With a groan, Leia sat back on her heels and arched her back. "You guys haven't found anything yet, have you?" She asked, looking at her companions. They all shook their heads.
"I would've told you guys if I did," Bianca said.
Even though they had been hopeful when Sammy suggested the Fields of Asphodel as a searching place, now she wondered if it was such a good idea. They'd been searching for an extremely long time, and they were all fed up. Besides, Leia's back was practically breaking every time she bent over.
"Look, I think we should give up. I hate to disappoint you, Sammy, but maybe you haven't inherited your mom's power. Whatever we're looking for, it doesn't seem to be here," said Silena. Leia nodded in agreement. Even the mysterious wren that had helped them earlier wasn't here, having conveniently flown off.
Still, Sammy looked pretty desperate, and Leia wanted to keep her group out of hysterics. "Just one more minute, and we can go," she said. Silena glared at her, seemingly wanting to mutiny. Leia tried to ignore her and turned to face the others.
"If we can't find anything in here, then we can go confront Hades. But try not to get yourself killed," she added. "Just tell him that we couldn't find anything and ask permission to leave. Now, make the most of the minute that we have left and search."
Bianca agreeably started delving through a thick clump of white flowers, and after a few seconds Festus reluctantly joined. Sammy had eagerly plunged in and was covering many flowers at a time, happy that Leia had granted him extra time. Silena huffed and began looking again.
But soon the minute passed, and they had found nothing. With a relieved sigh Silena got up and waved her hand at the rest of them. "Come on, guys, we have to go ask Hades to leave."
Sammy, with a desolate countenance, slowly rose up with Festus. Festus, however, seemed more determined, and shrugged off Sammy's hand. Then he dove back down and frantically dug through the asphodel.
"Come on!" shouted Silena, yanking Festus up. Festus yelped and fell, landing on a cushion of flowers.
"I didn't go on this quest so you could beat me up, lady! Use someone else as your punching bag," Festus cried indignantly.
"Well, punching bags are a lot better when they're someone I can pick on easily."
"We've got to--" Sammy began, but he was quickly cut off as he stared at something behind Festus.
Leia gasped. The air behind Festus was now shimmering, wavering as if something had distorted it. Before she could say anything, a small circle appeared in front of her. Silena yanked Festus away and warily looked at the circle, weapon ready.
"What's with all the battering, Silena?" grumbled Festus, picking flower petals off his sleeves. She ignored him and glanced at Leia, asking with her eyes what the circle was. She shrugged. Honestly, Leia had no idea.
But soon her question was answered. The circle expanded, twisting around and around as it did so. Now it was more like a large oval. It hovered a few inches above the flowers, the insides now warping and twisting so that the surface was never still. Leia stared in amazement at it.
"What is that?" wondered Sammy, his eyes reflecting back the swirling pattern of the oval.
No one answered him.
Bianca, however, stepped forward and reached out as if to touch the oval. Sammy grabbed her outstretched arm and pulled her a few feet away. "Don't, Bianca! The thing might be dangerous!"
Festus payed no heed to his warnings, though, and ran forward. He tried to touch the ever-changing surface of the oval, but instead his hand went right through. Festus stared in awe at his cut-off forearm.
Silena shrieked, but Leia's heart was pounding so loud that almost didn't notice. The swirling could only mean one thing.
"This might be our only hope," she said to the others. "Let's go in."