Chapter Nineteen: The Black Hole
“This is where the trail always ended for me,” Claireisa said, looking around the dead-end in the sewer. “I kept trying to find a way around it, with no luck.”
“Well, now you have luck,” Pilar said with a grin, then placed his and his cousin’s mixed blood into the DNA Reitro.
The pad beeped a few times, then a green light flashed. “DNA accepted. Welcome, my queen.”
Everyone stood back as the hatch opened.
“And she said we couldn’t do this without her,” Pilar said with a grin.
“She didn’t know who she was dealing with,” Gresha said as she climbed down the ladder into a small room.
Gresha moved aside as the rest of her party climbed down into the room. They almost didn’t all fit in the room, especially with the large Snoggle, which Leih had to pull through the small hatch.
“Do you have her scent?” Gresha asked, looking at Matrios.
‘Too many bodies.’
“Can everyone back away from Matrios?” she asked, looking around at them.
“To where?” Pilar asked as he looked around the small room.
“Against the wall, maybe?” Gresha said, pointing to the wall away from the Snoggle.
“What about you?” Leih asked as he smashed himself against the wall.
“I have my mother’s blood in me,” she said with a smile.
“You too, Princess, you have too much Sobriehton in you.”
Gresha huffed and walked over to the wall with the others and squeezed in between her husband and brother.
“Too much Sobriehton blood, huh Sis?” Pilar asked with a grin.
“Bite me,” Gresha said as she pouted.
“That’s a good thing,” Gio said, smiling at his daughter.
Gresha moved away from the wall. “He found her scent.”
Everyone moved to the door the Snoggle was sniffing under. Gio found the panel and opened the door. Once the door was open, Matrios took off at a run into the small hall. They ran after him and tried to keep up with him.
He turned down another hall, then stopped at a door and scratched at it. Gio found the panel and opened the door, then they piled out and stopped as they almost fell off the small platform.
“What the hell?” Pilar said as he looked over the edge. It seemed to go down forever.
“What the hell did Neesah put in my Space Station?” Gio asked with an angry growl.
“How will we get across this?” Claireisa asked, staring at the two-hundred-foot distance between them and the next platform.
“Why do I feel like I’m in an Indiana Jones movie?” Gresha asked, looking around.
Gresha looked at Matrios, then climbed onto his back.
“Can you guys move aside, please,” Gresha asked, looking at her family.
Everyone stared at her and her Snoggle, then stepped aside against the rails. Matrios stepped all the way back to the door. He took three long steps, then bounded across the distance and landed perfectly on his paws, on the other side. Gresha giggled and held onto him, looking across the two hundred feet, where her family all stood staring.
“Cheater!” Leih called across the distance to his wife.
“Love you, too!” Gresha called back with a laugh.
Gio lifted Claireisa into his arms, then floated into the air. “See you guys on the other side,” he said as he flew across the distance and landed on the platform, then set Claireisa on her feet.
Masorien looked over the edge and smiled. “I can use those,” he said, pointing to what looked like stepping stones against the side of each tower.
“There should be a button if that’s how Neesah had done it,” Pilar said, then looked around for a button and found nothing.
“No need,” Masorien said, then pointed to a step and brought it up to a space between them, then did the same to each step, until there was a path leading across to the other side. “Be careful, I don’t know how secure they are,” he warned them, then started moving across them as he stepped on one step at a time.
When he stepped on one and it started to fall, he pointed at it and pulled it up to the rest of them, then took a deep breath and continued across. When he got to the other side, he turned and looked at the others.
“Move gently and one at a time,” Masorien called out.
Tenyar moved across the steps. He stepped on one, then hopped to another. When he got to the other side, he sighed with relief.
“First time I haven’t been able to use my gift to get me out of a jam,” Tenyar said with a laugh.
“How did it feel?” Gresha asked, smiling at her bodyguard.
“Odd,” he said, smiling back at her.
Pilar got himself safely across and sighed with relief, then moved over to his sister, who was still on her Snoggle and kissed her cheek. She turned and smiled at him. Stalson stepped onto a step, then turned and smiled at his cousin. “Last one across is a rotten egg,” he said with a laugh.
“Just get across,” Leih said, rolling his eyes.
Stalson let out a loud laugh, then stepped onto the next step. He got himself across and sighed with relief. Claireisa took him into her arms and kissed him.
“Come on, Leih!” Gresha shouted at her husband.
Leih stepped onto the step and the step swayed under his weight. Being the big strong man wasn’t always a good thing for him. He took a deep breath and stepped onto the next step. When the steps split, he almost fell off. He caught his balance and steadied himself.
Gresha sucked in a breath and covered her mouth with her hands as she watched her husband almost fall. She watched as Leih stepped across two more steps, then everything shook.
“What is that?” Claireisa asked as she looked around them.
“A safety device,” Masorien said as he looked around and watched the towers and steps shake. He looked at Leih and watched as the steps lost their grip. “Leih, run!”
Leih moved faster across the steps and in the middle of the path the steps started to fall below him, leaving the one unstable step under him.
“Leih!” Gresha screamed as she jumped off Matrios and moving to the edge.
“Can you jump?” Pilar asked, watching his cousin.
“I don’t know cousin; can you jump a hundred feet?” Leih hollered back.
“Good point,” Pilar mumbled.
“I thought you can jump a building in a single bound!?” Stalson shouted.
“Do you see a building here, Cousin?!” Leih bellowed with a growl. “Besides, I need firm ground under my feet to push off from. Does this step look firm to you?”
“What do we do?” Gresha asked in a panic.
“I can fly over to him and try to give him a lift,” Gio said, then lifted into the air.
“Hurry, Daddy,” Gresha said, looking up at her father.
Gio flew toward his nephew. He was twenty feet from him when the step Leih was on fell away. Leih cried out as he fell into the blackness.
“Leih!” Gresha screamed as she fell to her knees with right her arm outstretched out towards her husband.
She fell over the platform as she tried to reach her falling husband. The others on the platform grabbed her legs and pulled her back up.
She screamed for them to let her go and tried to push her way back to the edge.
“Stop, Sister,” Pilar whispered, holding her, “he’s gone.”
“No!” Gresha screamed. She waited for time to freeze, but it never did.
“I’m sorry, baby girl,” Gio said as he landed on the platform, “I didn’t get to him in time.”
“You can go after him,” Gresha cried as she looked up at her father.
“It’s no use, Gresha,” Stalson said as he looked over the edge. “There’s no end to this. I think Neesah connected it to a black hole, somehow.”
“No,” Gresha cried, holding onto her brother.
Matrios nudged Pilar’s arm. Pilar looked up at him, then stood and lifted his sister onto the beast’s back. They opened the door to the next tower and entered the small room.
“Let’s find the queen and get the hell out of here,” Claireisa growled and led them down the next hallway.
“Damn you, Neesah,” Gresha whispered as she laid against Matrios.
‘I’m sorry, Princess.’
She rubbed his head with one hand and held onto him with the other, her cheek against the back of his neck.
“Are we going the correct way?” Claireisa asked when they came to another door.
They have been through so many doors and down so many flights of stairs, they were starting to worry that it may all be a trick.
‘I’m following her scent.’
“Matrios is following my mother’s scent,” Gresha mumbled.
Pilar moved to walk beside his sister and her Snoggle and laid his hand on her back.
Matrios stopped and turned his head in the opposite direction, then sniffed the air and took off at a run, knocking some of the others over. Everyone stared as they watched the Snoggle run off with their princess.
“What is it, boy?” Gresha asked, sitting up on his back.
‘I smell something, but I’m not sure.’
“That says a lot,” she said, confused.
‘I smell Leih. But I also smell you.’
“Maybe you just smell him on me,” Gresha said with a frown.
‘No, this is different.’
A flash of colors appeared beside them, and Tenyar slowed down to their speed. “What’s going on?” he asked, looking at Gresha.
Gresha looked over at her bodyguard. “Matrios smells Leih,” she said, trying her hardest to not get her hopes up too high.
“Is he sure?” Tenyar asked, watching the Snoggle.
Matrios took a hard left, leaving Tenyar behind. The man easily caught up to them.
“He’s sure,” Gresha said, looking at Tenyar who was easily running beside them.
The others skidded to a stop and turned left as they tried to catch up to the Snoggle and their princess.
Matrios stopped at the end of the hall and sniffed the wall.
“He smells him through there,” Gresha said, pointing at the wall.
“There’s nothing here,” Tenyar said as he looked around the wall.
“What’s going on?” Gio bellowed as they caught up to them.
“Matrios smells Leih,” Gresha said, then turned to look at her family.
“Through this?” Claireisa asked, staring at the wall.
“Things aren’t always what they seem here,” Gio said as he pushed past them.
He searched the sidewall until he found a notch, then pressed it and a pad popped out of the wall. He pressed a few keys, and the wall opened, leading out to a railed balcony. They walked out onto the balcony and looked over into the blackness.
“Nothing here but blackness,” Stalson said as he backed away from the rails.
Gresha looked up where Matrios was looking. “Leih!” she screamed when she saw Leih suspended in the air, her blue mist surrounding his body.
Leih turned and smiled at them. “About time you guys found me.”
“Oh my Gods, Leih!” she cried out, almost standing on Matrios’ back.
“Can you real him in?” Stalson asked, staring at his cousin.
“I can try,” Gresha said with a cry, then took a deep breath, then concentrated on her mist. She pulled her hand out from her other hand and created a rope with her mist, then looked at it in shock.
“Damn, girl. What can’t you do with that gift of yours?” Claireisa said with a laugh.
“I’m not sure yet,” Gresha said with a shake of her head.
She leaned back, then tossed her mist rope out and connected it with her mist around her husband, then pulling on the rope. The mist around Leih moved towards her and carried Leih with it.
When he was safely on the platform, her mist evaporated from around him and the rope puffed away.
Gresha cried and threw herself into her husband’s arms. Leih caught her and lifted her off Matrios’ back and held her against him. Everyone stayed back while the reunited couple held onto each other. Gresha couldn’t stop crying, and Leih looked up at the others.
“What happened?” Pilar asked, staring at his cousin.
“I was falling, then out of nowhere, Gresha’s mist surrounded me and suspended me in the air. I laid there hoping you guys would find me. I knew if you didn’t, once you all left this area, I was a goner,” he said, holding Gresha even tighter.
“Matrios caught your scent,” Gresha said as she continued to cry.
“Thanks, boy,” Leih said, then rubbed the Snoggle’s head.
“Can we get this search on the road before one of us falls into that again,” Claireisa said as she looked over the edge.
“Good idea,” Stalson said, then pulled his wife away from the edge and moved them back through the door.
Gresha wouldn’t let go of Leih as he tried to move through the door. He lifted her into his arms and carried her inside. Matrios sniffed the air and backtracked the way they had come to find Leih.
Once back on the trail, they traveled down more halls, through more doors, and down more stairs.
They had a feeling they were going to reach the bottom of the Space Station before finding anything that would lead them to where Neesah had hidden the queen.