“I don’t remember,” Kara said as she stomped on one of Eli’s Hop Dance Mania pads, “but I could definitely say I’d remember something like crushed velvet. I’ve never felt an aura like that.”
Robynne sighed and sipped her soda. It was nice to not have to worry about her calories or eating healthy again. “I guess I had different people manning the booth then.”
Vivian nodded, “Maybe so, though I don’t think I’ve met anyone with an aura that, uh, what’s the word?”
Cory popped a cheeseball in his mouth. “Vivid?”
“No,” Vivian said, reaching in and taking a cheeseball for herself from the comically super-sized container. “Well, maybe. I don’t know. I guess vivid is the right word. It’s really hard to explain the stuff we pick up on our magic sense.”
Robynne laughed and took another sip of her soda. “Yeah, just a little. And empathokinetic sense.”
Vivian rolled her eyes. “Quit being such a nerd about it.”
Robynne smirked and teased Vivian, “You joined Spheres before I did. Who’s the nerd, shorty.”
Vivian smirked right back at Robynne. “You’re the nerd. And, seriously, shorty? That’s what you’re going with? We both wear extra-smalls.” Robynne frowned and Vivian giggled. “Or do you keep forgetting that now?”
“My question is,” Eli said with a labored breath as he danced on the HDM pad opposite of Kara, “how did you see… what the guy… looked like… with a veil of… red velvet… covering him.”
Robynne groaned. “No. Not red velvet. Crushed velvet. It was like fabric, not cake.”
“That’s disappointing,” Cory sighed.
“Very disappointing,” Vivian agreed.
“Red velvet is much more delicious.”
“Getting back on point,” Robynne insisted, “it’s not that he’s covered in the aura like a tarp. The aura is around him. The same way the blue aura was around me at the arcade. It exists around the silhouette of the person, no matter what angle you view them at. It never gets in the way. Also, it’s not something you see, per se. It’s something you feel with the empathokinetic sense.”
“Magic!” Cory coughed not so stealthily.
“The point,” Robynne said while shooting him a glare, “is that I can’t fully explain it. I mean the aura didn’t look like red velvet. It felt… I mean crushed velvet… dang it Eli, now you have me doing it!”
Eli chuckled, “Mission accomplished.”
“Don’t pretend you were planning that,” Kara teased.
Eli grinned from ear to ear. “Don’t say that out loud. She might not know that.” Robynne cleared her throat, “As I was saying. He didn’t have a halo that looked like crushed velvet. You know the texture of crushed velvet? His aura felt like that. As if I was touching but without tactile contact. And the closer I got to him the more… texturous the aura was.”
Noriko didn’t look up from counter she was using as her workspace to clean her sword in. “That is not a word.”
As she was honing on Noriko, Robynne caught Cory glancing nervously over at the ninja meticulously applying some sort of chemical cleaner on her blade. Robynne nearly laughed. He really wasn’t comfortable with her having that sword around him. If Robynne were honest, she wasn’t comfortable with it either but had just accepted these were the things you dealt with when your roommate was a ninja. “No, it’s not a word, but it’s the best word I can come up with. I mean, texture is not like smell or sound where there is an intensity to it. It either has the texture or it doesn’t. It’s binary in nature. But, here I am with this extra sense and a brain that can’t fully interpret it so it’s giving me weird synesthetic sensations.”
“Synes-what?” Kara asked as she bounced up and down to the beat of poorly translated Japanese pop music.
“Synesthetic.” Cory cheerfully informed while shoving more cheeseballs into his mouth. “Synesthesia is a condition where someone gets weird crossed wires between their various senses. They’ll get really weird things like tasting purple or hearing blueberries.”
Vivian threw a cheeseball at Cory’s head. He tried to catch it but it ended up hitting him on the nose. “Don’t Hollywood psychiatrist this up! That’s a gross oversimplification of synesthesia!”
Cory shrugged and picked the missed cheeseball up off the table and devoured it. “Gets the point across.”
Vivian threw another cheeseball at him. “You’re the reason Hollywood keeps screwing up mental disorders.” This time Cory caught the cheeseball in his mouth and grinned like a fox in a henhouse. Vivian rolled her eyes but couldn’t hide her amusement. Robynne smiled. It was good to know Vivian was giving her friend another chance.
Kara and Eli finished up their “dance” high fived. Kara had earned an A-rank while Eli got an S-rank. Robynne still didn’t like that S was somehow better than A. “Not bad.”
Kara wiped her forehead, “Yeah. Still need to get used to these soft pads though. I’m so used to the hard pads at your arcade.”
Eli nodded, “Yeah, the hard pads are definitely better.”
“Any word on when Loose Change is opening back up?”
“A few more weeks last I heard. Haven’t really been keeping up with it.” Robynne again had to hold back a chuckle. Eli couldn’t stop smiling when he talked to Kara. It was like he knew he was living a dream and didn’t want to wake up.
That’s when Robynne felt two strong auras burst near the group’s presence. Robynne jumped a little at the suddenness, as if discovering someone was right behind you when you didn’t hear them walk up. They “looked” like they were coming from the tall decorative stone in the corner of the room. The stronger aura looked like the scent of… was that lavender? Robynne was fairly certain that was lavender though she couldn’t be sure. She had never been that good with differentiating smells. The other, weaker but still very strong aura looked like the scent of pine trees.
A moment after Robynne felt the auras, the stone lit up like a light bulb. It was only then that everyone else turned to look, with Cory falling out of his chair from the shock. Vivian giggled, “It’s just the teleporting stone.”
“Well excuse me for not being used to it.” Robynne said nothing as Cory defended himself from Vivian’s teasing. Kara and Vivian hadn’t seem to notice something was going on until the stone lit up. Was Robynne’s extra sense really that much more sensitive?
Angela confidently walked out the door with a happy smile on her face, still wearing the business-appropriate attire from the school day. Everyone else had long since changed into something more casual. “Hello everyone. I brought a surprise.”
A shadow darkened the light of the stone. Ducking through the portal was Eli’s sister, Mallory. She limped in but had a big smile on her face. “Hey guys.”
Cory jumped off the floor. “Mal! You’re up!”
Eli and Kara rushed forward, each with a blend of concern and happiness their face. “You should still be in bed,” Kara chided her with a hug.
Mallory winced at the hug. “Ribs’re still a bit tender, Kara.”
“Tough,” Kara scolded her, “I told you to stay in bed and you didn’t. If you’re healthy enough to be up you’re healthy enough to get hugs. You don’t get to choose.”
Eli stood a few steps back and honored his sister’s request for no hugs. “Good to see you up Mallory.”
Mallory sighed, “Can you remove this leech off me, Elijah?”
“No!” Vivian leaped forward and joined Kara’s hug. Mallory grunted at the pain. “The giant is finally vulnerable! Now is the only opportunity to strike!”
Robynne chuckled at Mallory’s misfortune as everyone fussed over her. Angela used the opportunity to sneak over to Robynne and Noriko’s position by the counter. Robynne took a quick sip and nodded towards Mallory. “How is she doing?”
Angela took the seat next to Robynne at the counter. “Well, I think. She’s still very sore and limping and eating us out of apartment and home as she regenerates but she’s planning on getting back to classes tomorrow and depending on how she feels, practice on Friday.”
“That’s good to hear.” Robynne then shook her head, “Still can’t believe that after the beatdown she took that she’s going to be fine not even a week later. This healing factor is pretty incredible.”
Angela nodded, a bit of fear in her eyes, “True, though I really don’t like having to rely on it.”
Robynne nodded, “Seems smart.”
“So,” Angela asked with a voice that reeked of too much concern, “How was your first day back to class.”
Robynne resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She’d rather not talk about it again for what seemed like the dozenth time but such was the nature of your friends and teammates walking in from their classes one at a time. “Could have been worse.”
“Is that Robynne-speak for bad?” Angela asked with all the confidence of a kid about to be eliminated from a spelling bee.
“Robynne-speak? No. It’s just what it says on the tin. It could have been worse.”
“So middling then?”
Robynne rolled her eyes, “I’m not speaking a foreign language, Angela. Don’t overanalyze it.”
Noriko wiped her blade with more oil. Seemingly dissatisfied, she poured more onto her cloth and began reapplying. “It would seem Robynne had difficulty today with all the various ‘auras’ she felt on campus with her extra sense.” Why was Noriko moving them back to this conversation? Could it be she was actually curious and wanted to hear more?
Angela smiled and her voice rose in pitch as she asked, “Really?” She leaned on the counter, looking Robynne directly in the eyes. Robynne had never really noticed how pretty Angela’s deep blue eyes were. Why was she suddenly recognizing eyes so much today? “You can feel all the auras on campus?”
Robynne shrugged, not wanting to stare at Angela’s eyes. It felt rude. “Well, I mean, not all at once but I could feel all sorts of them around campus. Especially between periods. It’s…weird.”
Angela laughed, “Feels so good to hear someone else say that. The other girls don’t seem to feel the auras as deeply as I do.” She shrugged, “Or as we do I guess.”
Robynne pursed her lips outward, “Really? Like, at all?”
Angela shook her head. “I shouldn’t say at all, but I found with Mallory, Vivian, and Kara, I would point out auras and what they’d feel always seemed… fuzzier than I’d feel. I’d feel an aura of lemony flavor; Vivian would just feel sour. I’d feel the scent of hot coals charring meat; Kara would feel smokey something that was merely something on a barbecue. I’d feel the sound of the ocean crashing up against the beach; Mallory would just hear something that sounded like breathing but it wasn’t breathing.”
Robynne winced, “Breathing but not breathing?”
Angela shrugged and smiled guiltily, “Mallory’s strengths are neither her magic sense or her turn of phrase.”
Robynne took one last swig from her soda can and considered the implications of being able to sense everything better than the other girls. If they all experienced the sense differently it meant that just as someone could have better hearing or a good eye, they could have vastly different empathokinetic senses. She wondered if, just as there was impaired hearing or sight, if there were people in the Ardent Empire who were empathokinetically impaired.
Robynne shook her soda to confirm it was empty. “Noriko, can you throw this away for me?”
“Yes.” Noriko didn’t even look up from her blade.
Robynne figured Noriko was being literal-minded and being picky with the “can” versus “may” discrepancy. Robynne hated it when people harped on that. To amuse herself, Robynne tossed the can in the ninja’s direction despite her inattention.
Noriko glanced up at hearing the faint woosh of the falling can. If she was surprised or concerned she, as usual, gave no sign of it. She turned her attention back to the sword. With a quick snap of her arm she struck the can with an open palm. The can bounced off the wall and ricocheted into the garbage can with a metallic clink.
Robynne mouth hung wide open. “How did you do that?”
“Training,” Noriko responded with a tinge of amusement.
Angela giggled but turned the conversation back to their extra sense. “So, out of curiosity, what does everybody’s auras in this room feel like to you?”
Robynne couldn’t believe Angela wasn’t going to dwell on what Noriko had just done. Did Noriko show off her ninjutsu feats so often that they had become old hat to Angela? “We’re not going to talk about Noriko at all? She just…”
The corner of Angela’s lips curled into a smirk. “We have learned to ignore Noriko’s showmanship. She likes to pretend she’s this cold, heartless machine of a person but she’s actually a bit of a show-off. We don’t want to encourage that.”
Noriko offered no retort outside of a dull grunt. Robynne laughed, realized Angela had actually hit the nail on the head. Noriko liked to display her skill. Of course she would. It would have taken years to hone the ability to do things like that. Doing them casually and acting like it was no big deal was all part of her act, “Oh my gummy, you actually are a show-off!”
Noriko frowned. She clearly wasn’t amused that Angela had pointed out a faint crack in her mask. “You two were talking about what auras you felt?”
Robynne chuckled but didn’t press further. She didn’t like people examining her personality flaws either and she wanted to avoid being a hypocrite. Instead, she focused on her extra sense. Robynne was impressed, despite all the various strong auras in the room, how quickly she got used to their presences. She supposed it was no different than tuning out the repetitive sound of a fan or the smell of a dank basement. If you sensed something long enough you’d begin to not notice it.
“Okay,” Robynne said with a squint, “so, like, right before the stone lit up and you and Mallory walked in, I felt your auras.”
Angela leaned forward. “Before the stone lit up?”
Angela leaned back. “Huh.”
“Is that weird?”
Angela held her knuckle up to her chin. “Well, I mean, I notice it just as the stone lights up. I’ve always thought it was kind of neat how when the stone opens up it feels like whatever sounds, smells, or auras that are on the other side rush through the gap in space. But I’ve never anticipated it before the stone opens.”
Robynne shrugged, “Well, I did. Though everyone else just reacted to the stone lighting up.”
Angela nodded. “They do seem to respond slower, yes. What did Mallory’s aura feel like to you? Was it a smell?”
Robynne focused on Mallory. Her aura was harder to make with Vivian wrapped around the giant like a second shirt. Still, she could make out an aura that was the sweet, sappy smell of pine trees. As she zeroed in further, she could also pick up the scent of thin, but humid air. It reminded Robynne of the time Robert and his Uncle had gone camping in the Alpine Cliffs State Park during spring break and it started to rain. Though Robert had complained a lot about wasting all spring break away from civilization he wouldn’t have traded anything for that night with her Uncle as they just sat silently in the tent and listened to the rain and thunder roll over the mountains. “Yeah. It’s a smell. Smells like a coniferous forest high in the mountains before a storm is about to hit.”
Angela sat up straight. “Really?”
“Yeah. What? You feel something different?”
Angela pursed her lips out. “I mean, I definitely feel the smell of the pine forest. Her aura is strong. It was one of the reasons I thought she might be Spirit Guard originally.” Angela shook her head. “But I don’t get any of that stuff about the air on the mountains before a storm.”
“Mhmm.” Angela insisted. “Very interesting.” She waffled her head back and forth then just simply sighed with a smile. “Well, what about Kara and Vivian then?”
Robynne concentrated on Vivian. Mallory had finally found the leverage to pry herself free from the tiny girl’s surprisingly vice-like hug, making it easier for Robynne to distinguish her aura. Vivian aura was very fragrant. The scent-aura was so aromatic it tickled Robynne’s nose despite the fact she wasn’t actually smelling it. “A flower for sure. Very strong smell. It’s kind of fruity, but also spicy. Also, this sounds crazy, but the aura also smells sticky. But it’s definitely a flower from a wet place. But not a swamp.”
Angela scrunched her face up, staring straight at Vivian the same way one did a magic eye picture. “I get flower. I get fruity. I even get that spicy, almost innervating smell. But sticky?”
Robynne shrugged once more. “Just what I’m feeling.”
“Wow. What about Kara?”
Robynne watched as Kara, thought she was no longer hugging Mallory, gripped Mallory’s left arm and tried to get her stubborn patient to sit down and rest some more. Robynne liked Kara’s aura. While other auras simply existed, Kara’s aura was soothing and easy to describe. “Another smell. The fresh scent of a grassy, dew-misted meadow of daisies.” There had been a field just like it next to her elementary school growing up. “But the smell is kind of warm, like maybe the sun just rose and hasn’t evaporated all the dew yet.”
Angela squinted in frustration. “I can’t pick up any of that warmness or sunrise stuff.”
“Well, you did say you couldn’t sense anything really until after your transformation. I was feeling stuff before. Maybe my extra sense is just more, uh, sensitive?”
Angela sighed and pushed some strands of gold from her eyes. “I just am so used to being the one who tells the other girls what auras they are missing out on. I am not used to it being the other way around. I feel like I’m missing out on something, like whenever a musician talks about the technical details of their instrument. You just know they hear something you can’t.”
Robynne shrugged. “I guess.”
Angela stared at the ground for a moment before shaking her head and looking back at Robynne. “Okay, so what about me?” A self-conscious smile curled on her lips. “What does mine feel like?”
With no nearby auras to distract Robynne’s sense, she didn’t need to focus all that hard to feel Angela’s aura. “Another flower. Sort of like Vivian’s but none of that stickiness and the fruitiness of it is very mild. Very sweet though. Almost, uh, I don’t know. I almost want to say sort of like balsamic vinegar. But, I mean, without the vinegar. So I guess just balsamic… if that’s a thing. I don’t know. I want to say maybe a lily of some kind? I’m not really good with flowers or perfumes but yours is very perfumy.” Robynne shrugged before adding, “It’s a good aura.”
Angela beamed with pride. “The others have compared it to a lily to! Though, well, not with anywhere close the level of detail you just gave.” She then giggled, “Though I’m not sure what a balsamic vinegar smells like without the vinegar.”
Robynne gave an embarrassed smile. “I’m sort of just riffing here.”
“It’s just nice to know I have a good aura,” Angela said while lounging back into her seat.
Curious, Robynne searched for her own aura. She had never bothered to attempt it. Strangely she couldn’t feel a thing, though she supposed it’d be like trying to see yourself without a mirror. Or maybe she just couldn’t sense it because she was always in her own presence and, thus, would always be used to her aura. “Tell me, what does my aura feel like?”
Angela grinned, “You have a very good aura too.”
Angela closed her eyes and smiled. “It’s like all the others. All our auras are plant fragrances. Your aura looks like the scent of a bouquet of fresh-cut, red roses; sort of like the type a husband would give to his wife on their anniversary.” Robynne’s shoulders slumped. “A pure, simple, green, floral, and delicious scent. It’s really a gorgeous aura.”
Robynne leaned onto the counter. “Bouquet of roses, huh?”
Angela opened her eyes and put her hands to her face. “Oh, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said the husband wife thing.”
Robynne rolled her shoulder, looking towards the fridge and trying to will another soda into her hands. “No. It’s fine. You were just trying to be descriptive.”
Angela put a hand on Robynne’s shoulder. “I could have put it in less, well, girly terms for you.”
Robynne instinctively squirmed at Angela’s touch. “It wasn’t like I expected my aura to smell like sawdust, oil, and bacon grease. It’s just an aura. No one but us can feel them anyway.”
Angela kept her hand on Robynne’s shoulder. “If it makes you feel any better, your aura has always felt like that. Even at the arcade I sensed a very rosy-smelling aura. All that has changed is how aromatic and vivid it’s become.”
Robynne got up and let Angela’s hand slide off of her. She moved to the fridge and grabbed another soda. “That’s good to know,” Robynne lied. Why did her aura being a bouquet of roses between two lovers on Valentine’s day bother her so much?
As she thought about her own aura she felt another aura, a very faint one, pull itself away from the garden of auras that made up the Spirit Guard. The aura was so faint that Robynne couldn’t even describe it beyond feeling that it was some sort of flavor. She looked in the direction of the aura and found Eli walking away from the group to visit the bathroom.
Robynne squinted, then glanced at Cory. She couldn’t feel anything but he was in the midst of Vivian, Mallory, and Kara. Trying to pick out an aura between those three was like trying to hear a single instrument in the middle of a symphony. Robynne closed her eyes and focused.
A fruity flower in a rainforest. A pine forest on top of a stormy mountain. A dewy meadow of daisies. She couldn’t sense anything coming from Cory. Robynne kept her eyes closed and focused on Noriko. Again, she felt nothing. She focused on Eli as she could hear the bathroom door close behind him. Though she felt like a bit of a voyeur using her extra sense to figuratively follow him into the bathroom, she continued to focus on the “taste” of his aura.
Despite all her attempts, Robynne couldn’t discern anything beyond the fact that he had an aura and that it had a taste. It was sort of like the tofu of auras: she knew that it existed and that it had some form of flavor, but she’d be donuted if she could describe what that flavor was. “Angela, can you sense an aura off of Eli?”
“Elijah?” Angela asked. She shrugged and closed her eyes. “Not that I can feel.” The blonde opened her eyes and tilted her head to one side. “Do you?”
“A faint one,” Robynne admitted. “But not really one I can describe.” Robynne wasn’t about to reveal her friend had an aura that was as bland and non-descript as tofu. It just didn’t feel like a compliment.
Angela eyebrows shrugged up and down. “Must be so faint only you can sense. I personally wouldn’t read too much into it though. All sorts of people on campus have auras of differing intensities. Kunapipi thinks the Standridge Stones attract people with heightened Investiture. It would make sense that–”
Noriko slid her sword into her leather scabbard. “Earlier, Robynne was telling us about an intense aura she felt coming off of a gentleman working the SFEERS booth. She said it was an aura the texture of crushed velvet. What do you make of that?”
Robynne squinted at Noriko. She hadn’t seen her interrupt anyone before. Not even Vivian and all her zaniness. However, Angela showed no sign of being offended. “Crushed velvet? Really? I’ve only ever felt a texture aura on one other person. Who was this guy?”
Robynne thought of Fretribution, his smooth crushed velvet aura, and his piercing ice blue eyes. Robynne shook her head. “Uh, yeah. He was working the Clubs Week booth for Spheres. Was the President of the club actually.”
Angela leaned forward, “The President? Really?” She squinted and her normally inviting, deep blue eyes became very hard. “So he was recruiting you then? Was he nice? Tell me more about the aura.”
Robynne stood next to the fridge feeling like the kid playing hide-and-go-seek who had failed to find a hiding spot before the countdown ended. “Um, well…” Where had this barrage of questions come from. She cracked open her soda and took a swig. She decided to focus on the last question first. “It was just what I said. His aura felt like the texture of crushed velvet.”
“What color of crushed velvet?”
Robynne shook her head. “It wasn’t a color. It was literally just the texture. That soft, smooth texture that is unique to crushed velvet. It was just weird with how powerful it was and how, well…” Robynne thought again about his ice blue eyes.
“I guess, well, pretty it was. It was a really good aura.”
Angela relaxed a little in her chair. “And he was just working the recruiting booth?”
“Did he seem shifty at all?”
Robynne squinted, “Shifty? No. He was just really nice and just trying to get everyone to join the sci-fi club.”
Angela tapped her knuckles to her chin. “I’m going to have to stop by that booth then. See if I can’t feel this aura for myself.”
Robynne took a long drink and leaned against the fridge. Why was Angela suddenly being so intense about this? “Yeah. It was unique.”
“Sounds like it.”
Robynne folded her arms across her chest. “There something I should know about people with texture auras? You’re acting really weird about it all of the sudden.”
“Huh?” Angela looked up and stiffened. “Oh, I uh… I was acting weird?”
“Just a smidge.”
Angela blushed. “I… sorry, Robynne. Didn’t mean to get so intense there.” She waffled her head back and forth. “It’s just that… the person I met with a texture aura…” Angela drew her mouth into a small, knotted ball. “Let’s just say she was more than a bit of a jerk to me.”
Robynne could sense Angela’s anger and frustration. She decided to switch the topic to the aura itself. “What was her aura like?”
Angela leaned back. “It was, well, unique. It was sort of like the texture of grape juice. You know, sort of that mostly liquid but kind of syrupy consistency. And it sort of, I don’t know, stuck to you? Not sure how else to describe it.”
“Stuck to you? Like the texture felt sort of sticky?”
Angela shook her head, “No. Not the texture. The aura itself was what was sticky. Like, it stayed with you as you moved away. Like, if she walked away from you the aura would grow fainter as expected but the effect of feeling her aura would linger a bit. Like it left a bit of a residue on our brain or something.”
Robynne sloshed her drink around in its can. “That is weird.”
“Did your crushed velvet guy have anything like that.”
Robynne shook her head. “Nothing like that, no. Just faded as I walked away.”
Robynne tried not to look at Angela directly. There was definitely more to the story than Angela was telling. However, as Robynne watched the Spirit Guard leader run her hands down the length of her golden blonde hair, Robynne decided not to pursue it. People’s pasts were their business. Angela obviously wasn’t comfortable telling Robynne any more, and Robynne wasn’t comfortable prying. So why dig deeper?
Still, the conversation was now at the awkward part where neither knew what to change the subject to. Robynne decided to just end it. “Well, I have a lot of homework to catch up on. I better get started on it.”
Angela gave a sigh of relief, “Need any help?”
Robynne shook her head. “Nah. Easy stuff.” She headed for her bedroom before adding, “Thanks for the offer though.”
Robynne tried to slink into her bedroom without the others noticing. That’s precisely when Vivian turned away from poking at Mallory and noticed Robynne. “Hey. You can’t leave! Everyone’s here! The party just started.”
Robynne tried to give an apologetic smile. “Some of us are nearly a week behind on homework. It isn’t going to do itself.”
Mallory opened her mouth but stopped short of saying anything. Vivian was more than happy to fill the void. “Please, with your body, you could just mildly flirt with the TA’s and I’m sure you’d get off easy.”
Robynne rolled her eyes. “Have fun everybody. Sorry to bail.”
As Robynne shut her door behind her, she heard the sound of someone punching someone else. “What was that for?” Vivian shouted.
“Be nice to her,” commanded Mallory’s tired voice.
“I am,” Vivian insisted. “Teasing is how I show people my love and affection. You should have seen us the other night! We had a great choco-phagial therapy session!”
Robynne could nearly hear Mallory rubbing her temples, “You really need to stop finding excuses to eat ice cream.”
Robynne chuckled and sat down at her desk. Maybe homework could wait a little bit. She still hadn’t transferred Bluster over to the Stoneraven server, renamed her, or done her faction change. She reached for her computer’s power switch.
Robynne stopped and reached for her backpack. Those things could wait. Right now she had homework to do. Plus, getting over to the new server would require some form of interaction to get into the Spheres’ guild. Robynne had more than had her fill of social interaction for the day. Homework wouldn’t ask her personal questions, didn’t have pretty ice blue eyes, or auras that smelled like a bouquet of roses. Homework just simply existed. Right now, for some reason, the tedium of just existing sounded somewhat relaxing.
So, funny story. The team mixing up “crushed velvet” and “red velvet” was totally unplanned. As I was dealing with DEBUTANTE #00B: Red Velvet over on the SCIRT side, I had red velvet on the brain and kept accidently writing that instead of crushed velvet. Then I got the idea of the characters actually being the ones to mess it up and stumbled upon something I think was funny and authentic-sounding. At least I like to think it’s funny and authentic-sounding. Hopefully you agree.
Coming up with descriptions for auras was harder than I’d thought it would be. Especially with Robynne and Angela comparing what they are feeling. The biggest issue was coming up with a way that Robynne would describe them. She’s not normally given to descriptive or, pardon the pun, flowery descriptions. Hopefully I didn’t break too much character there.
So this is a part where my writing style has caused me some problems. I want to clarify that there is a difference between auras and emotions. Auras are supposed to be more innate than an emotion. An aura doesn’t fluctuate. An aura is an extension of your soul/Investiture/sentience/willpower/whatever-other-word-you-want-to-use. The problem is I know in previous chapters I’ve described auras of emotion. In fact, I think I referred to Trace as having “an aura of intense guilt” or something like that. Though Robynne doesn’t know that was Trace.
Regardless, it’s something I need to clean up on an edit. If you read the story and find anywhere I refer to an emotion as an aura, please let me know via email. It is a bad side-effect of being more of a discovery writer. For those of you who are curious though, when the girls are in Spirit Guard mode they CAN sense emotions though. I figured that’d make sense given that is when they are at their empathokinetic height. I probably shouldn’t be pointing out my own mistakes as a writer but, meh, I figured it’d come up at some point. Better to have an explanation written somewhere.
I hope the conversations seemed real and were entertaining. Also, I think “texturous” would be an amazingly cool screenname. Feel free to use it 😛