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You are tense. You are silent. You try to meld into the space around you without having any idea what it looks like. Seconds pass. Moments pass. What seems like days and days pass. Nothing happens.

Thankfully, agonizingly slowly, your eyes adjust to the brightness around you. You stand up straight and scout for an enemy, seeing none. You see no sign of either of the twins either, nor the tome they had carried with them. What surprises you, though, is the space that now surrounds you. It is not lined or ringed or racing with coding. Not one scrap of the thin ribbons of gibberish can be found. What stands around you is a blank white room of a material you cannot hope to guess. The walls are solid around you, and the floor is sturdy beneath you. You want to cry out in joy, but you know you are not back to whatever reality you originated from because the memory loss that has been itching and clawing at the back of your mind has not returned to you. You cannot know its loss, though, so you suppose you take that in stride.

You do know the loss of your companions though and it pains you to be holding their treasures now. You know your party members should be here with you but it was their sacrifices that got you here. Though you are lost in thoughts, a slight humming sound beginning to buzz jolts you out of it. You think it is coming from the center of this wide, dome shaped room.

What do you do?

Myos in the lead, his emergency red hair blazing their path, the group walked down the corridor to what would undoubtedly lead them to the Empress. The walls were solid gold, gilded with designs of strange figures that were foreign to the quintet. Strange angelic beings, fantastical creatures, forested imagery - all dancing across the walls in almost unsettling displays of grandeur. It was fit for the delusions of God the Empress had, and Myos scoffed internally. This woman was about to discover how mortal she really was.

As the path continued on, the angelic figures began to devolve into horrifying demons, fallen deities with gruesome disfigurations. Sharp protrusions jutted from the walls, and they had to carefully navigate the walkway as it became studded with spikes and curved, beast like claws. Amaya pressed closer to the core of the group, huddling close to them as if to protect herself. Achernar curled up her lip in disgust, muttering curses to the Labyrinth’s owner.

“Who would make something like this?” Amaya whispered, hugging the starchy fabric of the taller man’s vest tighter around her as she hunched over on herself. Myos wondered if she had been here before, now knowing her past and what she’d been through. What other sorts of rooms and chambers lay hidden in this Labyrinth?

Myos shook off the thought, hand reaching up to hold his headphones in place. Their shoes were the only thing that could be heard, smacking and thudding and clicking against the smooth, polished surface of the golden floor. Even their breathing seemed to disappear within the enormity and the emptiness of it all. After what seemed like eternity, they finally reached a large, ornately carved door, gilded with gold leafing and studded with sparkling gemstones. It was unmistakably the Empress’s lair.

“Let’s get this fucking over with,” Achernar growled, her teeth bared like an animal. Biting the hand that feeds you indeed.

“We can do this,” Amaya said brightly, some of her enthusiastic spirit returning as the warmth of the fire forged companions washed over her. Her pink lips stretched into a wide smile, pulling the ring around the bottom one flush to her skin.

The rest of the group returned the smile with varying degrees, save for Razzy. The girl just looked blankly at the door in front of her, twirling an alabaster lock of her bob absentmindedly as if she were in a trance. The bluenette grabbed the smaller girl’s slender shoulder softly, as if not to startle her. She was thin as a willow branch, and just as fluid - without much effort she turned to face the other as if nothing had been wrong. Achernar furrowed her brows and pursed her lips, once again asking in silent worry if the other woman was alright. Razzy shook her head, long bottom lashes brushing her cheeks and making her vibrant blue eyes seem wide like a doe’s, almost comparable to Amaya’s own amethyst gems.

“I don’t think I can go in there,” Razzy said at last, startling the others. “I’ll just wait out here. I can keep guard.”

“We’ve come so far together though,” Myos said, exuberant personality appearing in full force as he gestured almost comically in his upset. “This is something we all have to do! We’ll be heroes!”

“I don’t care about being a hero,” Razzy said flatly, leaning away from the door slightly by shifting her weight onto her heels just as Zeke had done earlier. Her arms crossed over chest, the fur on her jacket seeming to enclose around like some sort of impenetrable jungle foliage.

Myos was just about to continue his protest when Zeke held an arm in front of him to stop the assault of words. “Let her stay and keep guard if she wants to. We don’t want to be taken by surprise, do we?” The inky haired man looked down his nose at the other as if in accusation, but the girl did not rise to the bait. Zeke brushed his hair back habitually, showing he was unfazed by the other and to maintain his illusion of nonchalance. “Are we going in, then?”

Myos nodded, waiting for the other three to nod in confirmation, and stepped forward to shove open the large door in front of them.

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