DRAGON PEARL - Labyrinth

"Ren! Ren! Don't go there! It's dangerous!" echoed Elion´s voice behind them, but Ren ignored him. His determined face, in the weak light of the torches, evoked respect in Monik. He didn't want to be discouraged from his plan, even though he knew, their way through the labyrinth will not be easy.

He pulled Monik to the end of the corridor, where he stopped at the bars. He let go of her wrist, took the nearest torch from the wall and opened the squeaky door, that revealed a spiral staircase leading to the underground. Monik swallowed hard, but she followed Ren, who unhesitatingly went down.

Monik was lightly touching the wall with her hand and carefully stepping on the stone stairs following Ren´s light. After some time, she stopped for a moment, she looked up from the stairs, so her head can stop spinning, but then she quickly continued, so she will not lose sight of Ren.
When the stairs finally ended, Monik was quite relieved and she rubbed her eyes. She felt that, the air cooled down, so she put her orange-black backpack on the last stair and she began rummaging in it.
"What are you doing?" Ren looked at her in surprise.
"Hold the light here, please," she said, and when he did so, she pulled out a dark blue nylon jacket. While she was getting in on, Ren pointed the torch to the hallway in front of them, but its light couldn't cut through the darkness. Before Monik threw her bag back to her back, she pulled out from its top pocket a flashlight and she also discovered her digital watch there. It occurred to her, that they could use it for orientation and she put them on. When she lit up the display, it showed 22:49.
"Are you finished?" Ren looked at her and she quickly put on her bag. When she stood next to Ren, she switched on the flashlight, which immediately lightened the corridor. Ren looked surprised, but satisfied. After that, they went to the depths of the labyrinth.

The further they went, the greater discomfort Monik felt. Although the walls of the hall seemed stable, the air was relatively thin and moist. They had to be careful at every step, because the ground was covered with mud.
"How far is the northern tribe?" asked Monik nervously, when she felt, that the hall will never end.
"Underground it should take less, than throught the surface, but I don’t know exactly."
"And how far is it on the surface?"
"About a day's journey," he said to her while looking at her with the corner of his eye. She didn’t look happy about his answer. She started only inadvertently nodding, while watching her surrounding with wide open eyes - she was scared that something will pop out of the darkness.

They come a long way, until they reached the first crossroad. Ren choosed they next path without any hesitation, so they just smoothly continued. But Monik didn’t felt calmer by his determination, the hallways behind them were devouring by darkness, through which she couldn’t see even with her dragon eyes. She was frustrated, that she couldn’t use her power here.
"Are you okay?" asked her Ren and Monik got scared, when his voice cut through her thoughts full of panic.
"Sure," she said with a trembling voice, and then she looked around again. She felt like in a haunted house - same tension, but here there were no arrows showing to the Exit.
Then they arrived to the part of the labyrinth, which was a kind of circular hall with seven possible ways.
"We are now in the third of our way," smiled Ren. He was pleased, that they didn’t get lost and Monik was also a bit relieved. She lit up her watch and saw the time 01:13. She looked behind, on the road, through which they came and she started to count how many kilometers it could have been. She considered in her calculations also the muddy terrain, which slowed them down - after that, she estimated, that it was around six kilometers.

When she thought about the road that lies ahead, which was twice as much, she felt tired. She had been in constant tension. She didn’t know, how much more can she take.
She took out a bottle of water from the side pocket of her backpack and took a sip. She also offered Ren, who nodded as a thank-you and took it. Considering the fact, that he known how long can their journey through the labyrinth take, Monik thought, that he wasn’t prepared. He had just his set of weapons attached to his back and a small bag on his belt, but that was all.
But Monik didn’t want to point that out to him, because she was already overwhelmed by her busy day. First, she had lunch with her friends in a pizzeria, and now she was standing somewhere deep underground in a completely different world. She didn’t expect this, when she woke up in the morning.
"This way," said Ren and they immediately continued on one of the ways. But it was enough to go through a few steps for them to discovered, that it was a dead end.
"I don’t understand," mumbled Ren and examined the corridor in the light of the torch, but when he found nothing, he returned confused to the circular hall and he briefly looked around.
"Maybe I should count it from the other side," he said, and he lead them to another underpass. But after about twenty minutes, the road led them back to the circular hall. Ren angrily stopped and began mumbling something under his nose.

Till then, Monik was slowly walking around the room. She felt more relaxed in this spacious hall and she started to peek into the various underpasses. In one of them, it seemed to her, that she saw something and called on Ren: "And why don’t we just try the other corridors?" without waiting for an answer from Ren, she slowly walked into the hallway. But not far from the entrance, she heard that something clicked! She barely managed to look up, where the light of her flashlight reflected from a kind of metal, when Ren grabbed her backpack and pulled her out of the way.  
"Because of this! When you select the wrong way, you will find traps!" scolded her Ren. Monik just then realised, that in the place, where she stood before, were a number of sharp spikes, that fell from the ceiling. Her eyes widened and she stepped closer to Ren, but he immediately went back into the hall.

Monik obediently followed him, but when he stopped in the middle of the room again and began to think, she went to the wall. First, she was just leaning on it and waiting, with what will he come up with, but then she put down her bag, leaned it against the wall and pulled its raincoat from the bottom on the backpack. With that on, she threw the bag with peace of mind in the mud and she sat down on it.

When she looked at her watch, she found out, that they didn’t move for an hour. The longer she sat on her bag, the more tiered she felt. But it had one advantage, her fear slowly subsided. Monik got quickly bored looking on Ren, who didn’t move for quite some time, so she began to drag her face trying not to fall asleep. She made various grimaces, when she realised, that she needed to pee. She got up and she targeted the corridor with the dead end.
"You didn't learned?" hissed through his teeth Ren, when he saw peripherally how she passed by him.
Monik stopped and snapped irritably: "I need to pee, perhaps I can use the corridor, where there was nothing."
Ren turned away and continued thinking. Monik took it as he allowed it to her and she went to the hallway with dead end.

After she took care of her business, she was pulling on her pants with a flashlight in her mouth, then she saw something green on the opposite wall. It was pretty low, that is why she didn't notice it before. She took the flashlight out of her mouth and she moved closer to the wall. She squated to the sign and she brushed the wall, thus revealing green eyes, that were drawn on the wall. Then she began to shed the wall around the drawing - she revealed a circular knob with five holes. She wanted to touch and turn it, but she stopped her hand. After what happened to her in the other corridor, she didn’t intend to risk it.
"Ren?!" she called out of the hallway and after a while, the young man appeared with an annoyed expression. "Look," she pointed to the wall, before he could barf at her irritatedly.
Ren approached her and when he squatted a glimmer of hope appeared in his eyes.
"How did you find this?" he asked examining the circular knob.
"I saw those green eyes above it," she pointed to the drawing, but Ren saw nothing. He looked at Monik, and he saw the Green dragon’s power in her eyes.
"I understand, just you can see the mark," he muttered, stuck his fingers into the holes and turned the knob to the right. Then the wall next to them, began to shunt. Ren smiled and Monik quickly jumped to her feet.
"I'll get my bag,” and she rushed into the circular hall.
But when she looked around with her flashlight, she didn’t see her backpack.
"Ren?" she called into the corridor and the young man appeared next to her.
"Did you move my backpack somewhere?" she asked frightened and she looked around for her bag again. Ren promptly looked around as well, expecting some kind of attack, then he grabbed Monik’s wrist.
"We are not alone," he whispered, and he quickly pulled Monik back into the hallway, where they open the secret passage.

When they ran to the other side, the wall closed behind them as if on a command. Monik’s heart was pounding heavily, when she began to look for another knob on this side of the wall. But she found nothing, there was no going back. And as if that was not enough, Ren’s words upset her even more.
"What did you mean by - we are not alone?" she asked him quietly, as if she was afraid that someone will hear her, but Ren didn’t respond. Monik was upset, she lost her backpack with water and various useful things, because he was hiding something from her!

Thus, she jumped to her feet and showed the flashlight in Ren’s face.
"Ren?! What did you mean by - we are not alone?!"
"Take that thing out of my face,” he said and Monik lowered the light. Silence filled the cold corridor.
"Why didn't what us Elion to come down here? What creature lives here?!" she asked, almost hysterically.
"Nothing, that you have to be afraid of," and with that he went down the hall, as if it was nothing.
"That wasn’t my question! What the hell is living down here?! You are concealing something from me. First, you didn’t want me to know, that this is a labyrinth and now this?! Why?! I don’t understand," jumped Monik into his path.
Ren sighed and decided to admit the truth: "I don’t know, what kind of creature is living down here."
"Oh, please," she rolled her eyes in disbelief.
"I found out how to get through the labyrinth just before we left. I didn’t tell you, that this will be a labyrinth, because I did not want to scare you with the fact, that I caught a little boy close to my room and made him sang to me the way through it."
"What?" Monik didn’t understand.
"In my village, we have this tradition, that we sing our children a bedtime story... You can say it is a little scary poem, which aim is to keep them in bed, while it has incorporated in itself an escape route from our village, for emergencies."
Great. So he terrorized some kid by his room, that sang a horrorisch lullaby to him, which now imprisoned us underground, thought Monik, but she rather bit in her tongue, because she would probably not be able to keep herself calm. Ren saw, that she was mad, so he continued: "The poem is about two boys, who have to get rid of the monsters, that are after them. It talks about what traps they used to shake them off and it also describes a safe way to reach the most norden tribe. It ends by a line, that throughout their whole journey, they were watched by someone, but it does not say who or what. So I really don’t know, what kind of monster lives down here, but I can deal with it," he said soothingly looking into her eyes.
It took a while for Monik, to cool down, but then she rolled her eyes and nodded with a sigh, that meant, that she believes him. Ren also nodded and they continued their journey. There was no going back, the corridor was sealed.

Monik walked alongside Ren silently frowning. Now, without her backpack, they proceed a little faster, but still, she regretted, that she didn’t has it.
"But, you know... you could just tell me the truth," she said sadly.  
"I didn’t know, how you will react," he answered honestly.
"What could I have told you? That we can not go through the labyrinth? That I insist, that we go on the surface? That I prefer your whole village to be in danger, just because I fear, that we will spend eternity here?" Ren looked at her with a question mark written on his face and Monik continued. "Well, I'm not gonna lie. I fear, that we will spend eternity here. The road behind us is closed and my skills are no good down here. I can not see any more signs on the wall. But I would not have compromised your village’s safety."

Silence occurred. Monik heart was beating with fear and anxiety, but she tried to stay as calm as she could. Since they went through the secret passage another hour has passed. When they finally reached a crossroad, Ren stopped, because he didn’t know, which path to choose.
"What happened?" asked him Monik, she was really tired.
"There shouldn’t be three ways to choose from, only two," he looked at the girl blankly, and that woke her fear up. She felt tension in her chest, her heart was pounding heavily again and she forgot how tired she was.
"What now?" she asked him desperately, and when Ren saw, that she will not be able to last much longer on her feet, he couldn’t linger.
"Let's try this way," he select one of the roads and Monik uncertainly followed him.
"I thought, that we can not just randomly choose..."
"Yes, the wrong way will lead us to a trap, we need to be careful," and he pulled out one of his long curved swords, which he had on his back. He also began to feel tired and he feared, that he will not be able to react in time, if he didn’t prepare himself.  

Ren held the torch in his left hand and the sword in his right, as if he knew, that something is waiting ahead. Monik was walking very close to him and with her flashlight, that was hanging on her wrist, she was aiming forward too. Suddenly, she had a very bad feeling, that someone is looking at them... from behind.
"Ren," she said with a strangled voice, but Ren didn’t understand, what is going on.
"Ren," she said again. Then, they heard heavy breathing, which cut the silence. Ren then realized, what she wanted, and they both turned at once. What they saw, blew their mind. It looked like a big wide deformed dog, from which mud was dripping as if it consisted of it. Ren’s first reaction was, that he threw his sword right in between the animal’s eyes. He didn’t missed, but his sword slowly began to slide through the creature's face and fell to the ground, while the animal sticked itself together.  

Ren did not expect that! He grabbed Monik by her hand and they immediately started to run to the other side. The animal’s roar echoed through the corridor and it began to chase them.
Monik felt like something punctured her heart, but she couldn’t let the pain overcome her body, because that animal would tore them both apart. Without realizing it, she activated the Green dragon’s power and suddenly, she was the one who was dragging Ren. But this did not help them, they could feel the beast’s breath on their neck, when it suddenly jumped to them. Its teeth cut through Ren’s feet and he screamed in pain.

It was just a moment, but when Ren felt the monster’s teeth in his leg, he let Monik's hand go and he let the beast pull him away. Monik with fear in her eyes looked at that terrifying scene. The creature firmly held Ren in his enormous jaw and he threw him into the wall.
"No!" she cried out and the monster stopped. It raised its yellow eyes to the girl, and it looked as if it was waiting for the next command. Monik didn’t understand. She was sure, that she wasn’t controlling the creature, yet, for some reason, it stopped.
"Let him go," she tried to suggest to the dog, while doing some calming gestures with her left hand. To her surprise, the animal let Ren go and sat down next to him.
"What? How did you do that?" asked her Ren, who coughed up blood. When the animal heard his voice, it began to growl.
"I do not know, but try not to irritate him," said Monik and she very carefully approached Ren. She wanted to help him get up, when they heard an angry male voice.
"Baltazar! What are you doing ?! Why are you letting them go?!"