Welcome one welcome all to chapter 18 of the underground! I know its been a long time since I've updated thanks to a illness called laziness that I am a true victim of, BUT I'm back for a bit and will try to work on and update both this story and a boys love story called Punishment clans.

Wish me luck and Reviews definitely do help me to stay not so lazy so please help cure me of my laziness and REVIEW!

See ya all at the bottom.

Chapter 18

Trist stretched with a yawn as Mana moved with a disgruntled grunt when his ears flicked up and in the direction from whence they came. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes as she moved from her position hidden in a small hideaway in the rocks. With each movement her bones popped back in place as she twisted and turned to get all the kinks loosened in her body. She laid her head on her knees looking to Mana who huffed a few times as if he was pleased with something far in the distance before plodding back over to Trist side.

Smiling while shaking her head Trist lifted one of her arms lazily to lay on the hounds head and bending her fingers to scratch the dark beasts soft head. He hummed happily with her caress before flicking his long pink and black tongue out of his mouth to make a slimy trail down one side of her face.

"Looks like you're in a fairly good mood in order to be giving me a slobbery kiss like any mongrel from the surface. Why not take that big tongue of yours and go wake the others we need to get a move on it. We can't stay dormant for too long or else we might be caught."

With her eyes following Mana, Trist watched as he walked over to each of her comrades and give them several good tongue lashings. She gave a stifled laugh as Mesma shuffled up to a sitting position grunting and groaning grabbing Manas mouth holding him away from his face as he wipes the slobber off on the back of his long sleeves.

Once Mesma, Desmond, and Tesla were awake Mana walked over to the still sleeping Kain, huffed and bit the sleeping man on the ear making him jump up with a yelp. Trist covered her mouth with her eyes wide as she stifled her laughter only to have her body betray her as she shook with each surge. Kain just glared over at her as he pushed the hound away from him grumbling.

"Not funny you royal pain. Make sure that beast knows that the next time he wakes me through such a means he's turning into our next meal. With a nice juicy apple shoved in the mouth like a pig on the buffet line."

He made a shoving motion to his own mouth giving a mischievous grin to the hound who just sneezed plodding over to his master as she looked to Kain. She pushed herself up to a standing position putting her hands on her lower back and pushed as a loud succession of pops sounded out.

"You dare to do that to him and I'll make sure you join him on that buffet table. Only on that the only one eating you would be my cute little Eibo who is currently residing within your body right below your heart."

She walked over to him and on her last word she tapped right below his heart where he felt the bug shuffle sending shivers through his body at the unnatural feeling of the creature within him. He took a few steps back glaring at Trist as he pounded his chest a couple of times to quiet the bug balled up within his body.

"Heh, that's rich coming from a kidnapped surface brat. Bet you didn't know that you were kidnapped from your family on the surface by the very person who raised you did ya?"

Trist looked to Kain her eyes displaying no emotion as Tesla, Desmond, and Mesma looked from Trist to Kain and back again as if a cold wall stood between them and their two traveling companions. Trist tapped her food against the stone floor a few times licking her lips before speaking.

"Your right, I was kidnapped from my birth family but I hold no grudge towards my father for such a thing. I don't even remember my life on the surface except for the feeling of something warm and sticky spilling out and spraying on my skin and clothes and the sensation that it was doing so by my own hands."

Kain looked at Trist completely lost for words as she smiled shaking her head with her arms crossed.

"You're wondering how I know this? Let's just say that when daddy gets his hands on hard liquor from the surface his mouth becomes more loose then the whores from the underground brothels."

Tesla, Mesma, and Desmond snickered at the reference as they each recalled their own encounter of lord Kite and his rare lover the powerful moonshine bottle. Normally he was a pretty good drinker able to handle a selection of liquors and wines but when he could get his hands on moonshine or even clear he was loose lipped and somewhat hyper. Like a kid wired up on sugar only in his case instead of a crash with a long and friendly relationship with a pillow and maybe a plushy clutched in hand he would be greeted with a massive headache and the need of at least eight hours of sleep.

Shrinking down slightly embarrassed Kain twisted the toe of his shoe in the dirt as if he was having trouble swallowing his own words from earlier. Mesma watched Kain shaking his head as he nudged the young man with his own booted foot.

"Really dickey, move man really dickey."

Kain shrunk even more so then before until he couldn't stand it anymore then bounced up to his feet stomping off west in the direction of where they were going to be heading. Trist just shook her head and dug out the maps she had slipped into a small hidden pouch and pulled them out. Unfolding them gingerly she looked at the maps with all of its lines and emblems and placed her finger on the border between the ocean and land.

"So we just left this point here and traveled at least half a mile to two miles west or so according to the map."

Sliding her finger away from the land to ocean border out into the big blue ocean printed on the map she tapped her finger on a squiggly brown line that, judging from the mile calculations shouldn't be too far off from their current location. She ran her finger along the line which looked like a sharp toothed frown going from one end of the land mass to the next arching in front of their path. Almost as if it was trying to trap them in a small pocket between land and the larger outer water. Tesla leaned over Trists shoulder tilting his head as he looked over the map scanning the various markings.

"Looks like that line marks a chasm, and knowing the mind set of your kin the jagged side of the lines means that its full of stalactites and stalagmites. More than likely were going to have quite a bit of trouble dealing with those if that is what it means. It is definitely one of the various downfalls of living in the underground don't you agree my lady?"

Trist gently rubbed the indent between her bottom lip and chin as she stared at the map her eyes flicking between the brown shark toothed line to a more bold, prominent orange and red line that ran not even a mile to two miles away from the thinner brown line. Her eyes locked on the orange and red line narrowing her eyes and slowly licking her lips as she moved to tap the line.

"The stalactites and stalagmites are going to be a cakewalk compared to this area here. The ring of fire which spans all the way up through our path through the bearing strait. I know there is a pathway along it on the west side of the river of lava the problem is getting over on the opposite side. That's molten rock and is more of a pain to avoid then something like fire considering its more of a liquid than a gas. It's really quite an annoyance when you want to pass over it because even the rocks around it are slowly melting under its heat."

Trist clicked her tongue a few times as she folded the map back into its small square and slipped it back into her bag. Pulling the strap over her shoulder she lifted herself from the ground and pulled the clips together in front of her. Once clipped she took the free moving strap and folded it over the clips and slipped it into a tight rubber band loop. Satisfied with her securing she walked out of their little corner and looked out over the territory taking a deep breath in. The air still has a small, faint scent of salt but was slowly beginning to be overtaken by a slight smell of sulfur which made her scrunch up her nose. She hated the smell of sulfur which was fairly similar to the smell of rotten eggs but at that moment it was tolerable thanks to the smell of salt.

"Well it seems like we're stuck following our nose once again aren't we."

Mesma grinned as he stoke twisting around and wriggling his fingers at Desmond who leaned back with a scowl. He stumbled back a bit as he moved towards Kain who was still in his slump on the floor of their hidey hole. Once by his side Desmond nudged Kain knocking him over snapping him out of gloom.

"What? Are we continuing on our hellish trek through uncharted territories called the ocean zone."

Kain spat his last few words with a sarcastic tone which warranted him a glare from Desmond who stood watching him as he got up from his downed position. Kain returned the glare before he shoved past Desmond hitting their shoulders together as he walked out into the open space and stretched. Desmond clicked his tongue in annoyance as he turned his sight on Trist.

"Why the hell do we keep him around! He's such a rude, narcissistic, ignoramus who doesn't need to remain in this world."

His body was tense and his arms were up as he flexed his fingers and his raged boiled over. Trist just watched him thinking it was best that he didn't fully know that Kain was one of the two people responsible for his big sisters hospitalization. She just licked her lip then used her teeth to peel off the dry flaky skin that hand divided itself from her fresh, plump lower lip before patting Desmond on the shoulder.

"Like I said Des its best to have some bait as you travel in uncharted territories. It means you won't have to sacrifice one of your own in order to obtain what you want or need. It's the ever prominent common sense of the underground that were talking about here. One persons unwilling sacrifice is another person's gain."

Desmond completely deflated at her words as he glared at Kain who just grinned in return. Giving a disgruntled huff Desmond bent and picked up his bag slinging it over his shoulder and clipping it in front of him. Still glaring he stomped off shooting back over his shoulder as he started on their path.

"Let's hope such a situation comes up soon so we can get rid of the pain in the ass!"

Trist giggled shaking her head as she slowly started after Desmond while Mesma and Mana ran after the disgruntled boy. She looked back at Kain who was grumbling as he pulled the dusty black clock that was laying on the ground over his shoulders.

"You know you should really consider getting along with Desmond better. It was his big sister that your partner almost killed back in the toll territory."

Kain tilted his head his eyes focusing on Trist as she flashed him a rare gentle smile that could only be seen between family members if one lived within the underground. He felt it was strange to be getting such a kind smile from a stranger and mark. The masters of the marks were supposed to be some of the most cruelest, powerful, underhanded, and essence of evil within the world but here was one who could give a kind smile to someone who harmed her closest friend.

Shrugging away his thoughts he hopped down and after Trist who with a few quick steps had already caught up with the rest of the party. They continued to travel following the twitching black, scarred nose that twitched inches from the ground and the smell of salt had faded to be replaced with the pungent smell of rotten eggs and granite.

Mana's head quickly flicked up from the ground as his ears flicked forwards twitching with a series of hidden sounds that only he could pinpoint. Trist was the first to notice his strange behavior and motioned for everyone to stop moving silencing the echo's of their footsteps. They wall waited with swallowed breaths as Mana slowly lowered his head his blazing eyes focusing on the darkness. It was then that the group could hear the crackling and pitter patter of stones on a hollow space. A smile split on her face as her body relaxed as she had been straining her whole being into hearing the hidden sounds farther into the distance. She looked to Tesla who tilted his head bewildered by why they had to stop suddenly.

"Looks like you were right. It seems we'll be having to deal with some very annoying rock formations."

They pushed forward as the area became warmer and warmer and the sounds of cracking and crumbling rock started to drown out all other sounds around them. The space before them opened up to reveal a large chasm with thick imposing walls on both side making it impossible to go around. Standing at the edge of the chasm it felt as if you were looking into the jaws of a great monster with rows of sharp teeth above and below ready to mangle their bodies using the blood to stain themselves red.

The group looked down into the depths to see thousands of bones from previous victims who had tried to trek its deadly spears. The air was dry and scorched making the saliva in Trist mouth turn to a thick bile that made her tongue stick to the roof of her mouth. She could feel the skin inside her nose crack and dry with each breath she took making her try to breath slower and as little as possible. Looking at the boys she could see that they were just as uncomfortable as she was thanks to the heat wave.

"So we have two choices here boys, we can either A scale the wall down to the bottom and try to traverse the maze of sharp stalagmites with the ever present fear of the stalactites falling and skewering us like a shish kabob. That or B we can try and find a way to make a rope bridge to slip across between the stalagmites and stalactites. We need to get through the monsters mouth down its throat and to its stomach acid."

Trist gave a cheeky grin at her own cleverness as Mesma just shook his head smiling while Kain rolled his eyes in disbelief that she could actually crack a smile at such a time. Biting her lip Trist pulled her bag into the front and started to rummage through it until she found a long thick roll of rope and shrugged putting it down next to her as she rummaged through her bag one more to find nothing else of importance to help them. Looking up from her crouched position her eyes settled on the boys who were staring absentmindedly into the abyss.

"Does either of you have anything that could help us?"

The boys started to rummage through their own bags when Desmond let out a loud ah as he pulled out what looked to be a collection of wood pieces and a sleek wire. Giving a triumphant grin he handed the pile over to Trist who realized what it was the second her fingers wrapped around the smooth, polished wood. The wood was wrapped around a small bag of nuts and bolts with a small multi-tool.

"Good job Des this will be perfect for what we need keep digging to see if there is a arrow hidden in your bag somewhere. Knowing Ivy the tip should be one of the smaller outer pockets so you wouldn't prick your fingers on its sharp point."

Trist busied herself with assembling the wood into shape taking a matter of minutes piece the wooden puzzle together. Once finished she gave a satisfied sigh as she got up and pulled the now completed tool to show the boys. Desmond looked at the item in her hand shocked at how fast she had pieced it together. He himself had found a arrow shaft and its sharp point hidden within his bag and now understood why it was in there. Trist stood holding a medium sized crossbow primed and ready to do its job.

"With this pretty baby we will have no problem making a line across this mangled mess of sharp and pointy evil!"

Trist face suddenly twisted into that of a madwoman with the empty crossbow in hand as she clicked the trigger playfully a few times. Her grin stretched as far as it good as she practiced aiming at a large rock across the abyss which had a few lines painted on it in the form of a target. All four boys took a nervous step back as they felt a cold chill run down their backs watching Trist aim happily. Desmond leaned in so only the boys would be able to hear him as he whispered to them.

"Remember to thank Ivy later for giving us just one arrow rather than a whole half dozen."

The three boys nodded their agreement as Trist finally turned her gaze back onto the group sending even more shivers cascading down their backs as if someone had dropped ice cubes down their shirts. She held out her hand in silence her sinister grin gone only to be replaced with a authoritative look that would make even the most disobedient of child obey. Feeling as if his blood had drained from his body Desmond complied with her silent demand and handed her their only arrow primed and ready to fly.

Satisfied Trist twirled the arrow in her fingers humming happily breaking the tension that had built between her and the boys. She picked up the thick rope she had set down on the ground and unhooked the arrow head from its shaft. Then she took one end of the rope and unfurled it shoving half the rope strands down the shaft and twisted the arrow head back on locking it in place. Finally she twisted and tied the stray pieces of rope securing it just below the sharp arrow head. Content with her work she smiled as she hooked the crossbow between her legs and pulled the strong string bending the thick piece of wood into a U shape hooking it back on the crude trigger hook.

Licking her lips she hooked the butt end of her arrow into the cross bow wiggling it a bit to make sure it was secured nice and tightly. She then unraveled the rest of the rope and stepped on the end of it to make sure the arrow wouldn't take off with the whole length of the rope. Satisfied she propped the crossbow against her shoulder and took aim across the deep death trap at the rock with the target painted on it.

With a few seconds of silence Trist pulled the trigger letting the arrow fly with a loud wiz sound as it cut violently through the air to sink deep into the bulls eye of the target. They watched as the rock convulsed and slipped in around the arrow sucking it into its depths like an animal swallowing its prey whole. They could hear popping and snapping echoing around them as the rock hardened turning a lighter color.

"Chameleon stones, one of the rarest stones in existence. They start out as soft as can be then once damaged harden making it nearly impossible to damage or move. No one has any idea how they came into existence everyone just agrees they are useful to all hell in situations like this."

Giving a broad grin Trist pointed back at the rock that was now a solid block of hard stone clinging to the thick piece of rope. Pulling it tight Trist tied it to a large rock formation on their side with a large knot. Tilting her head she stepped on the rope and bounced on it a few times letting it feel her full weight before stepping back onto solid ground completely satisfied at her handy work.

"Alrighty boys, it is time for us to take our hands and stretch them wide as we traverse this treacherous sea of stone teeth to our destiny!"

She slammed her left foot against a small stone sitting next to the large bolder she had tied the rope to and did a captains pose as she pointed towards the other side of the ravine laughing like a main character in a bad comedy movie. Desmond and Mesma both sighed shaking their head as Tesla gave a nervous smile as Kain just watched her Dumbfounded. He couldn't bring himself to believe the huge gap between the her that they were currently watch, playful, sweet and fun loving from the cold woman that had given Desmond the silent comant.

Startled by Mana snorting Kain looked to the black beast as he hobbled over to the rope and hopped on walking with ease over the braided bridge. Trist mouth just dropped as she saw the black hound walk all the way to the other side like a cat walking on a fence. She pointed from him to the rope and back again before growling and running a hand through her hair and breaking her stunned look by closing her mouth. Kain leaned back a bit raising a brow as he spoke his eyes never leaving the hound on the other side of the ravine.

"Now that was not natural."

Trist whipped her head around her eyes focusing on Kain making him somewhat nervous as to what she would do next only to have his nerves blasted away by her sudden laughter. The genuine smile that was beaming on her face made Kains face warm with a light pink blush that crawled all the way to his ears making him look away praying no one saw. Noticing his bashfulness Trist just gave a huffed giggle as she shook her head and looked to her fellow travelers.

"Ok I will go first to make sure it's safe ahead, next will be Desmond, then Kain, Tesla and last but not least Mesma will take up the end. No complaints are allowed at this point if Des starts to fall I will do everything within my power to catch him. If Tesla starts to fall the same goes for Mesma he will try everything in his strength to catch him and if Kain starts to go down well, tough luck dude."

Still smiling she gave him a thumbs up as the others snickered walking to their position in line. Deflated Kain followed suit taking his position in the middle of the pack as Trist with practiced balance started to walk along the tight rope humming happily. Desmond followed right on her heals as they each stepped onto the tightly pulled rope and walked one foot in front of the other.

Even though Trist and Mesma were calm and perfectly fine with walking on this wiggling death bridge Desmond couldn't stop his body from shivering in fear as his teeth chattered somewhat loudly in the open space. He could feel fear prickle up the back of his neck then crawl its way back down into his chest with every small step he took. He tried to swallow only to be faced with a large lump in his throat that wouldn't allow his saliva to go down. His eyes darted from the rope, up to Trist then back around and down.

Nerves took hold of ever cell within Desmond only to be shattered as his foot slipped sending him down with a terrifying shutter of his body. Within that instant he felt everything drain from him only to have his weightless feeling of falling be replaced as a tight grip clutched his wrist and pulled him up violently as another body pulled past him. He could feel strong arms wrap around him pulling him up to safety. Opening his eyes he saw that he was in Kains arms while Kain looked down his eyes wide with fear, worry, and shock.


Trist had a split second to react as she felt the rope suddenly shutter as if a small earthquake had hit just the rope by itself. Looking back she could see Desmond begin to fall and took action reaching down as quickly as she could and grabbing hold of his wrist and pulled him up to Kain who had pulled him up back into safety. It was in that same instant that she could hear him scream her name as she herself plummeted towards the sharp spears as if they had been waiting for this moment since they entered their domain.

Heart pounding in her years Trist twisted in the air as the blood in her body ran cold and her left eye burned and blurred. She put her hands out in front of her as they tingled with energy and her breath came out in white puffs just like back at the falls when Kitty had gotten hurt. Her skin crawled as what appeared to be silver scales slipped out from under her skin and an explosion of white cascaded from her palms. The white eruption blasted down in a white cloud until it reached the floor with a loud boom and flitted out like an avalanche hitting the side of a sheer cliff. In that moment Trist hit hard against the cold platform that had been created from her hands knocking the wind out of her longs.

Gasping for breath Trist pushed herself up from the cold, white, solid block that numbed her hands as she pulled her legs under her to prop her lower body on her knees. He white puffs of heavy breath pushed a light peppering of what appeared to be powdered sugar away to reveal a frosted mirror like surface which reflected her own face back at her. The only thing was her face was different, her left eye had morphed from its beautiful blue to a light green with what looked to be like ice cracks running down the left side of her face. The top spear was on her forehead going through her eye and down on her cheek splitting into two pieces to make a diamond shape. From the bottom of the diamond a sharp line shot towards her mouth almost hitting the corner before going back to her chin and branched out like a lightning strike down her neck.

Bringing a shaking hand up to her mark she noticed for the first time in the reflection the scale like silver glove shimmering on her hand. Pushing up into a sitting position she looked at the glove that only covered the back of her hand with thing wires connecting to what looked to be small silver moons that lay on her finger joints. The scaled wrapped down and around her wrist with about four inches between it and another band. The rest of her hand and arm were still exposed even though it felt like a thin layer of ice was covering them.

A long drawn out whistle snapped her out of her trance as she looked up to see Desmond and Mesma looking down at her in complete shock. Tesla was more curious then anything and Kain was just smiling in amazement as he lowered Desmond down.

"You know girlie it would have been nice if you had pulled this stunt earlier. That is one monstrous chunk of ice you managed to create. Not to mention you nearly gave your boys a premature heart attack."

Kain and the others hopped down after Desmond had his feet firmly down on the large ice platform. Trist swallowing hard pulled herself shakily to her feet only to slip slightly as Kain leaned in and caught her from going down completely. Trist gave him a small smile as thanks letting herself steady before taking back the full weight of her own girth.

"They weren't the only ones. I seriously thought I was about to become the latest addition to this places limited addition collection."

Looking around her she could see that what Kain had said was true. They were currently standing on a large chunk of thick ice that reached all the way to the ground levels. A cool white mist flitted off of the block of ice only to melt in the warmed air around them. The unblemished ice under their feet was smooth yet not slippery so one could walk across without having to worry about slipping every which way. Bending down Trist touched the ice with her fingertips as the silver scales shimmered proudly with a life of its own as Mesmas voice hummed out.

"It'd be nice if we could just continue to walk across this ice but sadly it doesn't stretch all the way across the ravine. Looks like we'll have to continue via the rope."

He pointed up at the rope swinging above them. Looking up Trist narrowed her eyes at the thin bridge then turned setting her sight on the opposite side of the ravine where Mana waited for them impatiently. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath at the edge of the ice block. She could feel the familiar chill still coursing through her from the fall and slowly lifted her leg and took a step over the edge. The same tingling sensation prickled at her feet as her shoe came in contact with solid ground. Not daring to put her full weight on the new found solid ground she opened her eyes to see nothing below her feet except what appeared to be three white lines.

Biting her lip she finished her step which erupted in a ice dust and loud cracking after a bang as ice cascaded around making the first step of an ice bridge. Trilled with what had happened Trist continued to walk one step after another each step being greeted with a loud bang and crackle as ice came to life from each step. Her pace was quick and brisk as she made her way across the ravine until she finally reached the other side. The loud bangs and crackle slowly faded into popping sounds as the ice finished its growth gripping the wall of the ravine greedily.

Breathing heavily she looked back to see the boys running after her in complete shock and excitement as the thrill of watching the ice bridge burst to life like a field of flowers blooming in the night. Only the flowers would bloom with less noise and not as flamboyant.

"That was amazing Trist! I can't believe you were able to summon so much ice!"
Mesma ran up to Trist and squeezed her tight in a friendly hug twirling around happily. She just laughed as they spun feeling a little woozy as he released her as she spun a few more times and stopping facing the ice bridge and the rest of their group. She gave a few more gasped laughs one hand on her chest as she caught her breath.

"I-I really didn't know I could do that, so we cannot depend on that power. It's too uncertain to be of use to us right now."

Kain who had just been listening and following along stepped forward his face giving no signs of any type of emotions.

"The royal lady is right. Relying on something that is uncontrolled or undependable is just plain idiotic. Especially when it decides not to work then what? Needing it in a pinch and it not working it's like asking whatever your going against to eat you."

The boy's murmured in agreement as the collected themselves and started to walk off. Trist gave a slight sigh of relief as she looked at her hands to see the silver scale like armor begin to flack away like diamond dust caught on the wind. Kain watched as she stared at the strange gloves until they had almost disappeared from her skin and he cleared his throat.

Looking up at Kain, Trist watched as he nodded towards her friends pointing with his thumb.

"We best be catching up."

Nodding in agreement they walked side by side the once large space between them now smaller than before as if they had overcame one of many hurdles in their relationship. The last of the glove flitted off to dust leaving behind her long sleeves and melted into the ground behind her like small shards of ice.

HOLY GLOVES! Makes one wonder what that was, the gloves that is. Who knows . . .wait I DO but I'm not going to tell ya yet. So It seems that Trists power is Ice but on time can tell. I hope you all stick with me and please don't forget to review it really does make me happy.

See ya next chapter or if your a fan of punishment clans see ya there when I update it! Ciao!