Week 14 - Novel - Dreams Part VIII - September 2-8
Simultaneously, Jo blushed deeply and winced hard. She wasn’t sure what was making her more uncomfortable: the fact that Ardin was pressing directly into her claw wounds, or the fact that this was the first time she’d ever been hugged by a boy.
“Ah,” she said, holding her hands awkwardly at her side and still blushing and wincing furiously. She really didn’t know what to do.
Tan noticed her wince. “Ardin, I think you’re hurting her.”
Alarmed, Ardin backed off. “Whoah, I’m sorry. Are you hurt?”
Jo lowered her face to try to cover her blush. “Um, just a little bit. It’s not a big deal. I think Elvir may have clawed me a bit when he was grabbing us. Nothing too serious. It’s just a little sore.”
Ardin turned and looked at Elvir accusingly. Elvir bowed his head slightly. “My apologies, Jo. I was not certain that I would be able to transport you here safely when you were falling through the rift. In the possibility that I failed to do so, I wanted to ensure I could send you back to your own world. A sharp wound was the easiest way of making that happen.”
Ardin crossed his arms. “I think you owe us a lot of explanations, Elvir. What exactly is going on here, and who are you? Where have you brought us, and why?”
Elvir looked at Ardin with a hint of condescension. “So many questions. It is not a simple story.”
“Well, start somewhere.” Ardin snapped.
Elvir stared coldly at Ardin without responding, and Jo shifted uncomfortably. She wasn’t so sure they should be antagonizing a large dragon-like monster just right now. Or at any time, for that matter.
“Um. Thank you for rescuing us, by the way,” she blurted awkwardly, trying to break the silence.
Elvir turned his head to face her. “You are welcome, Jo. It was not easy to reach you in time after you fled from me.”
Jo blushed and lowered her head again. “Sorry about that. I didn’t realize all of this might be real, back then. I thought it was just a dream. Is this…not a dream?”
Elvir shook his head. “Not quite. You are in a dream, yes, but this is also very real. I have made use of your dream state transport you here momentarily. It is when your grasp of your world is weakest, and thus when it is easiest for me to find a way to bring you here.”
Ardin put his head in his hands and massaged his forehead roughly. “This is giving me a headache,” he muttered. Jo felt just about the same, but willed herself to push forward.
“So you’re saying you brought me here? How? Why? Why me?” she asked.
“Slowly, child,” Elvir said. “I brought you here, as I’ve said before, because you are the only one who can help save our world. I discovered your Earth a long time ago, and have, with great effort, devised a way to facilitate travel between our worlds. Still, it was not easy to bring you here, and only possible because you were particularly amenable to the journey.”
“Amenable? What made me so amenable?”
Elvir looked carefully at Jo. “You would know that better than me, child. All I can say is your ties to your world are weaker than most. As for why this is, I could not tell you. But I suspect you may already have a clue yourself.”
Jo shrunk a little. She did have a suspicion, when it was put that way. She really didn’t have much tying her to her reality. What would happen if she just left? Would anyone even miss her? Her mom, probably. The probably, there, hurt her when it crossed her mind. Her mom would probably be too busy with work to spend that much time missing her. She’d have to get back to work, sooner than later. As for everyone else, her disappearance would probably go either entirely unnoticed or be welcome with relief.
When she didn’t say anything, Elvir continued. “In any case, it is not only your compatibility that allowed me to bring you here. It is also your proximity to the natural portal stone I discovered on Earth.”
Tan perked up at this. “There’s a portal stone where she’s from? How did you find it? Translocation gates were only invented months ago.”
Elvir smiled thinly. “I’ve been here a lot longer than you and your human technology have. You may find there are quite a few things you’ve yet to discover still.”
Tan frowned at this, but didn’t speak any further. Ardin was still holding his head in his hands. Jo figured it was up to her to continue the conversation. There was still too much she needed to know.
“Are you saying I’m actually here now, and that this is all really happening? How exactly does it work with me being in a dream and being here?” she asked.
“Your dream still has influence on your perception of this reality, but by and large, yes, you are indeed interacting with a true reality. I cannot be certain that what you perceive is completely what is happening here, and my hold on you in this world is tenuous at best. This is one reason why it is imperative that you truly transport yourself here by way of a portal stone as soon as possible. Then, and only then, can you help us save Eukaeon.”
Jo struggled for a moment to comprehend the ramifications of this. “Wait…you want me to leave Earth entirely to come here? Is that what you’re saying?”
“Yes.” Elvir replied matter of factly.
“Um…I’m not sure I can exactly do that. I might not have many ties at home, but I still do have some. And I don’t think my mother would be very okay if I just disappeared one day. And if I miss any more days of school, they actually might just expel me. And wait, why would I want to come here again, anyway, in the first place?” Jo could hear herself just rambling at this point, but she couldn’t stop herself. She blushed again. She wasn’t used to being the center of attention like this. She could feel everyone staring at her, watching her every word.