"The Curse, Part 4"
As we wandered through the streets of Durhia, it was apparent that either everyone in the city was used to seeing dragon ghosts, or Nathan was the only one who could see me. But I didn’t pay much attention to that. My thoughts were mostly on the city around me. To think that mankind has advanced this far during my life on Mt. Kolz; it’s absolutely amazing! We planned on waiting until dark to enter Durhia Castle, so I had plenty of time to ask about some of this technology. I tried asking Nathan about a few things, but he wouldn’t answer. In fact, he hadn’t said a word to me since we entered the city.
The first place we went to was a weapons shop. I suppose he needed some things to use in case he was caught. He bought a gun of some sort, some bulletproof armor, a grenade, a couple of gas canisters, and a bag to carry it all in. Before we left, I realized that the door I had just gone through was too small for me to fit through. I went back to it, and put my hand through the door. Sure enough, it was as if it wasn’t even there. And even though the floor wasn’t the same thing as the ground, I was standing on it like it was.
We left the weapons shop, and headed to Nathan’s apartment. It wasn’t a particularly large place. There was a bed on the left side, a window and a table with a lamp and a phone on the far side, and TV on a chest, a closet and the door to the bathroom on the right side. I would have thought that someone like him would have had a bit more than this.
Nathan put his gear on the bed, and finally spoke to me. “Sorry about the silent treatment I’ve been giving you. People aren’t as superstitious as they were in your days. If anybody had heard me talking to you, they would have thought I was crazy. I mean, they didn’t know you were there, and nobody tells about the city to themselves, so what else would they think?”
“And yet both you and this General Blaque both went after Aura’s Jewel.”
“The story about Aura’s Jewel had become a legend. A lot of people knew about it. But not many people believed it. And those that did were too afraid of the curse to try to find it. There are still some superstitious people here today. It’s just that they’re greatly outnumbered by the people who think rationally.”
At this point there were two things I wanted two know. What was all this technology, and how did he get past the trap. I guess the first thing I needed to know was what sort of mistake I had made that day. “Back at the shrine, how were you able to get past the trap I had set?”
“Didn’t I tell you? It was mentioned in that book I found. I was able to sabotage it when I entered the shrine. Then, just in case there was a trap that the book hadn’t mentioned, I put a case on the jewel, tied it to a rope connected to a crank, pulled the lever on the crank to quickly pull the jewel out, and then you came in.”
“There wasn’t a second trap, but now that I think about it, putting in a second one wouldn’t have been a bad idea.” It was then that I had realized what Nathan said about the book. “How could it have been in that book? The only person that got close to the jewel came before I first set up the trap. Who wrote it?”
“Not sure. It said ‘By Anonymous.’ It seemed like an old book, though. I’m not sure how old, but it had to have been written at least 200 years ago, because it had been written by hand, and 200-some-odd years ago, the printing press had been invented.”
“Printing press?” My mind had quickly wandered off from the thought of someone spying on me years ago, and I wanted to know more about this new world. Nathan showed me a book with printed letters in it. He also told me about the equipment he bought, the things in his apartment, and a lot of the stuff that I could see outside the window.
After he explained as much as he could, we started planning our raid against the castle. It didn’t take long before we decided that it would be helpful if we knew the interiors of the castle, and where exactly the jewel was held. So I flew out the window, and to the castle. Using my newfound ability to walk through walls and not be seen by others, I started to explore the castle. There were a few things in the layout that I didn’t recognized, but I did recognize some of it due to my invasion many years before. I explored every room and passage I could, memorizing nearly the entire layout of the castle. I also noted the location of the jewel. Then I headed back to Nathan’s apartment.
I wanted to explore the city, seeing all I could see, but I knew that I had no time. It was already evening, and we still needed to get our plans finished. I told Nathan everything I could about the castle, while he drew it on paper. We then decided on the best course to the jewel. It was long after dark when we finally finished making our plans. We immediately headed to the castle.
Before we broke in, I went in to see if the jewel was in the same location. It wasn’t. I quickly thought of the most possible locations it could be, and started looking around. It didn’t take long before I found it in the throne room, in the hands of a man dressed in a royal robe. So the king had the jewel on hand. But where was the general? I had no time to look for him. I didn’t know what he looked like in the first place. So I headed back outside and told Nathan about the jewel’s new location.
Most of our old plan was useless now, and we had to think as we went along. After climbing over the wall with some gear that he had earlier when he was at Mt. Kolz, I quickly thought up the best path to the throne room. To our surprise, we didn’t encounter many guards. It was also helpful that I could look ahead to see if a guard was around. We had to go through a few secret passages as well. None of them were guarded, most likely due to them being secret even to those who lived in the castle.
Finally, we reached the throne room. “I was beginning to think that you’d never show up.”
Nathan looked puzzled. “Wait, that’s not the king’s voice.”
Just then a parrot flew down. “Squaaawk! That traitor turned me into a parrot! Get rid of him and change me back to normal! Squawk, I’ll be sure to give you a big reward!”
“King Rechin? But if you’re the king, then who…”
Nathan was interrupted by a laugh. “Recognize me, Nathan? I am the new king, King Blaque! I knew how much you wanted this jewel. I was actually hoping that you’d come get it! I’m a little surprised that you were able to get in here so easily, though. But that’s the last time I’ll underestimate you. It’s time you saw the power that this jewel possesses first-hand!”
I knew what was coming. I’m sure Nathan did too. General Blaque threw off his robe, with his uniform revealed underneath. There was that same glow that I had seen several times before. The insane man started to laugh maniacally, as he started to grow in size and his voice grew deeper. Blaque was turning into a monster, and powerless as I was as a ghost, Nathan was going to have to battle him, alone!
To Be Continued...