In the mind of Sunny, uncountable fibers of his consciousness wriggled out and stitched into the mind of Borrit. Rapidly, these fibers spun themselves into yarns and the yarns twisted themselves into strands. There were now three strands and each twisted itself firmly while holding its tension, careful not to kink, and when this was done, they gathered together and rekindled their memory of twisting, from which they were compelled to lay over each other like the twirl of a sweeping hurricane to complete a simple three-strand rope.
Sunny slid his consciousness out of his body and grasped his hand over the rope he had formed. It was taut and its coarseness wore into his palm as he guided himself toward the mind of Borrit and into it.
Sunny was taken aback. In his world, people had few years of experience and their resulting memory palaces were often small, with even those of learned mind boasting only a moderately sized memory palace. But now, the memory palace he set foot in took the appearance of a huge cavern, with torches fixed to the walls burning a flickering orange. There were also innumerable rock drawers jammed with files protruding from the walls, and numerous rock shelves lined with books fixed into the walls. From this, Sunny deduced that the books were the long-term memory and the files were short-term memory. The objective was as such: to find out how Borrit discovered the location of Undelumi Castle. However, Sunny had no clue as to whether the memory was stored in the long-term memory or the short-term memory. As such, he mindlessly walked to the opened drawers, pulled out numerous files, and settled down on the floor to skim through them.
Sunny furrowed his brows until they nearly met. The files were not arranged chronologically and he was forced to slog. After a few more minutes of pulling open heavy drawers of considerable length, he grew exasperated and was on the verge of burning the files, effectively ruining the memory of Borrit. But before he found the resolve to do so, he found what he was looking for: the file with the title, “Crimson Knight”. He remembered that Borrit had previously addressed Richard with this title. Picking the file out, Sunny began to speed-read since he was worried that he had spent too long a time here and that Richard might be getting impatient.
Magician of Saws and Halves had ordered me to form a team with three others: I obeyed and teamed up with Gor, Viore and Ata. We were to scout the regions of Avalsnow Land, which is where Servant of Crystal Sight pinpointed the Second to appear.
The weather in Avalsnow Land was accursed. I already knew that it was known for its fatal weather, namely the avalanches that would rain from its sky. However, it was still absurd to be hit by five avalanches in a day. Without Gor, we would have died.
I received news that the outsiders in Avalsnow Land had been dying. An order also came, stating that we were forbidden to pursue any enemy we encounter.
We had been scouting to no avail. Servant of Crystal Sight saw that the place of summoning was in Avalsnow Land, in specifics, somewhere after the Floating Lake. But I doubted its accuracy.
I told Gor my conjecture: the place of summoning might be protected, which is why the vision of Servant of Crystal Sight only permitted her to gaze at the surrounding region.
We went to the rough location from the vision. Gor removed the mass of snow to uncover the earth and I dug. As the ground was frozen hard, I had to take quite a bit of time and so, I told Gor to go scout with Viore and Ata.
The deeper I dug, the clearer I felt an underground castle and a vague presence.
The rest had not returned from scouting but I sensed another presence in the castle. I decided to dig faster and confront the two presences—alone.
The boy was an earth user. It was foolish of him to step into my territory and alert me. The other one was Crimson Knight, Richard Clanden. Why did they run? Should I attack? Maybe I should just check them out.
Having found out that Borrit had conjectured the location of Undelumi Castle with the help of Servant of Crystal Sight, Sunny closed the files and walked toward the exit of the memory palace. But before he exited, he caught sight of a tunnel that paved into the darkness. A fire lit from his palm and he floated it into the tunnel, revealing a small cave with a hole on the ground. As the cave was specifically set apart from the short-term and long-term memory, Sunny believed that the memory stored in it was of significant importance. His curiosity now swelled with fervor, and he walked into the cave and dropped down to the bottom, which was about 20 meters deep. The fire followed him down to the base of the hole where a beautifully carved marble pedestal stood. On it, a tome of obsidian sat patiently, bearing the white colored title of “The Flaming Villagers” on its cover. Sunny felt queasy but his curiosity reigned and he read it nonetheless. There were only two pages and they were also made of obsidian; together, they formed the white chalked picture of a burning forest. Sunny hesitantly placed his fingertips on the cold page and stroked its glassy surface. The white lines of the picture glowed and he found himself immersed in the memory.
The scorched land of the village smoked and licked the houses aflame, fanning its unquenchable breath—its gluttony as bottomless as the pits of hell. At the surrounding, the forest swayed with its fiery shawl, its branches blistering and leaves crunching. And from it, columns of smoke rose, erecting a tower that blackened the heavens as the air burnt while the birds fled. The villagers fled in all directions, their chest huffing and puffing with selfish endeavor, their feet stomping with relentless urgency, and their hands shoving with barbaric motive.
Standing at the center of it all, a white haired magician twirled his black cane with his nifty fingers; fireballs sprung out from thin air, their appetites whetted, and they lunged at the juicy and scampering legs, roasting them and chewing the bones charred, toasting the fats and parching the moisture, and torching the corpse and simmering the flavors of life—emulating the mouth-watering preparation of haute cuisine.
The villagers continued to run, their persistence steeled upon their ashen faces, and even as sweat burst out of their pores and tears shot out of their eyes—they persevered; but with the enduring twirl of the cane, their persistence melted like molten steel, and the vestige of hope in their eyes were swept away by the flames that feasted on the crisps of their skin. All the while, the seconds dawdled and ticked at their capricious indulgence, their prying eyes strayed from the keeping of time and paused on the smoldering corpses.
The villagers squeezed their muscles dry of energy and a few made their way out of the burning village, where a rude shock awaited. With his back against tall walls of earth and a grin that stretched from eye to eye, a 12-year-old boy stood, thrilled that he had confined the villagers, and as he savored the panic that seized them—with their face flushed with desperation and their eyes glossed with despair—he shuddered with euphoria.
The villagers turned tail, meeting face-to-face with the magician, and they caught sight of his dexterous fingers, his abiding twirling of the cane, the growing red of the fireballs, and they heard the laugh of the boy, as they stood clamped in place by hands of earth, unable to scuttle like the insects they were, forbidden to live, their future wrenched from their grasping hands, and they smelled their own sizzling flesh, heard the splattering oil, and tasted their forthcoming death.
Beads of sweat clustered on the forehead of Sunny and a few ran their way down the curves of his face, racing each other. Soon, a thumping noise made its presence loud and clear and he pressed his hand over his chest, trying in vain to quell it. When he had calmed, he closed the tome and sat it back onto the pedestal, where it slept innocently. The mind of Sunny started to storm. There was the flaming leaves, the frightened birds, the pillars of smoke, the hasty steps, the forceful shoving, and the twirl of the black cane, the pursuing fireballs, the smoking bones, the bubbling fats, the sweaty faces, the teary eyes, and the twirl of the black cane, the crunch of burnt skin, the sluggish time, the exhausted muscles, the walls of earth, the wide grin, and the twirl of the black cane.
Sunny exited the memory palace and unraveled the rope that connected both his mind and the mind of Borrit. Quickly, the three-strand rope untwisted itself into three strands, and the three strands loose themselves into yarns and then fibers, and at this moment, the connection snapped, and Sunny was jerked out of the mind of Borrit.
Sunny opened his eyes to face the green and starry ceiling. He was slightly dazed, as if he were awoken abruptly. Spotting Richard, whom was seated on the floor with his back against the wall, he realized that he had taken a long time and he apologized, before narrating his experience in the memory palace—including the existence of the obsidian tome. But there was a shift in the atmosphere and he saw the glint of bloodlust in the eyes of Richard. With a quick draw, Richard materialized Blessblizz and used Severance Wave on Borrit, whom was a few meters away, seeping quietly into the ground. The ground tore but he was gone.
“Rock Word,” Sunny said. “He’s at basement 6. Do we pursue?”
“It’s fine. I don't think we can reach him in time,” Richard replied. “It’s wasted. I’d wanted to use this place as headquarters if we ever need to in the future.”
“Take care of my body.”
“And keep quiet for a while.”
“Rock Word,” Sunny thought, and the threads of his consciousness were pulled to the corners of the cavern.
With his consciousness spread like a web, Sunny laid incredibly still with his senses strained for a careless prey. Soon, the plucking of threads coursed the web and reached him, and he eagerly slipped out of his body with haste. He tailed the vibrations and crossed the web, taking care not to alarm his prey and he arrived at basement 1.
“Mind Invader,” Sunny thought, and his mind connected to the mind of Borrit to form a three-strand rope.
Quickly, Sunny slipped out of his body and guided himself into the mind of Borrit, and he entered the cavern once more, with the same torches, drawers of files, and shelves of books. He dragged open drawers after drawers and lugged out files after files, dumping them on the floor and setting them on fire. The flames consumed with voracious appetite and their stomach ballooned, and Sunny carried on, laboriously ripping out drawers of files to feed the flames as his sweat splashed across his face to shield him from the heat. But as Borrit climbed up the levels of the castle, the three-strand rope stretched and Sunny felt his mind being ripped apart at its seams. He hurriedly burned more files until eventually, the rope snapped and he was torn out of the mind of Borrit.
“Argh!” Sunny shouted as his head tensed painfully. “I’ve tempered with his short-term memory. I doubt that he’d remember anything after he leaves this place.”
“You what?” Richard asked.
“I used Rock Word to locate him, followed by Mind Invader to enter his mind and erase his short-term memory. I didn’t have enough time to erase everything but I’d burn files with “Crimson Knight”, “Underground”, and “Digging” as their titles.”
“We’ll just hope that it’s enough. I presume he’s out of this cavern?”
“Yes, with slight amnesia.”
“Then, might I trouble you to restore the hole in the cavern ceiling? We can’t let it remain. And if possible, the castle too.”
“What? Can’t we just leave it?”