71 Shine Bright, Dark Star
"See boys, I told you it was them," Loxon said as they two groups faced each other.
Or rather, Athena faced them on her own. Zoey and Viridi were almost incapacitated by the increasingly louder humming that seemed to drown out everything around them. Zoey felt that if the sound got any louder, it would start to do actual damage to her.
"Zoey! I'll keep them here, you go on and find the source!" Athena shouted.
"No you don't!" countered Loxon as he and his men revealed their weapons. "Whatever is in that temple is MINE, Athena! Men, take them out!"
Zoey was unaware at this point of the battle that started behind her as she staggered her way deeper into the cathedral. Both her and Viridi were being drawn, guided by the humming that had a hold on their minds and senses. Unaware of the scenery around them or how far she went, Zoey continued on toward the heart of the cathedral.
Before she realised it, Zoey stood before the pillar of black energy that had been their guide since they came to this dungeon. The black energy flowed from the ground and into the sky like water, with wisps of black vapor trailing off it into the air. The humming sound Zoey heard was no louder than before, but the melody it sang was clearer and more powerful. She could feel her entire body was responding to the sound, as if all of her cells were attuned to the melody and humming with it. In her inner world, the surface of her essence lake was covered in rhythmic waves that matched the humming, and the young tree in the center was swaying its branches as if it was affected by the sound as well.
Viridi seemed to be similarly affected by the strange phenomenon. Their link was connecting the emotions and sensations they were feeling, so Zoey could tell what she was feeling. The humming they were being affected by was most definitely coming from inside the pillar, they were so close that it seemed like she could almost reach out and touch it.
Before Zoey's incoherent thoughts could catch up to what was going on, she raised her hand and touched the pillar. The black energy curled around her fingers bringing a sensation of touching fine sand. It seemed to be pulling her in, and in an instant, her and Viridi disappeared into the black current of energy.
The second Zoey and Viridi entered into the current, the humming stopped. Absolute silence fell and Zoey was finally able to shake the cobwebs free from her brain. Before she could be alarmed or afraid of her situation, she was captivated by what she saw. Her and Viridi were floating in an empty space inside the pillar, behind and around them was the black pillar of energy, flowing upwards with quiet purpose.
Before them, in the very center of the pillar, hidden from the outside was a star, blazing with furious power. Zoey was staring directly into the molten heart of the star, and for some reason, she felt like this was what had called her here. The swirling molten power if the star seemed to be somehow related to her.
"DARK STAR DETECTED"
"VERIFYING HOST HARMONY"
Zoey heard a soothing, mechanical voice that seemed to come from within the star reach out to her right before a tendril of energy emerged from it and made its way towards Zoey. It had the same dull molten glow tha the star had, and as it reached out, it split in two and went to both Zoey and Viridi. It gently touched their foreheads and both felt a warm energy flowing through them. Zoey could not explain the sensation, but unexpectedly she felt as if it was her mother's embrace. It was impossible, but there was no other feeling that carried such warmth and security with it.
"DARK STAR HARMONY CONFIRMED"
"PREPARING SHARD TRANSFER"
As Zoey looked on in wonder, the star floating before her cracked open, and from inside emerged a crystal. The crystal had a clear surface, and inside was a single point of swirling red and orange power. When Zoey looked at it, she felt like she was gazing into a volcano that was about to erupt. The crystal did not move, only hovering there, as if it was waiting for her.
Zoey would not in a hundred years leave it behind. The crystal was clearly linked to her, but why? How? Who had placed it here? What was the Dark Star? Why was it part of her? Had it always been? She had so many questions! If in some way this crystal could shed some light on all of this it would be good for her.
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Zoey reached out her hand, showing no hesitation as she reached for the crystal. As she touched it, she felt a surge of energy and power enter into her inner world. The next instant, Viridi disappeared with in a strange wink of energy. Before Zoey could be alarmed, she felt their link and somehow, Viridi had went into her inner world! She could make sense of what happened, but that did not matter right now. Her body was filled with the indescribable sensation of absolute control, as if she could individually move every single cell in her body at will.
That sensation faded after a moment along with the energy and power she had felt, leaving her floating there alone in the silence. Zoey felt... different somehow, as if she had more control. She didn't feel stronger physically or magically, but she knew she could bring out the strength she had far more effectively than before.
As Zoey tried to wrap her head around what had taken place, she heard the soothing mechanical voice from before coming gently to her ears.
"Child, I know you have questions, but I do not have the answers you seek. I prepared the Dark Star in hopes that none would suffer as we did, but was too late to save the ones I love. You carry within you only a small part of the Dark Star and this shard will help you understand and control it. Remember, you must become stronger if you wish to protect what you hold dear. Don't make the mistake we did by waiting too long..."
"Good luck, and shine bright, Dark Star..."