The pitch black engulfed me where I stood, surrounded by the heavy fog that chilled me to the bone. No matter how much I tried, the darkness never cleared, all efforts to summon my magic futile. My body trembled and my teeth chattered, the sound terrifying me.
I will die if I don't find a way out. I need to search for the exit.
Yet, I remained where I was, realizing there was a purpose to my suffering. I'd come here for a reason, but what was it? Did I have some sort of duty to accomplish? A mission to complete and save the lives of many?
How could I possibly help anyone if I couldn't even get myself out of this mess?
The endless possibilities of how to escape went through my mind, but I knew the darkness was winning.
I can't let it win. There's too much at stake.
That simple thought ran over and over again, but the dark chains that held me tightened, ensuring I'd never escape this barricade.
Laughter began to course through the hollow chamber, echoing over and over again. It took all my concentration in my weak state to understand their words as they sang a hymn in unison.
The Darkness is coming…
You all shall prepare.
The Darkness is coming...
Your land will be bare.
The people will cry and the earth will soon die, leaving nothing left to mourn.
The Darkness is coming...so prepare little one.
For you will be our queen, and kill everyone.
Every shifter, every human, all will be consumed.
Alas, you will rule the new world, our Queen of Darkness, Celestia.
"What?! No. I would never succumb to the darkness. I will fight!” I declared, but the sound fell on deaf ears as the voices laughed in joy and delight.
The Darkness is coming...you will soon see.
There will be no hope, we'll destroy the Unicorn Queen.
I pulled at the chains, trying to break free from my hold, but my bonds tightened and fear trickled through me. I realized I couldn't do this alone, and it wouldn't be long till their mockery and predictions came true.
I needed help. I had to call the others. Help...please.
Finn, Hunter, Theo, Caio, Cairus...Orion. Someone, help me?
But no one came, which left me feeling helpless. The darkness would win, but I couldn't allow it. My resolve was strong, but I felt so exhausted. I hung my head low, tears rolling down my cheeks in frustration as the voices continued to sing.
The Darkness is coming, we will have our Queen.
"Dark...ness," I mumbled, feeling so cold as I turned over. "He...lp,"
I felt a hand settle gently on my shoulder, shaking me hard enough to pull me out of my dream. My eyes shot open and I quickly sat up, feeling extremely disoriented, but only seconds later they began to close once more. Hands rested on my shoulders, keeping me from falling forward, but my mind was already drifting.
I tried to listen to the conversation happening around me; my ears picked up Orion's and Finn's low voices.
"Celestia?" Orion's gentle voice called out but I felt too drained to give a reply.
"She's still really weak." Finn’s voice was low with hints of anger.
"Ms. Arcadia said she'd heal. Magnor has been checking every day so far and said she doesn't appear to be tainted, but everyone agrees she'll feel spurts of weakness until she regains her strength," Orion explained.
"Still doesn't explain her dreams. This is the third day in a row where she’s started whispering for help," Finn complained worriedly.
"I don’t like it either. It makes me really concerned. She doesn't remember having them either," Orion admitted.
I was unsure what he meant by that. I'd certainly remember my dreams, right?
"Let's wait a few more days to see if it continues. Tomorrow, we’re supposed to learn the truth about everything from the REAL headmaster." Finn emphasized the last part. The real headmaster...my father.
"Yes, that sounds like a good plan. Maybe we can talk with Orlando privately about Celestia's dreams? He might know something," Orion considered thoughtfully.
"Should we tell the others?" Finn questioned. There was a long pause.
"To be honest, I'm not sure. Telling them would make them worry and I can guarantee we'd all be fighting to be the ones to stay with Celestia if that were the case. We only got lucky with our current arrangement because of the lack of rooms and because Celestia didn't mind sharing with both of us," Orion pointed out.
"I guess. They're working on where we're going to stay now that we 'passed.' I do agree that the others would be really concerned and would probably all want to bunk with her, or at least rotate. It wouldn’t be hard, but I feel Celestia has enough stress on her plate with the whole family thing. Considering she's still recovering from the Forsaken attack, she probably doesn’t need any added worry right now," Finn replied.
"Why don't we tell Magnor when Celestia goes to her checkup? Maybe if we tell him while she's there, it'll trigger her memory?" Orion suggested.
"I'm fine with telling Magnor, but not with Cutie Pie present. Not yet anyway. Could cause her to panic and maybe even have a breakdown. Let her recover first. Maybe Magnor will have a better idea of when the time is right to tell her and explain to her what we've noticed," Finn considered.
"What?" Finn demanded.
"When you're not joking around, you’re actually rather intelligent," Orion mumbled sarcastically.
Finn groaned. "Hearing that from you hurts."
"Saying the truth is better than lying." Orion’s tone was matter-of-fact.
I tried opening my eyes, but only managed to lift my heavy eyelids slightly.
"Lucky Charms," I mumbled. My eyes were open wide enough to see Finn's relieved expression even in the dimmed lights of our room. He reached out and stroked my head. The action made me relax, even though a part of me was still afraid. Did I have a bad dream? The thought made me try to remember something, but as the seconds passed, the paralyzing figments of my imagination were already fading, piece by piece.
"Hey, Cutie Pie. Are you okay?" Finn whispered as he continued to stroke my head.
"So tired." My words were barely audible, the exhaustion in them a perfect indicator of how I felt. I just wanted to go back to sleep at that point.
Arms wrapped around me, giving me a gentle hug from behind. "You want to go back to bed, Celestia?" Orion's soothing voice whispered in my ear, his calm tone making the tension in my shoulders begin to fade. I didn't remember why I was tense to begin with. Why did I wake up actually?
"Yes," I mumbled, relaxing in his hold. Soft lips pressed against my cheek where my spiral blessed marks were. A small smile tugged at my lips; I was happy to feel somewhat warm again. Maybe the A/C was running and that's why I had been so cold. Being in Orion's arms brought comfort, helping my mind calm and begin to drift yet again.
"Let's go back to sleep. We have a big day tomorrow," Finn suggested.
"Ya," I heard Orion agree. My eyes were already closed and I felt him lower me back to the bed, his arm wrapped around my waist while his bare chest pressed against my back.
I had only worn my pink lingerie set to bed, having felt really hot after my shower. So, even with Orion holding me from behind, I still didn't feel warm enough.
I fought to open my eyes. I noticed that Finn was in the process of standing up, taking a second to stretch before he took a step away from the bed.
"Lucy Charms," I whimpered, wishing he'd come hold me too. I guess it was a weird idea to be sandwiched between two sexy men, but it would certainly be warm, which is what I really needed.
He turned around and even with my bleary eyes, I took a moment to savor the view of his bare chest and abs. "Yes, Cutie Pie?" A glimpse of happiness flickered in his green eyes as he lifted his hand to ruffle his short pink hair.
"Stay," I mumbled, trying to fight off sleep for the moment.
"Stay? I'm not leaving this room," he reassured me.
Orion chuckled. "She means come here and sleep on the other side of the bed."
"Oh." Finn seemed momentarily surprised and I was relieved when he walked over to the right side of the bed. Orion shifted our position so there was enough space for Finn to lay down beside me.
Finn lifted the thin blanket and crawled into bed. Once he was comfortable, he moved close enough so I could rest my head against his chest.
"Better, Cutie Pie?" Finn asked softly.
"Better." I smiled sleepily. The combined warmth of Orion and Finn helped me let go of the last of my worries that prevented me from sleeping.
Something soft pressed against my forehead, and I realized Finn had kissed me. "Sleep well, Celestia."
"We'll be right here, so don't feel afraid," Orion whispered reassuringly.
"Mhmm," I mumbled, even as the darkness slowly tugged at my mind. I wasn't afraid anymore, knowing Orion and Finn were with me.
Yes, they're here. I'm safe and warm. The Forsaken can't get to me here. I'll be okay. I'm strong...
Sleep took over then, ending my self-talk before I could finish.