Never before had Amber felt so strong.
Amber Obscura, fifteen years old, walking side-by-side with Cressela, just under a hundred of her species following behind her in an orderly manner. Their determination, their sprit were all too similar as they proceeded with Amber and Cressela. They had all been hurt too much. They had all had enough. They all wanted the same things. The strength, the confidence and courage that powered their minds and willed them forwards, to meet their worst fear stayed burning bright, like a deep fire that sweeps through a windy forest with ease. They ran from room to room, banging into Insanis’ level and smashing the sliding glass doors open.
The room that they entered was painted grey and was lit with neon red lights. Control panels coated the walls and corners of the chamber, the ceiling holding up a large, black box with small holes that punctured the surface. They were closed, and with one glance Amber knew exactly what was inside. She scowled, her eyes meeting Cressela’s, and the two opened the opposite door, revealing Insanis standing, snakes and pythons wrapping their smooth bodies around his torso, hissing bitterly. He spun around, his expression darkening in anger.
“Amber Obscura,” he snarled, glaring at her. “Cressela. Just what do you think you’re doing?”
“Finishing what I came here for,” Amber replied immediately, glowering. “Stop this, now. We’ve all had enough. You may be their creator, but you aren’t their master. Not anymore.”
“Young fool,” Insanis shot back, smiling darkly, “it’s too late. When I activate this gas that fills the box above your heads, it’ll be the dawn of my new era!”
He lunged for the largest control pad behind him, and Cressela growled, grabbing him and throwing him back in a split second. He grabbed her arm and twisted it, pulling her down to the floor, but she put her hand out and shot a bolt of lightning at him. He groaned in pain, letting go, and Amber darted towards her, pulling her back up. She sprinted to the control pad and pushed her hands on it, pressing her eyes shut and holding her breath.
Insanis surged to Amber, but Brennan was behind him in an instant, kicking him down, his hand shaking as he froze his body on the floor.
The control panel Amber gripped started to smoke, sparks appearing as it broke down. Insanis struggled, grabbing a snake from his leg and tossing it at Brennan. Its sharp, piercing fangs clamped onto his arm, sinking into his skin. Brennan yelled in agony and let go, falling to the floor. Valerie rushed to him and placed her hands on his wound, healing it, her butterflies batting above his face.
“Amber!” Cressela shouted in warning, and Amber’s eyes widened as she remembered her tools. Delving into her pockets, she took out the knife that Ruey had packed and shoved it deep into the middle of the panel. She let go abruptly as the electric shook and sparked, and the box above them creaked slightly, but not moving.
“No!” Insanis screamed in fury, his face reddening in anger and his pupils shrinking. He raised his hands to the box above them, and it trembled, easing away a little from the ceiling.
“Don’t you dare!” Amber shrieked, grabbing his hands and throwing him as hard as she could to the floor. He glared up at her in rage, his iris’ red as his eyes scanned his species.
“Let this stop, now!” Amber shouted, Insanis’ breaths heaving.
He stood up, ready to pounce, and Amber looked behind her, at the dozens of eyes that looked back, heads nodding. Cressela’s arms raised upwards, and all of her species behind her imitated a beat behind her, one leg stepping back steadily. Their expressions were full of hate, anger and defiance, and the chamber’s walls and the control panels shook vigorously as the combined energies of the byssus torta superno adinventionem facitos. Amber squeezed her eyes shut, and the darkness of her vision turned into one of bright blue, and the sound of charged electricity and rumbling filled her hearing. She opened her eyes, and long streaks of bright, multi-coloured lightning streamed forward to Insanis. His whole body was coated with the bright light of the species' energy, and all other sounds and sights were blocked out.
Amber breathed deeply and evenly, letting calmness wash over her senses and mindset. She closed her eyes once more, using all of her creativity and imagination.
She pictured her parents and her young childhood.
She pictured her difference to the others around her.
She pictured her grandfather, her last member of her family left.
She pictured her first encounters with Cressela, inside her foreboding, dark and empty house.
She pictured the levels that she had passed, the unfailing determination.
And she saw herself as one of them, her power and energy matching theirs.
Her eyes opened again, and she threw out her hands, electricity and thick waves of light bursting out of her palms and fingers, double the size of the billows of light around her.
Her eyes brightened and grew lighter, her angry, charged hazel gaze melting into a bright blue-green. Her ginger-brown hair crackling with energy, dying into a dark, ash-black. Her freckles standing out on her light skin, and she grimaced with effort, the light exploding from her hands and hitting Insanis with full force, the whole room shaking with the immense power.
Then, it stopped, and after Amber's eyes adjusted from the bright lights, she looked at the place where Insanis had stood.
And all that was left was his dark, draping lab coat, coated with dark, red glistening stains. Minute sparks of her electricity jumped actively on its surface before eventually fizzing out, and there was a hush, everyone looking at Amber in amazement and respect.
Amber smiled lightly, then dropped to the ground, Cressela just catching her in her arms.
The ceiling and the gas-packed box above them groaned as it loosened, hanging further down and brushing the hairs at the top of their heads. Whitney rushed towards them, and she knelt to Amber's height, her soft, bleach-blonde hair brushing Amber's pale cheek. She placed her soft, light-cream hands onto her heart and closed her eyes; Amber jolted awake, her eyes wide.
"Amber!" Cressela exclaimed, and she hugged her tightly, "Amber, we did it!"
Amber stood up, nodding and smiling, aware of the collapsing and shaking room around them.
"We've got to go now," she urged her, and Cressela nodded.
"Everyone! To the first level! Hurry - or we will die with this lair!"