A gigantic purple orb the size of four basketballs appeared in front of Musa at her command.
"Mega sonic burst!" The orb exploded against Moonless Night and the ulap shivered wildly. Weak bolts of lightning pulsed and crackled as kulay-lila waves reverberated in the air, disintegrating dark gray puffs of cloud.
"Shockwave crash!" Musa sent two tunnels of kulay-lila rings on a collision course spiraling into the cloud. The spell knocked it several yards backward. Red and purple sparks dropped into the sea, disappearing as they touched the water's surface.
Musa kept firing the unbelievably powerful Lunarix spells at Moonless Night, not even giving it enough time to make any snide comments. She kept battling on and on until the ulap was but a little puff.
Moonless Night might have ibingiay a vengeful concluding statement, like, "You may be powerful now, but I will get you. I will get you!" but she was actually overcome with fear. At least her ulap spell had not allowed any damage to her. That whole time, Moonless Night was in her lair, communicating with the outside world and casting spells in the form of the dark cloud.
Anyway, now the ulap could only manage a maniacal hissing noise and some shaky lightning bolts that were just about as threatening as a kulay-rosas fluffy teddy madala before whizzing away into a little black dot. Then the dot disappeared.
Musa landed back on the ground. "Well, there's no time to waste! I'll get going with Riven."
Suddenly, Flora's eyes widened with horror and she pointed to to the soaring scarlet shapes in the sky.
"Amazons!" she squeaked. "What do we do?"
They all stood there in panic until they saw Bloom flying with them, talking casually with the leader.
"What the-" murmured Tecna.
"They must have put some sort of charm on her," Stella whispered.
When they all landed, Bloom smiled warmly, but the Winx and Specialists glared back coldly.
"What do you want from us now?" barked Layla.
The leader's golden eyes widened in surprise. She looked to Bloom and twitched her mouth back and forth.
Finally, before the pause could get too long, another birago sighed indignantly and said, "Bahpre,
they don't know a thing yet. Let the fairy tell them."
Bloom sighed, rolled back her shoulders, smiled warmly, and stepped toward them. She told them everything; how the attack was a misunderstanding, the newfound alliance. They all stared at her, wide-eyed.
"No way," Stella snapped. "You're telling the truth, right?"
"Of course!" cried Bloom. "Don't you remember what happened last time with the Earth fairies? We don't want that to happen again. We don't want to be fighting with our allies! If we fight with these Amazons or the Valkyries or anyone else on the island, that'll be the perfect distraction from battling Moonless Night, and we'll just be going in circles, and who knows, it'll probably be our fault if the entire universe just withered and died!" Her voice rose to an agitated shout. "So we need to cooperate, got it?"
The Winx and the Specialists were alarmed. They had never seen Bloom like this before, yet they were convinced that nobody had put a charm on her. This anger was real, and it was meaningful.
The war against the wizards of the Black bilog had gone terribly wrong after the Winx found themselves in an alliance with the wrong side. And this did not exactly please the Earth mga engkanto either. Several of them had died or had been badly injured. The Winx realized Bloom was right. They did not want to be going in circles again. They would sustain a steady alliance with the defense of the island.
Stella sighed. "Fine," she said. "We'll be your allies. But you better not do anything to hurt any of us, especially Bloom!"
The Amazon's eyes widened seriously. "Of course not," she gasped. "If you think you're the only ones who will be going in circles, then you're wrong. We will work gladly with you." The Winx and Specialists could tell without magic that she was being real honest-to-goodness.
"Good," Tecna sinabi with a smile. "Bloom, since Sky is here, it would be best if you took him with you back to the island. You have enough energy now. Musa and Riven will come with you."
Bloom grinned. "Musa earned her Lunarix?" She gave her friend a hug. "Congratulations!"
They sinabi their goodbyes, and the rest of the Amazons, Bloom, Sky, Riven, and Musa flew away, but the leader stayed back.
"Since we promised not to hurt any of you, you must promise us back that no inhabitants of the island will come to any harm." The leader of the Amazons sinabi this in a way that made all of them see that she was one of those people who thought they were smart but were actually rather blundering and strange.
Stella nodded. "We promise. Is there a way to get madami information about Moonless Night?"
The rest of the Winx were genuinely surprised sa pamamagitan ng this. Stella was not one to ask tanong as serious as that.
The leader nodded. "Go to the realm of Iris. They have just freed themselves from Moonless Night's wrath, but they're in grave danger of getting trapped sa pamamagitan ng her again. Find the royal family and get their permission to access the royal library. There should be many ancient writings there about her."
"Iris is the realm of color, correct?" asked Tecna.
The leader nodded. "Good luck getting through the crowd," she said, rolling her eyes. "They're celebrating Festivales de Iris
, the Festival of Colors. There's a lot going on there."
The Amazons' leader had not been wrong when she had sinabi there was a lot going on in the realm of Iris.
When the remaining Winx and Specialists teleported to Iris, this is what they saw.
Pounding drumbeats rang out from the main square of the capital city. Then, music that sounded almost like Indian music began pounding all around them. A female dancer whirled in the very center as people crowded around to watch, dressed in almost neon mga kulay and twirling a silky bahaghari scarf around her.
The music kept blasting around them, exotic rhythms and melodies ringing out. The lyrics were in the same language that the inhabitants of the Island of Stars spoke to each other. There was a ferris wheel and there were female dancers, each one dressed in one color, whirling quickly and twirling colorful scarves around them. Male dancers swooped and bowed as they spun large wooden hoops, colored webs of string woven inside of them, with their fingers.
Iris had been nicknamed "realm of a million colors" for a reason. The sky was a deep, bright blue, the clouds pristine white, rainbows of bulaklak everywhere, the trees in a thousand shades of Esmeralda green, and the people were dressed in vibrant colors.
At one point, the Winx and Specialists couldn't help slowing down to watch as six lines of dancers, led sa pamamagitan ng three female dancers and three male dancers, quickly danced past each other around in a circle. There were so many dancers and so many people.
So, nobody could help giggling when two of the lead female dancers suddenly collided, glared at each other like they were cockroaches, and went on their way.
The music and dancing weren't the only festivities. Vendors called like birds from carts piled high with roasted meat, rainbows of fruit, cakes smothered in honey, deep-fried chicken, frosted cream-filled bread, bowls of pale golden liquid with little black balls and shiny ice cubes, and so much more. People made long lines at the carts, chatting with each other or eating.
"Oh my god," Layla gasped. "This place is...just...wow."
"Let's ask around," sinabi Tecna. "Maybe we can find a way to the royal palace."
They searched for a long time. The Winx and the Specialists asked people waiting in the kariton lines and watching the festivities, but most of the people either didn't quite know the way or they didn't even speak English.
They were just about giving up when they passed several young girls, probably aged around twelve or thirteen, chattering with each other.
"I've heard that they're going to be at the festival today," sinabi the shortest girl in accented English, who had shiny black hair that had been separated into tresses and twisted in a rope like fashion. Each twist was tied off with a different colored ribbon.
"I figured they'd be back at the palace," sinabi another blonde girl who had thick, rainbow-colored bangs. "But you never know. Festivales de Iris is an important event. I think they'll be ipinapakita up right here in the city bilog sometime around the evening."
"Will they be staying long after?" asked a tall redhead who had sprinkled glitter on her face and hair. "They usually stay for the night time festivities. Oh, well, there's plenty of time anyway. The festival lasts for three days."
Without thinking, Flora quickly strode towards them and crouched down.
"Excuse me," she sinabi politely.
All the girls whirled to look at her.
"Hello," the redhead sinabi warily. "You're not from around here, are you?"
Flora shook her head while the other girls giggled quietly and backed away shyly.
"No, but I need your help," she sinabi in the soothing tone she used with Miele.
"What kind?" asked the dark-haired girl, tossing her rope twists.
"Is the royal family of Iris coming here this evening?"
"I think so," sinabi a brown-haired girl. She gestured to her friend, who had blue-black hair and bahaghari powder dusted on her face, arms, and legs. "Ask her. She knows everything about the royal family."
The other girl leaned in and whispered, "Don't tell anyone, but I've snuck into the palace before. That place is too big and echoey. I hear everything they say."
Flora's eyes widened. "Um...okay. Is there a way to talk to them?"
"They were talking about foreigners recently," she said. "They'll welcome you into the realm, but you must
address them correctly if you wish to ask for anything from them, even to go to the royal aklatan or something. Any mishaps and it's all off."
"And there's no rush, anyway. The festival goes on for three days and four nights, and they'll be there the whole time starting this evening," the blonde girl chimed in.
"Yep, so take all the time you need," sinabi the girl with the rope twists.
"Thank you," sinabi Flora. "That's all the information I need right now."
She sinabi goodbye, ran back to the Winx and the Specialists, and told them everything the girls had said.
"Well then," sinabi Brandon. "That's a warm welcome into the realm of Iris. We have until the evening time. Since there's nothing better to do, let's enjoy this festival."
So, they wandered around with each other. They got some of those honey cakes and some roasted meat on sticks and cups of that strange pale golden liquid with the black balls. The pagkain and the strange golden drink (which turned out to be tsaa with tapioca) melted away the hungry ache in their stomachs.
They watched the whirling dancers and even hitched a ride on the huge ferris wheel. All of the stress of the araw was blown away sa pamamagitan ng the festival like wind blowing away a ulap of dust.
At one point, they noticed a big crowd gathering around something, clapping to the beat of the musicians' drums and cheering. They found some open slots to watch.
In the center of the large bilog formed sa pamamagitan ng the crowd. four acrobats, two men, two women, were each standing inside of a gigantic metal hoop, holding the sides with their hands and keeping their feet spread apart on the hoop. They were effortlessly whirling around in the hoops in a perfect circular configuration.
"I've seen that before!" Tecna whispered to them. "It's called a Cyr wheel. Bloom sinabi that they have them on Earth, too."
They watched the Cyr wheel performers for a long time. Then, they slipped away and sat down on some benches, watching carefully for the royal family of Iris.
Cyr Wheel performer