Aurora stepped through the portal after Mistral again. Again she found herself in a weird room. It looked like a perfect cube, and it was spotless. That was probably why Anygmah hated visitors, well… there had to be far better reasons.
The room was share and had five walls, six if you counted the floor. It was very much a cube. The walls were featureless and pure white. Where the light was coming from was uncertain. There was no one and nothing except for the hooded figure in robes. Its body was completely concealed by those robes as it stood in the precise center of the cube.
“Mistral,” it said in a whispering voice, “you have brought a new hero, have you not? Aurora Leo Walker Leona Ramses… you have several secrets.”
“Anygmah.” Mistral gestured grandly towards Aurora. “I proudly introduce you to Aurora, my companion in fighting against injustice,” Aurora turned three shades of red when she said that. I AM HER ALLY! KYAAAAA! “And formally request of your protection so that she might remain vigilant.” She bowed.
“I have many requests, and so often you heroes expose these secrets taken great care with-- I am obligated by my oath to protect Aurora’s identity from those who might pry in the realms mystic-- but I should wish to offer her yet another boon.”
Anygmah raised an arm and she saw something of it. It’s flesh was exposed for a moment. It was mummified, tightly clinging to a skeletal hand. “You jealously guard the secret of your gender, your age from your peers both empowered and not. I will also keep this secret if you have a secret to trade me,” it whispered.
“What sort of secret?” Leona asked with a mesmerized focus on its mummified hand. She hadn’t expected to see anything like this in… like her whole lifetime. She tore her eyes up to its hooded and concealed face. “These are my biggest secrets. My father was a bad man… and my mother was a good woman whose death made him worse. I don’t keep that a secret from anyone who REALLY wants to know as much as I try to distance myself from my past. Not that people really do ask. Sarah, my friend, knows and Mistral does too.” Aurora smiled. “What sort of secret do I have that you would want to know, Anygmah?”
“I am willing to wait,” Anygmah spoke. “Heroes often come across lost and esoteric information. Promise that you will share such knowledge with me and me alone, and I shall keep your secret until I receive said knowledge.”
“That seems unfair, Anygmah,” Mistral said, putting a hand across Aurora’s shoulders protectively. “You claim we uncover and reveal secrets but now wish for us to do so for your benefit? What if she never comes across such knowledge?”
“Mistral,” it spoke onwards, “your secret bubbles so, you want to share it… do not seek to rush Aurora from my realm because of your weakness.” It pointed directly at Aurora with its gnarled digit. “Aurora, do you accept my terms? There is no cause for alarm if you do not, I simply will not guard it as jealously as I guard the identity of Heroes.”
Aurora looked over Anygmah and to Mistral. She had a secret she wanted to tell her? She looked at her hero with trusting eyes, and then back to Anygmah. “As long as withholding said information does not hurt the world, my loved ones, other lives, or the heroes you protect, then I could agree. But if it means otherwise, I’d simply have to risk the derision and lack of understanding that might come.”
“I accept your terms,” Anygmah said quickly.
Mistral sighed and nodded. “Thank you, Anygmah.” She offered Aurora her hand and spoke again. “Come on, let’s not trouble him any longer.” She pulled her mentee away.
Aurora was happy to be holding her hand. She glowed, quite literally. She led her to a wall, what she surmised might be the third wall, but that really depended on your viewpoint. The room spun when she touched something hidden, and Leona gaped, stumbling backwards, right into her sanctum once again. She turned around and Mistral stood behind the fire in the center of her lodge.
“I’m sorry if he was being a creeper, Anygmah loves secrets before all things. It pleases him when others trust him with those. If I wanted to guess, I’d say that it will now be even more difficult to find anything about you. You may not even need to try very hard to hide your true gender in your civilian identity.” Mistral smiled.
Aurora giggled and sighed a breath of relief. “That’s good news, it’s really awkward getting ID’d… not that it happens too often to me yet.” Her lips twisted humorously. “It’s okay, though. I trust that he wouldn’t hurt me. He seems wise for a ‘creeper’.” She giggled again for that. “Do you need to rest again? And, do you think I could ever learn to do some magic? Besides what I normally do with my powers, that is.” Aurora asked, staring up at the sky high above which was very visible.
Mistral smiled and flushed with pleasure. “You’re asking me to teach you magic? I don’t know if I would be a good teacher.” She laughed. “Dragonmage’s old mentor, Jade guardian would be the best for something like that, but she's… kind of missing now. It’s a long story,” she said, “Well, if you want to learn real spells, I’m not sure you have the time if you want to have a civilian lifestyle, at least for now.”
“As far as I go.” Mistral flexed her free arm. “I didn’t use my own power to teleport here. The gate I created was two-way, but was concealed by Anygmah’s realm when we passed through. That’s why there was an extra wall.” Aurora blinked at that. Extra wall? She didn’t see one. Was there another dimension to her sight that she didn’t have? “Anyway, we’re ready to go to the Society’s northern Headquarters if you’re still interested.” Mistral smiled and stepped around the fire, taking Aurora’s hand and squoze it.
“I sure am!” Aurora bounced and grinned. “But don’t sell yourself short. You’re so much more amazing that I ever even imagined. You’re kind, compassionate, sweet, not distant at all when it comes down to it. You would make a wonderful teacher, I’m sure of it! I’d never force that role on you, though, even though it would mean spending more time with my favorite hero! That’s definitely a selfish desire,” she stuck out her tongue and winked. Now that she was getting used to being around her, she was able to let more of who she was as Aurora integrated with who she always had been.
Mistral moved to the door and opened it. The cold billowed in, stealing away the warmth of the lodge for a moment. It was the northern wilderness itself. Aurora stepped over and looked. They were in a snowy forest. Aurora figured it was even above the frost-line somewhere in Canada as her mentor had said. “This is my own personal fortress of solitude,” Mistral said with a grin. “If we can get you a communicator, I’ll give you my number. Maybe we can hang out sometime, make an official team-up.”
Aurora’s jaw dropped and she grinned, her heart overflowing with her happiness. “Yes, please!”
“Let’s go!” Mistral grinned and whooshed up into the skies. Aurora stared and charged off after her, catching up in an instant. They laughed. “I envy that speed of yours!” They moved along, and soon Aurora felt her pace was slow for her tastes, but nonetheless being by Mistral’s side was wonderful. It took forty-five minutes before a city came into sight off in the distance.
“Up ahead, that’s Ottawa… and we’re headed for a building called ‘Clubhouse Three’,” Mistral explained. “It’s an entry point to the Society’s Headquarters elsewhere. I’ll be bringing you in as my guest,” she added.
“Right! I can’t believe I’m actually in Canada! Another whole country!” Leona squeed and barrel rolled, expressing her sublime joy. “I’ve never been outside the States in my life… and now I get to see the world! I didn’t think about that perk! I’m really really looking forward to this!” Mistral smiled fondly at Aurora, spinning, practically cartwheeling in air, dancing through the clouds.
If you want others to love you, be the best kid inside you can. Magic can happen.