Sora slipped out of the royal home without incident. She had all of her belongings, and was excited to get the journey moving. She knew it would be a long hard road, but she also knew it would be an experience of a life time.
Sora arrived at the water hole with the water fall nearly one hour after leaving the royal home. The woods were so beautiful during the night, even without any light from the stars or moon to cast their glow. Everything was so quiet and peaceful, it was like a very pleasant dream.
The plan was to dive into the water, and swim under the waterfall again. This made Sora hesitate. This is one thing that she did not plan for. The first time she went, Sora did not have shoes on her feet, and she did not have her pack with her. Sora replayed that incident in her mind for a split second. The panic of not ever reaching the surface was a bit terrifying. Sora could not afford to leave any of it behind, and hopefully none of the supplies and food would get damaged by the water. But Sora was confident that between Agatha and herself, they were sure to have packed things just right.
Sora remembered Leo saying that there was a direct link the the earth's energy, and ever since he came to the cave looking for a way out of the kingdom, he linked his own power to that in the water. Sora thought for a moment. Now that she was well aware of the power, which before she thought of as a presence, She could absorb that power to give her more strength to swim under the waterfall and to safety. That had to work, otherwise, Sora had no other options, and her quest was doomed to fail before it even began.
Sora slipped off her shoes and tucked them tightly within her pack. She waded out into the water and felt the energy all around her. It was exhilarating. Without hesitation, Sora dove right in and swam the short distance across the water hole.
Sora came up for air a few feet in front of the roaring waterfall. The spray from the waterfall was unrelenting. Taking in a few deep breaths, Sora dove down and kicked her feet. As soon as she was far enough under the water fall to lessen the power of the falling water, Sora began to swim horizontally toward the inside of the falls.
The last thing that Sora expected happened. As she swam under the falls, the current caught her pack, and began to pull her further down in the water. Sora could already feel her lungs aching from holding in her breath. Sora might have been a good swimmer, but she still could not hold her breath like a whale.
The current kept dragging Sora further down into the water, then she hit another current caused by the water ascending back to the top. That water flipped Sora upside down, and she somersaulted around in the water. Disoriented, Sora began to feel her lungs scream. She wondered how long she could last without involuntarily taking in a would be breath. Sora desperately tried locking her mind on the surface and righting her body in order to swim back to the top. But at that point, Sora was unsure of which way was up or down.
Suddenly Sora remembered the presence in the water. She thought of her conversation with Leo. She clung to that energy, because it was the only thing that was going to save her life. Letting the energy serge through her body, Sora began kicking up toward the surface. She opened her eyes and stuck her hands out in front of her so that she would not bump into anything.
When Sora's lungs were just beginning to suck in water, Sora burst through the surface of the water. She frantically clung to the rocks that were on the underside of the waterfall. She pulled herself up onto the cave opening coughing up the water that her lungs tried to take in. Sora turned to her side and laid down resting her head on her arm. The only thing Sora wanted was for her heaving chest to calm down.
Sora was unsure of how long she laid there with her pack still on her back. But she seemed to lay there heaving in ragged breaths trying to force her body to realize that it had survived. She always loved swimming, but now Sora decided that she would be more careful with where she chose to swim.
Sora had put her shoes back on her feet and found her way down the long straight tunnel. Maybe she was just paranoid, but Sora felt like she was being constantly watched. She felt very intruded upon. It could have been just the presence of Mother Nature, or it could have been Leo's power connected to the cave still. Whatever it was, it made her nervous, and she just wanted to get out of the Kiswone Nation to complete her quest.
Sora's thoughts kept her company all the way to the end cave. She walked straight across to where the original writing had been, and she stopped in her tracks.
The writing was no longer there. In fact, nothing was there. In the cave wall was an opening that continued. Sora looked around briefly to ensure that she had not missed the opening in her previous trip to the cave. Sure enough, there was not any other spot in the cave with writings on the wall.
She took a deep breath and proceeded through the opening. Sora didnt' know what she would expect, but this tunnel was very much like the other that lead to the ending chamber. It did not veer right nor left. It just continued on in a slight descent. Sora had no idea of what time it was. She didn't even know how long she had been walking along the long straight tunnel. She began to think about how annoying and boring it was for the creator of the tunnel to keep it so straight and lame.
At that thought, the tunnel banked left, then right, then Sora tripped on something. She was so used to the smooth clear path that she had been following that she didn't see the first step at all. She began to ascend the stair case in front of her. She squinted toward the top, but still could not see all the way to the top.
If any Kiswan was worried that he was not in good shape should have been walking up this stair case with Sora. Her legs began to burn, but the staircase continued up the seemingly never ending stairs. Sora felt funny about it, but she began to sing a song out loud to herself. She was alone, who would hear?
The song went like this:
Across the sea
Is a lonely tree;
The tree just grows,
But no one shows.
The fruit thereof,
Is prized like a dove.
The tree just grows,
But no one shows.
The wind flies by,
But does not say hi.
Instead he twirls,
To another tree and furls.
The two trees turn,
And what do they learn?
Neither was alone,
But of themselves had not shown.
A pair they made,
And fruit they paid.
The trees just grow,
But looks no more.
This legendary bard told the story of a young couple who did not realize the love that they shared. They both were looking for something else, but once they were knocked up side the head, they found each other.
Sora immediately thought of Witold. She hadn't heard that bard for many years. Why was it that since yesterday, Sora has been thining an awfully lot of Witold? Sora needed to get her head on straight and forget about him. She was happy that her climb had come to a halt, because she no longer wanted to dwell on him. The very last step that she took led to, yes, another cave. Sora sighed. Was this trip ever going to end? She was beginning to feel slightly claustrophobic of this tunnel and cave series.
Sora was worried that if she were to stop now, she might get trapped in the cave once the sun came out again. So she walked around the perimeter of the cave in order to find an opening that lead out. She also looked for markings or further instructions. But she realized that Leo would not have been able to get further than the first cave. Sora had walked all around the cave and was nearly back to the stone stare case when she saw another opening. It seemed to lead back in the direction from which she came. She was wary, but continued anyway.
This tunnel was very narrow. Sora had just enough room to walk through without scraping up her arms on the walls. In addition, the tunnel did not ascend nor descend, it seemed to be perfectly level. The difference was that the tunnel was curving left and right. Luckily, Sora did not meet any forks in the tunnel. If she did, then she would surely get lost in here and never get out.
Sora took a quick sip of water out of her water skin. Her stomach began to grumble, and her eyes were beginning to be heavy. She knew that she needed to get out in the open so that she could rest up for the remainder of the quest.
To Sora's surprise, this tunnel did not cover a vast amount of space like the other tunnels. She had only been walking for a few minutes since the stairs when she walked right out of a whole in the side of a mountain.
Sora stumbled a little bit due to the surprise. She was not expecting to be outside just yet. But all at once, she felt the weight of feeling vulnerable crash down on her. She knew that she had crossed through the barrier, she could feel it. This was the human realm. Sora looked around. She desperately needed to find cover. She could see the sun beginning to rise in the east. She scoured the area and found a very large opening in the rocks. This cave was enormous. She entered the narrow entryway and continued into the main cavern.
The red rock walls were different than the tunnels that Sora had just journeyed through. Those were not natural. They were perfectly smooth, with no jagged edges or abrupt cliffs. This cave was filled with stalactites and stalagmites formed out of the same red looking rock. Sora loved this unique cave. This is where she decided to set up camp for the day. She would then continue her journey at night.
Sora did not yet know it, but she had found herself right in the middle of the desert of New Mexico. She was seeking shelter in the Carlsbad Caverns. These are hardly empty during the day time, since tourists and recreational humans go inside to explore the many wonders to behold within.