Part 21: Baya Malay, Part 3
Chapter 21: Baya Malay, Part 3
The entrance to the tower was blocked by a magically sealed door, just like the one we'd seen at the gatehouse. Noah dealt with it as efficiently as the first one, but I could see that the effort fatigued him. If there were too many more of these doors in our way, he'd be too tired to fight by the time we reached the top.
The tower's interior was decorated with semi-precious stones inlaid into the walls to form mosaics. I was a little surprised to find none of the disturbing images we'd seen in Medusa's tower; most of the artworks depicted fairly mundane pastoral scenes. Maybe the tower predated Lassic, and he hadn't gotten around to redecorating yet.
The tower was also full of monsters, and plenty of them. We'd seen them all before -- the centaurs, the magicians, the giant horned reapers -- but they still posed a serious threat.
Well, most of them did, anyway.
We made our way through a maze of passages and found ourselves in the dungeons beneath the tower. Lassic's prisoners had been a valuable source of information so far; if anyone here was locked up for knowing too much, I wanted to find them.
"Full knowledge? No, I guess I don't. If there's anything you can tell me--"
"I can't do that. There's something here that Lassic doesn't want me to find; that's all I need to know for now."
There was nothing heavenly about Lassic's wrath, but as much as I feared it I had to go on, to avenge my brother and free my father if for no other reason. The prisoner's warning was well-intentioned, but I couldn't heed it.
Once it became clear that the old man was either unable or unwilling to give me any useful information, I pressed on, this time climbing up toward the top of the tower.
A large wooden chest sat invitingly on the floor in the middle of a hallway, completely unguarded. Did Lassic think I could be fooled that easily? I knew better than to open it without taking precautions.
Unfortunately, I apparently didn't know better than to waste magic on an empty chest. Myau and I sighed in shared frustration, and we continued on.
At the end of the hallway we came to an iron door, held shut with several heavy bolts and padlocks. Whatever or whoever was behind it had to be important. Luckily, none of the locks were magical, and my dungeon key easily opened them all.
So the Damor I'd heard about in the Corona Tower really existed. It seemed too optimistic to hope that Lassic had let him keep his protective crystal, but perhaps he at least knew of its current location.
Well, if he could get his hands on a magic crystal, who was to say he couldn't also predict the future? Besides, a little flattery never hurt. "Of course, Damor. Your reputation extends even as far as Dezoris."
"Why, yes, as a matter of fact. You are truly as perceptive as I was told. I've heard that you once owned a certain cr--"
"Um, I'm afraid I've never heard of anybody by that name..."
Oh, crap. My chance to ingratiate myself with Damor was slipping away. I had to think fast.
"Wait! Just because I haven't heard of him doesn't mean I'm not looking for him! Maybe it's very important that I find him and I just don't know it yet!"
"Of course! You are the great Damor, after all. How could you be wrong?"
"You want me to leave already? Please, if I could have just one more moment of your time, there's one thing I have to ask of you."
Damor looked confused. "But I have already answered all your questions, have I not?"
"Well, actually, I didn't get to ask you any questions yet. And then there was that thing about Alex Ossale..."
"I'm not... you didn't... it's not that I'm contradicting you," I stammered, fearful of offending him again. "It's just that--"
And with that, he handed me a small clear crystal on a Laconian chain, which I put around my neck as he showed me the door. That was the strangest conversation I'd ever had, which was saying a lot considering that I'd been on speaking terms with Noah for several months now.
"What a wise old man," Noah said as we left. "I wish we had more time to talk to him."
"You would say that," Myau retorted.
We kept climbing the tower and soon found another promising-looking chest, this one a small iron strongbox held to the wall by a chain. I expected it to be empty like the last one, but Myau still felt energetic enough to disarm the trap easily, and if we were going to search this tower it was best to be thorough about it.
Inside the box was a large, faintly glowing Laconian key. I suspected I knew what it was.
Noah's whoop of joy from behind me confirmed my guess. "That's the Miracle Key!" he shouted, looking over my shoulder at it. "It's exactly as the dragon described it. We can open as many magical locks as we want to now that we have this!" He did a little victory dance and skipped up and down the hallway.
Well, I certainly didn't have to worry about Noah running out of energy any more. I pocketed the key and we continued on.
The next chest we found didn't even have a trap, which didn't stop us wasting time and energy looking for one. Inside the chest was a magic lamp just like the one I'd already bought in Gothic. I sighed and left it behind.
Finding things that would have been very useful if only we'd come across them a little earlier seemed to be a common theme lately. I already had more money than I knew what to do with and a better sword than the laser weapon I found in the tower. Still, at least finding new things meant we were making progress. Surely we couldn't be too far from the top now.
Well, however close we were to the top, we weren't so close any more. We dusted ourselves off and retraced our steps back up to the pit trap.
Myau gave a self-satisfied purr as he disabled it.
Behind the trap was a long, twisting corridor, ending in a spiral staircase. I could see daylight and hear the wind at the top.
Finally, we'd reached the top of Baya Malay Tower. The air was cold, fresh and windy, and the view was breathtaking; I could see all the way to Camineet from here. I surveyed Palma with a smile. We'd defied Lassic's robots and monsters, fought our way through the most heavily-guarded place on the planet, and lived to tell the tale. Only one question remained:
Now that we'd reached the top, just what the hell were we supposed to do up here?