Saturday, February 3, 2018

Page 1516

((Double Saturday -- Page 1 of 2))
Royo used his gloved hand, careful to be extra gentle, and bumped his soul against the first whirlpool up from the hilt.

He sensed the sword respond again, and suddenly, he saw duplicates of not just his arm, but his entire body.

There were now three Royo Rajus, one standing on either side of him.

And they were convincing, too. He had to phase his hand through one of them to make sure they really were just illusions.

They were. The projection flickered for a few seconds before correcting itself.

That was a relief. As much as he might have been able to accomplish with full, thinking clones of himself moving and acting in the world, he didn’t think he would like that very much, primarily because he wasn’t sure they wouldn’t try to kill him and take his place.

It was a thought he’d had before, though never quite this seriously.

Regardless, he had a fairly good grasp of the sword’s power, now. The other whirlpools in the ardor flow simply adjusted the placement of the illusions, relative to where Royo was standing. Useful for masking his position from opponents who would otherwise know to attack the center image, he decided.

The final whirlpool, however, the one near the tip of the blade, was different, and as much as Royo tried, he couldn’t quite understand what it did.

It seemed to transform the whole world around him, making everything come alive in a kind of ethereal fire--a visual representation of all the ardor around him, he was pretty sure. But what did that mean? What actual purpose did it serve? Was it really just to help him detect the presence of ardor?

If so, then that ability was sadly redundant for someone with his training. But it would make a certain degree of sense, he supposed. If the sword was designed for use by someone who couldn’t sense ardor on their own, then that pressure point would likely be very helpful.

At least, this was what he was thinking until he heard the one called Manuel’s voice again.

“Eleyo?” the man said. “Where did you go?”

Royo was looking right at him, and the one called Manuel should have been able to see him. Granted, the lighting was a bit poor, and these surface-dwellers seemed to have rather bad eyesight, but still. This was abnormal.

Royo supposed he should answer. “I am here,” he said.

The one called Manuel looked around, still apparently not seeing him. “Where? Even my reaper can’t sense you.”

Royo understood and smiled to himself. The Sword of Hamenszoon’s final illusion was to render its wielder invisible.

It did make him wonder, however, what the designer had been thinking. Why would he ever not use the invisibility? It was clearly superior to all the others in just about every way imaginable.

Almost as soon as he had the thought, he got an answer. The ethereal world all around him diminished, and the one called Manuel spotted him.

Royo bumped the final pressure point again, but it wasn’t doing anything now.

It had some sort of hard time limit, he realized.

How unfortunate.

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