Are you in? I transmit.
Me and Thalien have been trying the same trust exercise for the last hour, and if we don’t make any progress, we’ll have to go to Lord Haryk empty-handed.
Thalien and I are Cognates in training, a special connection between two telepaths that makes them uniquely powerful. Our Telepathy mentor, Lord Haryk, assigned me and Thalien the task of finding the point of trust in our emotional center in each other's minds so we can enter each other's heads.
When it comes to trust, this is pretty much the ultimate test.
No, He thinks irritatedly. I’ve tried everything! It’s like I’m going back to an old computer, and I’ve forgotten my password, but none of my old passwords are working!
Did you just call my brain an old computer? I transmit.
He sighs. You know what I meant, Ellania. Thalien pinches the bridge of his nose and then looks up at me. “I just can’t figure it out! Do you have any idea what this ‘point of trust’ might be?”
I honestly had no idea. I mean, Thalien’s point of trust was easy. All I had to think about was that one time when Thalien wasn’t focused during a light leap, and when he leaped he came back all faded, and I used my imparter to hail his mother and father and got him to a physician. I guess he trusts me because I’m there for him, anytime he needs me. I’ve tried to come up with reasons why I trust Thalien, but, I can’t. I don’t know why I trust him, I just do.
“I’m trying to think, Thalien. I’ve never really thought about why I trust you, sometimes, I just do.” I say.
“When need to figure this out by the end of session.” declares Thalien. “We have an hour left and I refuse to give up on this. Thalien doesn’t quit!”
And with sheer determination plastered across his face, I can already see the gears turning in his brain. “Ok!” he exclaims, making me jump. “We just need to think of every single moment in our friendship when you trusted me, and the point of trust must be somewhere in there!”
Just thinking about that made me dizzy. Me and Thalien have been friends pretty much since we could talk. Our parents went to school together, so we used to play all the time together when we were little. And going through every memory since we met? Well, that’s a lot of memories.
“That could take a while, Thalien…” I start to say, but Thailen cuts me off. “Come on, Ellania. We have to finish this. Do you have any better ideas?” he asks calmly. I shake my head and fidget with my bracelet. “Alrighty then!” says Thalien. “Let’s get started, why is the first you memory you have of us as kids?”
I had to think hard on this one. The only memories that filled my head were either recent or really random. I dive deeper into my conscience and try to find the very first memory I have of Thalien.
“Oh!” I exclaim after thinking for a while, this time making him jump. “When we were two, and your mom came over to chat with my mom so we could play together, and I gave you some of my markers so we could color together!”
I knew there was a pretty significant chance that this memory wasn’t Thalien’s point of trust, but it was worth a try.
“Ok, I’ll try it,” he says. He closes his eyes and a concentration crease forms between his brows. I close my eyes as well and wait for his chirpy voice to fill my head.
After a minute, I decided to reach out telepathically. Did it work? I transmit.
No, I don’t think I had a clear view of the memory in my head. he says.
We both open our eyes. “I guess we just have to try the next one?”
I sigh. “I guess.”
Me and Thalien tried, we really tried, but with every memory I gave him, the more tired we both grew from trying memories. I didn’t understand, how hard can my point of trust be? I feel like I’m a very trusting person, so why does my brain not want to let people inside my mind telepathically? Especially Thailen. We’ve known each other for as long as I can remember, but none of those “I can remember”s prove to me that I trust Thailen! I start to get upset.
“What are we doing wrong?!” I say, flopping on the floor in defeat. “I don’t know!” says Thailen, copying my flop. I check my watch. “We have less than 15 minutes Thalien, we have to head back to Lord Haryk’s office,” I say with a defeated sigh, sitting up. “We’re just giving up?” asks Thalien. “We’ve tried everything, maybe I just don’t have a trusting point. I’m so sorry Thailen.”
Thalien puts his hand on my shoulder. “Hey,” my shoulder tingles everywhere his hand touched. My face burns red and so does Thalien’s.
But he doesn’t pull away.
He waits for me to meet his eyes. “We both did our best, I’m sure Lord Haryk can help us when we get back. I am so not giving up on this.” He pulls his arm away and starts to pack up his school bag. I regain my control over myself and my heart-flutter feeling goes away as quickly as it started.
“I’m just disappointed that I can’t just let you in. You have to go through all of this code-breaking just to get through to my thoughts!”
As soon as I said the words a wave of realization washed over me.
If Thalien can hear my thoughts, he will hear exactly how I feel about him.
Just imagining that made me cringe. Me and Thalien are friends, nothing more, at least that’s how Thalien thinks it.
Then why can’t I shake this silly crush I have on him?!
“Yeah, me too Ellania.” Although the words were directed at me, I could tell his mind was on something else. “Let’s go,” he says and follows him out of the room.
Most of the walk to Lord Haryk’s room was silent and slow. Me and Thalien are just strolling along in the empty hallways when we encounter Lady Alberni.
“What are you prodigies doing around here in the middle of session?” she says in her thick accent.
Lady Eberni is a very, very talented Empath mentor. Reserved for the best of the best.
Thalien answers for me. “We’re heading back to Lord Haryk’s room from Cognate training, Lady Alberni,” Thalien replies calmly. Lady Eberni swiftly nods. “Oh, Cognates. A very special connection to have, very powerful, very useful. May I ask how it went?”
Me and Thalien look at each other before we answer.
“I could figure out Thalien’s mental password, but….he couldn’t
Figure out mine.” I say cautiously.
Lady Eberni nods casually. “May I request something?” she asks.
Me and Thalien are pretty desperate at this point, so we decide to listen.
“Try emotion channeling, you telepaths always think the answer is all in the head, but sometimes you have to look deeper into the heart. The password has to be channeled into the emotional center, correct?” she looks at Thalien with her bright teal eyes. “Think about what emotions you have when you see Ellania, when you think about her when you found out you are eligible to be cognates with her.” she turns to me. “Do the same about Thalien, Ellania. Now, Ellania, you have access to Thalien’s mind, right? Transmit your feeling to him. Thalien, accept the gesture and combine it with your own feelings. The action should form a key to her mind. And it may not form words.” she looks at us to make sure we understand.
Oh, I understand. That’s what scares me. I have to transmit all of my feelings to Thalien that I have about him. And I thought open thoughts would be bad.
But I was not going to risk failing Cognate training just because of my silly crush.
“I’m ready,” I say.
I close my eyes and start thinking about when I was first partnered with Thalien at school when we were first assigned with the same telepathy mentor when Lord Haryk first told us the news that we were going to be Cognates. He hugged me so hard I was out of breath. The feeling of his arms wrapped around me. I felt loved. I felt cared for. I felt happy.
I imagine rolling all of the emotions and memories and sending them into Thalien’s mind.
Then, I wait.
It’s only about 1 minute before Thalien’s booming voice enters my head.
Hi. He transmits.
I open my eyes and see him smiling at me. I jump and hug him and he twirls me around.
“I’d say the hugging and twirling and squealing means it worked?” says Lady Eberni, reminding us we aren’t alone. Thalien sets me down awkwardly and faces Lady Alberni. “Yes ma’am, thank you for the advice.”
Lady Eberni nods swiftly and walks away.
The End-of-Session bell rings and dozens of prodigies fill the halls. Thalien takes my hand and we both run towards Lord Haryk’s room.
We run in and he’s just packing up. “Lord Haryk!” we both say in unison.
He looks up from his pathfinder and at us. “There you kids are! I was starting to think you guys just went home. How’d it go?!” he looks at us eagerly. “It was a little bumpy at first…” I start. “But then we figured it out!” jumps in Thalien. “I’m glad,” says Haryk. “Now you kids go home, I'm proud of both of you.”
Lord Haryk picks up his pathfinder and leaps home, leaving me and Thalien alone in Lord Haryk’s classroom.
“I’m really excited about further training with you, E,” says Thalien. “Me too,” I say, swearing my cheeks are probably tomato red. Thalien takes out his pathfinder. “Thank you for today, I couldn’t have done it without you,” he says. He leans over and kisses me on the cheek. “See you tomorrow.” Then he leaps away.
Wow. that was my only thought as I leap home.