“Thanks for walking me home, Opi,” I said shyly as we started heading down the street. Now that we were out in the open, I was starting to notice some strange sights. The gardens on the street seemed to almost glow; more so in the unmaintained lawns, filled with bramble and wildflowers. The well-maintained gardens didn’t have the same glow, but the colours felt brighter than they had before, the colours deeper and the greens more vibrant.
“No problem,” Opi said. “I kinda wanted to know if you saw anything anyways.”
I was too distracted by the glowing flowers to even be upset that he was more interested in my magic than me. The glowing flowers were really cool anyways. Far cooler than me.
“Everything is glowing,” I told him. “Like that garden.”
I pointed at a yard that was covered in shrubs and wildflowers. Red, spikey flowers leaned over the walkway, and long stems covered in purple flowers were interspersed with rosemary bushes and hedges. Despite how clustered it was, the underbrush seemed to have tiny specks of light that peeked out like cat eyes. Tiny, bell shaped flowers seemed to spill sparkling green pollen onto the ground beneath them.
“You can see ley lines in that?” Opi asked.
“Not leylines,” I said. “But it all sparkles. And it’s bright.”
“Yeah,” I pointed out the long spikes of bushy red plants. “I’ve walked past these a dozen times already, but now it’s brighter. Like someone gave it a fresh coat of red paint.”
“I don’t see anything,” Opi said.
I blushed, muttering under my breath, “I might be wrong. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention.”
“Do you see anything like a line?” Opi asked. “Sort of like a vein of light in the earth?”
“Like that copper one you were talking about?”
“Yeah, like that.”
“I haven’t seen it,” I said.
Opi frowned. “We’ve been walking on it for the last 5 minutes.”
“Oh.” I looked at my feet but the ground was still pretty boring. “Nope, sorry. I don’t see it.”
“Hmm,” Opi lapsed into a thoughtful silence and we walked along for another few minutes.
“Is that it?” I asked when we reached a major road. Beneath the road there was a faint red colour that shimmered and rippled. Along the edge of the red, a finer, blue shimmering line travelled, sometime dip into the red one. Further down the road, it veered off to the side, away from the red line and the roadway.
Opi moved his head behind my arm, trying to follow my line of sight. “I guess that’s a bit blue? But it’s not the copper one.”
“No, not the blue part,” I said. “The red one running alongside it.”
“I only see the blue,” Opi said, shrugging. “And maybe a bit of a coppery colour. I’ve never seen anything I’d call ‘red’.”
“Well, at least Rou saw it?” I said. I kinda wished I saw what he did though. My brain conjured a stupid image of Opi and Rou, getting married over their mutual ability to see orange leylines.
“Yeah, but I was hoping you did too,” Opi said. “No offense to Rou, but you clearly had the biggest reaction to the magic. According to Syra, my ritual mostly looked like Rou’s.”
“Mostly, yeah.” They’d both had the same shimmery glow in a burnt orange colour. It almost reminded me of the cognac my dad drank at Christmas, fluid and amber.
“You just glowed like Sam,” Opi said. “I guess it makes sense you can’t see this leyline. Sam can’t either.”
“Shouldn’t the book say something on all this?” I asked. “You’ve had it for two days now.”
“You read it,” Opi said, “It’s practically unreadable.”
“Well, maybe if I had it overnight…” I trailed off.
Opi nodded. “I did try look it up last night, but I just had so much homework. I think it has something to do with our personal affinities. For instance, Sam and I both got a reaction from the water. And then near the river, we both saw a blue leyline.”
“So do you think I’d see the one near the river?” I asked. The wall had been wet when I finished the ritual, though I couldn’t remember anyone saying anything about water.
“Definitely,” Opi said. “I looked up the circle again, the one that we had you sitting in, and there triangles under the where we put the dishes. I looked them up online and I think they were alchemy signs for the elements; fire, water, earth and air. The only one that didn’t react for you was the milkweed.”
“Which element is that?” I asked, “Earth?”
“Air.” Opi shrugged. “I guess you aren’t going to be flying.”
“But the milkweed didn’t react for you either,” I said. “So why can you see the copper lines and I can’t?”
“That’s where everything got confusing,” Opi said. “It listed three more elements alongside those four, but they didn’t have components. And when I looked up their symbols it didn’t really help.”
“What were the symbols?” We were getting near my house now. I didn’t want to be home yet. I slowed down my pace to a snail’s pace.
“Sun, Moon and Venus,” Opi said. “According to the internet, they don’t say that in the book. The book calls them Discord, Law and Balance.”
“Okay, those doesn’t make sense,” I said. “How are those related?”
“Apparently the symbol for Venus can also represent copper?” Opi added. “Which I guess almost makes sense, that’s the colour the lines are. It’s also that weird sign for women.”
“So I guess one of the other two must represent me and Sam,” I said. “Probably sun, she was really bright.”
“That’s my guess,” Opi said. “Also represents gold according to the internet.”
“Did the moon symbol have a metal?” I asked.
I thought about it but I couldn’t remember anything that seemed like silver. “Okay, but what does that mean? Can I like, control gold with my mind?”
Opi looked embarrassed. “Well, I was going to look that up next.”
“But then I found this page that was like, a clockwork cat, and I got really distracted trying to figure that out.”
I snerked. “Okay, that sounds really cool.”
“I know, right?” he said excitedly. “I really want to try and make it.”
We were standing outside my house now. I stopped with a sigh. “This is my house.”
“I know,” Opi said, standing beside me. “I guess I should let you do your homework.”
I hesitated. “Maybe you could come in for a bit and show me the clockwork cat?” Opi smiled his crooked smile. “Sure.”