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I open my eyes to a city whose extravagance perfectly parallels the mundane nature of Angele Emerald.
The tallest structure back there is the water tower, which is buckling under its own age.
"Where are we?" I notice I'm standing in Natarajasana. I straighten myself, dropping my shoulders.
"The full name is Svag-Yaatana, though, it's known by many names across the skies. You and Amaranth were projected here—I'm guessing by Cantu. I just don't know how he did it. I need your help. "She starts walking down the busy street, waving and smiling at seemingly regular people who all smile and wave back.
There has to be at least hundreds of thousands here.
"Is that why you told me things 'aren't as true as they seem' back there? Is this all some sort of illusion?" I call out, rushing to catch up.
My legs feel lighter. In fact, my whole body feels light.
She turns and stares—her expression blank. "I said nothing to you after I adjusted your body into Virabhadrasana." She turns her head sharply and proceeds walking, only this time more swiftly.
"Interesting though—everyone recalls their time in Sachchee Drshti differently. I do not know what you saw, felt, or heard while in there. That's between you and the Divine. But your faith was shaken recently, that much I could see."
"I didn't see the Divine, I saw Shaman—and I heard you."
"No, Adrien you saw the Divine. I understand the confusion though. She comes to you in a form intimate to you. Your connection to divine energy was clouded for a while. What happened to you?"
We turn down an alley painted with beautiful murals.
"I was raised by an old woman who lived in a realm within the city I was born in; Adenvale, a city much like this one."
"I took a trip to Adenvale as a girl once."
We turn down another busy street. Every street loaded with people laughing and talking.
"Well, she lives in a pocket dimension that she's inhabited for the last 800 years. I refer to her only as Shaman."
"Mom killed in a WBI raid."
"And your dad?"
I hesitate, "...He died that day too—I've been with Shaman ever since."
"Sounds like you care deeply about this shaman. Why did you leave her? I imagine you were safe in her pocket dimension."
"You would imagine—I had a dream about a year ago that Shaman and I faced off against our enemy."
"I don't know. Shaman's only referred to him as Dante. He's an extremely skilled strategist who was planning some attack on humanity. Shaman said humans rejection of faith and mysticism made them a vulnerable target. We need to be ready to stop him—at all costs."
"That's a lot to put on a kid. Tell me more of the dream."
"I saw him standing over her. I saw her bleeding out. I know it was him—Then I heard a disembodied voice whisper to me:
"Find the shining gem
Find the flower girl
Bathed again in sin
Sacrifice your world"
I would wake up in cold sweats. I had this dream for months until I finally deciphered the message. I needed to find the girl and the gem. Your daughter—"
"And the Angele Emerald?"
"And what was your plan once you found my daughter, with a blocked Sahasrara?"
I hesitate again. "I thought she could unblock it. I thought she could show me how to unlock the power of the Angele Emerald, so Shaman and I could find Dante and take him down—before my premonition comes true."
"Why Amaranth? Just curious."
"Shaman started training me in projection when I was ten after I had accidentally projected into some realm inside the galaxy. She followed me to this small mining town. There was this little girl crying. She had lost her mother. Maybe it was because I had felt that feeling before, but I held her hands until she stopped crying. I remember she had a flower necklace. I guess it was really just a leap of faith. I bought the emerald as soon as I got to town, but I couldn't get it to work. It took some time finding your daughter. There were ten women in town with flower names. Only four of those women were close to me in age. But I couldn't give up. Shaman said we had to be prepared."
She takes a deep breath as we turn down onto a street that seems eerily empty compared to the rest of the city. We walk up to a beautiful red house.
"A war is coming."
"Yeah that's exactly what she would say."
She drops her head long enough for me to read the note that's been nailed to the door.
"Family meeting. Harold, baby girl, and I will be waiting for you where it all began.
P.S. Don't forget the boy. You know how much I enjoy company."