Yin Part 2
The Soul Machine
I have made a great discovery.
What I love belongs to me.
Not the chairs and tables of my house,
but the masterpieces of the world.
It was only a question of loving them enough.
-- Elizabeth Asquith Bibesco "Balloons"
"It's beautiful," Empress Yin whispered as she surveyed
the huge machine that dominated the lowest reaches of the castle. A multitude
of dark elves and the entire Scorpion Army toiled at constructing the strange
device. After their robots had broken into the old underground fortress of
the dark elves, the Empress's troops captured their leader and forced them
to surrender under threat of her death. Impressed by their work, though
unsuccessful on the Kilroy robot, the Emperor ordered them to work on another
device that combined machinery and Mana; the engine of the new Mana Fortress
which known by the workers who slaved at it as the "Soul Machine." Those
who worked on it or near it almost went insane from the feeling of an evil
presence in the room, an evil that seemed to emanate most from the eight
large, locked chests that were lined up against the west wall. Dark elf and
Scorpion soldier alike avoided the chests, fearing what dark magic they could
"It is, isn't it," Vandole agreed and the Empress jumped a bit, startled.
"So kind of you to let me use your castle to house it."
"Our castle," Yin murmured. "It's ours now."
"The world will be ours, too," the Emperor whispered. "As soon as the machine is finished.
"I can hardly wait."
"Aaaaiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" The three travelers
woke to the sound of Rhianna and Morbius screaming.
"What the hell?!" Lucius growled and drew his sword.
"Dragon!" Rhianna gasped.
"Big, big dragon!" Morbius held his hands out. "Really, really big dragon!"
Lucius, Rosary, and Edgar looked up at Flammie. "Hi Flammie. Did you two mess with the drum?"
The twin dark elves nodded and shrugged.
"Well, as long as you're here," Edgar said. "Whould you mind taking us somewhere?" The white dragon sat down and the travelers climbed on.
A bruised, dirty Scorpion soldier stumbled into the
throneroom and bowed before the Emperor and Empress. "Your majesties, the
Soul Mach -- I mean, the engine is finished."
"Finally," Emperor Vandole said before turning to his wife. "Will you join me?"
"Yin, the key," he held out an open hand and Yin removed her necklace, from which an ornate key hung. Quickly, she slid the key off of the chain and placed it in her husband's hand. With the key, the Emperor opened each of the locked boxes, revealing eight Mana seeds. "The Mana Tree rarely produces seeds, we were lucky to be able to get these."
The Empress motioned for some of the workers to open a panel on the side, which led to the center of the machine. After being handed one seed each. eight dark elves crawled into the opening and placed the seeds in their respective places in the engine's heart and ran out.
"It all begins now."
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