I walked to school with Akihiro (in the real world) the morning after Shrali visited our dreams. We were both silent the entire way to school, still shocked that we now could visit each others dreams, or share a dream, or whatever you want to call it.
"Akari, do you think that you could meet me in the library during Free period?" Akihiro asked after he opened the door for me. Free period is a time during school where you can do whatever you want (as long as you had good grades, but the teachers really didn't pay attention to your grades, so it didn't matter), hence the name Free period.
"Yeah, I'll be there!" I shouted as I walked inside. I sighed, because I almost said, "if you're going to be there, of course I'll be there," instead, and that could have been taken the wrong way.
As soon as the bell rang to release us from the last class before Free period, I jumped up and ran out the door. I heard the teacher make a remark that sounded like "I've never seen you in such a rush, Akari," but I didn't care. I got to the library in record time (which is impressive considering the library is on the other side of the school and the halls are teeming with students), and tiptoed over to the back of the library. My grades weren't the best, definitely not good enough for me to do a "Free activity" (which is what we call the activities that we can do if we have good grades), but if you are in the room after the bell rings for Free period to begin, then the teacher just assumes that you have good grades, so I stayed hidden in the back.
"There you are!" I heard a voice say behind me. I froze, and slowly turned around. If it was a teacher, then Akihiro would never be able to carry out whatever he planned. Well, I hoped that I was that important to him, but it probably wasn't true. I looked over at the source of the voice and saw Akihiro walking over to me. I released my breath, realizing that I had been holding my breath.
"Oh, it's you Akihiro, I thought that you were a teacher for a second." I whispered to him.
"Why would it matter if a teacher saw you?" he asked confused.
"Because my grades aren't the best there is," I stated as if it should have been obvious.
"Akari!" Akihiro said teasing me for sneaking in when I should have been working on my grades.
"What?" I chuckled and smiled shyly.
"Well, I'm glad that you came," Akihiro began saying, but I didn't hear the rest of what he said, because I was too happy that someone was glad for my existence.
I came back to reality with the shake of my head. "Sorry, what did you just say?"
"I said, I'm glad you came, so that we could do some research on The Prophecy and some other things that have to do with Jephcoli faster."
"Oh." So he isn't excited that I am here personally, he just wan'ts my brain power so he can figure out more about himself, I thought sadly.
I sat reading a book I had found in the fictional section which bore the title "The Unseen is Closer Than it Appears." It talked about how there are portals on Earth called Arali Internium, or AI, which lead to Jephcoli.
Funny, I thought, even the portals are against Zurich, after all, ai is Japanese for love, and love is light.
I lost interest in the book, and looked up to see what Akihiro was up to. He noticed me looking at him, and he looked at me with a tilt of his head.
"What is it, Akari?" he asked closing the book he was reading.
"Nothing. It's just that I was reading about portals to Jephcoli, but it doesn't mention anything about where they are." I sighed.
"Interesting." Akari said thinking hard. "Why don't we ask Shrali some more about it? These textbooks won't have a lot of true information, we are just searching so we can ask Shrali."
He says "we", but he just wants to know more about himself, I thought, then said aloud, "and how are we going to ask Shrali when we have to be asleep for her to appear?"
"Well, its just a theory, but I've heard that meditation is a lot like sleeping while awake. If this is true, then we only have to meditate to find Shrali."
"It's worth a shot, I guess." I shrugged.
"Okay, the first thing we need to do, is relax." Akihiro stated, getting comfortable in his chair.
"I guessed that. Wait, why are we going to do this now, we only have twenty-five minutes before the bell rings to release us to our next class." I stated.
"Well, you know how dreams seem to go faster? Well, I did a test a while ago and found that five minutes in the real world equals an hour in the dream world. So, since we have twenty-five minutes, that is about five hours in the dream world."
"Blah!" I mumbled.
We got relaxed, and I let my mind go clear. I soon found myself in an empty field that stretched further than the eye could see. Akihiro started to materialize next to me, just a faint outline at first, then it began to look more like him. It was a relief to think that I had to accept him into my dreams, and that he couldn't just appear in my dreams whenever he wanted.
"Shrali!" I shouted as loud as I could when Akihiro finished his appearance.
"Yes?" We heard the familiar voice we came to recognize as Shrali's come from behind us.
We both jumped up, surprised that she was behind us. We didn't think that she would be around us, so it came as a shock to find that she was right behind us.
"Don't do that!" I complained as I turned around to look at Shrali.
"Do you need anything?" Shrali asked completely ignoring my comment.
"Yes, we have one or two questions." Akihiro said with a nod of his head.
"What do you want to ask?" Shrali asked.
"Well," I started saying, "we were wondering about AI. Where are they found?"
"They are only found if your mind is open to find the unseen." Shrali replied.
"But how do we know that they are truly real?" I asked.
"They are true if you choose to believe in them."
"But. . .but. . ." I stuttered.
"I just remembered that I have to look something up real quick. I'll be right back." Akihiro announced right before disappearing from the dream world.
"Shrali, what if I'm not great enough? What if I fail?" I asked starting to shake.
"The difference between good and great is measured in millimeters, not miles." Shrali smiled and brushed my cheek softly. "You'll be more than enough, and you wont fail." As Shrali said those last words, the dream started to fade.