“That was amazing!” Axra declared. “I’ve never felt such a rush of speed!”
She looked around. They were on a platform very similar to the one they’d left, except housed in a domed building instead of in the middle of the ocean. There were three people watching them. They all had the same slightly pointed ears and large eyes as Reira. She was taller than any of them by a good half foot.
“No,” Reira said. “I’m not a gnome/human hybrid like you initially thought. Yes, you are looking at my people.”
Axra scrutinised the four of them. They didn’t look like any species she’d seen before.
“We aren’t,” Reira said. Axra was starting to get annoyed at having her mind read like that. “Say hello to the Djinn.”
“Well met, Reira.” An elderly looking man stepped forward. “Here to visit with your niece and her good friends are you?”
“She needs to find some information,” Reira said. “If you can point her in the right direction, you can send me back to Lexine.”
“It’s most unusual to bring outsiders here,” he said. “But I can see why you did it. This Gail seems like trouble and there is good reason to believe there would be information on her here.” He looked over at Axra. “You might want to help Lilly stand.”
Axra turned around, Lilly was wobbling and looked about ready to fall over. Axra rushed back and helped her stand.
“S… sorry,” Lilly muttered. “Th… the trip. I… don’t…”
“It’s okay,” Axra reassured her. “I’ve got you.”
“So,” Twila began. “wi…”
“I will,” the old man said. “I don’t know anything about that time period myself. But there is an elderly man whose collected and re-transcribed all of the ancient texts he can. He’s a bit of an oddball, though. His ability to read minds has been all but lost and we fear he’s going senile.” He looked up at Twila. “No, we can’t tell for sure. Reading another Djinn’s mind isn’t so easy. Without him opening up to us, we could only force our way in. But such a thing… such a thing isn’t done without very good cause. Yes, I will write up directions for the three of you. Just give me a moment. You youngsters, always in such a rush.”
“We barely even said a word,” Axra whispered.
“True,” Twila said. “But he can’t help but read our thoughts. As such, we can’t really phrase things delicately.”
Reira laughed. “You’ll find that I’m one of the better Djinn about letting people talk. Most everyone up here has never interacted with other species. So, you can expect them to treat your thoughts as though they were words. After all, if they’re unguarded they’re going to assume you mean for them to hear them.”
“I might be able to develop a defensive spell,” Twila said. “But I don’t know how long it would take and helping Lilly takes priority.”
“Well, you could replicate the type of interference that the Eris orb creates for Lulu,” Reira suggested. “I never could read his mind without putting in a major effort.” She shrugged. “Easier said than done, I suppose.”
“Thanks for bringing us up here, Twila said. “Are we going to see you again?”
“You will,” Reira said. “Although not anytime soon unless you return to pick up your other friends before Lexine and I leave Jeriska. When you’re done, just return here. They’ll send you back.” She walked over and hugged Twila. “Good luck, Kiddo!”
“The reinforcements from the academy are here.”
“Good,” Zero stated. “I want to hurry and put this behind me.”
“Their head representatives wish to speak with you.”
“Of course,” Zero said. “Send them in.”
A red-headed elven woman and a gray-haired human walked in.
“Magia,” Zero said. “Mister and Misses. It’s been a long time.”
“It has been,” he said. “I never thought I’d be sent to help you or that I’d accept such an assignment.”
“Still mad?” Zero asked. “It’s been decades since I beat you down. You really should let it go, Isaac.”
“Boys, calm yourselves,” she said, gently. “It is an interesting problem. A ridiculously strong weather spell focused on this small area.”
“If we don’t dispel it, this entire area could suffer greatly,” Zero stated. “That’s a certainty.” He looked at Isaac. “Will you allow that to happen?”
“Of course not,” Isaac said. “That is why Moira and I are here. Hopefully, our party’s added power will enable us to beat this thing.”
“Good,” Zero said. “We should try to get along anyway, if only for our daughters’ sakes.”
“Yes, I heard about Twila speaking to Elaine on your behalf,” Isaac said. “I also heard that my brother was working with Axel on the Hestial League problem.”
“And Twila’s letters have spoken very highly of Axra,” Moira added.
“Axra is very fond of Twila as well,” Zero stated. “I was surprised to see how close they’ve become after so short a time.”
“Then we’re agreed,” Isaac stated. “Give us some time to rest from our journey and we’ll deal with this problem.”
“I’ll stay on the side-lines,” Moira said. “You’ll probably get it dealt with, but should we fail again it might provide valuable insight if someone’s monitoring.”