic. But it was not limited me on the fight except when all Spheres of mine are out of my mastery, it seemed all my magic were against me.” said Morran “My defeat was a certainty, but as I bowed before him I glanced something behind him, something that he brought from the underworld of unknown. It was a corpse, pale skinned and black vein, no life or soul I could sense on it. My thirst of knowledge made me more concern about the corpse than if I am would became one, it was male in Illitean fashion.”

  “What’s so special with that corpse?”

  “Except for its durability I do not know. For someone who had dead hundred years ago he looked fresh like dead yesterday. That’s the last thing I saw, in the defeat I could see nothing but the light that faded away and what I remembered next was I lays among the ruins.” Said Morran “I don’t know how long I’ve been here. If a day, I had cut off my beard and hair for forgotten number. And if it’s been age I only spent one starless night here. Do you know how long I’ve been here?”

  “Long enough to make a history.” answered Scarlett, all her feeling about him, prejudice and disgust now turned into a feeling of pity.

  “Well, I don’t realize if that long, it’s like I’ve just been trapped here. Maybe I was too excited with all this ruins till I forget everything. There’s many scripts and engraved words buried here, old and forgotten, an ancient knowledge that beyond the reach of our histories except become myth or fairytales. Of all, Acronesia had passed down many of their knowledge, from their civilization till the legend of Belthazar and the Great Ancient. I’ve spent all my ages to read their histories, yet I could never complete them.”

  “You could read the dead language too?”

  “I could not at first, Acronesia was too old and surely their language was dead, no one could read them over millennia. But I have mastered old language of Ashtor, a native language of Ishtar Empire at the first reign of The Queen. Ashtor itself was considered dead too before we found the Temple of Prudence two centuries ago.”Morran explained “After many steps of fighting and hiding, after many moments of horror with that leeches, I’ve locked myself in some place, dark and broad but close tight to hear the sound of slithering no more, even after few steps and stumbles. Then there I was, sat alone in the darkness waiting for lifeless. At that time, death was better choice than survived for nothing. But then, as I hum waiting for the reaper to come, my hand touched something. It was solid and bit pointy, smooth at the surface but little rough on the hand.”

  “What is it actually?”

  “It was crystal and not a common crystal but a Sphere.”

  “A Sphere?”

  “Yeah Recall Sphere if I could say, of old shapes. At first I don’t know what it was, just little thing to held when do nothing or an inanimate friend when no one lives to accompanied you.” said Morran “I don’t know how long I sat there, but I think it was long enough till I couldn’t feel my own feet. And with all the black that my eyes could only see I thought about Runeglade and their light, the light of The Beacon that illuminate the city and the light of knowledge that illuminate mind and heart. At that moment, my desire of knowledge made the crystal glows and without any will of mine, I casted a fire magic and at once kindled the floor to formed red lettering.”

  “What’s written on the floor?”

  “Twenty words of ancient, half was written in the letter like I saw in the ruins while half next was written in Ashtor that I’ve had known well. Then I’ve realized that I just found ancient lexicon, a missing link between Acron and Ashtor speech. It was glorious moment of my life. My spirit was like kindled back by the red glow on the floor.” said Morran looks excited than before. “I casted my flame once again and glows the floor with red lettering, revealed one word to another and resurrected the dead speech to my knowledge. So excited I was till I forgot the time and stomach, the leeches outside was already gone away, seemed they were tired to wait for me, ha ha. After I mastered the old speech of Acron, I hunted for their words and I learned much about them, their histories and civilization, their myth and origin, their legend and fairy tales, their technology and architecture, their politic and social, their …”

  “This would be long.” said Scarlett.

  “It would be longer if we couldn’t find way out of here.” replied Rey.

  “… their hobbies and habits, their…”

  “Umm, excuse me sir, but do you think there is a way to get out of here?" asked Rey.

  Morran was laughing out at the question, “Do you know, the question was always there in my head since Azriel threw me into this black hole.”

  “I thought so.”

  “Rather than thinking of how to get out of this place which is vain, better you make a baby.”

  “What? What do you mean?”

  “You’re men and women, still young, why do not you try to make the child and build family here.” said the old man chuckled.

  “What?!” they both exclaimed in unison. Then they looked at each other, for a moment they feel mutual attraction to each other, but then the feeling was defeated by their own egos.

  “What?”

  “You're just kid.” said Scarlett.

  “And you’re too old for me.” Rey replied.

  “Hey, I'm still 26.”

  “Look 28 and half for me,” said Rey. “Besides, I'
ve got a girl in my place.”

  “Really, then who’s her name?” asked Scarlett with probing tone.

  “Her name is Melody.”

  “Well, judging from her name I’m sure she was the most popular girl in your place, but the way you act I’m sure you’re just sitting and looking at her from far desk. Even I’ll bet she didn’t ever notice that you alive there.” said Scarlett teased him. It seemed she doesn’t want to lose against a young boy beside her.

  “That's not true, he saw me ... every day.” Rey argued to defend himself.

  Suddenly Morran stood behind them, round his arms to their shoulder and tighten them. Both Rey and Scarlett give all effort to hold their breath and vomit as his smell attacked all breathing target.

  “You two are lucky to be trapped down together. Not like me who all this time lived alone in this place and it makes me mad.

  “I believe it had already.”

  “I hope the two of you will produce many children and we will turn this silent grave into crowded place.” said Morran with the laugh of happiness “If we have to we will stay in the city ruins, we create the barrier of eternal fire to protect ourselves. Then we will restore it and makes it magnificent as ever, even more.”

  The old man then snickered relentlessly, for he realized that from now on he was no longer alone, both live or die. He laughed and cried at the same time, either happiness or sadness felt by the old man he doesn’t know but Rey felt the skinny hand on his shoulder getting warm.

  “Don’t misunderstanding, we just ...”

  All of sudden a tremor came into the place, and like ship being hit by a big wave the ground beneath their feet tilted. All things on the room slides to the left including three of them, Scarlett herself almost got hit by a barrel, if she didn’t swiftly evade.

  “Are we going to the surface?” asked Rey.

  “I don’t think so.” said Scarlett.

  The tremor grew more terrible and as if the earth rolled, the room turned upside down. The walls cracked and with the sound of creak the wooden floor above them ripped apart.

  Suddenly it stopped. For a moment everything seemed fine and still, till they realized the room now gleamed in dim blue light. They looking up and saw clearly the blue lights were flickering among blackness. No roof to protect them now, the quake has turned the house upside down and split it. And with gaping hole above them the leeches start creeping in.

  “No no no, it couldn’t be happen.” said Morran.

  “We'd better get out, very bad idea to stay here.” said Scarlett

  “I don’t think go outside are better.” said Morran.

  “You die with sword on your hand or do nothing on your stand.”

  “Is that trick question? Because I holding a staff.” asked Morran.

  The leeches fall down from the hole above and went slithering toward them.

  “I don’t see a reason to die here.” said Scarlett as she clutched their hand and at once took them to teleport.

  Presently it brought them outside and to their surprise they saw the terrain outside have changed entirely. The quake has reshaped the city ruins. Some buildings have changed position like fallen tower which now leaning high to the opposite side and hold by a building beneath it, some being rolled over or break apart like Morran’s shelter and not few have completely destroyed. While the ruins on the rearmost have sunk by mud as if great landslide fell on that place. Scarlett couldn’t even see the large mansion where they first landed anymore.

  Before long the ground has covered with writhing swarms, leap and bite to welcome them immediately. Scarlett and Rey drove them with their sword while Morran using his magic. So great and wonderful the flames he had casted, shot the leaps with high precision or combust them with the magic of formless flame to get rid of them which had sink their teeth. Of all madness of both minds and habit he had, a greatness still shown on him. Might be he was a great Magi at his time and honored among others in his place.

  “Get to the tower now!” shouted Scarlett

  They turned and ran, go through broken building and jumped over fallen ruins. Scarlett led on the front with high pace but she keeps his eyes and ears to both of them behind. Morran be the last but he could keep up with them with Rey before him watching his shadow. Suddenly, as he running the ground beneath him broken with sound of crack. It was wooden floor and the old man fall down with one leg sunk in it.

  “Scarlett!” shouted Rey.

  He turned and get to Morran immediately. Rey tried to pull his leg out but didn’t make it, meanwhile the swarms getting closer to them.

  “Leave me kid! Go! Now!” said Morran.

  “I won’t leave you. Hold on!” Said Rey, tried to release Morran’s leg.

  Scarlett stood watching them with upset. “How could you two playing a drama in this situation?” said Scarlett, grabbed their collar and at once brought them teleport away.

  Presently it brought them on some mounded ruins. Morran laughing, spreading and moving his legs like a wiper then he kissed his left. “I thought I wouldn’t see you again.”

  “Well that works too.” said Rey.

  “Get hurry!” yelled Scarlett.

  They ran immediately. The leaning tower drew near and loomed up before them, piercing into the darkness that wasn’t touched by floating blue light. The path seemed harder than before, for the ground was less solid. If not stepped on the slimy mud they get their feet trampled on those soft and slippery leeches. They climbed up immediately. It was less-challenging for them to climb it up than get into the tower itself, even that old man think of it as child’s play and in just a minute they have managed to get on the top.

  They stopped and looked down. And as they thought, with their slippery body the swarms couldn’t reach them at the height. Morran yelled with staff in the air to tease the swarms below.

  “We don’t even have an inch away from the danger and he dancing in victory.”

  “Maybe he was happy right now.”

  “For what?” asked Scarlett.

  “I don’t know. Maybe it was us.” said Rey. “After years in the darkness he had us to accompany him. No regret or loss for him now.”

  “But I don’t intend to loss here now.” said Scarlett. Then he turned and walked up to more height. Far below she saw the ruins had already filled with swarms like sea of maggots covered the grounds. Slipped and they’ll be history.

  Suddenly, as she got on the top, she sensed something, like some consciousness whispered inside her mind and shows some space behind the flesh roof above them. Scarlett looked up, high enough it seemed but still at the range of her teleportation.

  “For a moment I want to believe there’s sunlight there.” Said Scarlett sighed. Then he turned to Morran whom still dancing in happy.

  Suddenly a violent shock jolted them. But it wasn’t come from the monster rather the tower itself was shaken by sudden falls. It seemed the tower couldn’t withstand on that way in a long time.

  “Get my hand now!” shouted Scarlett.

  Both of them ran to her immediately. But as they got her hand she paused in doubt, thinking if it is best decision to teleport there. She doesn’t know what lies there. Might be other perils awaits them there and maybe more dangerous.

  “What we’re waiting for?” asked Rey.

  Suddenly another shock came again and they stumbled. Scarlett looked up at the top of darkness. For now whatever the place is or what lies behind it, it is looks like heavenly snare than falling into those swarms. Quickly the red-haired woman clutched tight their hand and then by Silverhare Sphere she brought them teleport into that space.

  In a blink of eyes they found themselves in a red tunnel. All like made up from flesh and muscle, pale and pinkish but it gleamed with purplish by the blue flare on her hand. No dirt or ruins beneath their feet only soft red tissue which sucks their feet as if they stood on the rescue cushion.

  “What is this place?”

  “You’ve
never been here?”

  “I can’t move in flash like you lady. For years of my life I just stayed in the same area.”

  Three of them continue to walk down with Scarlett led their way. Old and rancid they smell no more on that place but the air was stuffy as they have to fight each other only to breath. And they felt the ground and wall bit shaken, yet it wasn’t quake or tremor that they felt, rather it was like strange thrill fills all over the place.

  They keep walking and walking, revealed one shadow to another but everything looks same as if they walking on the same place. But the more they go forward the more they sense something weird, like a soundless thing in the air vibrates their eardrum.

  “Do you hear something?” asked Rey.

  “Yes, I was like heard my own thrill, or fear but strangely I do felt none of it right now.” answered Scarlett, she keep aware on the shadow before them. “Just keep walking.”

  Then after few walks, suddenly as they steps to some place, where the ground felt more solid but slimy at their feet, the radiant light on her hand unveiled a wider shadow. To their surprise they found themselves upon some cavernous chamber, large enough and look exotic as if it was the lair of monster from outworld, only the chamber itself seemed was the monster. The chamber construct by muscle and sinews and some viscous substance, it feels thick and slimy at their feet. And more to their amazement, they saw the core of monster’s life, a giant size of heart hold at the center of chamber.

  “Is that ... a heart?” said Rey in amazement.

  “I think so.” replied Scarlett. ‘But this is too easy.’ said Scarlett in her thought. Countless number of leeches they met in the city ruins in the stomach. And now they were stand and looked at the heart, the core of its life, yet no danger or threat came about them. But indeed there’s something that worried her. Rather than the giant heart, she more concerned about the slimy pods above surrounding the heart with human pale face on it. All the six faces closed their eyes but somehow she felt they’re looking at them.

 
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