Chapter 39

Chapter 39


Talia awoke to the sweet burning of mana, and the smoking trails of recent flame.

In her lungs, in her nose. It was as if all her strength had suddenly been returned, and then some. It actually hurt, like the air was just slightly too hot to breathe.

"We're... Alive?"

Beside her, Grant stirred, head turning towards her as he slowly sat up. Beside them, his staff lay quietly beside patches of dust and ash.

"Talia... You killed it?" Sitting up further, he seemed incredulous, eyes locked to Talia's own with a look of true surprise. "You killed it!" He repeated the words, only this time not a question- but a fact. Standing on wobbly knees, Grant picked up his staff, shoulders heaving with laughter. "Ha! Oh if Rodrick and Joan could see us now! By the Light Talia! You've cleared a new floor- probably the first one in over a hundred years! You're a bloody hero for the History books! You're a living legend! If we get to the surface alive, we're going to have Royalty knocking on your door!"

"Now wait a second." Sitting up carefully, Talia coughed at the rich air. It was fading now, but still harsh on her tongue and throat. "Wait just a minute, ack-" She heaved out another cough. "Grant, I don't think I did."

"You don't think you did?" The Wizard turned to her, arms spread wide to gesture at the dust and metal fragments scattered across the floor. "What do you call this? It's certainly not alive and trying to murder us." He kicked at the partial fragment, iron and rust perhaps once belonging to a giant wrist-cuff. "If you didn't kill it, who did?"

Rolling over, Talia felt her hand run along shards of glass. Among the dust and bone fragments, blue tinted pieces of crystal seemed scattered about, settled among a tiny smoldering impact on the floor beside her. Curiously, she picked up one large portion, raising it to the ambient light of the fauna that glowed along the walls and ceiling.

"Hey now, is that a Mana Stone?" Grant leaned in, squinting as he plucked another one of the shards off the floor. "Wow. Talia, you know how much some of these pieces could go for?" Carefully, he picked up another shard, pecking the ground with his free hand like a hen. "Each one of these could make twenty... no- Thirty mana potions. Light and Gods, just these and we've got ourselves enough money for a year. Do you know lucky this is?"


Talia coughed out the last of the sickly-sweet air, breathing in deep as she wiped her cheek. Uncertainly, she stared out along the far wall, opposite to the door, catching the faintest flash of glowing blue before it disappeared.

"I can't say I do." Talia replied honestly.