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They slid down into a tunnel of slippery ice like a slide. There was nothing solid enough for them to grab hold of. Finally, they reached the end of the tunnel and slid through an open hole into a huge cavern. The cave was structured in a very different way; there was an elegantly built pillar in each corner. There were also piles of ice blocks laid all around the cave, and an ice pillar pointing straight up in the air.
Sarox and Max looked back at the hole they fell in from, both worrying about their friends.
Sarox looked up at the pillar until he saw an object on top of it. It was supported by its tip as it dangled without falling.
"Is that the Crystal Heart?" he asked.
Max nodded. "Yeah."
He approached the pillar, hoping it would be easy. Then he hit an invisible wall.
"Ouch," he winced as he pressed his forehead.
"It's protected by a magical barrier," Sarox realized.
Max looked over his shoulder. "What do we do?"
He thought for a moment. The best idea to try to break a magical seal was to use the Keyblade. He immediately summoned it and aimed at the Crystal Heart; the weapon's tip fired beams of light and collided with the barrier. It disappeared after a few seconds. The pillar then melted like streaming water. What remained was the Crystal Heart, now hovering in midair and lowering down slowly. Max opened his hands to catch it.
But it shattered as soon as it touched his palms. He looked around the floor in shock.
"What happened?" he asked.
Before he could get an answer, they were interrupted. The piled ice blocks in the corners suddenly moved, and shifted as if they were coming to life. In fact, they were coming to life. All the blocks on every pile moved and attached themselves to each other, and turned into a guard of four. All of them created from ice blocks, and have a spear in their hands.
The guards surrounded Sarox and Max, but did not attack. The two boys stood ready just in case. Just then, in another side of the ice cave, at the top of a short icy staircase, a two-door gate opened and two more guards emerged. One of the guards nudged Sarox's shoulder with his spear and ordered, "Move."
Another one did the same to Max. The two boys didn't want unnecessary battles, so they complied. Sarox thought it would be logical to tell the Ice Princess why they were trying to steal the Crystal Heart. If she would not accept to their explanation, they could still fight their way out.
"Kneel before the Ice Princess," one of the guards said as soon as they reached the stairs.
They immediately complied. The guards at the gate moved to the side to reveal the appearance of a young girl dressed in a dress as white as snow with crown made of ice. The structure reminded Sarox of certain mystical objects he found on his adventures. They immediately recognized the princess's face: the exact duplicate of Max's classmate, Marissa.
"You tried to steal the Crystal Heart," the Princess said. Even her voice was the same as Marissa's. "Why?"
Max was the one who answered. "We believe it can stop time long enough to stop the Darkness from destroying the planet."
"My Crystal Heart cannot help you, only I have the power to use it."
"Then come with us," Sarox said.
"She can never leave the castle," a voice intervened as its source emerged from the gate. Another being made of ice, only this one wore a crown. Definitely the king. "The Crystal is the only thing that protects our kingdom."
"Please, Your Highness. We're running out of time," Sarox pleaded. "Our friends have been captured by Mr. Electric. We need the Crystal Heart's power to save them and all of us."
"Sarox?" another voice said.
He recognized it. From behind the King and the Princess came Marlene running out from the gate. He brightened at the sight of her, safe and sound, and forgot what he was saying a second ago. As the girl blissfully ran down the stairs, he ran forward until they bumped into each other's embraces. The guards did not stop them.
"Marlene," he whispered and held her tighter. It felt like forever since he last saw her.
Max walked to their side, grinning.
"I knew you'd come," she said with total confidence.
When he pulled away, he asked, "What're you doing here?"
"I woke up here. The Ice Princess has kept me company the whole time. She's very lovely."
They turned back to the Princess. There wasn't time to lose.
"Princess, you're part of this Planet, too," Max said. "Right now, the whole planet is in danger because of the Darkness. We might have a chance to stop it, but what we don't have is enough time. We need your help. Not just for us and the planet, but for your kingdom as well."
The Ice Princess considered that and touched her necklace. "You need to make your way to the Dream Lair to be able to stop the source. It's right across the ocean. I can use the Crystal Heart to keep the Darkness at bay, but it won't hold too long. Only the planet's strongest core will have the power to stop it. And only you, Max, will know how to make it happen."
He gave a puzzled look. "What do you mean?" he asked.
"Your dreams are what created this planet. Only your dreams will have the power to save it, but you also need to find the strength to use it wisely. I have faith in you, Max. Now, go. I will help you from here. Good luck. My guards will lead you to the exit."