Hi. I'm Anya. No, actually my name's Kisara Anastasia Maygo. Anya's shorter, though, and easier to throw around in casual conversation.
In case you're wondering what I look like, well, I've got kind of light skin, blue eyes, and my hair is white. The white hair is actually a trademark for psychics here. I'll leave it at that.
It's because I'm a psychic, though, that I'm stuck in pure torture, otherwise known as "training."
"Kisara, are you paying attention?"
"Um…what did you say, Madame Celestia?"
"I said, in order for you to travel from one place to another with just your will, you need to focus your will on your destination of choice."
I sighed. "Remind me again why I have to learn this?"
"In fulfilling the prophecy and saving Chaotia, you must be prepared to accomplish just about anything."
Maybe she didn't notice my emphasis of choice. I already know how to teleport. I've even done it several times. I've just been extremely careful in who I show my power to. I stared at the ceiling, searching for patience.
"Yeah, yeah: 'A strong psi lady who's strong-willed by nature will defeat a great evil and restore peace,' I've heard it all before. And we both know that I'm the only girl in years who's stubborn as an ox and psychically strong, so it has to be me."
"Your stubbornness will serve you just as well in defeating this evil, as you do not give up, either in a challenge or in not listening." But she was smiling.
I grinned back. Even though I wasn't that thrilled with the situation, Celestia was my favorite teacher. Her only two skills – teleportation and level 3 telepathy – serve her in quite good stead, and the two white stripes in her brown hair show just about everyone that.
"I know. I just don't want to do this."
"Are you being honest with yourself in that sentence?"
I stopped within my own mind. I hate it when she does that: makes me question myself. But…
"Well…I guess my problem is that nobody can help me. They're not strong enough."
"Kisara…" She hesitated.
That arrested my attention. She didn't hesitate, unless there was something critical hanging in the balance of her next words. "What? What?"
"The prophecy says that a strong-willed, powerful psychic lady will defeat evil…" and she hesitated again, probably waiting for an interruption.
Well, this time it wasn't coming. I always got lectured for making assumptions about what my teachers were going to say before they finished, but not this time. I cocked my head to the side and waited for her to finish that sentence.
"It doesn't say how."
I stared at her. What was that supposed to – wait.
All at once, I was grinning again. "Madame Celestia, are you sure you're not a lawyer?"
She grinned back. "If one looks carefully, one can always find the loopholes of that sort in prophecies. How about you meditate on a possible solution to your problem while I go find some lunch for us?" Without waiting for my answer, she just left the room.
I looked around the room. Except for my mat, her mat, a chair and a writing table, the room was empty. Well, I suppose it's time to meditate.
I crossed my legs, let my hands rest on my knees, and closed my eyes. This wasn't exactly the same meditation that I used to strengthen my powers, because when I was meditating that way I couldn't think about anything. Here, I was specifically thinking about how to solve a problem.
Let's see…my main problem is that I don't want to do this alone. Nobody in Chaotia has enough strength to help, and besides, they probably haven't seen the loophole that Celestia has. She might want to help me, but the Council probably won't let her. Therefore, my only option is to look outside this world and find suitable people who can help me.
I let my mind wander as soon as I reached that conclusion. I had to find someone who'd either had a great deal of exposure to magic of any kind or had had their minds or their souls removed from their bodies more than once, preferably both.
I searched as far as I could and found several possible choices. "Tagging" each one, I pulled back into my head and opened my eyes. Some paper and an ink bottle were right in front of me, and the papers were covered with pictures of people – the same people I'd found in my spin-around search. I'm never fully aware of when my mind is taking images and drawing them, that just happens. I studied the people on the lists and separated the pages into two piles: my short list and my long list. The long list was too long, so I stuck to the short list.
I'd just finished doing that when Madame Celestia came back with some food. "Any luck with your solution?"
I waved my hands at the papers. "See for yourself."
She picked up one paper from my long list and studied it. "What is this?"
"This is my list of people from Earth who would qualify as people with psychic potential."
"Earth?" Her eyebrows had gone up in surprise. Was she testing me? I guess once a teacher, always a teacher.
"Yeah. Nobody here will notice the loophole in the prophecy, and the Council won't let you help me, because you're 'just' a teleport-and-telepath. But if they're not from here, then they won't even know about the prophecy! It's flawless!"
"Kisara Anastasia Maygo, you are not going to bring all these people to Chaotia."
"Of course not; what do you take me for? You've got a page from my long list. I'll be picking people off my short list."
She pulled her mat over next to mine and sat down, putting down her page. "Tell me a little about them, then."
I tapped each of the ten people on my short list with a finger. "Number One," a tall man with long hair that hid his face, "used to work in a very important position, but has retired now. Number Two," an equally tall woman with long wavy hair and a sassy posture that made me like her already, "is a pure loner at heart, a wanderer. Number Three," another tall man, this one with short hair and a sweeping coat, "is in charge of an important position. Numbers Four and Five," a teenage boy with shaggy hair and dark skin, and a taller woman with long hair and equally dark skin, "are brother and sister, and they no longer have any specific duty. Numbers Six through Ten," another teenage boy with shaggy hair, but with light skin, a teenage girl with shoulder-length hair, a teenage boy with a strange hairstyle and shaded skin, another teen boy with messed up hair, and a boy with large eyes and the craziest hair ever, "are the best of friends, and won't leave each other for anything. At least, that's the case with Seven through Ten. Six isn't as close to them as that, but he is their friend."
"Well," she sighed, "ten is better than whatever your other number was. But are you sure you want to bring ten people here?"
"If they don't end up strong enough to help us out in some form, then I can just send them back with no harm done. But I'm expecting great things from Seven through Ten. From what I found, their friendship did great things in their past."
"All right, then. I leave it in your capable hands. You determine how it is you're going to get them here without them being missed over there." And with that, she left again.
Then she looked back in. "Oh, and all of your teachers know by now that there's nothing they can teach you that you don't already know. I'll be the only one staying near you to make sure you don't run into some kind of situation while doing this." That was when she left for real.
So my secret was out, big whoop. I was going to tell them sometime, anyway. Meanwhile, back in the study room...
I took a bite out of my loaf of bread and thought about it. Number One was probably the easiest: just talk to the guy and hope he'll say yes. I'm afraid the rest may as well consider themselves drafted. After that, Number Two was next easiest: just kidnap her while she's sleeping and stash her ride somewhere where it wouldn't be taken.
Actually, all the numbers after Number One could be abducted in their sleep. The trouble would be making sure they wouldn't be missed. I could link their minds back to partly-substantial images that would take their places, but it would still need an anchor so that I could have a free mind for this situation. After all, this was the worst time for me to find out if I have an upper limit.
Let's see…Number Three was the easiest to find an anchor for: he had a little brother who was on the long list. All I'd have to do was up his potential so that his power was at least passive, and he could be the anchor. Numbers Four and Five also had a perfect anchor on the long list: a friend of the family with weird tattoos on his face.
Numbers Six through Ten were going to give me some trouble, obviously. I mean, they did have a close person on the long list: Ten had a grandfather. But could I really up his power enough for him to support five images? There wasn't exactly anyone else from the long list that was living near them. Well, I guess I'd have to help him out and set a piece of my subconscious on him all the time. What a bore. But what can't be helped –
Of course! I'll set Celestia on helping him keep that amount of images active! If she wasn't a telepath, I'd never be able to pull that off, but as it is…
I saw a picture of Celestia straightening up and setting her hand by her ear.
I have this idea, but in order for it to work on Numbers Six through Ten I need you to help the anchor hold his place.
I already knew she'd see my idea, for it was in my head, all in metaphors: Celestia was holding a trough and pouring energy into it, and the energy was flowing down to the old man, who was holding five ropes, each connected to his five responsibilities.
The Celestia in the picture shook her head, smiling – she felt like I was overreaching myself somehow, but she couldn't place it – and picked up a bowl from a table, holding it out to a picture of me.
Thanks. I knew you'd understand.
With that, I cut communication. Now all I needed to do was figure out what order I'd tackle everyone in and make a game plan for convincing them I needed help that they could give me, not to mention how to teach them to use their powers, which would definitely awaken for real once they came here.
Oh, boy. Considering Number Three's usual attitude, this will be fun.