Even with the early alarm, we stayed at our makeshift camp a while longer. I told Luke that Samian had also pestered me with images but I told neither of them about my dream. My shoulder healed in about half an hour, probably assisted by both the lion's magic and the magic of Samian's realm itself.
Before we set off we tried to judge the distance to the hill and how long it would take us to get there. It was then that something unusual happened. I squinted into the distance at the hill and, found that I could see it in much greater detail than before.
"You okay?" Jake looked worried. I nodded and then frowned. I looked at the hill again and could make out the small house on top of it.
"Can either of you two suddenly see better?" I asked. Jake looked confused.
"Well, because I can see a house on that hill that I couldn't see yesterday." I looked at them. "And, actually your faces look more detailed. Everything looks more focused."
Luke frowned. "How odd. One minute." He shut his eyes and I suddenly felt a presence in my head. I frantically tried to push it away but then Luke's eyes snapped open and he glared at me. "Stop that. I'm trying to test something."
I didn't like the idea of him being in my head, but I relented. I felt the presence again and this time didn't resist it. I felt Luke's consciousness overwhelm me and I lost control of my body. For a few seconds everything was black; I couldn't see, I couldn't hear, I couldn't even smell. Then he withdrew his mind and my senses returned.
Luke looked perplexed. "Mabel, close you eyes."
"Why?" I had no idea what he was doing.
"Just do it okay?" I did.
A heard him rummaging in his bag and then moving away from me. I then heard the sound of a can being opened.
Okay Mabel, I have two questions. One, what's in this can? Two, how far away am I? Don't open your eyes, just answer the question.
I frowned, confused as to why he was asking me telepathically. After a few seconds, I breathed in deeply through my nose. A strong scent of tomato soup filled my nose, along with countless other smells. I had no idea how I hadn't noticed the stench that surrounded us previously but had no idea where such strong scents could be coming from.
"Well, the stuff in the can is tomato soup."
"What?" It was Jake's voice.
"I was talking to Luke."
Talk telepathically, I can't hear you.
Really? How far away are you?
You tell me.
I thought back to hearing his footsteps and the sound of the can opening. However, the memory was also fogged by other sounds such as Jake's overly loud breathing and the sounds of animals in trees and bushes nearby. The sound couldn't have come from more than about ten feet away, judging by the volume. And it couldn't be that far if I could smell the soup from this distance.
Ten feet? And it's tomato soup.
I felt a wave of grim satisfaction from him.
Open your eyes.
I did. It took me a moment to locate Luke. He had walked about one hundred metres away.
He looked interested, as though pleased to finally be part of the situation. "Yes?"
"Did Luke move in the past five seconds?"
He frowned. "No. He hasn't moved since he wandered over there about two minutes ago, why?"
I was instantly filled with worry. Luke must have felt it. In a few seconds he was back.
Hang on; have I mentioned the super-speed thing? I guess not…oops. Well, I won't give you a full recount of when I was first told about it but, if my memory serves (which it usually doesn't), it had something to do with a battle between Luke and Jake. Anyway, do you remember my conversation with Jake about secondary powers? Even if you don't, I won't explain it again. Just go read it again or something.
Anyway, one he failed to mention was the secondary powers of electrics. Plainly speaking, they can move. Very fast. Lightning fast, you might say. I'm sorry, that was a bad pun…Anyway, Luke and the other electrics have to ability to run at an inhuman speed.
You might now be wondering why Luke didn't just run to Samian for help. In return, I ask another question; would you be able to run that far? Their speed may exceed that of a normal human, but not their stamina. Just like anyone else, running too far too fast can be not only difficult, but dangerous.
Back to the point. Luke managed to return in a matter of seconds, and stared at me, looking, for the first time since I'd known him, concerned.
"Has this happened before?"
"No! I don't even know what 'this' is! What's happening to me?"
Jake looked utterly confused. "What happened?"
Warily, Luke answered. "Mabel's senses seem to have...changed. She can hear and smell things that are really far away."
Jake looked amazed. "Is it happening now?"
I shook my head. "I think…I think its only when my eyes are closed."
Luke nodded. "That would make sense. Your mind is confused; it knows one thing, but its senses are telling it another. I think its altering what you hear and smell to what you see. When your eyes are shut, it just accepts it."
"But it happened with my eyes too."
"Yes, but not in the same way. You're not zooming in on everything, are you?"
"No…" I was confused. And scared. My sense where changing, and I didn't know if I could rely on what my body was telling me anymore.
"Mabel, has anything weird happened to you recently?"
I laughed bitterly. "When has it not?"
He frowned. "I mean in the last few hours. Before the lion appeared maybe? Or when it was here? Did you feel or see anything strange?"
I thought crept into my mind. "Well, I had a weird dream again."
Jake looked instantly worried. "About Emily? Is she okay?"
I shook my head, trying to remember. "No, it wasn't about her. It was…this wolf thing."
No longer worried, Jake now looked perplexed. "Well the air's animal is the wolf. Did it say anything?"
Confused as to why he automatically thought it could talk, I nodded tentatively. "Yeah, I think so."
Luke was still frowning. I wondered if his eyebrows could actually get closer together than they already were. "Can you remember what it said?"
"It said…I don't know, I can't remember very well…I think…I think it mentioned Suzume. And the Gate. I don't know, he didn't have a very direct way of speaking."
Jake's frown now matched Luke's. Both of them seemed to be in deep thought. Suddenly, something seemed to dawn on Jake. He looked up me, a curious glint in his eyes.
"The wolf…it didn't say what its name was, did it?"
I tried to remember, but it was like grasping smoke.. "Yeah, I think it did. I think it was Tak-something…but-"
I blinked, and it was like someone had flicked a switch in my brain. The dream came rushing back, in all its weirdness.. "Yeah. How did-?"
"Mabel, he's Suzume's familiar! He's one of the five creatures that made Majikku. He helped create an entire world. He's like…a living god!"
Jake frowned. "What?"
"He said that he was Suzume's 'laniar' and that the word 'familiar' was completely different."
He continued to frown for a few seconds and then shook his head. "That doesn't matter. The question is, why did he talk to you? I don't think he's ever talked to a camper before…"
I couldn't think of what to say. I was as clueless as he was. Luckily, Luke came to our rescue by drawing our attention to another matter.
"That still doesn't explain why Mabel's senses have become so…acute. Mabel are you sure Takeru didn't do or say anything else?"
I thought back to the end of the dream. "He said something about a blessing. He said that even with this blessing, the way ahead would still be dangerous."
Jake looked like he'd suddenly realised something. "Mabel, you used magic back then didn't you? When we were fighting?"
I nodded. "Yeah, I had to. You'd have both killed it, or the other way around."
"It didn't explode in your face."
I frowned. "No. Weird, that's the first time I've done that. I didn't notice."
Luke looked pensive. "Mabel, try using magic."
I did. I summoned up a small ball of whirling air in my palm. I stared at it in amazement; I'd never held magic like that for so long before. And it wasn't taking any extra effort to keep it stable.
"It's weird. It's like I have better control over it than before."
A small smile was coming to Luke's face. "So that was it. Usually it takes years to get such good control over magic, and you were never very good at it in the first place."
I started to snap a retort back at him before Jake interrupted. "Hang on, that would explain the senses thing too!"
We both turned to him. I was glad to see that, this time, Luke looked just as confused as me.
Jake looked surprised at our confusion. "Did I not tell either of you?"
We simultaneously raised an eyebrow, and said "Tell us what?".
I sighed. "That's fine, just tell us now."
"Well, sometimes, when someone gets a familiar they start to get attributes of them. It's like the beasts, how they always have an aspect of their animal form. That's why Hiroki's skin is so cold and why Suzume has such good senses. But it only happens with people with really strong magic and really strong familiars."
"But I don't have a familiar."
Jake rolled his eyes. "Not yet but you will one day. And that means that your future familiar is out there somewhere. Takeru probably has links to all air familiars. That'll be why he could link you to your powers earlier."
"So this is because someone I've never met will one day appear to me and become my magical sidekick?"
"I wouldn't put it in quite that way, but yes."
Luke sighed. "Okay then. Now that that's settled, can we go? You both seem to have forgotten what we're actually meant to be doing."
After eating the now open can of soup, we headed towards the distant-but-now-in-focus hill, Luke still frowning. It's his favourite expression.
"You said it happened to people with strong magic. But I thought Emily was one of the strongest magic users at camp. Hasn't she got something like that?"
Jake looked surprised. "Yeah, she does."
"Why has she never mentioned it?"
Jake shrugged. "How should I know? What am I, a person encyclopaedia? You can ask her yourself when we go back."
I began to feel curious too. "What is it?"
Jake turned to me. "You can't guess?"
"How on earth would I be able to guess?"
"Well Kamui, her familiar, is a cat. Does that help?"
"Fine, then I'll just tell you. Just because you're too boring to have fun guessing."
"Are you going to tell us or not?" This time, perhaps because it was Luke that had made the demand, Jake answered.
"She can see in the dark. She also has really good balance, but that also be because she's had several years of training."
Briefly, I wondered why Emily had never thought to mention it. The thought was brushed away as I concentrated on walking.