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Luna Star, Part 24

Joy and Sibyl moved closer to the strange woman and Luna. The large statue of the beast almost seemed to shift while they walked like it was preparing to attack them yet it never did. It was Joy who spoke when the reached the woman, “Who are you?”

The golden light surrounded her pulsed slightly as she left out a laugh, “I am what I am and nothing more then that. I am the person who is taking care of Luna and I am the person who will give her unto your care. I am also the person who will show you how to escape and return to your home.”

“What, doesn’t really answer anything. It was just dodging around the question.” Said Sibyl in a sightly annoyed tone.

“But it did. People are the result of their actions and these are the actions that I am showing to you. Nothing more is important. Yet you humans seem to place great value on things that are worthless. By knowing my actions you know more truly about who I am then anything that I could say.” Said the Woman in Gold.

Sibyl flustered over the words trying to derive meaning from such veiled language. Joy however thoughts she felt the truth of the words. She watched the Woman in Gold carefully, the way she held tightly to Luna and gently stroked her hair. The way she smiled at them and the way she watched them. Just like she spoke this would be more true then anything that she would say.

The woman raise Luna slightly with her hands and gently setting her on the ground. Then she pressed her hands against the floor and pushed herself to her feet. “Now take care of her. She is going to be important in the coming days. Make sure she is ready when the time comes.”

She then snapped her fingers and a path of gold stretched off in front of her back into the jungle. “This path will lead you back through the ocean and back to the Hollows. Do not stray from the path of something might find you, just because the way here was clear does not mean that the way back will be.”

She looked up at the giant statues of the beast and she straightened as she watched it. Joy thought that the statue had moved just so that it could return the stare of the woman. “There is an inscription on the base of the statue. You might do good to read it.” Then the move in a gliding movement toward the tree line.

At the edge of the clearing she stopped and looked back at Joy and Sibyl. Her smile had changed to a look of deep regret. The wind whispered in the clearing and then she finally said, “Tell..” She paused, “Never mind. It is not important. Seek the end of your path wherever it might lead, even if it is into darkness.” Then she stepped into the trees. The golden glow began to fade and then was finally gone.’

The glow on the girl’s clothes appeared again as she left and they shared a long look which exchanged questions but not answers. Then Joy knelt next to Luna and raised Luna up onto her knee. “She is very warm, like she has a fever. Maybe it is the result of the Abyss contamination.” She continued to hold Luna’s head and then asked, “When dreamers dream what do they dream of?”

“Waking up.” Said Sibyl with a personal sort of certainty, “They dream about waking up and when they turns out to be just an illusion that dream within a dream turns into a nightmare. If it goes on for too long when they finally wake up they can not be certain if they are really awake or still dreaming.”

Joy managed to put the pieces together and asked Sibyl, “Is that what you are afraid of? That this is all a dream? That you are still are sickly girl who is imagining that she has magical powers?”

There was no change in her posture but there was a slight flicker of blue energy as she fade transparent for just a second, “Since I have become a magical girl my dreams are always nightmares. They are of me waking up and realizing that nothing has changed, that I am still powerless. I know it is a dream yet I am forced to live through it fearing that I will stay there.”

Joy didn’t respond, she didn’t know if she should. If was all just a dream for her then she would return to the life as the child of a restaurant owner. It wasn’t really a scary option for her, it was comfortable and probably a lot safer then being a magical girl. For Sibyl however this dangerous life was something important because it gave her hope, at least that was what Joy thought. She wondered how Luna saw the world, whether she wanted to really wake up from her dream and return to this dangerous world.

“Oh child of the moon,

Ye who beacons madness

Who walks the crumbling path

Deliver us from fear

Awe of raging beast

Dread of kindest heart

Fear of lost ideals

Followed by those beyond faith

Serpent of many forms

Serpent of secrets lost

Serpent of traitorous poison

Followed by those beyond faith

Dreamer of crashing sky

Dreamer of paths unseen

Dreamer of bloody hands

Followed by those beyond faith

Demon of blackened brimstone

Demon of blackest past

Demon of twisted tongue

Alone from those beyond faith

Who walks the crumbling path

The end of those who awe

The end of those who dread

The end of those who fear

The end of those with faith

Who follows you along the crumbling path

Who follow you to the bitter end

Who challenges the raging beast

Who challenges the kindest heart

Who challenges the lost ideals

Oh child of the moon

Ye who beacons madness

What will you choose”

Read Sibyl. She was standing just beneath the towering beast and right in front of her was a large stone tablet covered with the words she had just spoken. Joy had remained silent while listening, forgetting about dreams and dreamers. They pondered over the meaning of the words trying to unravel their meaning.

Finally it was Sibyl who spoke again, “It is talking about us.”

Joy didn’t say anything in response. Even she could tell that much. With Luna lying on her lap in this clearing there could be no question who the child of the moon was. A little bit more was recognizable to her. She clasped Ouroboros with her hand and shivered, was she the Serpent spoken of in the writing?

“I suppose this must be prophesy,” Sibyl spoke again since Joy wasn’t, “Serpent, Dreamer, Demon.” She spoke the words like she was testing them and making sure that they felt right, “The Serpent and the Dreamer must be you and me. Would that make Zephy the demon, she certainly looks like one after she transforms. Or.” Sibyl considered not voicing the concern, “Or it could be Blackberry. He is certainly not human, maybe he is the demon.”

Joy shook her head, “I don’t know.” She then trembled a little in fear, “Do you really think I am the Serpent. Do you really think that I would be a traitor.” She trembled a bit more.

“No way of knowing until it happens. I suppose that if it wasn’t completely unclear then it wouldn’t be a prophesy.” Said Sibyl, “I however am going to ignore it and choose my own path. I don’t like the idea of some person writing this thought that they could control what I do. I might was well just turn over and die.”

Sibyl then turned back toward Joy who was still holding Luna. “Joy, you can make any decision about who you are from this stone tablet or you can decide for your self. Which would you rather do?”

Joy stammered, “I, I don’t know. Decide for myself I suppose but…”

Sibyl just watched Joy and didn’t say a thing. She didn’t seemed to be judging Joy or her indecision, just maybe a bit disappointed that prophesy had just sway on Joy.

Joy tried to collect her thoughts and finally managed to bring some of them together. “We can think about the prophesy later. Right now we need to bring Luna back to our world. We don’t know how long that golden path will last so we should follow it before it disappeared.”

Sibyl nodded, “Yes, I think I could get us back to the Hollows without it but if I was wrong then we would be lost without any way of finding our way back. Best to follow the strange path and if that doesn’t work then I can trying to find the entrance myself.”

With finally something to agree on Joy began lifting Luna’s body. She had initially assumed that it would be difficult because Luna was a bit bigger then her but she was surprised to find it was actually fairly easy. She supposed that lifting Luna was not much different then swinging a battle axe around like it was a feather. Just another part of being a magical girl.

With Luna hoisted onto her shoulders Joy began to follow the golden path with Sibyl right behind her. As her gaze left the giant statue she thought it shifted following her but when she quickly looked back at it it was in the same position that it had always been in.

Finally she truly broke her gaze away from it and entered the jungle with Luna. This time there were no eyes watching them as they walked through the dense white plants. When the path left the trees it went out into the water and they could see it shining up through the water. It was glowing and they could see the path winding off into the distance.

“Strange, I hope the path is leading us the right way.” Said Sibyl.

“Is something wrong?” Asked Joy as she stepped into the icy cold water again.

“Just, it isn’t leading in the direction that I would have been going. I thought I remembered the path and if that has changed, it is more then a little unsettling.”

“Then do you think we should follow your path then?” Asked Joy.

Sibyl paused to think about it, “No, I think that Woman in Gold was telling the truth. This is probably the way back to the Hollows.”

“I think she was telling the truth too but I don’t know if it was the whole truth. When she was holding Luna it looked like she was holding onto a very valuable object, not a person. The way she watched us, it was like she was trying to decide if we would good enough to take care of her precious item while she was away. She felt very inhuman in that way.” Said Joy.

“Is that how you saw her?” Said Sibyl, “I, I will trust your judgement of her. If she had nothing to hide then she wouldn’t have been concealing her presence like that and I dislike people who answer questions with vague uncertainties and more questions. She was similar to the prophecy in that way.”

However they both thought that the Woman in Gold’s path was still the correct one so they continued to follow it. A while later they finally saw the path ending off in the distance. They could see the ending clearly so it must have rising up onto an island or something. When the arrived they found a familiar hole leading down into the ground.

“It looks like the path was right and that my initial judgement on orientation was wrong. I wonder if the island moved or if I somehow just managed to get turned around in the darkness.