The group hurried to the northeast, dashing through the road at an insane speed. Several birds were startled by their run and took off from the treetops in flocks before flying in all directions.
They eventually crossed a wooden bridge and two divergent paths, one of them leading further to the northeast and the other to a nearby village. They kept their course and came across rocky ground. They slowed down and looked around. They seemed to be standing on a granite formation with a few moss-covered spots. Some parts of it were cracked and wild flowers seemed to burst from within.
“Careful. The moss looks slippery and we don’t want to break a leg.” Elysium warned with the worried tone of a doctor.
They kept going for a few moments until they noticed a small hill. They looked upwards and beheld thousands of water orbs of different sizes, sparkling in the sunlight like giant gemstones.
“Amazing…” Arche said.
Everyone quietly climbed to the top of the hill and gazed upon the magnificent view. Beyond the hill was a large gap in the land, reaching as far as they could see. They could see the endless mass of clouds below and the water orbs, kept in the air by the power of Mana, floating in the vast sky right above it like ethereal spirits.
“Amazing indeed… Mana can work wonders, but this… The way the core keeps the continents and the water floating in the skies… almost as if it had a will of its own…” Helga said, after a few moments of thoughtful contemplation.
Angela looked at the larger orbs, which were in the center of the formation.
“Hey, look at that! Those things are huge!” she said. “One of them alone would be enough to supply the villages in the Desert of Scorching Heat for years…”
Elysium laughed a bit.
“Well, I’m glad we don’t have to tamper with them, since the Desert must have plenty of water by now. These orbs… they’re real masterpieces… Just look at them. A usually flowing substance, kept in place like this, probably as consistent as stone, yet still transparent… Almost like a fluid crystal…” he said in a respectful tone.
Sakura was quiet, looking in every direction with a piercing stare.
“Something’s not right… What about that disturbance Aeon picked up? Where is it? I can feel the energy, but why doesn’t it make itself manifest?” she asked herself.
As soon as she spoke, Angela’s eyes widened.
“Look at that!” she yelled, pointing at the center of the orb cluster.
“Well, Sakura, I think that answers our question.” Helga said, gripping her spear.
The water orbs started spinning, as a vortex appeared with a loud humming sound. Then, without warning, it grew larger, allowing them to see a blurred shape moving through it.