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CHAPTER 5 – The Ring and Between
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‘The thing is, though,’ Avinia added to Tyrentia, ‘we’re not quite sure about you. We know that the other two can do it; can do it. We’re gambling that your having power to Adapt isn’t coincidence. Your coming into the picture just now seems significant. We may be wrong, though; be wrong.’
‘Who is the other one?’ Hugh asked.
‘Lusi has gone to find this one. She and I have a Trace Link to let us know where to meet; to meet,’ was the only reply. ‘Now, try flying,’ and a second later Avinia and Felin were airborne.
Tyrentia suddenly shot up, glanced down, and went, ‘Eek!’ before she realised that she could rely on her wings to keep her up there.
Hugh tried a few flaps, and could immediately sense how much force to apply, and to where, to take off. It was as natural as walking. He found within seconds that he only came unstuck and lost direction when he actually tried to do the movements consciously. Otherwise, he simply willed himself to fly in a certain direction and at a certain speed, and his wings responded. Their guides promptly set off across the field, and he and Tyrentia flew after them with increasing confidence.
Remembering what Felin had said, he asked as he caught up with him, ‘Is flying like this using wings also a sort of illusion to simplify what is really happening?’
‘Actually, yes; but it’s one most of us share. Even the Daoine princes and princesses like us aren’t advanced enough to understand it properly, so we also simplify it in our minds as you are doing,’ Felin said.
Suddenly Avinia, stopped in midair and started hovering, so that the others nearly bumped into her. ‘Wait,’ she said, when they hovered with her. ‘While we’re still so near the Interface, shouldn’t we do a test; a test? We should make sure these two can return easily.’
‘Isn’t it rather too soon to try that out?’ Felin sounded worried.
‘No, I don’t think so. At the same time, we can find out if they can stay Between. They may want to or need to; need to.’ She zoomed back in the direction of where the flower ring could be seen.
‘Definitely too soon,’ Felin grumbled, but he followed and so the other two did as well.
They landed well forward in the ring, close to the ‘bubble’ wall. ‘Both of you, go straight through,’ Avinia instructed. ‘Then come right back; right back.’
Together, Hugh and Tyrentia stepped through the wall – and nearly died of fright. As if a peculiar sensation of expanding wasn’t enough on its own, a deafeningly raucous ‘Haaaaa!’ and a furious clapping sound also made their arrival definitely unpleasant. They recovered their wits in time to see a terrified Hadeda ibis flapping his way through the treetops above them.
Pausing only to check that they were their normal non-fairy selves, and still shaking, they went back through again.
‘Good; good,’ said Avinia. ‘Poor bird. I must comfort him. Anyway, now comes a harder part. You must follow me through. This time, you must concentrate on staying as you are now; as you are. You must go to Between.’
‘Keep your eyes on us as we go through,’ Felin added in a doubtful voice. ‘If we start looking blurred to you, you’ll know you’re going wrong.’
The other three did start going into blurs and Hugh couldn’t work out how to stop them. He arrived on the other side alone. Alone, that is, apart from three Glows he could see just ahead. Back they went again.
‘You weren’t trying!’ Tyrentia accused him, and added maliciously, ‘Why don’t you fly through from high up? Your sense of self-preservation will probably make sure you don’t change.’
[To be continued with Chapter 5 (iv)]
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