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You refrain from looking at the swordswoman and the man with the shield, lest they judge you poorly. You walk down the newly opened pathway, convincing yourself yet again that the only way is forward, and deciding you want to be free from the oppressive atmosphere of the room with the red, angry coding.

The next space is a narrow hallway, and the coding seems to be getting fainter and fainter as you walk on. The shieldsman walks close to beside you, while the swordswoman walks behind, as if she is guarding your flank from sneak attacks. You wish you could thank the two of them, but you are afraid it would sound hollow in light of recent circumstances. Suddenly you reach a dead end and gulp audibly. Since the somber twin left your party you haven’t felt any closer to remembering. You want to ask the others, but are unsure of what their reaction would be and think better not to test the situation.

You look at your other two companions and see the swordswoman step forward, weapon raised in a threatening stance while slowly nodding her head. You are afraid she is going to disappear like the others. You are afraid they are all going to disappear.

The swordswoman makes a swift slash through the thick wall of coding at the end of the tunnel and it breaks apart like splintering wood. The swordswoman gives you a soft smile, as she too fades away like you feared. Her sword clatters to the ground and you lunge to grab it, but it is too late and it is gone as well.

The man with the shield looks away from the opening uncomfortably, his emotions becoming more and more readable on his face. It is down to the two of you and you aren’t sure if you can rightfully ask this man to continue on with you. However, he gestures forward, as though the thought is not even in his mind that he may be reduced to only a flicker. The decision is heavy in your mind.

What do you do?

The rooms in front of them seemed to get incrementally darker shades of grey, casting a somewhat dismal atmosphere on the group. Myos would describe it to getting closer to the final boss, but that would lead his imagination to get the better of him again, and the flame-haired boy didn’t need to run into any more tables in front of his team.

Their even footsteps and quiet breathing was the only thing that resounded in the small space. This wasn’t a long straight hallway like the other area, this placed curved slightly, giving the group the impression like they were walking in a gradually increasing spiral. Even though the surroundings were calm, all of them were tensed and ready for anything, save Razzy who gave off a calming detachment that grounded them from overwhelming paranoia. The revolutionary group with the celestial symbol had fallen in a sort of single file order now that the winding path had started to grow narrower and narrower - Myos took his position as hero and leader up front, Zeke right behind him, Amaya whom never ceased giving support in the middle, Razzy after her, and Achernar bringing up the rear and guarding them as they went so nothing snuck up on them.

After the curve got gradually sharper so that they couldn’t even see around the next curve, Myos took a blind step that led them into a wide open space that was as empty as the first room they entered.

“Not fucking this again,” Achernar growled, causing the room to transform in a chain reaction.

The white walls around them began to break down square by square, instantly replacing themselves with a walled in chrome cage. After the area had finished evolving, Achernar grinned to herself and everyone else stepped out of her way. “Leave this to me.”

Before the tall woman laid a closed in fighting arena, much like the one her bar housed. She stepped inside and activated her armor, the feeling of cool steel flowing around her body and encasing it in a hard shell. Her armor was sleek yet powerful, you could feel the tension coiled tightly in the machine’s circuits like that of the muscles of a tiger - beautiful but deadly. Achernar’s armor was smoother than Myos’s, with less overlapping pieces and more the appearance of a still surface of water. A long, thin bit of coding ribboned out from the girl’s helmet like that of her prized ponytail, and though she didn’t fight with them, her armor’s fists were equipped with deadly looking brass knuckles.

Unleashing her custom made weapon, she held it in front of her like a master swordsman, “Alright come at me, little fuckers,” Achernar laughed.

As soon as she said this, several robotic bodies sparking with flashes of metal appeared before her. Lunging with all her might, she cleanly tore through them and the buzzing of the chain left parts clattering to the ground around her. However, as soon as those few were gone, several more came to take its place. Achernar twirled the katana around her in a flurry of silver and red, moving with grace. She expertly dispatched every enemy that came at her, leaving them all crumbled to dust and disused scrap heaps all around her. Barely breaking a sweat, she cleaved through what seemed like hundreds of enemies, the cheers of Amaya and Myos behind her to egg her on - even Zeke throwing in an exclamation or two when she pulled off a particularly impressive maneuver.

What seemed like seconds or minutes to the fired up and focused Achernar was actually an hour or so of expertly maiming the technological enemies, and before she wanted her personal fun to be over, the bell of congratulations rang out signaling they had deemed themselves worthy of passing to the next chamber.

Achernar, now back in the flesh, grinned widely. “Told ya I could handle it.”

“Great job,” Myos replied, eyes becoming reminiscent of green fire once again as they continued ever onward and closer to their final goal.

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