The darkness seemed to stretch for miles as Yanira journeyed through. There was no end in sight and the constant darkness made Yanira feel like she was going to be engulfed, but she reassured herself when she glanced at the red thread emitting from her left pinky. Taking another deep breath, she pushed herself forward. She suddenly noticed a glimmer in the distance and adjusting her eyes to the darkness, she saw the pearl that Azrael mentioned to her. It had a shine that penetrated the darkness, but wasn’t enough to be blinding.
Yanira slid to it, reaching out her hand, but a strong force shoved her hand back nearly making her fly back as well. Yanira maintained her upright position staring at the pearl.
“That’s right,” said Yanira in sudden realization, “It requires a drop of blood.” Yanira bit the tip of her thumb drawing out a bead of blood and then held it over the pearl, while putting pressure to her thumb to force the blood out. A bead of blood dripped from her injured finger and landed on the pearl creating a small echo like rain touching the surface of a lake for the first time. The sound was followed by a force like a ripple that made Yanira inch back with uncertainty.
The next thing she knew, she saw two figures emerge from the pearl: a man maybe around his thirties with black horns protruding from his head and a woman around her teens with tattered white clothing.
The man was obviously not human judging by the horns on his head, but he also had pointed ears like an elf which were said to be extinct and silver hair that shined in the darkness. His eyes were deep red just like crimson blood and his skin was pale. If anything, the perfect description of him would be a demon king, especially with the dark armor he wore.
The woman on the other hand looked human, but her hair was violet with traces of gold strands in it. Her skin was just as pale, but had traces of faded tattoo symbols on her arms and legs that gave off a small shine now and then. From Yanira’s studies, she recognized the symbols as marks of a witch of olden times. Her clothes were indeed tattered, but had traces of burned edges like she had just traveled through fire.
Both the unnamed man and woman faced Yanira with blank expressions.
“Is it your blood that was spilled?” asked the man with seriousness appearing on his face. Yanira nodded, but gasped when the woman suddenly flew around her with an amused smile on her lips.
“This one is quite curious. She is young and yet has the appearance of a young woman. If I didn’t know better, I would say she was of the same race as me.”
“A witch?” the man asked, but the woman shook her head adding, “I said if I didn’t know better, but I know better, she is of the purer kind: a priestess. Am I right?”
Yanira nodded and asked, “Who are you two?”
The woman chuckled as she floated back to the man’s side.
“Did you hear that? She spilled her blood on the contract and yet doesn’t know our identities. Isn’t that funny?”
The man didn’t give out a chuckle and instead floated to Yanira making her slightly flinch.
“Are you aware that you reside in the Youth Chamber?”
“Then are you aware of the story that comes with its creation?”
Yanira nodded again and stated, “I heard that a king made a contract with a witch and a demon to make this chamber to be young forever before he was betrayed.”
The man nodded and then placed a hand to his chest saying, “I am that demon he made the contract with, Morpheus.” He then held a hand toward the woman who was giggling in delight adding, “She is the witch, Keahi.” Yanira’s eyes widened, clearly surprised by the reveal.
“When the king made the contract we remained in this void to eat the time that was offered to us, but now it has come to the point that the time here is dwindling to the point that we nearly lost ourselves, but with your blood we have the chance to escape this cursed place.”
The woman, Kaehi, suddenly flew to Yanira saying, “Thank you for spilling your blood.” The woman then did a back flip asking the man, Morpheus, when they could leave, but Yanira suddenly frowned saying, “I know you guys want out, but my friends and I are trapped too, so please help us.”
Morpheus frowned, saying, “Listen: spilling your blood allows you to leave with us, the contract makers, but anyone else not involved with the contract can’t.”
“But Azrael said that we could all leave.”
Morpheus shook his head saying, “The moment we all leave the Youth Chamber, the chamber will seize to exist. Your friends will be gone, the price of breaking the curse of the chamber.” Yanira felt her heart break when she learned that her companions wouldn’t be able to leave, but as she looked at Morpheus and Keahi, she clenched her fists and said, “I won’t leave without my companions.”
“Foolish,” Morpheus stated and suddenly grabbed her wrist making her cringe, but when he saw the red thread on her left pinky, he frowned saying, “This thread…you would go this far not to be separated from them.” Yanira nodded, knowing that the thread was a dangerous spell that could even scar her destiny. Morpheus released her wrist and then glanced at Keahi saying, “Tell me, with this girl, is there another way for her to get everyone out.” Keahi pondered to herself and then nodded saying, “If it’s her then it is possible. She would just need to make a contract of release with everyone that was cursed in this chamber.”
Yanira’s eyes widened asking, “How do I do that?” Keahi giggled holding her hand to Yanira saying, “Take my hand and I will use the power you possess as a priestess to call the souls of the ones trapped here.”
“The souls trapped here…you mean the ones who came before my companions and I?”
Keahi nodded urging Yanira to take her hand, but Yanira then asked, “But aren’t they all dead?”
“Not quite, remember that time is absorbed here, but death does not come for the young, now take my hand before I change my mind.”
Yanira nodded and clasped Keahi’s extended hand. Yanira felt a jolt run through her body followed by heat that made her sweat. Keahi laughed as sparks surrounded her form that made her long hair rise in the air. The sparks soon erupted from Yanira and Keahi’s bodies and the next thing Yanira knew she saw orbs of lights begin to surround them.
Keahi released Yanira’s hand saying, “They are all here and you can use the thread to get your companions here as well.” Yanira nodded and touched the thread and within seconds, she saw Molech, Charnak, and baby Azrael floating next to her.
“How did we get here?” asked Molech in shock, while Charnak stared in disbelief.
Yanira pulled them to her making sure to end the Binding thread spell and explained the situation and then added, “I know summoning you guys here was out of the blue, but I can get us out of here, but with your help.”
Charnak and Molech were still quite in shock, but looking at Yanira’s serious expression they nodded and asked what they needed to do.
Yanira looked at Keahi and Morpheus and asked, “How do I make the contract?” Keahi grinned toward Morpheus, who sighed before gripping the pearl that Keahi and him emerged from and holding it to Yanira.
“Grip this pearl and repeat my words.”
Yanira nodded and took the pearl from Morpheus before gripping it tightly in her hand.
“Repeat after me: Shurihola, Creation of Gods.”
“Shurihola, Creation of Gods.”
“Gihandepel, a promise of eternity.”
“Gihandepel, a promise of eternity.”
“Kuheshma, a bond that lasts forever.”
“Kuheshma, a bond that lasts forever.”
“With this bond, the contract of release is invoked. Now put the words together.”
“With this bond, the contract of release is invoked: Shurihola Gihandepel Kuheshma!”
A violet color began to surround Yanira as the words echoed in the darkness. She refused to shut her eyes as she saw the same violet surround her companions as well as the orbs of light. The violet color also surrounded Morpheus and Keahi.
Keahi giggled saying, “The contract is complete, now open the chamber and release us all!” Yanira nodded and punched forward with the hand that gripped the pearl. A vortex emerged from the center of the punch and began to absorb all the orbs. Molech and Charnak didn’t have time to react as they were pulled in along with a laughing baby Azrael. Keahi soon followed giggling in delight. Morpheus walked toward the vortex, until he noticed that Yanira had still not walked through.
“Aren’t you entering?”
“Not until I am sure that everyone is through.”
Morpheus widened his eyes, but then smiled saying, “You are truly kind hearted.” He then stepped into the vortex giving a wink toward Yanira.
Yanira felt the darkness around her begin to crumble and was about to step into the vortex until she noticed that one orb seemed to be in distress as it was pulled by some unknown force. Yanira reached toward the orb saying, “This way.” The orb struggled to get to Yanira, but it was pulled back as the darkness near it crumbled. Yanira leapt toward it and grabbed it, but the vortex soon began to close the moment she stepped away.
Yanira reached toward the vortex that grew smaller as the darkness deteriorated around her rapidly. The moment the vortex became the size of a ring, she felt her heart sink, but the sinking feeling was replaced with awe when she heard a crack echo in her ear. The next thing she knew, gold light emitted from her jade ring. The vortex expanded quickly as the gold light grew. Yanira squinted and saw that there was a small dragon within the light cooing at her. The dragon grabbed her hand and pulled her through the vortex making her tumble. As the vortex began to close, she grabbed the dragon and shut her eyes. The vortex soon shattered completely leaving no trace of the Youth Chamber.
Almost at the same time, in the market grounds of Rheolis Kingdom, Damario and his soldiers were searching the market place as if they were searching for criminals by tossing the stands that were present upside down and even demanding any information on the whereabouts of the captain and the priestess. The people of the kingdom were in distress by the rough searching to the point that some were even begging to be spared.
Grian, who had reported the disappearance of the captain and the priestess, approached Damario, who was barking out orders, saying, “Your majesty, I can assure you that the people aren’t aware where Lady Nira and Captain went, so I advise you to go easy on the search.”
The moment Grian spoke those words; Damario slapped him away sending him flying to the ground. Damario didn’t say a word as Grian stared at him with wide eyes and a hand on his cheek. To Grian, Damario resembled that of a mad dog as he glared at the cowering people.
Damario, on the other hand, wasn’t aware on how he was acting. He was focused on locating “Lady Nira,” even if it meant hurting the people present.
“FIND HER!” he yelled in a volume that made everyone present shake in fear.
Grian clenched his fist turning away from Damario with a frown, but then his expression changed to one of shock when a vortex emerged next to him. He scurried back calling out to Damario.
Damario noticed the vortex and before he could even speak a word, orbs of light erupted out and then collided into different parts of the damaged market place. Following the orbs was a laughing teenage girl flying around and a man with horns that nearly made the people present scream out in horror. After them, emerged Molech and Charnak in their teenage forms and a young blonde-haired boy maybe the age of thirteen who stood next to the two after rolling to the ground.
The vortex was still wide open as Molech looked around saying, “We’re back.” Charnak nodded, but immediately knelt down when he saw Damario staring at them with wide eyes, and said, “Your majesty.” Molech gasped noticing Damario and knelt down on one knee as well.
Damario stared at the two in confusion, but then came to a realization when he saw their faces.
Molech and Charnak both nodded.
“Why do you look like that?” asked Damario as he examined them.
“Long story,” the two said with exasperated tones.
Damario allowed them to rise, but then his eyes fell on the vortex that still remained opened.
“What is that?”
Before Molech and Charnak could answer, Morpheus stood before them pointing toward the vortex.
“That is the gateway the young priestess made for our return.”
“Who are you?” Damario demanded in a startled tone.
“Morpheus is my name. Now please step back so the priestess may return.”
“Priestess…you mean Lady Nira?”
“Is that her name? Interesting. Well, I do mean her, so please make way, king.”
Damario nodded, his concern for Yanira overweighing his suspicions on the horned man. Molech and Charnak did the same, but Charnak suddenly glanced at the blonde haired boy he just noticed with wide eyes.
“Is that you, Azrael?”
The blonde haired boy nodded and added, “I guess the time that remained in the Youth Chamber was divided between the people trapped in there.” The boy, Azrael, looked at Charnak and joined him saying, “I am forever grateful to Lady Nira.” Charnak could only nod as his gaze landed on the vortex.
The vortex flickered before Yanira finally emerged with a yelp and slid on the ground sending dirt flying around her. The vortex then vanished in a flickering light leaving the people in awe.
“Lady Nira!” exclaimed Grian as he tried to run to her, but was shoved back by Damario, who ran to Yanira’s fallen form. Damario knelt next to her and then hugged her close asking if she was all right. Yanira groaned as she lifted up her head and saw Damario’s face.
“I’m OK,” stated Yanira in almost a mumble, but she immediately perked up when she saw that in her arms were two beings: a baby golden dragon cooing at her in delight and a young boy with white hair maybe in his toddler years breathing softly against her chest.
“Where did you two come from?” Yanira asked with a warm smile, but she gasped when Damario suddenly asked, “What is this?”
Yanira didn’t know how to answer, until she remembered the crack she heard before the gold light with the dragon appeared. She glanced at her Jade ring and smiled saying, “The Dragon egg hatched.” The gold dragoon cooed rubbing against her cheek.
Yanira then looked at the toddler, who looked exhausted and remembered the orb she grabbed in the Youth Chamber.
“You must be one of the orbs…no, one of the souls trapped in the Youth Chamber.”
Damario was confused by Yanira’s words, but suddenly heard people exclaiming around him and noticed that teenagers both female and male were emerging from the areas the orbs collided into before with bewilderment in their faces. They suddenly turned their gazes toward Yanira and ran to her making Damario hold her in a protective grip, but to his surprise, the moment the teenagers reached Yanira, they knelt down on one knee saying, “We are forever in your debt.”
“What is this?” Damario muttered to himself. Yanira managed to slip from Damario’s tight grip and stood up holding the toddler and the gold dragon facing the people bowing before her. Yanira smiled brightly with a giggle saying, “I’m glad you are all unharmed.”
Just Yanira’s smile alone sent warmth through the hearts of the people present. Even the people that were panicked before found themselves calm and even bowed their heads to Yanira.
On that day, it became known as the Time of Youth.