“Let’s get moving.”
As Ikimono instructs us to follow her, I try to distract myself from my concerns about Destiny. It’s a beautiful world; the sky is a constant rainbow, and the forest is exploding with life. But the Corruption is here, and from what Ikimono has described about it, it doesn’t sound like it ever takes a break.
Is it wrong to be terrified of something you can’t even see?
“Saisho,” Ikimono glances back at us. “How’s the coast?”
I look back. I see the blue-haired boy grinning from ear to ear, giving a gentle nod.
“All good over here.”
Ikimono looks at Nova. “You wanna show me those navigation skills?”
She gasps. “Can I?!”
“Girl, there’s a reason I asked you to help me up here. Show me what you got.”
Nova looks back towards me and Amai, and I see her green eyes become a little brighter. She has a grin on her face again. She faces front again before putting a hand out.
“Starlit Map, guide us to safety.” She says simply. As soon as the words flow from her mouth, a small map made of stars appears in her hand. She giggles as the map swirls to life. Her hand moves to show Ikimono. “Do you want it to show us a certain place?”
“Yeah, can you try navigating your map to the Taruna Observatory?”
Nova gives a nod. She holds the map near herself again. “Find the Taruna Observatory.” She speaks to the map. She waits a few seconds, but nothing happens. The girl frowns at her hands, sighing in defeat. “Well darn. Seems like I can only navigate to places I’ve been to… Sorry Iki…”
Iki raises a hand and gently ruffles Nova’s hair. “It’s okay, Nova. You’re doing your best. That’s all I can ask for right now.”
The smile returns to the blue-haired girl’s face. “Thanks.”
I never really knew that Nova and Ikimono were friends until today. I guess I hadn’t seen them interact before at school. Their friendship is reminding me of mine with Amai; sisterly and mutual.
“Alright, so looking at this map, we’ll have a bit of a walk.” Ikimono mutters. “Hopefully the sun won’t set before we get there.”
“What will happen if it does?” Saisho asks. “I know you said it’s safer to be inside, but what exactly will happen to us?”
Ikimono becomes quiet. As we all walk, I notice her tap a finger to her lips. She looks like she’s pondering over something. Does she know the answer?
“Saisho. I don’t think you want to know that answer right now.”
I frown at that. I know that answer wasn’t directed to me, but that didn’t help my nerves at all. Is the Corruption really that bad? There’s so much I want to know, but I’m afraid if I know the answers, then I’ll want to go home for safety.
Hopefully this observatory will be safe for us.
Amai looks over at me, and we exchange a glance with one another. I can sense that she’s feeling the same thing as me. Maybe I can try to talk to her like Nova did with me earlier today.
I put my hand on my choker. I see the haze around Amai’s hairpin appear.
“Are you okay?”
Amai’s eyes widen. As she raises an eyebrow and tries to speak verbally, I shake my head.
“Just touch your hand to your hairpin and think instead of speaking aloud. We can talk telepathically. Nova taught me how this morning.”
Amai stares at me for a moment, then nods. She does as I instructed of her, placing two fingers on the heart pin. Her eyes widen for a second again, and then she looks at me.
“Is this working? Hello?”
“There you go, girly. Now, back to my earlier question. Are you okay?”
“I think so?” Amai shrugs a tad. “I’m not sure how to feel about all this. Everything’s happening so quickly.”
“Right there with you.” I roll my eyes playfully. “But don’t worry. I’m sure the others know what they’re doing. We’ll find Violet and bring her home soon.”
Amai smiles at me.
“I hope so.”
Just as I’m about to smile back to my best friend, I hear Saisho speak up.
“Hey, how much farther to the observatory?”
Ikimono looks back to us as we walk. “Probably a little bit still. Why? What’s wrong?”
“I just saw something odd back there.” Saisho mutters. “Not sure what it was.”
“Corruption?” Nova squeaks under her breath.
“No. Let’s not think about that.” Ikimono jumps in. “Stay calm, all of you.” She looks to Nova now. “Especially you. I’m not sure how your Written Powers would react to your emotions and fears getting out of control. Let’s prevent that from being discovered while we’re not in safety.”
Nova nods. “Okay…”
Ikimono looks back to me and Amai.
“And you two… stay with us. Got it?”
We both nod. As I take my hand off my choker, I gently brush it against Amai’s. She quietly takes my hand, and I give it a squeeze. She squeezes it back.
“So who exactly owns this observatory?” Amai asks.
Ikimono quickly gives a glance to Amai.
“That’s right. You weren’t at Saisho’s house earlier when we were explaining this to Sakasu. We’ll be meeting him soon, but his name is Soveliss. He’s the one that gave you that hairpin. He’s really smart, and he’ll be able to help us out however we need it. His observatory is also a safe haven of sorts, so we’ll be able to rest too.”
“He sounds nice…” Amai mutters.
Nova looks to Ikimono. “You said he has a friend who helps him there?”
“Apparently he does. I don’t know, I never met them.”
“Interesting.” I speak up. “But it’s cool that you’ve met Soveliss at least!”
Ikimono falls silent. She stares up ahead. I hear her sigh in some way, and she puts a hand on Nova’s shoulder.
“Well. No need to keep wondering. You can go ahead and put the map away,” She says. “The observatory is just up ahead.”
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