Trials: Part Fifteen

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Vanessa woke up feeling cold. Wherever she was, it was dark, and the floor was hard and uneven. She pulled herself to her feet, and conjured a disc. The light wasn’t much, about as bright as a glowstick, but she could see within about a foot of the disc, which was a notable improvement.

“Who’s there?” Someone asked. Vanessa nearly dropped the disc. It was definitely a woman, and it sounded like Ashley. Her voice was shaky.

“Ashley?”

“Vanessa is that you?” She heard some scraping, followed by footsteps from the same direction as the voice.

“Hey, I have light, let me come to you.” Vanessa conjured another disc and slowly floated it towards the voice. “Grab it when it gets to you.”

The disc floated for a few seconds, before someone grabbed it. They pulled the disc close to them, revealing their face. It was Ashley.

Vanessa sighed with relief, and made her way over. She conjured two discs to float by her feet and illuminate the ground. Once she was near enough, Ashley wrapped her arms around her. Vanessa could sense fear radiating from her, and hugged her a little tighter.

“Ashley, do you know where we are?”

She took a shaky breath and sighed. “We’re in the pit. It’s a network of tunnels, all stemming from this room. One tunnel leads to freedom, some lead to dead ends, some lead to the prison, and some lead to… Death. Nobody has ever made it out before…”

“Alright… It’s gonna be alright, we’ll find our way out.” Vanessa thought for a moment. Based on what she knew about Takeo, he’d want people to have some small chance, or else it wouldn’t be a fun game for him. If they were supposed to have any chance, they’d need a flashlight. “Do you have any kind of light?”

“No…”

“Alright, that’s fine.” Vanessa pulled away, but Ashley still clung tight.

“Wait, don’t leave me!”

Vanessa thought for a moment. “Alright, I’ll stay by you, but I need you to let me go, so I can see if we have any supplies in this room.”

Ashley slowly released her, and Vanessa sat down next to her. She conjured as large of a disc as she could, ending up with one a couple of feet wide, and slowly floated it across the cave floor. It was very uneven with lots of rocks sticking up. They didn’t stand a chance without a light.

“So nobody has ever made it out?” Vanessa asked, keeping her eye on the disc.

“No.”

“How do they get us here?”

“I don’t know… I just woke up a few minutes ago and I thought I was alone.”

“We were both asleep, so we had to be brought here… You said some of the tunnels lead back to the prison, and it wouldn’t be much of a game if there was just a quick way into this area… Whoever brought us here had to have a map, or at least know the way. Then again we’ve been asleep, so that wouldn’t work… They’d be long gone.”

By this time the disc had gone all the way around the edge of the cave. It was a pretty large cave, large enough to accommodate about twenty tunnels coming off from the sides. Vanessa moved the disc towards the center of the room, and sure enough, there was some kind of black tube. It had to be a flashlight. Vanessa moved to get up, but felt Ashley grab her arm.

“Wait!”

“Ashley, do you see that in the center of the room? I think it’s a flashlight. I’m gonna go grab it. Then we’ll work out a plan. I’ll come right back here.” Vanessa smiled, and Ashley released her arm.

Vanessa conjured two more discs to light the floor as she walked, and made her way to the center, being careful to avoid anything that might trip her. A fall on this floor would be bad. She picked up the object, and held a disc to it. Sure enough, it was a flashlight. She found the switch and turned it on. The room was filled with white light, and the sudden change blinded Vanessa for a second. Once she regained her vision, she did a quick scan to make sure they were alone, and that they hadn’t missed any other supplies they’d been given. There was nothing else. Vanessa sighed and made her way back over to Ashley, sitting back down by her side.

“So, this is all we’ve got. I’m guessing the challenge is supposed to be avoiding dehydration. I think that takes about three days to set in, but we don’t want to cut it that close if we can.” She flipped off the flashlight, and felt Ashley jump next to her.

“What’d you turn off the light for?” She sounded panicked.

Vanessa pulled her in next to her, and conjured a disc to illuminate them. “Hey it’s alright. We need to save the battery, we don’t know how long it has left. I guess that could be another part of the challenge…”

Ashley let out a quiet sob. “How are we gonna make it out of here?”

“Hey, I’ve made it out of worse situations that this. Besides, we have superpowers! We can do this! What happened to the Ashley who told me everything is gonna be okay when I got tossed into your cell?”

“I just can’t do it anymore! I’ve had to reassure everyone for so long… I had to keep telling them it was gonna be okay, even though nothing was okay! We were stuck in a prison with no way out, and now we’re gonna die in a cave!” She sobbed a little louder now, and leaned into Vanessa’s side.

“Hey, don’t worry. I have a plan. We’re going to make it out of here okay.” She hugged her, and waited for the crying to subside.

After a few minutes, Ashley sat back up and wiped her eyes. “Okay then, what’s your plan?” She asked shakily.

“Alright, so just now, I counted about twenty tunnels. This is meant to make it look like we have less than a couple of days to find one tunnel. Our first limiting resource is probably the flashlight. I imagine that we’re not the first ones to be sent here though, so there must be other flashlights hidden around. Additionally, the tunnels to the prison wouldn’t be that bad, when the alternative is dying, and there’s always the chance that we run into the guards who dropped us off an we could jump them for a map or supplies. Now, do you have anything else on you?” Vanessa felt all of her own pockets, but came up with nothing.

“No…”

“That’s fine. I learned something about my power while I was here.” She conjured a disc in her hand. “Normally my discs disappear after a few hours, which isn’t great for a trail of breadcrumbs, but if I break it,” she broke the disc in two, “It stays for a lot longer. The one I had in my room hadn’t disappeared yet, so that should leave plenty of time to follow a trail.” She turned to Ashley. “So, I figure we have about a 25% chance on any given tunnel we take being a decent option, and if we have time to hit at least four tunnels, then we should find some kind of way out. Alright?”

Ashley took a deep breath, and smiled. “Alright!”

Vanessa helped Ashley to her feet, and flipped on the flashlight, making sure to look away this time. “Alright. Let’s get going.” Vanessa picked a tunnel, and ventured into it.

 


 

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(Art credit: WordPress Free Photo Library)

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