Part 17: Dezoris Cave
Chapter 17: Dezoris Cave
Thinking we might have gone too far north, we drove southwest, through the mountains. Eventually we came to a cave. I was pretty sure it was too remote to lead to the Corona Tower, but maybe it was the Dezoris Cave we'd heard about back in the Dezorian village. I wish the Dezorians had given it a more creative name; naming a cave after the planet it was on didn't exactly narrow down the search.
The cave was full of humanoid monsters with bodies made entirely out of ice. Odin's and my Laconian weapons easily shattered them.
Amazingly, there was a Palman archaeologist out here in the middle of nowhere. She was here searching for a magical artifact named the Aeroprism, which was said to be able to reveal the unseen. When I told her about my plans to kill Lassic, she suggested the Aeroprism might be able to break through the illusions hiding Lassic's castle, and told me I was welcome to have it since I needed it more than she did. I thanked her for the information and offered to escort her safely back to Skure, but she insisted she was fine.
A little deeper into the cave, we found a dead end inhabited by two brutish, hulking humanoids. Their roars echoed through the cave as they saw us and attacked.
(Video / Backup)
Noah sent magical lightning coursing through their bodies while the rest of us attacked with our weapons. The giants may have been big, but they were slow, and we made short work of them.
The giants had been guarding a large, clear gem with countless tiny reflective facets; it fitted the description of the Aeroprism we'd been given by the archaeologist. I wondered why the giants had kept it: were they able to appreciate the gem's beauty? Had the monsters in this cave once been people? Were they Palmans or Dezorians? Had they served Lassic willingly in the misguided hope of wealth and power, or--
There was nothing to be gained by dwelling on such questions. I took out the flute and used it to bring us out of the cave.
So, how did this work again? I just raised the prism, and anything hidden by magic would be revealed? Well, it was worth a try.
Wherever Lassic's castle was, it wasn't within sight of where we were. Oh well; at least we'd found something, even if we didn't have a use for it yet.
Further west, the mountains grew too steep for even the Ice Digger to cross. We circled around to the north and found another cave. Maybe this one was the Dezoris Cave, as opposed to merely a Dezoris cave.
No such luck. After a short walk we emerged on the other side of the mountain range. If we wanted to explore further, we'd have to go on foot, outside, in the cold. I was less than thrilled about this turn of events.
Yet another cave was nearby. I wondered what fresh hell was in store for us this time.
A Dezorian greeted us warmly as we entered the cave. Not only did he give us friendly advice on which way to go, he assured us that there were definitely Laerma nuts stored in the cave, and we could help ourselves to as many as we wanted. Things were looking up!
We followed his directions and soon came to a door set into the cave wall. The Laerma nuts had to be behind there somewhere. Maybe we'd even find some more friendly Dezorians.
Well, that was odd. Why would anyone bother to make a door that led into an empty r--
We finally made a hard landing some great distance below where we'd originally fallen from. The series of trap doors we'd dropped through had closed behind us, ready and waiting for new victims. I could have sworn I heard laughter from somewhere far above us.
"I somehow suspect," said Myau, "that we didn't just get any closer to finding any Laerma nuts."
At least there was a treasure chest down here. Maybe we were in luck after all.
Some days it just didn't pay to get out of bed.
At least we had a way out.
We went back into the cave and turned right this time, punching the Dezorian at the entrance right in his still-laughing face on the way. We found a path leading deeper down into the caves, but not quite as steeply as the previous one had.
A series of narrow twisting passages led down, back up, and then back down again. Deep in the caves we found the remains of an old armoury, probably set up here to hide from Lassic's ban on non-Palmans owning weapons. Only one shield was still usable; everything else had been stolen, destroyed, or rusted away.
A little further in, we found a locked storage room, probably for the armoury's most valuable goods. We let ourselves in and my eyes immediately fixed on a Laconian shield, still in perfect condition.
The shield was expertly made; like all Laconian items, crafting it required skilled workmanship and powerful magic. It was just the right size and weight for me to use easily.
I used the flute to get us back out of there; the jaunty little tune I found myself playing on it reflected my feelings perfectly. We still hadn't found what we came here for, the cold was as horrible as ever, and I'd learned the hard way that random cave-dwelling Dezorians couldn't be trusted, but it had been a very worthwhile trip all the same.