Author’s Note: Sometimes I wonder if the questions my characters ask stem from my own lack of understanding of the world they live in. That might be it.
“You’re going to claim my brother’s not human? That we’re not human?” Oceana asked, frowning. She looked down at Cress. She’d never understood why he was the way he was, and every time she failed to do something he did with ease, she thought he must have gotten the better part of the uterus, that if her mother could have, she’d have passed more ability on to Cress on purpose, but thinking he wasn’t from this side of the barrier—No, she’d never thought that before.
Then again, she’d always assumed they were twins, and she wasn’t from the other side of the barrier. She was rather ordinary. She didn’t know that what they could do and had always done for each other would be possible if they weren’t brother and sister. She had never worked with a water elemental other than her brother, and the same thing applied to all the other siblings.
If Enya could have worked with Flint, that might give them a better idea if that was possible—No. Oceana looked too much like Cress not to be related.
“I don’t know about you.”
“They’re twins, Flint. If he’s not from this side, she’s not, either.” Moira shook her head. “I don’t know that I buy that. I know that Cress’ talents have always surpassed the rest of ours, but that doesn’t mean that he’s not from this side. As far as we know, the barrier has never been thin enough to support that, though it seems to be more fragile now than it was when we were kids, probably because of that bastard who’s after us.”
“Now him I could see being from the other side of the barrier,” Sherwin muttered as he set Enya down on the far side of the room. “I don’t see how he can be that powerful if he isn’t.”
“Stone once said maybe it was because when Cress broke his first mirror, it cut him. He still has the scar, doesn’t he?”
Oceana nodded, lifting the hand that kept that mark, shaking her head. Stone had told her that, too, but she didn’t know that she believed it any more than Terra did. “I suppose there’s a possibility that had something to do with it. We don’t know enough about how the barrier works or what we can do to know if that matters at all.”
Flint sat down, leaning back in his chair. “It might. The other side could have gotten a taste of his blood, and it could have gotten inside him—”
“Exactly what do you think the other side is? An all consuming darkness? Evil?”
“I don’t know what’s over there. Maybe it’s as simple as a parallel universe. It’s us with different choices made in our lives.”
Sherwin shook his head. “I don’t see how making other choices gives us the ability to manipulate an element.”
“We’re all like Superman. We have advanced powers because none of us belong here,” Terra said, and she still sounded crazy, but at the same time, she didn’t.
“Oh, hell,” Oceana put a hand to her mouth and tried not to gag. She had better not vomit right now, and she would not wake Cress. “If that’s the reason why they wanted to marry us off to other elementals…”
“Thanks, Occie. That’s really a thought I wanted to have.”
She smiled at Sherwin, but her heart wasn’t in pushing that further. She enjoyed tormenting him, but today she couldn’t summon any enthusiasm for it.
“We don’t know that it was anything to do with that. The mirror breaking doesn’t make sense if we’re all from the other side anyway.” Moira tapped her fingers on the table. “I do have to wonder just how much Aether Industries knows about elementals and the other side of the barrier.”
“We can get as much information as they’ve got when we go after Stone.”
Flint blinked. “You’re planning on taking this back to the source? After what you’ve already been through with this guy?”
“You want him dead, don’t you?”
“Yeah, but… I don’t know that even a full team could accomplish that, and you don’t have it. You’re missing an earth, your fire is… well, useless, and one of your waters is out of commission as well.”
“Cress heals fast, we’ve worked without Enya for twelve years, and even without Stone, we can do plenty of damage.”
“Moira, I think you might have missed part of his point.”
She looked at Sherwin. “Did I?”
“He wants to come with us. Don’t you, Flint?”