Skyler and Hontor

The featured image is part of the art work of Evgeny Hontor. His work can be found at https://www.etsy.com/shop/DemiurgusDreams.

Chapter 4

Sŭchō, surprised he didn’t know he had a sister named Yuki, looked up at him. “You didn’t even know you had a sister named Yuki?”

Skyler slapped his hand to his forehead, fell into his chair and slumped back. “No… I mean, I know who Yuki is, but I didn’t know she was my sister!”

“I see.”

He sat up and asked hopefully, “Maybe she’s not the Yuki I know? Maybe she’s a different Yuki!”

Sŭchō lowered her shoulders and made a face. “Come on Skyler. I mean, how many people named Yuki have you run into in your life?”

He slumped again. “None.”

“Exactly. So, I’m willing to bet the Yuki you know and this one is one and the same.”

He stood up and paced the room. “But why didn’t she tell me when we were on the moon? She had plenty of time. Don’t you think she should have said something?”

Sŭchō shrugged her shoulders. “Did she know you were her brother?

“Oh yeah, I didn’t think of that. But…man, this stinks.”

“What does.”

“Her being my sister, I really…” He looked away.

A smile crossed Sŭchō’s lips. “Ah, I see.

 He noticed her smile. “What?”

“Nothing.” She focused on the book again. “So, do you still think the P in the book is incorrect?”

He crossed his arms in front of his chest. “I don’t know how to be any clearer. I’ve tried for years but I’m not a Ke…”

Sŭchō put her hand up to stop. “You can deny it all you want, but I know you are! You felt it when I held the book and looked at you. I told you that was confirmation of who you are and what you’re capable of. You need to understand that just because you can’t hear the animals, doesn’t mean that they haven’t been trying to talk to you! They know, but you’ve been blocking them out!”

“But I’ve tried! Believe me I have. I’ve always wanted to be like the rest of my family. I’d do it in a heartbeat!”

“I believe you, but I also know the book is right.” She thought for a second. “We need a second opinion.”

Just then Ron flew in through an open window.

Skyler looked surprised. “Holy Cow, that was fast! Did you just call him?”

“I did.”

Ron hovered silently between them.

Skyler looked from him to Sŭchō then said, “Before we go any further, can I ask you a question about Ron?”

“Sure.”

“What’s the story with him? Where’s he from?”

Sŭchō ran her hand over the top of Ron. “My friend, Mrs. Privet, made him as sort of a portable, self-contained server. I’m not very sure how he works and apparently he’s the first of many upgraded models.”

“I’ve never seen anything like him before.” Skyler moved over to touch Ron, but he zipped back out the window. Skyler was left with his hand still in the air. He lowered it and turned back to Sŭchō. “I think the old man sent him to make sure I was alright when I came through the gate.”

“What old man?”

“From the other side of the gate. He sold me the detector that I can use to find invisible gates with at a garage sale he was having at his house. Qbit and I later met him at his barn. He was a funny little man. He had a flopped over pointy hat and smoked a pipe that had invisible tobacco in it.”

Sŭchō looked up at him. “Did he try lighting it with an invisible match?”

“Yeah, he did. How’d you know that?”

“You said he was little?”

“Yeah, about this high.” Skyler held his hand about three feet off the floor. “Not including the hat.”

“Huh, it must have been…”

Skyler raised an eyebrow. “Must have been who?”

“Well, I think that old man was my friend Mrs. Privet!”

Skyler’s mouth dropped open.

Chapter 5

Skyler was leaning against a table by the bookcase shaking his head. He looked up. “I’m really sorry for saying that Mrs. Privet was an old man. I mean, with the hat and the outfit and the pipe, I really thought she was a he. I hope I didn’t do anything to upset her!”

Sŭchō looked to be talking to Ron. As soon as she removed her hand, he zipped out the same window he had come in. She turned to Skyler and asked, “How do you mean?”

“Maybe I called her sir or something. I don’t remember! What if she goes all Piggly Wiggly on me or something?” He put his hands to his face. “Why didn’t Qbit tell me?”

“Well, I’m sure he had his reasons.” She paused for a second then added, “You did know he’s one her designs.”

“Who, Qbit? Her design? Wait, Qbit is her design? She made him?”

“Absolutely, actually, he’s the most up-to-date version of Ron.”

Skyler went to the window Ron had just flown out of and looked out. “I can’t believe Mrs. Privet made Ron (he turned around) and Qbit! How do you create something like them, especially Qbit? That’s incredible! I had no idea! I can’t believe it; she must be a genius or something.”

She’s a pretty special woman, that’s for sure.”

“And I called her an old man, great!”

“Well, you had no way of knowing so stop beating yourself up about it.”

Skyler sat and ran through his head the events at the barn from when they walked in till when he went through the gate. “Wait a minute. I remember there was that stuff about her family pet having a cold. What was that all about?”

“What do you mean?”

“There was this nasty smelling smoke that came from another part of the barn and wafted over us. She said it was from the family pet. It had a cold or something.”

“I’m not sure but I wouldn’t put it past her to say something like that. Unless…” She got up and walked to the table piled with books, turned, then leaned against it.

“Unless what?”

She looked over at him and asked, “Can you remember what the smoke smelled like?”

Skyler crossed his arms in front of him and said, “Sure, it was Sulphur.”

“You sound pretty confident about that.”

“I am because Mrs. Privet told me that’s what it was.”

“Ah, so It makes perfect sense, then.”

“What does?”

Sŭchō pushed herself up and turned around to look for something on the table. She shuffled some things around then found what she was looking for. She turned back to him holding a small disk about the size of a hockey puck in her right hand. “I’m pretty sure I know where that smoke was coming from.”

Skyler looked surprised. “You do!”

“Yep, from Ceto.”

“Ceto?”

“A dragon.”

“A dragon?” He shook his head. “Why is it I’m not surprised?”

“Maybe because, deep down, you knew back then what it was.”

“So, your saying it told me what it is because it knows I’m a Keeper, but I blocked it out because I think I’m not, but, according to you, and I’m sure Mrs. Privet, I am?”

She gave him a perplexed look. “Well…yes. That’s weirdly exactly what I was going to say.” She waved the thought away with her hand. “Anyway, I think, in order to get you to realize your abilities, the whole power supply story was meant to get you here for a different reason…it’s all starting to make sense.”

“To you perhaps, but maybe you could enlighten me!”

“Everything you saw, smelt and heard in the barn was done on purpose. Mrs. Privet knew you wouldn’t believe her if she told you out right, so she used suggestion.”

Skyler stood up. “So, she’s using mind control?”

“No, not control. She’s was placing suggestions in your head.”

“But why?”

“To prepare you for the real reason you’re here.”

“Which is?”

“To rescue Kukulkan and reunite him with his family.”

“Kukulkan? Another name I’m going to have to remember?”

“I’m sure you won’t forget this one.”

Skyler looked at her for a second then said, “I’m not even going to ask. But I’m going to assume that he’s a dragon too because Ceto’s one… a dragon.”

“Yes.”

“And he’s probably held somewhere almost impossible to get to.”

“Yes.”

“And I bet I’ll have to learn to talk to him in order to rescue him.”

“Yes.”

“And I’m the only one who can do this because, if not, you would have done it already.”

“Yes.”

“And there’s no way I can say no.”

“No.”

“No?”

“You can leave if you want. You’ll have to wait for the gate to come back of course.”

“But what’s the catch? There’s got to be a catch!”

“You’ll never find your true potential as a Keeper, so you’ll end up regretting it for the rest of your life.”

He sighed. “Nothing’s ever easy, is it?”

“Nope.”

Skyler sighed deeply. “So, where is he?”

Sŭchō smiled. “Good choice.”

“Hey, I’m just asking! Don’t get too excited!”

“We’ll see.” She placed the disc on the table and waved her hand over it. A large image of a rotating planet was projected into the space directly above it. “This is a hologram of this planet. I can zoom in and out by putting my hand into the image.” She demonstrated by placing her hand above the planet then slowly moving it into the image.  As she did this, the planet stopped moving and a new image appeared showing more detailed features of the planet.

Skyler could see tree canopies appear then disappear as her hand went further “into” the planet. She quickly pulled it back out. “You try.”

Skyler put his hand up the same way she did, the planet stopped rotating. He moved his hand into a different area and watched as it broke through a layer of clouds then something very strange came into view. It looked like a large dome, but it was huge. It must have covered about a third of the globe. He stopped his hand.

“What the heck is that?”

“That’s Barentz Dome. Believe it or not, it’s a natural feature formed millions of years ago when this planet was still young. It’s a hollow bubble of ice.”

“Ice? How could that be made of ice? It would have to be really, really cold to keep that frozen. From what I’ve seen of this planet, it’s way too warm.”

“Don’t let the rotation of the projected globe fool you. This planet is tidally locked, it doesn’t rotate. The bubble of ice is directly opposite us, exposed to the harsh conditions of a sunless atmosphere.”

“Can I see inside it?”

“Sure, just keep your hand there…” Sŭchō reached over and double tapped the dome. A duplicate image appeared. Using her hands like a knife, she split the dome in half, length ways so they could see inside.

It was filled with trees, grasses, plants, and bodies of water. Skyler shook his head in confusion. “Wait, that’s impossible, the inside isn’t frozen! How could a dome of ice form over a warm surface? It doesn’t make any sense.”

“It’s been speculated that when this planet was young, it briefly rotated. They think a huge impact crater full of ice moved around to the warm side and at the same time lava from volcanic eruptions flowed through underground tunnels. Pockets of water instantly flashed into steam which pushed up on the softened ice surface. Because the ice was inside an almost perfect circular crater, surface tension on the perimeter was enough to keep the ice connected to the edge but allow the middle to rise.

The whole time this was happening, the planet continued to rotate, bringing the crater back to the cold side and immediately freezing everything.  Then, for reasons no one is sure of, the planet stopped rotating and became locked in its current position. The conditions are perfect to maintain a frozen opaque outer crust of ice while the inside remains warm from the lava still under the surface. It sounds completely unbelievable, but there doesn’t seem to be any other explanation.”

“That’s just crazy!” he looked up at Sŭchō and asked, “If it’s on the dark side, how do all the plants grow?”

“This is going to sound even crazier but the dome glows for ten hours each day.”

“What? How?”

“It seems to be some sort of phosphorescence. It’s believed that there is an overabundance of the mineral hackmanite trapped in the dome ice.”

“Hackmanite? I think I’ve heard of that. It glows when it’s hit with radiation, right?”

“Exactly. There’s a known hole in the atmosphere right above the dome that opens and closes in a ten-hour cycle. This seems to be where the radiation emanates from.”

“This whole dome creation plus the glowing rock from a convenient hole in the ozone seems a little bit unbelievable. It sounds manmade more than coincidental.”

“I agree. I’ve never seen anything like it, anywhere and I’ve been around a lot of places.”

Skyler looked back at the hologram. “How did the dome get its name?”

“It’s named after the woman who discovered a way to get in. For ages the inhabitants of this planet didn’t know if it was solid or hollow. Ingrid Barentz spent most of her life trying to find a way in. She finally located an entrance at the back of a hidden cave allowing her to make her way in.”

“Did she find anything in there besides all those plants and lakes?”

“An ecosystem that was completely different than the one surrounding the dome.”

“But how did everything inside survive without any oxygen or water or food from the outside? I don’t understand that.”

“It’s a biosphere, or a closed system that maintains itself by keeping everything in perfect balance.”

“Are there people in there now?”

“For hundreds of years no one went in, they left it alone. Unfortunately, word eventually got out about its existence. One day, someone named Chad landed on the planet with an army of people. He took control of the dome and held many of the local people hostage.

“Did he get Ingrid Barentz?”

“No, luckily she was able to get away. No one’s sure where she is. Anyway, Chad built a base then started taking the animals out.”

“Why would he do that? I mean there must have been some incredible animals in there.”

“Exactly! He’s a dealer in exotic animals. You couldn’t get any more exotic than the animals in the dome. He took them to another planet to replicate them and sell them to the highest bidder.”

“Replicate them? What do you mean, replicate?”

“He developed ways to use their DNA to make copies.”

“He knew how to do that?”

“Not him personally, he found someone who did.”

“But with the animals gone, what happened to the biosphere?”

“It was knocked out of balance. Taking the animals caused a chain reaction. Everything else started to die.”

“Is it all gone now?”

“No, Chad realized he still needed the unique plant life to feed the captured animals. They wouldn’t eat anything else so, instead of bringing the original animals back, he brought in others which included animals he had stolen from other planets as well as some of the genetically altered animals he made that people didn’t want to buy.”

“Why did he do that?”

“We believe he was trying to fix what he had broken. He hoped by adding animals it would correct everything. But it’s not working. Everything in the dome’s still dying. Nothing will survive.”

“Is he still there?”

“No, he left when he saw what was happening. He left behind enough soldiers to make sure no one else got in to take any of his animals.”

“What about the people that hid, have they been able to do anything?”

“We’ve been able to rescue a small number of animals but there’s so few of us and too many guards.”

“You said we, who’s we?”

“The Keepers that are still here, Qbit, Tau and Mrs. Privet.”

“I haven’t heard of Tau. I don’t think Q ever mentioned her.”

He’s a robot that came from somewhere, but he can’t remember where. By pure coincidence, he found Mrs. Privet and she was able to persuade him to help. He and Qbit were in charge of removing the animals from the dome but now there in charge of finding and training the new Keepers such as you and your sister.”

“Why come looking for us? What can we do that you guys haven’t been able to?”

“We’re getting too old to continue, it’s time to bring in the replacements.”

“But what do we know about saving animals?”

“Well, that’s why we’ve been looking for the pure Keepers. You don’t need as much training because most of what you know lies just below the surface. We set up a special school called Arcadia, it’s part school and part training facility. It’s where everyone else is right now, starting their training.”

“Besides my sister, how many others do you have?”

“Well, let’s see. There’s Emily and her robot cheetah, Athena. Maria and her robot, Curly. Leu also came with them. You, your sister and her cyborg fox named Kit.”

“That’s it?”

“Yep, for now.”

“Sounds like a lot is riding on just a few people.”

“It’s the best we can do.”

“Hm. One last thing, how come everyone else gets a robot and I don’t have one?”

“You’ve got Ron.”

Skyler was suddenly excited and relieved at the same time. “Ron, really? He’s coming with me? Why didn’t you say so before?”

“You didn’t ask.”

Skyler gave her a look. “One more last question, why am I here and not at Arcadia training with the rest of the Keepers?”

“Because (she reached over and zoomed into a spot in the dome that had a glowing red spot) of him.”

“I don’t get that part. Why is it I’m supposed to do what no other highly trained person hasn’t been able to do?”?”

Sŭchō looked away for a second then looked at her feet. “Uh, you’re probably not going to like this but, we don’t really know why. The only thing we have to go on is a feeling Kulkukan has that there’s something different about you.”

“So, according to a dragon, I’m something like the chosen one.” He made quotation marks in the air when he said chosen one.

“Something like that.”

“It’s kind of corny, isn’t it? I mean it’s like a plot to a movie, right? Find the chosen one, they’ll know what to do! Get the kid from nowhere because he or she is the chosen one!”

“Skyler, believe me, we’ve thought of and tried everything else to get Kukulkan to leave. He just won’t do it. Do you really think that we think a kid who doesn’t believe in himself is the answer to getting him out?” She put her hands on his shoulders, looked him the eyes and said, “You’re our only help, Obi Wan.”

He laughed out loud, “Hah, wow, you must be really desperate if you think saying that would help.”

She smiled and said, “I had to try. It was all I had left.

“Well, just so you know, the line is actually, Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope, but I have to give you credit for knowing that line and actually saying it.”

She shrugged her shoulders. “It was a long shot and I thought I’d go for it.”

Skyler took a deep breath and looked toward the hologram. “So, he’s inside that building?”

A flash of surprise and hope briefly lit up Sŭchō’s eyes. “Yes.” She zoomed in again. Icons appeared, surrounding Kukulkan position.

“Oh boy, it keeps on getting better and better.” He pointed at the icons. “Let me guess, those are guards.”

“Guard posts actually. We’re not entirely sure how many are still in there.”

“Ah, wonderful.” He sat back down. “You do know that my last job was changing light bulbs on the surface of the moon which, as easy as it sounds, I managed to screw up.”

“Yes, I do know.”

“Good, because I was beginning to think that you thought I had some sort of special military training that would allow me to waltz in there and walk right out with him.”

“I am well aware of your limited talents…”

“Hey!”

“… so, you don’t need to worry.”  

“Then how am I going to get him out of there? He started to pace. “And, while we’re on that subject, why would he even come with me and not, I don’t know, burn me to a crisp?”

“He’s been waiting for you so what makes you think he’s going to hurt you?”

“What if I did something to him, somehow and I don’t even know it! What if he’s been waiting just to get his revenge!”

Sŭchō closed the hologram and returned the disk to the desk. “Are you serious? That doesn’t even make any sense! Anyway, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, I need to hear from you that you’re committed to doing this.”

Skyler plopped down into his chair and sighed. “Sŭchō, you need to understand something. It seems like, all my life I’ve been trying to live up to my parent’s expectations that I’m like them and my sister, uh, sisters. My shortcomings drove my parents apart and I couldn’t bear being around that all the time, so I left to get as far away as possible.”

Sŭchō started to say, “But…”

“Hold on, I’m not finished. But, I’ve met some incredible people lately and seen some things I never knew existed and I have been listening to you about what my grandmother, Qbit, you and the Keeper book have been saying about me. So, I’d be willing to help, but on one condition.”

“Which is?”

“Prove to me that I can communicate so I don’t get myself killed.”

Sŭchō looked down at the floor and didn’t say anything for a few seconds. She looked up and said, “Look, Skyler, I can’t do that. Communicating with an animal, especially when you don’t believe you can, isn’t something that I can prove to you. Talking with another species comes from inside and it’s something you need to find on your own. Conditions and situations need to be just right in order for a connection to be made.”

Skyler looked down at his hands folded in his lap. “I was afraid you were going to say that.”

“Before you say anything else, I want you to know that I understand how you feel, and I won’t pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do.”

“Thank you, I appreciate that.” He stood up and walked over to his bag laying the table. He bent over to pick it up when suddenly a loud screeching came from outside. Skyler jerked himself up. “What the heck was that!”

Chapter 6

They both spun around to stare at the door as a sound like nails digging deep grooves into the door filled the room. Skyler suddenly remembered what he had seen when he had passed by the door earlier. He looked over at Sŭchō with his eyes open wide.

Suddenly, the well-worn wooden latch on the heavy door jiggled. They watched closely as it slowly moved downwards as pressure was applied from the other side. It stopped…they both stood frozen in place, staring at the door.

The latch snapped up again suddenly… jiggled again…then repeated its slow, agonizing movement downward…then suddenly, it snapped up again. There was more scratching at the door, more intense this time! The latch jiggled again and started to move down…

“Oh, for goodness sake.” Sŭchō dropped her shoulders and stomped over to the door.

Kyler tried to grab her arm as she went by but missed. “Wait, what is it?”

“I don’t know why she insists on trying to open the door by herself, she can never get it.”  Sŭchō flung open the door.

Sitting on the other side with its paw still hanging in the air, was the strangest animal Skyler had ever seen. His mouth dropped open as it sat up and walked in.

It was about the size of a large fox, but that was where any further likeness ended. The most obvious difference was the sky-blue fur that covered its body. A pair of wings covered in multi-hued blue feathers were tucked up against either side.

Even more incredible was its ears. The started out as a pair of regular looking canine ears but then tapered into dainty, feather-like tips that easily extended half-way down its body. There were several feather-like attachments along the taper that reminded Skyler of a moth’s antennae.

Skyler thought it was the most elegant animal he had ever seen.

Sŭchō had moved from the door and stood next to Skyler. “This is Hontor.”

He couldn’t keep his eyes off of her. “She’s beautiful.”

Sŭchō paused for a second then said, “She said thank you.”

Skyler looked at Sŭchō. “Did she just understand what I said? Is she a Keeper? Wait, of course not, she can’t be a Keeper. Wait, can she? Is she?” He knelt down if front of Honto and said slowly, “Can…you…understand…me?”

Honto looked up at Sŭchō.

Sŭchō said, “Yes, believe it or not he is.”

Skyler furrowed his brow. “Hey, did she just ask what I think she asked?”

“I’m afraid so.”

He got up. “I’m sorry! I get nervous around, you know, pretty…wait!” He slapped his hand to his head.

Sŭchō put her hand on his shoulder. “Maybe you stop and let me finish introducing her.”

“Skyler shrank down a bit. “Yeah, I guess.

Sŭchō took a step back, motioned toward Honto and said, “Skyler, this is Honto, she’ll be your teacher.”

“Teacher? What do you mean teacher? Teach me what?”

“Everything you’ll need to know to rescue Kulkukun.”

“What? What do you mean?  How did she know I’m staying? Wait, I haven’t even told you yet, so how come she knows!”

Sŭchō said, “I took a chance.”

Skyler crossed his arms over his chest and pursed his lips. “Hm.”

Sŭchō put her hands on her waist. “You need this Skyler. Your life hasn’t had direction for a long time, and you need to figure who and what you are.” She looked at her feet then back at him. “I don’t believe everything that has happened to you lately has been purely coincidental. It seems like someone has been nudging you in a certain direction, that’s why you’re here with me. You need to stop and think about the bigger picture.”

“And what’s that, the bigger picture, I mean?”

“That you’re a Keeper and right now, you’re needed to help the same animals that your ancestors have helped for ages and ages. It needs to start for you, here and now!”

Skyler walked over to the table and picked up the disk. He rolled it around in his hand for a few seconds then placed it back down. He turned to look at them both “Okay, I understand what you’re saying about who I’m supposed to be, and I believe that you believe in me enough to trust me, so I suppose I’ll stay and help. But I’m warning you, don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t turn out the way you two think it will.”

Sŭchō came over to him and put her hand on his shoulder. “Thank you and I guarantee that, from now on, things are going to be different!”

“Hm, we’ll see.” He stuck his hands in his pockets. “So, when do we get started?”

Sŭchō pushed him over to the chair. “First, sit here. Honto needs to open your mind.”

As he sat, he said, “I hope you mean that figuratively.”

She stepped back. “Relax for goodness sake! This won’t hurt a bit…well maybe a little.”

He snapped his head up. “What?”

“I’m kidding! You won’t feel a thing.”

Honto walked over to face Skyler then sat down in front of him. He watched as her long, feathery antennae silently moved forward as if they were carried on the wind. The tips stopped just short of his temples.

Skyler shut his eyes and held his breath.

Sŭchō let out a laugh and said, “Relax, will you!”

“Okay, okay!” He let out his breath but kept his eyes shut. He felt Honto’s antennae barely touch his temples then heard her say, Okay, we’re done here.

Skyler’s eyes shot open. He had heard her say that in his head! “I heard that! I mean in my head, heard it!” He looked at Honto. “That was you, right!” He looked at Sŭchō. “You weren’t just messing with me, were you?”

“No, that was her.”

“Wow that was cool! His expression went from surprise to confusion. “But that’s it?” He looked at Honto. “That’s all you had to do to get me to hear you?” He looked up at Sŭchō. “What happened to ‘conditions and situations need to be just right’?”

Sŭchō threw up her hands. “I can’t believe you! You just heard something in your head for the very first time and you’re complaining?”

“I’m not complaining! I’m just surprised at how easy it was.” He asked Honto, “How did you do that?”

I inserted tiny nanobots into your brain…

Whaattt?”

Honto turned to Sŭchō. Is he always this easy to mess with?

She snickered and said, Remember, he’s a human.

Ahh, right. She looked at Skyler. I’m only kidding. You’ve had the ability all along, I just needed to unblock the part of your brain that told you that you couldn’t do it.

Skyler breathed a sigh of relief.

Sŭchō said to him, See, I told you the book was right.

“Wow, this is incredible.” He looked at Honto. “Thanks, I think.”

Try saying something to me using the voice in your head, not your mouth.

Skyler thought What do I say?

See, you just did it. Try it again.

Another thought came to him Can you hear everything I say in my head?

Yes, but don’t worry, you’ll soon learn how to shut out what you don’t want others to hear.

I still don’t understand what you just did to get me to hear you.

It’s all about observing and listening to how species communicate. Your species is amongst many that uses mostly vocalization. But you can also switch to a visual means, such as gesturing or even using facial expressions or body language.

Some animals and insects use pheromones to mark their territory or to leave a trail. Trees release them to warn other trees of danger from foraging insects. They also use electrical signals sent through their root systems and into the surrounding fungal network to talk to other trees.

This knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation of my species. We’re able to communicate with just about anything that walks, crawls, flies, slithers or grows.

Wow, that’s impressive. But what did you do, exactly?”

Using a specific electrical charge, I was able to stimulate your neural network in such a way that a new path was created which bypassed an existing unfinished path blocked by doubt.

Doubt? You can bypass doubt? How’s that possible, I mean doubt isn’t a…a…thing, it’s a feeling. He turned to Sŭchō. Isn’t it?

Yes, on a certain level but the human brain is very sophisticated and not fully understood so you can’t necessarily jump to that conclusion.

Honto added, “You can look at doubt as, say…a flowing stream that’s too wide and deep to cross without a bridge. What I did was to insert the last few bricks of an already existing but unfinished bridge. Those few remaining bricks allowed a connection to be made that finally gave you access to your Keeper ability.

Will the connection stay, or will it go away?

It won’t ever go away but, just as with anything else, you’ll need to practice in order maintain and even sharpen your unique skill.

I see. Skyler ran his hands over his head as if he would be able to feel something different.

Honto walked over to the door. You’re going to need all the skill you can get in order to convince Kukulkan you’re there to help him.

Skyler looked at her with a worried look. You don’t happen to have any bricks in your antennae that will get me over my fear of being burnt to a crisp, do you?

She lifted her paw and tried pushing on the latch. I’m afraid not. That’s going to be up to you. The latch kept slipping no matter how many times she tried.

Skyler went over and opened the door for her. As she walked through, he said, Um, thank you Honto and, um, when does my training start?

She stopped and turned to him. I’ll see you tomorrow. And thank you Skyler.

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