16.5 \ 198

Caught up in the trance of this spectacle, Soleil rocked on her ready stance with extreme intensity. A unanimous soundblast took over the space, and several Aureny ran into the tunnels from their balcony ledges, including Mystvall.

In the suddenly vacated space, the Princess could hear their thundering steps recede and approach, echoing louder when they crossed a tunnel opening into the geode. There were muffled crashes as they met and collided, shearing their enduring hides against the crystal-coated walls, soft scrapes in the debris. The steady underlay of body syncopation and basso vocalization hinted like the peak of an iceberg at something far greater beneath perception.

Soleil stepped into the center of the reception cone. Details of the communal music leapt into clarity, any point of listening sounding forefront with the slightest adjustment. If she could place her head two stories higher the sound would no doubt be better, more so with their range of sensory perception. She looked up and saw Rosy Glow in that position. In this moment, to this human, there had never been anything like it. Her astonishment was complete without allowing it to overwhelm.

A careering sound of approach grew with alacrity. She whirled and, watching the incoming Aureny, slid into the most welcoming concavity. She’d guessed correctly that a large object was flying in behind her. The arrival grated to a pinpoint stop and caught an airborne set of pauldrons, which they donned rhythmically, dragging forelimbs in wide arcs around the mouth of the passageway. Soleil reflexively shielded her face from the glittering shower, letting a few fall into her palm and tipping them to the ground. Despite the mortal danger, she felt washes of glee at the creative destruction, the elation of collision, oneness of sound, elegance of cooperative sporting, detachment of personal property, and wondrous abundance.

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