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Dimensionality - What it is and what it can do for you

Alpanon Nov 3rd, 2016 (edited) 981 Never
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  1. Renate hadn’t lied about the pizza being topped with things that made you warm. Jake was no stranger to habaneros, but eating a pizza with a diameter equivalent to the lengths of his arm full of the stuff was no easy task. Renate went red in the face as well, but she didn’t seem to suffer as much as he did. They both got runny noses though. Eventually Renate was forced to slip out to get them some orange juice. It helped slightly more than the beer had.
  2. With the pizza eaten and the drinks drunk, the two had some last giggles at the state the spices had left the other in. Jake felt none of the weakness or cold he had just after his experience with magic, and was beginning to settle back to a sense of normalcy over all. It had been a long day, though his two brief periods of unconsciousness had made it feel more like several days.
  3.  
  4. There was a proper table in the room. Jake made his way to it with Dimensionality and sat down. Renate seemed happy to be lounging in bed and watching TV. Nothing of note was on, but there she was, happy as a cat full of cream. With also a runny nose and the slightest traces of tears still on her face. Her lipstick had managed to survive even this without a blemish. It was either magic or her lips just were that colour. No, they weren’t, that was obviously make-up, it looked like make-up.
  5.  
  6. In any case, Jake felt his body was in decent enough shape now, and his mind… well, his mind was as good a shape it would ever be. He had reading to do. And it had been a long time coming, too. In the time since he got this book he’d seen and DONE magic. Real magic. Not the kind of trickery that charlatans and conjurers did and tried to pass as real. He remembered countless spoon-benders and psychics from his days with Fletcher. But now he himself could, well, make air heat up. Not too impressive, of course, but it was REAL. Real like the Lilim in the bed or the magical, shifting page in this very book that he’d signed. Jake opened the book and traced the page he’d signed with his fingers. It felt like normal paper. Hmph. Magic.
  7. He shook his head, exhaled a little forcefully but not quite sighing, and then opened up the first page of proper text in the book. There was a headline, ‘Dimensionality – What it is, and what it can do for you’. This headline didn’t have the boldened words for emphasis or the exclamation marks that he had come to associate with Fletcher’s writing in the past. Five years of working as an actual reporter for an actual paper might have done something to curb his enthusiasm in that regard. Jake felt melancholy as he stared at those words. There was some of the trademark humour there, of course, but had it become more stream-lined and refined, or merely sterile? He read on.
  8.  
  9. ‘Dear reader, I congratulate you on your taste in reading material. The tome you are holding in your hands is, as of the time of this writing, the premier research conducted by the finest minds in the field of dimensionality. What is “dimensionality” you ask? What research is this that has been done on this topic you’ve never even heard of? Who are these fine minds being advertised? Why, all this, and more, you will learn, if only you read on, but first a word of warning! This is a book filled with things that may appear nonsensical to the uninitiated, may seem downright fallacious before the scrutiny of one raised a sceptic by modern science. Do not lose heart! He, who dares, wins, as they say. Should you dare to venture into the mystical and the unusual, you will find that these things follow a certain logic and reason of their own, and with practice you too shall be able to test them out for yourself, thus witnessing the truth of them without needing to take the ever reliable author’s word for it.
  10. A short note on the author may be necessary at this point to establish a connection. I, Hugo Fletcher, am writing this on my deathbed. Lung cancer, inoperable, is my ailment. A lifetime of unhealthy living has caught up with me. I have regrets, but none in relation to this. Death holds no terror for me, and this book, as incomplete as it is, shall be my testament and legacy to the world. Unless of course I obtain immortality, in which case this book will merely be dubbed “vol. 1” retroactively and I’ll get on with making more of them for the pursuit of truth, for the increasing of knowledge, and possibly for profit.
  11. You may be wondering why I’m opening up to you in this way, my dear reader. It is because there must be no secrets between us, no lies, and no half-truths. We must be open and honest, sincere and forthright. It is not that I alone must open my heart to you and reveal to you things that are hidden, oh no. You must open the way for me into your heart as well so that I may conduct this business properly. You must trust that I am not, in fact, trying to deceive you. My current mortal status shows you that I have nothing to gain by lying to you; even if you paid for this book, what would I do with your money in the grave? Should I survive, well, that’s another thing, but for me to survive, it would require a miracle, wouldn’t it? And even then, you didn’t pay for this book, Julian. I gave it to yo’
  12.  
  13. Jake slammed the book shut and pinched the bridge of his nose. That cheeky fucker. He’d gotten me going there, he thought.
  14. “Is something wrong?” Renate asked, perking up.
  15. “Nothing. The book is just… talking to me”
  16. “Oh. Okay”
  17. And that was the extent of her concern over the matter. It was nice to know the idea of a book talking to someone didn’t faze her. Almost like it was to be expected. Or maybe she hadn’t even been paying attention to what he actually said because of Truckers on Ice.
  18. Jake opened the book again and found his spot.
  19.  
  20. ‘I gave it to you, and yes, I know it’s you reading this. Nobody else would, would they? Nobody else is supposed to. Let’s be real here, who else could follow the path I’m about to lie out but you? You’re the goddamn Badger, Badger. YOU will get down to the truth if there is any to be found, and there certainly is some of that to be found here. I know we didn’t exactly part ways on the best of terms, but fuck that and fuck apologies and regrets, we’re not talking face to face here, I’m writing a goddamn book and you’re reading it, and that’s that.
  21. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s ease you into the actual stuff I’m trying to tell you about. Dimensionality. What is it?’
  22.  
  23. There was now another headline, called ‘What it is’. Creative!
  24.  
  25. ‘Imagine a point. Not a period on a page, but rather, a point in space-time. This point, by virtue of existing, has a single dimension. We shall attribute it with the x-axis, or width. It doesn’t matter if we choose x, it could be y and length if we wanted, but for now we’ll focus on the fact that this point has no other dimensions than x, width. Imagine it can only move along the x-axis, left or right. This is what it means to be one-dimensional. Basic geometry, right? Next give it the y-axis, give it length, the power to move up and down. Now it’s two-dimensional, and we notice there’s a thing called AREA it can cover, x times y, get it? Why do you think that is?
  26. Consider the following. X and y, on their own, offer up one themselves, but together they give birth to something new. What does that remind you of? Sex. You probably haven’t had any in a while since I’m not around to get you bitches, but come on, think back on the old days, try to remember what it was like. And dig this: x and y are the chromosomes for male and female. Think that’s a coincidence? It’s not. Not at all. You need man and woman, male and female, you need to mix them up to create something new. You haven’t learned anything new about geometry or about biology, but have you ever thought about these things together? Have you? No? Didn’t think so. But now you have, and what have you learned? That there’s more than one layer to things. Don’t think of things in the old way. Don’t just take one thing and look at it and go “well looks like I can take this thing and go from side to side here, dumdi-dumdi-dum!”, oh no, you’ve got to look at it and go “oh here’s this other thing, how are they related, what comes from them together?”. This isn’t all that new for you either, this is how you get to the bottom of things, you know that, I know you know that, but I HAVE TO talk about it now so YOU’LL think about it, because if you don’t think about it you won’t think properly about the rest of what I’m writing, and you should probably get something hot to drink at this point if you don’t have any, don’t worry the book won’t go anywhere.’
  27.  
  28. Jake smacked his lips and got up.
  29. “You going somewhere?” Renate asked, staring intently at a trailer for a superhero movie of some kind. It was colourful so it was probably Marvel. Jake had seen plenty of those movies and that was usually the way you told them apart, the amount of colour.
  30. “I need to get some cof- no, tea. I need some tea. Where’s my wallet?” Jake looked around the room. Renate had said she’d taken his clothes to the laundry, but surely his wallet…
  31. “Nevermind, I’ll get it” she said and skipped out the door.
  32. “Thanks?” Jake said to the empty room. He hadn’t even had time to react. Oh well, nevermind that. If she was buying, then she was buying. No use worrying about things now.
  33. He stretched and yawned. He wasn’t exactly tired or anything, but beyond the novelty of almost being in contact with an old friend, the book wasn’t particularly impressive so far. Of course he had barely gotten started on it and Fletcher had spent most of that time trying to have a giggle at his expense. It would be difficult to get through a tome this thick when it had been written by Fletcher anyway, the lack of nonsense exclamation marks and other stylistic choices aside, the man had never been much of a competent writer, and his ability to express his thoughts in writing had always been underdeveloped for a man who had bothered to study journalism. Though his spending most of his time womanizing, drinking and experimenting with consciousness altering substances of various kinds had left their mark on his academic success before he dropped out and dragged Jake after him shortly after. Those were the days, eh?
  34. Renate returned with a hot paper-cup that smelled of jasmine, returned to the bed and thus Jake sat back down with the book. Maybe now he’d get somewhere, if there was anywhere to get to with a book written by Fletcher. For a moment, as he sipped the delicious tea, he considered just skipping ahead and reading the ending, or any random bit in the middle. He’d done that before, hadn’t he? Opened up the book at a random spot and, and what was it that he’d found there? Something about… huh. He was quite certain he… it was at the tip of his tongue. It was like when you’d seen a dream, and then forgotten what it was almost as soon as you woke up, but you still remembered there was a dream for you to remember, and it had been about… whatever. What was it that he was supposed to be doing? Reading? Right. The book.
  35.  
  36. ‘Now that you’re comfortable and hopefully in the right frame of mind, it’s time to get to the gritty-nitty of things. The z-axis, which represents depth. Depth of character, for example, or maybe it could represent the depth of thought required to understand a concept. The three-dimensional realm is one defined by depth. Is the first dimension width or length? This doesn’t matter. You need both to have an area and to create something new, but the third dimension is always depth, and it gives us volume.
  37. What does all this mean, you wonder? Nothing, really. You live in a three-dimensional world. Well, no you don’t. I do. You live in a four-dimensional reality, where time passes, but we’ll get there when we’ll get there. Now, depth!
  38. Consider the following. On their own, x and y are only ever one dimension. Together they are two. When a man and a woman come together, what is the third thing that comes of it? Why, a child, of course. The z-axis represents reproduction. A deeper meaning in life, going beyond the limits of the two together, which is reproduction. Children, making them, raising them, this is the meaning of all biological life, is it not? Again you find yourself met with two obvious and seemingly unrelated facts, the third dimension and reproduction, but now you see how they relate. You may find, no you MUST find it very odd that I should choose these things and correlate them, but in time you will find that things such as love, sex and reproduction carry a greater meaning within the concept of dimensionality than you might suspect. Then again who am I to judge what it is that you suspect? You’re the reasonable one. I’m the one who flew over the cuckoo’s nest on a horse with no name, eh? You don’t remember that one, maybe. Time passes and sometimes we forget. I didn’t, but time doesn’t really pass for me, not here. Time, yeah, that’s the next one, the fourth dimension. No axis for this one, I’m afraid. When a graph is drawn the different points on the various axis’s, time is represented by the fact that there are multiple points on there in the first place. Time flows, and entropy is increased, at least in a closed system. The system I find myself in is probably what you’d call an isolated one, and although things happen from moment to moment, every single event is directed by will rather than the rules of nature, and thus the cells of my body don’t suffer the ravages of time or of cancer. Time is an illusion, so said Albert Einstein. Time is relative to the speed of light, he said. I suppose that science, the way it is in your world and time, does know how to manipulate matter and the first three dimensions are well understood and manipulated, while time is merely measured and not manipulated. It’s different here. Time bends just as well as any metal being cast. There are those who can stretch and compress time the way gravity does to space, if you understand how that works. I’m just parroting what I was told so I can’t really vouch for it meaning anything much. I suppose what this tirade is supposed to explain to you is that there are ways to create what you might call time-capsules.
  39. Consider the following. In science-fiction stories people are put in suspended animation to keep them alive on long journeys in space or so they can see the wonders of the future. This doesn’t necessarily work, owing to the nature of entropy. You know how entropy works, don’t you? How things deteriorate over time energy from the outside enters the system and such? The solution isn’t to slow down the functions of the body by freezing; the solution is to freeze time. Too make it so that while the subject is wide awake and able to function normally, they do so within a sphere of time that passes differently from the world outside. You step out of the bubble and voila, a hundred years have gone by. This should work, as science has shown how time passes differently depending on the speed of light. I don’t know how it works, but I know it does.
  40. I suppose what I’m leading into here is what dimensionality can do for you. Well, at least what it has done for me, but the time for what it can do for you comes later. I’m still trying to explain to you what it is. I think this tangent was me just getting carried away, pardon me. Now, time, time has no axis, but you can imagine it as the progress along the various dots on the graph. Going from one end of an axis to the other is going forwards and backwards. Simple enough concept, just like you can easily think on a 2-D plane as a three-dimensional being. Now let’s see if you can stretch your existence as a four-dimensional being into thinking in 3-D and see if we can’t move sideways in time.
  41. Got your attention, huh? Sideways, what does that mean? Why, alternate realities, my boy! The truth of the matter is that despite being three-dimensional beings, living in a world with four dimensions, our ability to interact with time is quite limited as of yet, and as such it brings up quite a number of difficulties to even imagine what we could possibly do with it. The classic example of two-dimensional beings being incapable of comprehending the existence of the third dimension fits well here. We can hardly begin to imagine that which our minds did not evolve to understand. Dimensionality however offers us the opportunity to move from here to there and from now to then. You’ve run into the idea of alternate realities before. You know, how in Back to the Future, they travel back, fuck up, suddenly Biff runs the town? They made a different timeline. But Marty remembered the original timeline, meaning it still existed in his head. He’d have forgotten it ever happened if it never did, so the two timelines had to exist simultaneously, side-by-side. They couldn’t exist in the same space though, meaning they had to be side-by-side in the fourth dimension, side-by-side in time. Every conscious act, every choice that is made by a being with free will, these things create new timelines, new alternate worlds. The laws of nature are immutable, unchanging, and they would, by all laws of probability, result in the same exact outcome every time. A stone will roll down a hill as gravity dictates, and this doesn’t change because gravity doesn’t change. Storms happen because air moves the way it does, there is no room for change there. Only intelligence, sapience, free will, only this changes anything, meaning all realities and timelines are the same until the birth of sapience, until the first conscious act that could have been different. Think of how many billions of people have lived on Earth, think of all the choices they’ve made. Think of all the animals before that, they have brains and thoughts as well. The number of different worlds must be staggering when you think about it like that, and in each and every one of them there is a kaleidoscope of choices being made at every moment, creating new ones infinitely. To move between such infinite worlds, that is what it is to move sideways in time. And add to that the infinite expanse of space, the universes beyond our own, or maybe just the thirteen billion light-years of space we can see, the planets around the stars, the life that could be there, making their own choices, multiplying the infinite with more, larger infinities.
  42. THAT, my friend, is mind-boggling. And look at what we have access to in all this vastness! We can barely leave our own planet, we’ve only ever reached our own Moon, if that is to be believed, which as you know I have my own opinions on, and we can only ever move FORWARDS in time, never back, never sideways. There’s so much out there, and we can only have such a small piece of it, doesn’t that just stink rotten to you? Doesn’t that just make your blood boil? Doesn’t that just compel you to take someone by the throat and yell at them for all the ways that you’ve been a slave? I spent my entire life seeking truth, and when I first found it, I fell into despair over the fact that practically everything was beyond my reach. But then… bam! Dimensionality!
  43. That’s what I’m telling you, Julian. Dimensionality is the power, the possibility, to access all that which is hidden from us, beyond the reach of mere human beings. Right here on our very own Earth there is so much unexplained, so much mystery, you know it, we spent the best years of my life pursuing it, and we never saw it, we never could grasp it, and why? Because it wasn’t there? NO! Because we lacked that ability to reach into the fabric of reality, to get past that smoke-screen of normalcy that presents itself to us, because we were two-dimensional detectives investigating the sightings of three-dimensional beings, unable to perceive of something that our minds were not equipped to handle, because we lacked DIMENSIONALITY!
  44. That is no longer a problem, Julian. I was able to get past the veil once, and what happened after that, hoo boy, you have no idea. I’m going to offer you the possibility to unearth an infinity of infinities, to get to the bottom of the truth, and I assure you, you will not be disappointed if you follow the path I lay out to you. THAT is what dimensionality is, Badger. Everything at the tips of your fingers, the fractal cosmos of time and space on the palm of your hand, the multiverse your oyster, and all this I’m handing to you on a fucking silver platter if you’ll have it. Now you might want to take some time to let all this sink in, to really think about it, maybe meditate a little – I’ve really found that helps – and then we can move on to the next part, to see what you can actually do with dimensionality. You’ll be fucking Jesus Christ walking on water, Badger. The forces of the universe will bend to you. And you will get laid. A lot.’
  45.  
  46. Jake had nothing to use as a bookmark so he simply turned the book upside down to keep his spot open, got up, and walked right up to Renate, who at first tried to shift so she could look at the TV, but she quickly gave up trying to ignore her.
  47. “You’ve got a funny look” she said.
  48. “When I did magic today…” he began, not quite making it a question, but trailing off as if he were expecting her to finish it for him.
  49. “If you can call it that” she said with an awkward smile.
  50. “I’ve met countless people in my life that used methods like that, methods like breathing and meditating, and none of them could do anything like that. Magic would be commonplace if it was that easy. Something is different. You did something to me. The book was talking about sex. Was it when you…?”
  51. Renate’s smile stopped being awkward and she visibly relaxed.
  52. “That wasn’t sex, dummy. I’m not some strumpet”
  53. She stretched out her long, chiselled leg and touched his crotch with her toes, making him back up a step or two. He also got hard immediately.
  54. “The reason it works here is because this…” she gestured with her wings rather than her hands, “is not your world”.
  55. Jake stared at her.
  56. “Can you please not stand in front of the TV?”
  57. Jake stared at her.
  58. “Look, I don’t get what you’re trying to accomplish here, I can just tell you to get away from the TV and you’ll do it because I tell you to, but I don’t want to do that so please just behave like a reasonable person”
  59. Jake stared at her.
  60. “Would you like to go outside?”
  61. Jake looked towards the door.
  62. “You made sure I wasn’t conscious when we came here. You’ve made sure that I didn’t leave the room. Why?”
  63. “Didn’t want to upset you” she said with a shrug.
  64. “What’s out there that could upset me?”
  65. “Nothing much” she admitted.
  66. “Then I will step outside”
  67. “Be careful about it though” she warned him, turning off the TV when she saw him actually walk towards the door with determined strides.
  68. “What’s there to be careful about?” he asked as he grabbed the handle.
  69. “Nothing, but that’s exactly what I’m trying to tell…”
  70. Jake opened the door and set one foot outside.
  71. “…you”
  72. There was nothing there.
  73.  
  74. Nothingness didn’t look like anything much. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was that Jake had already stepped into it, and thus he panicked, lost his balance, and… nothing happened. He tripped, but didn’t fall. He just kind of stayed up in the air. Jake swallowed. He could only see as far as the light from inside the room illuminated, and he couldn’t tell what kind of fall was beneath him should gravity suddenly decide to start working again. He realized he was holding his breath, and found himself wondering if there was any air to be had out here. He didn’t notice a drop in temperature at least.
  75. “Hey”
  76. Renate’s voice came from above him, and Jake turned in the air, his back to the bottomless pit, his face looking up to the blackness above.
  77. “You can breathe” she said, all her limbs spread-eagled. She looked goofy. Jake breathed again.
  78. “What the hell is this?”
  79. “Nothing. Isn’t that obvious?”
  80. “If it’s nothing, how am I breathing? How am I talking?”
  81. “Because you believe you can. You just will things here. I mean that’s it when you’re this close to an anchor point”
  82. “What’s an anchor point and how do I keep close to it?”
  83. “You could try holding my hand”
  84. She offered her hand. Jake took it, and without a single movement she just began to glide on. The drifted further and further away from the door to the motel room, and as they did Jake realized the walls that should’ve been surrounding the door weren’t there. The insides of the room were right there inside the frame of the door, but the frames and the door were just floating there. Renate ascended and took him for a whirl around the door to show him the frames from the side, and how there was absolutely nothing but the faint glow of light to be seen from behind. She even dived down and showed it to him from below to drive the point home. Her strong fingers gripped his hand tightly as his own grip began loosen, his palms got clammy from the cold sweat he was breaking into, and soon they returned to where they had started. She let go of his hand, and he gasped, half expecting to fall into the blackness below. He didn’t. Of course he didn’t, he hadn’t before.
  85. “So yeah. This is nothing” Renate said, her arms crossed, her stretched wings gesturing on their behalf.
  86. “I can… see that” Jake said, feeling vertigo and dizziness.
  87. “When I slipped out, I went out to the place where the actual motel is. But the room is here. I wanted you to have peace and quiet, so I pulled you out of there and then, you know?”
  88. “I kind of do. So now I’m outside time and space. Great. When I go back, time won’t have passed. That what you’re saying?”
  89. “Well that depends on when we want to go back to. You want to check out in the morning, we can do that. This isn’t as dramatic as you might think”
  90. Jake closed his eyes and straightened up so he could pretend he was on even ground. It made no real difference.
  91. “So what if someone knocks on the door?” he asked.
  92. “Well I guess we’ll open it then, won’t we?”
  93. “But the door’s open”
  94. “This door is. The door they’ll be knocking on won’t be. Because it’s over there”
  95. Jake opened his eyes and looked to where she was pointing, opposite the door they’d come out from. He couldn’t see anything.
  96. “I can’t see anything”
  97. “Of course you can’t. It’s too far for your silly little human eyes”
  98. “Hmm, yes, thank you for that”
  99. “If you want to see it, you’ll have to focus your chi on your eyes. Maybe we could try that?”
  100. Renate had one hand on her hip now; her wings folded to wrap around her shoulders like a cloak of some kind, and her other hand waved the door to the motel room shut, leaving them in the dark.
  101.  
  102. Jake’s first reaction was anger, then panic, then absolute terror. He was in the dark, he was in the void. He could breathe and he wasn’t freezing or burning because of reasons he didn’t quite understand, but that didn’t change the fact that he was now isolated from the last ounce of normalcy he had had. He hadn’t ever really been all that afraid of the dark, but now…
  103. “You know, instead of just floating about there and feeling sorry for yourself, you could be doing something about your situation” Renate’s voice resonated from somewhere in the supposed nothingness. That was nonsense, there had to be air here, otherwise he couldn’t be breathing and they couldn’t be talking. This wasn’t nothingness. This was just a dark space where gravity didn’t exist for whatever reason. Yeah.
  104. “Like what?” he asked, some anger in his voice. He had found himself completely helpless before her once again, and he wasn’t appreciating this kind of treatment, not at all.
  105. “You know what to do, we practiced this already. Centre yourself. Breathe. Focus”
  106. That again, huh? It wasn’t that long ago that he’d been left drained and unconscious because of it. But he’d eaten since then, hadn’t he? And slept. And had hot drinks. Yeah. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad, eh? Outside time, that’s where, no, when he was now, wasn’t he? Was there even a now? Suppose there was. But things got easier the more you did them, right? So… so he should… bring… hot air to his eyes?
  107. “Wait, are you telling me to shoot laser beams from my eyes? Is that what we’re doing here?” he asked, balling his fists, the child in him surfacing to take the place of the adult who was too afraid and angry to deal with the situation anymore.
  108. “What? No! That’s dumb. You need to… oh. Right” her enthusiasm was curbed slightly.
  109. “You don’t know how to convert your chi into mass, do you? Of course you don’t. And I’m not sure I know how to teach you that. I just kind of do it like, you know. That stuff you do with food?”
  110. “Eating?”
  111. “After that!”
  112. “Metabolism?”
  113. “I guess? That type of thing. I don’t really, like, think about it that much. I only knew how to show you how to do all that stuff before because Hugo and I had to figure it out”
  114. There was some silence. It was broken by the sound of Renate hitting her palm with her fist, signalling she’d reached a decision of some kind.
  115. “I guess we’ll figure this out together, huh?”
  116. “Must we?”
  117. Images raced through Jake’s mind of possible implications of “figuring out” this kind of thing. Most of it was about permanent, irreversible, crippling damage done to his eyes. Like them exploding. Or boiling. Or boiling and then exploding.
  118. “Alright, let’s just take the lotus position and focus on the breathing now, no use worrying about this!”
  119. Jake disagreed about that last bit, but once again realized he had no say in the matter, and so he breathed in and out again as she instructed, seating himself over absolutely nothing in the lotus position. Or the closest approximation of it he could do with his stiff, poorly bending legs.
  120.  
  121. Jake found himself wondering about the lack of smell. Renate’s musk was powerful usually, but out here there wasn’t any. It should’ve been carried by the air, shouldn’t it? She said there wasn’t any air, though. But that wasn’t true at all, since has obviously breathing and they were talking and what would be the point of all this breathing if there was nothing to breathe?
  122. He kept it up.
  123.  
  124. The visualising of the movement of air in his body was finished, and the visualising of the chi from his belly being carried off by it was well on its way. Renate had instructed him to focus the movement of heat from his limbs and belly to a spot a little bit ahead of his eyes rather than IN his eyes, which meant that once the imagined oxygen reached his eyes, the chi and the heat would have to leave and find itself in an area that was much less well defined than the space between his palms had been. At least the first time he’d tried this he’d felt the air growing hotter from all over and the bubble had been limited by his hands, but now he was trying to focus in on a point ahead of his eyes with nothing to feel it by but his eyes themselves. He couldn’t see any changes in the darkness as of yet, but he was starting to feel some warmth. He was worried he might just end up burning his retina off.
  125. Jake’s focus was almost broken when Renate suddenly went Eureka loudly.
  126. “I’ve got it!”
  127. “Uh-huh?” Jake almost lost the heat, but gritted his teeth and kept staring at the hot nothing ahead of him.
  128. “Okay, let’s think of it like this, right? So you’ve got that bubble there, right? So make this sort of… swirling motion, you know? Like, like make it revolve”
  129. “Revolve?”
  130. “Yeah, go on, do it. And keep feeding it!”
  131. Jake wasn’t quite certain he had the skill to make the chi revolve, but he tried to imagine it in a spherical shape and make it turn clockwise. To his surprise he felt something akin to a weak breeze, as if the damn thing really was moving and sending airwaves at him. He smiled at this and kept feeding his chi to it. This new exercise didn’t use nearly as much chi as the original had, but having to focus on so many different things at once made it take longer. There had to be a lot of heat loss happening.
  132. It didn’t take long for the ball to grow bigger, hotter and faster-turning.
  133. “Keep doing what you’re doing, but now split it in two!” Renate exclaimed, obviously rather excited by what was happening. Jake tried very, very hard to split the single point he’d been focusing on in two without breaking the chi-feed or stopping the revolutions. His breathing slowed down and got more laboured as he did this, but in the end in succeeded, and he found act of feeding the balls with chi wasn’t that much harder when done separately. In fact, it felt more… natural, somehow.
  134. “Okay, compress them!”
  135. Renate’s new instruction was easy enough to follow, but the heat and the windfall was getting pretty disturbing. He’d have to close his eyes soon.
  136. “Next comes the hard part. I need you to shape the orbs into lenses. Like, like if you were going to wear contact lenses over your eyes, right?”
  137. Jake didn’t like the sound of that. He’d end up with no eyes at all if he actually wore that kind of, well chi concentration, over his eyes. But he tried to reshape them into lenses, and the shaping didn’t feel all that hard. What was even more amazing though was that the revolving of the balls was replaced with a sort of rippling movement, like waves, running along the lenses. This he could clearly feel, and he almost thought he could see it happen, but he couldn’t of course. There was no light by which to see.
  138. “Did you get it? You did, didn’t you?”
  139. Renate’s voice came from closer by than before.
  140. “Hrehah” Jake grunted with the effort of focus.
  141. “Okay, now you just… just imagine, that as the chi comes into the lenses, it cools, and as the waves travel along the lenses, they get cooler, so when it comes back to where it started, it’s cool, and the new chi goes out”
  142. Jake tried to do so. He could feel the difference in heat, what went out was obviously warmer than the weak breath of wind that came back.
  143. “Now let them come to cover your eyes” Renate whispered from beside his ear.
  144. Jake did, very carefully, and then blinked experimentally. As he opened his eyes, he blue. Lots and lots of blue. The air was blue everywhere. He turned his head to take it in, and he saw the door that had been closed, and he saw the door further out, beyond the blue, in the black, and he saw… purple. And red. And green. All the colours of the rainbow, and plenty others, he could see them all despite being inside a blue bubble. He could see just fine, he…
  145. “Keep focusing. Your eyes need that chi” Renate said, kissing his cheek. Jake smirked awkwardly and kept focusing on his breathing as she helped him stand up. Everything was so beautiful now.
  146. “I’m proud of you, Badger-boy” Renate said, patting his buttocks. Jake didn’t dignify her with an answer. “But you know, it kind of occurs to me that you’ll never learn to fly if you don’t take a little leap of faith” she kept going, grinning in a manner less impish and more devilish. She slid away from him, twirling a strand of hair around a finger.
  147. “What? What’s that supposed to mean?” Jake demanded, a shiver creeping up his spine. He’d never seen her look that ominous. The colours he was seeing flickered as his focus weakened.
  148. “Meet me back here” she said, snapped her fingers, and then the blue field was only an arm’s reach away from her body, meaning Jake found himself well outside it.
  149.  
  150.             ***
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