‘Some view,’ he says.
‘It’s beautiful,’ I agree.
At the temple’s pinnacle, we are above the treetops. It’s possible to see beyond the overgrown trees that crowd the pyramid, beyond the stripped ring of land the Mogs cleared and out to the rest of the Mayan ruins and the thriving jungle beyond. I imagine some old Mayan ruler standing up here and gazing out at his domain. And then, I imagine that same ruler turning his eyes to the heavens as a Loric ship descends from the clouds. The image seems so real and vivid; I get the strange feeling that my imagination didn’t just conjure it up. Centuries ago, something like that really happened here – the Loric visited, and the Sanctuary remembers.
‘You guys, look at this,’ Marina calls to us.
Adam and I turn away from the view and walk across the flat roof of the temple. At the centermost point is a stone door. At first, I think the door is carved from the same pale stone as the rest of the pyramid, but as I draw closer it becomes obvious that the door is smooth and unblemished, the ivory-colored material not showing the same effects of age as the rest of the temple. The door may have been here for some time, yet it’s apparent that it was plunked down on top of the already built pyramid.
The door doesn’t lead anywhere, a fact Marina demonstrates by walking in a circle around it. Her floating pendant hovers in front of the door, waiting for us to catch up.
I stop in front of the door and examine its surface. It is completely smooth – no handles, knobs, or anything like that – with the exception of nine round divots arranged in a circle at the door’s center.
‘The pendants,’ I say, brushing my fingers over cool stone.
Marina plucks her pendant out of the air and guides the stone into one of the notches. It fits perfectly and emits a crisp clicking sound. The door doesn’t move, though.
‘We only have three,’ I say, grimacing. ‘It isn’t enough.’
‘We have to try,’ Marina says, already pulling off her remaining pendant.
She’s right. We’ve come too far to turn back now. I pull off John’s pendant and fit it into the notches on the stone door.
‘Here goes nothing,’ I say, as I push the final pendant home.
Immediately, the Loralite stones begin to glow with the same energy as the force field. The glow spreads between the stones, connecting them, the energy filling the gaps where we’re missing pendants. The circular symbol that takes shape on the door reminds me of the scars we get on our legs when one of the Garde dies.
And then, with an ancient grinding noise, the stone door slides down into the temple, leaving behind only a thin frame. Instead of jungle through the doorframe, I see a dusty room lit by the dim blue glow of Loralite.
‘I thought we’d need more,’ I say. ‘We don’t even have a majority.’
‘Or maybe the Sanctuary knows how badly we need to enter,’ Marina suggests.
‘It’s some kind of portal,’ Adam says, squinting into the room beyond the doorframe. ‘Is that inside the temple?’
‘Let’s find out,’ I say. I pick up Marina’s Chest and step over the threshold.
Immediately, I get that disorienting, end-over-end, roller-coaster feeling that I used to have whenever Eight would use his teleportation Legacy. It only lasts a second, and then I’m blinking my eyes to adjust to the dimmer lighting of this inner sanctum. My ears pop from the pressure change, and I get the sense that I just stepped through a portal into the middle of the Mayan temple. Or maybe, considering the way the jungle sounds have been completely sealed out, we’re even deeper than that. Maybe this Sanctuary is completely beneath the pyramid.
Marina – with Eight’s body in tow – and Adam follow me through, the both of them squinting to adjust to the lower light. When they’re on the other side, the doorway blinks out of existence. There’s no exit in its place, only a solid limestone wall, although a circle of notches just like the one from the door are carved into it. Our pendants clatter to the floor and I hurriedly pick them up.
‘The Sanctuary,’ Marina breathes.
‘How long ago did your people put this here?’ Adam asks.
‘Hell if I know. We heard they’d been coming to Earth for centuries,’ I reply absently, peering around. ‘I guess this is what they were doing.’
‘They were preparing for this day,’ Marina adds, that eerie certainty back in her voice.
‘What’d they leave us, though?’ I ask, a little disappointed as I look around. ‘An empty room?’
The Sanctuary is one long, rectangular room with high ceilings and absolutely no doors or windows. It’s as if our ancestors teleported into a solid chunk of rock, somehow managed to carve out a room, and then forgot to furnish it. There’s nothing here. Veins of glowing Loralite are threaded through the stone walls and ceiling in chaotic patterns that cast the entire room in a cobalt hue. My eyes glide over the swoops and swirls of Loralite – there’s something vaguely familiar there, something that I’m just not seeing.
‘It’s the universe,’ Adam says. ‘It’s … more than we even know about. The Mogadorian star maps don’t cover this much.’
It takes me a moment to realize what he’s saying. But then I notice the way the Loralite veins pool into circles at some spots and I recognize the other veins as the swirling stars of the cosmos and beyond. It’s just like the Macrocosms, only way bigger and covering way more universe. I find Lorien on one wall, the glowing puddle of Loralite at its heart shining much dimmer than some other spots.