“Well?” Ezekai lay by the pool, letting his hair drip in the edges. Nikyla had just returned without the stone she had taken, he was marveling over one of his own in the meantime. They were hard but yet smooth, every part of it was illuminated as if the rock itself *was* light, instead of simply emitting it. Nikyla kneeled over on the floor, supporting herself with one hand, breathing deeply. She seemed unaware of his question, so he didn’t expect much of an answer yet. Adara ladled out some of the water into a bowl-shaped stone that Ezekai himself had found on one of the underwater shelves during a swim. She handed the stone to Nikyla, who sipped at it and brushed the ash from her face. Maeko and Nitza were still passed out, they lay where Connell had dragged them near the pool on blankets placed on opposite sides of the pool. Brown blankets, saturated in a thick film of soot. “We should shake the blankets out.” He muttered absently. They could be making the air quality worse, though it wasn’t so bad in this little cavern. Nikyla sat down the bowl of water and wiped her mouth. “I couldn’t find Nyla..” Nikyla sighed, letting the words out of her mouth. “I heard her moaning, but she was crawling away from me, I don’t understand why. I told her to come to me, I called her, but it seemed like…” She stopped to cough. “It seemed like she was running. And then I felt Connell bringing me back, I knew I had been out too long. If it weren’t for the sack, I think I might’ve been able to see her, but.. Gah.” She collapsed against the cave wall. Tears were forming at the corners of her eyes, but she didn’t care at this point. She felt Adara’s hand on her shoulder and looked up to meet her eyes. “Don’t worry,” Adara forced a smile. “You did all you could.” Nikyla nodded and sighed softly.
Nitza coughed and sat up with one thought on her mind. “Maeko!” She called out as her eyes snapped open. The moment in which a fraction of light hit her eyes was glorious, for not only was Maeko lying safely across some strange well-lit body of water but the rest of the group was staring at her. Ezekai looked at her, stone-faced from atop a small boulder where he sat with his legs crossed. Connell had a grin tugging at his lips, he was leaning against one of the dark cave walls. Adara and Nitza smiled at her from across the body of water, they were bringing some sort of dish to Maeko, who looked weak, but alive nonetheless. She smiled and eased her head back down to rest, the air felt wonderful on her weak lungs as she took it in. Adara skipped around the underground pool with a really big spoon in her hand and a mischievous grin on her face. She knelt down by Nitza’s blanket and shoved the spoon in her face, grinning. “Try it.” Nitza sat up again, disappointed that she couldn’t go back to sleep and brought the liquid to her mouth to please her easily excited friend. The water was most refreshing, sweet almost with a surge of inexplicable energy weaving through it. As she swallowed the first spoonful she was jolted upright. “This is amazing!” Nitza threw her fist left in the air successfully knocking the spoon out of her right hand. Nikyla, who had just made her way around the pool giggled with Adara. “Isn’t it?” Adara scooped another spoon of it out of the pool. It was then that Nitza noticed Ezekai stuffing bread into his mouth. His face reddened when he caught her gaze and he set the food bag aside. She laughed and looked around, noticing Nyla’s absence. She’s probably exploring, or something. Nitza sighed.
Connell folded his hands behind him and strode towards the crack in the wall once again, where Adara stood. She hadn’t budged from that spot since Maeko and Nitza were introduced to the glowing stones after waking completely. The things were marvels, reminiscent artifacts of the olden days, supposed physical gifts from God during an impossible time. Marvelous. She was leaning against the cave wall, rather than standing. Her red hair fluttered slightly in an updraft from somewhere in one of the tunnels. He approached her again and cleared his throat. “Is there something you wish for?” He paused, what a silly way to start a conversation, he thought. Instead of going on, he looked down at his hands which he now held clasped in front of his face. “Nyla’s still out there.” Adara stated. Connell nodded and frowned, observing the small ‘window to death’ as Nikyla had dubbed the crack with a sneer only a short while ago. A faint glow protruded the darkness to the left, but the right side of the gap was engulfed in a fuzzy, ever-moving darkness. Like a fuzzy shadow of some great beast, it moved and shifted. He shook the image out of his head and turned to Adara once again. “You worry for her safety?” He watched Adara nod as she sunk to the ground holding her knees and resting her chin on them. She seemed discouraged, low on spirit, even a little sad. He eased down nest to her on the wall, facing away from the Window to Death. Nitza seemed to have slipped into the pool of water which Nikyla seemed to find quite humorous and Ezekai, well Ezekai seemed to be enjoying taunting her. Maeko was resting in the back again. He turned back to Adara who had buried her face in the lap of her dress. “No, I don’t think we should worry.” Adara looked up, lines underneath her eyes shimmered, hinting at the tears that had trailed down her face. He placed a hand on her shoulder and smiled. “I’m sure that she will come, she will find us.” Adara nodded again and forced a smile.
Never lose hope, for this is not the end..
To be continued here.