When they awoke the next morning, they were startled to see a strange machine floating amidst the clouds above the remnants of the Slumbering Mountain. The machine was round with a complex series of gears sharply whirring. Click. Clack. Click. Clack. Click. Clack. The apparatus rotated like a clockwork. It also had a two cogwheels suspended on the outer surface of the machine and they swung like pendulum around its surface without a visible force holding them in place.
“Ut!” Alessia called out. “Look above the mountain.”
“I’ve seen that machine before,” Sulyvan said.
“When did you see it?” Ut asked.
“Thirty years ago. I saw it in the clouds for a brief moment before a light descended from the heavens and annihilated my entire infantry. What is it?” Sulyvan asked.
“It is a death machine. It has enough power to obliterate the earth,” Ut said. “We must leave now. It is only a matter of time before they dispel the illusion of the desert.”
Sulyvan sharply whistle to call Orphelius. “Ride with me, princess.”
“That won’t be necessary,” Arayia whistled, but her call was different than Sulyvan’s. The sounds of her lips were inaudible, yet the winds beckoned for her. They were musical, carrying with them a soft melody that smoothed the ear. “I can see her steed nearby. She is circling the temple, because of her fear of getting lost. The temple reminds of her civilization.”
CLICK. CLACK. CLICK. CLACK. The noises began to grow louder. CLICK. CLACK. The machine went mysteriously silent before venting a cloud of smoke and sharp noise reverberated across the sky.
“Did it hear me?” Arayia asked.
“Perhaps.” Ut gently shake his head. “We need to be careful.”
A few seconds later, Orphelius treaded into sight with Muse a few steps behind him.
“There she is,” Alessia hugged Muse by the neck. “How’s my girl. You shouldn’t run from me. I thought I had lost you.”
“She’s beautiful,” Arayia gently stroked Muse’s snout.
“She is beautiful,” Sulyvan said, “but she is dangerous and unreliable. She will someday endanger Alessia life or get herself killed.”
Arayia stared into Muse’s eyes. “She has the heart of a child. She has yet to find her courage and mature. I’m sure she will mature into a strong companion once she finds both.”
“I have faith in her,” Alessia said as she brushed Muse’s hair. “I can see fire inside of her.”
“I have a gift you,” Arayia said to Muse. “Wings, so you can help us fly.”
“Wings?” Alessia surprisingly asked.
“Be free on the land and sky.” As Arayia chanted, a mysterious aura began flowing from her hands. “Feel the breath of the wind pressing against your face and enjoy the moment alongside the wind. Use the breath of the winds to be reborn anew and learn to fly.” She then touched Muse on the forehead. Arayia watched as she knelled on the sand and rest her head against it to fall asleep.
Arayia touched Orphelius with her misty hands. “Rest,” she said to him, “and your minds will learn to fly.”
“What’s going to happen?” Sulyvan asked.
“They grow wings,” Arayia said.
Alessia and Sulyvan watched carefully as their shoulder began to form depress.
“I don’t suggest you watch,” Arayia said.
CLICK. CLACK. The machine’s sound were few and far apart, but they were loud. Ut closely observed as mechanical hands descended from machine onto the mountain. What is this? He held his breath in fear. Click. Clack. The sound stopped after one last prolonged click. The machine then reverberated a sharp shrieking noise as it gears came to a halt.
“We cannot waist anymore time here,” Ut said.
Just then, Muse and Ophelius’s bones began to snap as they broke to reshape themselves. Within seconds, the bones ripped through the flesh and a gush of blood poured from the wounds of the horses. They grew until the skeletal structure of the wings had formed, and then the muscles wrapped themselves around the bone until they had fashioned the flesh, upon which hair began to grow. A sharp bone manifested itself at the end of the radiale, along the bend of the wings to serve for defense.
When Muse and Orphelius awoke, they immediately stood to their feet to gleefully prance around. Muse expanded her majestic wings as Orphelius cover his face with them.
“That was horrifying.” Alessia embraced her mare wondering she had felt in pain.
“The miracles of life is a horrifying experience,” Alessia said.
Sulyvan gently touched Orphelius’ wings. “Did he feel any pain?”
“No,” Arayia said. “They dream. In their dream, they had wings and he were learning how to use them. You can mount them without fear.”
“Let’s move,” Ut signaled Arayia to mount on his back.
“Get on,” Arayia said as she climbed onto Ut’s back. “They are fine. They didn’t feel any pain.”
“We need to leave,” Ut said as he watched Alessia hesitantly mount her mare.
Sulyvan confidently mounted his horse. “This is a gift undeserving of a mortal. Thank you,” he said as he saw Orphelius lift off the ground beneath them.
Alessia’s hands trembled as Muse lifted off the ground. She smiled to try and mask her fear, but her smile betray her. Her fear was clear.
“Trust her,” Arayia said as she and Ut flew off.
“You’re a great warrior, Alessia, but you need to be confident in your riding skill before Muse can become a reliable ride for you,” Sulyvan said to Alessia before kicking his feet. “Go on,” he said to Orphelius and flew off.
“Come girl, let go,” Alessia said. She pulled on the reign “Fly,” she said.