Holy CRAP this is a long chapter. Still, I guess it makes up for the short last one.

Chapter 6: Exploration

Celosia trotted up to Dirge's shady tunnel. Unlike yesterday, it was a bright and sunny morning. The leaves and grass were still wet from last night's showers, but the day looked less bleak than it had in a long time.

She even felt in a better mood that morning. In fact, she was in such a good mood she wanted to check on her friend to see how he was doing with the kid.

Celosia walked into the cool tunnels that lead into the sand cavern, and what she found was amusing to say the least.

Dirge was sluggishly moving around, scraping the walls with his face to shine them further.

She laughed and got his attention.

The older Colossus turned and lazily acknowledged her with a yawn, "Morning Celosia. Coming…back so soon?"

Despite what they were, sleeping was probably the most organic thing they did.

She walked to him and cocked her head, "Morning, and yes. I wanted to check up on you, though it seems she's already wearing you out."

He blinked and stared at her with annoyed, half open eyes. It was interesting. He was the only one that had eyelids, and he rarely closed them unless it was to burrow under the ground. Such big eyes were very sensitive.

It made her slightly envious, as silly as that was.

He yawned again and slowly said, "Not really. I'm just not a…morning stone, and Lyna woke me up early."

"Right." Celosia looked around the cave, but only spotted Nostoc sleeping. He was still weak and recovering from the poison, "Where is the little sprout anyway?"

"She wanted…to get out and…explore a little more. I figured it…was good for her to find…things on her own, and she was…more eager to look…around. So I let her leave. Now…I have to stay awake for…her return, or if she gets into any trouble. Even if it's…impossible for me to reach her, Dormin…damn me if that…stops my tracks. Besides, any…of the other Colossi in the area will sense the child in peril and will…rush to her aid."

"Still cautious to go up, huh?" Celosia sadly said, to which Dirge didn't respond. She sighed and looked away, "Don't worry. You'll get the nerve sooner or later."

"I've been…telling myself that for a hundred …years. I doubt it, but if…she's in danger I'll risk it."

"Come on, you stupid lizard! Get…down here!" Lyna desperately swung her sharpened stick at the black lizard on the wall. The branch hit the stone just a few feet under him, but just out of her reach. It stunned him enough however to make him fall on his back, revealing his white underside.

Excited at the thought of meat instead of fruit, she lunged towards the lizard with her hands. The animal rolled back onto his feet and scurried away before she could catch it, sending her onto her chest and stomach in the dirt, "Oof!"
The impact hurt her chest and ribs, knocking some wind out of her. The lizard ran away into the stone entrance of the separate valley nearby, something she hadn't wanted him to do.

Now he's going to be even harder to catch in the open!

Muttering, she picked up her stick and went after him. This would work so much better if she had an actual weapon! Like a sword or a bow and arrow or something!

Angrily chasing him through the fields, she desperately started stabbing at him with her wooden weapon. The lizard must have been psychic, because every time she stabbed at him he ran to the side or a little ahead of her and the tip of the stick ended up going into the ground.

Frustrated to no end, she picked up the pace and kept at it, determined not let him get away. Suddenly, at the next stab, her stick didn't hit dirt but instead carved stone. This ultimately broke the primitive weapon in half within her hand.

The lizard climbed down the side of the cliff and out of sight in her momentary distraction.

She stopped and just stared at the stone. She knew she should be angry that the lizard just got away and her little spear just broke. Yet, she was so stunned that the thought she just ran across the valley on her own two feet that she was rooted to the spot.
Slowly moving her gaze up, Lyna saw the stone actually stretch out to a floor, and that stretched out into large carved columns that lead onto a sturdy stone bridge.

Lyna stood up and dropped the stick's remains onto the ground. Curious, she cautiously took a few steps forward, each slower than the last.

She moved across the stone floor and onto the bridge section, subconsciously running her hand across the withered, metal gates that acted as rails. The bridge didn't go very far, but it lead into a deep crevice. She looked down below and saw an enormous lake below the bridge, a few rocks and ruins breaking the placid surface.
Looking ahead, there was a beautiful spiral staircase that leads all the way down into the water. Well, it was shaped like a spiral staircase, but no steps and crafted from the same carved stone.

The staircase was separate from the bridge, but Lyna could tell it was once connected. It must have broken off after many years.

She contemplated the idea of jumping across to reach the lake below, but became apprehensive. She walked to the edge of the bridged and leaned over, her feet on the brim, trying to spot anything out of ordinary in the waters below.
Who knew what kind of dangerous creatures or things could be living in that water? Or what if it was slimey and murky? Or what if there were sharks?

She was always afraid of sharks.

Lyna was about to decide on her next course of action, when suddenly the unthinkable happened.

The lizard, the same damn lizard she was chasing before, decided to pop up again. He peaked himself up over the edge of the bridge, crawling up onto her shoes. Startled, she tried to step back but the rain water on the bridge caused her heel to slide. The slippery action made her leg swing upwards and into the air. The lizard hopped off her other foot onto the bridge, but Lyna had no time to react. Flailing, she reached around her for anything to grab, but there was nothing within arm's length.

With a startled gasp and a cry, Lyna toppled over the edge of the bridge.

It was almost like slow motion, her fall into the water. When she finally hit it, she fell in face and shoulders first. The impact caused her head to painfully snap back, but by a miracle it didn't break. It hurt though, and stunned her for several seconds.

Long after she hit the surface, she continued to sink under the water. The lake was cool and clean, not at all icy or murky. In fact, it was pleasant, refreshing even. The pain from her neck and shoulders seemed to melt away in it.
She was dazed, the fall clouding her mind and getting lost in the darkness of the lake as she sank further and further from the light of the water's surface.

Slowly regaining her senses, she realized she couldn't breathe and started to sluggishly move her limbs.

Air…must get to…air…

Moving her arms and legs up and down until they cooperated, she started to maneuver herself so that she was upright. Midway through, she paused in her quest for air. From the darkness of the bottomless lake slowly emerged two large, bright blue eyes.

The shock of something large in the water caused Lyna to suck in her breath, and as a result swallowed a bunch of water in her lungs. Choking, she frantically flailed in the water, panicking and kicking around. Bubbles went everywhere and blinded her, causing her anxiety and desperation to rise. In her struggle, she managed to find her sense of direction and swam upwards.

Air! Air!

Kicking her limbs as hard as she could, she reached the light and broke through the surface. She flicked her hair back from her face(think Ariel)so she can get a full breath of oxygen. Instead, the water already in her lungs came back up and she started coughing the liquid out. It was surprising she didn't' vomit.

Once she was able to breathe again, she calmed herself enough to tread the water. She wasn't the best swimmer, but at least she was able to stay afloat. It was salty, so it had to be from the ocean.

Coughing and spitting a few more times, she looked around her. The water was so still and calm, it was like a mirror. She would appreciate its beauty if she hadn't just nearly broken her neck.

Turning in the water, she spotted a nearby piece of rubble sticking out of the surface. Must be huge to reach the bottom of the lake, and it was much closer than the spiral ruins up. It was still kinda far though, and she was already getting worn out from trying to float.

Sputtering and doing the world's most awkward dog paddle, Lyna slowly but steadily started making her way to the rubble. It was all going just fine, even if the lack of a floor under the water made her feel a little vulnerable.
Perhaps what she saw under the water was just a delusion caused from the fall.

She started to believe this theory, until she heard and felt a moan from beneath her. The vibration from the unknown voice rumbled through the water, causing the surface to ripple in several places.

Icy fear crawled up her spine and took a hold of her nervous system, causing her to shake uncontrollably.

"Okay Lyna…" she said to herself, struggling like crazy to reach the rock, "Just stay calm. It's nothing to panic about. There are no sharks in this water, right? No, you're okay. You're going to be okay…"

She moved her limbs faster to swim through the water, but instead ended up just making bigger splashes.
In the midst of her attempt to reach the rubble, she heard another moan, this time louder and closer. Before she could think about it any further, she felt something smooth and hard push against her right calf.

Her mind snapped.

Screaming, she shot her arms straight into the air and began kicking as hard as she could downwards to scare away the creature.

Her foot hit something, but instead of colliding with fleshy skin, it slipped on the smooth surface and caused her to bang her knee hard. Yelping, she pulled her knee away and rubbed it with her left hand to ease the pain.
Her attacker then pushed up from underneath her, lifting her out of the water and onto her back. She screamed again and began flinging her arms and legs, trying to hit anything to make it drop her, "Get away! Put me down! Put me down!"

"Calm down!" yelled a feminine, aquatic toned voice, "Calm down child! I won't hurt you!"

She stopped flailing, dumbfounded, and turned onto her chest to face her assailant. She gasped when she saw the same two blue eyes staring back at her and realized she was lying on top of a smooth algae covered snout.
Crying out of surprise, she pushed herself off of the Colossus's face and plopped back in the water. This only was for a second before the stone monster put its head underneath her and lifted her partially out of the lake again.

This time, Lyna was slumped horizontally on her stomach on the creature's snout, sputtering and letting her legs hang on the opposite side, her toes barely touching the water.

The figure in the water moved smoothly to the rubble she was swimming to earlier. It lifted her completely out of the lake this time, Lyna just hanging there dripping, and tipped her head so the human rolled onto the rock's surface.

Coughing and wheezing, Lyna laid on her back and stared at the sky, stunned at what just happened. The Colossus soon move its head over her, water dripping from her stone face and gently splashing onto Lyna's skin, "Are you alright?" it, or she, asked, concern in her melodious voice.

The girl's eyes flickered a bit when one of the Colossus's mossy feelers on her face brushed her brow, reminding her of a catfish's whiskers.

Groaning, Lyna let her adrenaline fade to a normal level and gently started to sit up. She was a little stunned when the Colossus moved to push her up with her snout.

When she was sitting normally, the Colossus moved back to her original position and nodded. She was unable to smile, but judging by her blue eyes she was happy and relieved, "Oh thank goodness. I thought you were going to drown. It would have been so horrible to lose you!"

Blinking the salt water from her eyes, Lyna looked at the Colossus in confusion, "Wha? Huh?" squinting, it took a second for her mind to process.

The Colossus before her was beautiful. It was very long, like a snake, and she swayed and moved her body to tread the water in front of her. Her green feelers on her snout hung there loosely, and her moss and algae covered back was green and luscious. Her dark grey stone skin was smooth from the years of water and sand rubbing against it, but it was a little worn from depression just like everyone else. Her bright eyes were small but perfect for her size. From there, Lyna could see three distinct glowing orange spikes jutting from her back. One near her head, one in the middle of her back, and one near her lower back.
They pulsed and shined, very much alive with energy.

Lyna took in a breath, realizing who she was, "Hydrus, the Water Serpent."

Still unable to smile, she gave another nod, "Indeed, dear. You would be correct."

All fear she had dissipated at the sight of her, "Wow…"

Hydrus seemed flattered by the girl's admiration and giggled. Yes, she actually giggled, not chuckled or bellowed.

Lyna laid her legs flat against the rock she was sitting on and leaned on the palms of her hands, "Just…well, hi. It's an honor to meet you Hydrus. I'm Lyna." She pushed her wet hair back away from her face, "What are you doing here?"

The Colossus seemed a little taken aback, "Well, I could ask you the same thing. This is my home, so I have an obligation to be here. You, by definition, are trespassing."

Lyna became nervous and started scooting off the rock, "Oh-oh no I-I didn't mean to-"

"It's quite alright." She giggled again, "Judging by how you tumbled off that bridge, it was an accident."

Lyna became very embarrassed and pushed one of her white strands of hair behind her right ear, "Oh, you…saw that?"

"Sure did. It was quite a plunge." Hydrus moved her head to look up at the bridge, "I'm grateful you didn't break every bone in your tiny human body from the fall. That would have been terrible."
She looked back down to her and her eyes brightened, "I'm just so happy to meet you! I was waiting for a chance to meet you near a river or something, but never did I dream you would drop into my lake!"

Her eagerness was amusing, but slightly unnerving and caused Lyna to move backwards.

Hydrus realized she was making the girl uncomfortable and decided to tone it down a bit, "Sorry. Didn't mean to get so loud. It's just…ever since you arrived I knew it was important, the feeling I had. I was the first to see you in the fields, so I left to inform everyone I could reach."

"You…did?" she hugged her knees against her chest and leaned forward, "May I ask who?"

"Oh! Yes, well." Hydrus looked up at the sky and thought for a moment, "I told Quadratus, Avion, Gaius, and Kuromori. In fact, I asked my soul brother to greet you here! How did it go?"

Lyna winced, having to remember that encounter yet again, "Um, not well. He scared the daylights out of me…"

Hydrus for a moment seemed dumbfounded before her eyes flashed a mild orange and she threw her head up in anger, "Kuro! I told him to be nice! Is that too much to ask from him?! Ugh!" she moved her face back down in it's previous position and shook it back and forth sadly, "Please forgive my brother for his foolish outburst. I should have known he would have been less than kind."

Lyna held her hands up in an easing motion, "It's alright. If I see him again I'm sure we'll sort it out." She half lied. Inwardly, she hoped she'd never had to deal with him again. He may not be evil, but she was worried he might accidentally hurt her.

Hydrus's eyes suddenly seemed to sparkle when she happily asked, "Would you like to come with me to explore? I'm sure this could help you get more comfortable around me, and get a little used to our home. Don't worry; I'll be careful not to shock you."
Lyna saw her electric spines die down a little bit. They still pulsed and glowed orange, but she saw no electricity. Apparently, Hydrus could decide when they would shock or not.

It was so odd, having a giant stone creature actually ask if she could play with it. Still, she would like to go, "Well, uh, sure. Just as long as we don't do anything dangerous else Dirge will have a heart attack…um, so to speak."

"Dirge?" she suddenly changed her tone from happy to interested, "Oh right, Malus told us that he's your Guardian, yes?"

"Uh huh." Lyna leaned back a bit when Hydrus moved a little closer, "How…is he?" she asked.

Lyna became a little hesitant from the invasion of personal space and carefully said, "He's alright, but very lonely. He seems very happy I'm there."

"Good, good." She sounded very relieved, as limited as her expressions were, "Thank you, so much. Dirge is a very good friend of mine and it pains me that I never see him. I'm glad he's happy."

Her tone had slightly more concern than she expected. It was still odd that the two interacted at all, what with how different they were.

Hydrus then seemed to recover and go back to her previous attitude, "Well, why stay here? Come, lets go exploring."

She leaned down and placed her head in the water to make it easy for Lyna to climb on. The young gril stood on the rock she was sitting and hopped over onto Hydrus, nearly slipping off because of the water and algae. Once she steadied herself, she sat down on the moss just behind Hydrus's head and had to crossed her legs. The green moss was very soft and felt like fuzz. It was far different than the hard stone of either Celosia or Dirge.

The Colossus then moved and started to swim to one of the walls of the large lake. Lyna had no idea what she was doing until Hydrus called, "Hang onto the moss on my back. We're going to have to go under."

Lyna became nervous at the thought of her diving, but knew she could trust the benevolent stone creature. Taking a deep breath, she hunkered down onto her hands and knees and gripped the moss in her fingers as tight as she could.

Hydrus seemed to know that Lyna was ready and dove into the blue abyss. Lyna expected horrible crushing pressure that would rip her from Hydrus, but was pleasantly surprised when this wasn't the case. Instead, they descended into the water at a calm pace. Hydrus made sure to move at a rate that was gentle enough to not hurt Lyna, but swift enough to get them to the surface in time. After all, humans needed to breathe whereas she didn't.

Hydrus dove easily under the water through the large opening in the wall that allowed her to leave the confines of her lake. Once they made it, she carefully ascended to not harm Lyna with the pressure change. Lyna didn't even notice her low air supply. She was too focused on the movement around her. Though she couldn't see, she could feel the power of the mighty Water Serpent, moving and shifting her stone form to swim through the cool water. It was an indescribable feeling; like moving with a magical being in a completely different world.

Then as soon as it began it ended when Hydrus emerged from the water, causing gravity to make Lyna plop back down onto her mossy neck. She snorted a few times and spat the salt water from her lips, but other than getting soaked again she was fine. She didn't even feel light headed from the water pressure or lack of air. Hydrus had emerged in plenty of time.

As Lyna adjusted herself back to her original crossed-legged position, she was slightly disappointed that they emerged from the water so fast. She wished they could have spent a little more time swimming around like that.

She was brought out of her thoughts when she got a look of her surroundings. They were in a large river that lead out to some kind of bay that surrounded the Forbidden lands. Hydrus shifted through the water as they moved forward, "There we are."

Like a gentle canoe ride, Hydrus slowly carried Lyna out to the ocean and swam next to the large steep cliffs that surrounded their home. She stared in awe and craned her neck to stare at the vast structures. They were sculpted with time and age, millions and millions of years old. It was like a dream to see such natural beauty.

Hydrus said with pride, "I patrol the edges of the Forbidden Lands often, child. My duty is to protect this place from any unnatural threats from the sea. This place can't be reached by any normal means, mind you, but there are magical creatures in these depths that are far less friendly than I. You would do well not to swim out too far on your own."

Lyna shuddered a bit, remembering her previous fear about sharks. What kind of sharks would the forbidden lands have anyway?

A giant stone shark with spinning teeth came to mind…

She became a little calmer when Hydrus turned and took her into another that river that ran through the land, for it would take a while to swim all around.

While they were swimming through the vast caverns, Lyna suddenly had an afterthought and she had to ask, "Hydrus? You called Kuromori your brother, and I've heard Dirge call Celosia Cenobia's soul sister. What does that mean? How can you be related?"

Hydrus shifted a bit, "Well, we're not really related per say, at least not the way you humans are. It's hard to explain, but some of us can just 'feel' a certain connection to others. We're all connected in a way, but some feel different. Kuromori feels close to me like a brother and Phalanx I see as a sister. The same goes for Celosia and Cenobia and Dirge and Basaran. Dirge and Basaran are particularly odd since those two have nothing and common and never see each other."

"Basaran? The tortoise? Dirge never told me he had a soul brother." Lyna frowned, wondering why he failed to mention that when they were talking.

Hydrus swiveled around some of the narrower canyon walls, but swam through them easily despite her size, "Like I said, they don't have anything in common. Basaran is…not the nicest. Let's just put it that way. I'd rather not talk ill about him behind his back."

Basaran being that way was certainly a far cry from Dirge's meek, if not temperamental, attitude. No wonder the two wouldn't get along.
Yet, she had to wonder if any others were connected the same way, "What about the others? Quadratus and Pelagia? Valus and Malus?"

Hydrus let out a very loud laugh that rippled the water she was swimming in, "No, certainly not. We're the only pairs that are connected that way, and I assure you that despite the name similarities Valus and Malus are defiantly not connected that way. They are good friends and nothing more."

"I see." Lyna mumbled as the Canyon spread out into a forest area with a river large enough for Hydrus to move through.

The trees were beautiful and Hydrus slowed her movement even more to let Lyna admire the view. Some of the trees had pink flowers that seemed to be just blossoming. Hydrus said in awe, "I have swam through this passage several times, and I haven't seen the tree's flowers blooming in many years. It's as if life has returned to them."

Lyna cocked her head in wonder, curious as to why.

This thought mildly passed as they came across some of the branches, low enough for Lyna to reach. Some of the pink petals had floated down into the water and moved idly by, but a flower had not fallen. Taking this chance, Lyna reached up and plucked one of the beautiful flowers from a branch. Hydrus didn't seemed to mind and stopped swimming so Lyna could curl the blossom into her white hair, just above her right ear.
Ever since she was a little girl, she loved doing this with flowers, especially large ones.

Once it was in, Hydrus adjusted herself to look at Lyna, to which her blue eyes shined, "Very pretty."

Lyna smiled in slight embarrassment as Hydrus moved her head back and continued their journey through the passage.

From the morning all the way into the late afternoon, Hydrus took her to every lovely area she knew, ranging from impressive canyons and empty caves to shady forest areas. Occasionally they would stop in these forests for Lyna to have a lunch break and Hydrus to rest for a little while, talking all the while about how old these passages were and how long Hydrus has been exploring them.

She was a pleasure to talk to, and many times Lyna nearly forgot she was talking to a large stone being. Hydrus was quite chatty for a Colossus, but Lyna didn't seem to mind. It made her less scary.

Late in the day, as Hydrus was talking to Lyna about how beautiful the sunset was on the ocean, she paused in her sentence and asked, "Lyna, have you ever even been to a beach?"

Lyna shook her head, "No. To be honest it was my first time seeing the ocean today."

Hydrus seemed to shake in glee and she calmly said, "Most of the surrounding bays only have large cliffs or small beaches, but there is one beach that is more than large enough to play on. May I take you there?"

Excited as any child to visit the beach for the first time, Lyna eagerly answered, "Yes please!"

Hydrus changed course and started heading to another open ocean area where she knew would take them straight to their destination. She couldn't wait for her to get there, but not for reasons Lyna knew.

The two slowly made their through the ocean water until they came across a beautiful beach. The beach was huge, more like a field, and had several old looking archways coming out of the sand. There seemed to be a stone pathway with several carvings coming out of the sand and up onto the higher land. Among the stone wall the beach was a part of was a humongous cave with what seemed to be open doors. Lyna figured it was just another empty temple that people used to visit.

Hydrus swam up as close as she could to the beach to allow Lyna to jump off. The girl happily moved off of the Water Serpent's back and fell waist deep into the ocean water. She moved up onto the sand of the beach and smiled at the sound of the ocean hitting the shore. It was a beautiful noise, and the air smelled of sea salt.

Curious, she tugged off her shoes and let the feeling of the sand and water touch her feet, making her feel like a little kid.

She turned around to Hydrus, who was not too far off from the shore. The Colossus seemed to be enjoying her happiness and seemed to urge her to play with her eyes.

The young teen let out a yay as she ran around on the sand, kicking it up and occasionally running her feet into the water. She didn't care how silly it looked. She was having a lot of fun.

After running around silly for a few minutes, a loud rumble got her attention. She turned away from the ocean and looked to the large cave. She couldn't believe how she had nearly forgotten about it in her excitement. She slowly began to move towards the cave to explore it.

She was a little nervous, but Hydrus was watching her. If anything bad happened she could always run back into the water.

As she moved towards the cave, Hydrus didn't seem to protest so she thought it would be safe, but then another rumble made her stop in her tracks. Before she could react, a huge figure suddenly emerged without warning from the darkness of the cave, yet another Colossus.

This one was hundreds of feet tall and was defiantly the biggest one she has seen so far. The large creature walked on all fours with enormous hooves that glowed white underneath. The stone on its back matched the stone of the beach's path and similar carvings adorned them. It was covered in moss and seaweed along most of his body except for his back and face. Its carved face was huge and long, looking much like a bull's with similar horns. Its eyes sparked blue as it looked down to the child only a few feet from its hooves.

Lyna's look of joy turned to shock at its sudden appearance. She screamed and fell backwards into the sand. When it reached a hoof towards her, she couldn't stop herself from yelling, "St-stay away from me!"

Scrambling, she pushed herself up off the sand and nearly fell a few times and fled to the water, but stopped when she was knee deep when Hydrus suddenly lifted her head out of the water, "No no! It's alright! Don't be afraid of him!"

Lyna had no idea what she was talking about until she turned back around. He was standing there on the beach, looking down at her quite pitifully.

She then remembered the Bull Colossus that was said to be benevolent to all who visited his beach, "Quadratus…" she whispered.

The large Guardian was known to welcome any human to his beach, and took a lot of joy in playing with the children that visited him. He was horribly saddened when they stopped coming or died out because of the plague, and had also fallen into depression.

When he saw that another child was once again laughing and playing on his beach, he was so happy he wanted to greet her, but she had run away from him like he was a monster.

Frankly, she had hurt his feelings.

Sulking, Quadratus turned to walk back into his cave when Lyna took a step towards him in the water, "Wait." She called up loud enough for him to hear.

He turned around partly to look at her with sad grey eyes. Holding up her courage, Lyna walked completely out of the water and on the beach towards him, shaking out of intimidation from his size, "I-I'm sorry. You just startled me. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, honest."
He didn't move as she walked to him and placed both of her hands on his hoof, "Don't be sad, great one. Let's be friends?"

She hoped he could hear her all the way up there, but Quadratus had talked to many children before and had no problem hearing her, "It's alright." He boomed, his voice matching his size, "It's just I've never had a human scream and run from me. Surprised, yes, but never run away."

"The fault was mine, Quadratus." Hydrus called out, "I didn't tell Lyna this beach was yours because I wanted it to be a surprise. It was foolish of me to not predict how she would act."

The Bull sluggishly nodded and looked back to Lyna in a friendly way, "Lyna? Such a nice name. I speak for most when I say how glad I am that a human is here once again. You are a descendent of the people of the Colossi?"

"Yes I am." She smiled, his scary face become less frightening thanks to his eyes, "My parents told me you played with many of the people who came here and how nice you were. I'm really sorry again. It's just you can imagine how frightening it was to see a large creature come out of a dark cave I thought was empty."

His eyes shined so brightly that Lyna knew if he had a mouth he'd be smiling. Her smile broadened a little bit. It was really something, looking into the eyes of any of the Colossi. It was far beyond fascinating.

He then bowed his head down to her so that his face was level with hers, "I hope our friend hasn't been talking your ears off." He spoke quietly to not hurt her hearing.

Lyna giggled, "Certainly not. I'm quite chatty myself."

He chuckled a little bit and raised himself back up, "Well, you're more than welcome to play here. I don't mind. My beach is open to all, Colossi and Human alike."

She eagerly clapped her hands together, "Oh thank you!" Lyna then resumed her previous antics, running around in the sand and water.

Both Colossi watched with happiness and Lyna suddenly ran back to one of his hooves, "Tag!" she slapped it with one of her hands, "You're it!" She then stopped running and looked back up at him awkwardly, suddenly considering what she just said, "Uh, well, I mean…um…"

He was surprised but not completely. He's played this game several times before. He reached forward and gently tapped her side with his hoof, looking quite amused, "Now you're it."

She gave him a sarcastic smile and tagged his hoof yet again, "You didn't say no tag backs!"

Slowly, the Bull Colossus followed after Lyna, who discovered he didn't move very fast. Still, he didn't need to move fast, he just needed to take big steps to reach her. Realizing he took up a good section of the beach, Lyna retreated back into the water with him following. The water did nothing to slow him down as it barely reached over the top of his hooves.

Hydrus was surprised when Lyna jumped onto her snout and worked her way back onto her head, just behind her eyes, "Quick! He's chasing me!" she squealed joyfully.

Understanding the game, Hydrus scooted back a bit in the water, easily able to keep Lyna out of Quadratus's reach. The older Colossus laughed, "Hey! That's not fair! You're helping the enemy! Oh Hydrus I thought we were friends!"

"Sorry! She got to me first!" Hydrus joked, remembering back to when she played with the Humans on Quadratus's beach.

He moved to them, nearly knee deep now, and Hydrus easily circled around him, chasing each other for a long while.

At the end of the day, just a few hours before the sun would set; Lyna was worn out from the playing at the beach.

When the time was to leave, Quadratus seemed sad but Lyna promised him she'd visit again. This seemed to satisfy him and he said goodbye to Lyna and Hydrus as the Water Serpent took the child back to land. She took her back to her lake where she dropped Lyna off at the spiral staircase.
After another promise to visit, Lyna make her way out of the lake and back to the fields where she chased that lizard.

She was a little annoyed she had to walk back to Dirge's cave on foot, but it wasn't too far.

Once she finally got back, the cool cave was a welcomed change from the hot day. When she walked into the cave, she was surprised to nearly get rammed by a very eager Nostoc. He was overjoyed that his master had come back safely.

She hugged her companion and was glad he was feeling better.

She looked away from him and saw Dirge and Celosia talking not too far away. She was surprised that the smaller Colossus had visited again so soon, but was glad she was keeping the Sand Serpent company.

Walking with Nostoc, she approached the two Colossi, who happily greeted her. Nostoc and Lyna both sat down, with her against his flank, and she proceeded to quickly tell them about her fun day.

The entire time she spoke, Malus watched with his magic. He had been watching how she interacted with the other Colossi and would continue doing so until he felt it was time to talk to her himself. He not only did this out of her safety, but it was also to keep tabs on her.

Despite her innocent appearance, the Titan was having a hard time trusting anything that spoke with Dormin.

I'll always remember my first time at the beach. Kicking up sand like I didn't care. XD

Fun Fact: I based Lyna's frustration over catching the lizard a lot on my sister's own experiences during the game. It was funny as heck.