Episode 10: The Clever Codex
[BGM: In the Catacombs]
Ash swallowed hard as he watched the zombies approach from both ends of the hallway. "I have a bad feeling about this...."
"You're the one that wanted to come along on the quest...." Brock sighed. "I do have an idea as to how we can get rid of these zombies..."
"How?" Dawn was piqued. "There's no way we'd be able to plow through them all in one direction, much less two!"
"We know they fear holy magic, but on the islands to the south, the peoples there believe fire also deters creatures of the night." Brock explained. "So they light huge fires at night that they don't put out until morning."
"SAY..." Ash interjected. He faced the oncoming horde of zombies in the left hallway and charged a ball of red energy in his hands. "Out of the ground, raze all greenery in flame!"
"Bright light, shine down on bloody impurity!" Dawn called as she aimed a ball of blue white energy at the horde in the right hallway.
The zombies gasped as the horde on the left were engulfed in flames, and the shrieks of those consumed in light filled the right hallway. When both spells disappated, there was not a zombie to be found.
Brock smiled. "If Kissa were with us, she would say well done for coming up with a clever solution."
"At any rate, the left hall is a dead end, and the right hallway is where we need to travel next--into the Faithful Maze, which comes out very close to where we've heard the growling and singing. " Dawn explained as the group started down the right hallway.
"Why is it called that?" Ash wondered as the group entered a large room with a pedestal lying in a corner.
"It is so named because you only see the correct route for a few seconds when you break the lock on the door leading in." Dawn replied, gesturing to a large door with four indentations in its center.
Ash, meanwhile, was piqued in the ornate looking book lying on the pedestal. After thumbing through the pages for a moment, a smile began forming on his face as he fished out the Dreamer's Flute. "Spheres of power, take form in many colors! Mysterious Orb!" With that, he began playing the tune "The Dark Haired Lady", making some red, purple and light blue orbs of various sizes appear and fly about the room, burning, shocking or freezing anything they impacted.
"What was THAT?" Brock gasped as he got up and studied the many frozen or charred points of impact peppering the walls.
"And where did you--" Dawn noticed before spotting the book, which was miraculously unscathed. "Oh, you found the Codex!" She darted over to the pedestal and began eagerly reading a few pages before allowing Brock a chance to read.
[BGM: Carried on Heartstrings]
Brock, on the other hand, took his time reading the pages and the many incantations and descriptions written on them. I can't believe it...I can't believe I'm reading from the famed Codex. He brushed away a tear forming in one eye as he continued reading. Marista...you read from it too. Why did you have to die before you could use what you learned from this special tome? He stepped away from the Codex as another tear landed on the magical pages, revealing a sequence of colors for a moment before drying up.
"Is everything okay?" Dawn asked as Brock took a few deep breaths to calm himself and dry what tears had formed in his eyes.
"Yeah...Marista died not long after reading the Codex in preparation for her quest." Brock replied. "It was strange, reading the same passages she did...."
"Then maybe the same passages hold some new spells for you." Dawn replied. "Every time the Codex is read, what spells the reader learns are different, even if two mages read the exact same page."
"What I really want to learn--" Brock started before choking up again. "is the same--powers---she did..." This was as far as he got before breaking down in tears.
[BGM: All is Well, I'm Here]
Dawn ran over to Brock's side, put a hand around his shoulder, and began whispering words that Ash didn't recognize, calming Brock down a little. Once sure that he was calm again, she asked. "Are you okay now?"
"I think so..." Brock replied as he sniffled a little.
"It's okay to cry over one you have lost--Anima understands your grief." Dawn replied.
"I know, but Marista would've wanted me to be strong in bad times." Brock explained. "So I tried not to show it very often in public."
"If you ask me, bottling up your sadness and anger only makes it worse!" Ash began as he began experimenting with putting some balls in the door's indentations. "While I can't speak from experience, Dawn's right. It always hurts to lose someone you love, and it's okay to cry about it." He grimaced when he saw four red lines above the indentations, so he removed the balls and tried four different colors. "You could write a letter thanking her for the positive influence on your life..."
"Or compose a song in her memory?" Dawn suggested.
A smile crept back on Brock's face. "I like those ideas, but for now, it appears you need a little help...the door's lock is just a simple game of Mystic Eyes--the red lines above the balls mean that color ball is incorrect. Blue means that color is correct, but in the wrong place, and green means it is correct and in the right place."
"Oh, now I know what to do!" Ash laughed as he began rearranging the balls--his last attempt of red-blue-yellow-green had revealed that the blue and yellow balls were correct, but in the wrong place.
"Marista would always play Mystic Eyes with me in hopes I would learn to think critically." Brock began as he watched Ash slowly work out the lock's code. "I think the best way to honor her memory is to guide and mentor Ash, just as she did me."
"And there we go!" Ash announced as his code of blue-orange-purple-yellow made the door creak open to reveal a dizzying array of twisting passageways, some of which looped around each other and even went upside down!
"By Anima...Marista never said anything about this!" Brock gasped.
To Be Continued...