Everlasting Black

from by Continuum Kingdom

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One dark corridor lead into another as the thief & prince gradually ascended the levels in the underground palace. Every time they heard a faint rustling or rogue footfall they paused, reassessed & rerouted until they reached a cavernous room with an imposing stone archway in the center. The solitary entryway was big enough to allow several people to pass through at once, but the giant stone doors were sealed shut even though they seemed to lead to nowhere. There was a very faint melodic hum that filled the space & grew louder the closer the pair got to the archway. After walking up the circular steps that led to the doors, the prince noticed that stone heads were carved into the door frame & when he put his ear to one of the stone heads he realized that they were the source of the haunting tone but the faces remained as still as the stone they were carved from.
The thief pulled out an odd oversized obsidian tuning fork that she held upside down. She paused for a second, looked up at the archway, then to the fork, back to the door & finally flicked the fork with her middle finger. The fork released a counter tone to the one emitted by the stone heads, this resulted in a cacophony of unimaginable audio. The sound waves were so powerful they almost seemed visible. It felt like the waves were at war inside the princes body trying to rip his soul from physical form. After about 12 seconds the fork ceased vibrating & the pair were left standing ( relatively unscathed ), but now the doors in the archway were gone, the faces had vanished & the tuning fork was right side up in the thiefs hand.

On the other side of the archway a grand black landscape stretched out before them. No light shown anywhere, but for some reason the features of the great crevasse looming before them were perplexingly still visible. The prince could make out movements of what appeared to be gargantuan lumbering beast off in the distance & asked the thief for an explanation. She informed him that this place was called the Everlasting Black & was the bridge between the under & overworld sections of the dark palace. The creatures he saw were souls that had been corrupted & mutated inside the palace. She concluded that the only way to leave is to traverse the black & exit through the overworld. At this point she pulled out the gravity orb, enlarged & opened it, then instructed the prince to get inside ( which he dutifully did ). She climbed in as well & shut the canopy behind her ( the canopy sounded like rain falling as it sealed the pair inside ). Sitting down in a lotus position the thief closed her eyes & the orb lifted off the ground & began floating across the black expanse.

The gravity orb was mostly transparent from the inside, so the prince was able to take in the scenery as they floated overhead to some unknown destination. The landscape was unreal. A mind redefining view of monsters made of pure blackness epically trekking beneath them was shoved into the brain of the prince, who, just 6 months ago would be loosing his fuxing shit & drowning in anxiety right now, but this current iteration of the future king was taking it all in stride. In fact, he was somewhat enjoying the flight, they were safely inside the orb & the liquid used to create the orb emitted soothing vibrations like a babbling brook. There were also amazing sights to see & he felt safe sitting next to the thief. He took a couple minutes to just stare at her. The prince had always been weary of staring at women for too long, but with her in this meditative trance state he was free to study every inch of her. She ( like most women ) was different up close.

They had been floating along for a good 36 minutes when something struck the side of the orb, the thiefs eyes shot open. One of the colossal creatures below had flung something from the ground & had impacted the orb. The serene sounds of the brook had now vanished and were currently being replaced by the din of an approaching storm. The thief quickly examined their protective walls, the side that was hit had become compromised & the orb was rapidly losing altitude. This was the first instance the prince could recall where he saw actual fear on the thiefs face.
A couple of the titans below had become alerted to their presence & were beginning to pursue the falling orb. The thief was frantically looking for a place to crash land when she let out an exclamation of excitement. There was a large structure off in the distance & the thief was beginning to steer their descent in that direction. The orb contacted with the earth & disintegrated like a bubble being popped on impact dumping its passengers onto the ground. The two sprang up as fast as they could muster & ran straight for the black tower.

The duo burst through the twin doors barring their entrance & the prince was stopped dead in his tracks by the sight in front of him. The insides of the tower were a dizzying array of staircases & platforms that ascended & descended in every direction possible, some pathways seemed to be upside down, some seemed to crawl around perpendicular to walls, while others folded in on themselves like möbius escalators. Just as the prince started to ponder how they could possibly traverse these enigmatic pathways the thief screamed at him from the other side of the room, she was standing at the base of one of the multitude of cases that surrounded them ( she was too far away to make out her subtle facial expressions, but she sounded alarmed & angry ). The prince began to jog in the direction of the thief, but he didnt even get 6 steps before an explosion behind him tossed him off his feet as one of the monsters that had been pursuing them exploded through the entryway, decimating the outside wall. Everything became chaos.
Whatever force had been keeping the insides of this tower together lost its grip when the monster broke in & all the pathways coiled around the building began to come un-tethered & shift orientations. The prince was so overwhelmed he didnt even realize he was standing still until the thief grabbed his hand & started dragging him towards another set of stairs. The prince summed up enough courage to take a look behind him & saw that a gigantic pale tubular lizard/snake creature was bringing one of its colossal limbs down on their heads, the thief phased the instant before the creatures paw would have flattened them.

The inside of the creatures extremity were pitch black ( just like its soul ), suddenly the prince felt himself being dragged skyward. The pair bounded a good 15 feet in the air ( apparently the thief had some sort of vertical launching ability while phased due to her reduced body mass ) & landed on a stairway that was rapidly collapsing. While phased, both of them / holding hands / were light enough to float & traverse the collapsing cases.
The prince had to thank his lucky stars that the thief was yanking him around by his arm or he most certainly would die in this current situation. The lizard/snake/creature was violently slithering up the walls after them, knocking paw sized holes out of the castles walls as it climbed. There was some distant shouting coming from near the head of the beast. On first glance the source of the screams appeared to be a small rider, but on further inspection it actually seemed to be a small torso of person parasitically fused to the body the creature. The prince could not tell what its purpose was, or make out its chaotic ravings, but it was furious & its anger was doubtlessly directed at the prince.
The bottom of the structure was also coming undone from the ground up, some godly force kept the upper half of the castle aloft in a feat of ominous power. The prince could see flashes of pure white lighting bolts sparking into existence in a circular pattern around the perimeter of the castle, the lighting was striking from a common angle that seemed to be directly above them.
The climb was becoming more treacherous the higher they reached, every 3 or 6 steps a footfall would give out or a handhold would falter or an axis would invert & theyd be 9 steps back again. Statues & monoliths were falling from above & ripping off walls. The prince took a moment to ponder if this was the normal amount of effort it took to break in/break out of the dark place, he concluded that if it was, he ( & anybody else ) were not worth it.
The thief turned to the prince and said the words hold on, then steeled her resolve like chromium & leapt as hard & high as she could. All the collapsing cases stretched into infinity for a moment until their velocity evened out & they floated through a hole in the ceiling & gracefully touched down on the castles roof. A pulsing ball of light floated above them raining down lightning. Just as the thief began to explain that the ball was another sort of short distance sphere vortex the lzrd/snk creature erupted out of the insides of the castle, the top half of its body burst through the castle ceiling like an infant encased in an elevated chair. The thief gave the princes arm another yank & proceeded to run at the creature. It was so large & filled with chaos that the beast didnt even notice the light sensation of a phaser running up its back. The thief jumped to the creatures neck, then bounded across its head a couple times until the pair reached the creatures frontal fontanel which hovered just under the lightning sphere. They leapt up & disappeared into the sphere which caused what was left of the castle to finally fully collapse with the creature inside.

The duo reappeared in a vast room filled with unbelievably ornate architecture & design. There were windows on the walls with a faint amount of light sprinkling through them, this was when the prince realized theyd finally reached the overworld! This was the end of their journey, but the prince looked around & was unable to find an exit to the daunting room so he inquired with the thief: she then pointed to a stone statue of a warrior sitting in a fetal position centered against the far wall.

We have to go through him…

immediately the stone warrior stood revealing a small doorway behind him.
She whispered:

i can’t phase through these walls & i cant phase us both through him…
i’ve tried before & it was bad.

It was time for him to show his worth, the prince didnt know why he was chosen, but he was. A thought occurred to him: If he won, he would be a hero, if he lost, he would be dead & would never have to face the consequences. The prince was afraid of a lot of things, but his death was bizarrely not one, he unclipped his hilt & deployed his blade. The prince had been waiting his entire life for someone to take a chance on him & she had.

The prince lunged at the stone guardian. The defender of the exit was much larger than the prince, easily 2X is height. As the prince stole the guardians attention, the thief stealthily slipped out the exit. The prince took a second to scope the escaping thief & the guardian punished him for it by swinging his stone blade into the princes left arm. The pain was intense ( the arm was most likely shattered ), his appendage would just have to dangle there useless. They traded a couple blows, but the prince could barely keep up with his massive adversary. They locked weapons & the guardian used that moment to kick the prince in his chest. The sheer force sent him careening across the room into the far wall.
He was failing, all the prince could hear were the rantings of the creature rider echoing in his head, endlessly prophesying his failure, until suddenly the thiefs visage flashed across his minds eye. The prince was not a praying man, but in this moment he whispered to the Infine ( ive never asked anything of you before, but please, do me this solid ). It was at this moment that something in the depths of the princes soul awoke. A pure energy began to flow through his battered body. The prince rose from the ground, his strength miraculously returning. He stood up, pure white hot energy like the surface of sun was radiating from his body, he would not allow himself to fail. He slowly stood up & began walking towards the guardian. He lifted his sword and pointed the glowing blade directly at the foe. The prince was

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from Dark Palace, released January 20, 2017

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