Infiltrating the mines, Abe travels deep within until he reaches a large, underground chamber of mummified Mudokons, all encased in hexagonal amber, where he comes across the Keeper, revealed to be an elder, female Mudokon. The Keeper kicks Abe in to a trial, recovering a gemstone called the "Stone of the Fragon's Eye" within a Sleech-infested catacomb. When Abe succeeds, the Keeper directs him to the centre of the chamber, where he places the stone in a pedestal. The altar starts branding Abe's chest with lightning, which gifts (or curses) him with the true history of Mudokons, with every battle, atrocity and wound included. The shock of the procedure forces him to break down, and eventually fully knocks him out. Abe is informed by the Keeper he must 'taint the brew' and carries him far out of the Sanctum. When Abe wakes up, he finds that after his infiltration, the rest of the workers have been killed or placed into a prison. Using the Shrykull, Abe is able to break out the entire workforce and escape with them on the hijacked train.
The four went through a few more rooms full of enchanted treasure, each more glorious and shimmering than the last, until they finally reached their target. A large dome-shaped room was where the path ended, with gold piled up in mountains around the cave walls, a river of molten gold beneath. The walls of the cave were covered in precious gemstones and coated in yet more gold.
The little rivulet of water passed into a small hole in the back of the cave, just large enough for a dragon to step down into. Dull gemstones of a diverse range of colors lined the entrance. How had she not noticed this before?
In the center of the cavern stood a pit, with more of the gems extruding from the walls. The small stream that the two had been wading through continued a short distance before dropping into the pit, arcing over the side and splashing onto the larger gemstones, then falling below. Torrent and Crystal stood on a ledge around the edge of the pit, with a few exits from the cavern thrown around the ledge.
Reaching over, Crystal tapped a claw to a large green gemstone protruding from the pit at a slant. As the tip of her talon touched it, it glowed a bright green, causing the gemstones around it to light up in unison. A wave of light passed down the pit, allowing Crystal to see further down. The light slowly faded as it got farther and farther from her.
She pointed to a small hole in the wall part-way around the ledge she and Torrent were standing on, a few yards up the side of the walls. The two carefully walked around it. Torrent, being the larger one, went first. He stood on his hind-legs, and reached to the edge of the entrance, using his tail to keep himself balanced. After he had grabbed ahold of it, he pulled himself up, stepping on a few of the gemstones in the wall to hoist himself, causing a flurry of light.
Torrent nodded, and leapt from the precipice, spreading out his wings. Crystal quickly followed. The two tilted their bodies to the side, flying in tight circles as they descended into the depths of the cave, so not to crash into the glowing gemstones on the side. Even if it was only a few minutes until they reached the bottom, it felt like they were gliding hours.
Torrent hesitated for a moment, unsure if he should go on without Crystal, but he quickly jumped off the back of the crystal dragon, behind it. A few of the gemstones on the ground pulsed bright colors as he ran past, trying to get deeper into the cave. Suddenly, a giant stone tail hurled into him, knocking him into the wall of the cavern with a thud.
After gathering their small set of belongings, the two set off into the tunnel. The slope was gentle, and at some points, it almost looked like the floor had been made into crude stairs. As the two continued upwards for what felt like hours, the colorful gemstones on the wall slowly shrunk, and started to creep back into the walls. Torrent felt his dagger occasionally. The magic around them was getting weaker; the cave was letting them go.
Rachel Wade is finally free after years in prison for the death of her husband, a crime she did not commit. But as a thoroughly fallen woman, the only work she can find is as housekeeper to the cynical, jaded Viscount D'Aubrey. 2b1af7f3a8