Chapter 234 “Gate”
“This is… how did you do it?” Thunder, not believing his eyes, stared at the walls with his mouth hanging wide open.
On top of the walls, tens of small holes opened up and each of them contained a stone which emitted a pure white light. But not only on the wall, even at the edge of the ceiling this fantastic stones were embedded, surrounding the whole room. In the soft light of the stones, every detail within the hall became visible at a glance.
It was the first time that Ashes saw the explorer show such an expression, and seeing it immediately filled her heart with joy, “Don’t you know? By willing magical power into these stones, witches can arouse additional abilities.”
“Then what is with these stones, are they also Magic Stones?”
Thunder cautious and solemn took one piece of the light stones and held it within his hands, but even after taking it out of the hole, the light the stone released didn’t weaken to the slightest amount.
“I don’t know,” Tilly shook her head. “These stones may have been here for hundreds of years – in case the ruins have such a long history. Previously they were all hidden behind a slate, therefore not visible to our eyes. And if you want to start the unique mechanism, you can only accomplish it with a witch’s ability.”
“Wasn’t it you who lit them light up?”
“No, the ability to light up comes from the stones themselves,” Tilly grabbed another piece of the magic stones and held it in front of her eyes, the pure white light then caressed her beautiful face, “In case they were a device which required magic in the same way that the flame cannot easily leave the candle. From my perspective, besides containing these stones, there is nothing special about the holes in the wall.
“If it really is like you said and they can light on their own, and they continued to light for hundreds of years, then their value is practically unable to be estimated,” Thunder clicked his tongue in wonder. “You must know that the Kingdom of Eternal Winter produces crystals, which have the size of a fist already sell for several hundred of gold royals, but their brightness is even less than half of this.”
The moment the sailor heard such an astonishing price, their kind of gaze with which they looked at the stones immediately changed.
“According to our agreement, you can take away half,” Tilly non-committally stated as if this was none of her concern. Now that she had sufficient light, she began exploring the hall even more carefully. Unable bear seeing Tilly tear at the seaweed with her own hands, Ashes bluntly lifted her huge sword and swung it, sweeping away the seaweed on the wall as if she was simply mowing grass. A second stone embedded within the wall was quickly uncovered.
In accordance with the previous method, Tilly once more poured her magic into it. Along with a sharp and clear sound of metal clashing, everyone was amazed to see, how a huge stone slab tilted down above Tilly’s head. It was connected with taut copper ropes on both sides and in between them there were unexpectedly a neatly chiseled out flight of steps. One side of the stone slab finally stopped on the ground, while the other end led to the ceiling, looking upwards Ashes saw a saw a horizontal metal door blocking the end of the passage.
“Tilly,” Seeing that the 5th Princess didn’t hesitate to climb the stone steps, Ashes couldn’t help and shout out loud, “Let me go first.”
“It does not matter, this time it isn’t the… treasure chamber,” she quickly climbed to the top of the stone staircase, placed her hand on a magic stone beside the door, and as if was answering her, the metal door quickly opened.
Seeing Tilly climbing through the door, disappearing in the ceiling, Ashes had no alternative other than to follow closely while keeping her sword at hand.
The moment Ashes went through a hole in the roof, her eyes went wide, above the ceiling was another room, which was much smaller than the hall below, while the walls were also embedded with illumination stones – but what surprised her the most, was that there were nearly no traces of water here.
Wooden tables, chairs, shelves, cabinets… all the furnishings were still intact, they were only covered with a thick layer of dust, and she could even see some broken spider webs. The shelves were all filled with rows of books that were dyed gray from the dust. In addition to the spread-out book on the table, a cup was also placed together with a kettle, and a pen-holder. From the quill, only a lone pole was remaining and the ink had long since dried up. But even then, this room full with filled with shelves and the hall below was covered with algae seemed to be two completely different worlds.
Thunder, who was the third one to climb the stairs, sucked in a mouth of cold air when he looked around in wonder, “This is…”
“An abandoned dwelling place,” Tilly answered and took up the unfolded book on the table. She gently removed the dust from it and afterward began to look through the pages, “It seems that somebody had lived here for a very long time.”
“What is written in the book?”
“I’m unable to read it,” She shook her head and showed the book to the other two, “The text is written in symbols I have never seen before.”
“It seems that the books on the shelves are the same,” Ashes said, while removing the dust on the spines, revealing a text written in strange wavy lines, leaving her unable for her to grasp its meaning.
“We can take them back with us and study them slowly,” Tilly laughed. “By agreement, all the books and magic stones we discovered belong to us.”
“Of course,” Thunder touched his beard, “But when you have grasped their meaning, I hope you will share their ancient story with me.”
The three people slowly circled the room, carefully searching and touching everything with their hands, this way they quickly came to understand the general situation of this place.
They were unable to find any other stones, but on one side of the room they found a strange device – at first glance, it looked like a thick metal pipe. One end of which was embedded into the stone wall, while the other side constantly became narrower until it was only had the thickness of a wrist, and in its tip was a glass lens embedded.
“What is this?” Ashes knocked against its body, creating a series of clear echoes inside – indicating that the middle of the tube was hollow.
“It resembled a bit the observation mirrors we are using for sailing, maybe the people who previously lived here have used it to observe the outside world,” Then Thunder placed his eye in front of the lens, trying to look through it, but after a moment he said, “Everything is black… I can’t see anything; it seems to be broken.
“Not necessarily,” Tilly pointed at the wall behind the metal tube, “Look here.”
Following the direction of her finger, Ashes merely saw a copper plate with a handled on top of it embedded into the wall and at the bottom of the handle was a small hole, which seemed to be the place to insert a key. The 5th Princes walked over and tried to pull the handle, but the but the copper plate didn’t move a single jot. “It seems to be locked.”
“I will try it,” Ashes grasped the handle, gathered her power and pulled, the entire copper plate immediately came off the wall.
“Ha, apparently you have guessed correctly,” Thunder applauded loudly, “It is once more a magic stone mechanism.”
Hidden behind the copper plate was a groove that was stuck within a huge magic stone. The difference between the two previous magic stones and this one was its size, it looked much larger, and its color also looked more purple than scarlet.
“Do you want to activate is?” Ashes asked.
“Yes,” Tilly nodded without the slightest hesitation, placing her hand on top of the stone, but this time even after a long moment, nothing seems to happen.
“What’s the problem?”
“It’s… too big,” Tilly slowly said, small beads of sweat already began to appear on her forehead. “It feels like it is unceasingly absorbing my magic power. Apparently, the mechanism it has to fuel is utterly enormous.
“Then forget about it,” Ashes said with a frown. She knew the moment a witch had thoroughly exhausted her magic power; she will most likely immediately fall into a coma. And right now, in this dangerous place, it would definitely not be a good idea to deplete all of one’s magic power here.
“No, it will be fine. I can feel it.” Tilly’s voice had not even fallen, before a loud rumbling sound came from inside the wall that was like unceasingly rolls of thunder, and eventually the whole room began to shake.
“It this… an Earthquake?” Thunder grasped the metal pipe to keep himself from falling. Ashes instead immediately seized Tilly and pulled her into her embrace. The dust began to fall from the books, and the three people began to cough.
This kind of earthquake continued for nearly a quarter of an hour until finally calming down.
When the vibration stopped, Molly came up, stuck her head through the door and asked. “What happened?”
“We activated a new mechanism,” Ashes replied, “Is everything okay below?”
“Everyone was frightened, furthermore many roof plates began to fall, and I had to cover everyone with my servant.” The little girl answered while curiously coming over, “Tilly, what are you looking at?”
Surprisingly, Tilly didn’t give her an answer, instead she had closed one eye and pressed the other in front of the lens, staying quiet for a long time until she exclaimed in amazement, “This simply incredible…”
Ashes becoming curious also stepped in front of the lens, and when the scene in front of her eye became clear, she was left speechless.
At the other end of the “observation mirror” a vast piece of land appeared. The edge of the land looked like an overhanging cliff of which the end couldn’t be seen. But erected within the center of the cliff was a gigantic and incomparable arched stone door which internal seemed deep and dark, as if it was an enormous mouth which was choosing the next person it would be devouring.