Chapter 11

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Crickets sang through the night. Their chirps rang over the sound of the nightly animals, skirmishing within the forest brushes. The tall grass Gaiana walked along scratched at her feet. Gaiana wanted to claw at them, for that warm relieving sensation of getting rid of a bad itch, but she couldn't.

Zora walked ahead of her. Fireflies floated between them creating trails of light leading to their destination. It felt as though the fireflies were following Zora, like her presence allured them with some unseeable power. Gaiana was certain Zora was some sort of witch, vengefully acting against the will of the Gods.

The light in the sky was faint, with a crescent moon barely giving enough light to see the budding tulips in the grasstops. The flowers were asleep, she'd once been told. Gaiana used to talk to flowers at night, thinking she could wake them.

All the memories were pouring into Gaiana as she lacked control of her body but maintained control of her mind. The silent mourning continued in her head while her body moved on its own. She at least dreamed of burying Sophus, so that he could pass onto the next life. Every ounce of her body wanted to beg, cry, or scream for Zora to give her her freedom, but her thoughts and intentions futile under the whim of the witch.

Zora said, "you are a deviant."

Zora's hair had morphed to a raven black into an aurora white. Like a ghost's hair, it seemingly floated as she walked forward. Any attempts to pretend to be a man was abandoned. She strided forward like an alluring woman.

"When I saw that tattoo for the first time, I realized that you had latent abilities. It was designed to enslave your kind, with a mark to suppress your secret abilities. I'm not sure who marked you with that tattoo at birth, but you were clearly marked with the intention of serving someone else, and through a stroke of luck you avoided such a fate. Until now."

They walked uphill. It was a canyon side in the outskirts of the city. The canyon itself was black in Gaiana's eyes. The crescent moon couldn't provide enough light for her to see it. But when Zora turned her head back to speak to Gaiana, she noticed that her eyes became crystalline clear. It reflected the firefly torches like a mirror, with dots of light from the starlight sky.

They were shaped like the eyes of a cat, sharp as an animal, she could guide them effortlessly through the night.

"I wanted to wait to bring you here. Spend a few more years collecting crystals from across Greece, but an impending Persian invasion has changed that. I'll need you now, to find the Atlantean treasures as soon as possible."

Zora lead Gaiana into a thorny brush. Again, Gaiana's legs scratched across the thorn bush without her permission. Whereas before she wanted the sweet relief from scratching her own legs, now she wanted to avoid the cuts coming from the thorny bush.

Behind the brushes was a cave. Zora's footsteps echoed inside while Gaiana followed behind her. The heat dropped after entering. Gaiana's forehead moistened from the newfound humidity. Gaiana's vision becme blinded by the darkness while Zora lead her.

"There used to be more deviants in Greece. Which is how I've found so many crystals." Her voice echoed as she raised up her crystal for Gaiana to see. It glowed as bright as a lantern, and provided a small light for Gaiana to follow. "I knew there were deviants across the world, but Greece once held an ancient city ruled by Deviants. After discovering this, I spent my time searching for Atlantean relics. Your aether is key to helping me find their greatest treasure."

Ahead of them, glow worms began lighting up the cave. The larva latched into the ceiling and edges, giving a trail of ambiance as they walked. Natural crystals could be seen. Gaiana wondered if they carried the same energy as Zora's crystal did.

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