Popoie was enjoying, and getting rather used to, being deceased. He had even found a few of his friends. Boi whom he was playing with at the time of the Upper Land flood and Charlotte, who he thought, was his imaginary friend from childhood, but had since learned she was the spirit of one of the six Mana warriors of times past.
The three had become accustomed to an incorporeal life in the Mana Stream and even checked in on Randi and Purim from time to time, watching them get married and grow old together. Purim died of old age and Randi follow months later and the three sprites were there to meet them both. Youth renews when entering the Stream.
At Randi's passing, however, the seam between the Mana Stream and their planet Gaia began to weaken. The quintet could tell something was happening when vision of the living world around them began to fade. Randi, having most recently died, wasn't as unaware that something out of the ordinary was going on, but he knew he didn't like it.
"Popoie, is this supposed to happen?" asked Randi.
"I'm pretty sure that no is the answer you are looking for." said Popoie, never one to give a straight answer.
"Randi, I'm scared." said Purim as she tried, rather unsuccessfully, to move over and wrap her incorporeal arms around him.
Boi looked up at Charlotte and said, "Help!" but before the words reached her ears the five spirits were flung into the sky as if by cannon travel. They watched as Gaia fell away below them, all having managed to grab on to at least the hand of someone else. Gaia's visibility continued to fade as they rushed further into space and before the planet shrank to half of its size, it was gone.
Everything went black for what seemed like years. Purim had managed to find Randi in the darkness and wrapped her arms around him, with no chance of letting go.
Popoie wanted to say, "I wish I'd brought a pack of cards," but there was nothing, no sound, no light; nothing.
Boi and Purim had even managed to fall asleep, not knowing they could even do that as spirits. The others fell asleep as well from the lack of sensory input.
Popoie awoke with a start as light began to seep through the translucence of his eyelids. As he opened them he saw that the five of them were hurdling towards a star, and fast. The others awoke before reaching the star, but Charlotte didn't awaken until they were halfway through the star. Realizing they weren't hurt, still being intangible spirits they all began to laugh at Charlotte in the soundlessness of space.
She poked out her lip at the derision, but when she looked over to Boi, who was pointing to a dot in the distance, her expression changed. All their expression changed when they realized they could see again. They could see the star they had just passed through falling away from them, slower than Gaia had. All around them other stars started to appear. One, two, millions of stars, started rushing by.
Boi waved his arms to get their attention and the pointed again at the same dot. They all looked and then saw it. They only thing they had seen, that compared to it, was the Mana Fortress, floating ominously above the planet. This was much more elongated than the fortress and in the shape of a thick plate with two arms come down and out of the back of it. Just like they start they had just passed through, they realized they were heading right for it. It was heading towards them as well on a direct collision course.