“The air ripped through me with an intense heat and caused a sharp ringing in my ears.”
I was alone again. But at least this time I had some direction. I had the rocky path towards the tent before me, and the endless bazaar behind me. For whatever reason, that section of the bazaar seemed to be abandoned. There were no merchants, wares, or aimless creatures wandering about. Just a bunch of empty booths and ragged canopies.
I could see some shadowy figures way off at the ends of the bazaar. So I knew the market was still thriving far behind me and resumed ahead of the abandoned section. I assumed I was in the middle of the bazaar—or perhaps the bazaar split at that location and turned into a new market ahead. Either way, I wasn’t taking any chances of getting caught up in the chaos again. So taking a deep breath and one last look around, I took the first step onto the trail.
The rocks, blacker than coal, radiated an almost blistering heat up through my whole body; I immediately began dripping with perspiration. I bent down and touched one of the fiery rocks—expecting for it to be overwhelmingly hot and possibly burn my finger. But to my surprise, the heat was unlike anything I’d ever felt before. It was like sticking my hand into a raging fire, but the blazing heat caused no damage to my skin. Even so, there was no way I’d make it to the tent via that trail; I’d pass out from heat exhaustion before I made it halfway there. I knew something had to make the rocks so hot, but much like everything else in that world, I had no answers for the unexplained phenomenon.
I’m not one to believe in such things as curses, luck, ghost, demons, or magic. But after stepping on that trail, I truly felt a sinister form of black magic was at the root of the strange occurrence. I could think of no other explanation for the strange black hunks being so uniquely hot.
I held onto to one of the smaller rocks for a moment—taking my time to examine it thoroughly. It was the size of a strawberry, but it was immensely heavy. It must’ve weighed at least thirty pounds. The texture was completely smooth and the color was a form of black I’d never seen before. No light reflected off its surface nor could I really gauge the actual shape of it. But it quickly became too heavy and my hand too slick from sweat to hold on any longer. So I dropped it on top of the other black rocks.
A huge spark shot out from underneath me where the rocks had connected. It was powerful enough to knock me into the booth at the entrance of the trail. The rocks seemed very volatile and unstable. Because of this I made very slow, deliberate movements to take a closer looks at what had happened. And to my astonishment, the group of rocks that had crashed together were now formed into a coffee table sized chunk of that strange metal the Yelzamouth statue was made out of.
I must admit, my curiosity got the better of me. While the metal was most likely not rare in that world, it was something unseen in ours. I had to learn what I could from it before I left the realm. So, I went back over and started to examine the newly formed metal. It shone magnificently under the hazy red sky. It gleamed just as the Yelzamouth statue had. And when I placed my palm on it, I was relieved to feel that it was ice-cold. Whatever had caused the rocks to form this metal must’ve had something to do with rapid cooling.
Using a slow and steady hand, I picked up a bigger rock―it was the size of a softball and must’ve weighed almost as much as me. It took everything I had to prop it up against my hip and step back with it. I set it down as easy as I could on the dirt and ash covered ground of the bazaar. This caused a strong sizzling sound followed by billows of black smoke. I hurried and picked the rock up again—nearly throwing my back out in the process—and saw that it had burned a deep ring into the ground.
With my back aching and my arms straining, I walked the rock over to the edge of the trail. And using every bit of might I could muster, I managed to chuck it about three inches in front of me. I immediately ran the other way as the rock smashed onto the others with a thunderous boom. The air ripped through me with a intense heat and caused a sharp ringing in my ears. Once I regained my composure, I looked back at the trail and witnessed something truly breathtaking.