Hundreds of running, hammering footsteps, echoing across the island's ground as the sands quivered silently.
Hundreds of hands holding hands, pulling each other along and shouting words of encouragement, never stopping their sprints onwards and upwards.
Dozens of rapid heartbeats, an amber pendant jumping on its silver chain and thumping against Amber's own heart as she ran, her eyes glued forward.
"Don't stop!" she yelled, as they ran through Raelynn's forest and entered Valerie's midnight woods. The trees shook as the whole underground lair of insanity crumbled and broke. "We're nearly there! Just don't stop!"
Down in Insanis' level, the box containing delusion gas fell and cracked open, the mist of poison leaking and spreading through the air, swirling around the dark gown that lay abandoned on the floor.
The elevator doors opened, and groups of Cressela's species clambered in, the machine whizzing up and back down again several times as it carried them to the island's sandy surface, the night sky and watchful stars contrasting with it, a strip of navy coating the atmosphere.
Amber and Cressela reached the top, almost tumbling down as the island rumbled and shook wearily, the old nuclear scraps reacting with the electric activity below.
"We've got to get out of here!"
"Where do we go?"
Amber looked to Cressela, and Cressela nodded at her, putting a hand up and commencing silence.
"Insanis has a kind of submarine-ship in the shallow part of the ocean," she said, her dark eyes flicking over to Amber. "There's probably just enough room for us all."
Amber smiled, nodding, and the girls ran down the sandy path to the cool, salty waters, the dark waves frothing white and bubbling as they smeared the sand and pebbles beneath. She looked down, grabbing a torch from her waist and shining its dusty light into the sea. Squinting, Amber could make out the fine details of a large ship that met Cressela's description, and she sighed in relief.
Luna Moon stepped forward, slowly raising her hand in its direction; the waters rocked and splashed as the ship picked itself up under her pressure, the front end heaving onto the sandy shores. She dropped her hand back down and smiled gently at Amber, who grinned back at her gratefully. The doors slid open, and everyone whooped and cried out in joy, rushing in the triple-decker vessel with their friends and coetus. Amber looked up to the night, smiling before she too joined the others, the doors closing swiftly.
Several girls and boys approached Amber and Cressela willingly, smiling.
"We can pilot the ship," they offered, and Amber nodded as they strode off to their stations.
Amber walked up to the third level and stood at a shielded, windowed balcony as she felt the ship heave beneath her and dive into the ocean at a fast pace, leaving behind Insanis' island. His underground lair shook and sparked, eventually exploding and collapsing, the bomb-like eruption flinging the sand and pebbles up in the air and down into the sea, sinking in its pungent, icy grips.
"Amber," Cressela called, approaching her, "I found this map down at the bottom deck, near the pilot's area is. It's navigation to an uninhabited forest, Appregsimus. Is this the safe place you were talking about?"
Amber smiled, looking up at Cressela.
"Looks like it. Tell the directors to set co-ordinations for Appregsimus."
Cressela nodded, going back downstairs, passing a boy with light brown, shaggy hair and chocolate brown eyes that wandered upstairs. He stood with Amber, half-smiling at her.
Amber's eyes shifted to him, and she smiled back.
"The speech you gave, and the energy you threw... they were amazing. Thank you, for saving them."
She nodded, holding her hand out.
"I haven't met you before."
He beamed, shaking her hand.
"Juniper. Juniper Rosco."
He rolled his eyes slightly, smirking and letting go.
"Yeah, I know."
Amber grinned, looking back to the deep oceans that surrounded the vessel that glided effortlessly through it. Staring at her new reflection, her eyes shone in thoughtfulness, and the dark skies brightened a fraction, marking the new dawn.