'Hey, Anze, hurry up there!' a young man called out, excitement in his voice.
'I'm trying my best here!' the young woman replied him in a pout.
'Hahaha, must have been gaining weight, have ya?'
'Yes yes, that's probably true.'
It may be as Panz-Rosa said, but it is more likely that it was Kahl'Deris who had too much energy. After all, the couple had been trekking the cavern network for two days, with Panz-Rosa doing most of the data-tracking and cartography. Kahl'Deris had the simpler task of managing their equipment and analysing their collected samples.
The Anze Caverns (named after Kahl'Deris' affectionate nickname for the Panz-Rosa) was unlike other caverns that the Alchemists have known of. It did not appear to have any fixed topography, or to have existed for very long. Kahl'Deris was certain that the cavehole he discovered recently was definitely not there when he was here a month ago. Panz-Rosa noted the lack of any earthquake or tectonic movement that could have caused the random appearance of a cave entrance.
One could call it a sixth sense that told the two of them that the existence of this cavern network could only be supernatural.
'Deris? Go to the one on the left.' They had reached yet another intersection.
'It just seems... to be calling me?'
'Oh, one of your intuition things again. Left tunnel: Here we go!'
'Ah wait, hold on, I should dowse firs-
'Nope, not doing that. So far you've been mostly right, so dowsing bone's out of job now.'
Said dowsing bone is a macerated right collarbone of Panz-Rosa's late mother, Erin'Tel. It acts like a magnetic compass with reacts to sources of energy, in particular, ether energy.
Ethereal energy is a natural phenomena that the Alchemists had learnt about in the last decade. They found that it appears randomly, and is capable of doing acts that science alone will not actualise, particularly in moments of strong human emotion or death.
It was the death of Erin-Tel several years ago that led one such act. Panz-Rosa's father, Gedrel-Rosa suffered an infection in his left eye in days leading to her death. That eye became fully blind on her last breath. It was during her funeral that Gedrel-Rosa reported being able to see things that he only dreamnt of.
Gedrel-Rosa had always been a curious man and inventor. He intuitively understood how machines functioned and how devices were constructed. When his left eye became blind, Gedrel-Rosa found that if he thought hard enough he could conceptualise any tool he liked. With his new found perception, he became the most capable inventor and was chosen as the Alchemists' leader.
No one is certain if it was ether that inspired Panz-Rosa as well. Just like her father was intuitive with devices, Panz-Rosa was always intuitive when it came to the workings of the human body. She became an accomplished physician in her own right. The research of ether and it's power to modify physical flesh to respond to what seemed a call from another plane was what pique her interest.
Kahl'Deris was an explorer. He loves nothing more than going to new places and trying out new things. He was often the stress test for Gedrel-Rosa's new inventions and Panz-Rosa's physiotherapy experiments. Being the first person to experience what no one else had tried yet was something that he took pride in.
Like a research team match-made in heaven, they took on the expedition to explore the newly formed Anze Caverns together.
They came to a three-way split. 'Which way now?' Kahl'Deris looked back at his partner.
'Umm... lessee... Two-thirty o'clock?'
'... what. Anze, it's a wall here. You sure?'
'Huh? It is? Well, maybe I'm wrong then... So let's try-'
'Breaking through the wall! Okay, consider it done, madam!' Kahl'Deris swung his left arm in a circular motion.
'I didn't say that!' Panz-Rosa objected.
The blow caused the cave walls to crumble and... dissipate...? A tight narrow passage laid ahead.
'Okay! Road's clear, let's go.'
Panz-Rosa chuckled as she face-palmed briefly. She stepped into the passage after him.
'Deris!' she leapt forward to pull her partner back by his sleeve.
'What is it now?'
'There's something-... someone... ahead.'
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