Even though I tried to fight the doppelganger of myself from beyond the magic mirror, he had a grip like a crocodile. Effortlessly, he brought me back to it.
Punches, kicks and half-assed attempt at magic later, I reconsidered my plan. I was on the other side, into what I presumed was the psychic world or something.
The clone version of myself wouldn't let me leave... What could I do.
I reviewed and tossed around all the info I'd gotten from Cam. Trying as best as I could to ignore the sensory overload my senses brought me. So I sat down and tried to fix that problem first.
I sat in lotus on the couch and remembered the zen meditation class I'd once attended, courtesy of one of my ex's temper tantrum.
Control the breathing. Slow it down. Don't try to think of nothing, just let the thoughts flow. Let the feeling pass by without giving them attention. Visualise a calm place. Visualise my sanctuary...
Visualise of course! How did I forget about it. This wasn't real I thought to myself. I am merely in a vision. I am the master of my own mind.
Slowly, I stood up and faced my evil self. I moved toward him and in my thoughts, I forged a blade, I made the authentic long sword my father had always kept in his office. I remembered myself playing with it when he wasn't home. Somehow, he always knew when I did.
I opened my eyes and I now had the sword in hand, but so did he.
We stared into each other's eyes for a long unending minute. And then we charged. We both did a single forward dash and vertical slash and nothing else.
We stood back to back, as leaves fell upon us, courtesy of my mental sanctum and fortress. Silence fell as split seconds turned into hours.
Behind me, the other me fell down and as I turned around, I saw it's broken blade.
Now I understood. He wasn't some kind of evil version of myself. He was the part of me that wanted to stay. To further explore this new world of experiences. It had always been a battle of will.
I looked back to the mirror and saw the message waiting for me.
TO CONQUER THE WORLD ONE MUST CONQUER HIMSELF
And so I walked back into the mirror, slipping through it... Back into the real world. Away from this mindscape.
My eyes burned, my ears throbbed and my head hurt. It took me several blinks and seconds to make up where I was. I hadn't moved an inch.
The Women next to me let out a sigh of relief. "You're alright?" they asked in unison.
"Yeah... I think my head's going to explode..."
"It's the stress from opening your astral senses. The human body can only process so much information. Much less when every one of those information is registered by all five senses." Claimed Nova.
"Take this." Said Camilla, handing me a bottle of pills and a water bottle.
"How long was I out?"
"Thirty to forty seconds." said blue-girl
"It felt like much more." I told her, as I gulped down several ibuprofen pills and the entire bottle.
"You've experienced a vision quest you could say. You've been out for a long time, your awakening isn't quite over. Expect more visions and cryptic messages."
A Minute later, sandwiches we passed around. I munched on mine absently, I was hungry, but I didn't feel like I could stomach food stuff at the moment.
A snap from Nova's finger brought me back to reality. "Zeke? Are you listening?"
"Sorry...I drifted off"
She rolled her eyes and repeated herself "We have to finish what Cam and you started. In case you haven't noticed, Cammy's been burned out."
"I did... What happened?"
"Remember the ghouls? I tracked it to the hospital you told me about. It was the mortician. But what I didn't expect was that it wasn't a ghoul..." Began Camilla.
"What was it then?"
"Ghouls, plural. Six of them total, plus the one you took down. I had to run for it. I could have taken them down easily if it were not for the fact we were in a hospital. I couldn't risk burning the place down with eldritch fire.
The ghouls ambushed me just as I confronted the mortician. One of them got me in the back. Not serious injury, but the claws carry the venom too.
So I took a run for it. It took me a lot of energy and when I came to safety, my batteries were dead. Nova picked me up and brought me back here. That's why I couldn't see to you"
"Are you gonna be alright?"
She smiled weakly "No worries. Magic draws from an already existing power source. Most often the user's life force. Luckily, it's a replenish able source. You simply get tired and weak if you use it a lot. Can sent you unconscious if you over do it. But it is temporary."
"That explains my black out at Will's place... Is there a way around it?"
"Yes and no. You have to draw energy from somewhere or someone. Unless you find a ley line, it's you or a being with whom you have a pact. The good news is that as you grow in age and power, the pool of energy you have grows with you."
"So an old mage is more powerful?"
"Basically yes. It's why Nova's the current arch mage."
"Her age?" I asked mystified "She's 19 years old at best!"
In front of me, Nova gave me a mysterious smile before declaring; "I'll take that as a compliment. But I can assure you, I'm much older than you."
"How could you be?"
"I was born January 19th. 1901"
"As you change the world, you change yourself. Ageing process is part of it. As for why I look in my late teen compared to Cammy's late 20's is the fact I awakened at age six. At six teen I was already stopping ageing."
"So I'm going to live long enough to become Gandalf?"
"Depends on your progress. But you'll still be healthy in your late 60's that for sure."
I slouched back onto the back of the seat. That was quite a lot to take in. Basically everything I'd learned was false. If I may state the oblivious, That really puts your life in perspective.
"Oh, Zeke? One last thing…" Cam whispered in my ears "If you insult Nova again, I’ll wring your stupid neck."