THE DRAGON CAVE
After the disaster at the Phoenix Academy, Elisabeth had to search for another location to practice her martial skill. Sima Zhi told her about a place high in the mountains. There were only few people who knew about it so she could practice for days without being disturbed. It was perfect. Elisabeth was getting really good at breaking balsa wood boards. When she was able to break four boards at once, Sima told her it was time to practice with the oak board.
Oak wood was much harder to break, but Elisabeth didn’t give up, neither after she badly hurt her hand. Sima was very pleased with her student.
When Elisabeth broke five oak boards with one hit, she earned herself the brown belt. Now, she was only two belts away from reaching her role model Bao Louie, the master of Sim Fu.
When she wasn’t training, Elisabeth spent her free time meditating at the local graveyard. Not many people were hanging around this place, especially at night. She’d often meditate for hours and would completely lose the track of time… and then one time, two days before the full moon, something happened.
Elisabeth’s body slowly lifted up from the ground and started floating in the air. Bright, green aura surrounded her. She could hardly believe it, but it was really happening. Elisabeth was levitating.
She started meditating at the graveyard only recently, but this has never happened to her before. Elisabeth didn’t want to let her thoughts distract her, so she just closed her eyes and enjoyed the special feeling while it lasted.
Luckily, she was the only person in the graveyard that evening. Elisabeth could hear distant voices coming from the mausoleum and the nearby urns, however she didn’t pay much attention to them.
Her mind was free of thoughts, slowly sinking deeper and deeper… when finally, all she could see was a complete darkness.
But then suddenly, someone turned on the light. Elisabeth saw a dark corridor with stairs leading somewhere below. The image was very blurry, but she could tell that there was someone. She tried to concentrate on the person going down the stairs. His face slowly started getting clear.
His eyes were like two diamonds reflecting the dim light of the corridor. His crooked eyebrows enhanced the grim expression on his face. He was dressed in dark colors, unlike the others. Wherever they were going, he didn’t seem to like it.
At the end of the line of the equally dressed people, there was another person who looked different than the rest. His dark clothes and raven hair combed into a ponytail contrasted deeply with his pale skin.
Once they entered the room at the end of the corridor, he approached the other man and started talking to him. Then he got really close to his face and told him something the other man probably didn’t like, because his mouth curved into an angry expression.
He pointed his hand at the man with the ponytail and furiously expressed himself about something.
A moment of silence followed his thunderous voice. He almost looked scared when the man with the ponytail pointed with his finger at something behind him.
They stood in front of each other, speechless. One of the men dressed in the uniform, probably a soldier, must have said something bad about the prisoner, because the others started laughing. The man with the ponytail probably thought it wasn’t funny at all.
When finally, Elisabeth recognized the room. It was the burial chamber deep within the Dragon Cave, the Heart of the Dragon. Suddenly, everything was clear. The prisoner must have been Huang Loong, known also by the name of Yellow Dragon and the man with the ponytail was none other than the Scourge of Three Kingdoms, the murderer of the Emperor and the ruthless tyrant Dong Huo himself!
Huang didn’t hesitate a second and quickly used the distraction to his advantage. A cloud of bright, yellow sparkles appeared in his hands…
…and the next moment he was holding his wand. When Dong Huo realized what was going on, it was too late.
With fear in his voice, he begged him to put the wand away. Huang Loong wickedly smiled at him and rose the wand in the air. Dong Huo called for help, but the soldiers were more frightened than he was.
The Yellow Dragon began casting his spell. The walls trembled and stones began to fall off of them.
Dong Huo begged for forgiveness, but there was no time for mercy.
A bright beam of light came out of Huang’s wand and entered Dong’s opened mouth.
Dong Huo stood stock-still in front of Huang Loong for a moment, gazing breathlessly at his wand. Then suddenly he reached out for it and snatched it from his hand. The very moment, all four soldiers pounced on the unarmed prisoner and brought him to the sarcophagus.
Before entering the sarcophagus, Huang Loong looked at the tyrant for one last time. Their eyes met for a short while before Dong Huo ordered his soldiers to seal the sarcophagus.
When they sealed in the Yellow Dragon and ensured Dong Huo that there was no way he could break free, the tyrant who was afraid of his own life not a minute ago suddenly felt very courageous. He approached the sarcophagus and spoke his last words to Huang Loong.
After that, he commanded the soldiers to stay on guard, turned around and left the chamber.
On the way to the surface, Dong Huo observed Huang’s wand and came to the conclusion that it was a worthless piece of junk he had no use of.
He spotted a hole in the ground by the stairs. He tried to break the wand before throwing it away, but since it was too hard to break with bare hands, he just dropped it down the hole as it was.
He left the cave with the thought, that nobody would be searching for it anyway…
Elisabeth opened her eyes and fell to the ground. She remained sitting still on the damp grass for a few minutes trying to understand what was the meaning of the vision. Her last vision at the Phoenix Academy has shown her the future, but this time, she saw something that happened in the past. Elisabeth felt confused, her mind was filled with questions she couldn’t answer alone. She got up and headed towards Sima’s house.
Elisabeth had no idea what time it could be, but it didn’t matter anyway – this was an emergency. Plus she was sure that Sima would understand. Or at least, try to understand.
She hesitated for a moment before ringing the bell at the door. Maybe it was really a better idea to come back in the morning. She looked through the window, the light in the corridor was on. Sima was probably still awake. Elisabeth walked back to the front door and rang the bell.
Almost instantly, Sima opened the door and greeted her friend. “Do you realize what time it is, Elisabeth?” she asked her with a sleepy voice.
“No… but you’re still dressed up,” Elisabeth smiled innocently. “It can’t be so late.”
“It’s almost midnight and these are my pajamas.”
“I had another vision,” Elisabeth blurted out without thinking of apologizing first.
“Come inside,” Sima’s eyes suddenly widened and she quickly rushed her friend in the house.
“Please, take a seat,” told her Sima and pointed towards the dining room.
“Would you like something to drink?”
“No, I’m fine. Thanks,” Elisabeth politely smiled at her.
“I don’t know how to explain this, Sima, but something else happened today. Promise me, that you’ll believe me.”
“I believe you, Elisabeth.”
“Earlier today, when I was meditating at the graveyard as any other evening, I… um… I don’t know how to describe this… I had that feeling you get during a roller-coaster ride… my body… I don’t know how it happened, but it lifted from the ground.”
“Are you trying to say, that you were levitating?”
“Yes,” agreed Elisabeth. Sima looked to the side. After a moment of silence she looked back at Elisabeth.
“There was only one person in the history who could levitate, Elisabeth.”
“The Yellow Dragon?”
“Exactly. I think you were able to levitate because his soul is trapped in your body.”
“You might be right, Sima. He was in my vision.”
“How do you know it was him? You’ve never seen him.”
“I recognized the burial chamber. I saw Dong Huo and his soldiers sealing Huang Loong in the sarcophagus. I saw them taking him down to the Heart of the Dragon. They argued and before they sealed him in, Huang put a spell on Dong.”
“A spell? What kind of spell?”
“I don’t know, I didn’t understand what they were saying…”
“How did it look? What did you see?”
“There was a bright sparkling cloud of light… It came out of the wand and entered Dong’s body through his mouth.”
“Oh, dear,” sighed Sima.
“Do you know what happened?”
“It’s a very cruel spell. The vengeance spell.”
“Hmm… That would make sense.”
“The person, in this case Dong Huo, is destined to die in the same way as the caster of the spell. As far as we know, Dong Huo was sealed in his sarcophagus by James Vaughan a long time ago. He starved to death as well as the Yellow Dragon did.”
“Do you know where I could get more information on this James?”
“Try asking Lee Yao. He lives in the Peach Blossom house on the top of the hill.”
“Thank you,” Elisabeth smiled at her. “Oh, one more thing. After Huang cast the spell, Dong Huo took possession of his wand… but then he disposed of it.”
“Disposed of it?”
“Yes. He threw it in a hole located inside the cave. Who knows, maybe it’s still in there,” told her Elisabeth and an idea suddenly came on her mind.
“Don’t even think of going back there searching for the wand, Elisabeth! I am warning you!” Sima raised her voice.
Elisabeth jumped up in fright and nearly fell off the chair.
“I… I wasn’t… going to… go… back… there,” she stammered.
“I hope you realize how dangerous the wand could become if it got in the wrong hands,” told her Sima and observed her carefully.
“Of course,” Elisabeth said calmly. “So, what do you think is the message of this vision? It already happened, so we don’t have to panic, right?”
“Don’t underestimate anything, Elisabeth. I’m not sure what was the meaning of it, but in any case, be careful,” told her Sima and stood up from the table. “It’s getting really late, I think you should be going now.”
“Yeah. I guess I should,” agreed Elisabeth and walked to the door. She was about to open it when suddenly Sima called out her name.
“Yes?” said Elisabeth and turned around to face Sima.
“I’m really worried about you. Please, don’t do anything stupid.”
“Don’t worry,” Elisabeth smiled at her and pulled her into a hug. “Have a good night, Sima. Thank you.”
The next day in the morning, Elisabeth walked up the hill to the Dragon Cave. She knew she wasn’t supposed to go back there, but she couldn’t help it. Her curiosity grew bigger the closer she got.
She entered the Maw and found herself standing in front of the same, tall, stone wall. Nothing much has changed.
“What did I do the last time?” Elisabeth asked herself aloud and ran her hand over the markings on the wall.
All of a sudden, the wall began to shake. Dust and tiny stone fragments were everywhere. For a moment, Elisabeth couldn’t see anything .
This was easier than I have expected, Elisabeth thought to herself as she watched the wall go down.
She approached the familiar hole in the ground and walked down the stairs.
Once again, Elisabeth found herself in the room with nine doors. Luckily this time, she knew exactly where to go.
She passed the stairs and turned right.
As she has expected, there were more stairs leading deeper to the cave.
If she remembered well, once she reached the bottom, there would be a dark, long corridor leading to the burial chamber. Elisabeth walked to the end of the corridor, turned right again and found herself in the Heart of the Dragon.
The moment she entered inside the chamber, her vision seemed suddenly so real. She could almost feel the presence of the Yellow Dragon.
Elisabeth walked past the stone columns to the other side of the chamber. There were three sarcophaguses standing by the wall made of stones and wooden poles. Two of them were half buried in rubble, but the one that interested her the most was just the way she remembered it.
Why was I so stupid to ever touch this damn thing, Elisabeth thought to herself as she looked at the sarcophagus standing in front of her.
She was about to turn around and leave…
…but her curiosity won over her mind and Elisabeth opened the sarcophagus… yet again.
However, she didn’t find anything this time around. It certainly was for the better. Getting in the way of Huang’s ghost was the last thing she needed now.
“It’s not that I was expecting to find something, right?” Elisabeth asked herself aloud. “I think I should rather leave this place,” she said to herself and carefully closed the lid of the sarcophagus.
She walked though the corridor, up the stairs, turned left and up the stairs again. She was about to walk past the stone wall, but then she remembered about the wand. Elisabeth returned to the round room. I must be totally crazy to think the wand is actually still in there, Elisabeth thought to herself as she looked around the room searching for the hole.
“If I remember well, it should be close to the stairs,” she said aloud and walked to the other side of the room.
She searched in between the weeds. To her surprise, the hole was really there. Driven by the excitement, Elisabeth completely forgot about all the creepy vermin that could possibly live inside the hole and carelessly stuck her hand inside.
“Ouch!” Elisabeth screamed in pain. There was something hiding in there and it just stung her finger. Elisabeth took off the scarf tied around her neck and wrapped it around her hand. She placed her hand in the hole, very slowly this time.
There was something attacking her hand again, but Elisabeth didn’t get stung thanks to her scarf. The hole wasn’t as deep as she thought. Elisabeth searched the bottom while trying to avoid the little enemy.
“I think I found it!” Elisabeth exclaimed happily and pulled out her hand from the hole. Unfortunately, she only found some dry branch.
“I knew I was crazy,” Elisabeth told to herself. “But I know it’s there.”
She took out her cellphone from the bag, opened the camera app, activated the flash and took a panoramic picture of the inside of the hole. When she looked at it, the phone almost slipped from her hand. The first thing she saw was a big red bug with a horn! When Elisabeth looked closer at the picture, she saw a little shiny fragment covered with dirt. She placed her hand back in the hole and started digging. It wasn’t easy, because the bug got very angry and was constantly stinging her hand with the horn. After a few minutes of persistent effort, Elisabeth finally dug up the item. She pulled her hand up from the hole and couldn’t believe her eyes. She was holding Huang Loong’s wand in her hand!
Elisabeth waved the wand out of curiosity to see what would happen. Bright sparkles came out of its point, but then suddenly, the wand flew out of Elisabeth’s hand with the speed of light and fell on the floor on the other side of the room.
Elisabeth hasn’t expected anything like this. Actually, she hasn’t expected anything at all. She knew it probably wasn’t a good idea, but she picked up the wand and waved it again. “Okay, I get it. It was a bad idea. I won’t do that ever again,” she said aloud.
I’d really like to know why it does this though, Elisabeth thought to herself and scratched her head.
She picked it up from the ground and tried putting it in her bag, but it wouldn’t fit.
For a moment, she considered giving it one last try, however she quickly came to the conclusion that it was better not to.