The words of encouragement were as encouraging as you could imagine, and just as annoying. The voice lost all matter of conversation and began voicing his opinion on how hard we had to work and how hard work always rewarded those who worked the hardest. We had worked hard enough, I felt, that we deserved the reward the voice was saying.
"... to those who work, they shall inherit the rewards. To those who reap, they will receive the earth..." the voice said.
"We have the earth, mate," I said.
"I think the earth more has us," Chevron said, buckets of sweat poured down his face.
He was right, we had been swallowed whole, but we had not wholly been enveloped... so long as we had spirit.
"... spirit is life, and that should suffice." the voice said.
"Are you rhyming now?" I asked.
"Me? I never." The voice said. "Remember to always work hard forever and ever."
"Sounds like a rhyme to me."
Never mind the rhymes, because suddenly the earth gave way and a sliver of sunlight tricked down at us. I caught the beam in my hand and watched my palm fill with beams of beautiful light.
"We've struck light!" I said, like a miner finding gold.
Suddenly, something happened. It turns out, I'd learn later, that caves have different atmospheres than the earth above. And we had created what could only be described as a river of air, if I got my science terms correct. The hole we crafted soon began to whistle at us.
"What's that?" Chevron asked.
"I think the earth is whistling at us," I said.
And then we were pulled. First the lady in garb, her robe billowed and danced and converged, pulled through the earth; then I was next, smushed, mushed, mashed and pressed through that crack like a rodent pressed under a door. Chevron was after. We shot out of the earth, riding atop a geyser of chocolate.
We all landed on the earth and found Macie and the Ambassador standing above us. They were holding grocery bags.
"Did you go shopping?" Chevron asked, exasperated.
"The Ambassador did," Macie said.
"I bought a motivational tape," the Ambassador said.
"He's been playing it on repeat," Macie said, rolling her eyes.
"It's an A.I.," the Ambassador said, excitedly.
That was when the lady in the black garb finally spoke and told us something we all needed to hear, but wished we hadn't.