My mind was swarming with questions and half answers, highlighting pressing ones for Death's opinion.
"How is it possible that we are in the past?"
"Anything is possible when you combine zirconia with preservation magic. However, it's not recommended tampering with time," Death commented.
I sensed his troubled thoughts.
"Hey. Do you really think we can return to the Lotus Bridge and stop that hiruda?"
My mind was quiet before I heard Death sigh.
"Honestly, I think the likelihood is slim. That creature was able to kick me out of my own body then draw upon sophisticated power to throw you back into time."
I gulped. "Do we even have a smidgen of a chance?"
"All is not lost Baby Brother. If the hiruda is abiding to magism, then it will be following a set order dictated for preservation magic."
Death continued his reassurance by throwing out some tried and tested magism facts and theories, which had turned into another one of his crash courses on Magism Conduct and Consequence Violations pertaining to preservation magic.
My eyes drooped with sleep as his voice droned on about violations described in Section 35. Related consequences noted in Section 46. Potential punishments listed in Section 76.
I felt awake and instant joy by the sound of Small Cap's voice.
"You've been alright Small Cap? My brother hasn't intruded on too much of your space? He can be nosy, so I was worried he had worn you down." I fussed in my thoughts.
"I beg a differ!" Death butted in. At least he had stopped with his lecture.
"Me be fine Freend. Be sleeping. Me okay now."
I sensed refreshed vitality and spirit from my spider friend.
"You've been lost in thought," said Brystagg.
I noticed that his eyes were carefully observing me.
"Oh, um, yeah." I averted his gaze.
"I've been thinking Delphi. What did you mean by it is up to Famine and Death?" Brystagg's question may have been directed to Delphi, but his eyes were pushing for my answer.
Delphi stared at my belt pouch for her answer.
I sighed, flicked Colin a look before I called out Death.
"A spider?!" Lyra gasped with both horror and surprise at the sight of Small Cap's head poking out of the belt pouch.
"Sort of my brother Death at the moment," I explained.
"Death is that?" Brystagg's face twisted with a look of disbelief, as he pointed a finger at Small Cap.
"It's a long story. One I'm not smart enough to explain," I said.
"Well that fact I can easily accept," said Lyra with wry expression.
"For another time perhaps." Brystagg brushed off further questions.
I focused on the direction we were headed.
Silence trailed our footsteps along blue carpeted and silver marble hallways. We walked for a long while until we reached an end.
I was overcome with a mad bout of giggles from the tickles I felt all over my body.
"Where this coming from?" I giggled and stiffened when Brystagg's hands cupped my ears.
"Lasaitu zure nerbioak." His spell and soothing voice settled my tickles.
I blushed beetroot and shook myself free from his hands.
"Um, thanks," I mumbled awkwardly and cursed my pounding heart beats.
There was no way in hell this man was going to make my heart race with feelings other than rage, fear and intimidation.
"So, the Uncle now? Famine you are a worry with your fickle heart." Death commented, which made me rant, stupidly, aloud.
"Sorry. It's a brother thing," I apologized to appease everyone's weird stares on me.
I flinched at Lyra's hearty chuckles that she quelled as soon she saw all eyes on her.
Delphi and Galais led us into a bizarre, cube shaped room of pulsing white stone.
The walls were seamless. An iron box hovered in mid-air at the center. The room's space was void of other objects or furniture. It was a display room for the box.
"Burr! Isn't it freezing." I shivered and wrapped my arms around myself.
"Would you rather the tickles?" Lyra smirked.
I ignored her sarcasm and imagined I was being warmed up by a hot cup of cocoa.
"That box." Death's voice trembled.
Did this box contain another one of those objects that Adams-san used to neutralize Gat Shiem's defenses that had let in the Neska Gudari?
"Those warriors were Neska Gudari?" Death asked, picking up on my thought.
"According to War," I soberly answered.
"You've seen War?" Death's voice quivered.
I sensed his urge to cry.
"Yeah. Sorry. I forgot to mention. War's safe back in our time. Living the sweet mansion life with a capable group of knights." I eased his concerns.
"Thank you, Buddha." Death exhaled, relieved.
I sighed. Hope had to run out of steam at some point.
"I don't know. I haven't found him yet."
"Do not dismay Baby Brother. Once I'm back inside my body, and we defeat this hiruda, the three of us will track down Pestilence and bring him back to safety."
Delphi drew our attention to the matter at hand. We gathered around her and the iron box.
"This box was placed in the temple's care by the Black Rider. During my great ancestor's time." Delphi's voice was of absolute reverence.
I frowned at the familiarity of that name, but couldn't pin point where I had heard it. Maybe it was in one of the books I had flicked through in the Library Tower. A time I had been lazing about the chairs to watch War work.
I gulped when Delphi's conversation was directed to me.
"According to the writings of my Ancestor. One day the box will need to pass to the one who can hold it. This one will use it to reset false destinies."
I flinched when her finger pointed to my chest then to the box.
"Um, Death. So that iron box you opened back at the Archive Tower. It'd almost made you a basket case. Right?"
His silence made me uneasy.
"Sorry. I was trying to find the best words to allay your fears, but couldn't."
"Oh God! You're not expecting me to open that b-box. Are you?" I fidgeted with my fingers and hissed at the expectant looks on everyone's faces.
"What's so bad about opening a box?" Lyra innocently asked.
I glared at her ignorant question.
"Oh. So you understand what this box contains." Galais noticed.
I nodded and told them that a man had brought a version of one to the temple home I came from.
"Temple home?" Galais asked.
"He is from Gat Shiem, Galais." Delphi answered.
"Gat Shiem?!" Brystagg and Lyra spoke at the same time.
"Who are you Famine?" Lyra looked worried.
Her question was ignored.
I closed my eyes and braced myself for the worst. I opened them again and gingerly raised a hand to the box then cowardly retracted it.
"You don't really need me to?" I asked with hopefully eyes and sighed at everyone's set expressions.
"Here goes." I released a deep breath.
I placed my hand on the box's clasp.
I unhooked the clasp.
The box opened.
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