Chapter 161: Kailani
Do you know your enemy?
Well, gotta know the enemy, hey
The insurgency will rise
When the blood's been sacrificed
Don't be blinded by the lies in your eyes
"Idu panida," Kai muttered under her breath. Nothing stirred to her senses, even as the tail continued its gentle swishing. Conrad remained blissfully unaware of her experimentation. "Darn it. Idu Intinn." Yes, he was unaware, absorbed in his studies. Mathematical formulae flashed through his thoughts, her thoughts, as she watched.
The patterns were fascinating to see in his brain; more fascinating, however, was the way he came up with the answer and then twisted it, deliberately inserting an error. She'd have to ask him about it later. For now, there were things to Know.
"Idu yaku?" The water around would be in his body, and hers, hopefully. Yes, there it was, lurking guarded beneath the surface; and more prominently there, on the desk - he had a bottle of soda. Technically water, she supposed - a second "Idu yaku" told her just how much, and how carbonated.
She was running out of things in the room she could Know easily. "Idu kaana." The air was as it always was, here - comfortably dry and just mildly warm, with tiny bursts of turbulence as they breathed. Boring.
"I need to go find some panida," she announced.
Finally, Conrad looked up. "Animals? Why?"
"I'm running out of things to Know in the room."
"Oh. Well, there aren't a lot of animals around. Somebody might have a pet, but other than that the Village is likely your best bet."
The Village would have a lot of things for her to Know. She glanced at his homework, then back to him. "I'll help you with your math later if you'll come with me now?"
"I don't need the help, thanks anyway. Do you want me to come with you though?"
"I like your company." And she'd have to figure out some other way to get him to talk about the homework. "But I don't want to take you from your studies."
"It's no big deal, really," he said, closing his book. "I'll come."
"Thanks." She bundled up; she could Know the snow while she was outside, too. Conrad simply threw on an overcoat and followed her out.
Once outside, she danced around in the light snowfall, not caring who was watching, Knowing the water in the snow and the wind around her. It was still like being in a snow-globe - not real weather, not truly free air - but it was nicer than being cooped up inside.
She wandered down the path, not hurrying but not dilly-dallying too much, either; the Village's weather might be mild, but it was still mild for February in South Dakota. "Idu kaana," she murmured, "idu yaku. Idu intinn?"
Her senses multiplied, neatly layered by her analytical mind as she deciphered the multiple streams of fresh data. Through it all, there was an odd disturbance in the air; she felt waves of something traveling through it, stirring it, shaping it into a distinct force. She was already converting the shapes into recognizable forms when another part of her brain translated them as Conrad's voice.
"Kai? I know you're excited that you can sustain manifestations for longer periods of time now, but is there an actual reason you're doing all that?"
She blinked, and smiled at him, processing his face as light - and a pity she couldn't work with light! - and shadow. "I'm Knowing."
That wasn't really an explanation, she knew. She brought more of her focus back to him and tried to explain. "I've gotten pretty good at create - meentik kaana ????." She murmured the Working offhandedly, and a pile of snow dropped into her hand. "Especially with water and air. But I'm not as good with my other Words, so I'm practicing. Seeing what I can Know."
"Right, okay. So you're just trying to know everything?"
"Yes," she smiled. "If I don't Know everything, I won't know what I can't Know."
"Okay, sure. Uh. There's not really any way I can help with this, huh?"
"I guess not." She slumped, feeling guilty. "Sorry to drag you out here."
"Hey, that's okay," he smiled, bending down to scrape together a handful of snow. "I could use the break."
Reassured, she smiled back at him. "Maybe we can Know some animals, then, before we head back in?"
"If we can find any... oh, maybe we're in luck," he said, pointing over her shoulder.
She turned around, but all she saw was the snow stretching out towards the Village. "I don't…" It was an odd feeling, almost as if time was slowing as a thousand fragments of sensory input leapt forward, battling for her attention. There was a disturbance in the air, a gust that she recognized as being caused by a rapid, circular motion. An object, further, stirred the air with its passage. Water was moving, tiny droplets expelled backwards from a larger core, the delicate crystalline lattice that defined snow. A single thought emerged sharply, someone else's; it tasted of amusement, and triumph. Her mind was still assembling all of that into a cohesive whole when the snowball exploded against the back of her head.
"Damn!" she swore, shaking the snow off of her head. "Oh, man." She turned, thinking how pissed Acacia would be at her for missing an easy throw like that, already muttering a meentik to make another snowball.
Conrad was chuckling as he cobbled together his own. "There's all I know about Knowing, for you. Seeing too much is just as bad as seeing too little, sometimes."
"Hunh." She contemplated that as she threw her own snowball straight up into the air and created a second one. "That's a very… brisk… point." The snow was creeping down the back of her neck as she stood there, a crisp reminder.
"Oh, come on, everyone likes a good snowball fight." Right? He hadn't upset her, had he? His thoughts came through clearly over his words.
"Of course," she reassured him, tossing her second ball up into the air. Reading his mind wasn't even hard. Could he make it a challenge?
"There's something else on your mind, though," he noted. He was sharper than he gave himself credit for; every now and then it evidenced itself.
"Of course," she answered idly, and then, realizing he'd probably been asking a question, "I'm thinking about practicing my Idu and Intinn together."
"Mindreading, you mean? What can you do with it already?"
"I haven't practiced all that much with it - it seems rude," she admitted . "But I can read surface thoughts."
"If you're looking to practice, I could help you, I suppose. You'll find that there are people who can block your efforts - or actually deceive them."
"Deceive?" She leaned forward, intrigued, and then, remembering she had two snowballs in the air, let them fall on his head.
Conrad exclaimed in surprise, but then laughed, brushing snow off of himself. "Well, yeah... let me just show you."
He turned away, and the wind carried the whispers of his Working to her ears, even as she continued to skim his surface thoughts. He needed a good example; something clearly different, someone clearly different...
Snow, hmph. Even as Kai's senses picked up the new thoughts, they were instantly recognized as Agatha's; she could all but hear the girl's snide tone. The Village was supposed to be climate-controlled, wasn't it? Why didn't they control it?
She almost yelped. "Oh, wow," she murmured, instead, and worked on studying how he was doing that. The Words he had used were "Tuapeka Intinn"; he wasn't still casting, though, maintaining the effect silently. His actual thoughts were completely cut off to her, although Agatha's condescending commentary continued.
How did she get through that? She murmured a stronger "Idu intinn," pushing her perceptions up while dropping her Knowing of the wind, water, and complete lack of Panida.
It was difficult, like looking through muddied water. After a few moments, though, Agatha's thoughts faded into Conrad's. Can she do it? It might be possible, she is very gifted, and I'm no Dysmas...
Her sense of triumph was short-lived, however, as Agatha's thoughts surfaced again, strongly. Stupid useless boy, can't even run a simple errand.
What's she frowning at? Conrad wondered.
Wait... why was she hearing both sets of thoughts? She blinked at Conrad and muttered a stronger-still Idu intinn. A chorus of weaker voices, only background static before, became discernible over the ones she was already hearing.
...don't talk to her, don't even look at her...
...got no business with us...
...let her be about it and leave...
The Agatha-like thoughts remained crystal-clear, however: Honestly! To fail at such a basic task. Well, he'll just have to be punished. Again.
And Conrad was louder than ever: Oh crap! There she is!
She opened her eyes, moving closer to Conrad as she did so. The thoughts pounded against her mind as she took his hand. And there was Agatha, in the flesh, coming down the road behind them. Conrad held Kai close, and the other girl barely glanced at them as she swept past.
Her thoughts lingered in Kai's mind, though. …have to be punished. Again. Only when she was sure the girl was long gone from earshot did she murmur to Conrad.
"I have to do something about her."
Copyright © 2009-2012 Lyn Thorne-Alder with Elasmo. All rights reserved.