Gior kept herself busy with the gold mining operation for a whole bloody week. Trying really hard to not think about how close she'd come to getting the Prophet Furkan killed.
And gritting her teeth as that infuriating Ice kept making everything look so easy.
At least he took a few days off before he started in on super dense hickory wood floors.
And on the eighth day, one of the utes the 375 Oners used in rough country purred up to the flat were their very few vehicles were parked--Ice's "jeep" and a flatbed truck she'd swapped gold for with one of the old miners. They'd finally followed someone through the gate and found themselves in a gold miner's dream. Gior had thrown a series of corridors, then shaken them together into a single corridor and told them they could do whatever they wanted to the west, but everything east was the the property of the "Camp Freedom Mining Company."
Since they'd never trespassed, she suspected they were finding all the gold they'd ever dreamed of. And they regularly left big cans of fuel for the truck at the gate.
I ought to figure out what fuel the jeep runs on and see if I can get more.
It's always fun to one up Ice.
Then she forgot all about him as Furkan hopped out of the Ute.
"So did you have to resort to the fast room?"
"Yes, dammit, and then report in to the government. And . . ." He waved as more people climbed out, and a second ute pulled up, also full of passengers. "Everyone wants to learn how to teleport."
No kidding. All eight Prophets, some other guys, Mikel, Isakson, and the young Ra'd. Two more utes.
Furkan stepped back. "I hate to tell you this, but when they heard about this teleporting . . . can you do it?"
"No. I've had the lessons, but I just can't hold it all in my mind at once."
He raised his brows.
"It's not a dimensional thing. It's sheer magical expertise." she blushed. "I might be able to do it now that I'm not a virgin. And surely in another six months or so."
Furkan snorted. "Do you have any idea how ego shattering it is to be told that I'm nothing but a stepping stone on your road to power?"
"I think your ego is shatterproof, and I love you dearly, but not stupidly."
That got her a snicker. "So whistle up Ice, and join us for lessons."
"There are four parts to the teleport spell. The spell itself is very complex, but it has to anchor to a recognition of where you are, and on the other end, where you want to go. And then you have to pour a ton of energy into it."
Gior tried hard to not scowl. He admits he isn't very good at it, but they're still hanging on his every word.
"This is the spell."
She compared her memorized version to his and nodded in satisfaction as he babbled on about speed, direction, orientation and all the other stuff the spell did, beside taking you there.
"Then there's recognition." He dropped his outer shields and showed them the feel of the place. The morphed rock pavement and steel of the pavillion, the rock outcrop, the deep pit for roasting, the rock ring of the firepit . . . a whole solid feel of this one place.
And incidentally giving everyone here a good look at his powerful glow, usually shielded.
Of course Furkan's brighter and deeper.
She shut down her thoughts and felt the location. I love this place. I don't care if I never find home . . . Well, all right, I would care. But once I go back, they won't let me just stay here.
"And then there's the arrival location, that you have to have that same deep feeling for." Ice stood up and led the way down to the wall, north of the gate, about where the sewer pipe ran under the wall.
"Easier to walk, I suspect." Rin grumbled as she stumped over the root clumps of the roughly mown native grass.
Gior nodded. "But even Ice can sometimes go ten kilometers."
Ice looked back and nodded. "I'm lousy . . . but they needed sabotuers so badly they decided to send me anyway. With Gior, who's one of the four gate makers we've got. Twit, the one not on the project, is a superb mapper."
Gior snorted. "I forgot about Twit. You know I told you guys some of the other Exile Worlds had the dimensional talent? Twit's part Purp. Umm . . . Rael says our Prophet Emre says there was this stupid craze, people wanting kids with purple hair?"
Rin laughed. "I'd forgotten that! Dear God, they made it genetic. Took a couple of tries to get it right. Genes for blue pigment from a bloody peacock."
Gior nodded. "Apparently both the working purp gene and the non working one have something to do with the dimensional talent." She sat down to feel this location, which was mostly the wall and the underground pipes.
Then she stood up and pulled the spell back out. Added this place to the front, the pavilion-and-outcrop to the back end. Held it carefully in her mind while she felt the sun on her face and arms, collected it then poured it all at once into the spell. Stumbled and opened her eyes . . . "I DID IT!" She whooped and hugged one pillar of the pavilion. Ran laughing down to the group, and hugged Furkan.
"Did you see that!"
He laughed too. "Yes, or rather, poof! You were gone!" another grin. "Now I've got to work on it."
She corridored to the gold mine waterfall, picked up recognition and teleported back to camp.
Ice gave her a thumbs up. "The waterfall's close to twenty kilometers away. You just did double my best, on your first day."
Gior grabbed a bottle of juice from the kitchens's cold cupboard and sipped it. Probably grinning like a fool, but she didn't care.
The next morning they came back, and instead of more teleporting, they wanted to try a gate.
The six male prophets, with Mikel and Ice, on the outside. Gior gulped and extended her hands to Rin and Zynep on the inside.
:: Haven't done this for centuries. :: Zenep quickly smoothed out the powerflow.
:: Indeed. I'd nearly forgotten Rebeccah and AK. They were the best. ::
:: Both still alive. :: Gior put in. Pictured the briefly met Goddess of Logic and and her husband Charley.
:: Ah, all this time and they're still cute! ::
:: What about AK? ::
:: I haven't heard the details but she wound up on this odd world with Jaejong Chou, and picked a fight with Disco and Comet Fall. ::
Mental snickers. :: That's the worst acronym ever. ::
But then the men's compass had smoothed out and Gior reached for the inbetween. Home! I want to go home . . . and felt her attention drawn to one side.
I'm the only dimensional in the double circle . . . am I feeling home? It's so far away . . .
She reached for it, and knew she was falling woefully short.
:: Too far. I was afraid that was the problem. But what are those over there? ::
Ice's voice. He was looking slightly off her line of attractions, and closer.
She relaxed a bit and focused. Golden threads, leading from one world to the next . . .
:: Permanent gates. :: She damped down hope and concentrated, found a cone without taking he eyes off the closest world on the line of permanent gates. Set it down close to those golden threads. Found another and twisted their tails, pushed the gate clear of the watchers and opened her eyes to the white Whirlpool.
Ice was through first, the rest jostling through to see a new World. Gior did not scream in frustration as she finally got through.
Ice was up hill a couple hundred meters, looking up at a stone spire, he looked back at her. "It's a stone arch, all it has on it is a number 5."
"Yes! Yes!" She dashed up to the crude road, and spotted the the other arch.
"This one has a 4!" Furkan called.
"WOLF WORLD! THIS IS THE ROAD TO WOLF WORLD!"