Amber jolted awake, the back of her head aching a little. She sat up, her legs swinging off the bed, and looking down at the same dark, wooden floorboards, she caught sight of the same warning as she had before - of the three letters that urged her to keep quiet. She was in the same room that she had been in before - dark, unsettling and creepy, with an uncomfortable heat that filled the air. Her mind went back to the encounter with Cressela, and what she had to do now. Leaning her head against the rough, cold wall, she squeezed her eyes shut and tried to breathe evenly, in through the mouth and out through her nose. Then, checking that all of her gear was still on her, she crept out of the small room and down the corridor, preparing to alert Cressela of where she was.
This was it. The moment. Where the adventure began, and where it’d deepen and continue. She still had the opportunity to run out and escape, playing it safe, or she could risk it all, and brave whatever fate lay ahead of her.
“I’m doing this for you, mum and dad,” she thought to herself, a queasy, nervous feeling knotted in her stomach, as she readied herself. 3, 2, 1...
Amber pulled out her torch, taking out the batteries and putting them away in her pocket so that they wouldn’t get damaged. Then, holding her breath, she lifted the flashlight to the height of her head, paused, and let it drop to the hard wooden flooring, the clatter and banging echoing throughout the house.
Amber frowned, bending down to pick up the torch - then felt as if she were being watched. She straightened up again and jumped, her eyes wide as they fell upon Cressela herself, stood watching about a foot away, her eyes dulled by the darkness of the hall. In a flash, she was right in front of her, her eyes glowing milky white, then brightening to an electric colour as she activated her powers.
Promptly, Amber took out Cressela’s book and held it out for her to take, forcing herself to stare into her empty yet emotion-filled eyes. Cressela noticed it and tensed, looking back at Amber in suspicion, and in a second it was out of hands, whizzing into another room in mid-air as Cressela commanded it to with her mind. Then a sharp, whispering, biting voice came from inside Amber’s head, and she listened in shock and awe, her lips parted slightly and watching Cressela, who was glaring at her darkly.
“What do you want?”
Amber paused, before reaching to her belt, and Cressela clenched in defence, ready to attack her if she tried to harm her. But instead of harming her, she took out a note from her book, showing it to Cressela and trying to steady her shaking legs.
Cressela studied the familiar writing, understanding easily. Amber offered her a pen to answer with, but she glared at her with bright, milky white eyes, rejecting the offer.
Amber bit the inside of her lip, thinking. How could she explain to an unnatural, defensive being that they needed to track down her creator and stop him from doing something terrible, and free her friends and the rest of her species to somewhere else safer? She couldn’t keep on communicating in Latin, it was starting to get hard to understand. So she tried changing tactics, speaking in her proper language.
“Can you...” Amber started, watching her anxiously, “can you understand me?”
Cressela paused before nodding slightly and shrugging at the same time. She was still a bit tense, but as Amber was showing no sign of disrespect or violence, she didn’t try to harm her either - though she was still wary and a little sceptical as to why she was here again. Amber took out the black and white photo of Dr Insanis and handed it to Cressela, and immediately she hissed in a sign of hatred and slight fear.
“He is your creator. He has your friends, he has your species. I need your help. I need to find him and stop him from doing something really bad. And I can take you and your species to a safe place together.” Amber spoke clearly and slowly, trying to feed the message to her by her mind as much as she could, and through her words. It took Cressela a few moments to process it, a look of sadness and confusion in her expression. Her milky white eyes dimmed, flickering and gradually dying to a surprising jet-black. She looked slightly hesitant before answering in an unsure voice - that sounded a little like a monotonous harmony, two vocals sounding at once.
“You know where are... my friends?”
Amber nodded, relieved that she understood her.
“Yes, I know where are your friends! Come with me, we will find them, and stop the inventor before it’s too late. Please,” Amber told her desperately, and Cressela tensed again, glaring at her with her blank, newly coloured pitch-black eyes.
“Why trust you, human?”
Amber sighed, thinking of the best reply that she could give. Here was Cressela isolated and alone, away from her family and the rest of her kind. Humans would most probably be the least trusting for someone like her, so she had a good point. Cressela moved away, telling Amber to follow as she went upstairs, into a bigger room that was very dimly lit. She picked up an old drawing, similar to the one in the memory book, and Amber looked at it, puzzled.
“Humans. They take and kill. My family, dead. A long time ago. You also are human.” Cressela explained with sadness and anger in her tone.
“I am sorry,” Amber whispered, her eyes dropping to the floor. “My parents, mum and dad... most of my family is dead too. By humans.”
Cressela looked taken aback, not replying for a few moments. Amber looked back up at her pleadingly.
“You can find your friends, your species. Free them from your Dr Insanis. To a safe place. Please,” she said, hope in her eyes as she asked her, “Help each other. I won’t hurt you. Humans... not all of us kill. You must trust me. Come with me, please.”
Cressela put the sketch away and leant against the cold, hard wall.
“The forest,” she started, her uncertainty showing, “I have never left it. Ran away to here a long time ago.”
“So, you remember where the inventor is?” Amber asked eagerly, and Cressela paused, before nodding.
“Then we can go there, save your friends, stop Insanis! We must! Please, please come with me.”
Cressela sat on the edge of a table doubtfully.
“I want to. But humans will see me.”
Amber sighed - she hadn’t thought of that. Shifting from foot to foot, she got another idea, looking back up.
“Can you make yourself look like a human girl?”
Cressela thought about it for a few moments, before nodding.
“I can try.”
“Then no one will notice you,” Amber said, advancing towards her and stopping when Cressela immediately got up again defensively.
“It’s okay,” Amber said, “I won’t hurt you, Promise.”
“If you try,” Cressela said icily, “I’ll kill you.”
Amber nodded, opening the door to the room they were in.
“Please, come. Let’s save your friends.”
Cressela looked around the room - remembering the times she and her family had. But it was dark and haunting now, always reminding her of that night, and what had happened. This could be the chance she needed - to find the rest of her friends and species and stop her evil, crazed inventor’s fatal, unknown plans. The girl looked trustworthy and truthful.
Cressela nodded, and Amber grinned, holding back her excitement and making her way out of the house with Cressela following next to her, still a little defensively. After they had crossed the bridge, Cressela turned, taking one last look at the house she used to call home. Then, with a wave of her hand, lightning sparked from her fingers and struck it, enveloping the house and bridge. In a few seconds, the lightning stopped, and they were gone. Amber watched wide-eyed, before walking away from it with Cressela, making their way back through the woods.
“Can you possibly... shift into a human form?” Amber asked, and Cressela raised a brow in judgement.
"You mean, lose the eye-colour and change into your normal clothes?"
Instantly, Cressela's eyes faded into a dark brown, and with a bright flash, her clothing changed into a hoodie that was a dark red, with black legging and black boots.
Amber nodded slowly, amazed.
“Um, yeah... you look great, Cressela.”
Cressela shrugged but smiled a little, biting the inside of her lip nervously. They went out into the streets, Cressela staying close to Amber’s side as they crossed roads, making their way hurriedly to the familiar bungalow, where Amber’s grandfather lived.
“This is my grandfather’s home. His name is Ruey. He will help us too. You can sleep here, safe.”
Cressela paused before nodding approvingly, and the two girls approached the wooden door, Amber knocking it and Cressela scanning the area in curiosity.