Whitney's eyes were fixed on Amber's desperate hazel gaze, and they turned and shimmered silver, reflecting the story in her pupils.
"Your mother was an adventurous, lively and kind young lady. In many ways, you are just like her. Her name was Miliah, and she met your father while travelling, exploring countries and working as a tourist. Her hair was a soft chestnut brown, her eyes a captivating green. Everyone was sweet on Miliah. Your father, especially.
"Your father was Khane Obscura, a brave young man who fought for justice, who put others ahead of himself, who didn't believe in giving up. He and Miliah spent lots of time together and fell in love. They were married, and shortly afterwards she grew pregnant.
"But suddenly, war broke out in the land. Your father, leading a large group of men, rebelled against the opposing order, fighting to keep his wife and child safe. But war comes with many consequences - and because there was a lack of medical supplies at the time your mother grew very ill, she died shortly after giving birth to you, Amber. You nearly died too. But your grandfather, Ruey Obscura - he took you in. Sheltered you from the violent outbreak. And after your father was killed one day by this opposing order... well, he took you and fled. Escaped to the town that you grew up in for most of your life."
Amber was spellbound, her hazel eyes wide and mouth open slightly. Tears threatened to spill, but they didn't.
"You've always felt different. You've always longed for adventure. You aren't... normal, Amber."
Amber frowned in confusion.
"But... what do you mean by that?"
Whitney shook her head and smiled softly, her eyes gradually returning to their pale blue shade.
"I couldn't tell you that. That's all I can see, all I know of. But the other answers you seek - they will be given. This is the adventure that you have taken and your determination is astounding. So stay strong," urged Whitney, clasping her hands tightly, and keep going! Because your mindset, your personality - they are the keys to finishing what's been started."
Amber nodded, smiling thankfully at Whitney, who nodded back at her in understanding. Whitney's gaze then shifted to Cressela.
"Cressela, it's good to have you back. You and this young human girl, you're a very powerful pair."
Cressela smiled, nodding, and Whitney moved aside a little, her delicate white hands pushing against the walling behind her. They split into two and parted, revealing a pitch-black enclosure, dimly lit by dull, flickering candles that hung eerily from above.
"Level Five is through there," Whitney informed them, her fingers circling the rim of the cup beside her thoughtfully as Amber and Cressela stood up.
"Thanks so much, Whitney," Amber said, and Whitney smiled back at her warmly, watching the two girls enter the oasis of darkness. Then she glanced down, dipping her fingers into the cup and tracing them against the cream white bricks, leaving red calligraphic words imprinted on them.
Amber was silent for a moment as she flicked her torch on, walking down the long stretch of dusk beside Cressela.
"How did she know all of that?" She asked finally.
"She knows many things," Cressela answered, "she see through people, to help complete them. If they are good."
Amber nodded, still a little fazed as her parents' story repeatedly went through her mind. She still had so many questions, but so much more to focus on.
"I think I know who stays here," Cressela told Amber quietly, her dark eyes darting about the room, "we were good friends when I here before."
Before Amber could reply, she noticed a hovering figure, a couple of feet in the air. A gentle humming and fluttering noise could be heard coming from it, and as Amber went to shine the torches' light onto it, Cressela immediately stopped her, turning it off and shaking her head in warning.
"Don't. She can't cope with too much brightness."
Amber nodded slowly, as the two approached the figure that hung in the air, her feet not touching the floor. As they came closer, her features could be more easily distinguished, and Amber gasped in surprise.
The girl's eyes were a bright piercing neon green, and her hair was long and black, falling to her shoulders. Her skin was pale and she wore a black lace outfit, with a red checkered skirt linked with silver chains, and lace tights. Thin, black, lace-like wings fluttered behind her, with a pattern like that of a spider's web. Her expression was one of thoughtfulness and sadness, and as her green eyes met with Cressela's her face softened a little.
"Cressela? Is that you?"
Cressela smiled and nodded as the dark girl lowered down to the ground.
"And you came back? Why? You escaped, remember? I helped it happen."
"I know," Cressela answered, bringing Amber forward, "but now, we can all escape. This human girl, Amber, she help to free us now."
The girl's attention diverted to Amber, and she frowned in judgement.
"A human girl? Cressela, you out of your mind?!"
"Look, I know it might seem weird," Amber started, "but-"
"Weird? No. You are human girl. Humans are our enemy. Why would you help us to be free from the Master? You think you have what it takes?"
Amber frowned, sighing lightly.
"Yeah. I do."
The girl seemed taken aback for a moment, slightly impressed and puzzled by her response.
"Who are you?"
"I'm Amber Obscura," Amber replied, "and Cressela's right. We came back to help free you all. To take you somewhere safe! Don't you want that? None of you can be really happy like this, can you?"
The girl rolled her electric green eyes, sitting in the air.
"Not an option. Insanis doesn't care about happiness. I been here for ages. You want to free us, you need the most powerful forces ever."
Then she dropped to the ground, curiosity spreading across her features.
"Amber Obscura, a human girl." Then her eyes flicked over to Cressela.
"But is she just a human girl?"
Amber looked to Cressela, then back to the girl.
"What do you mean?"
The girl shook her head, looking confused and interested.
"You just seem different. Maybe more than your species. Tell me," she continued, inspecting her more closely, "do you have powers?"
Amber's eyes widened as she took in the dark girl's words.
"Me? Have powers?"
"Yeah, you. Do you? Because you don't seem like... I don't know... what you are."
"Who are you?"
"Natalia. Natalia Noir. And I can sense something radiating off you... something similar to what we have..." Natalia's words trailed off, then she crossed her arms.
"You can only use them if you give in to them. But I guess you can't yet. You don't even know what I talk about, right?"
Amber smiled a little, shrugging.
"No, not really. I didn't... I don't think I do-"
"Of course you don't. I don't know. But I do know that all you have to do is believe you can do it, to actually do it." Natalia shook her head as if to shake away her thoughts.
"Well, anyway, Master Insanis will bring them to life. That's where you go, yes?"
Cressela and Amber nodded, Amber even more fazed than before.
"But... if I have some sort of powers, why do I have them?"
Natalia scoffed, shaking her head impatiently.
"What am I, psychic? I don't know. You get answers from Whitney, but more so from Insanis. All I recognise is that familiar energy that you give off. Human girls and boys don't have this. That is all."
Then she unhooked a chain from her skirt and tossed it to Amber, who caught it clumsily.
"The key to next level. And good luck passing it," Natalia commented, with a small smile, "the girl in there, she more stubborn than Valerie, you know. Much more so."
Amber nodded, and Cressela half-smiled at Natalia before passing.
"We'll come back for you, Natalia," she promised, and Natalia nodded, looking slightly worried and thoughtful as she watched them leave.