Bloom, Musa, Riven, and Sky walked quietly behind Ember while she chattered away about the summer sector of the island, how it was the 首页 of her fellow 亚马逊 sisters and the ultimate region of the shining sun.
Unbeknownst to Ember, none of them were listening to a word coming out of her mouth. Instead, they were all hoping 更多 than anything else that they hadn't been found out.
Bloom especially couldn't help feeling guilty about attacking Solstice and Amaryllis and robbing them of their eyesight as well as their most precious possessions. But she reminded herself that it was for their own good, and their eyes would be returned to them as soon as the sparks were extracted from them.
Bloom suddenly stopped walking as she saw a strange yellow figure in the distance.
"What is that?" Musa snorted. She had seen it too.
Sitting in a 圈, 圈子 of Sunbeams, the nymphs of summer, was the most beautiful as well as the most bizarre creature that Bloom had ever seen.
It was female, without a doubt, and she had a face with human features on it. But the rest of her body was bright yellow, and she had strange yellow webbing between her fingers and toes, on her shoulders and hips, and on her head, which made it look like she was wearing a large yellow crown.
As they stared, Ember laughed behind them.
"Oh, her?" she asked. "That's Rae."
"Is she a goddess 或者 something?" asked Sky.
"Well...no, not exactly. Rae doesn't have a name either, but we just call her that so that we don't have to find her in the summer sector if we need something from her. Rae is a...well...how do I say this now? Ah, that's the word I'm looking for! Rae is a creatura."
This left them extremely confused. "A...creatura?" Musa asked slowly, the exotic word sounding strange on her tongue.
Ember smacked her forehead. "That's what I said, Musa. 你 seriously don't know what a creatura is?"
Bloom wracked her brain once 更多 for anything she could remember from Faragonda's coaching. Then, something else hit her.
"I think that we have a different term for that in the rest of the magical universe," 说 Bloom. "We call them totems."
Ember snorted. "You people in the universe can't pronounce anything, can't you? So 你 replace our words with completely dead and ugly words like totems. What kind of word is that?"
For the first time in what felt like forever, Bloom burst into loud laughter. After spending such a long time in a state of seriousness, her own laughter sounded especially musical to her ears.
Sky, Riven, and Musa ended up joining in, and Ember actually smiled at them.
When they finally calmed down, Bloom told Ember, "But I agree with you, creatura is a much prettier word than totem."
Ember smiled, satisfied. "See? Told you."
Riven observed Rae carefully through the trees. "Why does she look like that?" he asked. "I mean, the rest of the sunbeams are like little walking diamonds, but she looks like some weird 交叉, 十字架 between a frog and a banana."
"Well," Ember 说 matter-of-factly, "Rae is the sunbeams'...princess of sorts. She's still going through a metamorphosis. I guess 你 could say that she's kind of like a creature that's stuck between a 毛虫, 毛毛虫 and a butterfly. In a couple of weeks she'll start to look 更多 like the Mystique."
Bloom frowned. "Wait...what's the Mystique?"
Ember's eyes widened. "Bahpre!" she gasped. "What's my problem? I haven't even told 你 about the Mystique! Holy mother of Stalene..." She grumbled to herself in the native language.
"Well, why not tell us now?" 说 Sky.
Ember calmed herself down. "Well, the Mystique is the supreme creator of the universe itself. Every realm has a shrine to the Mystique. The Mystique is neither male nor female, and it is made of nothing but pure positive energy. I think that there is a shrine to it somewhere in Alfea as well. The Mystique represents the entire force of magic, positive and negative, in the entire universe. Stalene is its direct descendant, which is why she rules this island. Even though the Mystique is made of pure positive energy, it appears as a person made entirely out of diamonds. It only appears over the lagoon in the middle of this island. There are very special creaturas that know how to summon it from the heavens."
Bloom somehow was able to hold on to every piece of information and stuff it all into her head. As she glanced back at Rae, she saw that some deep golden diamonds had started to form on her arms and legs.
"So in a couple of weeks, she'll complete her metamorphosis and look like the Mystique?" asked Musa.
"Pretty much," 说 Ember. "She'll lose her webbing and basically be a woman made out of diamonds. Trust me, the rest of the sunbeams will pale in comparison."
The sunbeams definitely had 更多 of a sense of humor. Rae 说 something excitedly to one of them, who jumped up and down, squealing like a little girl. Suddenly, another sunbeam's legs popped out of a hole in the ground, making the first one give a squeal and tumble into Rae's lap. The 秒 sunbeam climbed out of a hole, stuck her tongue out at the first one, and they chased each other around in circles, knocking over a big basket of blinding white rays.
All of the sunbeams were clad in red and gold, with thin pinstripes of 金牌 diamonds running down their tunics. Their boots were red with 金牌 colored accents, and they were golden-haired with reddish highlights.
"They're adorable," sighed Musa. "How are we going to be able to steal a jewel from them?"
"Good question," murmured Bloom. She thought for a while about that. She stared the entire time at Rae, and noticed the large, amber-colored gemstones embedded into the webbing on her head. The other sunbeams were so fast and agile, so there was no way she could get a gem from them.
She turned back to her friends, unsure of sharing her idea. Finally, she took a deep breath and said, "There's nothing else we can do. We're going to have to kidnap Rae."