Quintal closed the door as softly as possible, wincing as hinges creaked and metal rattled against stone. If there was ever a time for silence, this was it.
He slunk through the dungeon carefully, sticking closely to the wall. The stone was slimy from years of neglect, and water dripped from the ceiling, splashing coldly on the hard ground below. It was dark, but the jailers would be able to see him. Not much further now, he thought, edging forward.
Quintal heard footsteps. He turned around slowly. The dungeon guard was making her rounds. She posed no physical threat to the Prince of the Dark Dimension, but she could not be allowed to report back to the others.
The Dark Prince stepped out from the shadows. “Prince Quintal,” the guard gulped. She sounded nervous. “The king has summoned you. I will escort you to him.” She motioned awkwardly.
Quintal frowned. “We both know I am not going to see the king.” The guard’s eyes widened, and she turned to run.
Quintal’s hands shot forward. Two dark vines sprouted from his palms and quickly entangled the fleeing guard. “Help!” she began to shout, but the darkness slithered across her mouth, choking out her words. Quintal turned the guard around and held her before him. Her eyes were filled with terror.
“Do not worry,” Quintal said. “You’ve done nothing wrong. The others will find you here, unharmed.” As he spoke, the tendrils squirmed and crawled across the guard’s body, wrapping her up tightly. He placed her gently on the ground, and the vines disconnected from his hands. She was left wriggling like an insect caught in a web.
The cell Quintal needed was close, and he did not take long to get there. Soon he stood before a gigantic stone door that hadn’t been moved in months. The only opening to the other side was a crack in the wall from which the prisoner’s food was given. “Brass, can you hear me?” Quintal whispered.
“Who is that?” asked a tired voice from inside the cell.
“Quintal!” the voice answered, jumping to life. “What are you doing here?”
“The king intends to do it tomorrow.”
Brass took a deep breath. “Then free me now. Let us escape.”
“I cannot move this door, as you well know. I cannot save you.”
There was a pause. Quintal knew that Brass understood what he was asking. The Dark Prince let the silence draw on for a moment before he continued. “You are the Prince of the Light Dimension, Brass. We cannot allow the Dark King to gain your powers, or he will be unstoppable. The dimensions must remain in balance.”
“I understand, Quintal. I understand.”
“Let it be done quickly, then. You are the last, and I have little time to escape.”
There was silence for another moment, but the creature behind the stone door soon began panting. “Goodbye, old friend,” Quintal whispered as a white sphere hovered through the opening.
“Keep it safe,” Brass answered, “old friend.” And then he went silent, and Quintal knew the other was in a better place. A tear dripped down Quintal’s cheek, but he quickly swept it away. There was no time for mourning.
Stashing the orb in his pocket, Quintal peered over his shoulder. If the Dark King caught him now, all he had done would be for naught, and the other dimensions would fall. He began walking briskly down the hall. He just had to reach the swamp. From there, he would be safe, at least for a little while.
“Quintal!” a voice snarled from down the hallway. “Quintal, get back here!”
Quintal knew that voice. He broke into a sprint. The exit was near, but his pursuer was fast. Quintal could not outrun the wolf. He quickly wrapped himself in darkness, becoming invisible. It would not cover his scent, but at least it would slow the wolf’s hunt.
The exit to the swamp was closer than he had expected. Quintal tore the trap door open and burst into daylight. The brightness stung his eyes. He turned around, squinting, and saw the Prince of the Wild Dimension barreling towards him.
Two dark vines burst from Quintal’s palms, and he whipped them at a nearby branch. The strands looped around their target, and Quintal was pulled through the air. He quickly found his footing in the treetops. Somewhere in these branches, he had hidden the Edge – the one artifact that could help him escape. He scrambled around. The canopy would not be safe for long.
Felron burst from the dungeons and began sniffing the air, searching for his prey. “You can’t escape,” the wolf growled as Quintal’s hand found the Edge.
He raised it into the air, but there was a flash, and Quintal doubled over in pain. He felt like he was burning, that his whole body was torn. Malgthor was standing beside him, the Dark King scowling, eyes full of malice. Quintal’s blood dripped from his razor-sharp claws. “What are you doing, Quintal? You would betray your own people?”
He was bleeding from his right shoulder down to his left thigh, but Quintal had to escape. The king could not get the powers. “It is you who betrays them,” Quintal uttered, and he let himself fall from the tree. Tumbling, he thrust his arm forward and felt the Edge catch.
The Tenth Dimension! Quintal thought desperately. Take me to the Tenth Dimension!