Published July 24, 2016 by

Memories of a Soul in the Underworld Chapter 5

Story Summary

Ethan is a soul in the Underworld with no memory of his life on Earth. He is bought and sold by various masters for centuries. Traveling from large industrial towns to scorching hot deserts. During his journey he picks up the skills, knowledge and magic to escape his enslavement. He runs with the intent of living a free life, but is pursued by agents until he's cornered on a remote mountain range. With little time left, Ethan begins to recount his life and masters in the hope of leaving a record of his existence. These are his memories.

My old master accumulated a collection of magical artifacts during his time alive, so I knew that his study was the best place to search for the things that I needed.

I silently snuck into his bedroom that afternoon, past Mira who was sobbing into one of Alistair's shirts, and took the key from a small drawer beside his bed.

The study was smaller than the library, but still large enough to contain three cabinets of magical artifacts, several bookshelves, and a desk in the corner overflowing with notes. The floor was littered with books that Alistair had pulled off the shelf, then aimlessly discarded when he couldn't find what he wanted. There were also maps of the Underworld decorating the walls, and I'd later regret not studying them more closely.

"Sorry for the intrusion, Master," I apologized and quietly crept inside.

I walked past a bookshelf which was stuffed with mouldy encyclopedias on magic. I'd attempted browsing through them before, but unlike the book in my hands, the language was too old and complex for me then. I was always envious of how a party boy like Alistair could recite them with ease, and he pulled off most of his magic by chanting those ancient words.

I pulled one of the books off the shelf to take a closer look, but it immediately ripped into two and the pages crumbled to the floor.

I stared at the pieces in horror while trying my best not to cry, then grabbed a bunch of stray books and piled them on top of the ripped pages.

I lost the courage to snoop through more of his things, and instead went to a cabinet in the corner which was emitting a faint glow. Inside were various colorful magic crystals of all shapes and sizes. Some just looked like regular rocks, but others glowed brightly enough to use as a lamp.

I grabbed a small purple one, then later found a stick of chalk at the back of a desk drawer. It didn't seem especially magical, but I hoped it would be enough.

I sat cross legged on the rug in the center of the room and placed the crystal and chalk on the floor before me. I turned to the next page in my book and scanned the instructions.

"Welcome to the mystical realm of the unknown, my soon to be magic wielding friend," I slowly read out loud. "If you're reading this, it means that you've decided to take your first step towards becoming an elite spellcaster, or at least showing off like one. And what better way to display your new found powers but with this fabulous technique. Simply draw this easy diagram onto any flat surface, then sit back and let the powers of magic do the work. It's a hit at children's birthdays and creates the right ambience at any dinner party."

I squinted at the diagram of a chalk circle with a ball floating above it. There were many strange symbols and every line was neatly joined together to form a circuit.

I rolled back the rug to unveil the floorboards underneath. The wood was already scratched and burnt from hundreds of previous spells.

I began reproducing the strange circle with my chalk. Sketching various symbols and pictures without any idea of their meaning.

I was careful to copy every line and squiggle on that page, and after hours of drawing, it was finally complete. The book didn't specify how large it had to be, and I'd unknowingly made a circle so big that it consumed half the room.

"Once your diagram is complete," I read. "Be certain that there are no lines overlapping that shouldn't. You wouldn't want to blow yourself up now, would you?" I nervously glanced at my harmless chalk drawing and wondered if it was a joke. "Next, draw one line away from the top symbol, the length matters not." I drew one line leading away from the circle like the book instructed. "We highly recommend using a light blanket, rug, or table to cover your diagram and give the illusion that your magic seamlessly appeared out of thin air. Once your guests are gathered to see your amazing techniques, simply place the crystal at the end of the line and watch your friend's jaws drop open in awe." I put the book down. "Surely it can't be that easy?"

Until then magic always seemed so far out of my reach, and I found it difficult to believe that it was as simple as writing on my master's floor.

I carefully picked up the purple crystal and placed it at the end of the line which linked up with the circle. I didn't expect anything to happen, but to my surprise the effect was instantaneous.

The chalk glowed and a faint ball of yellow light suddenly appeared a meter from the floor in the center of the diagram. It was only the size of my fist and far dimmer than an ordinary lamp, but it was enough to help illuminate my surroundings.

I walked around the outside of the circle and examined it from all sides, but no matter what angle I looked at the orb, there was no denying that it was magic.

"Amazing," I whispered in awe.

"Master?" said a voice from the doorway.

I immediately glanced up in terror to see Anya curiously peering into the room. My best friend looked more disheveled than usual. Her maid uniform was full of creases and her long wavy hair was a mess. I guess Anya stopped paying attention to her physical appearance after she locked herself away to sulk.

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