Darkness. That's all Ghost could see. The pain she felt earlier was gone. She tried lifting her arms but couldn't move. Her mouth felt dry. She flicked her ears for any sound. Silence. "Hello…" Another bout of silence. "HELLOOO! CAN ANYONE HEAR ME?! Ekty? Razz? Orchid?" She rubbed her head. Her mind tried to remember what happened. Then, she gasped as it all came back to her. The white light. The screeching. The Necromacer and Razz. Ghost started to run. To where, she didn't know. She just had to find them.
Suddenly, a song drifted in the air. Her ears twitched. A small flicker of light. Ghost moved toward it. A wave of calm crawled over her. Each step felt less resistant. In a matter of moments, she found herself in a place she's never been to. Her eyes took a moment to adjust to the light. A forest appeared before her. Bright shades of green danced around the tree. The sky was brighter. To Ghost's shock, she saw a Vapran with pure blue eyes running over to her. The Vapran was soon followed by a thin Grotten. His amber eyes filled with modesty.
"Ghost!" The Vapran shouted. "Ghost!" She hugged Ghost hard. She rubbed her head against the white, bald head. "I've waited so long to see you!"
Ghost took a moment. Then, tears sprung out of her eyes. "Mother?" Her eyes grew brighter as the Vapran nodded. "Mother!" Ghost hugged back. Every ounce of her strength went into her arms. Her smile widened when the Grotten, the one she knows is her father, walked over and hugged them both. She's been waiting for this moment for so long. Now, it finally happened. Reunited once again. Thra had called Ghost home. Her ears flicked as she heard another set of footsteps. Once, the hug was dispersed, she saw someone she hadn't seen in a while. "Mira!"
Mira stood there. She no longer had the injuries from before Thra called her home. Her eyes bright and happy as they'd always been. She smiled as Ghost ran up to her. She laughed as Ghost knocked her down. "It's good to see you. Ghost...You've been through so much since I left."
Ghost sniffed. "In more ways than one." She began to tell all that happened. Including her friendship with the Arathim. Her ears drooped at the idea of what Orchid must be doing now that she's gone. She looked at Mira. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you, Rian or Gurjin about it. I wanted to find the right time."
Mira smiled. "You always wanted to make friends with everyone." Her face then soured. "Well, except for Chamberlain."
Which is why you must return…
Ghost jumped at the strange voice. She looked around violently. There was no other Gelfling besides her birth parents and Mira, who also jumped in surprise. Then, a thought occurred to her. Something that she thought wasn't possible for a Gelfling like her. "Thra...Is that you?"
"What do you mean by 'return'? Don't the ones that you call home never…"
Every Gelfling, Podling, Gurnak and creature all have a part in my song. Your part is far from over.
Ghost looked on in surprise. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. A chance to be back with Rian, Gurjin and everyone back at the castle? Maybe even get back to...Her wings perked up at the thought of seeing the Hunter again. Then, she shook herself as she remembered what happened to her. "Wait! But SkekSil-"
Do not worry about that...There is a darker force that is invading. Your powers are needed as well as the others who still stand. I will lend you whatever strength you need to stay alive while you recover.
Ghost was silent for a moment. All her life she wanted Thra to call her home so she could be with her family. Yet, there were still so many that she still needed to get back to. Orchid, Razz. Rian had already lost Mira. It would hurt the Stonewood warrior if she left. SkekTek. SkekEkt was still in an uncertain state. She also, above anything else, wanted to make peace with the hunter. She got up from her log. "Alright...I'll go back." She turned to her parents and Mira. "Good by everyone. I'm so glad to be here...But now Thra is sending me back to help. I know we'll see each other again." She hugged them all.
"Hang on, Ghost." Mira said. "I'm sure you'll find love soon enough. Tell Rian this when the time is right." The Vapran whispered something in Ghost's ear.
Then, it was her mother's turn. "I'm so proud of you. I'm a little upset what the Emperor did, but don't give up on the others."
Her father looked at her with sad eyes. "I wish I could've seen you sooner….If you ever run into SkekLi, tell him that what happened that day wasn't his fault."
Ghost looked a bit confused. What did the Satirist have to do with her father? She knew SkekLi would come to the Castle from time to time. Laughter was her special little nickname for him since his jokes would always make her laugh. She hadn't seen much of him as she got older. A few times, she could've sworn she saw a pained look in his eyes. Then, Ghost nodded. "Farewell. I love you all." With that Ghost kept walking until everything was dark again.
Ghost walked on. Thra's song fading with each step. She listened. Waiting to wake. Then, she heard something. A whimper. Not Chamberlain's whimper. One that she was slightly familiar with. Ghost ran to it. There, to her horror, was SkekEkt. She took in every thick, thorny vines that coiled around him. The skin that the Ornamentalist took care of is now being torn. Ghost reached out for him. Her hands touched his claws. "Ekty! Ekty! Wake up!"
SkekEkt opened his eyes slightly. They barely focused. When they landed on Ghost, the Ornamentalist immediately lifted his head. "Ghost? Is that you?" His claws wrapped around her. Tears start to form in his eyes. "Where are we? Why's it so dark?"
"I'm here to get you out of here!" Ghost began tugging at the thorns. She cringed as she tried pulling them away. Her hands felt a wicked energy. It was like the Darkening...but more alive. An extension of a creature. Ghost shivered. She could almost feel something slithering nearby. A sensation that she had felt before...but where? Ghost didn't know. Right now it was best to get SkekEkt out of this darkness. Then, a hollow laugh reached her ears.
"Well...Isn't that touching? I haven't seen anything that nauseating since I've last been here."
SkekEkt froze. He began to shiver with fright. His lip quivered. "No...Not him. Not that voice again."
"Do you really think he loves you, Ghost?" The sinister voice mocked. "He only sees you as a funny looking pet! You mean nothing to him. He's a nobody. A shadow not worth saving."
Something about that made Ghost's blood boil. Suddenly, her orange eyes blazed. She may have been lied to by the ones that loved her. SkekSo hit her and told her that no one loved her. However, Ekty was holding her hand. His eyes filled with so much sorrow. "He IS someone worth saving! I may not understand everything, but I'm NOT leaving him behind!" Suddenly, she began to mutter strange, undistinguished words. The moment she said those words, the vines suddenly crystalized. They crackled. Like glass, they broke and a million butterflies surrounded Ghost and SkekEkt. It was followed by a furious scream. Once the noise subsided, Ghost looked up at the Ornamentalist and smiled sadly. "Let's go home…" Without another word, Ghost held SkekEkt's claws and led him away. Going further into the peaceful bliss of darkness.