~ Chapter 17 ~
Aiden stared vacantly out of the viewer as Lightforce sped away from Orun. There had not been much talking within the group since they had left the cavern in the mountain. He could not even recall the trip back. His last memory was of Amber clutching him, her head buried in his chest as she sobbed.
The loss of Goolma and Neba weighed heavily in the ship. Aiden still did not know what had happened or what it meant. All he knew was Eulo looked troubled, Sarah-Jane was in shock, and he had partially joined with Raglan.
He drew comfort that Sarah-Jane’s prediction and his falling dream had not been foretelling his death, rather his joining with Raglan. On reflection, he guessed joining with Raglan was a form of death.
Aiden surveyed the room as if he was outside looking in. Eulo was with Sarah-Jane and Amber. Aiden guessed he was trying to comfort them. The Oken had retired to their quarters and Aiden had no idea how they felt about Neba’s death. Cosmo sat on the floor with Shadow in his lap, scratching her behind the ears. Matong glared at Aiden periodically, so some things had not changed.
After a time Shadow rolled off Cosmo’s lap, thumping awkwardly onto the floor. Cosmo shook his head in amusement and walked over to Aiden. “You okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. What about you? One minute you were near death, the next you’re standing without a scratch?”
“I told you I was going to be the best illusionist ever!” Cosmo said, puffing out his chest.
“You’re kidding, – lying in a pool of blood, your arms and legs all busted, was an illusion?”
“Pretty good, huh?”
“Fooled me – I thought you were a goner.”
“The bump was real though.” Cosmo winced as he touched the side of his head, “And I think my backside got bruised when your mate sent me flying through the air.”
“Pity you didn’t still have that mop of hair. It would have cushioned the blow.”
“Maybe,” he agreed. “Who would have thought the Master was the greatest magwan ever? Not so great, if you ask me. We beat him. He did look good for his age though. Not a day over five hundred!”
Aiden gulped. “Do you really think he’s gone?”
“He didn’t walk past me. No one could have survived that attack.”
“I guess so. We were lucky, though. Raglan seemed unstoppable. I still don’t know what happened. One moment I was joining with him, then it stopped – how did Eulo get his staff back?”
“It happened in a flash. He seemed to lose his hold over everyone and the staff just flew back to Eulo. You should’ve seen Obun’s face as the staff shot out of his hands. Matong and Feng were on him before he even realised Raglan no longer had everyone under control. Good triumphed over evil!”
“Surge once told me there was no such thing as good and evil,” mused Aiden. “I guess the Horde may not be evil, just dangerous, stupid, and under an evil influence. But Raglan had to be as close to evil as you can get. He certainly had a face only a mother could love.”
“Even she might run for cover. We should go over to the girls,” said Cosmo, glancing in their direction.
Eulo left as the boys came over. Sarah-Jane seemed relaxed, so whatever Eulo said must have helped.
“How’s it going?” asked Cosmo.
Sarah-Jane was about to speak, but paused. “Goolma knew she was going to die in the cavern. She had seen it.” She took a breath. “She knew it when she made the Sleeper prophecy years earlier.”
“But you can’t see your own future,” said Cosmo.
“Not normally, but Goolma could. She is... she was the greatest prophet... before she died she appointed me her successor.” She turned away.
“It’s okay Sare, we understand,” consoled Amber.
“Her successor?” queried Cosmo.
“Later, Cosmo,” said Amber. “What Goolma also did,” she added, leaning forward, “was, she told Sare the full Sleeper prophecy.”
Amber glanced at Sarah-Jane, who motioned for Amber to continue. “The Sleeper prophecy was concocted by the Master – sorry, I mean Raglan – who coerced Goolma into announcing it or he would destroy Toora and all the Alliance planets... so Goolma did. She hoped to save the other planets. What Raglan didn’t know was that the prophecy he had concocted was in fact true, and that when Goolma announced it she didn’t divulge all of it to anyone.”
“The complete prophecy,” said Sarah-Jane, flicking her hair to one side, and staring glassily straight out in front, “is: Sleepers with powers bequeathed by a dying star will come from the outer planets and will battle a great evil until the evil and a Sleeper perish.”
Aiden was puzzled. Goolma had not told him this.
Cosmo repeated. “A Sleeper perish? But we all survived!”
“I never said prophecies were perfect,” said Amber. “The future must’ve been changed.”
No one spoke. Aiden was sure they were all contemplating whether they actually believed the future had changed.
Aiden felt his mouth strangely dry. “Sare, could you look into my future?”
Sarah-Jane inhaled and closed her eyes. “Of course,” she said, moving closer and taking his hand. She opened her eyes a minute later, nothing on her face betraying what she had seen.
“I didn’t see anything, but I did feel you in a place of total calm. A place where knowledge surrounds you. You were happy, very happy!”
“Was he dead?” asked Cosmo, then seeing Amber’s glare and Aiden’s cold stare, “Sorry, it just sounded so...”
Sarah-Jane jumped in. “No, definitely not dead.”
“Thanks,” said Aiden, not knowing what he had expected. He excused himself when Eulo called him over.
“Have a seat, Aiden. I thank you for removing Raglan’s hold over me. It gave me the moment I needed to gain control.”
“I wasn’t sure it would work.”
“You have done well. We have learnt a lot from our encounter with Raglan. It has answered a lot of questions, and raised new ones.”
“Yes, I guess so. I learnt Matong has a squirrel, and that it was spying on me in Aunt Del’s garden.”
“The squirrel is Matong’s alter form. Because Matong is bound to protect you, he has had his squirrel watch over you.”
“And you had your black cat, Shadow, watch over me too.”
“No, Shadow, as you call her, is not my alter form; it is Gibbergunah’s.”
“What! I thought Gibber had no powers?”
“Gibbergunah is a very special being. The Jundah do not normally possess powers, but Gibbergunah has some special gifts. Goolma understood this when she first found him. She knew the significance of Gibbergunah... and that after his capture, I would come after him... and you would come with me.”
“Is Raglan dead?”
Concern flashed across Eulo’s face. “It seems so. I cannot detect his presence. The joining weakened him, allowing our attacks to reach him. But his powers were unequalled in the known universe. We must remain watchful. If he does live, it was an impressive exit.”
“Why did he destroy Toora? It seems so senseless?”
“I suspect it was a precautionary measure. There were many seers on Toora, and eventually enough of them would have had their own glimpses of the future that would not reconcile with Goolma’s. He could not risk the Sleeper prophecy being revealed as a fake before the joining. Destroying Toora also served as a powerful warning to other planets that resistance was futile.”
“How far did the joining get?”
“I think it was nearing the final stage, when the two of you would merge and create a new being. If you had not released his hold on me, you and he would now be one. As with the imprinting, the failed joining will have filled you with Raglan’s memories.”
“Does that mean we can access his memories?”
“They will be buried deep within your mind and I believe the access paths to retrieve them were not completed. That would have been the last phase of the joining. But you may occasionally stumble upon memories.”
“His memories are more like nightmares,” reflected Aiden.
“Aiden, I have told you before you have the makings of a leader, but the mark of a true leader is to know one’s limitations, and to be true to oneself. This guilt you carry regarding your parents’ death: you need to deal with it; it is unhealthy and will eat at you and weaken you. This guilt prevents you from reaching your full potential.”
Aiden met Eulo’s knowing eyes. A solitary tear ran down Aiden’s cheek. “I could have prevented their death Eulo. It was my birthday. They said I could take the day off school and we would go to the county fair together...” Aiden stared at the floor. “I knew they would be disappointed, but I said no. I wanted to go to the fair with my friends on the weekend, not with my parents. If I had said yes, we would have all been at the fair. Dad would not have been at the warehouse when the Buwah attacked Matong. Mum and Drew would not have gone to pick him up. They are dead because I was...”
“I sometimes forget you have just been born. Fifteen years is not even a tick in time. Do not blame yourself for the whims of your youth.”
“I’m sixteen,” said Aiden, looking up.
“Sixteen!... forgive me. Had you gone to the fair, who knows what this would have changed? Matong would most likely be dead, and he has been a central player in keeping the Mulgoa within the Alliance. He is also a powerful magwan, and we needed him in our battle with Raglan and the Horde. You would not have had Gibbergunah’s or Matong’s alter forms watching over you and without them, Ogmore might well have selected someone else to join with Raglan. Of all the chosen ones, I think you were best gifted to meet this challenge. Any of these changes could have seen Raglan succeed, and who knows what fate would then have befallen Sanctuary, the other Alliance planets or even Earth?
“No, Aiden, you cannot simply change one thing without dramatically changing everything that follows. What has happened has happened, and the best we can do is to influence the future.”
Aiden felt some sense of relief but Eulo’s words did not make him feel whole again. He doubted he ever would.
Aiden did not sleep well on the trip back in Lightforce. Horrific dreams filled his nights. Eulo explained it was his mind assimilating the new knowledge and memories embedded within him. They would stop, he said, once everything had settled, just as they had done after his imprinting.
Aiden had never felt more stressed in his life. Every time he turned, he half-expected to see Raglan’s withered wooden face before him.
They returned to Deep Space Discovery and a warm welcome from the doctors. It was late, and with everyone together again a feeling of some normality returned. They trudged back to their rooms on level two .
“Never thought I’d miss this little room so much,” said Cosmo, hugging his pillow.
“Me neither,” said Aiden, closing his eyes more for the feeling of rest than actual sleep.
“Can you feel everything seems right now?” asked Aiden.
“I hadn’t noticed before, but now Raglan’s gone, it feels... well, lighter. It’s like the universe’s senses were dulled, weighed down with the threat of him and now it’s free.”
Cosmo chuckled. “If you say so.”
“I don’t know why I bother talking to you,” said Aiden.
“You’re staying, aren’t you?” asked Cosmo matter-of-factly.
“Yeah, for a few more months. Eulo is going to help me remove some of my barriers.”
“Well at least you’ll have me to keep you company.”
Aiden sat up. “You’re staying?”
“Of course - we’re mates, aren’t we?”
“This wouldn’t have anything to do with Sarah-Jane staying, would it?”
“You know she gave me a hug, I mean like a real, you mean more to me than just friends hug, in the cavern. She likes me,” Cosmo said stifling a yawn. “Sarah-Jane staying may have had some influence, but after all the training we’ve done I also think it’s time we had some fun. So I will consider it my duty to create it.”
“Hmm, I’m sure you will,” said Aiden, as Cosmo rolled over and immediately fell asleep. “Unbelievable,” he muttered.
Sleep was far from Aiden’s mind. “Surge, I need you.”
“There is something I haven’t told anyone,” Aiden said. “When I was joining with Raglan, part of me really wanted to.”
“That is only natural,” said Surge. “Joining means an end to the fight. It means power, recognition and being as close to immortal as you can come. Everyone will have elements of themselves that crave such things. What you demonstrated was a will that resisted these urges, when many others would have succumbed.”
They spent the next few days relaxing on Sanctuary. Aiden could see the others had not exaggerated. It was indeed an oasis. They lazed on one of the many meadows that littered the planet, chatting idly, while a short distance away Matong stood watching with Feng and a small band of Buwah. Amber buried her face in the grass, gave a great big sniff, and then announced she was no longer allergic to anything. She credited the miraculous turnaround to a combination of the impurage, the tough physical training, the strict vegan diet, the exposure to so much energy and the constant presence of the allergy-inducing Buwah.
They lay in the grass and watched clouds drift along, with Cosmo creating illusions of dragons flitting across the sky.
An illusion suddenly appeared of the four of them standing on a hilltop with the wind in their hair, staring off purposefully into the distance, each holding staffs that had energy pulsing like lightning. They broke into laughter. Cosmo was indeed a master.
Cosmo tapped Aiden. “Want a stunning duel?”
“No, you always win.”
“It’s my lightning reflexes,” said Cosmo, springing into a duelling pose and running his fingers through his spiky hair.
Amber placed her hand gently on Aiden’s knee. “He’s been cheating. He stuns you before your PDC beeps.”
Cosmo backed away. “I was going to tell you. It was just some fun!”
Cosmo groaned and slowly sat up, rubbing the grass out of his hair. “What happened?” he asked.
“You must have dozed off again,” said Aiden innocently.
Amber and Aiden strolled over to a stream while Cosmo was showing Sarah-Jane an illusion of his parents’ house. It was a lot smaller and more run-down than Aiden had imagined. Aiden smiled as he watched them. Sarah-Jane looked the happiest he had ever seen her.
The tranquillity around them was in stark contrast to what Aiden felt inside. He turned to Amber and mustered his courage.
“Amber, you know I’m not going home just yet?”
Amber slowed. “Yes... and I must go home.”
Aiden was not sure what he had hoped Amber would say. He was seeing her differently now.
“Of course,” he said softly, walking on with a sudden empty feeling inside.
“Aiden, you can be so silly. We can speak and see each other every day. You can project yourself to Earth... and meet my parents!”
“That’s fine if you live in Hastings, England – I’ve never been to New Zealand, so I can’t project there.”
“Some strategist you are,” she said tugging his hand. “Just project to Deep Space Discovery when we’re near Earth, and take the pod with me to Christchurch. Then you can project there whenever you want.” She slipped her hand in Aiden’s and they strolled back. Aiden’s mood soared. Drawing in energy had never made him feel this good.
Cosmo let out a ‘whoop’ as Aiden and Amber returned. Aiden felt his face redden. Without asking, Cosmo reached out and held Sarah-Jane’s hand. She neatly sidestepped and flipped a startled Cosmo over flat on his back. Cosmo lay dazed on the ground.
“I’m a black belt in Judo,” she said, grinning mischievously.
“Could’ve mentioned that before,” he groaned.
The next few days were like the calm before the storm. Deep Space Discovery was readying to take the doctors, Amber and the Oken home. Aiden and Amber grabbed moments where they could to spend time alone in the recreation room.
Aiden could not escape the image of Eulo and Matong helpless before Raglan, and seeing the threads of Raglan’s will controlling everyone. Sarah-Jane suspected Eulo was foxing, feigning powerlessness as he waited for the right moment. Aiden was not convinced.
After another thrashing from Gibber in basketball, the boys and Gibber sat on the floor sipping vitalise whilst Shadow sat with the girls enjoying a tummy rub and ear scratch.
Cosmo sneakily poured Aiden’s vitalise into his own empty glass while Aiden gazed over at Amber and Gibber. Aiden could not believe Shadow was actually part of Gibber. He stared at Gibber, searching for the similarity. Other than the eyes and a tendency towards clumsiness, they were two creatures from different worlds.
“Why did you have Shadow follow me?”
“Eulo asked me to. Healers are very rare,” said Gibber.
Aiden wended his way towards the space room for another healing lesson, which he now had with Eulo. He walked in a dream, his thoughts drifting from Raglan to Amber. Without noticing, he passed the room and had to double back.
“Ah, Aiden,” welcomed Eulo. “Come and sit. I think it is time we spoke more about Surge.”
“Shall I call him?”
“No need. I have a theory... He appeared after your imprinting, did he not?”
It seemed such a long time ago. Aiden tried to remember. “Yes, after the imprinting.”
“As you know, Raglan’s sanity was questionable after his time on Alma. My theory is that he deluded himself into thinking he was more than he actually was. In fact, from what he said on Orun, my guess is he believed he was an Ancient.”
Aiden nodded. It made sense that Raglan was mad.
“When Raglan imprinted you with his knowledge, I believe his delusions were also implanted in you... I believe Surge is not an Ancient, but a creation of your mind as it sought to make sense of the information it had.”
“You think he’s an invisible friend – that I’m actually talking to myself!” asked Aiden incredulously. A deep sense of loss flooded through him. Surge was his friend, his confidant.
“Something like that. Not talking to yourself, but talking to a new entity within you that had access to the knowledge Raglan placed there and access to the knowledge you possess yourself. He is a balancing force.”
“But you don’t think he’s real?”
“Not as we define real, no.”
Speechless, Aiden leaned back. This could not be happening. He was mad! He had been talking late at night to an imaginary friend. He should have guessed – football socks! What alien would wear football socks?
Eulo’s gaze narrowed. “Surge calls himself an Ancient because this is what Raglan believed he was. Raglan’s madness had reached the point where he believed he was born of the stars – and this is what he unwittingly imprinted into you. He did not know your mind would create Surge to help you cope with the different realities within you. But now – we should be able to use Surge to access Raglan’s knowledge.”
He left Eulo with his head still spinning. He decided it was time to tie up some loose ends.
He found the others in the recreation room. Sarah-Jane had her Tarot cards out.
“Do you want a reading?” she asked, looking happier than Aiden could ever remember seeing her.
Aiden flinched. “Ah, no thanks.”
Sarah-Jane feigned offence. “You don’t think I’m good enough?”
“You’re too good – and anyhow, I know what my future is - at least tomorrow’s anyway. I’m to be your and Amber’s slave for a day!”
“Tomorrow it is, then,” said Sarah-Jane, putting away her cards. “Amb, we’d better start making a list of everything we want them to do. I don’t want to waste a minute!”
Aiden turned to Cosmo and shrugged his shoulders. “We might as well get it over with.” He headed back to his room for a talk with Surge. He was not looking forward to this.
It felt awkward calling him, but Aiden did, and he appeared as always. Aiden saw him in a new light. It was a ridiculous-looking thing that he had created.
“You are troubled?” asked Surge.
“I’ve learnt things that trouble me,” said Aiden, not sure how to break the news to Surge that he was not real. He decided to ease into it.
“I discovered my life mission. It was to defeat Raglan.”
“That is an unlikely life mission.”
“But it’s what came to me as I was joining with Raglan!” Aiden protested.
“Life missions have more meaning than simply stopping something.”
It seemed pointless arguing with himself, so he decided to tell Surge straight.
Surge stood patiently, without reaction, as Aiden detailed what Eulo thought about his origins. When Aiden was done, Surge paused for a moment. “It is a good theory. I can see how it makes some sense. But it is not correct. I am an Ancient and your guide.”
This was what Aiden expected.
“Can you prove you are an Ancient?”
A thoughtful look came over Surge. “I will see what I can do.”
He disappeared. Aiden was left wondering if he would ever see him again.
A message came through from the prince. “It is time we battle in the games room. Now.”
Yes, it was time, thought Aiden. He was going to take some pleasure in teaching the prince a lesson or two in humility.
As he reached level four, he met Eulo coming out of the games room. “Ah, Aiden, we will start a new training regime tomorrow as we journey to Palana. I have some ideas on how we can make the best use of Surge.”
“Eulo – the Sleeper prophecy...” began Aiden.
Eulo leaned on his staff. “I would not worry too much about prophecies. The deeds of those of us with power shape the future. Prophecies are not cast in stone. The future can be changed.” He started to leave, then turned. “One last thing: you should know that the depths of your powers will not be the deciding factor in your battle with Prince Orka. Tactics and willpower, not strength, will win. Good luck!”
Aiden and Orka strode into the power rings etched on the floor and faced off. Aiden’s ring filled with white light, and to his surprise, so did Prince Orka’s - a dull white, he noted with satisfaction.
In the blink of an eye, the mind games began. Aiden found himself resisting Orka’s attempt to make him kneel. It took all his determination to resist.
“Your mind is weak, human!” the prince grunted.
“I will not let you win, as others might,” retorted Aiden, between gritted teeth. “You will have to earn this.”
This seemed to spur Orka on. The pressure on Aiden increased. “I will crush you, human.”
And for a while Aiden thought he would. Orka was making progress in closing down his free thought. Aiden’s power rings shuddered from the impact of the prince’s energy balls. Using sense more than sight, Aiden fired a volley of balls. As each hit the prince’s ring there was an explosion of light, and the prince’s hold relaxed briefly. Aiden found himself losing control of his free thought, but the prince was also weakening.
On bended knee both Prince Orka and Aiden struggled in their rings. The battle was intense. Each had brief moments of ascendancy before the other wrestled him back to a deadlock. Minutes turned to hours and neither could claim advantage.
They strained under the pressure. Sweat streamed down Aiden’s face. He sensed Orka’s power levels weakening. Victory was close. He looked at the prince and the prince at him. A sense of understanding passed between them.
Surge appeared next to Aiden. “Not now,” grunted Aiden. “I have to concentrate.”
“One more blast should finish this,” said Surge.
Summoning energy from the depths of his reserves Aiden unleashed a final attack. Orka reeled back from the blast, his shield collapsing. Aiden pressed on and Orka fell backwards out of the ring.
Surge reached out a hand and pulled Aiden up. Aiden stared in disbelief. Surge had substance – a physical presence – he had touched Surge!
Orka screeched in outrage. “Where is your honour?”
Aiden looked from Orka back to Surge. “He can see you?”
“You wanted proof,” said Surge. “Now, if you are ready, I think it is time I took a more active role in your training!”
Aiden woke to a beep from his PDC. Five-thirty in the morning was too early, he moaned, as Cosmo lay blissfully asleep. He was used to disturbed nights, but not coupled with early starts.
He had spoken with Surge late into the night. Once he had heard of the unbelievable powers that he would be learning, his mind buzzed with possibilities, making it impossible to sleep. Surge was going to teach him how to project anywhere, and to project all of himself, not just part. He would be showing him how to tap into the cosmos, to understand the very essence of life and the forces in the universe.
Surge had sworn him to secrecy, but Aiden convinced him he had to tell the others something. Still, he didn’t know when, and how, to tell Amber about Surge, and decided it could wait. He didn’t want her thinking him crazy.
He looked at Cosmo and thought a nose clamp should do the trick.
The slave for a day turned out to be only a half day. The girls wasted no time allocating jobs to the boys. The day began with juice and breakfast bars delivered to the girls as they reclined on separate couches. To Cosmo’s horror, Sarah-Jane pulled out an iron and a bag full of clothes. Aiden could not remember seeing her wearing half the clothes, and smirked as Cosmo held up the iron wondering how it worked. His smirk vanished when Amber pulled out a couple of woollen multi-coloured sweaters that needed de-pilling. There were so many little balls on them Aiden wasn’t sure there would be anything left when he was finished.
There was an inordinate amount of hair brushing followed by shoulder massaging then bathing of feet, and lastly a foot rub using Sarah-Jane’s lemongrass deodorising, invigorating foot balm.
Just as the boys were about to protest that the girls were taking the slave for a day concept too far, the girls produced four squares of chocolate – one each.
As they let the chocolate dissolve in their mouths, they were called to the training room. It was the last session they would have together and was over faster than any of them would have wished. They stood, hands on hips, as Gibber bounded over to them.
“I am leaving for Sanctuary,” he chirped. Amber flung her arms around him as if she would never let him go. Gibber waved as he left. Although Aiden knew he would be seeing him later that day, it felt strange seeing him go.
The boys and Sarah-Jane left to pack their things. They were to leave Deep Space Discovery later that afternoon.
Aiden and Amber strolled hand in hand down the ramp to the landing bay. Aiden felt butterflies in his stomach. He dreaded every step that took them closer to the bay.
He stopped and reached into his pocket. “Amb, I want you to have this.”
Amber fingered the pendant in her hands. Purple clouds drifted across it. “Aiden, no... you can’t – I can’t... it was your father’s!” and she pushed it back towards him.
“You have to,” he said pushing it back. “It’s the most special thing I have.”
Amber stood on the tips of her toes, reached around his neck and kissed him. He was in heaven. All his worries melted away. The world was perfect.
They caught up to the others in the landing bay. Aiden looked on as their luggage was loaded into Lightforce. It felt wrong. The doctors and Amber had tears running down their cheeks. Sarah-Jane and Cosmo had red eyes. Aiden hoped he could hold back his own tears, but feeling a tear roll down onto his nose proved he couldn’t.
“I’ll say it again,” said Doctor Hudson, wiping his cheek. “You are all a credit to the youth of today. Our future is in excellent hands...”
Doctor Peasley pulled Sarah-Jane, Aiden and Cosmo together for a group hug. “Look after yourselves, and keep in touch. I want to know how you all are.”
Aiden turned and blinked twice; in front of him was Prince Orka. After the incident with Surge in the games room, he was not sure what the prince’s intentions would be. Prince Orka stood motionless, and Aiden looked unwaveringly back. The normal tension he experienced around Orka was gone. He felt they stood as equals for the first time.
“We will have a rematch one day human!” Orka barked.
“I look forward to it,” said Aiden.
The prince turned and left. Aiden assumed that was the prince’s way of saying goodbye.
Before Aiden knew it, Matong was ordering him and the others into Lightforce. A feeling of panic gripped him. It was happening too quickly. He looked at Amber and she at him. His heart fluttered. He tried to think of what he should say. His mouth opened and nothing came out.
Amber pushed him playfully towards Lightforce as she wiped her eyes. “Remember, silly, you can project to me every day – it’s not goodbye!”
A forceful shove from Matong sent Aiden stumbling after Cosmo and Sarah-Jane. He turned for one last look at Amber as the door closed, watching her walk briskly out of the landing bay. He turned, wondering how he was going to survive without her.
“I will see you tonight,” he muttered under his breath.
He stopped suddenly, startled as Surge appeared in front of him.
“That would be after our training of course – your journey has just begun!”
* * *