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Book 1 – Journey to The Tomb of The Firestaff – Chapter 9 | Natasha's Creative Writing.com
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Book 1 – Journey to The Tomb of The Firestaff – Chap...
 
Published by:
  2018/05/04
 

Chapter 9 – A Blue Gem and A Third Degree Burn!

Once the entrance to the Room of the Gem completely opened, the party could instantly view a fraction ahead of them up to around fifteen paces. The champions soon encounter another wooden door, which is coloured brown and encased in the hardwood was a window at the top. The lattice is a semi-circular shape; the window was too vertically challenging to see- through, hence barring the entourages vision further; the cavern leads off to the left as well. Just in front of the door, looks to be another small squared-pressure plate engraved into the cavernous floor. As the entourage got closer towards the semi-circular windowed door, they confirmed it was a squared-plate; also on the right-handed cavern wall, a new type of socket was carved flawlessly into it. The hollowed image shaped itself in the form of a pentagon with the semi-circle at the top of it. Conveniently the shape got placed next to the wooden door that appears to be tightly locked by this new type of mechanism. Some strange text appeared written next to the socket, which someone or something had carved into the wall that contained the unique pentagon-hole.

“Step right up, step going down,” said Sana, reading out the text aloud on the wall, using her lore and knowledge to decipher it.
“Look out, Rheill! There is a pit in the side passage, and you are going to fall into it!” Yelled Karna, as she grips him by the arm and wrenches him to safety.
“Oh, thank you, Karna! You virtually did the same earlier!” Replied Rheill, thanking Karna delicately.
“We must discover a way to close the trap-door here. Then we can work out how to get this door unlocked unless the item needed is found deeper inside the area. Also, this is no room. Why is it called the Room of the Gem or could it be, what is behind the door, very strange indeed!” Mentioned Karna.
“Rightly, we know we can place an item on it, but we do not have much. However, because this is at the entrance, we can grab it back again. I will sacrifice an arrow since I do not have a bow for this yet anyway,” declared Isai.
He then places the arrow down, and the trap-door closes and they can proceed via the intersection.
“This door looks like it will only open with the proper item,” said Sana.
Karna leads the way, but she draws her sabre and readies her wooden shield; although they come to another sealed portcullis door, which is tightly shut. However, conveniently there is another blue diamond-shaped button carved into the wall with perfection, which is to the left of the portcullis door.
“Let’s open it up!” Said Rheill.
Karna moves towards the door, ready for anything; as the passage branches around a corner, so nothing could be seen.
“Open it, Rheill!” Asked Karna.
Rheill presses the button, and the alloyed-portcullis opens, but something else happens as well. The party does not recognise it, as they traverse around the corner.
The passage then winds two times around to the left and then to the right. They follow the path carefully; to avoid cutting themselves on the razor-sharp edges of the cavern walls. It then comes to a junction; the left way leads to a dead end, a small niche, but the champions found nothing there. So they decide to ignore it for now. However, they come across a group of four Mummies.
“Not these guys again!” Shouted Rheill.
“They are not guys!” Replied Isai.
“Focus, we now have much work to do!” Said Karna sternly as she moves in to engage them much like their previous fights.
Karna draws the creatures’ attention, “Do we have any torches left, Isai?” Asked Sana.
“Yes, but hopefully we can discover a fire spell later on to burn these!” Exclaimed Isai, as he pulls out one of the spare torches.
Sana channels her magic to the torch and lights it up; Karna is busy defending all of the undead-beings. The bandaged-mummies possessed no weapons, so it was ridiculously effortless for her to guard against and Karna could perform this defence stance forever. She continues to naturally block the magical entities incoming punches with her wooden shield, and she then rushes back to the party.
“Right now Isai, throw it and burn them to a crisp!” Yelled Karna.
Karna’s yelling attracted two blue Ant creatures; which decided to turn up as the Mummies, were still being engulfed. They then show astonishing intelligence for insectoid-creatures, as the minions of chaos wait for the incinerating fires to die down from the burning Mummies. Now what shocks the group more than anything is that one of the blue Ant creatures picks up the flickering flambeau and launches it at the group.
“Move now!” Shouted Rheill as he pulled them all around the corner as the fiery-hot burning torch flies towards the cavern wall and them. Next, it hits the wall, but the wall does not catch alight due to Chaos’ magic.
“What the hell gives them this kind of intelligence!” Screamed Sana.
Karna and Rheill rush in now and engage the Ant creatures in melee combat and take them down quickly as there were only two of them.

“Keep your weapons out; there could be more hostiles!” suggested Karna.
They move carefully to the left-side passageway and see that there is another way around the corner.
“Which way, do we go?” Asked Rheill.
“Not sure, but the risk of an ambush is high either way… Rheill, please can you watch that turning ahead, while I quickly scout out this way?” Asked Karna.
“Is it wise to split up?” queried Isai.
“I am not going far, just a little bit ahead to see if anything is there!” Answered Karna.
Karna slowly scouts ahead; while Rheill watches over Sana and Isai. She sees another intersection and a pile of rocks in it. They are located, in the dead end of that intersection; the corridor also continues past that. She decides not to wander off too far and quickly heads back to where the others are waiting.
“Nothing down there; let’s go down the other way quickly since this is safe. The passage goes further though, and takes another turn!” Said, Karna.
“This was clear as well, but the passage goes further!” Replied Rheill.
“Isai, please grab hold of that torch. In case we meet more Mummies!” Explained Sana.
She puts out the firebrand as her light-source is far superior now to any torch. They follow the passageway that branched out around the corner; rather than taking the left intersection instead, only for it to lead into a dead-end.
“Great choice this was,” declared Sana.
“We chose the wrong way, it’s no big deal, Sana… let’s merely go back,” said Isai.
They backtrack all the way to the turning and take the intersection now instead. They see the dead-end off of the left junction after taking the new cavernous-route that Karna had scouted out earlier.
“Let me check through this pile of rocks; maybe the item lies hidden here?” Suggested Karna.
“Be careful, dear!” Replied Rheill.

Karna treads gradually towards the collection of rocks and boulders. She begins rummaging through the stones; Alas, to her dismay the slabs would not budge. Although, unknowingly to Karna it happened to not be a pile of rocks, but a living creature. The monster suddenly shows its pure form by bearing its scorching crimson-coloured hot fangs, which were hiding underneath it. The rocky-being strikes Karna on her left arm, while she was investigating the rocks with its hot mouth. Suddenly, Karna falls to the ground and rolls on the cavernous-floor in agony, as the radiating flames engulf her whole arm.
Karna’s leather makes a horrid, burning sound as the leather on her arm is engulfed and is burning to a crisp and is slowly spreading to the rest of her leather-armoured suit.
“I AM BURNING, HELP ME!” Screaming in pure terror as the fangs felt hotter than any fire or burns she ever received to her autonomy. Luckily, the shield was on her back, which prevented the wooden shield from catching on fire.
Karna is suffering severely, but her leather-armoured suit may have saved her skin from being unconditionally destroyed. Rheill hastily moves Karna away and uses his intelligence to smother the flames by rolling Karna’s body over and over on the ground. His actions cause the fire to be extinguished quickly, as Rheill does not let it spread an inch further, but Karna is still screaming and rolling on the floor in pain.
“We need to make a swift retreat. We do not know anything about this creature, and our protector needs serious aid and fast!” Explained Sana, worryingly.
“It burns so much. Please, make it stop!” Screamed Karna, crying out.
Small teardrops can be seen from her radiating-goddess coloured eyes and then become invisible once they drop to the side of her cheek beneath her berserker-styled helmet. The pain is even too much for her to bear, without showing some form of visual emotion on her face; after all, Karna is only human, but her helmet protected her pride a little. She struggles on the floor still; Rheill stays by Karna’s side, as he can see she needs him more than anything right now. He then holds her and gathers Karna up into his sinewy arms again.
Now holding her in his arms, he attempts to soothe Karna, by saying, “Karna, lie still. I know it hurts!”
He clutches her good-hand while holding her gently as he comforts her. Karna suddenly interlocks her fingers with his fingers and is extremely brave; Rheill carries her back while keeping his right hand interlocked with hers. He does have to support the weight of her shield; but it is not that heavy as it was only constructed from hardwood, although the bulwark was quite extensive. Also, luckily for the party; the new type of rocky fiery- creature, which they just encountered seemed to not move profoundly rapidly at traversing the terrain. So it did not pursue them at all. Meanwhile, on the way back to the entrance to the Room of the Gem.
Isai starts explaining something, “I need to provide Karna with the VI potion that I gave to Sana. However, we need to pour and rub some clean water on her arm. It will prevent the current wounds from further spreading and contain the burns from causing disease and infection to Karna’s body. We can take the huge risk of opening the entrance to the flooded area. The other option is to travel to the level above and use that water-fountain, but it is much farther away from us!”
“Use the fountain. I can carry Karna, what the hell the pit trap is now hindering us!” Yelled Rheill.
“That’s impossible! The arrow had the pressure pad held down, and there are no creatures between us!” Shouted Isai in shock to Rheill.
“No, it is simply just some magic that teleported your arrow, it is over here. When we opened this door, the button must have been connected to a hidden vortex or teleporter and moved the projectile. Aforementioned is extremely hard to explain, and we do not have the time right now. Throw the arrow again, Isai, so Rheill can carry Karna upstairs safely!” Explained Sana.
Karna begins to moan in pain and starts to lose consciousness; Rheill shakes her, “Karna, do not lose consciousness, fight it, baby!”
Next, a lonely tear drips down Rheill’s face for the first time; as he expresses his true-emotion for Karna. Rheill is fully aware of how severe the incident is, but his helmet conceals his tear. Nonetheless, Karna hears his emotion but does not tell him anything at all. Rheill was extremely concerned about Karna, as he thought to himself aloud, ‘Please Karna, I cannot lose you forever!”
These were the words running through his mind, which he so desperately wanted to confess to Karna; as he waited for the trap-door to close. He did not want to cause further issues while Karna is fighting for her life.
“Rheill, we will save her, just do not panic!” said Isai as he throws the arrow back onto the pad.
They exit through the chamber of the Choose Your Fate room and scale the stairs back to level two. Karna is barely awake and is about to fade entirely into an unconscious state, but Rheill pours the pristine water on her wound.
“Oh, by the gods. That burns, not as much as what the creature’s fangs did to me!” Screamed Karna.
“I still see visions of its incredibly hot fangs, like it was the ultimate thing I was going to experience in my lifetime!”
Isai grabs an empty flask and pours his medical skills into it once again, producing the VI Healing-Potion.
“Karna, drink this! I am not sure if this will work against burns or just physical wounds!” Explained Isai.
Rheill then removes the helmet over her head; allowing her silky black hair to be free and it flows down her back and then reveals Karna’s beautiful but teary-eyed face.
Next, Isai hands her the flask and she takes it with her functional arm with all the strength she can muster and drinks it finally; suddenly, Karna magically experiences no further pain, but the searing scar remains on her left arm.
She clutches Rheill’s right tricep tightly, as she speaks, “I need to cover this up to protect it from infection. Sana and Isai did not have to take off any of their clothes off earlier, as it was not armoured.”
Karna then asks Sana to hold still, as she cuts a strip off, of Sana’s sleeve of her robe.
“Karna, what are you doing!?” Shouted Sana.
Isai sees what Karna is trying to do, “Karna, let me do it and rest, please. Sana, she needs something to cover the wound, and we have no bandages here. Luckily, it was only her shield hand and part of her arm that got hit. Using the powerful, VI healing potion, Karna now has been cured of the pain that she was suffering from her previous burning scar. No one has ever seen such medicine before. This, VI potion is amazing, but it does not cure the wound entirely. Although, it does remove the pain and allows the body to function normally!” Explained Isai.

“Let’s take a break. Karna was extremely lucky, and it shows us now, we definitely need be more cautious. There are now monsters disguised as piles of rocks!” Replied Sana.
Karna lies back into both of Rheill’s arms; she smiles and feels loved, “Please hold me, Rheill! Sorry, everyone, for being a bit stupid; I should be more careful.”
She falls asleep in no time, while Rheill was stroking her silky black hair until she finally entered her deep haze.
“Oh, she has fallen asleep like a baby, already. We will have to eat after our rest. How are our food supplies doing?” Asked Rheill.
“It is going down, but Isai has not touched any of his provisions yet, and Karna has a load still. Isai, pass me your food, I now have room. We also have the cheese and corn, we found earlier!” Replied Sana.
Isai passes his Screamer slices to Sana. She is then able to combine Isai’s Provisions with hers inside of the rucksack. Rheill then takes Karna’s supplies out of her backpack that she is carrying for Sana.
“Use Karna’s provisions for tomorrow’s meal before we head back to that area and learn how to defeat this new evil, rocky-type creature,” said Rheill.
Karna continues to lie fast asleep in Rheill’s arms as she looks so peaceful; despite only a few moments ago, she was suffering from a nasty third-degree burn. Next, Rheill lies down and places Karna on top of him; he then lies back and tries to get some sleep too. Sana invites Isai to sleep closer to her in the spoon position. She was frightened by the experience of Karna getting engulfed, only a few hours ago.

Several hours have directly passed, and Karna is the first to stir. She bears no pain from her burns at all; Karna also then checks to see if she has any inflamed scars on her left arm, by raising the leather dressing slightly. The shieldmaiden was barely capable of identifying this, as she lifted her arm close to her eyes as the dungeon was in darkness without Sana’s light rune. The little that Karna could visualise, on her shield-arm; was a bright crimson-colour from the engulfment of the incinerating flames. The leather armour virtually did halt her from inflaming her skin further. The left part of Karna’s fabric appeared thoroughly burnt, and it is an obsidian black colour, which will offer little to no protection at all; fortunately, Karna still has her wooden shield, which was unscathed. She then lowers the protective covering over the wound that Isai prepared for her; before she fell asleep earlier. She kisses Rheill on his forehead after lifting his helmet up slightly; she then stretches her arms and legs. The kiss seems to have accidentally awakened him, as he rubs his hazel eyes with both of his hands.
“Good morning, Karna, wow you look great for what happened to you yesterday!”
“Thank you, Rheill! You never left my side. I cannot thank you enough. Isai’s VI healing potion saved me a lot of pain, although my arm is bruised and scarred. I know over time, it will finally heal… you truly did save me!”
She then shows Rheill the burn mark on her left arm. Next, he caresses it to see if she can feel any pain.
“I feel nothing, but visually the wound is there. However, it is dark, and you cannot see it properly. Now, it’s time to awaken Sana and Isai. I am freaking starving!”
Karna and Rheill gently awaken Sana and Isai.
“Karna, you are awake; do not push yourself too much today,” said Sana, as she illuminates the area with her magical torch spell now Karna’s wound is even more visible.
“I am perfectly fine, thanks to the medicine!” Replied Karna to Sana.
Isai wakes up as well, “Hi, Karna, how are you feeling today?”
“I feel much better, thanks to you, but like I said before, you two were awake, it is time to eat!” replied an impatient Karna.
Someone is very impatient today, it seems!” laughed Rheill, mocking Karna.
Sana now prepares more Screamer slices for everyone to eat. They all quickly get stuck into their food; next, they then take the time to drink directly from the lion-headed fountain that they camped near. They then fill up all three of their water bottles.
“Time to head back down and get revenge for you, Karna!” Said Rheill.
“Awww, how sweet, but do not fight recklessly on my behalf!” Replied Karna, as she fits the helmet back on her head hiding her lovable face and the top of her long silky black hair.
Next, they descend the stony encased stairs into the cavernous-type area. They walk down the long tunnel and arrive back at the Choose your Fate room. Next, Karna readies her shield and sabre and does a few test swings and block techniques.
“I am just testing to see if my movement is okay and if I can defend myself as well. It seems I am as good as I was, but I want to be even better!” Explained Karna.
The entourage walks across the closed trap-door, which was still held down by Isai’s arrow; the party then traverses back through the portcullis that they left open when they got forced into a hasty retreat. They now reach the area where they found the pile of rocks, but it is now gone.
“It has moved, be wary! There is a sling here; it must have been underneath the creature, although we did not pick up any rocks as they were heavier than most ranged projectile weapons!” Said Isai.
“Let’s take the sling anyway. At least we can use it for pressure-plated puzzles, or try to discover some rocks or carve them from the creature that hurt Karna!” Replied Sana.
“I will wait for a bow. Although I will use my dagger for the time being and only focus on healing; Karna and Rheill are doing an amazing job of holding their own in close-quartered combat!” Answered Isai.
Isai puts the sling in his backpack, and they continue around the corner and find the magical, rocky-type creature. There are two of them now, “Be very careful, there are two of them!” said a slightly frightened Karna, as she has felt what it can do to her already.
The rock monster again appears to be nothing more than a pile of rocks and boulders, but looks can be deceiving, to say the least; as Karna, found out the hard way.
Sana decides to launch her venomous bolt from her poison rune (Des), but the magical creature is unaffected. The spell only connected on the rocky-part, which covered up the evil crimson-red fangs that had bitten Karna’s sword arm earlier and set it ablaze. However, the monster shows its pointed-teeth at Sana; she freezes in panic, and Karna then steps in front of her to defend her. The Rock-piles gradually move towards Karna; the sound of turning boulders echoes throughout the tunnel as if it was rolling along the floor.
Karna strikes it with her falchion on the top; however, the creature is unfazed.
“It is too thick. My sabre cannot cut through these rocks and boulders. We need to try something else!”
Karna then jumps back out of the way as it strikes in her direction with its red-hot crimson fangs.
“Not this time, vile-fiend!” Yelled Karna angrily.
“I have an idea! We can lure them to either the portcullis and crush them or drop them down into the trap-door and keep the trap-door sealed!” Shouted Sana.
Once again Sana’s knowledge and wisdom came into play; they all lure the Rock-piles back to the pit, and both of the creatures follow, but extremely slowly.
“These take forever to move!” Said Isai impatiently.
“Just wait, what if they do not fall for it?” Asked Karna.
“We use the portcullis to crush the rock-piles. If that does not work, we can lure them out into the big room and shut the door!” Replied Sana.
“Hide behind the corner then, so it does not see us. Karna, you go and pull the arrow resting on the pressure pad!” Explained Rheill to her.
“Sweet revenge! I love it, going now!”
Karna sprints over and removes the arrow and jumps off of the pressure pad and the sound of the Rock-piles can be heard falling down the trap door below and smacking hard into the ground.
“Isai, throw me the sling!” Shouted Karna.
Karna then jumps back on the pad to hold it down and trap door closes, trapping the creatures inside the trap-door. Isai’s launches the sling and Karna catches it flawlessly, and she then jams it down onto the squared-pressure pad.
“Why did you want it, Karna?” Asked Isai.
“I wanted it since you can take your arrow back, especially because you plan on using a bow for your arrows. Also, you did not plan on using it, as I remember you mentioning it earlier!” Replied Karna, as she hands Isai back his arrow.
“It seems to be holding them. Let’s explore the rest of this place swiftly in case they escape!” Said Sana.

The champions make haste and swiftly move all the way back to the unexplored parts of the cavern; they continue onwards, and it comes to another winding passage. The underground tunnel traverses around almost in a small circle, and the pathway ends up with a choice of different directions for the choosing.
There is a dead-end, right in front of them; which was apparent to see, so they left this for now. The right route is the same story, ultimately empty and a dead end. So the champions decided to pursue the left path instead, which goes all the way to another dead-end. As the party reaches the end of the corridor; they suddenly notice their demise could be at hand. There were two more rock-piled creatures, laying in wait for the adventurers. They raise their fangs Immediately, and Karna holds up her wooden shield, but Rheill pulls her back abruptly.
Karna, they will burn the shield. Get the hell out of there! You have no space in that dead-end!” Yelled Rheill.
“Rheill, Get off of me now and allow me to kill these things! They tried claiming my life,” raged Karna.
“Karna, calm down like Rheill explained just now. There is no space. We need to plunge them into the depths of the trapdoor again unless we can find a weak-spot, on the rocky-creatures!” Said Sana.
“I vote the pit, and Karna you receive the honours of eliminating them again!” Explained Isai.
“Okay you win, I need to control my emotions better… a bitter fighter soon becomes a sloppy fighter!” Stressed Karna.
The adventurers decided to play it safe than sorry by confronting them in a conventional manner head-on, inside of the dead-end. The entourage makes a concise retreat, back to the trap-door.
The party quickly repeat the same process they used to trap the first set of rock-piles. However, it wastes even more time.
Karna removes the sling from pressure pad at the right time. She dumps them into the hole, and they are once again heard smacking the ground,
“Karna seal it now and let’s investigate the rest of this annoying part of the cavern!” Shouted Rheill.
Karna accomplishes precisely that and places the sling quickly on the squared-pressure plate, closing the trap-door again and obscuring the rock-piles inside of it. The party then heads all the way back to where they found the rock-piles, realising there is nothing there. Puzzled expressions soon become vigilant, on all of their faces.
Next, Sana speaks, “There is something that we are missing again!” Exclaimed Sana.
“Hunt for a switch, remember inside of the area called the Matrix. There was a hidden switch, it is most likely, the same situation here!” Replied Rheill to Sana.
Suddenly, the party hears a rumbling sound of a wall opening. It opened up as Karna was dragging her sabre along one of the walls; she then primes it with precision, expecting something to jump out, but nothing was there.
“What did you just do, Karna?” Asked Isai.
“Nothing, I was just checking for switches by using my sword on the wall, I guess I found something!” Replied Karna as she pauses for a second.
“I will not do that again. I might accidentally activate traps. The switch is here, and It’s very tiny!”
“Wow, that is small indeed. You are special, Karna!” Said Rheill.
“No!” she chuckled, “It was pure luck!”
“I am not sure, Karna, you have done some crazy stuff; maybe fate brought you here and not Theron,” explained Sana, expressing how gifted she undoubtedly is.
The champions begin exploring the inside of the uncovered mysterious- tunnel and discover a blue-sparkling object, fashioned in the most brilliant shape.
“Wow, that is so beautiful!” declared Karna, examining the object laying on the ground.
“Not as beautiful as you, Karna!” replied Rheill, she then blushes and smiles with happiness.
“Stop it, Rheill! Stop messing around and do not go straight to it. There could be a trap!” Said Isai being all serious.
Sana then shrugs and looks at Isai and says, “Lighten up, no need be a Stroppy-puff!” Referring to the first part of his sentence; she continues, “But, do be careful that there are no traps. There are no pressure pads present.”
All of them scan the area thoroughly and find nothing; Rheill goes and picks the item up. He sees it is a blue gemstone and he picks it up and places it into Karna’s right hand.
The blue gemstone sparkles in Karna’s hand; she begins to speak, “This is the exact shape as the mechanism, we saw earlier back at the wooden door with the semi-circular window, before that trapdoor,” explained Karna.
“Let’s head back then,” suggested Isai and the others nod in agreement.

The party backtracks all the way to the locked door, which was still sealed by the pentagon-shaped mechanism. All of the Rock-piles remained trapped underneath the trap-door.
“This makes me sad… I have to get rid of this gem when it is so beautiful, but we need to advance!” Exclaimed Karna.
She draws her sabre and readies her shield in case anything is waiting inside for them. She directly inserts the blue, gemstone into the pentagon-shaped hole and it fits perfectly and is now locked in place; the wooden door opens, up automatically. The tunnel beyond the door then heads to a winding passage, which finally leads into a large squared-cavern. There are several objects inside, and the first is another gold key. There also is a better plate helmet, which shields the front of the face more; leaving nothing, but openings for both of the eyes and nose. It is coloured grey, much like both of the two berserker helms, which they had already found earlier. Karna subsequently removes her old headpiece and her silky, black hair flings downwards as she places it on the ground; Rheill already has a berserker helm, and it is far too heavy for either Isai or Sana to wear. There is also some food, that is laying on the ground, it is corn and bread; Sana quickly collects the provisions and puts them away in her backpack. “That is now four gold keys that we possess. We should search the two remaining areas as discussed before we entered this one, but be more cautious of new evil-beings,” said Karna, who is presently a lot wiser from her experience of being engulfed in flames.
The adventurers traverse back outside the cavernous-chamber and re-enter the Choose Your Fate Room.
“The vault should hold many treasures as it sounds like a strongroom. There is no option or decision needed here!” Said Rheill being greedy again.
“Is that all you think about, Rheill; I hope you do not think I am a treasure!” Asked Karna.
Karna looks at him with her brownish-hazel eyes, “I was only joking, silly! Which portcullis do you two think we should take?”
“We are going to explore both of the areas, so it truly does not matter, which we choose first!” Replied Sana.
Isai replies with, “I feel the same as Sana. The Vault could have some aid for us, in many different forms!”
“Let’s just choose the first one we come to then!” Suggested Karna.
They walk out of the Room of the Gem after discussing, which to explore first and they arrive at the next unexplored door. Upon opening the door, they traverse around the corner, which leads to the right of them. Promptly a luxurious and massive golden door resembling a vault became visible. Also, the party can hear the familiar type of footsteps, beyond the enormous door.

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