They descent further down the tunnels, as they get closer to the gate, the temperature rises significantly.
“There are many different kinds of smells lingering here, some are from living creatures, others from the environment. I smell sulfur and minerals, the other smells come from different races, but I have no clue what those races are. I’ve never smelled anything like it” Metztli says.
“Again old smells?” Andrea asks.
“Yes, at least 30 years. It might be longer, because the smells are intermingled the age is hard to determine” she responds.
Without any hitches they reach the gate. The gate itself is at least four meters high and three meters wide. It’s imbued with crystals all over, they are faded and void of any mana. Connecting the crystals are Inscriptions and Seals placed all over the surface.
“This looks a lot bigger than in the book, we should get started right away. I’ve written down the Incantation for everyone, make sure you poor in as much mana as your can. We will take shifts of two, so we have a continuous stream of mana. The ritual can’t be stopped, else it might fail. I’ll go first with Danmi. Andrea and Narae can fill in later when one of us runs out of mana.
“Good idea, we’ll cultivate meanwhile. Make sure you use the crystals first, we made those for a reason” Andrea says as she’s sitting down cross-legged.
Cleamon takes out almost a hundred filled crystals ranging from low to high quality.
He sits on the ground, cross-legged and positions all the crystals between them.
“Then let’s start” Cleamon says.
Danmi and him start their Incantations while Narae and Andrea cultivate.
Lilia and Cecily take the sisters for their day out shopping.
“I want to go in there” Eunhui says.
The enter a small boutique full of fancy dresses.
“Good morning ladies, can I be of service to you?” A female store clerk asks them as they enter.
“Yes, these 2 girls want to try out everything they have their eyes on, we’re just here to watch” Cecily says.
“I want to try these two first” Eunhui says pointing at a skirt and a dress.
“I’d like to try these four” Ahri says after contemplating for a while.
“Great choices ladies, please follow me to the dressing room” the clerk says.
Eunhui has chosen a light blue dress, meant for the summer weather. It fits tight at her upper body and has a wide skirt. Around the middle is a waistband with a ribbon tied at the back.
Ahri has chosen a long white skirt with a fitting top.
“You girls look lovely in those dresses, perfect for the summer, you might want to choose fitting shoes as well” the clerk says.
“I can recommend you a friend’s store, she has the cutest shoes”
“That would be nice, we’re on a shopping spree today, so we will need all the nice clothes we can find” Lilia says.
“I’ve got a few more stores I can recommend to you, if you mention my name you can probable get a discount”
“Thanks we’ll take you up on that offer” Cecily says.
At the palace.
‘I’ve finally found the traitors, but dealing with them will be harder than expected. There will be more than the ones I found, if they report I’m onto them it might turn into a disaster instead.’ the king is thinking in his study.
‘I’ve finally found some letters linking our relation back to the Mjerna kingdom, I can’t believe we had such a strong relation before, looking at the family trees we might even have a common ancestor’
‘Those children have also adapted quite quickly, I just worry about having them trapped in the castle. I might have to ask Almar to let them into school. I’ll ask Cleamon to protect them, we need to test them for their MS though’ he further thinks while writing his ideas down.
“It’s quite nice here, but we should really be doing some things in return. I know it’s hard for the both off you, but we have to pick up our life again. We might see our parents later and we don’t want to be in debt to this kingdom” Morgana says to Padrig and Delyth.
They look slightly down, they haven’t been sleeping all that well the last night. So their mood isn’t that good.
“Do we have to sister? Can we first rest a bit?” Delyth asks her with a yawn.
“Of course we will rest first, but when we are used to living here we should help out. I’ll ask the king if we can do any kind of job to make up for his hospitality”
“Do you have any requests?” she asks them.
“I’d like to meet some other people, there are no children in the castle” Padrig says with a soft voice.
“I want to go to Cleamon’s class when he gets back” Delyth says.
“But you’re not old enough yet, he’s two years older than you” Morgana reminds her.
“That doesn’t matter, in our kingdom we would get forced into a marriage anyway, we both already had a fiancé. We also both didn’t like ours and he seems like a good candidate, although he probable already has a lover. I can seduce him later if we get some new clothes” she says with a smirk.
“Just don’t get yourself and him into trouble, we have no idea what the rules are present in this kingdom, do your research first. I think we can talk to his friends a bit later on, they are probable nice as well” Morgana says.
“Maybe we can eat dinner together tonight” Delyth says.
“Good idea, I’ll try asking”
Almar is cultivating inside his training room, his training regime consist of physical exercise and cultivating for 16 hours. His training room contains heavy weight equipment. Besides that, his walls are covered in Inscriptions to accumulate mana inside the room to absorb.
‘Why can’t I progress my Magic Soul further than this, there should be a way to progress to the next level. I’ve been stuck in a rut for last decade unable to advance even a single point’ Almar sighs.
‘I might have to get some of those enhancing pills from the Hawthorn family, they might even give me a discount. It would be nice if they’d actually help me out a bit’.
He goes back to his training.
Back at the gate Cleamon has exhausted all the crystals they filled before coming here. He now starts using his own mana, Danmi has already used about a third of her mana supply.
They are now four hours into the process of supplying mana to the portal, the bottom 10% of the crystals embedded in the portal have started to glow.
“It looks like it’s going faster than expected, but we won’t have much time left after we complete the portal” Andrea says watching the process.
“We should prepare ourselves for whatever lies on the opposite side. You said this portal has been made by a magician of great power” Andrea says.
“Yes, I’ve got some ideas about what could be hiding in there, but I don’t know what is actually there. Usually in lore they store buildings with treasure inside, they build houses, castles and even kingdoms inside there. These are mostly protected by powerful Seals and are very heavily protected, it will be hard to navigate without triggering some sort of protection” Cleamon explains.
“Do you think there will still be people living there?” She asks.
“Probable, if I’m right, people have tried to enter this portal before, but never left the place. They are either there and still alive or they died in there because of the defenses. Even the owner might still be in there”.
Time passes by and three hours later Cleamon hands over the task to Andrea. Danmi has only spent about 80% of her current mana.
Cleamon starts gathering mana again and watches over the process.
Slowly a day passes of them switching and recharging their mana. The gate has been charged to 80% before it’s Andrea’s turn to replace Cleamon again.
“This will be the final stretch, I’m not sure for how long the gate will be able to operate once we open it or if we can go back through this one. In the worst case I’m able to recreate the gate, but we would have to gather materials inside there”.
Another 4 hours pass, all the crystals on the portal are now fully loaded and brightly glowing.
Cleamon says the final Incantation and the gate opens with a loud bang. A swirling red sea forms in the middle. They watch the gate as it forms completely, the red sea calms down and looks like a thin film spun between the pillars.
“Take an hour to recharge and then we go” Cleamon says.
An hour passes by with Andrea and Narae gathering as much mana as possible.