Cressela called to her as she approached the cave where she was standing alone, and Amber turned to face her, nodding.
“I have Angelita with me. She shows us to Luna Moon, where we can go to Level 2.” Cressela looked around as they exited the mouth of the snowy cave, frowning a little.
“You were alone?”
“No,” Amber replied, pushing ginger locks of hair out of her eyes, “I was with a girl called Ash Black, but I managed to get her to tell me where to go next. And she gave me the mask too, for the way there I think. She really wants me to bring her sister back... uh, Cherri Black?”
Cressela nodded, both girls trudging side by side to the opposite cave.
“I know Cherri. Come, this way.”
Trudging inside the small, icy space similar to Ash’s, a girl with silver-white wavy hair that darkened at the ends was waiting inside, with blue eyes and a thin flowing white dress, where long dribbles of blood ran down the top middle from her lip. She wore a bright white coloured headband as well and nodded at them as they approached her.
“This is Amber,” Cressela informed her, “she come to help. Amber, this is Angelita Acrid.” Amber nodded, smiling a little nervously at her as she stood by Cressela’s side, the only familiarity she had in the strange, twisted underground world of Cressela’s species.
"You know where Luna is, yes?”
Angelita nodded, a calm, serene look on her face as her gaze flicked to Amber.
“I know where she is. Amber, it’s very brave of your coming here. You need mask for brightness of moon, so wear it.”
Amber frowned a little in confusion, glancing at it.
“But it doesn’t cover my eyes?”
Angelita nodded, gesturing for them to follow her as she drifted out into the open winter wonderland. “It doesn’t need to.”
The three walked together in the north direction, three snowy branches slightly shielding them from the illumination of the moon. Amber squinted a little as she focused on its shape - and sure enough, she spotted what looked like the figure of a girl sitting inside it.
Coming out of the frosty path outlined by cold, still trees, Angelita lead the way up a few dozen snowy white carpeted steps, drifting up them effortlessly, and Amber's eyes wandered around the mystical wonderland. She thought of all the forests and lands that were in her old fairy tale books and comparing them to this one they seemed almost nothing.
An almost blinding white light snapped Amber out of her thoughts as she slipped the mask over her head and onto her face, and Angelita moved to the side, nodding at them both.
"Good luck, to you both. Bring us our salvation, Cressela and Amber. Bring it to us."
"Why don't you come with us?" Amber asked her, but Angelita shook her head, smiling softly.
"I will go no further. Here, I am as safe as I can be. You will go alone, both of you. Go."
Cressela pointed forwards, the moon a little distance away in the sky. A teenage girl with the palest skin and brown with small white blossoms scattered in them, wavy locks sat thoughtfully in it. Her lips were a bold red, with pink cheeks and gentle blue eyelids, and wore a headband similar to Angelita's. Her hand held a large silver rose, with cole-black feathery wings - and in the moon itself was a cherry-blossom like scene.
"That's Luna Moon, Maiden of the Moon," Cressela informed Amber, pointing to her as she sat calmly alone, oblivious to her viewers.
"Um, okay," Amber started, coming a little closer to where she resided. "How do I get her attention?"
Cressela called out her name, and slowly the girl inside the moon turned to watch them, curiosity spread across her features.
"We need to get to Level 2," Amber called up to her hesitantly, and the girl didn't respond for a moment. Then, she directed her silver rose to the ground beneath them and waved as the snowy ground began to shake, snow scattering to the sides as the floor gave way, dropping Amber and Cressela to lower ground.
They both landed softly on a forest floor, leaves and petals fluttering up and around them in the air before returning to the floor. Amber looked up and brushed herself off, realising that they were still in a forest - but instead of being covered in snow like the first level was, it was a darkened area, with a dark stone arched balcony in the far distance. Butterflies fluttered daintily around their heads as Cressela offered Amber a hand to get up, and the butterflies paused, then drifted away in another direction, all of them together. Amber frowned curiously, watching them go and pointing it out to Cressela.
"Maybe we should follow them? They're clearly all heading for the same thing... or person."
Cressela nodded, and Amber took out and flicked on her torch as the two girls walked together quickly, following the butterflies moving ahead of them. After a few minutes, they approached a large hole in a tree trunk, and all entered it together, leaving Amber and Cressela dithering outside.
"Should we go in?" Cressela asked warily, and Amber inhaled deeply, exhaling again as she nodded and went into the entrance of the tree.
The inside space was fairly large, and there was a glow in some corners similar to a candles', but with no visible source of light. The butterflies were all crowded on the opposite side, the blues and purples of their wings winking and gleaming proudly. Suddenly, Amber was pulled back and slammed against the tree's walls, and a girl scowled at her viciously, her flowing, straight hair a lilac colour, and her eyes a dreamy blue with dark liner tracing the lids. Her lips were a bold red and on one side of her face was a black swirly pattern, with small showy clothing and purple butterflies resting on her shoulder, and flying about her torso.
"Who are you?!" she hissed crossly, and Cressela pulled her off, leaving Amber leaning against the tree's side breathlessly.
"Valerie, calm down," Cressela said, frowning, "she with me."
"You?! Cressela, you escaped ages ago. You left us behind to go with family. Now you come back with human girl and help her through levels? The master, he will do bad things to you when we alert you're here." Her bitter blue glare flicked to Amber and she scoffed, her butterflies fluttering around her.
"Who are you?" Amber asked, pushing herself up to her feet properly.
"Valerie Verana," she replied, the cold tone still not absent from her voice, "the Butterfly Girl, or Butterfly Whisperer. And you are?"
"Amber Obscura," Amber replied, still a little dizzy from being slammed into the hard walling of the tree.
"Please, don't be annoyed. We're here to help, to help all of you. We've come to free you, to help you get away from Dr Insanis."
Valerie raised her eyebrows, bemused as she sat in midair, butterflies scattered around the top of the trunk.
"You're even more fickle then I thought," she scoffed, glaring at Amber, "because if you think Master Insanis will free all us and go, then you..."
Amber flinched and backed up a little more against the walling of the tree as Valerie came down from her spot, back in front of her in a millisecond, with a sinister expression on her face as her cloudy purple-blue iris' started glowing and fizzing with hostile electricity. She hissed the last three words slowly and darkly, straight right at Amber,
"are a Delusional."