Chapter 36

After Iolis’ awfully weird question, we continued the rest of the drive, in silence. Raliki turned a jazz radio station on to fill the silence and was humming along to the tune. I tried hard not to stare at Calimo, and it was hard to not just reach out and grasp his hand. He continued to rub his thumb across the crown of his key as he stared out the window. He caught me looking at him and smiled, not creeped out in the slightest as I would’ve been. We pulled off on an exit, driving up a small mountain to a very modern looking home.
“Home,” Iolis sighed after we stopped and had gotten out. “Come on! I want to introduce you all.” We followed her up the pathway and she just opened her front door, “I’m home!”
“Iolis!” Family members began pouring out of rooms to meet us.
“Everyone, this is Amberlin, Calimo, and Raliki. Friends, this is my family,” Iolis gestured to about fifteen family members. They formed a line and approached us one at a time, obviously having done this before.
First was a middle-aged couple, the woman with hair like Iolis and the man with eyes like Iolis. “Hi! We’re Iolis’ parents. I’m Kalun, and this is my husband, Gapona.” They shook our hands as moved on as the rest of her family introduced themselves. Grandparents on both sides, aunts, uncles, and cousins all shook our hands after telling us how they were related to Iolis.
“Alright, everyone, let me get them settled,” Iolis called out, pulling on my arm to follow her. We exited the front gathering room and rounded the corner to see a kitchen and massive dining room. Iolis led us up the stairs, giving each of us our own rooms.
“Are there enough rooms to do this?” I looked down the hallway worriedly. “I don’t want to be kicking your family out of one of theirs.”
Iolis giggled, “We’re a family with lots of friends. Do not worry, we have plenty of space.”
“Alright,” I answered entering my room. It was painted pale yellow, with calming green accents throughout. I had a large bed and dresser, with a small closet, but it was better than Raliki’s place. I flopped down on the bed, hoping for a nap, when someone knocks on my door.
“Hey, is it alright if I take Calimo somewhere?” Iolis questioned.
“Sure, I guess. Where are you taking him?”
Her eyes sparkled, “To help him remember.”
My brow furrowed, “Can I come?”
“No, he needs to do this on his own,” Iolis explained and I frowned, but agreed anyway. I watched Iolis knock on Calimo’s door, explain to him, and he followed her down the hallway.
“You should get some sleep,” Raliki said, and I turned to see him leaning against the doorframe to his room.
I sighed, “I know.”
“He’ll be fine,” he reassured me. “I’m going to take a nap as well, so see you later.” He closed the door behind him, as I followed suit. Collapsing down on the bed, I pull the sheets over me, closing my eyes. I decided to use this time wisely and contact the past Key’d. This time, it was Seian who appeared.
“Hey Linny,” Seian said, and I mimicked his cross-legged position on the floor. The candle, bowl, rock and vial, I had seen him hold before were sitting beside him.
“Hello, Seian,” I answered, surprised at the nickname he had given me. “What are we working on today?”
“We’re going to figure out what elements you have control over,” he smiled at me and I nodded, smiling back.
“No snarky comments?” I dared to ask and he chuckled.
“Not today. This is important for you to figure out, I won’t mess with you about it.”
“Oh,” I paused. “Thanks.”
“No problem. Each of these items represents fire, water, earth, and wind. We will also test your abilities in light and darkness.” Over the next while, I learn that I can control water, fire, and light. I don’t have an affinity for wind or earth.
“The last thing we will test for is the power to control darkness,” Seian moved his hands together creating a black swirling smoke. “I had this affinity as well as wind.” He explained to create the smoke was similar to how I conjured fire and manipulated water and light. I focused on it, creating a small ball of smoke in my hands as I looked to Seian for approval. He nodded, smiling back, when the ball in my hands suddenly expanded.
Seian tried to control it, but the smoke whipped around is as I cowered away from it. The smoke formed the outline of a person and I instantly knew it was Reanski.
“Wonderful! You do have darkness in you,” the smoke’s mouth moved, and Seian took a protective stance to protect me. “I’m not here to hurt you, Amberlin. I just want my poor precious Calimo back.”
“Why would I give him back?” I yelled. “You turned him into someone else!”
She tisked, “He was so much better that way. He didn’t love you. That’s what made him better.”
“Leave now! You aren’t supposed to have access to this world!” Seian yelled at Reanski who laughed in his face.
“But it looks like I do have access, don’t I?” She smiled cruelly. “Tell Calimo I love him.”
“I won’t,” I spat as the shadow Reanski retreated, disappearing into nothingness once again. “How did she get here, Seian?”
“If it’s what I think, this has never happened before,” Seian said. “Our lives have definitely been more interesting with you around Amberlin. I’ll see you next time, yeah?”
“I’m done already?” I asked him and he gave me an awkward smile.
“For today, yes. I need to talk to the others before I tell you my theory.”
“Fine.” I answered, allowing myself to leave the dream world.

I let myself sleep without the dream world and I was woken up by Calimo bursting into the room.
“I remember!” He jumped on top of me, hugging me tightly before smothering my face in kisses. His eyes flickered to my lips before attacking them and I kiss him back just as ferociously.
“You’re…really…back,” I said between kisses and he nodded, pulling away from me. “How did Iolis get your memory back?”
Calimo pulled himself off of me, gathering me in his arms as we leaned against the headboard. “I’m not exactly sure I remember that myself. But, I don’t really care. I am so sorry I said I was with someone else, Amberlin. I only love you.”
“It wasn’t you who did that,” I whispered, snuggling my face into his chest. I breathed in his scent, happy to have him back in my arms. “I’m sorry you were tortured.”
“It’s in the past,” he whispered back, but his voice sounded strained.
I sat up, looking into his eyes, “You can tell me, you know.”
“I know, I just don’t want to think about it right now. Right now, I just want to hold you in my arms and kiss you senseless.”
“That doesn’t sound awful,” I said, smirking. We cuddled and kissed for a while after that, only stopping when Iolis told us dinner was ready. I pulled her aside and thanked her profusely.
“How did you get him back?” I asked and she avoided my eyes.
“He’s back, that’s all that should matter,” she answered, slipping away from me before I could ask what she meant. I joined the dinner, and it was the largest dinner I had seen in a long time. There were so many different dishes to try and Iolis’ family did their best to make us feel welcome, by including us in their conversations and filling our plates with delicious food. Calimo did everything he could to have us touching the entire meal, either his hand on my thigh or a knee against mine. I finally had him back—normal and safe. I had almost forgotten about Reanski entering my dream until Raliki pulled me away after dinner.
“We need to talk.”
“What’s going on?” I followed as he led me down a hallway to a quieter part of the house, probably making sure we weren’t going to be overheard.
“They think Reanski has another Key’d person,” Raliki said and my eyes widened.
“I thought there was only one?”
Raliki sighed, “As did we. But the fact Reanski was able to contact you through the other Key’d must mean that she has a key. Your and Calimo’s keys are with the two of you, that only leaves the possibility she has one from someone else.”
“Why hasn’t she used them until now, then? It just doesn’t make sense,” I crossed my arms as I stared at Raliki.
“Right now, it’s just a theory. A theory with evidence behind it, but nonetheless just a theory. Unless we see this possible Key’d in person, we won’t know for sure.”
“How could we get her to reveal this possible Key’d person?” I asked and Raliki nodded.
“I’m working on it. I’ll tell you if I think of something okay?”
I nodded, “We should probably get back before we’re missed.”
Raliki chuckled, “I think there’s too many people in her family for us to have been missed.”

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