Peter, Eun, and Kora were sitting on the floor, legs crossed, facing toward each other. Their first session had gone surprisingly well.
“Not bad,” Peter admitted. “Kind of relaxing, actually.”
“Magic usually is,” Kora agreed. “It’s like psychedelics, only a lot more wild. There’s no chemical to anchor your perception, so your manipulation of energy becomes pure intent. Anything and everything becomes a focal point.”
“Anything, everything…nothing,” Eun said.
“Exactly.” Kora nodded. “The less duality, the better.”
“It was…” Eun’s brow wrinkled. “Meditative. That’s what it felt like, anyway.”
Another nod. “Meditation, magic…in the end, it’s all the same. They’re both ways of piercing causality—merging your mind with the heart of existence.”
“ ‘The heart of existence?’ ” Peter asked.
“Words can’t describe it, but all the good stuff ‘the books’ hint at…” (When she said “the books,” she made quote marks with her fingers) Kora shrugged. “Back on Elithia, we called it ‘the True.’ As good a name as any, I suppose.”
“It’s perfect,” Eun assured.
“I liked it,” Peter reiterated. “But still—do you really think I’ll use it? I’m sure it’s good to know, but—”
Kora’s eyes turned distant and speculative. “I’ve been having dreams…vivid ones. The skills you’re learning will come into play. The True,” Kora shook her head and brought her attention back to the present. “Everything leads to it. It’s entertaining, sometimes, to pretend that’s not the case, but the True is woven into all of existence. It is existence. You can’t avoid it. It’s inescapable.”
“In the end…” Eun said slowly, “we’re in a no-lose game. We can make it unpleasant, but we’ll return to the True no matter what.”
“Exactly,” Kora said.
There was a long, weighty silence.
“So.” Peter clapped his hands and rubbed them briskly together. “What next? More visualization?”
Kora smiled. “We’re short on time, so we’ll skip to the good stuff.”
“Which is?” Peter raised an eyebrow.
“Think I can guess…” Eun ventured. “Battle magics?”
Peter clenched his fists. A cheese-eating grin arose on his face.
“Now we’re talking.”