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Chapter Twenty-Three

Daystar moaned as she slowly opened her eyes. Immediately, she felt a chilling wind touch her skin. She shuttered. She gazed about and jerked. She was in a room she didn't recognize at first. There was a bed, a dresser with a mirror, and a bookshelf. After a few more minutes, she began to realize where she was.

" This.... looks like my old room....," she mumbled. Daystar leaped to her feet and ran to the window. She looked out and gasped. She was in an Ancient Esper town. And, if she was correct, she was on Dezoris. Daystar knew she was in her father's castle. She stood there, silent. " I never wanted to return. Not after what had happened. I will not forgive him for what he did.....," she thought. She fought back the tears as she replayed the events of 16 years prior. She took a deep breath and exhaled.

" Princess Daystar? You are awake?" someone asked. Daystar whirled around. In the doorway stood a small squirrel Ancient Esper.

" What do YOU want?" Daystar hissed, unable to contain her bitterness. The squirrel Ancient Esper backed away.

" King Levit wishes to speak to you when you are rested!" the squirrel squeaked. Daystar growled. The squirrel looked at Daystar, frightened. " You must speak with him, Princess! He has been very malicious ever since you left!" she pleaded. Daystar stared at her. " Daystar, please talk to him!" the squirrel begged.

" Hmph.... fine. I'll talk to him. But I will not forgive him! I will never forgive him... ever," Daystar snapped. The squirrel bowed her head.

" Forever is a long time, Princess. And time has a way of changing things," she said. Daystar snorted. She turned her back on the squirrel and looked out the window. " Time can also heal wounds. If you let it," the squirrel added. Then, she turned and walked out of the room. Daystar eyed the door. Then, she returned to looking out the window. She felt a knot form in her stomach.

" Why should I be the one to apologize? I know that is what.... DAD.... wants. He wants me to admit I'm wrong. But I'm not wrong. And I wish he could understand that!!" she whispered.

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" There it is, Kyra! Myst Vale!" Rika cried as she squinted through the heavy snowstorm. The weather had started up again, making the journey to Myst Vale rather uncomfortable. The wind blowed bitterly in their faces, nipping at their noses and making their walk through the snow to Myst Vale very difficult. Kyra and Rika glanced at each other. Then, they broke in to a sprint and raced for the entrance. As they entered the cave, they shook the snow from their clothes and tried to get some feeling back in their fingers. Kyra and Rika then walked deep in to the cave. It was a lot warmer in the cave than it was outside, making the cave a pleasant change from the snowstorm. They continued to walk deeper in to the cave and warmed up their frozen bodies in the process. After a few minutes more of walking, they approached a cave tunnel guarded by two Musk Cats. The cats glanced, warily, at Kyra and Rika.

" Why have you come, TemLe Kyra and Lady Rika?" the first Musk Cat asked, respectfully.

" We have come to warn the Old Man of impending war. A race of people known as Ancient Espers are attacking all the other races. Already there has been numerous deaths. You heard what happened to Meese?" Kyra said.

" These.... Ancient Espers... are responsible for that?" the second Musk Cat asked. Kyra nodded.

" They are also responsible for the masacre that occured at Piata. Have you heard of it? Everyone was slaughtered," Kyra said. The Musk Cats glanced at eachother, alarmed. They stepped aside. The first mewed off in to the tunnel. A small fuzzy Musk Cat kitten bounded up.

" Allow my son to escort you to the Old One!" he said. The kitten mewed to his father, who meowed back. The kitten nodded.

" Please, TemLe Kyra and Lady Rika. Follow me!" the kitten said. Kyra and Rika nodded. The kitten turned and escorted them through the caverns to the room of the Old Man.

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" We're almost there," Wren called as he drove the Ice Digger. Chaz nodded. He had been looking at the piece of paper that the riddle was written on. He placed the piece of paper back in his pocket and looked out the window. He saw the Climate Control Center on the horizon. It looked dark and deserted. Wren pulled up in front of the Center and stopped. He and Chaz got out and walked up to the entrance. They walked in and made their way to the control panels. They weren't attacked at all, which was a great surprise to Chaz. As they walked, Chaz carefully looked around. When they arrived at the control panel, Wren typed a bit and got the communications system working.

" This silence is getting on my nerves!!" Chaz said as he watched Wren.

" Wren to Demi. Wren to Demi. Over," Wren said. At first, there was static. Then, Demi's voice could he heard.

" Demi here! What do you wish, Master Wren? Over!" she said. Wren looked at Chaz. Chaz was busy glancing about, nervously.

" One of the Satellites may be the resting place of one of the pieces to the Elysdeon! Requesting that you search for it. If found, please contact me. I am at the Climate Control Center on Dezoris. Over," Wren answered.

" Roger! Over and out!" Demi said. Wren turned off the communication's system and turned to Chaz.

" Well, I guess the best thing to do is wait for an answer," Chaz said.

" I'm afraid you don't have that much time, Palman," a voice hissed. Wren and Chaz whirled around. Behind them stood a cougar wearing blue and gray armor. There was also a huge hawk and a orange dragon, both wearing the same kind of armor. They glared at Wren and Chaz.

" Who are you?" Wren demanded. The cougar smiled viciously.

" Your destroyer, you filthy can opener," he snapped. Chaz turned to Wren.

" They're Ancient Espers!" Chaz exclaimed. The orange dragon growled and threw a GiFoi at Chaz.

" CHAZ! DUCK!!" Wren cried. Chaz did as he was told and the GiFoi missed hitting his head.

" Chaz? You called him.... Chaz?" the cougar growled. He turned to the other Ancient Espers and spoke to them in their language. They all turned and stared hard at Chaz.

" What's going on?" Chaz asked Wren. Wren didn't answer.

" So YOU are Chaz Ashley!" the cougar snarled, scornfully. His comrades growled menacingly. Chaz stared, shocked.

" How do you know my name?" Chaz asked. The cougar didn't answer Chaz. He motioned to his comrades.

" Do whatever you want to the machine. Torch him, cut him, rip him to bits.... just take Ashley alive! King Levitain will be pleased with our find!" the cougar laughed. Chaz turned to Wren.

" RUN!" he cried. The two dashed out of the room. They could hear the Ancient Espers following them. The two jumped in to the elevator and slammed the door. The Ancient Espers began banging and ripping at it. As the elevator went down, Chaz heard a crash. He looked up. A claw ripped through the ceiling of the elevator car and grabbed Chaz by the hair. Chaz kicked and yelled as the Ancient Espers ripped through the ceiling. A GiWat shot down and almost hit Wren. Wren aimed and fired at the Ancient Espers. The dragon roared in pain. Suddenly, the hawk cast Legeon and struck Wren. Wren was thrown against the wall of the elevator and was knocked senseless. " Wren!" Chaz cried out. The cougar jumped in to the elevator. The dragon was the one holding Chaz's hair. The cougar smiled viciously. He punched Chaz in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him. The dragon released Chaz's hair. Chaz slid down to his knees, gasping for breath. He looked up. The cougar bashed him roughly on the head, knocking him unconscious.

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