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8. Mud Bubbles

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Chapter 8. Mud Bubbles

The Fat Lady sent us on our way, but not before showing us a tunnel that leads from the foothills behind her house directly to a passageway in the castle, bypassing the waterfall. Arien showed the tunnel to me once and I used it a few times, but hadn’t needed it for several years. What’s more, our Minya is able to use it as a way to travel to and from the castle.

The Fat Lady also gave me information concerning the next element. It’s in the form of a person—a Fire Pulser named Lasia. I’ve heard horrible stories about Fire Pulsers and have no confidence in my ability to defeat one. However, the Fat Lady did give me instructions that should help. It seems that Minyas have a natural sensitivity to change of temperature. I am to keep one constantly on the lookout, using it as a way to know what Lasia is doing at all times. Then I am to creep around her, placing diamonds, which the Fat Lady has given me, in five spots around her, forming a pentagon. Once the final diamond is in place, a shield will be formed around her, thus allowing us to pass by unharmed. I truly hope the Fat Lady is correct in this.

***

Jacob and Akeno walked in silence for a while as Jacob pondered the events of the last two days. He finally gave in to his curiosity. “Akeno, can I ask you a couple of questions?”

“Sure.”

“What happens when you touch the trees? I mean, I know it has something to do with Rezend or whatever, but how does it tell you when there’s danger around?”

“When a Makalo comes in contact with something that’s alive, we’re given a sense of what’s around us. Basically, we see what they see, but not in a visual way.”

What would that be like? Jacob looked back at the poplars behind them—trees that tall had to have a great view. “Why do you read trees? Why not me, or one of the Minyas? We’re living things.”

“Theoretically, you’re similar, but not similar enough.” Akeno paused, a slight frown on his face. “There’s a lot of history behind it—I’ll give you all of it someday, but for now, all you really need to know is that hundreds of years ago, Makalos were completely tied to trees. We lived in them and through them—they fed our Rezend. A good Makalo leader took us from them, but then our magic started to wane with each generation. By doing that, the leader saved us. And we still maintain a connection with trees.”

Akeno sighed. “The Makalos were the most powerful people in this world, and their magic was not outdone by any, including the humans and Shiengols. There were millions upon millions of us.” He gazed toward the mountain towering above them. “Their greatest city was located not far from here. The Kaede trees, from what we know, are still standing. I can only imagine how amazing it was to see the city in its prime.”

He turned to Jacob. “You’ve probably noticed that my finger is blue—the Rezend which flows through my body creates a brilliant silver-blue glow, and a Makalo’s body shines when at his or her fullest magical ability. The Rezend is like their blood, and—”

“That’s really weird,” Jacob said.

Akeno frowned and took a minute to answer. “I guess I can see why you would feel that way. I’ve known about it my whole life, so it’s normal to me.”

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