She tried to process what Ruth just said. That Ruth had another being living inside of her. And not any being, but an infant god. She processed for a time, thinking over what Ruth had said to encourage her during her dream with Lucifer. She considered Ruth’s encouragement on her views of her failed calling. That she didn’t fail but was needing to know the help of others before she could truly help others. She had felt better and her Soltana’s Contentions module had shrunk due to that. She crunched on the information she knew of Ruth, her being transformed by an unknown perpetrator.
“Everything will be well,” Soltana replied.
“What?” Ruth stammered, choking on tears.
“You have been changed. Whoever did this must have implanted this being into you.”
“But why?” Ruth asked, clearing her tears and composing herself.
L’yophin skittered over to Soltana’s side, looking at Ruth with concern.
“I do not know. Would speaking to Diniel help clarify?”
“No! We can’t tell him! She might be a demon. Diniel would destroy her,” Ruth said with panic.
“He would destroy us.”
“Nonsense,” L’yophin rebutted.
“You said you met him, correct?”
Ruth nodded with a sniff.
“Did he know you were a shapeshifter?”
Soltana began to process where L’yophin was going with his questions.
Ruth nodded again, understanding where he was going.
“So you must have revealed yourself, as you did with us, yes?”
“He forced me to reveal my true form, yes,” Ruth replied.
“Are you destroyed?”
Ah, there it is. Soltana deduced.
“L’yophin, he doesn’t know that-”
Ruth went silent, thinking.
“He said I had the souls of thousands of others inside of me. If that were a reason to destroy or deplete me, that would have been it.”
“There,” L’yophin replied with a spidery smile.
“We’ll speak to him shortly. Basil is still at the estate, we’ll ask him to lead us to Diniel,” L’yophin said.
Ruth nodded, putting her tweed hat on.
Soltana was glad of L’yophin. He had the wisdom and experience she did not. He also helped calm Ruth down, breaking it down logically. If she met Diniel and wasn’t destroyed over housing thousands of souls then what was one more soul of an infant god?
“Does she have a name?” Soltana asked.
She had picked up that Ruth said her in describing this infant god.
“As I said, her name is Maw,” Ruth replied.
“It was the name I first felt when I awoke in the Underrealm. When Diniel revealed my true name, she took my old name.”
“Then I just discovered who she is.”
“I only know that because S’yliska and Maw spoke.”
“S’yliska is not dormant??” L’yophin asked with shock.
“No. the time you saw her was both me and her speaking. She is aware, just like the time I dreamed of Azazel.”
“Then Ancath must be divine or an equivalent. A higher being that is sentient when witnessed,” Soltana concluded.
“L’yophin and company. We are just within sight of the estate. Marvelous architecture. We’ll be landing in a moment.” Onsort announced over the intercom.
“We’ll need to hurry. If you say it takes time to chrysalize, any moment we waste is lost.” L’yophin declared.
“L’yophin, what do you need help with?” Ruth offered, appearing to forget the traumatic news.
Soltana knew right away why Ruth was distressed. It meant she was violated in more ways than one. If the being inside of her was the soul of an infant god, then the one who did this would not simply leave her idle. If she couldn’t remember much, then she may have escaped. The being who did this may be looking for her.
To reclaim her.
Or a host of other terrible possibilities, such as extracting the infant and discarding the shell. And if that were the case, everyone around Ruth was in danger. Another reason to leave as soon as possible. They now had a possible two parties hunting for them. If Diniel disagreed with Ruth housing an infant god, then it would be three.
That was what Soltana suspected had troubled Ruth so much.
Right now, she would need to chrysalize. In her current form, she was unable to assist. If she were to chrysalize, she would be getting out of the way and preparing to help later.
Soltana felt a slight jarring thud, announcing their landing.
Onsort and Zenner appeared with a hover cart filled with the four nacelles.
“How is the cocoon rig, ol’ bean?” Zenner asked, pulling a cart with a claw.
“It is almost there. We can get it out of the Shell Shop and rig it up to mine,” L’yophin explained.
“That is a good idea, it would keep the Shell Shop open for transportation,” Onsort replied with a sagely nod.
Soltana thought about the time she spent at the Dugrum’s estate.
“L’yophin, where is the vessel? I never saw a ship anywhere,” Soltana inquired.
“The Sigmafly? Yes, I had kept that hidden. Buried away in the hopes of forgetting.”
“I have Soltana and the cart,” Ruth announced, keeping her goblin form as she grabbed the cart. A goblin as small as she would usually have an issue moving a large cart like that, but Ruth didn’t have just goblin strength.
Soltana felt herself being picked up and placed into the cart, the feeling was jarring. It reminded of what she had several Wake cycles ago. Her time entombed.
“Don’t worry, you’ll be fine,” Ruth said, picking up on her concern somehow.
She felt the cart moving, shaking loose a memory of before. When a spider discovered a Lambent.
There outside, a familiar hogboon waited with a row of nine goblins, all clothed in the various dress. L’yophin was the first to step off the drop ramp.
“Eh eh, L’yophin, wha’happen’? You leave witha cart and return witha ship?” Basil began as he walked in, inspecting the Scarabaeidae vessel. He glanced at the next one in line.
“Ruth, There’ya are!” He greeted warmly.
Ruth instantly blushed at being called out.
“You knew, too?”
“Of course, lassy. Can’t get aroun’ ol’ Basil.”
Soltana couldn’t help but laugh. She laughed in spite of the worry and trouble she perceived was heading their way. These moments held a simple joy to her. The others looked back, hearing her laugh for the first time.
All of the goblins shouted as they crowded around the cart, seeing their surrogate mother bereft of her walking chassis. Many were patting Soltana and Ruth, welcoming them back.
“Soltana, what happened?” The goblin named Dirk asked. He was looking taller and bulkier, probably trying to become a Trow. His black hair was short and wild. He had simple pants, shoes and an open vest.
“We fought a Daer-seehn,” Soltana replied.
“Whoa…” Dirk murmured. The other goblins whispered in amazement.
“It was Ruth who defeated it,” Soltana said as she deflected back to Ruth.
“Ruth?” Dirk asked.
“That would be me.”
“You didn’t like the name Quill?”
“It wasn’t my name. My real name is Ruth. And…”
“And she will talk to you all later,” L’yophin interrupted as he waved to Ruth.
The goblins all grumbled and whined at the story being snuffed out.
“Come on, don’be a buncha gobs. We have work to’do! The dekapillars are changin’!” Basil announced.
“What! How many?” L’yophin asked with a gasp.
“We have five so’far. You’re lil’ Phela can hatch any day now,” Basil said with pride.
“Hogboon blessin’s.” He added as he tapped his nose with a wink.
“Basil, thank you for watching the estate, we have to hurry. We are going to fix Soltana and my vessel.”
“I saw tha’. Are you OK, Soltana- wha’ happen’?” Basil said, inspecting her head.
Ruth began pulling the cart, with the others in tow.
“I am well, thank you. A Daer-seehn attacked and we barely survived. Ruth saved us.”
“We have the supplies needed to rebuild me. It is called Chrysalizing. I will be interned inside a cocoon and remade.”
“A-chrys-a-what? Cocoon? Are’you a dekapillar, lassy?”
“I am a Lambent,” Soltana stated plainly.
“So… Yes?” Basil asked, scratching his head.
“L’yophin, my baeidae, this estate is well maintained!” Zenner spoke up from the hangar ramp with hover cart in tow. Onsort was in just behind, pulling his own cart. Each held two of the large nacelles.
“More Scarabaeidae?” Basil asked, turning to address the newcomers.
“A hogboon! L’yophin, how did you find one!” Zenner shouted, scuttling over to the mob of goblins.
“Hey now, I ain’a lump’o’gold!”
“Uh, Basil found me. This way to the ship,” L’yophin stated, trying to keep focus.
“I am Onsort, and this is Zenner,” Onsort introduced himself to the hogboon.”
“Basil. Good’to make your acquaintance!” Basil responded as he held out a hand for Onsort to take.
He took a look at Zenner’s claws and put his hand down with a shake of his head.
“Better no’. Don’ wanna turn a greetin’ into an ac’o’war.” He said with a tip of his hat.
“Hm, quite right,” Zenner replied, his eye stalks slightly drooped.
L’yophin led the way, taking the group behind the estate farther down the path until they hit the cavern wall. There it was very obvious that rocks were stacked as a hidden barrier. He began starting from an end, taking rocks and rolling them away. The group watched on as the spider slowly unburied his vessel.
Soltana could only watch, wishing to help.
L’yophin turned, folding his arms.
“Well? More hands more help!” He shouted.
Everyone sprang into action, taking rocks and rolling them away. Eventually, the wall of rocks was undone, with a green wing shaped vessel revealed.
It was shaped like a dragonfly wing, with a large oval shaped cockpit at the thin end. The ectropy had done it’s work, with the hull pristine and shiny. The goblins had all stopped, trying to compete in rock lifting feats.
“Zenner, let us hook up the nacelles first.”
“Quite right, it’ll give us a good readout if anything else is needed,” Zenner added.
“I’ll let you in, then we work on getting the cocoon anchored,” L’yophin replied.
“Wha’a beauty,” Basil murmured.
Soltana was feeling excited and nervous. She would be down for the count for some time, being wholly dependent upon the group. She felt she was in good hands. Within a time, L’yophin, Onsort, and Zenner had completed installation and were given a good readout.
L’yophin clunked a few goblins and got a good group of orderlies to move parts and the Cocoon. There it was just a process of hanging it and patching it into the Sigmafly. Inside the vessel was different than the shell shop. For one, the ceiling was lower, at only fifteen feet. The hangar was also smaller, containing more rooms than the Shell Shop. L’yophin attributed it to the Emissary model which was more luxurious. It was weaponless but maxed out on defensive tools that were all trait and trade of the Scarabaeidae. The wing shifted on the fulcrum of the oval bridge, able to maneuver and configure into many different docking types.
There Soltana saw the cocoon lowered beneath the docking scaffolding. Her bed of change.
“Are you worried?” L’yophin asked, shaking her from her thoughts.
“Yes,” She admitted easily.
“Don’ worry, lassy. We’ll all be here an’ when you awaken, you’ll be a bran’ new beautiful’butterfly,” Basil said with an edge of humor.
“Soltana, do not fear,” Ruth said as she moved into view, grasping the sides of her head and staring deep into her eyes.
“I will not,” Soltana said, determined to move forward.
Everyone else had left apart from L’yophin, Onsort, Zenner, Basil, and Ruth.
Ruth freely changed shapes into her trow form, with Onsort, Basil, and Zenner blanching.
There Soltana was grabbed and lifted into the cocoon. She felt the cocoon raised, with her head bobbing around freely. L’yophin peaked his head in, peering at her.
He began, but couldn’t get fully get it out.
“Please come back,” He then stated with a sad spidery smile.
“I will, L’yophin. I will repay you for all that you have done.”
L’yophin nodded and began pouring in the limpid steel, one vial at a time. Her view was obstructed by the mercurial metal. Before her eyes were fully covered, L’yophin lowered a long limb into the cocoon.
It was her severed finger.
The limpid steel was poured, covering her completely. Her vision was near white as the light reflected off of the mirror surface of the steel.
She heard muffled speaking outside.
“Basil. Where are the dekapillars?”
“Now L’yophin, tha’s a funny story…”
“Where are they??”
“Now now, calm down, they’re fine- they’re a lil… Different.”
She felt power activated.
Her systems alerted her.
Requirements achieved for Chrysalization
Warning: New system modules activated
Shutdown in progress.
Soltana heard a voice speaking to her as she powered down.
The voice of a loving father.
“Well done, good and faithful Soltana.”