“Melovi.” I whispered her name and focused on the touch of her long fingers in mine. She had squeezed them. I had not imagined it. Whatever afflicted her, I would drive it out. “Where are you?”

The whispered words did not help location, but I sensed a dim, outside force help guide me through and around the tree. I suspected it might be the ravens.

Silently, I thanked Asker and let my persona swim naturally past familiar and barely familiar strands. Colours and auras flared, dived and swaggered. Each heartbeat stretched to minutes as I swiftly judged and moved on. I dismissed awesome spirits as if they were nothing. My senses tingled for one strand.

Eventually, I spotted it. Melovi’s Summon branch torqued near the base of the tree, where the roots disappeared into the glowing ether of my soul. Another multi-coloured strand hovered nearby – the Sparkling Cobra, which I had almost forgotten I had gained after Dragma’s demise.

I shook my head and focused on Melovi’s strand. I garnered little from its pale blue aura. Nothing radiated outwards.

Slowly, I reached forward with spectral hands and touched the cord. I could not remember ever doing such before, but in this instance it felt right. I reached for my memory of Melovi’s hand as I did so, hoping it would instigate some firecracker of response from the apathetic branch.

I had no idea what to expect. The cord disappeared in my hand, flaring to a topaz serpent before it blazed away to nothing. I stared at empty space and knew I should panic, but when I looked around, the surroundings had changed. A dreamy veil ushered down from the heavens. It enveloped everything but me in soft contour. I floated aloof from the fuzz. I felt my new habitat test me; it wished to draw me fully in. I resisted. And the ravens from outside lent me extra strength.

Passage To Celestial Glory – Chapter 22 Extract