Chapter 5

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I don't know how long I stood there, still, mouth agape and eyes wide. Thousands of thoughts swirled around in my head, but I could say nothing, think nothing, do nothing but watch silently. I'd lost all my energy, and my legs threatened to give out at any second, but I refused to fall. I was frozen, and the world seemed frozen with me.

Finally, I saw movement. Grace's eyes fluttered open, and she panicked, sitting up with a jolt and staring at me with terrified eyes. I was unable to respond, simply staring back as she looked around in fear. Eventually, she put two and two together and looked back at me with understanding. Instead of becoming angry or emotional as I'd expected, she got up and walked over to me, wrapping me in a hug. I didn't reciprocate, but I didn't push her away either. I simply allowed it to happen.

"I'm sorry," she whispered. I pushed her away.

"Don't say that." I said firmly. The little consolement her gesture had given me was swiftly thrown to the side as my mind threw incoherent thoughts and feelings around once more.

"What?" She asked, confused and obviously hurt by my actions. I cared, but couldn't show it even if I wanted to. "It's not like you tried to; Jaycen told me magic is spurred by emotion. You can't help that." I looked away, nodding absentmindedly. What is wrong with me?

Eventually, everyone else woke up. Cowyn was in a terrible state, but he assured me it was fine - it wasn't. Chanson was angry beyond belief - of course. Jaycen told me it would be okay - it wouldn't. Mason promised it wasn't my fault - it was. Isaac said he was glad we at least got somewhere - I wasn't. Everything they did was in vain, as my mind entertained my worst thoughts.

"Beckham, really, you couldn't help it. We aren't angry," Cowyn told me. I shook my head. Why can't I speak?

"I am. Seriously, what's your problem?" Chanson asked. I couldn't even find it in me to scowl at the comment.

"Wait a moment," Jaycen interjected. "How is it possible that you both remember traveling here?" He asked Chanson and Cowyn. My train of thought derailed, and I turned to him in confusion. "The curse of the portal assures you will forget."

"That's... Anomalous." Isaac said. I didn't bother asking what that meant, I just thought it was strange. Had I bypassed the curse somehow?

Chanson and Cowyn seemed perturbed by the new information, not understanding what had happened any better than anyone else did. Isaac was confused, and attempted to make sense of the situation.

"Did we use a portal?" He asked. I thought about it for awhile. Not... Exactly. Somehow, my outburst of magic had transported us here without one. Were other forms of travel immune to the curse? Or was it because of me? I slowly shook my head no, in delayed response to his question. "You must have eluded the curse... How did you do that?"

I shrugged, still looking around our bleak surroundings. It was ungodly hot, but that was hardly the most prevalent thing on my mind about the place; upon further inspection, the red rivers were molten lava, the ground igneous rock. It was as if we were standing in an active volcano.

Everyone else seemed to finally take in our surroundings as well, confusion and fear flashing in their eyes. Jaycen wrote a few things in the back of a new notebook, then snapped it shut excitedly - does he always do that? - and looked around once more.

"Byrinthia, exactly as it was described! I have so much research to do!" He exclaimed happily. How does he make everything positive? I thought irritably. "I wonder if anyone lives here."

"Don't forget, this is the demon realm," Isaac pointed out. "Demons probably live here. I personally am not too anxious to meet any more."

"Who knows. Maybe they're all... Nicer than Daeva?" Mason said, hopefully. I laughed emotionlessly and shook my head.

"So... Why are we here?" Cowyn wondered, massaging his temples. "This place is so full of magic. I'd be in awe if I weren't in pain." He was joking, but I knew he must be going through quite a lot. I finally found my voice again.

"We have to find Laelyn," I decided. "If Karma took her and her brother, there was a reason. It's our job to find out and fix it." Where could he have taken her?

"I think he meant, why are we here?" Chanson asked with a pointed glare. "It's not like we're important or anything. We didn't ask to come along."

"That's actually not what I meant," Cowyn began. "I was wondering what we were going to do. We hardly escaped Daeva, what match are we for the Demon King? And why did he take Lyn and Link?"

"I have a theory," Jaycen said quickly. We all turned to him expectantly. When he didn't proceed to explain, I nodded toward him so he would get the point. "Ah. I believe this was mentioned in the ancient journal, as well. There is a portion explaining the myths of the immunes. Among those about us, The Descendants, there are stories of The Last Few, and, similarly, The Finals. Both titles are fully capitalized, and the stories explain that there are specific immunes who stand in the demons' way. They are referred to as obstacles... Which might explain why the demons have been after Link and Laelyn rather than us. Of course, every story is told in verse, so I am not completely certain."

"So... Why are they still alive?" Chanson asked. "Shouldn't the demons have killed them by now?"

"That's the curious part," Jaycen explained. "It seems they have an ulterior motive, or perhaps a sort of side quest."

"Like a videogame!" Isaac said happily.

"What?" Jaycen wondered.

"Don't tell me you don't know about videogames," Isaac sighed. "Oh my God, how are you alive?" Jaycen gave him a bewildered stare.

"I believe I am kept alive by the constant beating of my heart and-"

Isaac cut him off by bursting into laughter, Mason, Cowyn, and Chanson following suit. Jaycen was still extremely confused, but even I had to admit that it was a bit funny. However, the one moment my mind had away from heavier thoughts was interrupted by my sister.

"How are we going to find our way to them in this world?" She asked Jaycen. "What if it's all a trap?"

"I am fairly convinced it is," Jaycen replied. Grace's eyes widened.

"What are we doing, walking into it?" She asked, dumbfounded.

"Precisely. Understanding the demons' reasoning is much easier if we concede to their ploy," he explained. "How else could we hope to answer our questions? Meanwhile, we will attempt to follow any trail Karma may have left behind." He began walking, and I begrudgingly followed, knowing I didn't have much of a choice. I just hope Laelyn is alright.  

Author's Note!

Soooo I went back and changed a few minor things in the first few chapters, so if some of the info presented in this chapter isn't new for you, just roll with it XD I promise it'll make sense why soon. How're we all feeling about the story so far? Any questions? lol 

I love you guys, thanks for reading!


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