Chapter Twelve - Jasmine

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"Do you really think it's safe?"

"Does it matter? I don't have a choice do I?"

I sighed and gazed up into the sky. "Everything's changing."

"Not everything: not you and me."

How ironic, the one thing I wouldn't mind changing was the only thing refusing to progress.

"Maybe I should fly off to somewhere else. Somewhere that's away from everything. Come with me?"

"Anywhere." We lapsed into a brief silence, which I broke when the implications of what he had said dawned on me. "You can do it? You've learnt? How? Show me?"

"Slow down. Slow down. No, I haven't learnt. I was only joking. I'm still not sure that it's possible to be honest."

"But it has to be! It makes so much sense: if you can manipulate the wind into making whirlwinds, or moving you along faster than daylight then why can't you make it propel you upwards?"

"Because people can't fly?"

"Says who?"

"Science. Logic."

"Can science or logic explain your other abilities?"

"Well, no, but-"

"But nothing, Brae! You can do it. You have to keep trying."

"If it was possible, all of the older Protectors would be doing it."

"They used to, a long time ago."

"If you believe the stories."

"What's wrong with believing stories? What's wrong with dreaming about the impossible? Or wanting to do something, even when everyone is telling you that you can't?"

"Nothing. There's nothing wrong with dreaming so long as you understand that's all it is. All it ever will be. Just dreams."

"But I don't want that to be it. There's got to be something more. Otherwise what's the point?"

"The point of what?"


There was another pause. He was thinking; the breeze had picked up around us.

"It's OK for you," he said at last. "You can dream all you want. But me? My destiny was decided on before I even took my first breath, so there's not much point in me dwelling on what 'might be'."

"I'm sorry, Brae."

"Don't be. It's not your fault."

"Maybe the Sephans don't have it completely backwards. Perhaps choosing your leaders isn't such a bad idea." I smiled, my eyebrows raised ever so slightly.

That cheered him up. He burst out laughing and stood up. "May I present the President of the Arcan Realm," he pronounced with a mock bow. "He used to live in a cave and has never seen the inside of a council chamber before, but we're sure he'll acclimatise soon enough."

"But until then, don't worry while the economy takes a dip... Things will level out shortly."

He laughed. "I've got to go get a couple of things for the trip, want to come with?"

I nodded in response. Most of the shops were in the South side of the city. Where we were now was called the city centre; a miniature city within the larger capital. To the West laid the suburbs and Bryer Hill, the North and East sides of the city were enclosed by the River Acheron but the main part of the city, where everyone lived, worked and went out, was to the South. To reach it quickly you needed to use the Inter-City Rail, a bubble cart that ran across the top of the city buildings.

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