Book 6 - Mystery of Shadow Mountain - Chapter 45 & 46: Terrible Memory - Gone Too Far

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httyyd
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When I started out, I was going to have just one long chapter and then post another chapter.  But as I kept writing this chapter and finally got over some writer's block, the chapter kept getting longer and longer.  So much more so that I wrote the two chapters I wanted to do anyway, though did not progress through the story as far as I would have liked.

 

That being said, the first chapter is fairly the same size as any of my normal chapter -though probably on the larger end of the scale.  The second chapter, on the other hand, is twice the size of a normal chapter but twice as short in time elapsed in the story.  However, I just had a lot I wanted to get down with my attention to detail that I try to put in.

 

(Two chapters, one for last week and one for this week.  Though by the size of these chapters, the second one is worth two.  So, physically it is three chapters this week, technically two.)

 

I hope you guys enjoy the two chapters!

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Links to my chapters are below along with links to my other five fan-fics.

 

The Mystery of Shadow Mountain

Finally posted links to all chapters to all books in my signature.

Chapter 50 and Chapter 51 - Not Today and Long Time Coming

The Mystery of Shadow Mountain, my sixth fan-fic in three years!  Updates every Friday Night!

 

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Here are links to the chapters of my fan-fic series.

The books go in chronological order.

 

The Clue of the Missing Socks.

Chapters 1 and 2                         Chapter 3                                       Chapter 4

Chapter 5                                      Chapter 6                                        Chapter 7

Chapters 8 and 9                        Chapter 10                                     Chapter 11

Chapters 12 and 13                     Chapters 14, 15, and 16             Chapter 17

Chapter 18                                    Chapter 19                                      Chapter 20

Chapter 21 and 22                      Chapter 23                                     Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26 - There is a hidden surprise.  Can you find it?

Chapter 27                                   Chapter 28, Part 1                         Chapter 28, Part 2

Chapter 29                                   Chapter 30                                       Chapter 31

Chapter 32                                   Chapter 33                                       Chapter 34

Chapter 35                                   Chapter 36                                       Chapter 37

Chapter 38                                   Chapter 39                                       Chapter 40

Chapter 41                                   Chapter 42                                       Chapter 43

Chapter 44                                   Chapter 45, Parts 1 and 2

 

Here are links to my sequel fan-fic:

The Mysterious Frozen Fire

Chapter 1         Chapter 2         Chapter 3         Chapter 4         Chapter 5         Chapter 6

Chapter 7         Chapter 8         Chapter 9         Chapter 10       Chapter 11       Chapter 12

Chapter 13       Chapter 14       Chapter 15        Chapter 16       Chapter 17       Chapter 18  

Chapter 19       Chapter 20      Chapter 21        Chapter 22, Part 1       Chapter 22, Part 2 

Chapter 22, Part 3

Epilogue/Preview for my Third Story!

 

Here are links to my Tri-quel fan-fic:

Thoughts of Guilt

Chapters 1 and 2          Chapters 3 and 4          Chapter 5          Chapter 6          Chapter 7

Chapter 8          Chapter 9          Chapter 10          Chapter 11          Chapter 12, Part 1

Chapter 12, Part 2          Chapter 13         Chapter 14         Chapter 15         Chapter 16

Chapter 17 and 18         Chapter 19         Chapter 20         Chapter 21         Chapter 22

Chapter 23         Chapter 24         Chapter 25         Chapter 26         Chapter 27

Chapter 28         Chapter 29         Chapter 30         Chapter 31         Chapter 32

Chapter 33         Chapter 34         Chapter 35         Chapter 36 and 37

Chapter 38, Part 1         Chapter 39, Part 2         Chapter 40, Part 3         Chapter 41

Chapter 42, Parts 1 and 2         Chapter 43         Chapter 44

Chapter 45, Part 1         Chapter 45, Part 2

 

On the Edge of Mystery

Chapter 1          Chapter 2         Chapter 3        Chapters 4 & 5    Chapter 6, Parts 1 and 2   

Chapter 7          Chapter 8         Chapter 9            Chapter 10       Chapter 11        Chapter 12

Chapter 13        Chapter 14       Chapter 15          Chapter 16        Chapter 17       Chapter 18

Chapter 19        Chapter 20       Chapter 21          Chapter 22       Chapter 23      Chapter 24

Chapter 25        Chapter 26       Chapter 27         Chapter 28        Chapter 29 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 30       Chapter 31       Chapter 32 and 33                         Chapter 34 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 35 Part 1         Chapter 35 Part 2        Chapter 35 Part 3        Chapter 36

 

The Secret Symbol

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7     Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21   Chapter 22   Chapter 23   Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29 and 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39

Chapter 40 and 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43, 44, 45, and 46

 

The Legend of Shadow Mountain

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16   Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23    Chapter 24    Chapter 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29    Chapter 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39    Chapter 40

Chapter 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43    Chapter 44    Chapter 45 & 46

Chapter 47    Chapter 48    Chapter 49    Chapter 50    Chapter 51

 

Teaser "Trailer" for Book 8 - Conquest of the Truth

 

 

The Crimson Storm

Chapters 1 and 2

 

 

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httyyd
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Chapter 45           

Chapter 45

 

         Annabeth and I scour the immediate area to study what we are dealing with.

         Annabeth wonders out loud, “If the puzzles have some connection to the dragons depicted in the symbols they are connected, would this puzzle have connection to some dragon on, or previously on, Berserker Island?  If so would there be something only a Berserker could figure out?”

         I reply, “That seems to be the trend thus far.  No reason why that should not continue.”

         With this in mind, we keep a look out for anything relating to Berserker Island.  The obvious, that is not Berserkian, are six buried stone pillars a foot square and anywhere between four to six feet long sticking out of the sand.  They are spread across in an indirect, zig-zag line about twenty-five feet long, six feet between each pillar.  Walking back to a contraption that is funneling light through some means to focus the light from the sun, a light beam is shinning out.  The contraption is a cylinder pillar three-foot-tall, a foot across, and has a foot portion extending over the ground.  It looks like one of Garth’s peeking devices he uses if he wants to see what is above the water’s surface without breaking the surface.  Standing in front of the device, the spotlight is about three inches in diameter.

         Thinking of where to go next, I play a hunch by wondering what would happen if I step away and let the light beam go.  I do so and the light beam guides me over to the nearest pillar.  Glancing over it, I notice a light metallic finish to a portion of the pillar.  I grab the pillar with both hands and attempt to move it.  It budges, then I rotate the pillar so the metallic part will act as a reflector.  Four shoves and a half turn to the west, the light beam now bounces off the pillar and travels in the general direction of the second pillar.  Annabeth and I both see the pattern, we proceed to position each pillar to reflect the light beam.  When the final one is positioned, the light beam spotlights a rather large rock about six feet away.

         Annabeth walks over to the rock, examines it, and after mouthing a few words reading off the bottom of the rock, she lets her arms drop and looks at me as if I had just said a really good bad pun.

         I chuckle, “What?”

         Annabeth answers by raising the rock back up and reads off what the rock says, “‘So, you were crazy enough to move these pillars to find this rock.  You know you could have just searched the area… Literally uncover every and find this.  If you did use the pillars to find this rock, you probably have noticed the connection between the symbols, the island they were found on, and something from these two relating to the puzzles.  Keep that in mind.  Anyway, what you seek, you need to be a bit more berserk and crazy to actually find it.  Um, what did you think was focusing the sunlight to make the string of light?  Keep this in mind for the near future too.’  Whoever left all these clues and left basically a map to follow… Has got to be related to you somehow and they have a lot of time on their hands to come up with whole mystery.”

         I shake my head and smile.  Just curious about something, I pick up several nearby rocks.  They all have the same writing on the back of them.  One of them even quips about us picking up so many rocks.

         We walk back over to the contraption and I look for a slot of some kind.  Using my right hand, I feel underneath the portion that sticks out on the contraption and my fingers run across a slot.  Additionally, by touch, I feel two divots that I insert my thumb and first two fingers in.  I feel a disk and start to pull it out.  There is a slight resistance, that was probably holding the disk in place; I gently pull the disk out.

         The disk is yet another Dragon Eye lens!

         “Well,” I comment.  “With a lens that’s more of a concave lens, with the concave part pointing forward, this would definitely focus any light source into a beam, or string of light in their words.”

         “Still,” Annabeth adds. “There looks like some faint etchings on it.  So, it might still technically be a Dragon Eye lens.”

         Not more than a couple of minutes later, we see Klarp running at us, stopping short before us, and out of breath.

         I state, though with a bit of concern, “I was just thinking when you would return, because we are done.  Is ever-.”

         “No time,” he huffs, breathing heavy.  “Gotta come quick!”

         Annabeth and I do not wait for an explanation and sprint back to where Klarp points, the direction of the compound.  I look at Annabeth, she at me.  We both have expressions of fear and we no doubt are thinking the same thought:  Are our friends in trouble, danger, or both?

         Klarp mentions that he can take the lens now and hand it to Vixxen later.  Still in my right hand, I hand the lens to him by reaching across my chest to let him have the lens.  He puts it in a large belt pouch.  Neither of us break stride.

         Five minutes later, we come into the compound and hear a commotion on the other side of the headquarters.  Have yet to break stride, I run to the right on this side of the H! and round to my left.  There is a large contingency of Dragon Hunters grouped around an area towards the front of the compound, near the defense trench and bunkers.  I see some crates stacked off to the right.  Some may see just a stack of crates, but what I see is an opportunity to get the height advantage.  So, I run to my right and step onto each stack like a row of stairs until the fifth row about six feet off the ground in which I stop.  Looking at the crowd, they are cheering at Aberdeen fighting Cazi and Dawn!

         The moment I recognize those fighting, Dawn lands a right cross to the jaw on one of Aberdeen’s men.  He stumbles back into the clutches of Cazi, who then grabs the guy’s collar and the seat of his pants, twirls him around, and sends him into a charging Aberdeen.  Not expecting an obstacle, Aberdeen is pushed back and lands against the crates I am standing on.

         Nearly losing my balance and falling, I regain my footing by flinging my arms out, but then exclaiming, “Geronimo!”

         Aberdeen looks up, by the time he does that I am mid-air into a left shoulder dive.  I land on him, knocking him down, and I side roll to my right into a diagonal somersault.  Still on the ground, I turn to see Aberdeen rushing me.  He dives at me, his mistake.  I stick both my feet up as he dives, I lean back on the ground, and then as Aberdeen comes in contract with my feet, I launch Aberdeen upside down, behind me.

         Standing up, Cazi says, “Nice of you to join the party.”

         Just as she says that, another of Aberdeen’s men grabs her around the waist, picking her off the ground.

         Dawn declares, “Cazi duck!”

         Cazi lowers her head, slightly forcing the guy to bend over, and Dawn comes over to jump into a right twist, landing a left kick into the guy’s face.  Stunned, he slumps to the ground, falling backwards and lets Cazi go.

         “What are you doing?” Klarp questions, breaking through the crowd.

         I reply as Annabeth points behind me, “I’m intervening,” I sucker punch to the gut another guy of Aberdeen’s, instantly grabs for his stomach by bending over, and I then with both hands in a fist come down onto his shoulders, knocking him to the ground.”

         “This isn’t what I had in mind,” Klarp stepped in between me and Aberdeen.  “You all need to stand down before…”

         “Before Vixxen comes?” Vixxen finishes Klarp’s statement.

         From the front of the crowd, behind Klarp and Annabeth, Vixxen walks forward.  She did not look happy.

         “Vixxen, I can explain,” Aberdeen stood up and went over to Vixxen.  “These two girls have-.”

         “I do not want to hear it,” Vixxen interrupted.  “You have almost been too much trouble than you are worth.  I help you take back your island and what do I get in return?  You working with Grimborn and sell me out.  I don’t know why you have returned.  And you,” Vixxen points me out and comes right up to me.  “You’ve been a thorn in my side for a long time.  Maybe too long…”

         Before Vixxen could go any further, Klarp jumped in and said, “Jarl and Annabeth have found the next lens.”

         Klarp shows her the lens, taking her attention off of me.  She slowly backs down and takes the lens.  Studying it for a moment, she gives it back to Klarp.

         “Put it with the others,” Vixxen says and then stares at me before speaking again.  “What did I say about you and your friends not obeying me?  If this happens again… You best hope I am in a good mood.  Klarp?”

         “Yes, Vixxen?” Klarp answers.

         Vixxen orders, “Escort Jarl and his friends to the final puzzle site.  Let’s get this thing solved so I can be rid of all of you.”

         Vixxen walks away towards her headquarters.

         There is quiet among the whole crowd.  A few seconds later, the crowd dispersed.

         Aberdeen’s men picked themselves up and Aberdeen, himself came over to me, poking his right first finger at my chest; he whispers, “This.  Isn’t.  Over.”

         Annabeth, Cazi, Dawn, Klarp, and I are the only ones still standing in the same spots.

         Klarp addresses me, “Jarl.  I am going to go put this lens with the other ones.  Meet me by the south gate.  I trust that you will be there.”

         “We don’t really have any way of escaping if we wanted to, so yes,” I respond.

         He nods and walks away.

         I immediately turn to Cazi and demand how this got started.

         “How this got star-,” Cazi started and then stopped.  Dawn continued, “Why are you mad at us for?  I thought we are supposed to kick Dragon Hunter butt.”

         “We are,” I agree but bring up the reality of the situation.  “Not if we get ourselves killed in the process.”  I sigh, taking a breath, “Look, like I just said, we have no way of escaping right now and getting everyone out safely with all their dragons.  It is just impossible… Right now.  We have got to be patient and wait for an opportunity.”

         Dawn adds, “Aberdeen started it.”

         “This is serious,” I counter.  “We can’t get out of this the way we have always done it.  Vixxen means business and there is a lot more Annabeth and I just found out that makes this even worse.”

         Giving the two girls the highlights of what Klarp told me and Annabeth, the looks of both Cazi and Dawn change slightly to better understanding.

         “I hate Aberdeen just as much as you do, hence why I fought him just now.  I wanted to get in a little bit before I stopped it,” I offered.  “But this mystery hits very close to home for Vixxen.  If we do anything to jeopardize her getting what she wants… I don’t really want to think about it.  She’s already fought us several times, physically had us fight against each other, she choked Annabeth a while ago, she threatened us just now and before… Vixxen is messing around.  We shouldn’t be either.  We need to use our heads, not our fists on this one.  I just don’t want to get anyone hurt… or worse.  I know there is a way for all of us to get out of here alive and well, including our dragons of course.  But there is thirteen of us and thirteen dragons.  This is going to take a team effort by all of us if we are going to pull this off.  We have to be patient and exercise some self-control.”

         Cazi and Dawn look down for a brief moment, which is a sign to me saying that they know I am right.

         “Mean right cross Dawn,” I abruptly change the subject.  “And Cazi watch where you’re throwing vikings, you nearly knocked me over too.”

         Cazi gave a light chuckle, “I didn’t know you were going to be there.  But sweet entrance and ‘reunion’ with Aberdeen.”

         We all chuckle a little bit more.

         Become serious again, I state, “I don’t frankly know if it is going to be all right, as much as I want to say it will be.  But I am working out a plan to see if we can get out of here in one piece.  By the way, are you two doing anything?” I say with a sly smile.

         Cazi looks at me and blinks slowly, “Vixxen put Aberdeen in charge of putting us to work… I spiked Aberdeen’s drink with salt among a few other things too his food.  Guess he didn’t like how I changed the recipe.”

         “I was stuck-,” Dawn began but rephrased, “I mean I was glad to be able help Cazi… Serve…… fifty… men…,” Dawn said in a way that she really did not want to say it, forced the words out through her gritting teeth.  “But I did manage to spill the rest of Aberdeen’s drink on him.”

         Cazi continued, “Once we finally got done, Aberdeen ambushed us on the way to our next job.  Klarp must have seen the crowd start to gather.  Knowing that once Cazi or even Dawn gets started in a fight, it is difficult for us to stop,” Cazi pounds a right first into her left open hand.  “Klarp must have gone right for you guys and you showed up a little later.”

         “Anyway,” Dawn remarks.  “To answer your question, we do have things to do, but we would be glad to go with you to the next site.”

         Annabeth reminds the group, “It is in the area where the death water is.”
         Cazi opens her mouth but nothing comes out, Dawn instead says, “As long as we get to be away from these rats, anywhere but here is fine with me.”

         With that settled, I led the group to the south entrance.  Along the way, however, I check with the rest of my friends to see how they are doing.  When I meet up with Asvord, Elsa, and Angie, I invite them all to come with us.  I do not know why, but after having a fairly easy puzzle to solve, I expect the next one will be anything and everything but easy.  Since it is the last puzzle before we finally get to unlock the mountain, I sense that this puzzle will need many hands to get the final Dragon Eye lens.  They are all glad to drop what they are doing.  If those that were watching over them had a problem with me taking them away from their ordered tasks, I told them to take it up with Vixxen.  That caused them to go back about their business.  The seven of us went to the south gate.  We only have to wait five minutes before Klarp shows up.  He smiles a bit, appreciative that we did in fact wait for him, but the smile quickly left as from behind him came Vixxen.  Those two took the lead and with two Dragon Hunter guards behind us, my friends and I follow Vixxen and Klarp.  Asvord and Elsa, then Cazi and Dawn, and finally Angie, Annabeth, and myself is how the line has formed.

         The path Vixxen leads us down is quite nearly the exact same path that Annabeth led me down, just in the opposite direction.  Annabeth is walking on my right side, she is very quiet and looking around.  I wonder if I should say something to her about it or try to get her mind off of it.  Leaning towards the former, I start thinking of what exactly I could say.  This goes on for ten, fifteen minutes.

         As Annabeth looks again to the right, she stops in her tracks.  I stop one stride ahead of her, then the Dragon Hunters run into her.

         “Get moving,” the one on the right tries to shove Annabeth.  She does not move.  “I said, get moving!”

         I step in between the Hunter and Annabeth, I call out, “Vixxen.”

         Her and Klarp come back to us.  Vixxen orders her viking to stand down.

         “Jarl,” Vixxen states, getting impatient.  “Why are we stopping?”

         “I apologize for the inconvenience,” I reply.  “But my friends and I have been here before, as I said earlier, but Annabeth had a very rough time of it to say the least.  If it was not for Fira, we all probably wouldn’t be here today.  Annabeth ran away when she was infected because she did not want to infect the rest of us.  Turns out we all had whatever is in the water, some it did not affect until later.  But what she thought she had was something more.  A very scruffy looking wolf bit her.  Thinking she had something else, she ran away to protect us.  But I tracked her down and then found Fira later.  Annabeth knew I was tracking her but knew I would not stop until I got to help her.  So, she made herself get stuck in a small cove… The cove you see before you.  Annabeth did not know how long she be self-aware of herself but knew enough of to force herself to be in one area where I know I could find her again.  Later found out that she had the worst of what is caused by the water here on this part of the island.  Then with the power of suggestion through the wolf bite, made Annabeth think she was even worse off.  Thankfully that wasn’t the case.  And the path we are taking to the puzzle site is about the same path I took to track Annabeth.”

         Vixxen did not say a word but looks increasingly frustrated with my friends and I doing all we can to disrupt her plans, even when we do not intend to hinder Vixxen we end up delaying her plans.

         Klarp a bit urgently requests, “We need to get going.”

         I turn to Annabeth and say her name; no response, I repeat, “Annabeth.”

         Annabeth snaps out of a trance she put herself in and looks at me saying, “What?  Oh.”

         With that Annabeth starts walking with me and the others and we continue on our way.

 

 

Chapter 46

 

         A few minutes later, I ask Annabeth in a low tone, “Are you okay?”

         “Yeah… I think so,” Annabeth unsurely said.  “I just thought I would never have to come back to this place.  Never thought I would fear a place so much in my life.  Seeing that cove, my whole body felt like it stopped working.  I did not hear anything, feel anything, but I for sure saw the cove.  When you said my name for the first time, it sounded far off.  Then when you said it again, it sounded as you did standing right next to me.”

         I add, “When you stopped to look at the cove, I must have had sympathy pains as I felt a cold shiver come across my whole body.  But it did not last long as the Hunter right behind you tried to shove you along.  I stepped in between the two of you and got Vixxen to make her guy stand down.”

         “Hey, quiet down,” the guy behind us to our right said, getting irritated at us.

         “We’re whispering are we not?  How quieter do we have to get?” I retort.  “If we were any more quiet, we wouldn’t be able to hear each other and you wouldn’t be able to either.  And if we spoke up any, then Vixxen would hear us.  So, make up your mind.”

         He just grunts and we continue on our march.

         Another fifteen minutes of walking was necessary before we came to our destination.  We followed the path I took to track Annabeth only for another five minutes.  Instead of going back east, we continue to head south.  Entering a clear, we find a massive pool of water, that seems diluted by dirt and other particles making the water the opposite of see through, encased by a circular stone cove; definitely viking made.  And in the center, of course, a water chamber; though much smaller than the one found on Caldea Cay, Defenders of the Wing Island.  Even before approaching more closely, Annabeth takes in a deep breath and lets it out.  Her expression looks more like the focused, determined Annabeth I know.

         “Alright, Jarl,” Vixxen states as she finds a large boulder off to the left to lean against.  “Do your thing?”

         Already knowing the answer to my question, I ask it anyway, “Why don’t you want to partake in the puzzle solving too.”
         Vixxen sighs, “I think that is obvious to you.”

         “Yes, it was,” I reply.  “But I wanted to make sure that you didn’t want to say you helped solve the last puzzle because so far it has been my friends and I that have done all the work.  If anything, you’ve messed up a few things that could have not gotten us the lens we needed.  Knowing you wanting the glory of the find, there is some glory to have solving this dangerous puzzle over this water.”

         Vixxen folds her arms, I wave her off, “Alright.  Don’t say I didn’t ask.”

         The two guards go over with Vixxen and Klarp as they watch my friends and I go to work.  We huddle up and talk about a plan of action.

         Right out of the gate, Dawn objects, “Are you seriously going to make us go out over there and solve this puzzle?”

         “No,” I say as Dawn starts to breathe a sigh of relief but stops mid breath as she realizes I am not done.  “I am asking you to go out there.”

         Annabeth speaks up, “We can do this, guys.”

         Coming from Annabeth at this juncture, her statement means a lot and encourages the rest that we can do this.

         “Alright,” Dawn brought her tone down a notch, at least for Dawn.  “What do you want us to do?”

         “Don’t fall in the water,” I smile.

         “Oh really?” Dawn folds her arms.  “Got any other bright ideas?”

         “Speaking of bright,” I begin and point out something in the water.  “The bright light blue algae is back.”

         Dawn quips, “More like dull, light blue.  More like a light brown, if you ask me.”

         Asvord questions, “Do you think it has a connection to the puzzle specifically?”

         “I’m not sure,” I respond.  “It didn’t for the water chamber from before.  So, probably not now.”

         “Let’s not rush into this,” I say.  “Go around the clearing and look at the encasing to see if you spot or notice anything.”

         We break our huddle.  Annabeth, Cazi, Elsa, and I go to the left while Asvord, Dawn, and Angie go to the right.  Making a complete circle until we meet up again where we started.

         What I notice, first off, is the encasing is about seventy yards in circumference.  That would put the radius at about twelve yards and the diameter around twenty-four.  This thing is massive, more than twice the size of the one on The Wing, but the chamber in the center is more than twice as small.  Similarities and differences.  There is a slightly curved narrow pathway spanning approximately the diameter of the circle, going just in front of the chamber in the middle.  Then there are two other pathways intersecting the middle one at perpendicular angles.  The pathway on this side does circle around the chamber, on both sides, before coming back to a single pathway to intersect the horizontal one.  I count four pillars, one in each of the four sections separated by the pathways.  These are larger than the ones on The Wing; much larger, more like columns.  The columns are a little less than twelve feet from the outer edge, or four yards.  The water inside the encasing is diluted to the point where one cannot see what is beneath the water surface.

         Angie remarks, “Besides the looks of the place, the only thing I saw is writing on the center chamber thing.  Not until we are able to read what it says do I think we can continue.”

         Cazi adds, “There is a ledge around the chamber that we can stand on.  Though by the looks of it, the ledge is only about a foot or wider.”

         “Let me go first,” I declare.  “Then the rest of you follow.”

         I walk up to the diameter pathway.  It is about four to five inches wide, just enough to put one foot in front of the other.  Taking my time to walk across the pathway, I keep my arms up for balance so that I do not fall into the water surrounding me in the sections.  By the way, the water comes up the sides of the pathway to within inches of the top.  We are not touching the water, but it sure feels like we are, that is how close we are to the water.  It takes me nearly seven minutes to get to the middle.  Once there, I scoot around to the other side to allow the rest of us the room to go around the chamber.

         The ledge I am standing on now is about a foot and a half to two feet wide.  I am to comfortable stand up, however, the ledge is not right up against the center chamber so there is a space with more water in front of us and also the water behind us.  Continuing to scoot around until I am about where I came on to the ledge in the first place, the rest of my friends pick their places around the chamber.  Annabeth is behind me followed by Dawn, Cazi, Angie, Asvord, and Elsa.  With the seven of us, there is about a two-foot space between us.

         Turns out that the beginning of the sentence starts out on my end.  “Now you all can read this, it is broken viking, but you all should be able to make out a few words.  Mine starts out, ‘You have come this far…’”

         Annabeth picks up the next, “‘…but this might be your…’”

         Then Dawn, “‘…toughest yet.  Four you to…’”

         Cazi came next, “‘…succeed, many hands must become…’”

         Angie, “‘…won.  This may look like the…’”

         Asvord, “‘…one at the home of the…’”

         Elsa, “‘…Eruptodon, though is anything but…’”

         I finish with a line under the one I started with, “‘…Are you willing to put everything in the line?”

         Elsa echoes, “In the line?  Isn’t that supposed to be, ‘On the line?’”

         Dawn chimes in, “I think we need to take this riddle literally because the ‘for’ I read isn’t ‘for’ but ‘four’ as in the number four.”

         Angie adds, “And the ‘won’ I read is not the number one but as if you won a game.”

         “I was about to say that this message didn’t have much to do with the puzzle, other than the fact that is a summary to this point,” I state.  “But with those little bits of information, let’s read this thing again.

         We all chip in and say our parts again as one full sentence.  The riddle reads as follows: “You have come this far but this might be your toughest yet.  Four you to succeed, many hands must become won.  This may look like the one at the home of the Eruptodon, though is anything but.  Are you willing to put everything in the line?”

         Asvord wonders, “Would this mean that we are to do something here by putting something in a line?”

         “Could be,” I say and point out.  “If the riddle wanted to draw attention to the word ‘four’ by itself, there are four columns.  It is like the one back on The Wing, then these columns will have to be stood on before we can continue.”

         Cazi asks, “How are we supposed to get to them?”

         I think for a moment, but Elsa suggests, “Maybe there are extra paths that come out of the ground.  Since this place is a lot bigger than before.  If we are to literally put everything in a line, maybe we have to line up something else to get to the columns, stand on these to get something in addition to the others to be in a line.”

         “You might have something there, Elsa,” I declare.

         To do the least amount of walking on these narrow pathways as possible, I tell those closest to the four pathways we see, to go back and see if we missed anything at the foot of the path.  Elsa did not want to go back on the path, so, Asvord did instead.  Elsa scooted in my direction to let Asvord past her.  Annabeth took the pathway to the north, Angie the pathway south, and Dawn the one to the west.  Dawn did not mind stepping around Cazi.  The dangerous water did not stop her from getting out of harms way; although, I would not view it that way but more as Dawn just wanting to get this thing finished so we can move on.

         Within the next five minutes, the four of them got back to the foot and indeed noticed a round stone at each end.  Each stone is just wide enough to put both their feet, side-by-side.  Each one comments that the grass as grown up so much around the area that it would be difficult to spot them.  Only the indentation of the stones can be seen separate from the ground itself.  I tell each to step onto the stones at the same time.

         Asvord, Annabeth, Angie, and Dawn do so.  At first nothing happens, but as soon as the thought of nothing happening comes to mind, something happens.

         Asvord remarks, “My stone is moving down.”  The other three relay the same message with their stone.

         As their stones go down, new stone pillars emerge!

         These new stone pillars come up around the large columns so that from any direction, one can step onto the pillars and then step to the column.  Each viking that stepped on the stones to cause this to happen, comment that the stone is about six inches below ground level.

         Asvord and Annabeth start to take their weight off the stones, but the pillars go back down and their stones back up!

         “Hurry, get back and stay on the stones!” Annabeth exclaims.  “Jarl, they are weighted.  We will not be able to move unless someone else takes our place.”

         “And with only three more,” I deduce.  “We will not have enough vikings to step onto the four columns.  Hey, Asvord?”

         “Yeah?”

         “Get Vixxen’s attention,” I request.

         “Yo Vixxen,” Asvord calls out.  “Jarl wants to speak with you.”

         Vixxen reluctantly gets up from leaning on the boulder and comes our way; once near Asvord, Vixxen addresses me, “What now?”

         “To complete this puzzle, we are going to need more vikings,” I state.  “If you would be so kind as to grace us with your presence, we would like to use your weight to keep pressure on these outside stone.”  At the mention of her weight, Vixxen is about to explode at me saying such a thing, but I smile and quickly say, “But I don’t know if you weigh enough to keep these stones pressed down, what with your impressive and athletic build.”

         Vixxen stops mid breath and comments instead, “How do you people put up with him?”

         Asvord shrugs, “Eh, that’s the only thing bad about him.  Plus, me and Elsa are kind of stuck with him, seeing how he is our brother.  The rest, they’ve stuck around so far, so they must have either grown numb to it or just ignore him.  However, one viking, who will remain nameless but their name rhymes with Dawn, is always on the verge of just walking away.”
         Vixxen flutters her eyelids and rolls her eyes as Asvord got in on the act too; Dawn remarks, sarcastically, “And if I did not have to stay standing on this thing, I would walk away right now.  I am almost to the point where I want to just walk off the nearest cliff.”

         Vixxen sighs, “I see it runs in the family too.  Alright, where do you want me.”

         Asvord replies, “You may take my spot, if you so choose.  This way your evilness does not have to walk so far.”  Asvord gave a bow.

         I think Vixxen would have reacted differently had my sister and I not just made some good bad jokes, Vixxen just ignored her.

         Asvord explained, “I will need you to put your right foot down as I remove my left foot.”

         Asvord and Vixxen make the transfer with minimal movement in the pillars.  I appeal to Klarp and the two guards to go do the same transfer with my other friends.  They do not go right away until Vixxen nods in approval.  Three minutes later, Klarp is now where Angie was and the other two guards swapped places with Dawn and Annabeth.  With my friends free, I ask them to use the pillars to step onto the columns.  The four girls take their new directive and carefully accomplish this.  However, when Annabeth stepped on the last pillar before she got onto the column, she nearly fell in because the pillar gave way beneath her; Annabeth flung her arms and went to her knees onto the column to secure her position on the column.
         I have not moved since I took my original spot to read the clue, but I had been watching Annabeth and quickly ask, “Are you okay?”

         Annabeth’s eyes are fearful for a couple moments until she breathes in and stands up, “I’m fine.”

         A few seconds later, the columns start to sink into the water but the good news is the water is draining somehow.  Also, the center chamber starts to rise.  The water drains maybe seven or eight yards deep.  The decreasing water level reveals steps leading down from the columns into the water chamber.  But with the chamber itself rising, it reveals an opening that Elsa, Cazi, and myself can look into.  Now in here, there is brighter blue algae lighting the chamber to the point where we can see what is in here.  There are even veins of the blue algae solidified on the inside walls of the chamber.

         Beyond what the chamber looks like on the inside, we also see a suspended fireplace -obviously not lit- from the walls by four chains.  There is our number four again too.  It is the same type of fireplace that was found at the other sites, other than the puzzle before this one.

         “Well,” Vixxen impatiently said.  “Can you get the Dragon Eye lens?”

         Looking at what I have to work with and where the fireplace is, I answer, “I have good news and bad news.  Starting with the good news, I can see the Dragon Eye.”

         Asvord questions, “What’s the bad news?”

         “I can’t reach it,” I remark.  “Annabeth, could you check it out from your guy’s point of view.”

         “Remember, Jarl,” Annabeth corrects me.  “These columns are no doubt the same as the buttons.  If we move, it will probably go back the way it was or worse, mess up the mechanics of this puzzle.  Who knows how old these are.”

         “You’re right,” I shake my head.  “I figured those stairs are meant for something.”

         Annabeth says, “They’re meant for the person to think they can just walk off… Like the nameless viking that rhymes with Dawn, just tried to do.”

         “Who me?” Dawn acted innocently.  I lean around the side of the chamber to see Dawn on the outer edge of the column.  As I look, she steps back to the center of the column.  “You didn’t see that,” she adds.

         “You’re right,” I state.  “I didn’t see you almost mess things up.”  Dawn looks at me and I add, “Just teasing.”

         “Though,” Dawn comes back.  “Sorry.”

         “I know you are,” I nod in acknowledgement.

         “How are we going to do this?” Cazi wonders out loud.

         I turn to my left and look at Elsa, “I am going to need your help.  Well, Cazi’s too, but I need you, Elsa, to get the lens.”

         Elsa face went from thoughtful to scared, I continue, “Even if we had more friends here to help us, those on the columns could not move and even if we could get someone down the stairs and into the chamber, they still could not reach it.  The fireplace is intentionally out of reach from either point of view.  The only way I see to reach the fireplace is if we were down there, you stand on my shoulders and reach up…  Or what I want to do is for me to lower you down to reach for the lens.  You are the lightest viking here.  Cazi will be behind me, holding my legs to steady me as I hold your legs to lower you down.  Can you do this for me?”

         Elsa starts to breathe a little fast, but takes a few longer breaths to calm herself down, she then responds, “I’ll do my best, brother.”

         “That’s all I can ask of you,” I give her a quick hug.  “You ready?”

         Elsa nods.  I ask the same of Cazi and she nods too.  So, Cazi steps back onto the first pathway we walked on, straddles it, and sits down.  I do the same just ahead of her, but when Elsa gets into position, I will lean forward flat against the pathway and ledge.

         Elsa sits down and crawls in front of me, laying down, and I around her legs, just in front of her knees.  I direct my sister to wrap her legs around my waist and interlock her feet together so she has two ways of being secured in my grasp.

         Elsa tells me she is ready by saying, “After this is over, you’ve got some serious making up to do.”

         “You do this,” I say.  “And I’ll clean the stalls out for a month.”

         Elsa counters, “You already do that.”

         “Oh yeah, sorry,” I just remembered.  “How ‘bout… How about the next time you think of something that I didn’t want to do, I will do for you.  I owe you a big favor that I cannot resist.”

         “Promise?” Elsa asks, without turning her head to look at me.

         “I promise and hope to spit,” I state.  “If we did not have to get the thing right now, I would shake on it too.”

         “Well, my foot’s right there,” Elsa comments and then gets serious.  “Let’s do this.”

         Elsa pulls herself in, Cazi steadies me as I slide.  We continue doing this until Elsa is completely upside down, perpendicular to ground level.

         “A little bit more,” Elsa remarks.

         I move a feel a few more inches before Elsa says, “Stop!”

         Cazi is to the point where she places her feet on the ledge, which actually is as stall as the place is, so it really is not a ledge.  Her move made me feel more stable which allowed me to feel better about holding my sister.  I am bent over at the waist.  I do not watch my sister reach for the lens, I simply focus on not letting her fall so she does not have to.

         “Come on,” she says under her breath.  “Come on you little rascal… Got it!”

         Right as she exclaimed that, I hear a hissing noise from just below me… A snake appears!

         I ever so slightly whisper, “Elsa.  Do.  Not.  Move.”

         Elsa freezes as the hissing continues.  The snake moves out from the inner edge of the chamber wall, sliding onto my sister’s left leg, just below my grip around her knee.  The snake’s body keeps coming out from the wall; it is a long snake.  It coils twice around her left thigh before going around her waist.  Only just now, do I see its tail.  The snake continues once around her waist before moving to her left arm, wrapping twice around it, then it stops!

         Elsa, noticeably crying now, starts to plead, “Jarl… Its…”

         I calmly interrupt, “Shh.  It is alright.  Just take steady breaths.  It is just a snake going about its business.  We interrupted its nap, it is just making sure we know what we did.  Leave it alone and it will be on its way.”

         The snake hung off her left arm while I said that but when I finished, it moves on continuing to wrap around her left arm, moving down to her wrist.  Its whole body is now wrapped around her left arm.

         Elsa’s voice cracks as she whispers in an extremely fearful tone, “Jarl, its hurting me.”

         “Just let it go its way,” I explain.  “As long as we don’t bother the snake, it won’t bother-.”

         Elsa interrupts, “I can’t feel my wrist.  What about the lens?”

         I remark in a low voice so only she hears me, “Just drop it.”

         “But-,” Elsa begins but I insist.  “Just drop it.”

         Elsa holds in a grunt to make the least amount of noise as the snake still coils around her wrist, putting all of its weight on her hand.

         “I’m sorry,” Elsa, still crying.  “I can’t hold it.”

         Elsa lets go of the lens, it falls, clinks off the floor below, and then a “sploosh” sound occurs.  The moment the lens hit the water, the snake detached from her arm and dropped to the bottom to investigate.

         “Get me up, get me up!” demanded Elsa.

         With all my might, I pull Elsa back up and Cazi pulls back on me.  The moment Elsa is back up right, she is trembling, and crawls over us to get back to the ground.  Cazi and I try not to fall in.  As Elsa gets over us, crying loudly, the ground around us starts to vibrate and then shake.

         “Get out of here!” I ordered Cazi and waved off everyone.

         Going off of instinct, I jump down to the platform in front of the stairs and go inside the chamber.  I hear a jumble of voices in a commotion behind me.  Instantly, I go to my knees and reach my right hand directly into the water!

         I swish my hand in the water to see if I can feel the lens.  I cannot feel it on the right side of the floor, so I turn to the left.  Seconds later, I feel my fingers on it!  I grab the lens, but the snake is right there.  It is hissing its head off and lunges at me, I fling my body backwards.  All at once, I feel a shooting paint on the right side of my face, the snake totally missed me, and I hear… Annabeth scream!

         The chamber starts collapsing in on itself.  I run up the stairs then jump and use the column as a launch spot to jump to safety of the ground on the other side.  I do not have enough distance, but stretch out my left hand, grabbing the edge; I have the lens in my right hand.  I feel my left hand slipping but Asvord slides to my rescue and grabs my arm, pulling me up to safety.

         Unaware as to what happened when I went after the lens, I look around.  I see Annabeth bent over, in front of Elsa, still distraught and… And Vixxen with her sword drawn and Annabeth holding the right side of her face!

         Shocked at what I am seeing, I demand, “What happened?”

         Vixxen totally triggered and raging, “I’ll tell you want happen.  SHE DROPPED THE LENS!!  I did not come this far just to have some wimpy teenager make a mess of my plans.  I have had it with you and your whole crew.  EVERYTHING!  This is the last straw!”

         Only thinking Vixxen is blowing off steam, I immediately go to Annabeth’s aid.  Elsa is still crying, but now into her hands.

         I look at Annabeth, “What’s-?” I start but stop short.

         From beneath Annabeth’s right hand, I see a drip of blood trickle down her cheek.

         In full reaction, I stand up, whirl around, and want to rush Vixxen.  To my surprise, Vixxen draws her sword back, with both hands, to strike me down!

         But Klarp steps in, grabbing her right wrist, holding her back, “Thorgunna!”

         Stunned by him stopping her, Vixxen menacingly stares at him, “Of all the nerve!  How dare you stop me!”

         “THORGUNNA!” Klarp commanded.

         “Don’t you dare call me that ever again,” Vixxen full anger said.  “I should have never let you rejoin our clan.”

         Vixxen does not give an inch, but Klarp forces the sword from her grasp.  Vixxen looks to try her best to keep that from happening, but basically just lets him have the sword after only a moment of struggling.

         Vixxen shoves the sword’s handle at Klarp and he steps back; Vixxen turns to me, “As for you… Come on!” Vixxen encourages me to come at me.  “COME AT ME!!

         I clench my left hand into a fist and dig my fingers into the wood casing of the lens with my right hand; all anger boiling up inside of me.

         Taking one step with my right foot, Annabeth immediately requests, “Jarl, don’t.”

         “Yeah,” Vixxen mockingly says.  “That’s right.  Listen to a girl.  Hide behind a skirt.  Let a girl tell-.”

         Klarp steps back in, “You need to stand down, Vixxen.”

         She snaps back at him, pointing with her right hand into his face, “You don’t have the right to tell me what to do, Klarp.”

         Just before I feel my anger about to boil over, I unclench my fist and throw the lens at Vixxen’s feet, “Here’s your stupid lens.  Hope your satisfied.”

         I turn around to help Annabeth.  Asvord already has Elsa standing up and walking, so I tend to Annabeth.  Pulling out a handkerchief out of my pocket, I give it to Annabeth to help stop the bleeding.  I help her up and we start swiftly walking back to the compound.

         After a few minutes, Annabeth tells me, “Thank you.”

         I sigh, replying, “You’re welcome.”

         Annabeth adds, “Do you think you would have gone after her had not said something?”

         “I want to say, ‘No,’ but,” I answer.  “After all that has happened today, it is getting very difficult.”

         “I’m proud of you,” Annabeth says to me while she briefly puts her head on my left shoulder, as I am to her right.  She then looks ahead at my two sisters, “I just hope Elsa is alright.”

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httyyd
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Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 10/12/2013
Drums R Round. Pi R Squared.

These two chapters are probably the two of my most detailed chapters ever, especially Chapter 46.