Labyrinth of Daedalus Chp 4

“Does anyone else feel our powers coming back or is it just me?” Margaret asked a question the answer to which she already knows. 

Princess Elle had been wondering the same thing for a while now but the change from losing energy to regaining their energy again was so subtle and gradual that she wasn’t sure whether she was just imagining it. 

They did not take the middle path after she heard that voice, though Princess Elle did not tell anyone about the reason for her sudden change of choice. She didn’t think that hearing voices in her head was a good thing and even now wondered whether it was one of the labyrinth’s traps” 

Somehow she didn’t think it was either of those. She didn’t know how to explain it. Princess Elle was sure that she hadn’t imagined the voice though and she is confident beyond doubt that the voice was trying to help them. She didn’t know how to explain this confidence but she was sure enough to place their lives on it.  

In the end, they had taken the path furthest to the left. 

The path leeched at their energy and was dark at first but now it began to grow brighter and it felt like the labyrinth was now actually giving them power. 

Penthesila placed her hand on the wall. When she pulled it away, her palm was red like it had been burned. However after a few seconds, the burns healed like they were never there. 

“What was that?” Princess Elle asked. 

Penthesila shook her head. “I’m not sure” she answered but she seemed to be thinking hard about something. 

“Do you girls remember the sound of water we heard in the cavern back there?” Penthesila gave the walls a thoughtful look. 

“I think that the water we heard may be one of the Rivers of Hell” 

Princess Elle gasped. “Lethe” she said. When Penthesila mentioned the Rivers of Hell, it flicked a switch in her and she remembered something that she had read about in the royal library. 

“The Lethe, one of the lower rivers of Tartarus flows into the upper worlds. Its water destroys magic and sucks life from the living” she recited a verse from one of the old books that she had read as if the book was in front of her. 

“Yes I have heard that some of the rivers of Tartarus flow into Avalon but the Ancient Atlantians had made sure to cover all of them up” Penthesila said thoughtfully. 

“Maybe this is one of those cover ups?” Marry said in an innocent tone. The others looked at her and she did a face that said ‘Well duh’. 

“But if the Lethe is sucking our power, why are we getting stronger?” Princess Elle asked. “The Lethe draws life out of the living and completely destroys it” 

Penthesila moved her hand across the wall but made sure not to touch it. It went slightly red but just as soon as it turned red, a wisp of light green smoke-like ‘something’ flowed from the wall into her hand and the redness disappeared. 

“Ancient technology” Penthesila said. 

She drew her sword and struck the wall. There was a resounding sound like she had hit a giant bell. 

Princess Elle cupped her ears as did Margaret and Marry. 

“Sorry… didn’t expect that to happen” Penthesila apologised but the effect that she wanted to achieve was seen. 

A light green layer of light with darker lines along it appeared along the wall. 

“I’ve seen this kind of shield with these lines protecting important Ancient Atlantian technology before” Penthesila said. “It’s like Aura but not quite the same as Aura. Aura attacks have absolutely no effect on it. The thing that healed me felt something like this” 

“So you’re saying that this Aura-like… whatever it is, is healing us?” Marry asked. 

“The Ancient Atlantians had technology that we know almost nothing about” Penthesila replied. “I’ve seen something like this before. This green shield and that wisp. Sprite; that’s what Heroes call this green energy. They say it’s something like a refined form of Aura. Refining is something that only Ancient Atlantian technology can achieve. It’s a kind of Aura manipulation that’s a bit different than Techniques and Weaving. I don’t really understand it myself and I don’t think anyone does. It sort of changes the basic nature of Aura I think, or something along those lines. The green Sprite is one of many forms of refined Aura and is Refined for healing and protection” Penthesila explained. 

Princess Elle thought of something when she heard Penthesila’s explanation. “So Penthesila, what you are saying is that the Ancient Atlantians likely built this place right. But they didn’t build the Labyrinth of Daedalus did they? The Labyrinth is a Dungeon” 

It is common knowledge that while the Ancient Atlantians had possibly conquered most of the Dungeons and left their mark on many of them, they were not however the makers of the Dungeons. 

Penthesila appeared to understand what Princess Elle was thinking about because she paused for a while and appeared to be pondering something. 

Then she asked “Have you guys noticed something?” 

“Like the fact that we’re getting back our powers?” Margaret said as she flexed her Aura muscles and made a magenta coloured Aura Armour form around her. 

“That and the fact that this place hasn’t changed since we got here” she replied. 

“So what are you getting at, that we’re not in the labyrinth anymore?” Margaret asked. 

“Somehow I don’t think it’s so easy to escape the labyrinth. I think that this place we’re in is something that the Ancient Atlantians added to the labyrinth” 

“The question is then, I guess, for what purpose” Marry said darkly. 

The girls grew stronger the further they walked down the path. It wasn’t just their Aura that was being replenished; their physical energy, their spirits and their mental strength were all strengthened by the Sprite. After one point they discovered that the Sprite was also healing their injuries. Most notable was Penthesila’s injuries that were caused by the Shadow Assassins. 

Further on down the path, the Sprite was so powerful that the walls glowed green. The path which had begun to widen by then was bright enough that Princess Elle and the Golden Wings no longer needed to maintain their light balls. 

“Wait” Penthesila halted and raised her right arm to signal the others to stop. 

Princess Elle heard the thing that made Penthesila stop first, then she felt it. A rushing sound coming from somewhere under her feet that sucked out the life inside her. 

“The Lethe” 

By the time the path ended, it had widened enough that the girls could walk side by side without it getting too cramped and the ceiling had risen to about five meters high. Their way forward however was blocked by a massive gate that had half a meter long spikes sticking out of it. There was also three layers of Sprite shield protecting the gate. On the left side of the path there was a small room with a pulley system. 

It all seemed a bit too simple and too obvious to the girls. 

“Seriously you don’t think it’s that easy do you?” Margaret questioned. She punched the shield protecting the gate. It was a punch from a neutral standing position and she didn’t put much power behind it. With her physical training as a Golden Wings and the Aura Technique that she used to power her physical attacks though, the punch she executed would have had enough strength to shatter rocks. 

However her fist bounced off the shield and not only that, but Margaret was also pushed back a few steps by the green Sprite shields protecting the gate. Her expression was one of surprise.   

“Ok… so they were serious about keeping this door shut. Which I think poses a big question about that” she said pointing to the wheel and pulley. 

As there was no other way forward and there was no other way to open the gate, they decided to give the wheel and pulley a go, being very careful of any possible traps. 

To their surprise – because none of them thought that the wheel and pulley would actually work – the gate actually began to slowly rise when they turned the wheel. 

Once the gate fully opened, the green shield came down and a flurry of sounds came out from beyond. 

The cavern beyond the gate was massive. It was dome shaped and covered with green Sprite that lit the dome in a light green ambience. The girls all felt exhilarated as the Sprite powered them up. 

“Impressive… this place is actually powering us up to beyond our normal strength” Penthesila said while she gripped and released her fist.

“I don’t quite understand how this is possible” she said slowly. “It should not be possible for a person to accept more Aura than their natural capacity. But this – “she extended her arm and concentrated Aura in her outstretched palm. Fire began to form in her hand and grew till it was almost as big as she was. Then Penthesila gripped her hand and the flames disappeared. 

“-this is definitely something else…” she looked exhilarated with the power. 

Princess Elle was also awed by the strength that she was feeling. After feeling so weak and hopeless and being tired for so long. The sudden surge in energy was exhilarating. 

High above them there was an opening through the dome where they could see what must be part of the Labyrinth of Daedalus.  

Princess Elle gaped as she looked up. The dome was incomplete at the top and beyond it were giant structures like puzzle pieces that continuously moved. Each one of the pieces must be as big as the royal palace of Lyonesse. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the darkness surrounding the structures was suddenly replaced by three massive suns. 

Then the three suns disappeared and they were under water. However Princess Elle didn’t think that they were in any of the seas in Avalon because the water beyond the moving puzzle pieces was a purplish blue and there were creatures swimming in the water that she didn’t think was from any sea on Avalon. 

“It seems you were right princess” Penthesila said. She was also looking upwards and noticed the structural difference between the labyrinth and the Ancient Atlantians construction. “The Ancient Atlantians built this place inside the labyrinth”. 

The structure they were in was made of smooth light coloured rocks that were covered in green Sprite. The gigantic structures beyond the crack in the dome were made of a material that shimmered a thousand colours as they moved and were not covered in Sprite. That was the Labyrinth of Daedalus; the ever moving Dungeon. What they saw beyond the Dungeon must be the places where the labyrinth moved to.    

Penthesila then looked downwards and her face became dark. 

“I think they built this place here to make use of that” 

Its presence and effect was masked by the Sprite, but the huge body of black water below them could not be missed.

A lake filled with water from the Lethe. 

The jet black water swirled and churned angrily. In the walls of the cavern that surrounded the lake below them, black veins snaked around in every direction, carrying water from the lake into the system of pipes that traversed the entirety of the complex which was built inside the Labyrinth of Daedalus. A structure that the Ancient Atlantians had built on top of the lake which was connected to the Lethe, one of the rivers of Tartarus. 

Above the lake, floating and turning in the air without any support was a black cube. As they watched, the thing that made up the cube bubbled and boiled and churned. 

”That thing’s made out of water from the Lethe” Marry said, but everyone had come to the same conclusion. The nauseating appearance of the cube was unmistakeable, and even as they watched it, they could feel the cube trying to suck the life out of them. It was only because of the Sprite in the wall of the structure which replenished their energy at an even greater rate that they were not affected by the cube. 

Why hello girls

Princess Elle felt the hairs on her neck stand when she heard the voice. Penthesila, Marry and Margaret must have also heard it because they drew their weapons and readied their Aura Techniques. 

Feisty. Just how I like them. 

Where is it coming from! Margaret said angrily. There was a revulsive mocking tone to the voice that she hated and that made the hairs stand on her neck. 

Princess Elle was not very good at detecting the presence of other beings, having only been introduced to this skill recently. She can only feel very strong powers and extremely malevolent intents, and she was feeling an extraordinarily powerful presence now coming from the black cube. The others appeared to feel it too. 

“What the heck is this presence” Margaret said, unable to contain the fear in her voice. 

Penthesila stepped in front of Princess Elle, raising her sword. 

The thing – whatever it was that spoke in their head – laughed. 

Do not be afraid my girls. I will not harm you – not really. It laughed again. 

I merely want the ring of the Progeny that one of you is wearing. Ah… Penthesila. That is your name is it? 

And then the attack came. 

Penthesila suddenly dropped her sword and her right hand that wore the Magatama Ring flew upwards like he was a doll being controlled by a rough child. She was being forcefully controlled by something.  

Marry activated an Aura Technique that surrounded them with a purple shield and Penthesila’s hand fell down for a second but then was pulled up again. “It’s still in my head” Penthesila said as she strained to pull her hand against the thing that was controlling her. 

Margaret strengthened her Aura Technique but the Magatama Ring on Penthesila’s finger glowed and the shield dissolved. 

When the shield was gone, Penthesila was yanked towards the edge of the path. 

She stuck her sword into the ground and held on to it with her left hand. This saved her from going over the edge but her right hand was being pulled against her will. 

Then Penthesila screamed. 

Princess Elle saw the reason that Penthesila was screaming. Her right ring finger where she wore the Magatama Ring was twisted back 180 degrees and the ring was glowing red. Smoke was coming from it and her skin was turning black. The ring was burning her. 

Princess Elle jumped to Penthesila’s side, pulled the ring out and threw it over the side. 

But the ring did not fall. Instead it floated up towards the black cube. 

It went through the cube as if going into water and the voice said thank you for bringing me my freedom. 

“We have to get out of here” Penthesila said. Her finger was already healing thanks to the Sprite in the walls but it was still painful and she was feeling a foreboding sense of dread.

They turned to go through the gate from where they had come but it had closed and there was no wheel or any other mechanism to open it from inside the chamber. 

“There” Princess Elle shouted, pointing to a point about a third of the way across the cavern. Because of the adrenaline rush, her mind was working faster and her eyes were sharper than usual. Princess Elle was also feeling that massive sense of fear that Penthesila and the others were feeling. Fear of whatever it was that resided inside the black cube and that had so easily controlled Penthesila. 

They ran as fast as they could for the gate but before they could reach it, there was a loud explosion and black rubble rained on them. Pieces of the cube.  

When the black pieces of the cube began burning holes in the ground, Marry raised a physical barrier around them. Barrier Aura Techniques was one of her specialties. 

Marry’s barrier saved them when a second later something smashed into the barrier with such force that the four girls were sent flying into the wall of the cavern. The ground shook as a giant monster landed on the path. 

The girls were on their feet in a split second, reflecting their skill as the Golden Wings knights of Lyonesse, and Princess Elle as one trained by them and who has followed them into many battles. Marry reflexively erected both a physical and a mental barrier around them. Princess Elle moved to Marry’s side and placed her hand on her friends shoulder. This allowed her to support Marry’s Technique with her own Aura. 

Princess Elle has an Aura store that is larger than most people. The old Lord Boreas, former leader of the Golden Wings Knights discovered her hidden talent when she was seven years old. However no matter how hard she tried, Princess Elle has never been able to properly control her Aura. Neither Aura Techniques, Aura Weaving nor Aura Smelting were suited for her. However, in one of their battles for Rhodopia, Princess Elle discovered that while she cannot optimise her own Aura, she could share it with others. After that, she along with Penthesila, Marry and Margaret devised a battle plan where she would support them with her Aura. This was what she was doing now. 

“It has mind control powers” Penthesila said, confirming Princess Elle’s suspicions. When they heard the creature talk to them, it was talking through telepathy. 

The creature that had come out of the black cube was a monster with the body of a bull. Its hands were long like those of an ape and were grey like rotting, dead flesh. From the chest upwards to the neck it looked almost like a human. Stuck to the neck however was the head and face of a warthog. 

A warthog with holes in its head where maggots could be seen moving around and heard chewing at its flesh and brain. 

Although Princess Elle was not a stranger to gruesome and disgusting sights, the appearance of this creature alone made her stomach squirm. It’s even uglier thoughts that it was projecting outwards through its mental powers added to the disgustingness that this creature was. Even with Marry’s barriers, they could still ‘feel’ its thoughts which Princess Elle knew meant that the creature could also get into their heads. 

Princess Elle thus performed the mental exercises that she and all her siblings were taught which could protect their minds from being taken over. This was one of the lessons that every member of the Lyonesse royal family had to take. It required only a minimal use of Aura and very rudimentary Techniques. Most of it was mental thought and breathing exercises. Her effort proved useless. 

Thank you for coming to me, the creature said. It was talking using telepathy rather than verbal words. Along with this came a series of images that conveyed the creature’s thoughts. 

“It led us here” Margaret said, her voice trembling. Princess Elle had also come to that conclusion after seeing the Minoans thoughts. That was the name that it gave itself. 

The Minoan. 

The Minoan also showed them its plans for them. ‘Showed’ was the appropriate word because the mental communication was one way with the Minoan having full control. It showed them the thoughts that it wanted them to see but what it didn’t want them to see, they could not. It could see the girls’ thoughts, all of it and they have no control of what it can see. It could also – if it wanted – control their minds and there would be nothing that they can do. 

But it didn’t want to. That would be too boring. It has been trapped in that cage for aeons. It wanted a good game. 

Marry built five more layers of mental barriers which effectively blocked out the Minoans mental powers. 

The Minoan grinned and the first layer of barrier began to dissolve. Slowly. 

“It’s playing around” Margaret said. 

“All the better for us” Penthesila said. “Princess, are you still ok?” 

Princess Elle understood that Penthesila was asking if she could still share her powers. She could. 

“I’ll support Penthesila” Margaret said. 

Princess Elle placed her hands each on Penthesila and Margaret’s shoulders. 

“I have three times Penthesila’s Aura left” she told them. 

Princess Elle felt a slight tug at the base of her stomach as Penthesila and Margaret pulled a large amount of Aura from her. 

The Minoan roared as spikes rose from the ground and impaled it. Black blood oozed out of the wounds. 

“It’s working” Margaret said triumphantly. 

The Minoan roared but before it could escape Margaret’s forest of spikes, it was brought down to its knees by huge purple shackles that Penthesila formed. As the Minoan began to break those shackles, Penthesila completed the second stage of the high level Aura Technique called ‘The Crushing Prison of Etna’ 

Black larva rained down on the Minoan, knocking it down to its knees. 

“Go… this won’t hold it for long” Penthesila shouted over the noise of her Technique” 

Princess Elle felt Penthesila siphon out a huge amount of Aura from her and knew that she was going to unleash a powerful Aura Technique. 

“I won’t be far behind” Penthesila said to Princess Elle. 

Princess Elle nodded and let go of Penthesila. She had been thinking about staying behind to supply Penthesila with Aura. However with the massive amount of Aura that Penthesila had taken from her, she knew that Penthesila would be ok. At least she hoped so. Princess Elle knew that even if all of them gave everything they have, they would still not be able to defeat The Minoan. It was on a whole different level from them. It was probably even stronger than the Shadow Assassins. 

There was a huge crash that shook the ground as Penthesila activated the third and final stage of her Aura Technique. A mountain appeared above the Minoan and crushed it into the ground. 

“Hurry up” Marry waved frantically at them. She had arrived at the gate first and must have found a way to open it because the gate was partially opened but was starting to close fast. 

An ear rending roar shook the ground so violently that Princess Elle almost lost her balance. 

There was a thunderous sound of a blunt force against the mountain that Penthesila had formed, followed by a crack and a boom and a roar even louder than the first. 

Princess Elle didn’t need to look back to know that the Minoan had broken out of Penthesila’s Technique. She could clearly feel its power and hear its evil thoughts. They were intense to the point that they suffocated her. 

“I’ve got you princess” Penthesila said, taking Princess Elle’s arm and half carrying her to the gate. 

The ground shook as the Minoan charged towards them. Princess Elle knew that they weren’t going to make it. She was so preoccupied with the thought of getting caught by the Minoan that she didn’t notice the two shadows that were flying towards them from the other side of the cavern. 

A barrage of grey flesh shot at the black shadows just as they were about to reach Princess Elle and Penthesila. 

“The Shadow Assassins” Marry said as Princess Elle and Penthesila reached her. 

Sure enough two of the three Shadow Assassins were battling the Minoan. Both appeared to be fighting with their true powers. Princess Elle didn’t know what a Shadow Assassin fighting at full power looks like and she knows nothing about the Minoan, but she understood that it was a lucky thing that their wraths were not directed at her at the moment. Because even then, her legs were trembling and she was finding it hard to breathe. 

The Shadow Assassins let out a splitting screech that blew the Minoan into the wall and pushed the girls through the gate. The girls knew that this was their chance to get out of there, but even as they began to get on their feet, a large grey arm grabbed one of the Shadow Assassins and crushed it. The Shadow Assassin exploded like butter being crushed in someone’s hand. 

“Let’s get out of here” Penthesila said as she helped Princess Elle and Marry up. “Whatever the outcome is won’t be good for us” Margaret agreed. 

“There’s nothing here to close the gate” Marry said, looking around the new corridor. 

“Let’s just get out of here” Penthesila hurried the group. Princess Elle couldn’t agree more. 

This corridor was much bigger than the one they had come in through. It was about ten meters wide and more than twenty meters high, but was made of the same cold hard stone which had a layer of green on the surface. Even as they took a turn and then another, Princess Elle could feel the Sprite in the wall strengthening her. She no longer had trouble breathing and felt strangely calm and rejuvenated – until something grey and gooey and cold caught her, yanked her off her feet and pulled her back the way she had come. 

Princess Elle could see and hear her friends shouting. Margaret was going to activate an Aura Technique but Marry stopped her. Then she was back in the cavern. The Minoans presence, its power and most of all its evil thoughts made her almost pass out. 

“Let go of her you filthy creature” Penthesila bellowed. 

“Or you will do what, human?” the Minoan said and it laughed. It new that they were in a hopeless position. It knew that catching Princess Elle was the thing that would break the others’ spirit. It knew that it now had the upper hand, that it had them all at its mercy. It could have obliterated them easily enough with brute strength alone or with its magic but that wasn’t much fun. It wanted to torture these puny humans first. Toy around with them, make them suffer. This was joy to it. 

It let them know all this, its cruel, inhuman thoughts. It revealed this through its psychic power, showing them not just its mental thoughts but also its desires. 

Being exposed to the Minoans thoughts and desires was toxic to the girls, and Princess Elle in particular who was in direct contact with it. Her world spun and she felt like passing out and puking at the same time. 

Then it was all gone. 

Everything. 

In an instant. 

The sickly feeling, the evil thoughts and disgusting desires. All gone. 

And looking down at her was the most beautiful face that Princess Elle had ever seen. She felt like she was sitting in a meadow, listening to the river flow, smelling the flowers and a soft, cool breeze was caressing her face. This was how she would describe her feeling at that particular moment. 

“Are you ok my lady?” the young man said as he put her down on her feet. 

Princess Elle blushed as she realised that she had been in his arms. 

“YOU” the Minoan bellowed, which brought Princess Elle out of her day dream. The Minoan roared and a storm of red fire balls rained down on them. 

The young man waved his hand and a blue-white shield formed around them. He didn’t appear to be worried in the least. His shield protected them against the Minoans spell without any trouble. They hardly even heard the storm of fire that was raging outside the shield. 

“I believe that you are the delegation from Lyonesse?” he asked them without addressing anyone in particular. 

Princess Elle felt that she should be the one to address this person who had saved them, but Penthesila was the one who spoke first. Or rather, she was the one who acted first. 

She came between Princess Elle and the young man, pulling her princess behind her. “Who are you?” She said in a threatening tone. She held her sword in a defensive stance but did not point it at him. 

“Um… don’t you think that you should be focusing on that thing?” Margaret asked them. 

The young man looked over his shoulders unconcernedly and shrugged. “Pig head can’t move while he’s using this spell and it’s not going to get through the shield” he said calmly, but without sounding arrogant or overconfident. 

Even as he said that, a huge black rock covered in flames smashed against the shield. Unlike the smaller balls of fire which were muted, this one was loud and shook the shield” 

“Ah… it seems he’s gotten a bit stronger since the last time I saw him” the young man said thoughtfully, scratching his chin. “Maybe we had better get our introductions over with quickly” 

He bowed slightly at them and introduced himself. 

“My name is Raiton Aetherios, you may call me Ray. I am a Hero of the Atlantis Academy. Headmaster Ed sent me to escort you to the Academy. He received you message” 

A Hero of the Academies, Princess Elle thought. The reason that she and her Golden Wings Knights had travelled all this way, and gone through all the hardships that they had faced. To get help from the Academies. 

“I’ll just put this pig back in its pen”, Ray said sounding like it was just a boring chore. 

Ray pointed his right hand at the Minoan. His shield came down and something blue-white shot out of his hand. The Minoans attack stopped instantly and Princess Elle saw the reason for this. The Minoan was no longer on the path in front of them but was way on the other side of the cavern. A blue-white lance made of lightning impaled it to the wall. 

Ray rose into the air and flew towards the Minoan at a relaxed pace. Arcs of blue lightning crackled around him. 

He recited a long line of words in a language that Princess Elle didn’t know. Although he spoke in a normal tone, the words reverberated throughout the cavern. Powerful, majestic words that contained power and authority. 

The Sprite in the walls converged on a point a few meters away from Ray, swirling at first as Ray spoke. And then they settled, and in the spot where the Sprite had converged there was a new black cube. A new prison for the Minoan. 

“NO” the Minoan bellowed. It tried to pull Rays spear out of its stomach but the spear glowed and the Minoan roared in pain. 

“I’m sorry mate, but I don’t have time to play with you today. Maybe next time” Ray said. 

He raised his hand and brought it down. “Heavens Strike”

The whole cavern shook and the walls and ceiling cracked as a blinding barrage of lightning descended and struck the Minoan without stop. 

It was an Aura Technique of a level that Princess Elle didn’t even know existed. She knew that the Heroes of the five Academies are the most powerful users of Aura, and their research and development into the energy source gives them the most advanced Aura Techniques and Weaving, but individual use was still limited to a persons store of Aura. This Technique that she was witnessing was of a scale that even she, with her naturally massive Aura store didn’t know whether she could manage. 

When the lightning barrage had stopped, the Minoan was half charred and slumped on the ground. 

Ray flew down beside the Minoan and lifted it by the handle of his spear. 

As he was raising it, the Minoans arms whipped around Ray and covered him. 

“Now I’ve got you” the Minoan shouted triumphantly. It recited a string of magic spells and its grey arms, already half charred glowed red. The red coloured spell swirled, cutting the Minoans hands off and then it disappeared along with Ray. 

The Minoan laughed. “Finally I’ve got you, you annoying little pest” 

It was badly injured but the Minoan was still a formidable foe for the girls. 

“We have to escape now” Penthesila whispered to Princess Elle. 

There was a loud clanging sound as a magical iron gate closed their only exit. 

“I don’t think you girls will be going anywhere” the Minoan said nastily as it appeared behind the girls. 

“Teleportation magic” it said with an ugly smirk. “Quite a nifty class of magic. One that I never really saw the need for in my more than a hundred thousand years of life. That annoying twerp forced me to consider it” it jerked its head towards the spot on the other side of the cavern where it had fought with Ray. 

“Quite a feisty youngster he was. I never had so much fun after the Golden Eyes went away. It’s quite a shame that I had to get rid of him, and that you girls are going to have to become my play toys after this. I’ll keep you girls nice and alive and let you watch as I raze your world” 

The Minoan grinned and a crack appeared on its head, moving down to its neck. A bright purplish light shone from the crack, growing brighter as the two sides of the Minoans head moved away from each other and the thing inside tried to break out. 

A power more terrible than that which the Minoan was wielding emanated from the crack. 

However, the purplish light abruptly disappeared as a blue lance pierced the Minoan from behind. 

“Not today” Ray said as he came out from behind the Minoan, its head had come back together, the purple light and the terrible power were gone. Its whole body was encased in a web of blue lightning. 

“Teleporting me to Tartarus, ingenious” Ray commented. “But you’ll need to consider sending me to a more challenging area next time if you plan to keep me there for a while. And some place that’s not so close to an exit might add to my time” he suggested. 

The Minoan laughed. “So it is true that forced teleportation into Tartarus, with poor skill might place the teleported in a location close to an exit point” 

“It wasn’t that close” Ray said as if trying not to hurt the Minoans feeling. “It’s just that you know, I can fly quite fast and the challenges around that place wasn’t that great. I am someone who has managed to keep up with you all these years after all”

“Hah! Next you’re going to tell me that you can teleport in and out of Tartarus at will” 

Ray gave the Minoan a mysterious smile. “Who knows” he said secretively. 

“Demon Slayer, take this Arc Demon back into its confinement” 

“I’ll get you next time” the Minoan shouted as Rays spear rose into the air and sent the Minoan into the new black cube. 

Ray clapped his hands and smiled at the girls. “Well I guess that wraps things up here then. Should we get going?” 

Ray twirled his hand and called “Mazu” 

The red serpent Mazu appeared in front of them, ten feet tall, its seven black eyes staring down at them, its beautiful red scales rattled in unison making a horrible sound that caused the hairs on the girls’ necks to rise. 

“Hey I told you not to do that” Ray said to the serpent in annoyance. “People don’t like it. And that look isn’t friendly – is that your version of friendly? Well it doesn’t look like it, try again” 

The serpent bowed its head as if it was sulking. 

“Aw… you hurt its feelings” Margaret said. She smiled at Mazu but didn’t try to go near or pat it. 

“Can you teleport all of us out of here?” Ray asked the serpent. Mazu nodded. 

“Hold on tight everyone” Ray said. 

Mazu the red serpent coiled around Ray and the girls. It grew longer as it slithered around them. When its coils were higher than all of them, it stopped and began to grow red. 

Princess Elle felt a tug at the pit of her stomach, a common feeling when teleporting. 

Then they were out in the open. 

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