The second chambre was white marble from the floor to the ceiling. Near the ceiling was an opaque cage attached to the ceiling and the wall. There was no exit in sight.
“Seems straightforward enough,” Twila said. “The exit’s gotta be up there.”
“Inside the cage?” Axra asked. “Doesn’t that ruin the purpose of a cage?”
“In this case, the cage isn’t to keep something in, it’s to keep people out. This is a test, remember? I just have to cast the flight spell on all of us and we can fly up there and move on to the next room.”
“I don’t like it,” Bonnie said. “There’s gotta be something dangerous in that cage. They wouldn’t bother to make it opaque otherwise.”
“Maybe they thought that people would look for invisible doors first,” Lysara stated.
“There’s no way that someone would come in here and not find that worth investigating,” Bonnie reasoned.
“I agree,” Twila said. “There’s almost certainly something dangerous in there.”
“Could Lilly fire an arrow through the bars and hit whatever’s in there without us actually opening it?” Lysara asked.
“I’d say no,” Twila said. “The fact that the view is obscured even with the bars indicates that there’s a protective spell at work. But, we could try. Lilly, aim up at an eighty degree angle and move about four degrees to the right.”
Lilly brought out Zerstörelicht and took aim as Twila had bidden her. “L… like this?”
“Perfect,” Twila said.
Lilly fired. The arrow moved to a spot right between the bars, dissipating harmlessly before moving into the unseen area.
“Did… Did I hit it?” Lilly asked.
“It was a perfect shot,” Bonnie answered.
“B… but did I hit it?” Lilly asked again.
“Sorry, it hit some kind of shield,” Axra said. “We’re just going to have to go up there ourselves.”
Twila finished casting the flight spell and the five floated up.
“I’ll open the cage, the rest of you stand back,” Bonnie said.
“No, I’ll open it,” Axra said. “You can’t open the cage and be ready for a fight at the same time, not with your arm like that. I can.”
“Princess, I should be the one…” Bonnie began. Axra held up a hand to silence her.
“Seriously, you need to drop that royalty thing,” Axra said. “We’re here as comrades and friends. I really don’t want to make this an order, but I will order you to stand back and let me open this thing if I have to.”
“Very well,” Bonnie said. “Just be careful.”
Axra held Todberührung with one hand and carefully reached out with her other to open the cage door.
As soon as the door was opened the darkness vanished and they could see inside the cage. The creature inside had two pairs of white, feathery wings, a head with antennae, compound eyes and mandibles, an upper body similar to a mans but without arms and a lower body covered with feathers with sharp talons.
“Some kind of chimera?” Twila asked.
The creature rushed out of the cage at high speed, nearly tearing into Axra with its talons, but she flew up, avoiding its grasp. It turned in mid-air and attempted another pass at her.
“Lightning lance!” Twila yelled. The creature turned and moved back, narrowly avoiding the blast.
It turned and moved right for Twila. She hurriedly chanted. “Barrier!” the creature was deflected from her at the last moment.
“Too fast,” Twila thought. “I have to find a way to counteract that.”
Bonnie’s trident came up after it, but it easily evaded the jab. Its talons came down at her.
“You’re mine!” Lysara cried. She swooped down on it from above, with her chakram out. It looped around, causing her and Bonnie to nearly collide.
“How is it so fast?” Lysara asked.
“Cheetah Speed!” Twila yelled, snapping her fingers. Axra felt a surge of power.
She rushed through the air. at the creature. It very narrowly avoided her blade. She doubled back, coming down after it. The creature turned away from her and moved away, trying to run out the effect of the spell. Lysara and Bonnie moved into its path. It tried to dive clear of them, but Axra swooped right down on it, Todberührung slashing into its wing. It wobbled in air, trying to regain control. Lysara’s chakram carved into its chest and Bonnie’s trident impaled it.
They watched it crash into the ground.
“Wasanyonehitbythat thing?” Axra asked. The speed spell wearing off as she spoke.
“Almost,” Bonnie reported. “But no one actually was.”
“Then let’s fly to the next chambre,” Twila said. “And pray that our strength will hold.”