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Though she’d gone to the Tempering with only one full night’s worth of sleep after matching forces with dozens of Aureny representatives, Soleil requested two full sleeps after that to restore herself before discussions. An emissary named Xhatter came to see her between the two, asking if the Princess would like to see the flower fields. Soleil agreed, also gaining admission for her companions.

They were guided through simple but well-engineered warrens to a cavernous level near the surface. Under some skylight openings far overhead, a lush plain filled with fleshy petals breathed color. Wider than ten sporting greens, beams of light arrowed through and suffused throughout from one level to another. There were more garden caverns above and below each other; large crystals, hanging in skylights and holes, refracted and scattered light into the recesses. Other stones placed on the floor received beams to cast diffuse auras that bathed the surrounding plant life with light.

The carpet of foliage ranged from Soleil’s waist to shoulder height, rich painterly palettes on petals of thumb-to-wrist thickness. The Princess didn’t keep track of the others’ explorations, but she could hear their admiration and enjoyment as they spread out.

Soft munching sounds traveled through the place as Aureny shuffled gently, cropping and masticating hearty mouthfuls between stony tooth ridges. Xhatter explained through Rosy Glow that this was the prevalent way of eating, though there were other methods of growing and trading.

Soleil selected a patch of sunlight, to lay down amongst the flowers. She was sure she wouldn’t be stepped on. This was what she would do today.

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