ULTIMATES REWRITE: Book 3: The Artifacts of Electricity: (Chapter 19)
Posted July 5th, 2021 by QuartzMaster
in The Ultimates Galaxy
Here is the next chapter!
Kaze looked around. He, Saturo, Draco, Lagi, and Mehrunes had just walked into the first dungeon. In front of them, there was a tiny platform that led to what seemed to be the end of the room. Below the platform lay a pool of lava, and on the walls and ceiling of the room were all sorts of traps. There were multiple sharp pendulums swinging back and forth across the platform.
“Uhh… this doesn’t look safe,” Saturo commented.
“It’s only a mild absolute death trap,” Draco said.
“Yeaaaaaah…” Kaze said, astonished. “But we need to get past it somehow…” He looked over at the others. “Going in would be stupid. We should come up with a plan or something.”
“Since when are you against rushing in with no plan?” Mehrunes asked.
“Better late than never I suppose.” Draco shrugged.
“Bruh, who in their right mind would rush in into a clearly dangerous place like this?” Kaze said, pointing to all the traps in the room.
Mehrunes smirked. “Alright then. Amuse me. What’s your plan, genius?”
“I don’t have one! ‘We’ should come up with one, use all our minds, ya know? Like how they say two minds are better than one? We got five minds here, so let’s use them all!” Kaze suggested.
“Okay so what we do is simple,” Lagi began. “We walk across the platform and not get hit by any of the sharp stuff. Also don’t fall down.” He nodded his head. “Flawless.”
“That’s more our objective than a plan, bud,” Draco said.
“Well then tell me your plan! I think mine was pretty good,” Lagi said.
“Actually I agree with Draco on your plan,” Mehrunes replied first. “That’s like, a checklist of things that don’t actually help. It would be like going out shopping and on your list it said ‘fire, sustenance, and cheese’ and nothing else at all.”
“Hmm… looking at the pendulums, they appear to be in an alternating pattern, with each other pendulum swinging the opposite direction of the one before.” Draco pointed out.
“But there’s also traps on the walls in the spaces between them,” Mehrunes replied. “You’d have to be fast to get past it.”
“I’m pretty fast but I don’t know if I’m fast enough…” Saturo commented. “And even if I was, there’s still the rest of you. So… that won’t work.”
“Looking at the lava, there seems to be about three yards of space vertically between its surface and the path going down from one end to the other, with about two yards of horizontal space between the path and the wall,” Draco observed.
“I could fly right above the lava and not get hit by the traps above! Would that work?” Kaze exclaimed.
“Not at all. Close proximity to lava tends to melt flesh, so just about everyone here except me and maybe Draco couldn’t survive being anywhere near it,” Mehrunes said. “Even without the lava melting bones, it would be accounted for with some form of creatures in the lava to make sure if you fall off, you’re staying.”
“Oh. So that won’t work…” Kaze rubbed his chin, trying to think of something.
“This room is dangerous in general,” Saturo said. “No matter what we think of, there will be some risk.”
“Sounds like a summary of this whole ‘quest,’” Draco said, making air quotes with his fingers. “Mehrunes, you can probably get past this somehow, right?”
Mehrunes smirked. “Yeah, I can. Easily.”
“What about us? Can you provide us with a safe path or something to go after you with?” Saturo asked him.
“In the interest of being smug, I’ll say I don’t have to do that.” Mehrunes smirked. “Because this room is impossible.”
“Then… what… how are we supposed to get past it?” Kaze asked, scratching his hair. He was confused on what Mehrunes meant, all of them were unsure.
Mehrunes simply started walking casually down the narrow path. “You’d think if actual lava was this close, you’d be sweating, right?”
“If you were them, probably,” Draco said, since the others didn’t resist heat with their powers like he did.
“It’s almost like this room is, oh I dunno, predominantly illusion, and practically harmless,” Mehrunes said, walking straight through a swinging blade harmlessly.
“Oh dang, it’s all just an illusion?!” Kaze exclaimed, shocked that nothing had happened to Mehrunes.
“Either that or Mehrunes has been a ghost this whole time.” Draco chuckled a bit.
“It makes sense, really. The whole room is an illusion and it’s so complicated and hard to process, no one ever wants to even attempt. People who do can see that not even the lava is real, and the pit almost isn’t itself,” Mehrunes said. “There. Satisfied?”
“Yeah.” Kaze nodded. He cautiously began to follow behind Mehrunes.
“That would explain why the wall seems relatively unharmed by something at thousands of degrees in temperature,” Draco said.
“That makes this room a lot easier then.” Saturo followed Kaze, holding the artifact axe he had with him tightly, making sure not to accidentally drop it in the fake lava.
Draco simply followed behind him, and Lagi did as well.
“Wait, you said there was a pit,” Kaze then said to Mehrunes as a swinging pendulum went right through him. “Where is it? I don’t see any pit.”
Mehrunes, towards the end of the room, jumped, and then promptly fell through the floor. Kaze then realized that that was where the pit was, and followed behind Mehrunes, hopping into the pit at the end of the room.
As Kaze fell, he noticed there were spikes at the bottom. Before he could even start to panic, Mehrunes caught him and set him down. The spikes were just an illusion as well.
“The one time it was actually better to run in without a plan, you didn’t. Isn’t that amusing?” Mehrunes asked.
Kaze chuckled. “Yeah, pretty amusing actually. If I had just ran right in, I would’ve been fine.”
Saturo, Draco, and Lagi then dropped down, landing beside Kaze and Mehrunes.
“I knew my plan would work,” Lagi said, smiling.
“It wasn’t a plan, and it also wasn’t yours,” Mehrunes replied.
“But it worked,” Lagi said.
“Wonder how we knew it was all an illusion. Weird,” Mehrunes said sarcastically, passive aggressively glaring at Lagi.
“Didn’t you already say it was an illusion?” Lagi asked.
“It doesn’t matter anymore, we got past it,” Kaze said. He walked forward through the exit, appearing in a different room.
As everyone else entered the room after him, Kaze scanned this new room. It wasn’t filled with traps like the previous one. It was just empty with a pedestal in the middle that had an obvious, red button on it.
Kaze, Saturo, Draco, Mehrunes and Lagi gathered around the button.
“Can I press it?” Lagi asked. “Because I reeeeeally wanna press it.”
“We shouldn’t just press it willy nilly bud,” Draco said, shaking his head.
Mehrunes took out his sword, looking around the room. “I don’t see anything immediately dangerous in this room. Or much of anything at all. Does the button say something, anywhere?”
“Doesn’t look like it,” Saturo said, looking at the button. “There’s nothing.”
“Wait, there’s something written over here!” Kaze exclaimed, pointing at the back of the pedestal that the button was on.
“Please think before you act, intruder, for this room is deceiving. Should you push the button, your life will be all but fleeting.”
“Oh a death button, how nice,” Draco said.
Lagi then slowly reached his hand out towards the button, his eyes widening. “Fancy words…” he whispered.
Draco proceeded to grab Lagi’s arm and pull it back to Lagi’s side. Lagi then began to reach out with his other hand, whispering quietly to himself. Draco grabbed that arm too.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to press the button, Lagi,” Saturo commented.
“B-but button,” Lagi said, struggling against Draco’s grip. “It had the fancy words…”
“Yes, fancy words that say we will DIE if we press it,” Draco stated.
“No it didn’t… it just said we’d be everything but fleeting. That sounds good, right? No fleeting?” Lagi said, starting to shake his arms harder to press the button.
“I’m not even gonna try to explain to you what that actually means,” Draco said as he let go of Lagi. “Just don’t touch the button.”
“Okay…” Lagi said, looking down.
“Yeah uh… we should look around some more and see if we can find anything that could lead us to the exit o-” Kaze started.
“LAGI, WHAT DID I JUST SAY!?” Draco yelled as he tackled Lagi to the floor. Judging by his position, Lagi had attempted to run over and push the button.
“Button!!” Lagi yelled, thrashing on the ground.
“NO!” Draco yelled. He had Lagi pinned on his stomach, restraining him from further thrashing.
“Aaaaaaanyway,” Kaze continued. “Let’s avoid the button and look around some more.”
“That sounds like a pretty good idea,” Saturo said, nodding.
“I’ve looked,” Mehrunes replied. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I side with Lagi. This room is flat empty.”
“Empty? There isn’t even anything hidden?” Kaze questioned.
“Nothing. There’s no signs of anything, there’s not even signs the button will do anything. There’s nothing magical in this room, there’s no scrapes, there’s jack squat, a button, and a bunch of lies,” Mehrunes said, walking towards the mess that was Draco and Lagi. “So if you don’t mind.”
“I get to press the button?” Lagi asked.
“It’s the only thing we have to go on, and you’re the most expendable.” Mehrunes smirked. “Draco, get off him.”
Draco stood up and moved away so Lagi could stand up. The moment Lagi was free, he hopped up to his feet and launched himself towards the button. He didn’t even stop to press the button, he just slapped it on his way past it. He continued running until he made it to the wall on the other side of the room, which he rammed into.
They all waited to see if something would happen. Nothing did for a moment.
“Nothing happened.” Kaze pointed it out. But just after he finished talking, the room started shaking violently.
“You need patience,” Mehrunes commented. As the room continued to shake, a path of stairs opened up right behind the button, leading downward. Then the shaking came to a halt.
“I did it?” Lagi asked, walking towards the stairs.
“Yes, looks like you did.” Saturo smiled at him.
Lagi took a deep breath, and let it out. “Yes…” he whispered.
“Alright guys, let’s keep moving now.” Kaze then started walking down the stairs. Everyone else followed him and they all walked down the stairs. The path was lit up by candles, and it would take them a good minute to reach the end of the stairs.
As they were walking, Kaze suddenly stopped. He had heard the sound of an explosion, and he could see light.
“Something’s there guys, let’s be careful…” Kaze said to the others, continuing to go down the stairs cautiously.
“I wonder if it’s the artifact…” Lagi whispered.
Once they made it to the end of the stairs, Lagi found out that it was not the artifact. In this new large room which seemed to be a maze, he could see orbs of light floating in the air. The orbs charged towards a specific place, or rather, a specific person.
Kaze, Saturo, and Draco all quickly hid their energy. Mehrunes, on the other hand, had been hiding his energy the whole time, while Lagi didn’t even know that such a thing existed.
The five of them looked towards the action. Glare and Dakure were on top of the maze walls, battling each other. Constant orbs of light kept on attacking Dakure, and Dakure either blocked them or dodged them. This fight seemed more serious than their previous ones.
“…they’re distracted. We can quickly get the artifact and leave,” Kaze said quietly. “Where’s the artifact in this maze?”
“Maybe it’s in the middle,” Saturo said. He looked down at the axe he was carrying. It was emitting a soft glow, which it wasn’t doing before. “I think I know where it is.”
Kaze tilted his head to the side and then dug in his pocket, taking out the amulet. It was glowing softly too.
“Let’s use that one, since it’s smaller,” Saturo then said. “I’ll stay here and wait for you guys. Because if Dakure notices me, the axe is big and easy to snatch. It’d be risky.”
“I guess so.” Kaze shrugged. “What do you guys think?”
“I think I should stay back too. Those two people look scary,” Lagi said.
“Alright, you two can wait here,” Kaze said, before turning around.
“This is going to go poorly,” Mehrunes commented.
“I believe in them,” Lagi said.
“Yeah, we got this. Glare and Dakure are distracted with each other, so all we have to do is sneak and get the artifact and then get out of here,” Kaze said.
“This is going to go poorly,” Mehrunes repeated.
“They’re not gonna take no for an answer. We’ve gotta roll with it,” Draco said to him.
“So they’re stubborn and stupid or brave. Got it,” Mehrunes said. “Do you know how to get through the maze?”
“I’ve actually got something in mind that I’ve been practicing…” Kaze said with a slight grin, looking down at the amulet he was holding. “But it’d only work with me. You two will have to get there by yourselves.”
Mehrunes shrugged. “Alright weirdo.”
Kaze cocked a brow. “Weirdo? Why you callin’ me a weirdo now?”
Mehrunes shrugged, again. “Does it really matter, or do you just wanna move on already.”
“Alright, whatever man.” Kaze turned to Draco. “Let’s go.”
“Sure,” Draco said.
After looking up and seeing that Glare and Dakure were still fighting each other, Kaze ran into the maze, looking down at the amulet, using its glow as a method to track the artifact. It was still glowing only slightly.
Kaze then looked back to see if Draco and Mehrunes were following him.
And they were. He wasn’t sure why he expected them not to, he just wanted to make sure they were coming.
“Alright…” Kaze then stopped walking and took a deep breath. He focused as he closed his eyes.
“Galex, my energy is hidden right? So I can use my techniques and not be discovered?” Kaze questioned in his head, just to make sure.
“Yes. You are good to go.”
Kaze nodded. The air around him then began to move, specifically near his body. It moved at an extreme speed, surrounding Kaze like a barrier, making him disappear from sight. He was not invisible; he was transparent.
Kaze then looked back at Draco and Mehrunes.
Mehrunes unflinchingly narrowed his eyes and kept moving, and Draco looked mildly intrigued at most.
Kaze grinned as he then slowly flew up in the air, towering over the walls of the maze. He looked down at the amulet in his hands, which was still visible. He shortly found out that he didn’t need to use the amulet as a tracking device. The middle of the maze, which was surrounded by four large pillars, had a statue of a bearded man there. That statue was wearing a helmet on its head, and that helmet had vivid lightning bolt symbols on it.
“There it is!” Kaze exclaimed mentally. He flew over to the statue, but stopped midair just as an orb of light flew past him. He looked over at Glare and Dakure.
Both of them were surrounded by auras, too focused with each other to pay any attention to Kaze.
Kaze cautiously flew over to the statue, and once he made it there and landed on the ground in front of the statue, he sighed in relief.
“Now I just have to get that helmet…” Kaze said to himself quietly. He looked down at the amulet to see how much it was glowing now but…
It wasn’t there.
It wasn’t in his hands anymore.
“…” Kaze started to mentally panic. “WHERE’D THE AMULET GO!? IT WAS JUST WITH ME AWHILE AGO!”
He hastily looked around, hoping that he had just accidentally dropped it.
“Looking for this?”
Kaze then made eye contact with a black haired teenage boy dressed in black robes, Gagger. Gagger grinned as he waved the amulet at Kaze.
“Gotta say, you bringing this to me was a real help.” Gagger chuckled as he looked down at the amulet.
Kaze, annoyed, tried to get the amulet back. But Gagger just placed his hand in front of Kaze’s face, stopping him from getting any closer.
“That’s an interesting technique you’re using though,” Gagger commented. “You’re transparent. Maybe if you were completely invisible, then I wouldn’t have seen you flying towards here with that amulet.”
“Dang it!” Kaze was mad at himself. Even though he had taken the precaution of making himself harder to spot, along with hiding his energy, it still backfired and something went wrong. “Mehrunes was right, this did go poorly…”
Suddenly, Mehrunes appeared at the right side of Gagger, and snatched the amulet out of his hand before blipping back behind Kaze.
“Kaze, I really don’t enjoy that you’re trying to lose things, like fingers,” Mehrunes said, sounding mildly miffed.
Kaze turned to look at Mehrunes and sighed in relief when he saw he had the amulet with him.
“Oh thank gosh… Yeah uh, sorry about that, this dude somehow took it from me when I wasn’t paying attention,” Kaze said.
Mehrunes glanced at Gagger, who stood there with his eyebrows raised.
“That’s because you’re a noobie, and he knows what he’s doing a certain amount better than you,” Mehrunes said. Kaze picked up that he didn’t say ‘newbie’ as in how Emi meant it. “Your technique is flawed, if he didn’t say that already.”
“I kinda did,” Gagger commented with a shrug.
“Neat,” Mehrunes replied.
Mehrunes then looked at the amulet, kinda like he didn’t care at all, and looked back at Gagger with mild intrigue.
“I’ll give you this if you beat me in a swordfight,” Mehrunes then said. “Nothing else though.”
Gagger looked amused as he chuckled. “Oh? That’s it?”
Mehrunes shrugged. “I’m considered to be one of the best sword fighters where I come from, and I’ve mastered a few styles. If nothing else, it’ll be recreational loss.”
Gagger then drew his sword. “Then let us see what you got, mate.” He grinned. Gagger then pounced up in the air and slashed down at Mehrunes.
Mehrunes waited for a moment, then blocked Gagger’s strike and rolled opposite to the direction Gagger was moving, ending up behind him as Gagger was landing.
Once Gagger landed, he smiled as he stood up.
“We can continue this duel until Glare and Dakure are finished with theirs,” Gagger then said, his back to Mehrunes. “But once I need to be on the move again, I’ll be taking that amulet and leaving.”
“I said recreational loss, not theoretical sparring,” Mehrunes replied. “If you’re going to take me seriously, and get the amulet like I offered if/when you win, then do it. If you’re just gonna play then this isn’t worth either of our times.”
“This way is more fun.” Gagger turned around, holding his sword out in front of him with his right hand. “Otherwise it would be over too fast.”
“I hope you’re not underestimating me because I arrived with noob, newb, and nerdlet, the three loserteirs, because that would upset me as you’re being boring,” Mehrunes retorted.
Gagger raised an eyebrow. “So you want me to put more effort into this fight?”
“I don’t care, really. You can do whatever tickles your fancy. But if they stop fighting and you think you’re just gonna up and take this because suddenly you’re done, then suddenly I’m done and you won’t see a whole lot of me. It’s less about the object…” Mehrunes’ sword glowed brightly green, as he held it in his right hand. “…and more about the interaction.”
“Eh, I guess you’re right.” Gagger’s sword then emitted a black aura and grew to be twice the size of himself. He then raised his sword up and swung it downward, shooting a large wave of darkness right at Mehrunes. It was big enough that it almost hit Kaze, he had to jump back quickly to avoid it.
“What the heck!?” Kaze exclaimed mentally.
Mehrunes’ sword glowed extravagantly, then in an instant morphed into a sword that had different size and shape, being larger and broader. He then slashed right through the wave in its entirety, sword still glowing like a sun, shattering the wave and causing it to dissipate.
“I’ve fought worse so far, back on my planet,” Mehrunes said, his sword morphing back to it’s base straight sword form.
“Oh yeah?” Gagger said from behind Mehrunes. He stabbed Mehrunes right in the back, his blade piercing through Mehrunes’ stomach as it came out his front.
Kaze’s eyes widened as Mehrunes winced. A sound that could only be described as screaming while a stone was shattered into thousands of pieces occurred, which knocked Gagger back a few feet as Mehrunes’ wound closed within an instant, and he turned around. Kaze sighed in relief once he saw that Mehrunes okay.
“Well played,” Mehrunes said, as his pocket appeared to have a small amount of coarse sand in it now. “I suppose I should have been more careful.”
“Yep, yep. Be very careful,” Gagger said. His sword shrunk back to its normal size, and he swiftly sliced the air around him many times, generating multiple waves of darkness. The waves then shot forth towards Mehrunes, and Gagger ran with them, his sword in position and ready to strike.
“Mehrunes, look out!” Kaze exclaimed. He raised his hand and shot Mehrunes out of the way with the wind, causing all the attacks to miss.
“Hmph,” Mehrunes said.
Gagger then stopped in his place and looked up at the statue. His eyes widened as he appeared to be surprised.
“Dang it, where the heck did it go?!” He exclaimed. The helmet, the artifact of electricity, was no longer there.
“Huh?” Kaze noticed this as well. “Oh shoot, it’s gone!”
Gagger suddenly surrounded himself in a black aura and leapt high up into the air, seemingly scanning around for wherever the helmet had gone.
Kaze began to panic. “This isn’t good, this went really poorly…”
“No really, I hadn’t noticed. I would never have guessed, or known at all,” Mehrunes said sarcastically.
“We gotta do something!” Kaze exclaimed, looking up at Gagger.
“Or we could, not, and leave,” Mehrunes replied.
“You’re going to go with that option,” a voice said. Kaze’s eyes widened. That voice… he recognized that voice.
Gulping, Kaze slowly turned around until he made eye contact with the last person he wanted to see in this situation… his master, Glare.
Glare didn’t look happy as he looked down at Kaze with his arms crossed.
“Kaze…” Glare growled. “Why are you here?! How did you get here?!”
“Uh- I was just um-” Kaze was flustered.
“If you don’t mind,” Mehrunes said. “What is happening?”
Glare turned his head and looked at Mehrunes. “And who might you be?!”
“I could ask the same for you, mister mad,” Mehrunes replied. “If I have the stories down right, I’m the most recent lucky ‘Encounter’ for Kaze. He’s here because of me.”
“Well he shouldn’t be! Neither should you, Draco.” Glare eyed a spot in the air, where Draco was hovering via bursts from his hands.
“To be fair, this was all Kaz-”
“No excuses! I don’t want to hear any!” Glare exclaimed.
“I never said it was!” Draco said back.
“You, Kaze, and Saturo get out of here immediately before you get killed!” Glare scolded him. He was clearly not happy.
“In the spirit of agreeing with you on as many fronts as possible while also making sure I’m not in the line of fire, I would like to mention that A. They weren’t in enough danger to die, because of me, and B, the fact that they shouldn’t be here is exactly why they are here,” Mehrunes said. “Realistically, there was enough insurance that they weren’t going to die, just saying.”
Glare stared Mehrunes dead in the eyes. “You are in no position to talk here. Now, I want you to get my students out of this dungeon. There’s a glowing spaceship above on the surface somewhere. Take them all there immediately.”
Mehrunes’ eye twitched, like a tick. “Yes, sir,” he simply said, grabbing Kaze by the arm, practically dragging him over to Draco, who he also grabbed, and then teleported away to the surface.
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