There was still chaos at the market, but on the other hand, Yanira, who was absorbed in the symbol, found herself surrounded by darkness. Surrounded by darkness, Yanira felt like she was falling through a tunnel, but then she suddenly felt like she was floating instead. As her sight began to adjust she saw that she was in what looked like a bird’s cage with the bars of the cage being of pure silver. She touched the bars only to pull her hand away when she felt the icy coldness of the metal.
“What is this?” Yanira muttered to herself, but then turned her gaze away from the bars when she heard the cry of an infant. She looked down to the ground and saw the crying child that appeared when the wind surrounded the market. She picked up the child gently and made “hush” noises to calm the crying infant down. The child soon stopped crying and slept quietly in Yanira’s arms. Yanira sighed in relief and then suddenly took notice of Molech lying on the ground.
“Captain,” Yanira exclaimed and then knelt next to his side placing a hand on his shoulder to shake him awake.
Molech began to stir and when he opened his eyes the first person he saw was Yanira looking at him with concern in her eyes. Molech sat up rubbing his sore head and then looked at Yanira asking, “Are you OK?”
“I’m unharmed, but what about you?”
“I’m fine,” stated Molech and then looked at their surroundings, “Where is this?”
“I don’t know, but it looks like a cage of some sort,” stated Yanira as she looked at her surroundings. Molech stood up crunching his knuckles saying, “We need to find a way out of here.” Molech touched the bars of the cage and felt the same ice chill that Yanira did, but the chill he felt was to the point of being painful, so he then began to search the ground for another way out.
As Molech searched, Yanira titled her head at Molech noticing that he seemed a little shorter, but Yanira shook her head believing it to be a trick of her eyes. She suddenly heard the baby groan and cradled the baby in her arms.
“I see you still have the baby,” Molech stated as he glanced at Yanira. Yanira nodded and added, “He was here when I was able to take in my surroundings” noticing the obvious anatomy between the child’s legs. The baby began to give out small grumbles, before opening his eyes. He stared at Yanira before giving out a giggle and tugging on a loose strand of Yanira’s long red hair.
“He looks unharmed,” stated Yanira with a warm smile as she rocked the laughing child in her embrace. Yanira had never held a baby before and the feel was quite refreshing to her to the point she wished that she had her own.
Yanira’s thoughts were interrupted when she heard Molech curse loudly followed by the clank of metal. Yanira glanced at him and saw Molech muttering curses under his breath as he slipped the armor off of his form.
“Is something wrong?”
“The armor became loose,” stated Molech as he threw the remaining armor to the floor and then adjusted the clothing he still wore, but Yanira tilted her head in bewilderment when she saw that his clothes, besides his armor were loose as well.
“Captain, I don’t think your clothes grew bigger…you seem to have grown smaller.”
Molech began to examine himself and felt like he was struck by lightning. The height he was so proud of had diminished to that of a male who hadn’t hit puberty yet. Actually, he resembled how he looked like when he was in his teens. As a teen, he was short for his age and was still short even when he reached his twenties. It took a lot of work and time to prove himself worthy for the army and his sudden growth spurt a year ago also helped, but now the proof of his work had vanished.
“How is this possible?” he muttered with his form slightly shaking.
“You’re in the Youth Chamber.”
Molech and Yanira were startled at the sudden new voice of what sounded like a teenager, but then realized that the voice came from above them. They both glanced upward and saw a platform and sitting on that platform was a teenage boy wearing loose clothing. He had short black messy hair and a thin figure. He was clearly a teenager, but he gave off the aura of being an adult.
Molech grabbed his sword, pointing it at the unknown youth, demanding who the boy was. The teenager shrugged saying, “Can you seriously not recognize me? Shouldn’t my clothes ring any bells?” Molech blinked in confusion, but then Yanira gasped saying, “Charnak?”
The teenager nodded and jumped off the platform landing between the two. He glanced at Molech saying, “At least Lady Nira recognized me.”
Molech shook his head saying, “That can’t be, you’re so…”
“…Young? I can say the same to you and you were only in here for two hours at best, unlike me.”
Yanira examined Charnak from a distance and asked, “How did you get here?”
“A symbol of a wolf appeared under me and sucked me in. It was pretty quiet when it captured me.”
“A similar symbol brought us here, but it was pretty loud.”
“My guess is that whoever brought us here, knew where I would be, but for you two, it was a guess of your whereabouts.”
Yanira frowned unsure of what to think, but snapped out of her thoughts when the baby gave out a coo. Yanira smiled cradling the child, but Charnak laid his eyes on the child saying, “It really got worse for this guy.”
“You know this child?”
Charnak nodded saying, “He was in here with me when I first got here, but he was a ten-year-old (I think) at the time.”
“Is this true?” asked Molech staring at the infant with wide eyes. Charnak nodded and sat on the ground, crossing his legs.
“His name is Azrael. He said he was an aristocrat from Nayaleah Kingdom. He said that this place is called the Youth Chamber, a cursed space that was thought to be a myth in his kingdom. This chamber makes your age go down by one each hour, until you are an infant.”
Charnak glanced at the child, Azrael, and added, “Azrael disappeared about two hours ago, so I guess he found a way out or he was sucked into the spell that was trying to grab you two.”
Molech frowned, punching the ground muttering, “Who the Hell brought us here?”
“Someone with a grudge,” answered Charnak and suddenly grew a little shorter before Yanira and Molech.
“Another hour has passed,” stated Charnak and at that moment, Molech stumbled as he felt his body shrink a bit. Molech muttered out curses punching the ground repeatedly to vent out his anger.
Yanira noticed the blood forming on Molech’s fists and grabbed his wrist saying, “Calm down, Captain.”
Molech yanked his wrist away from Yanira demanding how he could calm down, but paused in his actions as he looked at Yanira. If Charnak was correct that they were in the chamber for about two hours (three at the moment) then Yanira should have shrunk a bit more compared to Molech and Charnak, since she was the youngest, but her height had yet to change.
“Lady Nira, do you feel any different in this chamber?”
Yanira shook her head saying, “I feel fine.”
Molech was silent, before facing Charnak, who looked just as surprised as him.
“Did Azrael tell you anything else about this chamber?”
“He did tell me the story about the origins of the chamber. He said that the chamber was made by an elderly king who wanted to remain young forever, so making a contract with a demon and a witch, he created the Youth Chamber. He would stay in the chamber for hours until he reached the age he yearned to be and as a result ruled his kingdom for hundreds of years. His ruling continued until a coup happened and he was sealed in the chamber, until he turned into an infant and died. That’s about it.”
“Are you sure?”
“…Now that I think about it, other people went into the chamber in the story of the Youth Chamber, but they were all adults. They never mentioned children going into the chamber.”
“So the Youth Chamber might only affect adults.”
Charnak and Molech paused as they both looked at Yanira and then asked, “How old are you?”
Yanira nodded, taken aback by their sudden yell.
“Are you really eleven?”
Yanira nodded and stated, “I’m just a little big for my age.”
Molech and Charnak stared at Yanira finding it hard to believe that the teenage looking girl before them was still a child. Molech was the first to shake his head and stated, “So it is official that the Youth Chamber doesn’t work on children, but that doesn’t really help us out in escaping this space.” Charnak nodded in agreement.
Yanira watched Charnak and Molech ponder to themselves, but then heard the baby whimper making her rock the baby in her arms.
“Don’t worry, Azrael, we’ll find a way out.”
Azrael giggled and tugged on her hair again. Yanira giggled, but suddenly noticed that in the reflection of Azrael’s eyes, she could have sworn that she saw a white pearl floating in midair. She looked over her shoulder and saw only the endless abyss beyond the bars of the cage. She then looked back at the child and saw him laughing and waving his hands at her. Yanira pressed her lips together in thought and then wrapped her hand around Azrael’s small hand.
“Anugrit No Kayishu Fibimo Sino Bahmancetas.”
Azrael stopped laughing as he stared at Yanira in a daze.
“I don’t know if this will work, but can you hear me, Azrael?”
“…I can hear you.”
Yanira sighed in relief and continued using the mind connection spell with Azrael.
“Do you know of a way out from here?”
“I think so. I didn’t know before when I first got here, but…I know now when I reached this form. There is a pearl beyond the bars. If you can grab the pearl, you can return to where you came from.”
“Can it get us all out?”
“It can. It was meant as a key for this chamber before the chamber became a curse.”
“I understand. I’ll try to find it.”
“Before you try, you must know that a drop of blood is required.”
“A drop of blood, why?”
“The chamber was originally made using a contract, so in order to make this chamber no longer a curse, you have to establish a new contract.”
“But I already have a contract with the Kraken in Rheolis Kingdom.”
“You’re from Rheolis Kingdom…that’s pretty far…Well, it shouldn’t be a problem, I mean the contract of this chamber was originally made using a demon, a witch, and a king; so having more than one contract should be fine.”
“I’m not sure that made sense.”
“Just trust me. Find a way into that abyss and grab the pearl. You must at least try or…”
Yanira felt a jolt and then noticed that the baby in her arms was laughing, while tugging her hair again. She realized that the spell she was using was forcibly cut off, but even though she didn’t know the cause of the spell breaking, she heard enough to know how to get them out of the Youth Chamber.
Yanira approached Molech and Charnak, who were both searching the cage again, and held the baby toward Charnak. Charnak raised an eyebrow at her asking, “What do you want me to do with him?”
“Can you carry him for a while?”
Yanira glanced at the abyss beyond the bars and stated, “I need to find the pearl.”
“What pearl?” demanded Molech as he approached Charnak and Yanira.
“I used a mind connection spell to communicate with Azrael and learned that there is a pearl out in that abyss that can get us out of here,” explained Yanira. Molech and Charnak seemed doubtful about her words, especially when they saw that they couldn’t even get out of the cage in the first place, but as they looked at the determination in her eyes, they felt that they could trust her.
“All right,” stated Charnak as he took Azrael from Yanira’s arms, but the moment Azrael left her arms, Azrael began to sob as he reached out to her. Seeing the infant’s tears nearly broke Yanira’s heart, but she just smiled and caressed his head making his sobs dwindle.
“I’ll be right back.”
Azrael sniffled and slowly drifted off to sleep in Charnak’s arms. Yanira withdrew her hand and saying, “Please wait for me.” Molech and Charnak nodded and watched as Yanira approached the bars.
Yanira touched the bars and felt the same icy coldness of the bars, and then muttered, “Agnika No Kayishu Fibimi Sino.” Flames surrounded her hands melting the bars before her in an instant. As Molech and Charnak stared at her display of power in disbelief, Yanira sighed in relief, glad that the spell actually had an effect on the bars, even though the spell was still of the lower form. She hesitated at first to step into the dark abyss, but after a few deep breaths, she leapt into the dark abyss, but as she did, she muttered, “Anugrit No Kayishu Fibimo Sino Jongda Sulufinis.” The moment the words were spoken, a thread of red light emitted from her body and wrapped around the wrist of Molech and Charnak.
“What is this?” Molech muttered, but Charnak’s eyes widened and stated, “She used the binding thread.”
“I saw the previous priestess use it once when she entered an unknown part of the forest. She muttered out the same spell and a red thread wrapped around one of the guarding soldiers’ wrists. It is supposed to guide the priestess back if she were to get lost, but I heard that the spell is risky, since if this thread snaps it could cause the priestess great pain.”
“Then why would Lady Nira take such a risk?”
“…I guess because we have no other way to ensure that she will get back.”
Molech frowned as he looked at the only opening of the cage, where the red thread led out into the darkness. He clenched his fist hoping that “Lady Nira” would be safe.