“So what’s in the safe, already?” Vedis yells out in frustration from her place of safety behind the corner.
I look up at the small door as it creaks open to reveal… a single silver scroll case resting on a pair of teak hooks. “It’s a scroll case from the looks of it… don’t know what’s inside it, though,” I call out.
“Trapped?” asks Ef Utan as the rest come from around the corner to take a look.
I can just spy the catches under the hooks that will surely give way and activate something if the case is removed. “Oh yeah, it’s trapped.”
“Well, assuming that these traps aren’t getting any easier now that we can actually see the prize… what do you suggest?”
“Hey Ef… you’ve got that spell that does that magic hand-grabbing thing, right? Could you take cover around the corner and use that to grab the case?”
“I have to have line of sight to the object to make it work, unfortunately,” he replies with a shrug.
An idea strikes me as I pull my little hand mirror from my sash. “Couldn’t we use some mirrors so you could still see it? Any of you guys have another one?”
Lenata pulls a small mirror with the symbol of Celestian on the back from her pack and hands it to me with a smile as Ef shrugs in resignation. “Sure… why not… worth a shot, anyway.”
A few creative applications of twine later we’re taking cover behind the corner and crossing our fingers that it works as Ef squints at the mirrors and mutters the words of his spell. I close my eyes and plug my ears, as I have no idea what to expect from this one… but all I end up feeling is his boot in my side as he tries to get my attention.
“It’s not working,” he mutters in frustration. “It’s like there’s some kind of barrier on that safe where magic just can’t get through.”
Melchior then steps up and pushes his hat back on his head. “Well, no offense to your magic and all… but when all else fails, perhaps we should try the old fashioned way.” He then scoops one of his guns out of his holsters and spins it for effect. “Get behind cover, everybody… I’m going to see if I can knock it off those hooks with a well-placed bullet!”
I’m actually eager to see this one, as Melchior has displayed a skill with his guns that I’m not sure I could ever achieve. The others resume their places around the corner as I do my best to peek around his side to watch the action. With a click and a bang the bullet fires and TING! it strikes the scroll case, launching it off of its hooks… where it’s immediately followed by a BOOM! as the shockwave of the explosion from the trap sends the case flying down the hallway.
“Gotcha!” Ef yells as he snags the case out of the air with his Mage Hand spell and tucks it into his belt.
“Um… guys?” Vedis looks worried as she points up at the cracks forming ceiling. “I think we should get out of here…”
Now that she mentions it… I can feel vibrations coming from under the floorboards.
The rumbles and vibrations increase as we take off down the hallway… when suddenly jets of melted wax start to shoot up through the cracks in the floor. I spin out of the way as wax sprays upwards and dive through the doorway into the room beyond… where I immediately have to dodge falling crates as the walls shudder and shake. “This whole place is going to go! Come on!”
Vedis emerges from the house behind me with her goggles and hardened skin giving her some protection from the geysers… but I can’t see anyone else through the dust and the wax. “Where are the rest of them?” I call out worriedly.
“Shit! Stay here!” she replies as she covers her head and runs back into the chaos.
No…no..no… this can’t be good. Come on guys… you’ve got to make it out of there!
Just as I’m debating whether I can make it back in there the doors crash open with the force of Ef Utan charging through them… with Vedis slung over his shoulder and the others following close behind. Suddenly there is a loud WHOMP! as the roof explodes and a shower of melted wax and wood fragments comes raining down on us all.
“Stay close!” Vedis yells as she reaches up from her position on Ef’s back and fires her Cold Energy Pulse into the sky… creating a relatively safe zone for the moment as the scalding wax falls to the ground around us. “Thank Morpheus…” she mutters as Ef Utan sets her back on her feet.
“I guess we put the place through one explosion too many,” I joke as a way to relieve the stress of the moment. I don’t even want to think about how many times we came close to dying in there. “Shall we see if that scroll case was worth all of the fuss?”
Ef Utan pulls the silver scroll case from his belt and hands it to me. “I’m rather curious myself.”
It’s an interesting piece of work… quite a lovely silver case with leaves and vines engraved along it. When I try to open it, however… neither of the endcaps want to budge. “Hmmn… should’ve figured it wouldn’t be that easy,” I mutter. I run one of my nails along the engraved patterns to see if I can detect a recessed button, but that’s a negative too. I’m about ready to bang it against a rock like a human when my eye catches something odd in the pattern of engraved leaves: musical notes.
“Okay… I’m going to try something, but I swear if I hear any jokes about caterwauling somebody is going to get cut,” I joke before taking a deep breath and doing my best to sing the notes engraved along the side of the tube. Suddenly there is the sound of a click from inside of it… so I continue to sing the notes until the clicks continue and the endcap of the case releases.
Vedis cheers as the case opens and the rest gather around me as I carefully pull out two sheets of parchment and unroll them. I scan over them and pick out enough forumlae that I can tell this is magical writing for spells. “Hey Lenata,” I ask as I hold the scroll up to face her. “What does this say?”
The priest mutters a few words and her eyes begin to glow softly as she scans the parchment and steps back with a gasp. “By Celestian… this is a scroll for creating your own Demiplane!”
“Yes!” Vedis exclaims and pumps her fist. “I’ve always wanted my own vacation home!”
“Do you think they used this magic to create the plane we’re in?” Ef Utan asks as Lenata reads over the second scroll and grimaces. “What is the second one about?”
“Ugh… it’s for summoning a… a Froghemoth!” she replies in disgust. “Why would anyone want to do that?”
“Maybe they have trouble with Flyhemoths,” I snort as I carefully roll the scrolls back up into the case and place them in my sack for safe-keeping.
“Those scrolls are incredibly high level magic, Vedis… there’s no way any of us could use them now… but they are worth keeping safe for later purposes,” Lenata says to a now despondent Vedis.
“Well, if nothing has come out of the rubble or underground by now after all of that… I think we’re done here, guys,” says Ef Utan as he scans the area for activity. “What say we move on?”
“Back into the briarpatch we go…”