Chapter 7: Episode 28- "In the Heart of the Earth"
“Where am I?” Khali woke up in the arms of Felix. She was groggy from just slipping out of unconsciousness, her vision was foggy, as if peering through a haze. But Khali felt her body jolting up and down, Felix was running as he carried her. They must be ascending the tunnel again out of the heart of the earth. Had her ultimate worked? Did she kill the netherform demon? Was that why she had no strength? Khali could feel her body enough to know that she could not feel, it was a numbness that lingered in her arms and legs; she was limp like a doll in the hand of a child. Felix’s stride was strong and consistent as if he was in a trance.
Felix, in the spirit world focused what human energy he had to remain in the spiritual state where his mental strength could carry his weakened body bearing Khali out of the pit of death they had entered not long before. He had just enough strength to lapse into the spirit world and allow his body to move as a machine through the tunnel paths his subconscious had memorized on the way down. All of Felix’s thought was trained on the single object of getting himself and Khali out of this dreadful place and back among the living. It was a drudge requiring every ounce of his concentration and focus, he could not give in to physical impulses or urges to rest, the gnawing feeling of hunger or need for water.
Though his body was depleted of energy, his mind was alive and sharp, but was it enough to keep him moving? It was then that his foot hit a stone in the midst of the smooth passage. It was so unexpected that Felix tripped forward. He immediately fell out of the spirit world and had just the presence of mind in a split second to turn his body and land on his shoulder, keeping the body of Khali from experiencing any direct impact of the fall. He breathed out heavily as his body hit the tunnel floor and the last of his strength left him.
Laying on his back on the floor, helpless and out of the mental or physical capital to make any significant movements. Khali was listless, with no strength of her own and barely enough consciousness left within her to be awake for any of this perilous situation: a mile underneath any help. Deep in the heart of the earth. Was this where they died?
~You’re not going to die here, Felix.~ A voice spoke from within Felix’s mind, somewhere deep inside of him. Felix may have been hallucinating, but he could’ve sworn it was his father’s voice that said it. From beyond the grave, James Savoor still spoke to his children and willed them on in their mission: their journey. Knowing that somewhere his father was keeping watch over him gave Felix the strength to go on.
Remembering the transportation ring he kept on a chain around his neck, but outside his shirt and in between the first layer of clothes and the first layer of thin armor he wore. Felix hated the touch of metal against his skin. With an arm that felt atrophied, he muscled his way to fish the chain out from underneath his thin, black leather armor. The chain was more difficult to reach than he thought as he strained his arm and angled his hand to get just the tips of his fingers on the chain. When he had the faintest touch of it, he managed to bring the chain just a fraction closer to the opening in the leather armor. This he did several times before actually being able to get a hold on the chain in between his two fingers and pulled it out.
As he took the chain out, the ring slid down the new low point of the chain and fell into Felix’s hand. Not having enough time or coordination to try and undue the clasp of the chain, Felix ripped the thing off his neck. The ring clattered to the tunnel path and bounced out of reach. Felix tried to snatch it before it fell all the way down the tunnel back the way they’d come, but his body would not move as quickly as his mind thought it could. The ring bounced it’s way all the distance back down the tunnel to where Felix and Khali had left.
“No!” Felix let out a cry of despair as their only means of escape had just bounced away, too far for his weakened body to retrieve. He would surely pass out and die here, and Khali with him. Felix lay on the floor, depleted and exhausted, heaving breaths as his final act on this earth.
~You will not die here.~ The voice within Felix spoke up again with words of encouragement, but they almost seemed like surety, as if the voice in Felix’s head knew what was coming next. Felix felt a surge of energy and a meager amount of strength return to his body, like a flood washing over dry ground, there was an instant renewal.
Felix slowly picked himself off of the floor, careful not to drop Khali’s limp body to the floor. He managed to stand, half surprised that his legs did not collapse under him. He bent to lift the slender body of his sister from the floor, not hopeful that he would succeed. To Felix’s astonishment, it was as if Khali weighed nothing at all; he lifted her with ease and immediately set his feet for freedom. The strength within him was not his own, and he prayed it would stay and be enough to see him through.
Sometimes that was all a person could do: hope and pray that the blessing didn’t leave and the things they did not understand had a propose and plan for their lives. It didn’t take as long to reach the starting point of their journey as Felix thought it would, it had felt much farther when he was relying in his own strength. He stood once more in the room where not a few hours before the two had faced a terrible netherform demon and nearly lost their lives. Felix had been beaten and broken in body, but fortunately his gift of incredible and rapid healing kicked in. However, healing his injuries did nothing to restore his energy spent fighting the creature.
Khali was in far worse straits than himself, she had used her ultimate against the beast, defeating it, but simultaneously defeating herself. She gave everything she had to save her brother, now he carried her in his arms to protect her until he could return the favor.
Felix set Khali on ground and walked to pick up the ring. As he bent to pick up the object, his vision blurred and his foot hit the ring. The small object skidded across the floor and rested on the edge of a sheer cliff that fell a few thousand feet into a cauldron of lava: the heart of the earth. Felix took a few deep breaths and slowly walked to carefully pick up the ring and safely secure it from any further shenanigans.
“That could have been very bad.” Felix sighed as he tightened his grip on the ring, just to be safe. He paced back to Khali’s body on the floor, motionless. He placed one hand on his sister’s shoulder. “Alright, let’s get out of here.” Taking the ring and putting it on his index finger of his right hand, Felix concentrated on the one place he could fully envision, the only place he could remember in his mind exactly as it was. He only hoped it hadn’t changed in the time he’d been gone. A gaping hole opened beneath them and the two fell through, Felix’s flail also fell through it’s own gaping black hole that opened separately underneath it. In an instant Felix hit a wooden floor, Khali fell onto a soft bed: convenient. Felix’s flail fell from the sky and struck the wooden near Felix’s face. Its spikes dug into the floor in front of Felix’s eyes.
Felix looked over at Khali on the bed, she was safe and resting, that was good. His flail was here. Also a good thing. They were not dead… however long that would last, Felix could not say. But for now, they were both alive. Felix let his eyes close as he took a deep, calming breath.
“Well…that turned out better than expected.” Felix murmured to himself before falling into a dark vortex of sweet, blissful unconsciousness.