The Way of the Soul
looked, Malja saw white — a giant desert of snow.
    Not far off, Reon clambered to her feet and hurried away. Clutching the Soul of the Sun in one arm, she worked at forming another portal with the other. Malja loped through the snow after her. They both had to lift their legs high in the air just to get over to the next step. They weren’t so much running as they were trudging through the deep, thick cold. Malja’s do-kha heated up fast and she imagined Reon’s would as well.
    This is foolish, Malja thought. She stopped. Concentrating on the air in front of Reon, Malja formed a portal that would lead back to the vine-covered main hall of the factory.
    The portal surprised Reon and she tripped in. Malja followed swiftly behind. But they were only in the hall for seconds. Malja read Reon’s face with ease — worry. Reon took one look around, saw the shocked face of Fawbry and the intense focus of Tommy, saw the indignation of the supervisors and the raw anger of the Chairman, and thrust her hand beneath her. A portal formed. As she fell through, she looked up at Malja and winked. Cocky. And annoying. Malja dived in after her.
     
     
    They thumped down onto the soft grass of an open meadow. In seconds, they jumped to their feet. Malja pulled out Viper as Reon extended her do-kha into a sharp blade — it held this time.
    “At least you’re getting some control. It’s not the same as portals, though. You’ve got to stop doing that. Your belief in Harskill won’t change how powerful these things can be. You’ll end up killing everything.”
    “Stop chasing me and I won’t have to create more portals.”
    “You know I won’t stop.”
    “Then neither will I.”
    They both adjusted their feet. Malja flexed her fingers on Viper’s grip, readying for a swift attack. As they stared at each other, a rumble grew in the distance. It was a familiar sound. Malja could feel vibrations reach up through the ground — something big approached.
    A few seconds later, Malja knew what came their way. It had been a while since she had last heard it, but now that she knew, the sound was unmistakable — warriors on horseback charging across the land.
    “Take cover,” Malja said as she put away Viper and dashed toward the tree line off to the left. It would provide some protection. Reon broke off in the opposite direction. Malja couldn’t identify anything useful in that direction, but it was too late to change course.
    A wall of horses appeared at the top of the hill and thundered down toward them. Leather-skinned creatures rode each horse. Black and white spots covered their skin, making them easy to pick out amongst the black and brown horses.
    When Malja reached the trees, she tried to see who these riders attacked. Not who, though. Large, woolly beasts grazed at the bottom of the hill. The riders galloped by, wielding spears as well as bows and arrows. This wasn’t a battle. It was a tribe hunting for food.
    Once they cleared by and launched upon the herd, Malja dashed across the meadow. Her eyes scanned the tall grasses for Reon. In the distance, she saw a large boulder. Reon had probably hid behind it. Running towards the boulder, a loud explosion ripped open the land in front of her. Another portal attempt.
    Reon flew up from behind the boulder and smoke trailed her legs. When she hit the ground, Malja sprinted after her. By the time Malja reached Reon, the young woman had managed to get back on her feet. Still clutching the Soul of the Sun, Reon looked like a weathered miner afraid to give up the one nugget of gold she had uncovered.
    She wobbled and her knees threatened to buckle. Malja rushed to her side and caught her elbow. “Okay now, that’s enough portals for you. Let’s gather my friends and sit down for a nice talk.”
    Reon spit. “I’d sooner burn in Dulmul’s inferno than let you take me away. I will not fail Lord Harskill.”
    With that, she created a portal behind her and leaned back. The move

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