As the group wound through the various corridors, they found no resistance. "This place is so empty," mumbled one of the vampires.
"Yeah, I think you've been told you're part of a bigger organization than you actually are. You guys are stretched pretty thin."
"There is the other system," interjected another vampire, only for Alicia to cut them off.
"Sorry to tell you, but that place is just as deserted as this one. From my estimates, there are likely five hundred of you. Tops," estimated Alicia. "Enough, but not enough for what the Queen is planning."
"Yeah, not going to rule the world with that," sighed another Vampire.
"Which is the core of the issue," nodded Alicia. "They're overstretched." Suddenly, Ulla and Mara came around the corner.
"Syner-bee," said Ulla firmly as she looked Alicia up and down.
"I know what this looks like, but I'm leading an insurrection," said Alicia with a grin.
"Down with the queen!" cheered Katie.
"Down with the queen!" echoed the vampires.
"Well, why didn't you lead with that? I do owe her a good smack," grinned Ulla as she and Mara moved closer.
"Guys! You might not remember these two, but they're my buddies," said Alicia.
"So where are we going?" asked Mara.
"The Queen has been known to hold meetings by one of the power centers and in the castle," explained Thirty-One.
"Can I suggest we try the castle?" asked Mara, "They seem to like it there and, well, if the Queen wants to sleep she'll likely try and head back there. Especially if the Courtesan needs more doses of whatever she's giving her. With the lab down, she might try and see if she can salvage a dose from the wreckage."
"I can lead you," nodded Thirty-One.
"Thank you," smiled Alicia as the group started to walk through the tunnels. As Thirty-One guided the group, Alicia did her best to summarize what had happened to Mara and Ulla.
Eventually, they reached one of the tunnels exits and Alicia signaled to the group. "Wait a moment and I'll go up and check, and then I'll call up."
"We should be at the exit nearest the fairytale garden," replied Thirty-One.
"Right, so beware of wax figures, got it." laughed Alicia as she gently climbed up the metal steps and pulled the hatch open. While Alicia couldn't see anyone, she could hear a lot of movement. It almost sounded like marching, but she couldn't work out where it was coming from.
"You hear that?" asked Ulla.
"Yeah, marching,” replied Alicia.
"Moving people, most likely," supposed Ulla.
"Not sure how many," sighed Alicia.
"I vote we head up," suggested Mara, "We might be able to get the drop on them, and we stand more of a chance in a wide-open area than we do fighting in these tunnels."
"Good call," replied Ulla. "Everyone, get out. Emergency and Syner-Bee will take the front. I'll take the back."
"Right!" shouted the vampires in unison as people slowly started to filter out of the tunnels and climb out into the cool night air. As people climbed out, Alicia and Mara did their best to keep a lookout, hoping to spot anyone before they ambushed the group.
Once the group of vampires was all out, Alicia looked towards the castle. "Sure you can handle the back solo?"
Ulla nodded. "I can. Let's get moving," she said firmly as the group started to move through the remains of the fairytale area. It still looked creepy, but Alicia had to admit, after everything else she had experienced recently, evil wax dummies felt blase and slightly boring.
As they entered the garden, Alicia looked at the throne and sighed. "Tonight has been a trip," she mumbled as her mind filled with the image of Ulla fighting her Mom.
"Not long now," replied Mara. "We'll do it."
"We will," nodded Alicia.
"You've done great, tonight. Your Mom would be proud."
"Really?" chuckled Alicia.
"Talking a load of people into joining you to take down their leader. That's a Mesmera move if I've ever seen one," laughed Mara. She opened her mouth to say something else, only to stop. "Wait," She said as she raised her hand.
The crowd of vampires stood still as a rustling noise grew louder. "There there," came a voice as several vampires burst out from the hedge. Alicia stuck her arms out, purposely putting herself between the new vampires and her group.
"Where do you think you're going?" said another vampire as a small cluster of them exited the hedge.
"We're going to take down the Queen!" shouted a vampire from Alicia's group.
"Down with the Queen!" echoed the other vampire as even more bodies left the bushes. This new group seemed to be slightly larger than Alicia's one, but it wasn't all of the other vampires she had seen in the castle earlier.
"I was warned about you," hissed the one vampire as she moved forward a few steps.
"I'm glad we have a reputation," giggled Alicia.
"I am," started the vampire, only for Alicia to cut her off.
"Let me guess. Sixty-Nine?" she said sarcastically. "You've got two choices: join with us, or get out of our way."
"When I'm done with you, I'll be the new Thirty-One!" grinned the vampire. "The queen will reward me for bringing you all back into the fold!"
"Did the Queen tell you that, or the Courtesan?" inquired Mara as she reached into her pocket. "Because if it is the Courtesan, I might have something that would interest her."
"Only your blood and spirit will interest her!" snapped the vampire as she squatted down, her matted and tangled hair moving softly in the night breeze.
"Yeah," sighed Mara.
"They're really obsessed with it," added Alicia.
"Is that what we sounded like?" asked Thirty-One.
"Unfortunately so," shrugged Alicia. "But hey, it happens!"
"Get them!" screamed the hostile vampire as her whole group moved forward, all of them hissing as they did.
"Might not want to do that," Replied Mara as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a syringe. "Unless you want to risk losing this."
"What?" growled the vampire as she motioned for her group to stop.
"This is the drug that is keeping your Queen standing, and I've made sure to utterly destroy any lab or stockpile I've found. Except for this syringe."
"Are you threatening the Queen?" hissed the vampire.
"You've obviously not been paying attention, tonight," Mara retorted with a smirk. "Yes. Very clearly."
The vampires started at Alicia's group as she looked back and forth between her group of insurrectionists and the still-hostile vampires. The hostile vampires were all crouched and ready to attack.
As the hostile group took a step forward, an alarm started to echo around the area. It sounded like a tornado siren. Several of the vampires covered their ears as they winced. Mara, Alicia, and Ulla started to look around, presuming they were about to be ambushed.
Suddenly, a voice crackled over the speakers. "The Queen is willing to bargain," aaid the Courtesan's voice. "Meet us in the throne room. Bring the syringe."
"Why should we trust you?" shouted one of the vampires.
"Because without this syringe, she's out of ideas!" chuckled Mara.
"Return, the Queen wishes your audience," boomed the Courtesan's voice as the hostile vampires hissed and quickly returned to the bushes and started to run towards the castle.
"Shall we follow?" asked one of the vampires. However, before Alicia could reply, she saw Ulla throw a wax hand.
"Don't think I don't see you!" Ulla shouted.
"Huh?" Mara blinked.
"Courtesan was coming out of the tunnels. I guess the security room is tucked down there, likely with the controls for that emergency broadcast system. But hey, I did hit her," chuckled Ulla.
"Nice throw," remarked Mara. "Explains why she could see us earlier. She had to hunker down in the security room to track us, but has been overly busy for the last few hours."
"Right," said Ulla. "Listen up. This is likely a trap, so I'm going to need you guys to follow our lead okay?"
"Okay," mumbled several of the vampires.
"We'll get the Queen, I promise." added Alicia, "but until we know the lay of the land, running in blindly will only cause more pain."
"Alic," started Beth only to raise a finger and stop herself. "Syner-Bee is clever. I trust her judgment."
"So do I," agreed Thirty-One.
"That is sweet," Alicia smiled. "Weird to hear you calling me that, but I like it!"
Mara put the syringe back into her pocket.
"Ready?" asked Mara.
"Ready," responded Alicia as she moved forward. As the group moved, Alicia could feel her heart pounding in her chest. This felt like a good idea and a terrible one at the same time. The Queen was clearly on the back foot, but they were still outnumbered. However, it wouldn't be hard to overcome them, especially if she was able to pull the vampires back under her spell.
As they approached the castle, Ulla spoke up. "We're going around the front," she stated firmly. "We know the route, which makes us harder to jump. And, we've already cleared the route."
"Good call," nodded Mara as she waved for the group to follow her. As they slowly moved around the corner, Alicia tried to lower her heart rate, taking deep breaths.
"You okay?" asked Beth.
"Yeah," reassured Alicia, doing her best to project an aura of calm. She didn't want to stress Beth and Katie out any more than they already were, "Just getting my breath back."
"Okay," Beth responded with a nod. As they turned the corner, Alicia saw massive piles of rubble and debris on the floor. It took her a moment to realize that this was the mess that Ulla had made when she smashed the wall at the front of the building.
"Wow," mumbled Thirty-Six. "The castle."
"Is damaged and crumbling, like her rule!" interjected Beth, getting a ripple of a cheer from the vampires. "Soon, she'll know what it feels like!"
"Yeah!" cheered the vampires as the group made their way into the caste. As they entered, they could hear the sounds of movement from deeper inside. The place was still a wreck, suggesting that no one had been back through this area since the last time the girls came through.
The group moved slowly through the castle. Alicia couldn't help but feel proud of the various holes in the wall. They had done a good job destroying this place earlier, and it helped give her a little bit of confidence.
"I can see some people," whispered Mara as she pointed ahead to the room at the far end. Alicia could make out some moving shadows that were definitely humanoid.
"Ambush," whispered Alicia.
"Watch your backs," commanded Ulla as the group moved into the big room. The damage from earlier was still obvious, with debris and rubble scattered all over the room. However, at the far end, just in front of the door Ulla had crushed was the Queen on her phone, her tail coiled around it.
Mesmera stood on her one side and the Courtesan stood on the other and all of the remaining vampires stood against the wall, forming an obvious pincer shape.
"You've arrived," huffed the Courtesan.
"She's actually a snake?!" gasped Beth.
"Yeah," nodded Alicia. "I did mention that earlier."
Beth shook her head. "Well, I thought it was a turn of phrase. Snake women are a thing?"
"Long story, I'll tell you later," Alicia replied.
"Be quiet!" screamed the Courtesan. "Hand over the syringe. Now."
"What's in it for us?" asked Mara.
"You get to leave with your lives," growled the Courtesan.
"Don't play coy with me. We both know that you've so far failed to kill us," replied Mara as she glared a hole into the Courtesan.
"You think you and your turncoats stand a chance?" asked the Courtesan.
"We're not turncoats!" cried out Thirty-One. "You drugged us! You took us from our families!" But the Courtesan just started to laugh.
"You think your pathetic lives matter to the Queen? You got to serve a monarch. You should kiss her boots in gratitude," mocked the Courtesan. As the conversation continued, Alicia looked the Queen up and down. She was breathing heavily, almost panting. She looked pained. Her movements were heavy and clumsy.
"Down with the Queen! Down with the Queen!" chanted the insurrectionist vampires as they stamped on the floor, causing the whole room to shake. The Courtesan's look of confidence faded for a moment before she snarled.
"Quiet!" she screamed.
"Never!" shouted Thirty-One. "We're not you're puppets anymore!"
"Yeah!" shouted Beth as she and Katie stepped forward. "You're not going to hurt people anymore!"
"And you think you can stop me?" asked the Queen. "You think you can resist me? Or my will?" She continued as she pulled herself up off the throne and slithered forward. "Tomorrow, this world will know that Lamia-kind will not be trifled with. That we will no longer live in the shadows. That we are naturally powerful! And you will either march under my banner, or you will end here!"
"Tomorrow you are doomed, and you know it," replied Mara. "Your army is fractured. And even when full, you would be repelled."
"Tomorrow we will increase our numbers," grinned the Queen. "They will understand the power of my will and my spirit."
"Buying into your own hype is dangerous," said Mara. Suddenly, the Queen let out a theatrical yawn as the Courtesan moved forward and stood next to the Queen.
"I think you've gotten the wrong impression. But, we will make sure you are used well," said the Courtesan with a smirk. "You will be made to obey the Queen."
"I tire," mumbled the Queen. "Thirteen, kill."
"But why?" asked Mesmera. The Queen and the Courtesan turned, only to find that Mesmera had draped herself across the throne. "It feels so good to be Queen!"
"What are you doing?" growled the Courtesan.
"I'm basking in the glory!" smiled Mesmera as she swung her legs around and stood up. "It is rare you see something so wonderful. Someone who lifts the bar."
"Good. Now do as you are told," hissed the Courtesan.
"Oh. Not you," chuckled Mesmera, "I mean my plan has really been improved upon." She snapped her fingers three times. Suddenly, several of the loyalist vampires at the Queen's side of the room stiffened.
"No more Queen! No more Queen! No more Queen!" they started to chant in monotone as Alicia giggled.
"What is this?!" shouted the Queen.
"I've had a talk with your troops," Mesmera began with a smirk. "They're mine to command, now." The Queen and the Courtesan turned around furiously, obviously trying to work out what to do.
"Kill them! Kill them all!" screamed the Queen as her eyes flashed red. The non-chanting vampires let out a loud hiss as they moved forwards to Alicia's group. The Queen swung her tail towards Mesmera, but Mesmera was able to jump behind the throne, dodging the blow.
As the vampires moved forward, Beth and Katie got into position. "We're not scared of you!" Shouted Katie. "You're just a load of Halloween drama queens!"
"Under a bigger drama queen!" added Beth. Ulla moved to the front of the group and gently rubbed Beth's shoulder.
"You've done great. But let us take this from here, okay?" she said as she stood next to Mara. "Shall we?"
"Right!" nodded Mara as she pulled out her system as Ulla pulled her ticket out of her pocket and inserted it into her system. "Emergency! Armor on!" shouted Mara as a bright flash illuminated the room and the sound of clunking metal-filled it.
Katie and Beth covered their eyes, stunned by the flash. As it cleared to reveal Ulla and Mara in their armor, Katie gasped. "Your friends are so cool!" she squealed.
"Ready?" asked Ulla.
"Ready," answered Mara, "So you all better get out of our way!" She and Ulla charged forward, diving into the fray of vampires.
"Cover your ears!" said Alicia as she looked at her group of vampires.
"Why?" started Thirty-One.
"Just go with it!" shouted Alicia as she watched Thirty-One and the others cover their ears. Once she was sure most of them had covered, Alicia screamed "Bite" at the top of her lungs.
Suddenly, several of the fighting vampires stopped fighting and started to dance as the Courtesan looked on in shock. "Stop it! Stop it!" she screamed as the sound of combat mingled with the chanting of the vampires Sharon had brainwashed.
"Alicia," said Katie as she uncovered her ears and smiled, "Go get them! We'll protect these guys!"
"You sure?" asked Alicia.
"Get in there!" shouted Beth.
"Right!" agreed Alicia as she charged forward, crashing through a group of vampires as she did. As she watched Alicia run off, Katie let out a gasp.
"I've got an idea! Follow me!" she said as she waved to the vampires and ran out of the room.
The Lamia Queen hissed and chased Mesmera, swinging her tail wildly, trying her best to strike Mesmera, but Mesmera was too quick and agile. Alicia decided that is where she would be most useful and started to push the vampires left and right, doing her best to make her way towards the Queen.
Mara and Ulla were throwing vampires left and right. While the group was good at mobbing them, they were obviously outclassed by Mara and Ulla's strength. A vampire lunged at Alicia, only for her to shove it over as she jumped out of the way of another.
"Arm yourselves!" screamed the Courtesan as she ran towards a side room. Some of the vampires broke off and ran through the ruined door. As Alicia threw another vampire she heard Katie shout as a rumbling echoed around the room.
Alicia turned only to see one of the fake walls smash through a crowd of vampires, sending them flying. One the backside of the wall stood Katie, Beth, and a few of the vampires. They were using the mobile walls as an improvised battering ram.
"Turn!" directed Katie as the wall twisted, "Forward!" She continued her instruction as it moved forward at high speed, sending vampires left and right as if they were bowling pins.
"What is this insolence?!" screamed the Queen as her tail missed Mesmera again as she rolled across the room.
"You'll find out soon enough!" Mesmera smirked as a vampire flew past her. Several vampires charged out of the side room, all of them holding various weapons including axes and machetes.
One of the vampires ran right at Mara, swinging their axe down towards her. However, Mara blocked the axe with her armored arm. "Now you're just being silly," she said firmly as she snatched and snapped the axe in one flowing movement. The vampire swung for her with their free hand, but Mara grabbed the vampire's wrist and threw her across the room.
Several other vampires tried to hit Ulla and Mara with their weapons, however, it was futile. Their fake or horribly blunt weapons couldn't even scratch the heavy armor that wrapped around Mara and Ulla's bodies. Whenever they tried, they found themselves thrown across the room. While the vampires had been clumsy earlier, they were even clumsier and even less coordinated now.
"No! No!" screamed the Courtesan as several vampires charged forward with chainsaws. They tugged furiously on the chokes, hoping to get them started. However, Mara turned and deployed the claw from her suit, swinging it out like a whip, causing it to smash the chainsaws out of the vampires' hands as well as knocking several other vampires to the ground.
The room was chaos and the dancing vampires, the chanting vampires under Mesmera's control, the sound of Beth and Katie shouting as they used their wall to smash into vampires, and the general sounds of combat, were slowly becoming a cacophony.
The Queen slammed her tail into the ground, missing Mesmera once again as Mesmea ducked and dived around the throne. "Too slow!" laughed Mesmera as the Queen growled.
As another group of vampires was knocked flying by Mara, the Courtesan started to pull on her hair. "No! No! No! Not like this! Not like this!" she cried as she ran through the door.
"Ulla!" shouted Mara.
"I'll get her," said Ulla as she threw a vampire off her back and ran after the Courtesan as Mara tackled any vampire that tried to give chase. Mesmera rolled out from behind the throne as the Queen raised her tail and slammed it down, causing the throne to splinter, revealing that it was nothing more than painted particle board.
"You will end now!" screamed the Lamia Queen as she glared at Mesmera. Alicia could see a red glow forming in the Queen's eyes. Mesmera's eyes turned silver as she gazed at the Queen.
"You're not the only person who can do that," growled Mesmera as she clenched her fists and gritted her teeth. Alica gasped and started to move towards them keen to get to her mom so she could back her up.
"You will do as I command," growled the Mesmera Queen as red started to twist through Mesmera's silver eyes.
"Once upon a time," growled Mesmera, "The people of Ireland made a cake called a Barmbrack." She started to move forward. "A variation on the common quickbread," she continued, her limbs obviously growing stiffer as she tried to hold the Queen's gaze.
"No. Stop," hissed the Queen as Mesmera's body started to tremble and rock, her leg freezing mid-step as she continued to mumble to herself. "Listen to me! Listen to me!"
Alicia charged forward and shoulder tackled the Queen, knocking her to the floor. The Queen let out a loud hiss as she quickly spun and smacked Alicia with her tail. The force of the hit and Alicia's momentum caused her to also hit the ground.
"Maybe she'll succeed where you failed," grinned the Queen as her eyes illuminated red again. Alicia could already feel the glow pushing into her mind as her thoughts started to fade.
"Fight," groaned Mesmera as she tried to move forward, only for one of the vampires to grab her. "Blocks thoughts! Engage your mind!" she groaned as she struggled to pull the vampire off her.
"I," groaned Alicia as the red glow grew brighter and brighter. She dug her nails into her palms as she felt her limbs start to grow stiff. She did her best to focus, but everything seemed so hard. It was like the red was sucking her thoughts. But Alicia held on as much as she could, trying to find a thought she could focus on.
"Give in and I'll make it quick," hissed the Queen as the red continued to bore into Alicia's brain. It was like time was slowing down. Every second seemed to take an eternity. But, through the haze, Alicia could feel a thought forming.
"I," she groaned. Her jaw felt like it was being held shut, like all of her muscles had been turned to stone.
"You will obey me," continued the Queen, her voice echoing in Alicia's head. The world was dark, and all Alicia could see was the red glow of the eyes. The only sound she could hear was the voice of the Queen echoing around in her skull. "Do as I command," commanded the Queen as Alicia felt her muscles yearning to obey the Queen's words.
Alicia struggled and squirmed, fighting to try and hold onto her thoughts. As she struggled, she felt a thought form in her brain. "A player who rolls a six," groaned Alicia as she fought against her body, "Can claim one of the squares of that number, and gain the associated resource."
Alicia's body trembled as she slowly pushed herself up off the floor. It felt like gravity was quadrupled and that all of her limbs had heavy lead weights attached to them. But she was moving, and with every movement she grew in confidence.
"On a roll of seven, the player may move the criminal to a nearby space and claim resources from one of the players who own territory on a linked hex," continued Alicia as she stumbled forward.
"Don't! You will obey me!" growled the Queen as she moved in toward Alicia, but Alicia continued to move forward, her body wobbling and twitching as the red throbbed in her eyes.
"Every player may trade one resource for another, provided they own territory on a hex that holds a port," she growled as her confidence continued to grow with each passing thought.
"Get down! Kneel!" shouted the Queen, only for Mesmera to dive at her, smacking her in the face. As the Queen stumbled sideways, her gaze was broken. Alicia felt the fog clear in her head as the noises of chaos came into focus once more.
"How dare you," hissed the Queen.
"That's the difference between you and me," grinned Mesmera as she dodged the Queen's tail. "You block thoughts. Suppress them. It means people under your control can't use their natural talents. It strips them of their ability to help themselves. They need guidance, and you don't give it to them. And because of this, everything you create has a rotten foundation. One that only lasts as long as you can keep people in the dark."
"You will pay for this," growled the Queen as Alicia moved next to her Mom.
"You will always end alone. Constantly suppressing the wills of others means they will never support you. All you do is take the useful parts and force them to discard the rest. They will eventually wake up and curse your name. They are more than what is useful to you."
"You think you can stand against me?" spat the Queen as she barred her fangs.
"I think we can," asserted Sharon.
"Right! Now you'll see the power of our teamwork!" called Alicia as she tilted her wrists.
"You will both kneel before me!" barked the Queen as the red glow returned to her eyes. Alicia channeled her power as she spotted her Mom doing the same.
"We won't, because we know your weakness," replied Mesmera as she moved forward.
"We know that you are weak and helpless," echoed Alicia as she fought the stiffening sensation in her muscles, "that you know you are backed into a wall."
"That you know that we have you trapped," continued Sharon as she continued to move forward, both of them trembling, "And that I really, need you to."
"Silence!" screamed the Queen as she backed off, hissing deeply. "Obey me! Obey me!"
"Vault," grumbled Sharon as she shuddered and stepped between Alicia and the Queen. Alicia's brain spun for a few minutes before she realized what her Mom meant. As Sharon froze in place, Alicia tilted her wrists, grabbed her Mother’s shoulder, and flipped into the air, flipping over the Queen.
"What?!" hissed the Queen, as she turned to face Alicia. Once more Alicia felt the red glow burn into her brain. She tried to refocus herself on her thoughts, trying to prevent her brain from slipping back into the red void.
However, before she could fully harness her gaze, the Queen let out a scream as her eyes slammed shut. She spun around, and Alicia quickly realized that Mesmera had stamped on the lamia's tail.
"Listen to me," growled the Queen as her eyes grew brighter. Mesmera started to shudder, but it didn't matter as Alicia knew exactly what she wanted to do. She jumped on the Lamia's tail as hard as she could, causing the snake woman to let out a loud scream as she swung around again.
The force of the turn sent Alicia tumbling to the floor. The Lamia Queen hissed and bared her fangs as she looked over Alicia. However, before the Queen could move, a black fabric wrapped around the Queen's head. The Queen hissed and struggled, but Mesmera's legs wrapped around the Queen's body.
Alicia got up and quickly realized that Mesmera was using the cape that the Queen had given her as a way to blindfold the Queen. Alicia's heart pounded as she dodged the Queen's furious swipes. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted Katie and Beth with their wall.
"Over here! On her tail!" Screamed Alicia as she waved at the girls. Alicia activated her strength and ran around the Queen, quickly grabbing the Queen's tail and trying to hold her in place.
"I'll cover you!" shouted Mara as she barged her way through the remaining vampires.
"You heard her!" screamed Katie. "Push! Push!" The turncoat vampires all let out a groan as the heavily damaged wall started to move. The Queen continued to hiss and thrash, but she couldn't get her tail free or get Mesmera off of her.
"You will die for this!" shrieked the Queen.
"Experts have failed in the past," retorted Mesmera as the Queen's panting grew louder and more ragged. Alicia held firm, gripping the tail as hard as she could.
Eventually, the girls arrived with the wall, shoving it over onto the Queen's tail. The Queen screamed as Mesmera dropped off of the Queen's back, the cape fully knotted around her head. The Queen swung wildly at thin air as several other vampires started to wheel other walls across as the Queen's tail movements became slower and slower.
Alicia surveyed the scene, only to realize that every hostile vampire was on the floor, dancing wildly, or still mindlessly chanting, "No more Queen," even though their voices were quiet and hoarse from several minutes of non-stop shouting.
The Queen continued to struggle as the vampires buried her tail under more and more of the fake walls. The Queen continued to claw at the cape, but eventually, she slumped forward and stopped.
"Is she?" asked Beth, only to be cut off by a snore from under the cape.
"Drugs wore off," sighed Mara as she gently gripped the Queen's wrist. "Pulse is off, but within normal."
"Natural?" asked Sharon.
"As much as a comedown can be," replied Mara.
"Good. We need to find Ulla," said Sharon firmly.
"Right!" responded Mara.
"You guys, wait outside the castle," instructed Alicia as she motioned to Beth and Katie. "We'll come to get you."
"Give the Courtesan hell!" shouted Katie.
"Oh don't worry. I plan to," Mesmera called back, giving a smirk as she ran through the busted door.