Isaac's eyes had glazed over, staring off at nothing. The only signs that he was still alive was the slow rise and fall of his chest.
"Do you understand?" the Phoenix asked.
"I do." he responded in a ghost like manner. His mind was clearly far, far away. Something that, under different circumstances, may have made him laugh since he was in the Realm of Minds. At least crack a smile. But he had a job to do now. He was the crucial link in the chain. He just had to... to...
Tears formed, but didn't fall. He wasn't holding them back, it seemed the tears knew that they weren't enough to convey this emotion.
"The link is open now, if you're ready." the Phoenix instructed him. "I'll only be gone a moment if you do exactly as I said. I'll give you further instructions from there."
As the voices echo faded into nothing, one of the orbs nearest him began to glow brightly. It got brighter and brighter, and then simply disappeared. He'd seen it before, but it had never hit him like this, because before then Isaac never knew the full extent of what that little light meant.
It was a mind. Good, bad, it didn't matter. All sane thought had some effect in this place. So of course, a light going out could mean very few things. Someone just died, or went insane. With the present state the world was in, he could only imagine which of the two was more likely to happen.
A ball of fire appeared in its place, lazily moving toward him and then circling around him. With each rotation, it would get slightly closer, and start spinning faster. Soon he seemed to be trapped inside a ring of fire that was slowly closing around him.
The fire took on a golden glow, lightning-like streaks breaking from it and running over his skin. He couldn't feel it, but he'd nearly flinch every time. He said to be still. Isaac reminded himself. If I can't even do that, how am I supposed to follow through and take control of my elemental side?
Then, in an instant, everything changed around him. The fire ring had touched him, blasting him out of the Realm of Minds and into his body. He could feel everything normally, but yet his body... his body was completely entombed in fire! He felt different as well. Images seemed sharper, sounds more distinct.
"You will sense everything twice." the Phoenix had said. "Don't let the fire slip away."
Isaac felt the heat fight him, then concede defeat. It started falling back into its pit, but he urged it back up. He noticed he was back underground, in the Elemental city. How in the world did I wind up here?
With that laps of concentration, he nearly let the heat slip from his grasp. He pulled it back out again, and held it. It started to hurt, like a bad muscle cramp on the inside of his head. He fell to one knee, clutching at his forehead. He held it and held it and held it, until a booming voice rescued him from the torment.
"Well done Isaac."
He spun around, but no one was there. "Phoenix?" he asked to the blank rock he was now facing.
"Yes. Now, easy parts over. Some of my people are in desperate need of help on the surface. The link isn't as strong as I'd hoped, but I can work with it. I'll just need their help."
Isaac eyed the massive hole, dirt and debris floated where the two forces of gravity met and canceled each other out. The flames on his body burned a bit brighter. "How hard can bugs be?"