I was staring down at the scene from above. Lucifvar was only an inch from me and Simon was a few paces back with a look of dawning realization. Time was frozen and I stared at my face. My light brown eyes were shinning like a candle through amber, and a look of fierce determination made me look older. I looked a lot like my mother and I felt a lump of grief lodge in my throat.

I took a breath and pushed the emotions away from me. I sank into a meditative state and opened the doors to my memory. Mum's parting gifts were extensive and affected not only my abilities but my own mentality. I had a part of her essence within me, and that meant I also had access to her knowledge, memories and gifts.

I visualised an ancient oak standing in a meadow. I walked towards it and stared at the branches above me. I saw that there were now four new branches to my tree. I touched the trunk. The power of Empathy stirred within me. It smelt and felt like an ocean, briny, dark, and depthless.

I sensed life teaming and swimming within these depths. "It is your connection to all living things in our world, and those beyond," mum's voice whispered inside me. This was still the battery source for the rest of my abilities and my main power.

I let my eyes travel up to one of the main branches. It was thick and solid, with dark green leaves and white and red flowers growing abundantly upon its branches. The warrior branch was strong and flourishing.

My eyes travelled to the next branch that was as healthy as the warrior. This branch held many different offshoots, and the leaves were green with dark black lines showing the veins within each one. Seven different coloured flowers covered this branch abundantly, and I sighed in recognition. This was my healer's branch.

My eyes strayed to the next branch. This was a new ability for my tree, but I felt assurance and certainty within me that it would be one I could use effectively and well. This branch had a rough quality to the bark, and the leaves that shone had a streak of white at the centre. There were no flowers, and this branch didn't need it. This was now my branch for the gift of Telekinesis.

Although not as thick or wide as my healer's and warrior's branches, the next new branch seemed to call to me the strongest. It had silver bark, and the leaves were pale silver just like the branch. It was slender and graceful compared to the other branches upon my tree. This was the power of telepathy.

The final two new branches were strange. They started from the same main branch, and then split into a fork ten centimetres up from the base. Thus they were separate abilities, but coming from the same power. One branch held the power of Precognition, and it was reddish brown with no leaves or flowers. The other fork was its opposite, with smooth green bark, white flowers, and long striped leaves. This was mum's unique talent of astral travel. Even mum didn't know how the two were related.

Nodding my head in recognition of my new abilities, I touched the trunk of my tree and concentrated. I smelled the ocean around me, my empathy surged like a tidal wave, and I sent that power into the branches above me. I felt, more than saw, the branches grow stronger and open leaves and petals as I pushed more power into them. I felt the branches shift and move, interlinking with each other. I pushed more power into the tree.

I opened my mouth and sang. The tree shuddered for a second and, from the base upwards, the bark turned gold. The gold colour travelled up the tree and into all the branches. The leaves altered and changed shape until each branch and leaf was the same shape. My tree gave off heat, and shimmered in its gold light.

I smiled with satisfaction. My tree stood complete and balanced. It was so simple that I shook my head in disgust. All my abilities had unique characteristics and I had sub-consciously made the tree that way. Because of this uniqueness, each branch required different amounts of power for its development. My trunk could only send very small amounts of power into each branch at different periods of time; otherwise it would disrupt the balance. Therefore I never could reach my full potential or plumb the depths of my talents.

Now that my tree stood, organized into an integrated whole, I felt my power as an enormous reservoir within me. A smile of wicked retribution crossed my face, and I rose to face my enemies.

"Nooooooo," I heard Lucifvar scream as I opened my eyes. He reached out and slapped my face. My head ricocheted, and my warrior and healer joined together to prevent injury, and to strengthen my body against attacks. "You stupid Fuck!" he ranted.

I smiled, and punched hard and fast. I had kinetic energy, as well as the strength of the warrior behind me and he flew backwards like a speeding bullet. Simon was gaping at me as I turned my smile towards him. His face paled. I gripped him in a telekinetic hold. With my hand open I generated a ball of pure energy. It looked as light and ethereal as a dandelion head. My smile widened as I saw him making small mewling sounds.

"What is that?" Simon asked me, his voice shaking.

I looked down at the glowing ball fondly. "This is what grams was telling me would happen when my empathy evolved. I managed to generate it when I killed the manticore." Looking back at Simon, my smile slipped and I gave him a cold and hard look. "Now it's your turn."

I raised the ball, and was just getting ready to throw it, when I sensed danger coming toward me. I put a shield up just in time to feel Lucifvar attack me from above. He snarled, and turned into mist. The mist came straight through my shield, so I threw the ball towards that thick grey mist instead. I heard Lucifvar scream as part of the mist shredded when the energy ball touched it. He fled away from me in mist form. I pushed with my mind and the energy ball went in pursuit of the mist.

Lucifvar roared, and the ground beneath me crumbled and dropped away. The arena fell into a fiery chasm. I lifted myself, floating above the roaring lava beneath me. I felt my grip on Simon slip and, before I could tighten my hold, he disappeared. I growled my frustration, and sent a psychic probe out looking for him. I had his scent, and I knew I could track anyone or thing if I had its scent. He could run from me, but he could never hide.

Lightening came shooting out of the sky directly above me, as I felt the heat of the lava burst upwards at the same time. I flew forwards to avoid it. More lava and lightning shot towards me. I ducked and dodged easily. I heard Lucifvar roar with a strange note. His tone changed into a deep bass that had my bones aching. I felt the hair on my neck rise and I sensed great danger.

A loud clap of thunder made me look toward the sky. A huge sheet of lightening was rushing downwards from the heavens. Beneath me a curtain of lava came up to meet me. I couldn't avoid this. I wrapped myself in an empathic/kinetic shield. The strength of the two destructive forces had me grunting at the pressure. I tapped into my empathy and thought, of glacial ice. My body temperature dropped, helping to counter the heat of the lava. I managed to keep the pressure of the heavens from battering at me, using my kinetic energy, and the molten lava from turning me into cinders.

Lucifvar rushed through those two destructive forces of heaven and hell, like he was taking a swim. His hands glowed an odd green colour that was nauseating to look upon. He bashed against my shield while lightning and flame surrounded me, and my teeth rattled from the amount of force he was using against me.

Where was he getting his immense power from? There was nothing within mum's memory, now mine, that hinted that Lucifvar had control of the elements the way he did now. In fact, if this was any indication, he had only been toying with mum earlier. I had to get creative with my abilities because, if he kept at it, he would eventually wear me down.

I sat down within my shield, legs crossed. I centred and focused myself. I pushed power into my defensive shields and cleared my mind of all worries and fears. Out of that silence, an idea came to me. I knew what I had to do. If I allowed fear and self doubt to enter my mind, at anytime while I did this, I would surely blow myself up.

I shrank the shield around me until it fit against my skin. Lucifvar roared his triumph, thinking I was weakening. His attacks gained momentum, nearly breaking my concentration as he pounded near my face. I took deep breaths, in and out, before I proceeded with what I had to do.

I dove deep into the wellspring of my power source. Empathy. Wrapping it around me, I rose to the surface of my thoughts, with a river of energy following behind. Mum had been good at knitting, and this skill came in handy as I wove the energy like cloth.

If I faltered in making my stitches perfect, all that untapped potential could implode, and rip a whole in the fabric of the universe. My empathy drew its source from all things living, also known as the spark of life. I was handling energy in its rawest form. I couldn't afford mistakes. I took deep breaths, and meditated, as my energy cloth grew before my eyes.

Lucifvar became an annoying mosquito as I concentrated on the task at hand. I sensed him turn into mist and try and pierce my shield again. The empathic reinforcement prevented him from getting past, and I heard him roar his frustration to the world. I pushed his antics away and concentrated.

Once complete, I melded the empathic fabric, slowly, to my shield. I prayed to any gods listening out there, that there was enough flexibility to it and, with a powerful thrust, I expanded my shield. The energy cloth ripped into Lucifvar before he even knew what was happening. The energy cloth was stretched taut over my shield, holding well. I watched as the energy cloth touched and disintegrated his flesh on impact. A look of total shock was the last thing I saw before his face turned to dust.

I unravelled the cloth and let it merge back into my tree trunk. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and woke up in my own bed. I knew that, even though I was back in the real world, I would never be the same.



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