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It was just Soleil, Mystvall, and Rosy Glow again. Soleil walked with them, slowest of the three, down a different tunnel that descended deeper into the crust, losing sight of even the most distant and misty skylight. Down this way, glowing crystal growths sprouted periodically. Soleil doubted if the Aureny needed light as a necessity, but perhaps the emanations still marked the way for them.

WE WISH FOR YOU TO BE PRESENT FOR THIS EVENT, THOUGH THERE IS NOWHERE WE CAN PLACE YOU THAT IS STRICTLY SAFE. YOU WILL GAIN FURTHER UNDERSTANDING OF US. THE TEMPERING IS A RECEPTION WE HOLD FOR GROUPS FROM OTHER SUBTERRANEA. IT WILL BE BETTER EXPLAINED BY WITNESSING. DO YOU FEEL RESTORED?

“I am well, though my muscles still recall the strain of the previous day. As fully rested as possible, and willing to go forward.” When Soleil awoke, she was in a pile of thick, limp, velvety leaves as large as herself. Wendel had been sitting nearby at that moment, and accounted of their very fair treatment.

They enjoyed their leaf beds, and were supplied with bottomless bowls of palatable chopped vegetable varieties, which Uixtr informed them were human-safe. They were allowed into an adjoining garden space where they could do their necessaries. It wasn’t too bad at all. Uixtr had interpreted well enough without actual translation. After Soleil had been returned to them, Rosy Glow took the time to give Moonshadow some Aureny translation capability. Moonshadow didn’t apply as much organic flair and had a higher rate of confusion from its vibrational limitations, but had gotten up to doing quite well when Toller tested it by hooking their Aureny guardian for an impromptu interview. Soleil viewed the replay that Moonshadow captured: bland yet polite, with maybe a touch of deadpan humor from both, handling Moonshadow’s earnest inaccuracies. The vehicle utilized certain engine and light levels to achieve the needed modulations, looking like an actor putting on a role. Uixtr and Moonshadow had also been escorted for an outing on their own business with the Aureny. All reassured Soleil they would be fine while she had more to attend. She recalled the juicy crunch of the succulent and refreshing vegetables.

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