“She’s coming!” Vicky burst into the break room causing Avera to jump off the couch from a drooling sleep.
“How did they find me?!” Avera reached behind the cushions, producing a rocket launcher. “I’ll get them this time.”
“Uh… no.” Vicky put her hands up to placate her half awake co-worker, “who’s after you this time?”
Avera put the rocket launcher down, “no one.” She laughed, “But it helps to be ready at all times, just in case there are!”
Kyle came running in, “did you guys hear? There’s something huge coming.”
“Yes, it’s exciting!” Vicky whirled around.
- IT IS NOT.
The three stopped and looked up at the ceiling.
Avera smiled, “this should be good,” picking up the rocket launcher again.
“You probably want to leave that behind,” Vicky said.
“Yeah, that isn’t going to help much, I think,” Kyle added.
Avera stared at them both, but neither flinched this time. She put it back down. “Are you sure?”
“Positive,” Vicky said, leading them out into the dark halls. The only light in the building came from the emergency lines in the floors. All of the storefronts had been locked down behind their blast shields. The open-air stalls in the middle of the halls had been packed away, and the place deserted. Even the atria were shuttered between the floors. “Okay, this is a little extreme, even for this place.”
THE DOOM BRINGER COMES.
“I’m pretty sure that’s not what she is.”
YOU HAVE NOT SEEN ITS FULL WRATH.
“I take it you have,” Kyle said.
NOTHING CAN SURVIVE ITS ANGER.
“I’m confused, what’s happening then?” Avera wove glowing orbs that floated above their heads as they climbed the stairs towards a roof access hatch.
“Crystal was spotted nearby,” Vicky said, barely able to contain her excitement.
DO NOT SAY THAT NAME. IT IS A CURSE.
Vicky rolled her eyes.
“The Crystal? One of the legends? That’s about as real all those supposed magical places.” Avera said, taking the stairs two at a time.
“You mean the wonders of the world, that defy all laws of natural physics?”
“Yes, they can be explained,” Avera said.
“The Infinity Falls fall upwards. There is no explaining that.” Kyle interjected.
“Gravity,” Avera answered.
“Gravity doesn’t work like that.”
“And the burning sea?” Kyle continued.
“Organic flammable liquid that seeps from the bottom of the ocean.”
“We harvest that to feed the boilers if that was true.”
“The Black Hole?”
Avera stopped. “It’s less black. It’s mostly green now. What? Do you want me to just say ‘A Weaver did it?’”
“Yes,” both Kyle and Vicky said in unison.
“The Crystal can’t be real. Weaving has never created anything as complex as what they claim the crystal is. Even golems need be programmed before they are even useful.”
“That’s cause she isn’t a golem. She’s… something else. No one really knows, she’s rarely ever seen,” Vicky said defensively. “Which is why I’m excited to see her a second time!”
They made it to the top floor and climbed up one of the ladders to the roof.
“Besides, if it wasn’t real, would this place be locked down tighter than a Ministry building?” Kyle said.
THIS IS MERELY STANDARD PROCEDURES FOR ANY OUTSIDE THREAT.
“Sure,” Kyle said.
Vicky was the first to climb out onto the roof, followed by Kyle and then Avera.
“I don’t see anything,” Avera said, looking off across the plains.
“She’s she was last seen in the mountains this morning, so she’d be coming from that direction,” Vicky said and pointed.
“How do you know this?” Avera squinted at the mountains.
“I keep Golden Eyes. They started pointing north this morning.” Vicky produced a small sealed bell jar containing a small flower with triangular petals. The petals were speckled gold with the outer edges flecked dark red. On the edge of the petal that overlapped its neighbor was also red. The red lines ran to the center of the flower, accenting the angles of the petals. The whole blossom had the overall appearance of a mechanical iris.
Vicky set the jar down on the roof so that the flower faced south and backed away. Slowly, the flower twisted and returned to look north, away from the sunlight.
“See,” she said with a bright smile.
“Where’s the controlling thread? What did you weave?” Avera squatted next to the jar to inspect it.
“I didn’t do anything. They do that on their own.”
“I’ve never seen them do that.” Avera poked the sealed vase with her finger. The Golden Eye snapped around in two blinks to look up at Avera. She jumped back.
“It’s said they are Crystal’s eyes around the world,” Vicky said.
GET IT OFF MY ROOF. OR IT WILL BE FORCIBLY REMOVED.
They waited, nothing happened.
“It would seem, you are reluctant to touch it,” Kyle said, amused.
THAT WOULD DRAW UNWANTED ATTENTION.
“I see,” Kyle said. “Then you should probably stay quiet; I think one of the mountains is moving.”
Avera and Vicky turned to follow his gaze.
At first, there was nothing to look at, other than the mountain range itself. Then the clouds above the mountain range pulled away across the sky in a ring. Next, the mountain stood up.
A piece of the mountain crumbled away, then rose higher into the sky. From the central portion, large pieces of land fell away until it stood on four towers of rock. The mountain shook itself into the shape of a giant dark green shadowed Pegasus. The head tilted around, looking out in all directions. Massive wings unfolded from the body and stretched, blotting out part of the sky before resettling them. The shadow threw miles of land into darkness.
Avera fell from the shock pointing at the moving mountain, “What is that?! How is that real!”
DO NOT MAKE ANY SUDDEN MOVEMENTS. IT HUNTS BY SIGHT.
The head swiveled and her gaze turned toward MacSweeny’s.
“I think she heard you,” Kyle whispered.
The body turned, and the massive creature walked towards the Market.
“I need a Crockett!” Avera said, scrambling for the hatch.
NO! THAT WILL JUST MAKE IT ANGRY.
Suddenly, she was gone. The mountain was whole again as if nothing had happened.
A crackle of roof stone from behind made Avera and Kyle jump and spun to face the threat. Standing on the rooftop before them, was Crystal. She stood no higher than Vicky’s waist. The pegasus was made of dark green leaves, trimmed in reds and browns, her tail and mane were long grasses in shades of red. Her wings were made of broad study leaves. Her eyes were two Golden Eye Flowers.
Blossoms, grasses, and saplings grew out of the stones, wilted and died around her leafy hooves where she stood.
Vicky bowed low, and Crystal returned the bow.
“Uhm, hi, plant… uh, Crystal… thing? Please don’t hurt me.” Kyle followed Vicky’s example.
Crystal walked over to Avera, more plants growing and dying around each hoof step. Avera had frozen, gaping at the thing, hand outstretched defensively. The pegasus sniffed Avera’s hand and then nuzzled it. Avera wilted, drawing back her hand, staring at it and then at Crystal in silence. Crystal nuzzled Kyle’s hand and then Vicky’s. She also stretched out her wings, touching the leaf green tips to Vicky’s shoulders. When Crystal turned away, Vicky wore a euphoric smile.
The pegasus’s attention turned to the roof. She reared up and stomped her front hooves onto the gravel. Plants, grasses and small trees exploded from her hooves and grew out to cover the entire roof, then down the walls. The three fought for balance as the whole Market shuddered. Then Crystal vanished.
HAS IT GONE.
“She remembered me. I was only a small child the last time I saw her,” Vicky nearly floated off the roof.
“I was not expecting that,” Kyle stared at his hand.
They looked at Avera still on the ground, now under the shade of a tree, not budging.
“Is she broken?”
“Avera, you alright?” Vicky stooped down and waved a hand in front of the other girl’s eyes.
Avera blinked and leaped backward through the air, screaming. She stopped and looked around, then at her hand and then Vicky. “I’m gonna sit down now,” she collapsed in a heap.
“Yep, broke,” Kyle said.
NATURE. IT’S ALL OVER. DEMON MONSTER. GET IT OFF. IT WILL TAKE WEEKS TO REMOVE ALL THIS HORRID VEGETATION.
Vicky walked over to the edge of the building and sat down, staring towards the sunset. “Today was a good day,” she said dreamily.
IT WAS NOT.