26 ♦ Nalowei

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I find Ovelia crumpled in a ball, surrounded by spheres shifting into doughnuts into pyramids into cylinders into squares, the space around me only stable if I look straight ahead—if I look at the road I want to solidify within the fourth dimension's malleable expanse.

"How do you do that?" Elexus asks, gesturing at the ground that hardens from pixels to solidness. "Everything looks chaotic except right where you put your feet."

"You choose which part of the dimension to occupy," I tell her. "I do it by choice."

I make a bridge that the rest of them follow—Elexus, Chante, Alistar, Hahn, and a long shadow—walking single-file to where Ovelia trembles in the chaos.

Then I kneel to her, placing my hand on her shoulder.

"Hey," I whisper. "Don't let it overwhelm you."

"All of them," Ovelia mutters. "Aleria, in all of them..."

Alistar says, "I can carry her until she's better, if it means getting out of this place."

"I'm not sure if we should rush into the fifth dimension," I reply, "especially if she can't comprehend the fourth one." I brush my hand on her forehead. "The first time I came here, it was too much for me, too. The chaos may seem maddening to you, but it's much worse if the entire world is stable; it's worse if you can see the truth beyond the veil your three-dimensional vision casts over you."

"So you could stabilize this whole place?" Elexus asks. "Not just...the ground in front of you?"

I shrug, telling her, "Sure, but then y'all would be curled on the ball, looking at every point of time-space in your many-faceted existence. And I'd be tired. It's hard work, making choices."

Ovelia's eyes widen as she slowly, enchantingly, sits upright. She stares off into space, so I follow the trail of her gaze.

In the sky, a small portal materializes from the rubbish of colors and angles. Much like the black holes on the edge of the Wizardhood, the portal pulls everything around it in a gentle event horizon, shuddering the world with a suctioning wind; but the depths beyond the interdimensional door are steely and glittering, mechanical and smog-thick.

"What's that?" Hahn asks, more cheerfully than I'd expect.

"The fifth dimension," I say. "She's reaching into it."

"She's connecting with Aleria, yes?" Chante asks.

"I think so," I say. "That's the path she chose."

"Do we go through that portal?" Elexus asks, uncertain.

I nod. As I continue ahead, Alistar picks up Ovelia. She leans the side of her face into his chest, exhaling. Opening the portal drained her. Choosing from the facets of reality took a lot out of her. It's easier when you only have two to three choices—even in everyday, three-dimensional reality, that seems to be the case.

First draft: October 18

Word count: 505

A/N: We're about to enter the Fifth Dimension, the next movement of Emergence No. 7. The articles I've read, and videos I've watched, as I'ved research for interdimensional existence...all of it is extraordinary! I hope I'm not disappointing anyone with my first creative interpretation of this content. I know it's getting weird.

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