Myst blinked, her fingers still clutching her sword as if it were a matter of life or death. Though the beast beneath hadn't moved in nearly a minute, she still remained there, standing with bated breath, the gentle sea breeze the only sound her of any of her allies could hear as they stared fixated at the monster that lay across the island, the beast's body dipping in and out of the ocean. Staring at the snake – at the cold lifeless eyes that now hung fixed on her – Myst still couldn't believe it. This was what they had fought and strived for, for the past week: the death of this Creature of the Gods. But now that they had done it, it was difficult to accept. Though, this was in no small part due to the fact that they had already killed The Serpent once, only to have it spring back to life. The nymph knew – staring at the monster – that it would not be getting back up this time. But even still, she could hardly process it.
"Is she… dead?" Myst posed the question as she still locked gazes with the motionless pupils of the monster.
"Shouldn't you know that?" Frost's voice called out to her, prompting the girl to reluctantly turn away from the monster, looking toward the arctic warrior. He still hung to his sword, clasping his blade as it remained plunged in the ice that bound The Serpent's now stationary head. "You stabbed her."
"Yeah, but…" Myst turned nervously back to the beast. She felt like if she pulled her blade out, the monster might still spring back up and attack.
"I think we did it."
It was Flare's voice that called out as the redhead hobbled towards her – towards the slain snake under her feet.
"I'm pretty sure… she won't be getting back up this time."
The fiery youth raised his head, shooting the nymph a confident grin as he nodded his approval. Staring at the conviction and assurance that flowed from the warriors gaze, Myst couldn't help but think he was right.
"Then…" She turned back to her sword, taking in a deep breath to prepare herself. Anxiety still swelled within her – fear of the worst possible outcome fighting with her desire to believe Flare was right – that they had won.
Holding that breath, the mage forced herself to move, yanking her saber from the snake's skull in one quick motion. She froze, her sword hanging there, the girl ready to plunge it back down if anything should happen but… the beast was still dead.
"We… did it." Myst laughed, a smile daring to cross her face as an unstoppable wave of excitement swirled over her.
"We did it!" The nymph screamed it out, spinning to face the two nearby boys, all caution and uncertainty thrown to the wind as she shook with ecstasy.
As those words left her lips, though – the moment she relinquished her trepidation – the beast below her began to tremble. The startled nymph turned pale as she felt the tremor, her heart dropping as she shook along with it. She turned her eyes to Frost, watching as the arctic warrior gritted his teeth, fear swelling up into his eyes as he struggled to stand – to pull his sword from the ice he had created. Myst flung her eyes to the other side, staring at Flare, watching the frustration and anger swirl in the boy's pupils as he hefted his blade – his arms shaking as he tried to endure the pain. There was no reassurance to be found from either of them as the quaking of the snake increased, bringing with it a hatred and terror that could not be quelled.
Myst spun around, raising her sword, prepared to stab the beast once more. As she did – as she faced what should have been an already lethal wound in the monster's skull – that gap exploded with a burst of light. The beacon shot high as the tremoring of the beast heightened further. The nymph could no longer remain standing as she stumbled back, falling from The Serpent's head as the blue glow grew brighter and brighter.
Was this is? Was this the harkening of the beast's resurrection? Was this the portent of their demise? Had everything they had done been for naught!?
Myst wanted to close her eyes – to hide the sight and pretend it was all just a bad dream – but her body wouldn't let her. Her sword wouldn't let her. The Aqua Saber clutched in her hands urged her to watch – to pay attention as that light began to make the sun look dim – becoming so vibrant that the whole world seemed to be dark except for where this light shone.
"What the hell is going on!?"
Frost shouted out, his tone anxious – nervous – but no one could give a proper answer. None of them knew. All they could do is watch as that pillar of light reached the sky and darkened the world. But as they stared, the light began to bend and twist. The nymph was compelled to look up – to stare at where the light met the clouds. She could see it – the light was… was spraying.
At the peak of the beacon, bulbs of energy were being flung into the air, where they hung, perched, waiting for something. Without knowing why, Myst slowly lifted her arm, raising the blade in her hand to point toward the sky. As she did, those distant orbs began to shake, and an instant later, they shot toward the girl in a blur of speed.
Myst let out a startled squeak as her sword was suddenly being battered by a plethora of glowing, blue orbs. The spheres of energy crashed into the blade, shaking the weapon as each hit, but as they did, the mage began to understand. The fear slowly began to wash away, a growing smile building on Myst's face as she watched the lights join with her blade. This wasn't an attack… this was…
Myst laughed, shaking her head, unable to contain her relief as the pillar of light began to fade, casting the last of its magical orbs into the sky. When The Dragon King rose, he had stolen the blessings of the Mystic Blades and handed them out to the Creatures of the Gods. What they were watching was that power returning. But not just that! No, Myst realized it was more as she recalled one of the things Lance had said when they had all met:
"By defeating The Creatures, you will regain the abilities of your swords that were stolen and then given to these beasts. And you will also gain the powers and gifts that my siblings originally granted them at the beginning of the world."
Myst threw her head back, letting her whole body fall to the ground as the last of the orbs collided with her blade – increasing its strength. It really was… over.
"Are you guys okay!?"
The blue-haired girl tilted her head further back, staring as Ivy hobbled toward them, looking panicked and alarmed as she approached.
"What was that light!?"
"Apparently it was crazy light!" Frost exclaimed before Myst had a chance to reply. "Because it attacked Myst and she suddenly started cackling like a lunatic!"
"I was not cackling!" Myst insisted, laughing again as she did. She couldn't help it – the happiness she felt refused to be kept in. She had to laugh, or she thought she might explode.
"But you are alright… right?"
The nymph settled herself, still lying on the ground as she turned her head toward Flare as the boy asked the question. She could see it there in his eyes – the absolute elation at what they had accomplished, but it was clear he was still holding back. At least until he got an answer to his question.
"I'm great!" Myst nodded, emphatically. Nearly instantly the redhead's face cracked with a giant grin as that reserved exuberance was released all at once.
"Alright!" With the enthusiasm of a child on their birthday, the fiery teen leapt into the air, thrusting his fist skyward. "We did it!"
Ivy stepped a bit closer to her friends as a sudden air of celebration overtook them. They began to laugh and shout as Frost and Flare exchanged high-fives, grinning like idiots. She felt it too – that sense of relief. But hers was still struggling to get out, held back by the worthlessness that still consumed her.
The tomboy stopped short of actually joining the three, her green eyes lacking the same sense of accomplishment that shined out from the other Bladewarriors. They were all hurt – they were all injured. Even as they leapt around, celebrating, she could see the pain reflecting in their movements. They had continued to fight, even after they had been knocked around and beaten. But she… she stopped after one hit. She really didn't deserve to celebrate. She really didn't deserve to…
"Hey, Ivy!" The tomboy paused, her timid tone cut off as Frost interrupted her. She tried to erase the guilt and regret from her eyes as she raised her head, looking toward the white-haired warrior as he grinned at her.
"Why don't you make yourself useful and start with the healing?" Frost grinned as said the question, but his levity quickly left as he saw the girl's reaction. Ivy's head dropped, her eyes returning to the ground as she held her fists at her side, clenching them tight as her hands shook. The fool paused, his smile fading as he realized he had said the wrong thing again – he had struck a nerve with the girl. An awkward frown on his face, he turned to look at Myst and Flare, hoping one of them might make up for his tactless comment.
Turning toward the redhead, though, Frost's sense of tension grew. The boy was wearing a strange look on his face as he stared at Ivy – a look he hadn't seen the boy give anyone before. There was something in the warrior's eyes he couldn't place. A sadness? Or… maybe…?
"Is this real?"
Flare's reply was cut short as a new, yet familiar voice cut through the tense moment.
"Is this… some sort of illusion!?"
The Blue Priest stumbled forward, unable to handle walking as his mind tried to process the sight before him. The Serpent… was dead.
"Am I imagining this!?"
The blue-haired priest turned his head, locking eyes with each of the teenagers standing there. He couldn't fathom it – how had they all managed to survive!? It was true the all looked fairly beat up – blood staining their clothes and bruises covering their skin. It was obvious they had struggled and fought hard against the impossible. But even as he looked at what they had accomplished – even as the lifeless body of The Serpent was strewn out before him, massive and stationary, her couldn't conceive how it had happened. These children—No, these warriors had defied The Serpent and not only lived… they had won. They had slain the beast!
"You really did it!"
He laughed aloud, unsure how else to respond. Though he had put his faith in these people – in the fiery redhead with the insatiable passion – he had still not expected them to win. He had simply accepted that fighting was better than suffering in silence. He had allowed them the chance to sacrifice themselves for what they believed in, but… there had been no sacrifice.
"Of course we did."
Myst sat up, flinching a little at the pain she could now feel all over. Somehow, in the depth of the battle, she hadn't realized how much her body was hurting.
"Didn't I tell you we would?"
Flare smiled, raising a hand toward the priest as he gave the man a thumbs-up. The priest stared back – astounded – as a small smile began to frame his face. That boy…
"On behalf of our people – of the entire Water Realm," The Blue Priest bowed his head, wishing he could do more, "Thank you!"
"Enough of that," Frost waved away the display of gratitude as he stood, scratching his head. "Where the hell were you?"
"I'm… sorry?" The priest raised his head slightly, confused as he watched the white-haired teen turn, searching the island for something.
"We were just battling a giant snake on this island," Frost replied, turning to look back at the man. "So where the hell were you? 'Cause you certainly weren't here, anywhere!"
"I was on that ship."
Frost blinked, following the man's gesture as The Blue Priest pointed toward a rather large vessel, docked a hundred or so feet out to sea. Staring at it, the fool tried to remember if the boat had been out there moments ago – or when they lifted themselves back out of the Serpent's Lair. It was certainly too big to have just snuck up on them. Though the fool wasn't sure what kind of ship it was – exactly – if he had asked Myst she would have informed him it was probably considered a Caravel, based on its size.
"Where'd that come from?" Frost questioned, pointing at the distant ship, still certain he hadn't seen it before.
"Englade?" The priest answered, uncertain why the boy was curious.
"The hell is that?" Frost pressed again, wondering if it had risen from the bottom of the sea.
"A port city on the eastern edge of the realm." The Blue Priest responded, still looking at the white-haired fool with a sense of confusion. "Would you all like a ride back to shore?"
"That's not the point!"
Frost shouted, growing increasingly curious about the magical appearance of the vessel on the sea.
"Now that you ask…" Myst spoke up as Frost's holler died out, preventing the fool from sating his curiosity in the mysterious ship.
"Where are we going now?"
The nymph turned to each of her friends, one at a time, searching any of them for some sort of clue on what they were supposed to. Lance had told them to defeat the Creatures of the Gods and travel the realms, but he had neglected to tell them how to actually do the latter. Through some miracle, they had managed to beat one of the Divine Beasts, but now what were they supposed to do?
"That's… a good question." Flare nodded, rubbing at his chin as he, too, tried to figure it out.
"Maybe a giant portal will open from The Serpent's corpse and whisk us away to one of the other realms in a flash of super awesome magic!" Frost suggested, nodding his own approval of the idea.
"Come on, now, Frost. We're trying to be serious." Myst sighed, shaking her head.
"I was serious…" Frost frowned, crossing his arms over his chest. "Fine then, see if I give you any more incredible ideas!"
The group turned, looking toward The Blue Priest as the man spoke up.
"There is an old story about Ilayda that might help." The Blue Priest continued with a grin.
"What is it?"
Flare and Myst responded, opening their ears to listen intently to the tale the man was about to weave.
"Well, according to legend, when the realms were first born, it was not uncommon to see the goddess upon the earthly plane." The Blue Priest began. "While she was forbidden to interact with humanity, there were many people that would see her wandering the realm, conversing with the monsters and calming the seas. One of these people, supposedly, watched as Ilayda entered and exited the realm one day."
"Really?" Myst questioned. She had lived in the realm of water for nearly two decades, and heard many of the old legends, but this one didn't sound familiar at all.
The Blue Priest grinned, chuckling a bit as the redhead of the group asked the question.
"According to the man's story, Ilayda opened a passage through the magical barrier that separates the realms by extending her arm into it. The next thing the man knew, a hole in the barrier opened up, and Ilayda walked inside. The story says that when the man approached the gap, he could see a growing shadow creeping from the other end, but when he tried to enter it, the passage suddenly closed, sealing the way through."
"I don't think that helps at all." Frost sighed.
"Maybe… Maybe it does." Myst countered, rubbing her head as she thought.
"You figure something else out?" Flare questioned, looking toward the nymph as she hefted her blade up, staring at it.
"Well… it was sort of a stretch, but during the battle with the Serpent, I figured out how to beat her when she kept saying only Ilayda could stop her." Myst began to explain as she turned her head away from her sword, looking toward the Eastern Wall of the realm. "It made me realize that… that I was holding the power of Ilayda in my hand."
"The Aqua Saber?"
Myst nodded as Flare spoke.
"The Aqua Saber was crafted from the essence of water – from Ilayda… Plus, The Serpent was also infused with the goddess's power, which is also now part of my blade…" Myst spun her head back toward the group, grinning, confident in her deduction. "So, I think The Aqua Saber is the key!"
"You really think so?" Frost questioned, staring dubiously at the nymph.
"You have any better ideas?" Myst questioned the fool.
Frost was silent a moment, closing his eyes as if to think. But a moment later he shrugged, shaking his head.
"Not really. But if that was really the case… why didn't your sword open the path earlier? When The Serpent pinned my hand to the barrier with your blade?"
"That's…" Myst trailed off, her smile slowly fading as the fool of there group made an unexpected amount of sense. "…a good point…"
The nymph frowned as she slowly let herself fall back to her knees, a bit of her enthusiasm draining as the fool's words sunk in. Somehow, the fact that Frost had pointed it out made her even more depressed about making the small mistake.
"Well… perhaps that story doesn't relate." The Blue Priest smiled awkwardly at the youth, feeling bad for the false sense of hopes he somehow instilled in her. As he stared, though, something else occurred to the Water Realm official. "But… didn't you say your sword has absorbed all of The Serpent's powers?"
"Supposedly." Myst nodded, sighing as she continued to think about what she could do – what they could do now.
"Well… The Serpent had the ability to traverse the realms as well."
Flare, Frost, and Myst already responded in unison, their questions nearly lost in the jumbling of voices as the priest jumped ever so slightly at their enthusiasm.
"Y-yes." The priest nodded, somewhat nervously. "I can recall at least one time that The Serpent told me she would be leaving the realm, and that I would take responsibility for anything that happened while she was gone… if it was not to her liking…"
"Then maybe…!" Myst turned, looking toward the redhead as Flare returned her fervent grin, nodding.
"It's worth a try, at least." Flare agreed, prompting the nymph to return to her feet, turning toward the eastern wall of the realm once more. As she did, though, she was painfully reminded of the condition her body was in as a sharp pain struck her.
"Ow!" Myst paused, reaching to her shoulder, gripping it until the pain faded.
Myst raised her head, turning back to stare at the green-haired girl as Ivy spoke for the first time in a while. She frowned, staring at the tomboy's hung head and submissive posture. The Thornian girl gripped tightly at her side with one hand, the other stretched up nervously to her opposite shoulder. Staring at the girl, Myst got the impression Ivy felt guilty about something… though she couldn't imagine what it was.
"Ivy…?" Myst turned toward the girl, her tone sounding slightly more concerned than the nymph had truly intended.
"You…" Ivy hesitated as she began to respond, still staring at the ground. She had been reluctant to say anything as everyone spoke – afraid that she might bring everyone's attention back to her. She was scared that, if they looked at her – if she joined the conversation – it might remind them all of how pathetic she had been. It might remind them of how useless she was. And then… they'd tell her what they thought.
She tightened the grip she had on her shoulder, forcing the tears that were trying to get it out back down, deep inside of her. She fought with the loathing she had, struggling to gain control before she responded. Maybe if… maybe if she just pretended it was all alright…
"You should let me heal us all before we do anything!"
Myst let out a sigh of relief as Ivy lifted her head, revealing a joyful smile on the girl's face, her eyes filled with relief at their victory as well. Smiling, the nymph nodded, happy to see the girl had made it through the battle relatively unscathed.
"I suppose you're probably right!" Myst laughed, nodding.
"It'll probably be for the best." Flare agreed, nodding as well as Ivy moved closer to Myst. For a second, as he spoke, Myst almost thought she saw Ivy stop – flinch. But then, the girl continued forward, that same grin still on her face.
"So… you all will be leaving, then?" The Blue Priest questioned, watching as Ivy's blade split apart, stretching to latch into the blue-haired witch.
"Hey! I asked to be healed first!" Frost's protest rang out in the background as the priest turned his gaze toward the redhead.
"If our guess about how to reach the next realm is right." Flare nodded, falling back onto the inundated surface of the strange island. "It's sad, really. I'm really gonna miss this realm."
The Blue Priest smiled, shaking his head.
"Even after all we've put you through?" The blue-haired man questioned. "My people and I… I can't imagine we were very hospitable to you all during your time here. And I apologize for that."
"Not at all!" Flare grinned, staring up at the clouds in the sky. Oddly enough, it still wasn't raining in that wet realm. "You all were very accommodating. Especially the people of Sentry Bay."
"But I… I attacked you."
"It's fine." Flare turned his smile to the priest, his eyes forgiving the man. "You were just fighting to protect your people – just in a different way than we were."
"Besides," Flare laughed, turning his head back up as a drop of water suddenly hit his cheek, "I sort of asked you to fight me!"
The redhead sat up, a light shower beginning to fall on the island as Ivy approached him, still forcing herself to smile.
"Just you left…"
Flare nodded as the girl kneeled down next to him, extending her sword to heal him as well.
The Blue Priest stared, a smile on his face as he watched the boys' wounds recover thanks to the magical powers of the Mystic Blade of Plants. What he owed them all – what the realm owed them all. He wasn't sure he'd ever be able to repay them.
"Then let's put our theory to the test."
Flare stood as Ivy pulled her sword back – his injuries gone, the pain replaced by a general tiredness that was not so easily eliminated. Still, in comparison, the redhead would readily agree feeling slightly exhausted was better than a broken rib, among other various aliments. He gave Ivy a weak smile as she stood, but somehow no longer able to say what had been on the tip of his tongue moments ago. For now, he supposed, they should all just focus on the fact that they were alive. The details… that incident… he would leave that for later…
"Myst!" The flame warrior shook the thoughts of Ivy from his head, turning his grin toward the nymph as she, too, stood. "If you'd be so kind!"
"You sure better hope this works the way you think it will." Frost injected as Myst nodded, walking toward the endless red wall that surrounded the water realm. "'Cause believe me when I tell you it's gonna hurt if you're wrong. Hurt like b—"
"I'll be fine." Myst cut the fair-haired teen off as she stopped, a foot or so from the edge of the realm. "This'll work."
The nymph took in a depth breath, staring at the shimmering wall, watching as the various hues of red bled together, shifting and squirming along the surface. A day ago, she had never even seen the mystic barrier with her own eyes. It was something that – for all intents and purposes – could have been nothing more than a fairy tail. It was just something she learned about – something she was told. She had never even tried to fathom what it might look like before. Needless to say, it wasn't entirely what she expected, but it was far from what she would have imagined. It was still strange, though, to be standing there, about to pass through a magical barrier that Lance had erected near the beginning of the world. She was about to tamper with an ancient power that few could, or ever had. It was… a little overwhelming.
"You say that, but it sure looks like your hesitating." Frost teased after Myst stood there motionless for more than a few moments.
"Sh-shut up." The nymph shot back, blushing slightly. She avoided turning to glare at the fool for that very reason – just in case he might notice and say something else. "I'm just… preparing."
"Its fine, Myst." Ivy encouraged her, laying a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Take your time. It's a big thing."
Myst smiled at the girl, nodding to her as she turned back to the wall. Once more, she took in a deep breath as she raised her sword, pointing its tip to toward the barrier, holding it like one might hold a key. The fool's warning rang through her mind as did the pained expression she had seen on Frost's face from earlier – when he was pinned to this barrier. She wouldn't deny that she really hoped she was right. She had no desire to experience the same pain he had. But, she couldn't let that possibility hold her back. Motivating herself – telling herself it was going to be okay – Myst thrust the Aqua Saber forward, plunging it's tip into the magical barrier, a ripple spreading out as it slid into the mystic wall.
After that, though, nothing happened. The nymph frowned, staring at the wall – at the point her sword's guard now rested snuggly against – wondering if she had been wrong. As she stared at the hilt, though, she realized one thing: she was not feeling a surge of energy like what Frost had experienced. With this encouraging fact revealed, Myst became certain she was on the right track she was just… missing something.
Flare questioned the girl as Myst remained there, staring at her sword, a slight tinge of concern in his voice, but the nymph ignored him. Instead of responding to the redhead, she nodded to herself, deciding to follow her instincts as she twisted her wrist, turning the sword as if it were a key in a lock. And, to her elation and astonishment, her theory paid off.
As soon as Myst's blade had rotated a full ninety degrees, another ripple shot out from the blade, but this one did not follow endlessly upon its surface. Instead, the ripple spread out until it had created a noticeable circular distortion on the wall, nearly eight feet in diameter with Myst's blade at the center. Everyone there gasped and awed at the sight, staring intently as the circle back to shake and shimmer. It took only a few more seconds of this before the magical barrier contained in that area began to crumbled away, falling off like dust as it moved away from Myst's blade.
"It actually worked…" Frost stated, sounding generally amazed they had figured it out.
"I did it!" Myst shouted, bouncing slightly as her voice rang with pride.
The group peered through the new hole in the wall, staring in at the long, strange tunnel that had opened in the surface of the barrier. The passage was entirely circular, the same diameter as the opening, and shimmered and looked just like the mystic wall in which it had opened. As they stared in, it seemed like the tunnel went of endlessly, with no sign of the opposite end.
"So… where does this lead?" Ivy questioned, leaning forward as she examined the edges of the passage and tried to see the opposite side.
"According to my story, it would seem like… The Shadow Realm? Perhaps?" The Blue Priest offered, staring in awe at the tunnel from a few feet behind the Bladewarriors.
"I don't see a 'creeping darkness' though." Flare countered, staring down the path. Though the tunnel looked long, it seemed like it was lit fairly well for as far as he could see.
"Then… I guess we'll just have to go through and find out!" Myst stated emphatically, turning to look at her friends. "Right?"
"No other choice, I suppose." Flare answered, nodding as a playful grin covered his face.
"B-but… what if it's the Ice Realm!?" Ivy frowned, shivering at the mere thought of it after the stories Frost had told them.
"That'd be awesome!' Frost exclaimed, suddenly seeming much more anxious to pass through the wall.
"It'd be horrible." Ivy argued, shivering again at the thought.
"No way!" Frost shook his head. "The Fire Realm would be horrible."
"Excuse me!?" Flare shouted. "What would be so bad about that!?"
"Too hot." Frost shouted back.
"Not even!" Flare argued, shaking his head.
"Sorry, Flare, but… I have to agree with Frost on that one." Ivy commented
"See? If we agree, you know it's true!" Frost shouted, laughing.
"No, that's when I know something's wrong!" Flare yelled back.
Myst laughed, watching her friends as they argued over nothing. She was about to head off into an unknown danger, moments after finally being safe in her own realm, and somehow… she was happy about it. The bickering of her friends as they fought over what was and wasn't the worst possible destination they could find at the end of this mysterious tunnel made her smile, because a week ago… she didn't have friends. But now, that seemed like almost a lifetime ago. Their journey had barely begun, but Myst could hardly even remember what it was like before she had joined this quest and met these people. They had changed her whole world.
"I guess we should get going then." Flare smiled, turning to look at Myst as he decided not to argue with the fool any longer.
"What? So soon?"
The group turned, looking toward the Blue Priest as the man stepped forward, looking slightly startled.
"There's no need to rush off, is there?" The Blue Priest grinned. "I know the young lady there can heal your wounds, but you all must still be exhausted. Why don't you postpone your departure a night? Rest on my ship. You can leave in the morning."
"I think it might be best if we keep moving." Flare replied first, smiling as he gently nodded his head. "Thank you, but—"
"What!? Seriously!?" Frost exclaimed, letting out a large groan as he collapsed to the ground. "Do we really have too!?"
"Well…" The redhead trailed off, turning to look at Myst and Ivy as well.
"I guess… one night wouldn't hurt." The nymph shrugged, nodding as the fiery youth looked her way. "Right?"
Flare scrunched his face a moment, considering the proposal as he stared toward the opening that still hung in the barrier. To be honest, he wasn't really sure what the hurry was. He wouldn't lie that he was hoping to get home as quickly as possible – to make sure everyone from his village was alright – but he knew the odds were only one in eight that that was where they'd end up. And though he was ready to move on if needed, he couldn't deny the idea of spending a comfortable night on a luxurious ship certainly sounded appealing.
"Alright." Flare stated, grinning as he nodded his head. "Let's relax for a night – I'd say we've earned it. We'll head out in the morning!"