Chapter 262 Illusion? Or Could It Be Real? Part 2
“You’ve been a good teacher, Elf, and you’ve always been protecting me. It’s my turn to protect you now.” continued Alaunar.
Ye Ci stared at Alaunar for a short moment before taking a few steps back, allowing Alaunar to take the lead, “I entrust my life to you.”
Alaunar trembled. He could feel the weight of Ye Ci’s words pressing down on him, but he was able to withstand the overwhelming pressure. He nodded and took a step forward, “There’s a pool of lava ahead of us. We can cross to the other side through a narrow path, so you’ll have to step exactly on the spot that I’ve laid my feet one, or you’ll fall and die.”
Despite her inability to see the dangers ahead, Ye Ci nodded at the boy. Never in her gaming career had she been placed in such a tight spot before. Nothing she saw was real, which severely hampered her judgement of the situation. She could only place her unconditional trust to an NPC child that he could lead her to safety.
This was a risk too great for Ye Ci.
However, there has been a saying since ancient times that success cannot be achieved without risks. Ye Ci has always had a rebellious nature. She was a gambler, and she was making a gambit right at this moment.
Alaunar began his advance. His footsteps were slow and steady, making sure that Ye Ci could see clearly every step that he took. Ye Ci followed after the boy, but a low rumble rang out in the cave before she could take her first step. The duo turned around just in time to see the stone door closing behind them.
I’m exploring this place without knowing how to open the door from the inside. It might be hard to leave once I’m done exploring this place. Thought Ye Ci to herself. Then again, it’s too late now. The only option I have at this point is to continue pressing forward.
Ye Ci followed closely behind Alaunar, taking steps after cautious steps according to Alaunar’s pace, and this put less of a burden on both Alaunar and herself.
After an untold amount of time, a lake with crystal clear water finally appeared in Ye Ci’s sight. She was, however, skeptical of what her own eyes saw, “Alaunar, is there a lake ahead?”
“Yes.” Despite his confusion at the sudden change of terrain, the boy answered truthfully, “I can even see flowers floating on the surface. They’re beautiful. I’ve never seen something like this.
His statement baffled Ye Ci, who saw nothing but a clear lake. “Just a few more steps until we get away from the lava.” sighed Alaunar. The look on Ye Ci’s face was a clear sign that she was unable to see the scenery that he saw, “Come, don’t fall behind.”
Ye Ci nodded and followed Alaunar to safety.
Even when the terrain that was deemed safe by Alaunar looked no different than the one that Ye Ci had just traversed, she no longer trusted her eyes.
“I can see a clear lake covered by flowers and a thin layer of mist on the surface. I don’t know what it means.” said Alaunar as he calmly described what he saw to Ye Ci.
Ye Ci nodded at the boy. Being fazed by the illusion did not mean that she was rendered completely useless. Her instinct and experience on map exploration were her best tools. She stood paced around the shores of the lake, and after locating a suitable spot, fired an arrow into the lake. The gleaming white Bone Arrow shrieked as it made its streaked across the surface of the water, and the splash it made was a great help for Ye Ci.
She was able to identify the location of the flowers relayed to her by Alaunar by observing the trajectory of her arrows, and the ripple created by the arrows. With her good memory, Ye Ci was able to memorise the location of some of the larger plants on the surface of the lake. Her next step was to make sure that the water in the lake was not poisoned.
I still have a bottle of Medium Antidote left. Thought Ye Ci to herself. It should be enough to deal with any poisoning effects. Besides, my Health Potions will be able to keep me alive. And she extended her hand, and dragged her hand across the surface of the lake.
The movement of Ye Ci’s hand created a ripple on the clear water surface. She saw beautiful pebbles below the surface, and decided to pick some of them up to test for any dangers lurking in the water. She then turned around to speak to Alaunar once she was sure that it was safe, “Can you swim?”
“Of course, members of our tribe have to deal with Mermaids frequently. Life will be hard if we can’t swim.”
“Alright, let’s swim to the other side.”
Alaunar nodded and followed after Ye Ci, who cautioned the boy as she stepped into the water. “I can’t see the flowers, so I don’t know what possible effects they might have on us. Stay away from them, and let me know if I’m getting close to one of them.”
Frustration boiled within Ye Ci’s heart. She had no potions that could enable her to bring under water, and the fishing rod that could give her the same effect has been left in her warehouse. It seems that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. You’ll never know what you might need in every situation. But my backpack is too small. I guess I’ll have to do something about it.
Alaunar cast Illumination as the duo swam in the lake so that they would not be lost in the darkness.
A sharp screech entered Ye Ci’s ear, but she could not detect the source of the noise until she heard the panicked voice of Alaunar, “Look, Elf! Below the water!”
Ye Ci then lowered her head, and saw monsters with shapes similar to that of a Mermaid swimming restlessly below them. The monsters appeared to have the intention to swim towards the duo, but was rather hesitant in making their move. Ye Ci cast Detection on one of the monsters, and found that they were low leveled normal NPCs with an average level of 70.
“What are they?” Alaunar was panicking, “They look like Mermaids.” and he held on to Ye Ci’s arm tightly.
“They are Water Sprites.” Ye Ci relayed the information she was able to gather with Detection to Alaunar, “They feast on human flesh, just like the Mermaids.”
“What!” Alaunar was shocked, and the orb of light on his staff wavered and died out. The Water Sprites began to stir, and some of the braver ones among them leapt out of the water to attack the duo.
“Illumination!” shouted Ye Ci, and Alaunar was able to react just in time to cast another orb of light. Ye Ci swung the orb of light at a Water Sprite that lunged at the duo, and hit it square in its face. The Water Sprites clasped at its face with its clawed hands, and dove back into the water.
In that split second, Ye Ci could clearly see the appearance of the Water Sprite.
A Water Sprite looked very much like a Mermaid, but while Mermaids share the same features of Humans on the upper part of the bodies, the characteristics of aquatic lifeforms are more apparent in the upper body of a Water Sprite. Their chests were covered by gills, webbing grew between their fingers, and fins could be seen on their arms. Even the ears of a Water Sprite were shaped like gills. Despite the Water Sprite’s human facial feature, the eyes that were supposed to be in their sockets were not present. They were instead replaced by thin layers of skin.
Alaunar shone his Illumination into all directions, slicing through the darkness with a beam of light.
The Water Sprite that was struck by Ye Ci was apparently injured. It hid in the midst of its brethren, while they bared their fangs at the duo but still kept their distance.
Ye Ci studied the Water Sprites for a short moment before speaking to Alaunar, “Throw this ball of light at them and make another one.”
The boy nodded, and dropped the orb of light at the spot with the most Water Sprites while simultaneously casting another orb. The Water Sprites immediately fled in horror as the orb of light approached.
“They seem to be afraid of light.” Alaunar was curious.
“Yup. Can’t you see that they do not have eyes?”
Such a fact did not go unnoticed by Alaunar, which was why he was baffled, “Yes, they do not have eyes, so why are they afraid of the light then?”
“A normal Water Sprite has eyes, but these don’t. It has something to do with the environment that they live in. This place is dark. Their eyes must’ve regressed after such a long absence of light. Their other sensory organs are definitely more sensitive due to loss of their sight, but I have no idea why they’re afraid of light. As long as we keep your Illumination up, they would not dare to approach us.” explained Ye Ci.
Alaunar illuminated the duo with his orbs of light, keeping them safe from attacks. Ye Ci stopped after a short while and released arrows in all directions, confirming her position through the ripples made by her bone arrows.
“The mist is thickening ahead.” said Alaunar, but the mist was not visible to Ye Ci.
At that very moment, Ye Ci realised that her inability to see certain things in the environment was not exactly a bad thing. A combination of what she could see and what Alaunar could see could give her a very clear picture.
“Do not stop casting Illumination. Just keep swimming forward towards the direction of that Bone Arrow that was stopped. I think there’s a platform over there.” Ye Ci was certain that there was a platform that was not visible to her based on the sound made by her Bone Arrow as it disappeared.
“I don’t know, I can’t see anything. We’re surrounded by mist.” Alauanar saw nothing despite his best efforts, but he did not stop with his Illumination.
Ye Ci fired off a few more arrows in the direction ahead of her, and listened. “There’s a platform 30 yards ahead of us. I don’t know where we can climb up from there, so you’ll have to keep an eye out.”
Alaunar threw orbs of light ahead of the duo as they swam forward in hopes of dispersing the mist but to no avail. He finally saw a tall black platform shrouded by mist after a short while.
“I see it!” Alaunar was excited. He cast another orb of light and began tugging Ye Ci towards the platform with his free hand. He placed an orb on each step of the stairs, “The orbs of light are where the steps are, Elf.”
It did not take long for Ye Ci to arrive at the top of the cold, sturdy platform after climbing a mere 10 steps.
Her eyes, however, could see nothing. She was shrouded by darkness. It felt as if she was levitating on top of the lake.
“What do you see?” asked Ye Ci, who could not see a thing around her.
“There’s a stone pillar 3 yards ahead of you, and a book is placed on that pillar.” Alaunar began describing their surroundings to Ye Ci, “I can’t seem to approach it. I tried, and was pushed back by an unseen force. Perhaps you can touch it.”
Ye Ci nodded at the boy and began moving forward, and sure enough, the tip of her foot brushed against something hard three yards ahead. It was the invisible pillar. She raised her hand, and placed it in front of her chest, “Is it here?”
“Just a little lower.” Alaunar was the eyes of Ye Ci as he directed her movements.
Ye Ci was able to quickly adjust the position of her hand according to the directions from Alaunar. She took in a deep breath, and slowly placed her hand on the location of the book. Her vision was filled with a blinding flash of white light the moment her fingers brushed against a rough surface. A wave of vertigo washed over Ye Ci before she could even react.
She could hear the chime of a system notification in her state of dizziness.
You have discovered the map: Shrine of Sha’jia.
The Shrine of Sha’jia?
Ye Ci was robbed of her vision, and her head was swirling. She didn’t even know where she was. Even as the energy was sapped from her limbs, the question repeated itself in her mind, messing up her already clouded thoughts.
Why does the name sound so familiar? Why can’t I remember anything about it?
Ye Ci was finally brought back to her senses when a person nudged at her. She raised her head, and saw the silhouette of a person kneeling in front of her. She could not see his expression, but could hear the desperation in his voice, “Elf, are you okay? Elf?”