• I handed the key to the guard, my breath labored. The night was already coming. I had been searching from the key to the shadow room, that had unfortunately been eaten by one of the monsters.
    The guard looked at the key meticulously, before nodding his head. "This is it. Are you sure you are ready?"
    I nodded. The small wings on my back which had appeared a few days ago fluttered lightly. The small creature, which I called Mong, sat tired on my head. He seemed to be a baby slime?
    The guard smiled form under his helmet. "Then good luck, Hitmai. And remember, not all is real in the Shadow Room. Be alert."
    He took his staff and pounded it on the ground. It let out a bell sound, which resonated throughout the Forest of Mist. I could tell prayers were being made for the one that was going into the Shadow Room. I prayed quietly and quickly as well.
    Steam as black as soot rose from the ground and around me. It twisted and shaped, swirling almost touching my body, like chains that would not let me go. More steam rose, and encased me. I heard the guard shout out "Remember! Not everything is real! Do not give in to the pressure your other will force on you!"
    My other? I thought. What does he mean by that?
    When the mist disappeared, I stood in a dark room, a door in front of me. The key was in my hand. It felt very cold. I placed it inside the key hole and twisted, the gears clicking loudly as I did.
    I opened the door, walking in. Lanterns hung on the roof, blue fire licking the glass cases it was in. On the ground was a large red carpet, leading into another room, and into darkness.
    I heard footsteps and my hands automatically tightened around the mace in my left and the shield in my right. When the person came in, I did a double take.
    They looked like me - no, they were me. The other me though was like a mirror. The mace was in her right hand, the shield in her left. Her eyes were red and lifeless. And, also, she had no Mong on her head.
    She smiled at me. "Welcome."
    I got into my fighting stance.
    She laughed and walked forward. "Once I destroy you, I will become the savior of Isya."
    She ran forward and swung her mace. I quickly put up my shield, hearing the sharp clang of metal on metal.
    She was next aiming at my feet. I quickly jumped up and back, swinging at her. She just barely had enough time to put up her shield. With my free arm and swung my shield, hitting her in the side of the head. She jumped back, a small trail of blood running down her face. "Hah hah, Very good. Now follow me." She turned and ran into the darkness.
    I gritted my teeth and followed after her.
    The room lit up as I entered it, revealing a bigger room, two giant wood doors at the back. She stood facing away from me, looking at the door. I ran forward, the gates opening. She ran through them. They quickly closed behind her, trapping me in the room. "Let me out!!" I banged on the door.
    I heard something behind me and quickly turned around. There stood Acuzio, my swordsman friend, and Dafooleh (I was almost certain it wasn't her real name), my long time archer girl pal.
    They both stood there, Dafooleh smiling. "You guys..." I stepped forward, only to see Dafooleh quickly lift her crossbow and fire at me.
    I barely had enough time to dodge, the arrow slicing my shoulder. Acuzio ran forward and swung with his two-hander. I quickly put up my shield, but was catapulted into the wall by the impact.
    I looked at them, only now noticing how Acuzio held the two-hander over his right should and not his left, and how their eyes were red.
    Shadow Dafooleh and Shadow Acuzio, I guessed.
    "So this is what he meant by not everything is real...." I mumbled.
    I quickly stood and ran forward. Shadow Dafooleh loaded an arrow and shot it at me. I quickly put up my shield, the arrow bouncing off of it with a tiny ‘clang’.
    I was in front of her now. She swung out at me with her crossbow. I ducked under, elbowing her in the stomach. She coughed and stepped back, trying to regain her air. I quickly stood and whacked at her head with my mace. Before it hit, and possibly staining my white dress red, she disappeared.
    I heard the scream of something fast moving through, cutting the air. I quickly put my shield up, being catapulted back once again. Instead of letting myself hit the wall, I put my feet out. The hit against my wall and I pushed, being catapulted forward. I swung out my shield, Shadow Acuzio blocking it with his sword. My feet touched the floor and I twirled around, trying to get him from the other side with my mace. It didn’t work, and I was blocked again. I jumped back, frustrated.
    An idea hit me, and I dropped my mace and shield on the floor. Shadow Acuzio looked at me, purely confused. I smiled and ran forward. He swung out with his sword. I jumped up and landed on the blade, grabbing his face with my hand. I smiled. “Boom.”
    There was a large explosion. As the dust cleared, I saw he was gone. I quickly went back to get my shield and mace. As I turned around, I saw two keys laying on the floor. I went and picked them up, smiling.
    I walked up to the giant doors, putting the keys into the two keyholes and twisting. I hear the echo of the gears turning, and the door silently opened.
    I waked in, seeing a red jewel. I walked up to it, wondering what is what.
    That is when the lights completely went out.
    A small line of red light came from the jewel, making a trail up a steep incline and to somewhere. A laugh rang through the dungeon. “Follow the light, if you dare to try and face me.”
    I followed the light carefully, throughout each room. My eyes wandered to the shadows of monsters, taken in by the shadows and made into a shadow creature. One turned to me, it’s eyes glowing red, but it did not attack me….
    I cam e to a giant room, the line ending. The lights came on, revealing two torches in the back next to an altar-like thing. My shadow self stood there, looking up at it. She turned her head to me, her red eye looked at me like I was no more than a bug. She fully turned to me, her hand wrapping around the mace tightly. She smirked. “Welcome to your death.”
    She ran forward, jumping up and coming down hard with the mace. I stuck up my shield, feeling a small crack as she hit the shield. I pushed forward, making her go back. I knew something in my arm had cracked as the numbing pain ran through my arm. She smiled, realizing my pain.
    She ran forward again. This time I ducked under and aimed at her stomach with my mace. She dodged and jumped back. This was going nowhere, and we could both tell that. She gritted her teeth. And whacked the altar with her mace. Two golems popped out of the ground. I moaned.
    I ducked under one of their arms, whacking the other one. I felt hard metal hit my back and fell forward, feeling a few of my ribs crack. My shadow self laughed. “Watch where you go. Do you think you can really be a savior with your slow reflexes?!”
    I turned around, wincing at the pain. I dodged one of the golems, jumping up in the air. I used one of the golems as leverage to get higher. When I was high enough, I concentrated, a blue fire-like thing surrounding my mace. I went down, slamming it into one of the golems. It broke apart, and I ran forward, getting the other one. I turned to my shadow self, feeling blood trickle down the side of my head.
    “No more games…” I mumbled.
    She smiled. “I agree.”
    We both ran forward, our maces clashing. Sparks flew around us. I jumped back, unhooking my shield quickly from my arm. I only had one chance at this, and I had to make it fast. She laughed. “A shield that isn’t attached won’t do you any good!”
    She ran forward and I quickly parried with my mace.
    I jumped back again and found my moment. I threw the shield with as much momentum as I could. She quickly ducked under it, and I was in her face in a second. Catching her off guard.
    My mace collided with her face, sending her backwards. She didn’t move. Didn’t breathe.
    After a few seconds, a laugh filled the hall. The body was gone, but the laugh remained. “That was fun!” It said. “We should do it again sometime. And remember one thing….” The voice became serious. “I am only as strong as you are.
    The voice was gone, the room completely illuminated. A light surrounded my, flowing up to my head. IT felt warm, the pain in my body becoming numbed. I felt my bones begin to heal rapidly. It was amazing.
    Next thing I knew, I was back at the guard. Shutian, wasn’t it? He smiled and pounded me on the back. “Shadow Room wasn’t what you expected, eh?”
    I shook my head. He quickly cleared his throat. “Yes, well, this was sent over for you.”
    He stepped aside, revealing two things wrapped neatly. I walked up to them, looking at the tag.
    Dear Hitmai,
    I heard you finally made it to the Shadow Room! I asked Acuzio what it was like, but he just shook me off and changed the subject. Roumen has been becoming quieter lately, so they’re sending more of us to Elderine, even some all the way to Uruga! Can you believe it, being stuck in that town with no way out?! Anyways, I hope these two things will help you in your journey, Acuzio helped me out making them. He sends his best wishes, and he’ll see you later on.
    Good luck!,

    I laughed at her brief message. She was able to sum up so much in so little time. I looked at the packages and quickly unwrapped them. I had to block my eyes from the shine.
    The hammer was big. It glew a gold color, but a light pink swirled over the surface, revealing the Isya symbol. Same went to the shield, a giant metal glowing object.
    Shutian whistled. “Who are those from?”
    I smiled at him. “Some good friends.”
    I stood and looked at him. “Which way is Elderine?”
    “Errr… North. But there have been recent accounts of more monsters appearing at the gates. Are you sure you want to go that way?”
    I nodded at him. “I have some people I need to catch up with.”