Episode 8: Into the Catacombs
[BGM: In the Catacombs]
"We're not going to be lost forever in winding passageways, are we?" Ash stammered as he and the others continued down the stairwell.
"Oh no--the catacombs are surprisingly straightfoward if you know what you are looking for." Dawn assured him. "As for the puzzles..."
"There's not going to be any that are impossible, are there?" Ash interuppted. He imagined himself struggling to figure out just the right answer to a question, only to have every possible answer be incorrect.
"Every puzzle has an answer, but not all of them may be the obvious ones." Dawn replied as the group arrived in a small room. After producing a key from her robe and unlocking the door, she continued. "Our path to the statue's chamber may appear to be random, but there is order in the chaos." With that, she led the way into the room held up by simple earthen columns. Ash reached out to touch a vine growing on a wall, but Brock silently urged him not to as they made their way down a hallway and into a room cluttered with broken furniture and a structure in the right corner that resembled a Pokemon pen.
"Wonder what this was once used for?" Ash mused as he studied a ratty tapestry on one wall. "Much less how we're going to advance farther in if the only way out was the way we came?"
"This used to be an underground stable before it became the catacombs." Dawn explained before she heard a crack by the pen. "LOOK OUT!!!"
"YIPE!!!" Ash jumped back as the network of twigs he had been standing on clattered into a small bowl-shaped pit.
"First rule of dungeon crawling, Ash--things aren't always what they seem." Brock cautioned as Ash carefully weaved his way around the pit and back to where Dawn was waiting.
"I knew that..." Ash wheezed, his heart still racing from his near fall.
"Then did you know about the secret way out of here hidden from human eyes?" Brock asked.
"There's another way out?" Ash gasped as he looked around the room--barring the door they had entered from, he did not see a door or any form of entryway. "Where?"
"Observe." With that, Brock readied his harp to play. "Spirits of light, show me things hidden to the Mortal Realm! Wandering Eye!"
[BGM: Carried on Heartstrings]
Even Dawn was surprised by the sudden appearance of a door in the right wall. "Well! I didn't know that door was there!" she smiled as the last note faded away.
"See? The gods have hidden things all across the world, and only the most persistent and keen eyed can find them." Brock assured Ash before following Dawn out of the secret door.
"But I thought there was no way out!" Ash protested. "I thought we'd run into an impossible puzzle, or worse, a monster! I thought..."
"It's all well and good to have thoughts, but it's better to stop thinking and actually do something!" Brock snapped back.
"Both of you, please!" Dawn pleaded as she seperated the boys. "We won't find anything about the catacombs while you bicker like children!"
"Futhermore, take everything you think you know about adventuring and let it go." Brock added, his voice noticably calmer. "Not everything I have told in an adventure tale has to happen to you to count as an adventure--much less happen exactly as it did in a story."
"Okay..." Ash sighed as he trudged behind Brock.
"Brock's right--every adventurer's story is different--the question for you is how you will write yours." Dawn agreed. Ash nodded to show he understood as the group entered another room filled with columns, with a tombstone in between some of them.
"Well, what is your story then?" Ash asked as he watched Brock examine every tombstone in hopes of finding Marista's. "Do you dream of guiding a great hero?"
[BGM: All is Well, I'm Here]
"Not so much that as finding my mother." Dawn replied. "She disappeared when the merchant's caravan she was traveling with was ambushed by thieves. Since my father could barely make enough building things to support himself and me, I asked if I could study with the clerics at Whitespell...since then, Ethani's been like a second mother to me."
"I see..." Ash replied.
"During my training, I learned I had the gift of seeing visions from Anima, so one night, when I had such a vision, I asked Her if my mom was alive. She told me that she was, and the light of a musical rainbow would guide me to her--so I interpret that to mean that someone searching for Rainbow Symphony will lead me to her." Dawn continued, showing Ash a star cut sapphire pendant. "This is the only possession of hers I have, and I keep it with me to remind myself of my promise to find her."
"Speaking of finding things, I wonder if Brock found Marista's tomb..." Ash wondered.
"I looked--it's not in this hall of rememberance." Brock sighed.
"Then let's move on." Dawn motioned for the boys to follow her down a hallway.
Ash darted inside the next room when some letters and a star etched in the wall by one of the three doors leading outside got his attention. "The Lady's light will show you the way?"
"What does that mean?" Even Brock was confused.
"Wandering Eye won't help you solve the Doors of Promise." Dawn cautioned. "Only one way is the correct way foward, and the other two will bring us back here--play Wandering Eye, and the correct doors will shuffle."
"Then if we take the right door, part of the star will be glowing?" Ash suggested.
"A plausible theory, but let's think deeper." Brock countered.
"But I don't want to think, I want to get through here!" Ash protested.
"Patience, Ash..." Dawn began. "Remember when Brock said that things aren't always what they seem to be, and I told you that not every puzzle has an obvious solution?"
"Your idea is perfectly acceptable and plausible, but there's also the possibility of that message having another meaning." Brock added. "We're not going anywhere until we know the way out--so think of what else that message means."
Ash slumped to the ground and sighed, the message by the door replaying in his mind again and again. The Lady's light will show you the way....the Lady's Light will show you the way...oh, Anima, I wish Kissa were here!
To Be Continued...