Everything is exactly where FuSoYa’s document said it should be, KiNa mindspoke to ShiKon.
They were in a less-than-ideal position, crammed into a tiny vent shaft that led them directly into the containment area for the Manor’s power supply crystals. The boy could see the glittering light on the other side of the wall plating as his melting device worked to cut a hole through the metal. The size of it was daunting and he began to have doubts.
~Did you expect anything less? This is Master SoYa’s son, after all.~
I guess you’re right.
KiNa stuck his tongue out of the corner of his mouth as he concentrated. The heat made spots of perspiration pop out over his face, leaving a damp sheen on his skin. It took a few minutes before he felt the metal finally give. Then with a sharp kick, he knocked the plate out of the wall. It was cut so perfectly, they’d be able to replace the grate without anyone realizing it was still loose.
~Not bad,~ ShiKon noted, sounding half bored.
He knew it was because she was actually scared. She just didn’t want to admit it or let it show. That was all the more reason why he had to make this work.
KiNa slipped feet-first through the opening and dropped into the containment area. It was a great domed room covered with lines of runic energy that all fed into the massive towers of stone and metal that encased what had once been wild crystals.
Their goal was to disrupt the energy flow and cause a city-wide blackout. Meanwhile, the rest of their group were dressed as students of the Manor and instructed to create as much chaos as possible. It didn’t matter what they did as long as they captured and held the guards’ attention.
He didn’t want to think about what was to come after that part of the plan. So he just concentrated on the humming stones before him. They each gave off a pulsing light, almost feeling warm and alive as KiNa walked past. A soft hum filled his mind, the sound of sleeping energies that he was about to wake.
ShiKon perched within the grate opening, keeping watch over the chamber. She made it very clear that she had little desire to go traipsing through pillars of electric crystal magic. Because the opening was built so high into the wall, KiNa also needed her to stay there to ensure he could get back out the way he came in.
The boy strode to the middle of the chamber, eyes fixed on the largest stone in the room. No doubt, this was the central source of energy for the city, a large outcropping of crystal that broke through the surface of the metal-plated floor.
They must have discovered this crystal originally, then decided this was a good site to build the school over top. I guess the one big crystal isn’t enough to maintain the place, though.
KiNa looked around at the other smaller crystals, each locked within containers. Unlike the large, natural crystals, the smaller ones had been harvested and brought there. Or created, he reminded himself with a wince. The thought of creating vessels of pure planetary energy was a very scary thought.
I wouldn’t put it past them to try, though. The Manor is reaching for power of any kind, no matter the consequences of obtaining it.
The smaller crystals were weaker. He could tell by the softer humming and the dimmer glow. They were slowly being drained of power as every structure in that room was built to extract and amplify the energies, sending them to the central large crystal.
No wonder they’re trying to get more crystals. I wonder how much longer this place can maintain this kind of energy output before it all folds.
KiNa tried to remind himself that the Manor was the enemy and that this was their problem, not his. But a tickle in the back of his mind couldn’t help but be worried for the innocent people who lived in the city, by their will or by force. He didn’t know what would happen the day the crystals gave out, or what that meant for the surrounding lands.
Instead, the boy withdrew a small crystal of his own, and fit it into the end of what looked like a long metal stick. It wasn’t a stick, however. It was a device that did two things. First, it protected the holder from crystal energies so that the person using the device didn’t get fried on contact. Second, it reversed the flow of crystal energies.
If everything works the way I think it does in this place… turning the charge around will short the whole place out. They’ll be able to put it back right once they realize the reversal, but in the meantime, the Manor should be without power long enough for us to carry out the next part of my plan.
~Hey, Mr. Drama. You mind stepping it up over there?~ ShiKon’s mind speak chided. ~You keep patting yourself on the back like that and you might pull your shoulder out of wack.~
I’m going… I’m going…
He mind muttered a few times and remembered to close his mind connection so that the girl couldn’t keep prying. Then he approached the central crystal.
Everything was bathed in a silent light, which began to grow stronger as the boy approached. He didn’t know what that meant. Perhaps it simply recognized the presence of a person there. With a look of concentration, he gripped the end of his device and extended it. KiNa noticed how tiny his crystal was in comparison and how much his hand shook as he reached out.
Sorry about this… it’s gotta be done…
As the two crystals touched, the impact at first grounded his feet into the floor as a massive jolt of energy shot through his form. The shielding held enough for him to not become a total crisp on contact, but it didn’t repel as much energy as he hoped.
KiNa heard his shout echoing through the room as lightning whipped around him, branching from the device, and himself, to the large central crystal. Somewhere in the distance, ShiKon shouted, too. The whole room lit up as energies crackled through the runes and the crystals, overloading the system. Runes on the far wall flickered and hissed, sputtering into darkness.
Then crystals began to explode around him, unexpectedly. The impact blasted pieces of the towers across the chamber, sending a shower of light and metal. Luckily, nothing came too close to the central crystal. It seemed someone had thought about that much while designing the room.
Finally, the boy released his grip on the device, and was bulleted back against the nearest tower. Pieces of crystal fell around him like burning glitter confetti , threatening to catch his robes on fire. The sound of an alarm screamed through the room three times before the power finally crackled and went out. The whole chamber fell black except for a few dimly pulsing crystals and the stones that proceeded to pop like stone soap bubbles.
~KiNa!~ ShiKon’s mind shout pulled him to his senses. ~Are you okay?~
I’m… I’m here. I’m fine.
~We have to go! I can sense people coming!~
KiNa began to skitter over the floor towards where he last saw the opening in the wall grate. Then he stopped, rushed back and grappled over the floor, looking for his dropped crystal device.
~There’s no time for that!~
I can’t leave evidence!
He shot the thought back just as his hand fell over the round handle of his device. He could hear the shouts and the sound of hurried footsteps coming to the door. Frustrated voices told him that they couldn’t open the door without power – something that someone apparently didn’t think of – and that he had just a little bit more time before they broke it down.
The boy rushed in ShiKon’s direction, almost tripping over the metal grate. He stowed the device and picked up the grate, staring up into the darkness.
The rope that dropped from above hit him square in the face.
~Hey! It’s not like I can see anything. Get climbing!~
He tucked the grate under one arm and began to climb the rope, one hand over the other. It felt like a long climb into eternal darkness before ShiKon’s hand finally grabbed a hold of him and pulled him up. Together, they fished up the remaining rope and refitted the cut grate.
~That was nuts! You could have gotten yourself killed!~ the girl scolded him.
You were worried about me?
~Don’t flatter yourself and keep your mind on the job.~
Though ShiKon couldn’t see his wide grin in the darkness, he made sure that she could feel it.
Getting back to business, KiNa touched the crystal headband that stretched over his brow. With a few flickers, the crystals lit up, illuminating the darkness within the shaft. He could see ShiKon’s surprised look, which the girl quickly worked to cover up.
~I can’t believe that thing actually works.~
Of course it does. I made it.
He gave a slight huff and leaned in closer to the girl, reaching for the headband on her forehead.
Concentrate. I need to make a mind connection so you can control it.
ShiKon fell silent, for once, doing as he asked. He had no problem fuzing the crystal control to her thought waves, which would allow her to turn it on and off as she needed. That’s when he realized that the shaft brought them so close together their noses were only a hand’s length away.
For a long, awkward moment, they stared into each other’s faces, the glare of the crystal headbands almost too bright for their non-adjusted eyes. Then KiNa cleared his throat, breaking the moment by motioning forward down the shaft with one hand.
Seeing that the shaft was a tight fit for one of them, it wasn’t as if he could crawl past ShiKon anyhow.
She shook her head as if coming out of a slight daze, then began to make her way back in the direction they came. From the sounds that echoed around them, everything was in a state of perfect pandemonium. Just as KiNa had hoped it would be.
Now, the real challenge begins.