“How long do you think she is going to sleep for?” Asked Joy. “It has already been two days. Could it really just be exhaustion after this long.”
“I really can not say.” Said Blackberry, “This sort of sleep is unusual. You are right that if it was just exhaustion at this point. There must be something else. Maybe she stained her mind and magic and is in a coma state. If that is turn then I don’t know how long she will be asleep for. It could be days or weeks or even longer.”
They were sitting around in Luna’s bedroom. Luna was laid out on the bed. She was breathing deeply but otherwise she was still. Joy was sitting on the bed next to Luna and Blackberry was right there next to them. Sibyl was sitting at the chair at Luna’s desk. All of them had worried looks and didn’t know what to do about Luna.
They had been doing there best to take care of Luna since the night at the school. After what happened they had to bring her back home because she hadn’t woken up. Blackberry had then watched over her almost constantly since then and Joy and Sibyl had been coming back regularly to check on her.
Finally Sibyl broke the silence again, “Isn’t there some magic thing that we can do to help her. There should be something that we can do to help her. I hate not being able to do something about about this.”
“If there is something that we can do with magic then I don’t know it. My experience in magic mainly has to do with magical girls and Elder Shadows beyond that I have a very limit set of magical knowledge.” Said Blackberry regretfully.
More gloomy silence filled the apartment bedroom. Just as the gloom began to get stifling there was a ring on the apartment doorbell. Everybody started and then looked at each other all of them wondering who should answer the door. Eventually Blackberry said, “One of you will ned to go check the door. I don’t have opposable thumbs so there are some things that I can’t do.”
It was Joy who finally stood up and walked out of the bedroom. Sibyl and Blackberry decided to follow to make sure nothing weird happened. Joy opened the door and asked, “Hello? Can I help you?”
On the other side was a young woman who looked a little bit older then them. She had close cropped brown hair and thin rimmed glasses. Her rather plain looking gray clothing made her look rather unassuming. “Um, yes, is this where Luna Star lives?”
Joy looked back at Sibyl and then back at the stranger before saying, “Yes but she is currently unavailable. We could take a message if you want and we will give it to her when she is available.”
“Unavailable? Is something wrong?” Asked the woman in a worried tone. “I hope that nothing has happened.”
There was another shared look between Joy and Sibyl before Joy said, “No, nothing is wrong. She has just been busy lately and is using the time to relax. I apologize for the inconvenience.”
“Oh dear, it is one of those shared looks. Something serious must have happened if you are being that mum about it.” She then paused for a moment while thinking, “Oh dear, oh dear. That must mean that she hasn’t woke up yet. If she has been in the Hollows all this time.” There was a change in her manner and two red dots began to appear near her forehead. “It would probably be best if you let me see her.”
However the sudden change in behavior caused both Joy and Sibyl to jump back in surprise. Joy whispered, “Ouroboros Awaken,” And there was a shifting of green as the bracelet turned into a sword that Joy held at the ready.
The woman however raised her hands, “I’m not trying to hurt you. I just wanted to show you that I’m not your average person. Please put your weapon. If Luna is still sleeping then I might be able to help you.”
Sibyl stared the woman and asked, “Why should we trust you. Even if Luna is sleeping then that isn’t a reason for us to let you in. How would you know about something like that anyways. How can we know your not aligned with the Elder Darknesses or one of the Shadowed Souls.”
“You have been fighting Elder Darknesses and Shadowed Souls? Is that what caused her to fall into such a state? You must you skilled and crazy to attempt to do things like that and come out alive. Now I know I might not seem trustworthy but I am trying to help I promise. You might not understand but I was traveling through the Hollows when I encountered her dream self. We talked for a while and I said that I would look her up when I finished moving it.”
The woman continued, “It took me a while longer to finish moving and to figure out where she lived that I wasn’t able to arrive until today. If she had been sleeping since then and has had her dream self be in the Hollows for that long then she must be in trouble.”
Blackberry finally broke his silence and said, “It sounds like she is telling the truth. I have heard of these Hollows before and it is likely that she is telling us the truth in that regard. If we don’t rely on her then who knows when Luna will awaken. Plus I can tell that she had strong magical talent, we should at least listen to her suggestion.”
“Head the talking cat. He knows what he is talking about.” Said the woman. Finally Joy and Sibyl relaxed. Ouroboros shifted back into a bracelet and Joy said, “Fine, I’ll give you a chance. Come in and we will let you look at Luna. Then the woman, Zephy, stepped through the door and Joy shut it after her.
They walked through Luna’s apartment and Zephy said, “We should keep our introductions short. You can call me Zephy, that is what I told Luna to call me.”
“I’m Joy and this is Sibyl. The cat is Blackberry.” Joy pushed open the door to Luna’s room and showed Zephy inside. “Here is Luna. She has been in this state for days. Please, if you can help then do so.”
Zephy nodded and kneeled down near the bed. She placed her hand on Luna’s forehead and held it there. The red glowing points on her forehead shifted blue and then white as she concentrated.
Sibyl moved up next to Zephy and asked, “What are you doing? Is it some way of telling what is wrong with her?”
“Yes, I’m getting a feeling for her and trying to figure out why she is trapped in the Hollows.” Said Zephy. The lights began to fade back into two red points. “There are a lot of reasons someone could be stuck in the Hollows. In her case it seems to be Abyss contamination.”
“Abyss contamination?” Asked Sibyl, “As a result of fighting the Shadowed Soul I suppose. What exactly does it mean though?”
“More likely she drew upon the Abyss as a power source. That can cause some bad side effects for people who aren’t used to it. One of the primary side effects is Abyss contamination. Abyss contamination usually doesn’t cause long term problems except for people with an affinity for other worldly travel. It can keep people locked in someplace like the Hollows without a way out.” Explained Zephy.
Sibyl nodded in attention, “And how can you fix this sort of contamination? It sounds like you have seen symptoms like this before. Does that mean that you can do something about it?”
“The good news it that it isn’t permanent. Low levels of contamination usually fade in a couple of days or so and then the person is as good as new, assuming something doesn’t happen to them while they are in the Hollows. The bad news is that Luna seems to have a high level of contamination. It could take weeks or months for it to ware off if we left her to herself. The main problems in those causes is that the change of them being found by something nasty in the Hollow rises significantly and people can die in that state.”
Zephy raised her hand to keep anybody from interrupting her while she spoke again. “While I am fairly certain that Luna will be able to survive that long in the Hollows, I don’t think that we should just leave her here and let it wear off. That sort of prolong exposer to the Hollows can have strange effects on people. I personally recommend that we fix the problem and wake her up, that way nothing bad happens to her and she will be available if anybody needs her.”
“So how do we do that?” Asked Sibyl who seemed to be taking charge of figuring out what was wrong with Luna from Zephy.
Zephy grimaced, “We need to break her out, a tricky business.”
“Break her out?” Asked Sibyl.
“Yes, there as passages through the Hollows to and from Earth. Basically you need to physically go into the Hollows and then find Luna’s dream form and the lead it out of the Hollows. When she manages to escape back to Earth that should force her awake and effectively fix the Abyss contamination.” Said Zephy.
“Is that all there is too it? That seems relatively simple compared to some of the other stuff we have done.” Said Joy, finally breaking into the conversation.
“Well, there is a little bit more to it. You need to keep the mental trauma to a minimum. Basically that means that when she leaves the Hollows and arrives on Earth in needs to be near her real body. The closer the better to avoid mental trauma.”
“So what do we need to do?” Asked Sibyl.
“I’m going to have to force open and entrance to the Hollows here and then you have to go in, find Luna, and then lead her back through the entrance that I created. Simple in concept but there are certainly going to be complications.” Said Zephy.
“What sort of complications?”
“The first is finding Luna. The Hollows aren’t exactly the easiest to explore and find what you want. Luna should be close to the entrance but that is only relative to the size of the Hollows. Then there are the other inhabitants of the Hollows.”
“Because it is connected to the Abyss right?” Said Blackberry.
“More or less. Generally not creatures of the abyss itself but there are strange things living in the Hollows, things of human nightmares. They will want to trick you or kill you. They shouldn’t be a major problem for you but you should still be careful.”
Blackberry stared directly at Zephy, “What about you? Wouldn’t you be in the most danger from them because you would be holding open a gate into Earth. Some of them might want to escape into our world and my job is to prevent that sort of thing.”
Zephy nodded reluctantly, “You are right to a point. They will try to escape past me but I have made certain *pacts* which should help me prevent them from entering this world. However if you are worried about it then you are welcome to stay here with me and keep an eye on both that gate and Luna. Is that fine Blackberry.
Blackberry nodded and said, “Yes, that should be acceptable.” He turned his gaze to Joy and Sibyl. “Will you two be able to find Luna without me. Both of you have good enough sense to be able to find Luna even without me. Is that alright?”
Joy nodded, “Yes we should be alright without you. We are magical girls after all. We will be find on our own.”