The Hidden One
Aletheia walked down an aisle, her hands tucked into her pockets, her shoulders hunched. It was like she didn’t want to be seen.
She didn’t notice me arrive at the library, having just finished my Cermin viewing, though it was hardly necessary for me. I’d already known my Affinity a few years ago.
I watched as she deliberated, her fingers running over the spines of the books, her lips between her teeth. I wondered what she was doing here when most congees would be resting. I knew for a fact that Elora would be out cold now. I had sensed her energy was severely depleted, and I’d thought Aletheia went everywhere with Elora.
She picked a book and added it to the stack of books she had accumulated on a table in the corner of the library. What was she doing?
I grabbed a random book and walked over to Aletheia.
“Hi Aletheia. Mind if I join you?” I asked, plopping myself down on the chair opposite her.
Her eyebrows creased slightly as she looked at me, but then quickly smoothed over with a forced smile. She probably was slightly disturbed that I had basically invited myself. The girl was as easy to read as an open book.
“Oh hi! Sure. What are you doing here?”
Ah, just, you know...
“Just here to do some research,” I fibbed, before realising the title of the book I had randomly grabbed – “The Yin to my Yang”. Alicanto be damned, I had chosen a romance novel.
She glanced suspiciously at the book I was holding, but kept her opinions to herself as she shut a black leather notebook and stowed it in her bag.
“What are you searching for?” I asked, curious at the array of books she had amassed on Affinity, and Yin and Yang manipulation. Surely her and Elora’s viewing were straightforward. Ah, perhaps she’d been disappointed if the Cermin had shown her Yin affinity which I had suspected.
I was never fully certain since you had to directly connect with someone’s energy to feel it accurately, and that required direct bodily contact, or at least, they had to allow your energy to mix with theirs. It was the same with mind reading, which was uncommon, and very intimate. It was also highly deplorable to do it to an unwilling participant.
But with astute observation and a natural talent for the sense of energy, one could feel the nature of someone’s aura and make highly educated – and accurate – guesses. I’d already predicted that ten of our batch had a Yang affinity, and eight were likely Yin biased. I had not interacted enough with the others to draw accurate conclusions.
“Oh... I just wanted to check on something.” She said vaguely, her eyes shifting down to the book open in her lap.
“Something wrong?” I asked.
She considered for a moment, worrying her lips with her teeth.
“Senno, I might as well just tell you. Though I’d appreciate if you kept it to yourself.” I crossed my fingers in my lap, but nodded.
“My Cermin viewing showed a bit of grey, and Advisor Darnall mentioned something about reiki that Advisor Maeve talked about briefly yesterday. I just wanted to see if I could find anything on it.” She paused for a moment. “And I guess I just wanted to find out more about the meanings of different Cermin results. Just... out of curiosity”
I raised an eyebrow. Reiki... all I’d learnt was that it was forbidden energy. And different Cermin results? What did she have to know about other results other than her own? The answer was simple: Elora.
Now I was truly hooked. This was really good information. He might be pleased when I reported back.
“I could help you if you like,” I offered putting the offensive book down and pushing it away from me.
Aletheia gave me a mischievous smirk, “Are you sure? I don’t want to distract you from the Yin to your Yang.”
I scowled. “Shut up. Now tell me what we’re looking for.”
~ ~ ~
I knocked on Tethys’ door.
“Come in,” her muffled voice came through the door, and I heard an unlocking ‘click’ from the inside to allow my entrance. I was not the only one employing extra security then.
“Ramiel. How has training been?” Tethys’ asked with a smile as I settled down in the wooden chair opposite her.
It was easier to show than tell, and Tethys needed the practice anyway. I reached out with Yin toward her, the tendrils of energy curling around her skull, seeking connection.
A moment passed as our energy connected and intermingled. Then there was a brief shift into a singular, united awareness as I guided our minds through a rush of carefully selected memories of the day – the complaint letters, Elora’s powerful energy and the Sento demonstrations.
Then I untangled my energy from hers.
Tethys blinked a few times. “Have I mentioned how odd that feels? Though it is very useful. I cannot imagine having you brief me on your travels in front of Tomokai without using this. He’d be clamouring to join you on future excursions,” she said, referring to the brief summary I had given her on the day the new congees had arrived.
“It helps you get used to it if you’re forced to maintain yourself in front of others,” I said, maintaining a serious face as my eyes wandered to my nails. Truthfully, I did it just to disorientate her sometimes, it was quite amusing. But she didn’t need to know that.
Besides, she had some control after all, and could choose not to engage the exchange if she wanted. I couldn’t force it on her unless I purposefully invaded her energy, which I had no desire to. It was a very delicate matter and involved a great deal of trust.
“Aaryan will continue to be an ever-growing thorn in our side this year. Although, I can see why, given the pressure placed on him by his father. Truthfully, I am not sure we are able to do anything to him. The Communion has been increasingly infiltrated by Yang members, and I doubt they would take the punishment of their prized Supplicant well. Especially since they support his cause.” Tethys sighed. It was not easy being the Head Advisor now – she had clashed with the Communion several times regarding the Yin and Yang syllabus in the past few months.
“I will defer to your observations of the ex-general’s daughter. As you know, your abilities in sensing energy are far better than most. I hope for all our sakes that your observations of her friend are accurate. Perhaps, her friend’s inclination would influence... Nevertheless, even if Elora is not a problem, I have other unpleasant news. I’ve heard rumours about one of the congees,” Tethys looked grim.
I looked up at her sombre tone.
“My sources tell me...”
A/N: It’s a cliffhanger! Whose POV do you think it was at the start?
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