Chapter 15

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"It was described to me as aether," Mimoza said lying back. The treelines overhead mostly covered the sun. Spots of light shined down on them as the wagon travelled forward. Astrin sat at the front of the cart guiding the horse with the ropes at hand. Gaiana sat next to Mimoza in the back, legs hugged within her arms as she listened.

"Aether is primal. Pure aura reserved for the Gods. It is primordial, it is the fifth element, and it is inside of us. Deviants are essentially instruments to aether, drawing upon this celestial energy that is reserved to the divine will of the Gods."

"So Aether is like light?" Gaiana asked. "Its like lightning then, but how does that explain when you became dirt?"

Astrin raised an eyebrow at that. Mimoza replied, "when I say energy or aether, it's important to not think of it like lightning. Lighting is simply one form of many energies, and aether is the most primal form of them all."

Astrin's chin lifted up, "oh, like Atoms then?"

Mimoza raised an eyebrow, "excuse me?"

"I'd heard a philosopher talk about it once. Basically, all things that exist are made up of tiny invisible parts called 'atoms'. They're small and have no qualities, but large chunks of them make up everything in existence. Once you break down everything that exists, you'll only have the atoms left. And with those atoms, anything can be created."

Mimoza hummed in amusement, "atom control then. Yes, I can see that. Deviants have atom control. Essentially, deviants like myself have hearts full of aether. The aether passes through my veins, transforming my blood into purple. And with the aether in my heart and veins, I can morph my body into many elements, and even control certain elements close to me."

"Like fire," Astrin said quietly, remembering the green flames from the night before.

"So I can control Aether?" Gaiana asked. "Zora... Or rather, Pandora said I was a deviant. Did she use her deviant powers to control me?"

"Yes and no," Mimoza answered. "Pandora is a special case. Needless to say, Pandora could control you using an aether crystal. Aether crystals are rare emeralds that contain aether inside. With it, she used it to manipulate your body."

"Aether Crystal?" Astrin said. Astrin reached for his satchel as light shined out of it. He held up a crystal at hand. "You mean like this?"

Mimoza's eyes shot a stare at him, "where did you get that?"

"Um, from the Aethiopian girl who saved me last night. She gave it to me before going after the twin. Said it would keep me safe."

"Aethi-, Aethiopia has scholars?"

Astrin shrugged, "you know more about this than I do."

Gaiana raised a hand and interrupted, "Was she pretty?"

He raised an eyebrow, "what do you mean?"

"Was she a fine specimen to look at?"

He squinted, "why does that even matter?"

"It might matter," Gaiana said looking up, "she might've been a siren seductress, putting a curse on you without you knowing it."

Astrin's eyes widened. Mimoza shook her head, "relax Astrin, sirens don't exist. It had to be a scholar. May I see that for a moment?" Astrin passed the crystal to Mimoza.

Upon touching it, a spark zapped out. It trickled across her arms and nearly opened one of her stitched wounds. It fell onto the wagon in front of her. She shook her hand in pain, "ouch."

Gaiana's eyes widened. She effortlessly picked up the crystal and stared at it. Light shifted inside, swirling as Giana's emerald-colored eyes stared into it. "This feels... Alive."

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