Zenith – Part 13

Emily stepped out into the green fields at the base of hill. She stumbled for a second and turned around just in time to see the door behind her close on the downtown alleyway. She shook her head a few times and tried to regain her bearings. That was… something.

She could feel Violet chuckle through their connection. Wait, was that your first teleportation? I liked your use of a door. And hey, you held in your lunch.

At the slight mention of potential side effects Emily felt her stomach clench and try to return her last meal to the world. Really? You just had to. She swallowed and took a deep breath before looking around and getting her body back under control.

Emily reached back into her mind and found the image of the house they were looking for again. It was a yellow house, definitely on the base of mount Tabor, but where. Shadows. The trees cast shadows on the house, but the sun wasn’t in the picture so it was hard to tell where in the sky it could be. She knew that the whole ‘moss faces north’ myth was in fact a myth, so that wasn’t useful, but there must be a hint to keep them from having to walk the whole circle.

The sun. That’s it Emily! Look at the paint!

Emily focused on the sides of the house. The walls were a pastel yellow, slightly faded from sun and rain. On one corner there was some peeling. But then Emily noticed something. While the whole house was definitely weathered by the rain, the colors were brightest on the side facing the viewer. The hill was in the background.

North side. let’s go. Emily broke into a trot northward. She felt close and needed to help her friend. The sun was currently starting to get low and Emily’s Prime vision was starting to get weaker. Please, please, please, let him be gone, Emily thought mostly to herself.

Everything will work Em. Emily couldn’t help but believe her.

She got to the edge of the street where she predicted Jiro’s hideout would be, but something didn’t feel right. Violet, something’s wrong. Space is folded all over itself!

A labyrinth? Be careful Em, but I know you can navigate, trust your gut, not your eyes.

Emily stepped forward and reached out with her magic. Space was twisted and turned, but she wasn’t able to unfold it directly, she would have to navigate through it and unfold it as she went. She took a step and smoothed the first fold. If a sleeper walked by they would just see her slowly walking straight down the street, but she was navigating an invisible maze of walls. She turned enough times that she should have been facing back where she came from, then had to take a step up a wall. She experienced a strange vertigo as she made a full flip around the sidewalk and should have become upside down.

Every step she took she reached out with her magic and unfolded the realm. This is exactly the things that Ged wanted me to avoid. I worry what would happen should a sleeper find themselves here. Emily had a flash of memory of a newspaper about missing people, last seen nearby. Were they abducted or did they get lost? She briefly shuddered and returned to the task at hand. She felt close, but it was hard to tell when trapped in this maze of glass and mirrors.

At last she turned a corner that didn’t exist and was at the steps to the house. We’re here. She took a step up and paused. Are there any minds here?

Violet reached out through Emily’s eyes and felt for other minds in the center of the labyrinth. One, but I think it is an animal. A dog maybe?

Best to be careful. Help me try to avoid it when you can. She continued up the stairs and got to the door. Unlocked. Either he is arrogant about his safety, or has another defense mechanism. I’m hoping for the former. She turned the handle as quietly as she could and walked in.

Much of the house sparkled. This would make her search hard. When everything is magical, finding the one artifact that she needed would prove difficult. She took a couple steps in and examined the first things she found. A book, a lit candle that didn’t seem to be burning down, a sword mounted to the wall with a couple strange marks on the hilt. But everything felt a little wrong. Emily’s stomach clenched when she looked at most of the artifacts. The light from enchanted candles made the shadows around her feel tangible.

Please don’t spend too long here, Em, I don’t like this one bit. Violet’s voice lacked its normal confidence. She was scared too.

There must be a way for me to change what magic I see, or at least be able to tell what kind of enchantment it is right? Emily questioned.

I’d imagine, but I’ve never tried it. Violet reached her mind further to Emily’s and pushed her fear out of the way. I will do my best to support you while you try.

Emily looked around at the sparkling objects and focused on her concept of Space. The book faded away, then the candle. One by one she canceled out the aura of objects around her. Most she couldn’t pinpoint the magic, a couple were based in Mind. She was left with three objects. The sword on the wall, a bell in a display case, and a dagger stuck into the wall in the next room.

Carefully she reached up and pulled down the sword off the wall and placed it between her belt and pants. She stepped carefully to the case and opened it, then using a towel silenced the bell and removed it, placing it in her bag. Then she turned the corner to the other room.

Stop. The animal is in there.

Emily froze. What if… she didn’t want to finish that thought so she peeked around the corner. The third artifact, the knife was stuck into the wall through a red leash that was attached to a Great Dane. She relaxed her restrictions on sight, and saw that the dog’s collar had an enchantment. Mind. It’s collar is connected to Jiro isn’t it. This is very much a guard dog.

Leave the knife. We’ll try the other two.

No. If I don’t take all of the possibilities He’ll make it harder to try next time!

Maybe we don’t even need the artifacts. Maybe you can just open a door to me like you did earlier!

I want the best chance I have Violet. I want you.

I’m not worth it.

Emily paused and felt a tear form in her eye. She couldn’t tell whose tear it was. Violet pushed enough emotion that both were on the verge of crying. Emily took a breath and replied, You are worth every bit. Now try and create a calming aura, we need that dog to keep sleeping.

She reached out and started working her magic. She needed the far wall to be close to her without alerting the large dog in between. She started moving her hands in a circular motion. The room started to rotate. Not the whole room. Just the far wall. The knife moved, the leash stretched to twice its original length.

Then it was at arm’s length. Emily reached up and carefully pulled it out of the wall. The room righted itself.

Another mind appeared.

We need to go.

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