Chapter 17

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(Set one month after the events of the pervious chapter.)

Days drag into weeks, and the weeks drag into months. I do not go back to the wall again, I stay away from the woods, and I banish every thought of Peter from my head. He doesn't want me around anyway.

Instead, I absorb myself into my power, training hard and doing everything the best I can. I've mastered the powers of senses, transparency, truth, and insight, but none of them were very difficult anyway. There are four sets of the powers: senses, transparency, truth, and insight are the parts that make up the basic set. The novice set includes dreams, joy, and healing. The advanced set includes agility, knowledge, and the elements. The superior set includes the powers of evaluation, control, and...dominance.

Now that I've mastered the basic set, Adam said I'm ready to move on to the novice set. This week, he will teach me the power of healing. Adam acts like he's proud of me, but I know he harbors disappointment. He knows I went to through the wall the moment I told him I didn't want to practice the next day because I was too sad to do anything. I still am sad, but I've learned to hide it. There are things more important than that anyway.

As a matter of fact, I have put away all my personal feelings whatsoever. I reply to things with "thanks" or "no thanks", as well as "yes ma'am" or "no ma'am", and "yes sir" and "no sir". Small talk, nothing more, nothing less. Cassia and Susan visit often and try to bring me out of my solemn mood, but even they can't help me. I have trapped myself in a world of "yes" and "no". Small talk.

Watching the morning sun illuminate my room with light, I remind myself that it's time to get up and start another day. Sighing in discomfort, I rise and move methodically, removing my pajamas and putting on jeans, boots, and covering myself in a warm sweater. Autumn has ended, and winter has taken its place. The fresh blanket of snow and barren trees remind us all of that.

I head downstairs and slip out the door, not making a sound and not bothering to bid anyone even a goodbye. Stepping outside, cold bites at my face, but at the same time, the rush of cool air wakes me up, reinvigorating me in a way. I take the long way to the Council building, using the route where nobody will be. I have found comfort in avoiding people in general.

Of course, being alone only lasts so long. I eventually make it to the building, enter, and go to see Adam. Just another day. "Good morning," he greets me formally. "As to you," I respond. "Well, I'm going to jump right in on today's lesson. On this day, I will teach you the power of healing," Adam says, no emotion in his voice. I nod, and we begin.

"To truly heal someone, you have to first know their pain. Say you're trying to help someone who's injured. You have to look at them and think, 'what would I do if this were me?' A calm, clear mind is necessary, and everything's all for nothing if you panic. It requires gentle hands and focus," he says. "Ok. Teach me," I say.

"Lucky for you, I can be your practice. I fell a few days ago, and I cut my arm. To start off healing, I want you to let go of your troubles and have a clear mind," he says. "It's not that simple," I tell him, which is probably the most I've said in days. "Julia...I know you've made some mistakes in the last month, and I apologize for my disappointment. I just thought you'd be smart enough to know not to go there. But you did, and it hurt you. But if there's one thing I know about mistakes-" "What do you know about mistakes? You're always so worried about training and keeping me out of trouble and proving your knowledge that you don't allow yourself to make mistakes. I think you fear imperfection," I ramble on, surprising both myself and Adam with all that I've said.

"If I feared imperfection, I wouldn't get out of bed in the morning. I would constantly live in fear, because that's all the world is: one big imperfection. However, that's the way it's supposed to be. Without making mistakes, how can you learn? I have some mistakes left in me, and you do too. Now, you can choose to stay in this mood for the rest of your life if you want, but I'm going to go on living. The question is, are you going to do the same?" Adam says.

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