“So what’s your real question?” Mark asked her.
Keya was staring down at a half-eaten chocolate bar. She was getting sick of them already. “You said that this Arthur Lacroise was looking to kill your little sister in all dimensions. How come you didn’t try and stop him?”
“I was looking for Wendy, first,” Mark said, sighing. “My search for Wendy blinded me to what his true intentions were. In my world, the other you is too dangerous to be hunted like he hunts the others. If anything, I regret having showed him how to travel.”
“You showed Arthur Lacroise how to travel?”
“We were together in fighting the vampires,” Mark said, “Friends, you can call it. But when Arthur’s would-be wife died, he turned against us, blaming me mainly, for failing to save his wife’s life. He also blamed me for getting them into the mess we were in, seeing as how I was the one rebelling against the vampires, while the rest of our world was under a pact of non-violence.”
“Do you have a way of finding him?”
“No, but here you are safe from him.”
“You said that before. Why am I safe here?”
“Oh,”Mark said, “That’s a lengthy explanation.”
Keya sat, staring at him, “Go on.”
“There are three earths,” Mark said motioning with his hands, a thin blue smoke formed a triangle, “Which are considered real earths. Let’s call the edge of the triangle, a true earth and this line between one earth and the next are traveling dimensions where one can travel to. These are the infinite number of dimensions one might come across before even locating a real earth. Coordinates for the real earths are not really known but this is one of them.”
“This is a real earth, one of true ones, not just another dimension?”
“Yes,” Mark said, “And only travelers can tell which is which because from a true earth, a traveler may travel out during both day and night. I may not have mentioned this earlier but travelers can only travel out of a dimension at night when they can see the stars. In some earths this rule is exempt because stars come out during the day, yet in earths where there are no stars at either day or night and traveling is still possible, these are what form the process for dimensional stability. Now, let’s see what the council is doing. You see the lines between true earths are earths themselves and if a traveler takes away something from an earth repeatedly, then what they’re doing is distorting the lines. If you break the triangle, disconnect lines from one true earth and the next, traveling will be impossible and all those people traveling for the council will be stuck in those dimensions, unable to return home forever. Worse, these earths will go spiraling off-course, colliding into each other in dimensions in time, causing dimension voids like the one in this library, where earths will end up merging with one another, causing chaos and destruction. It may undo the very fabric of time and space itself, just so that the council can have its pending money.”
“And how do you expect Bil–anyone to fix that?”
Mark shrugged, “Destroy the council, I guess. Not really possible without an expert traveler like myself but that’s the way things go. And, to answer your question, about why Lacroise won’t follow you here…well, he’s blinded like the council. You see, they believe there’s only three coordinates to each dimension, causing their dimension total to be in the millionth position, nine million to be exact. Yet,” Mark said, smiling, “I know the truth. This earth needs four coordinates to travel to, and Lacroise will be looking and looking on other dimensions for however long he wants but will never be able to get to you here, as here we can not be detected by the council’s radar because they know nothing about it.”
Keya laughed, “We’re in the fourth dimension.”
Mark sighed, “Not funny and, inaccurate. We are in a dimension that needs four coordinates to travel to. There are multi-many others like it. Now, if only we could find the third real earth.”
“You haven’t found it yet? I thought you were the greatest traveler ever,” Keya said, a hand on her hip.
“Don’t mistake me for some amateur like your would-be boyfriend,” Mark said, smiling when Keya stumbled, “I know how to get around from dimension to dimension and how to get back to my own world, the second real earth, and that I only know because of its position in the standard dimensional chart drawn by Isik, an old friend of mine, back in the council. At first, I was hesitant to believe him because all this traveling started giving me headaches about what earth should really be like and what to expect from people. I saw harsh worlds, where there was nothing but kids in cloths begging for food, worlds where houses were on fire, people burning alive in them, setting themselves on fire for some fake god that promised them eternal life. It hasn’t been an easy road traveling.”
“I know,” Keya said, sighing, “I didn’t mean that it was easy. I just thought you would have found the third one by now.”
“Not from lack of trying, missy,” Mark said, “What do you mean, you know?”
“I’ve only been to a few worlds myself and, at first, I thought the prospect of a flying ship was pretty nice but not really. Not if it’s used to keep people locked up in boxes, only to send them back to their own version of hell. What’s the purpose of sending people back, if they wanted to escape their dimension? And then, she sent me to the vampires, as though she were doing me a favor, ha!”
“A girl, a witch. They called her Teresa.”
“Oh,” Mark said, “Her. I told you about that already. But let explain more…accurately. You have to understand that witches can’t control traveling like travelers can. Their dimensional teachings are not about coordinates; they’re about control. Inasmuch as I know women, they always want to be in control of things. Foolish thing, that, to be in control all the time like you were some nutcase without a thought in the world but yourself. What kind of world is that to live in? Teresa, of whatever world you ended up in, may have made you travel during the day because witches magic isn’t affected by night or day, but she has no control over coordinates or dimensions. She randomly sent you to another dimension. It’s true she could have sent you back to your own dimension but that’s what is called reverse magic, not traveling. If something happens magically, a witch has a period of hours to reverse that magic before it becomes a sustainable spell. Doesn’t work with death. Trust me, I tried it. It’s the reason Arthur Lacroise hates me so much. After the vampires killed his wife, did you think we did not try and save her life? Arthur was instrumental in our world in creating a resistance against those blood-sucking demons. He was a good friend,” Mark said, sadly.
“How does your good friend kill your sister?”
“People are just people, Keya. We’re governed by desires and Lacroise, albeit smarter than most of us in our vampire hunter club, got upset and he was engulfed by a darkness, revenge. He set his mind on vengeance and forgot all about fighting the vampires. He’s the reason I’m in a comma. My dearest friend turned into worst enemy, all over a mistake. I truly can’t say if we could have saved Karla’s life. I can’t. Too many people were storming the castle where the vampires were. We had the Army and U.S. special forces behind us, along with you and your deadly slingshot and snipers. Karla was captive and we were sent to rescue her. Unexpectedly, Lacroise’s sister, an evil woman, a witch, cast a spell on the castle, like a web that wraps itself inward and bursts into flame. The entire castle burned with army and special forces groups in it. Many escaped but others did not. Lacroise’s sister, I suspected was evil, and the cause of the fire but Lacroise didn’t want to listen. He had loved his sister and she had been a close ally to him and had never intentioned against him before. Thinking that it was all a trick that I set up, Lacroise turned against us, slashing at me with sideways voids. It’s what’s called Tactical Dimensionality. They don’t teach that in the council but its like battling with traveler’s magic, using dimensions as a weapon. Half of my body would have been transported elsewhere, while the other half remained on that castle roof, had it not been for quick thinking on Teresa’s part. She sliced a wave of air, witches’ magic, and sent the created void tumbling into the sky as if she were throwing a frisbee on a roof. In the next instant, two things happened that ruined many friendships and a lifetime of fighting vampires in my planet. First, Lacroise used Multiple Dimensionality on me. It’s battling with dimensions but in a special way. He opened up three voids at the same time, hardly a feasible task, but I’d seen it done before. Then, three more opened all surrounding me, as I was afraid and against a wall, trembling. He went through the three he was close to, skipping from one dimension to the next as though it were of no consequence but to do such a thing takes skill and practice. He had had to have created six voids just to accomplish such a thing and six others to surround me with three more. He came out of all three voids, believe it or not, a strange thing I’d never witnessed before and punched and kicked me from those voids, all at the same time. The second thing that happened, was a menacing laughter came crashing down on us. Lacroise stepped beside me now, and closed all the voids. I lay on the floor panting, with a swollen eye and blood coming out my nose. Teresa was too far away to do anything but she hid behind a wall in the castle roof. It was so thin that it barely hid her. His sister, a woman with blue eyes, and black curly hair was flying down upon us from twelve feet in the air. Nothing was making her fly. She was wearing a white pearl dress and black-heel shoes and that’s all we saw as she landed. She waved her hand and Karla appeared, a girl in a brown skirt, brown-skinned, black hair, shorter than Lacroise’s sister, obviously she was unable to move. She was being held captive by a form of magic. Lacroise’s sister said to us: ‘Enough squabbling, Mark. Give us what we came here for or the girl gets it.’ I don’t know what they wanted,” Mark said, putting his hands on his chin, “Yet here I was bargaining for the life of Karla, a woman we knew to be the newly-engaged to Lacroise. ‘Time, Piersley, time.’
“Arthur complained, giving his sister a mournful look, ‘Why, why are you doing this?’
“‘What do I care if the girl lives or dies, brother? I want the book and I know that derelict time-traveler knows where to find it.'”
“It was at this time that I was looking for a book to break the three curses because as much as we loved or didn’t love each other Wendy and I could not touch. We can’t get close to each other without feeling unbearable pain. Never did find that book. They call it the Epilaptily, Book of Woven Spirits. Never mind that, the three curses aren’t important in your earth, only mine and if I live through this, they will be mine to break. Lacroise’s sister took a breath and with it, time seemed to slow down, so that neither me, nor Teresa could move. In that instant, she waved a hand to Karla who was inches from her and Karla went flying off the roof, moving faster than we could, as though time only worked for her. I tried to create a sideways void but magic stopped me from doing it. I could see Teresa stretch her hands out and shooting a laser of blue fire at the witch. The problem is, she was aligned with the vampires and one of them, a strange one that could fly like she could, grabbed her from the air and lifted her away. Then, we were surrounded by vampires. I still couldn’t move because of the witches magic. Karla fell to her death, while Teresa went to try and help her burning up vampires one after the other but it was too late. We heard a tragic thump. Then, Lacroise gave me a sinister look and his face became unreadable. He created a void without looking and passed through it, leaving me alone surrounded by vampires. Teresa escaped, creating a teleportation void, one that witches could do but we can’t. The vampires took me. One of them created a void and passed me through it roughly but by this time my talent had come back and I created sideways voids beheading at least a dozen of them before one of them booted me on the knee and all I saw was pain. After that, I was sedated and taken to some dungeon, where I remain, in a comma, living out the rest of my years without Wendy.”
“Your vampire hunter group can’t come rescue you?” Keya asked.
“The vampires were smart. They sent me to some unknown dimension. My group may never know the coordinates.”
“Do you know the coordinates?”
“Maybe,” Mark said, “If I could open one eye or two, I could concentrate long enough to read them but that’s a talent that takes concentration and I only briefly practiced it in the council.”
“How long have you been their captive?”
“Two years,” Mark said, “And I doubt they’re keeping me alive the natural way.”
“What do you mean?”
“They’re draining people of their life force to keep mine from slipping away. I can feel them doing it, the magic involved.”
“Oh, no,” Keya said, quietly, “That’s horrible.”
“I must go now,” Mark said, starting to vanish, “I’ll be back in a few hours to see if he has come back. You should be more active, then, I think. I’ve not seen you in such a mood before. He really made an impression on you, didn’t he? And you’ve only seen him, what? Twice.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Keya said, blushing.