Colin returned to consciousness with a gasp for air. I laid back, staring up to galvanised steel.

Man, I was beat. Ever since that night of Gat Shiem's fire, I had been thrown into one situation after another. There was no time to rest, I had to get Death back into his body and see that the world was safe. Especially now that it was clear of Moralta's intentions in transforming Hell's Labyrinth into a big tsazcuth portal to Zyon. In doing so, bringing more demons and that world's power into Sol.

I was still uncertain of Abraham Reiner and Aidoneus's visit to Gat Shiem. What were they really after that day? I probably should have asked that question before that X-scar freak fell. He may have slipped out something unintentionally.

"Ugh!" I smacked my head, hoping it would shake out smart thoughts. Nothing.

"Why're you beating yourself up? You figured out that horrible demon's plot for this place. Plus, your good fortune has brought us this far. Think better of yourself Baby Brother." Death's smooth voice reassured my self-esteem.

My mind reeled back to the time before the attacks at Gat Shiem. I never saw the visitors because I was with Bulldog at the pond. Since it was hidden from the temple grounds, they would not have seen me either. It was close to evening when I had returned, so they would have been long gone. Pesti and the others had said nothing about their visit. I was none the wiser.

Why didn't Pesti tell me about the visitors? What did Abraham mean when he said he had owed a favour to the family Pesti had forgotten? Sure, it was common knowledge to all the monks that the four of us weren't blood related. This knowledge coming out of Abraham's mouth made me squeamish.

"Whether people know of our biological families are irrelevant. The four of us were surrendered children to Gat Shiem. We are a family. That's all that matters. I must be attentive now. Moralta and Brystagg are fighting with magic again." Death's voice went silent.

A light tap to my shoulder drew my attention back to Colin. I faced his thankful smile.

"Are you okay?" I weakly signed. My hands were still shaky from the earlier heavy lifting and hauling.

"Fantastic." Colin signed with a cocky grin.

He looked up to the metal, his eyes were squinting through his glasses at a symbol of a blossoming lotus flower stamped into the square panel within arm's reach. He raised his arm, placed his palm on it, closed his eyes and became still like he was listening to the vibrations and sensations of the metal. An abrupt jolt made his hand recoil. He opened his eyes and faced me.

"This is the panel opening for the Lotus Core circuit board. It's the nervous system of the labyrinth controlling everything," Colin signed.

"How do you know this?"

"Anyone who wears a maplink knows. Why we should know is one of the unexplained facts, but I suspect it was a flaw in the bridge's design. Lucky for us," he answered and added a question. "How did you know I'd be aware of this?"

"I didn't. I just hoped that since you were a Captain and the Light Grimoire, you'd know something useful," I causally signed back and coped a stinging finger flick to my forehead.

Looks like I had insulted the man, like I cared.

Shrill cries and a disturbance within the air reminded us of the battle occurring above us. No time for dawdling.

"Can you open the panel?" I asked

"And do what?"

"Reverse the dimension slip so the Lotus Bridge is back in the correct time stream."

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