L’lorne stood over Deborah for several minutes, studying the sleeping girl, curled up in the grass and dirt. She had barely made it 200 feet from the campsite, just far enough into the trees and fields to be out of sight of the fire, and not much else. Still, Deborah could have gotten farther. Tripping over that rock was more a result of the blind panic clouding her natural ability to predict such impediments than clumsiness or the dark.
The good news was that Deborah wasn't seriously hurt by the fall. The worst damage was to her slacks, which now had a pair of nasty grass and dirt stains on the knees. With a blink, L’lorne removed the stains and returned the slacks to their like new conditions, much like she had done to the coat earlier.
There were some scrapes and cuts on the girl's hands and knees from when she landing. Again, nothing serious, and L’lorne began the process of healing them with another blink. Once her eyes had opened again, the various cells doing the repair work on the wounds went into hyper mode, and within a few moments, the damage would be gone with not even a scar to remember it by.
That, of course, took far more effort than L’lorne had been expecting. She was developing much faster than L’lorne had originally calculated. Deborah's body was rejecting the lighter pushes L’lorne had used before, but it hadn't given up the charge she had used to keep her going since they began. If she hadn't fallen down, it was likely Deborah could have made it all the way home without stopping.
L’lorne lightly kicked Deborah's side, feeling the lump of the lighter in the pocket where she pushed. Deborah didn't react and with another kick, the glasses now found their place next to the lighter. The extra mass caused Deborah to stir slightly, and blink awake. “Come on,” L’lorne said. “Busy day ahead, and you've already wasted half of it sleeping.”
Deborah instantly shot up and backed away, hacking through ragged breath and her own sleepiness. She tried to say something, but found she had nothing to say, and settled against a rock almost in total fear.
“I've already sent the diner ahead,” L’lorne continued, uninterested in a little girl's fear, however justified it was. “I'll meet you there.” L’lorne turned away and began walking toward the road. “Oh,” she said without looking over her shoulder. “I put the glasses in your pocket for you, in case you get lost.” With that, she moved into the thicker trees, leaving Deborah behind.
L’lorne reached the road about the time Deborah had finally gotten to her feet, but it would be a while before L’lorne knew which path the girl would take. She knew it had hurt her badly to learn about all the things she had done over her rather lengthy life, but it was better this way in the long run. If Deborah hadn't learned it now, Ritch 'arrd certainly would have told her, and the results of that would be far more disastrous. The pain would go away, eventually, and Deborah would get more used to it as time went on, so even if she hated L’lorne now, that was fine.
Was it fine? L’lorne felt an odd twinge that tried to tell her that no, it wasn't fine that Deborah hated her. A quick trace led right back to the block, and the boiling emotions spilling out. This would not do, it was far too soon for this thing to be breaking down, so L’lorne designed a new block and squashed it down over the old block and it's many added layers. That should hold, at least for now. Part of her wanted to wonder what was causing such unusual feelings and emotions, but curiosity, in this case, was very, very bad. Best not to think about it.
Deborah was on the move. L’lorne tracked the girl's movements via the glasses and her own seismic sensors. The road would offer her few choices, as the most likely route to take would be towards the capital, following L’lorne. It would be at the capital that Deborah would be confronted with the final choice of whether to see her quest through to the end, or return home.
That would be an interesting choice, heading home. Deborah wasn't the same street kid L’lorne had met twelve days ago. Her body had changed to be more efficient, more capable than any other person her age, or even someone fully developed and well trained. If she wished, she could easily be faster, stronger and more agile than any other person on the planet. Mentally, she now had the awareness of her own abilities, and even a degree of control. That alone could give her all the groundwork she needed to climb to the highest reaches of educational achievement. Beyond that, her mind had been opened to possibilities that most other people had only just begun to explore. She not only could explore them, but do so at the head of a vast army of followers, if she desired.
There was no question that if Deborah decided she didn't want to follow L’lorne and confront Ritch 'arrd that she would become one of the greatest people ever to live on this planet. The real question was whether in making that decision, would she give up the glasses? Delphi would never refuse a request from Deborah, it had already made that quite clear to L’lorne when she had asked it to make sure Deborah learned the truth. “If I do this for you,” it said. “Then she will have the same amount of access as you do.” Accessing Delphi would turn a merely great woman into what was practically a god. This Earth would never be the same again.
L’lorne reached the diner nearly 30 minutes before Deborah. She entered, took up their traditional booth, and began ordering a massive meal. It was late in the afternoon by then, in a couple hours it would begin to get dark. L’lorne had debated when to meet with Ritch 'arrd, and evening seemed to be the best time to her. The odds that even the Minister of Education would be getting a visitor late in the evening were low enough that it wouldn't interfere with their meeting at all. That and he would be easier to find then.
As she began eating, she ran over her odds and plan again. The plan was going well so far, and aside from Deborah surprising her inside the Asylum, little had been beyond her power to predict. Even as Deborah approached the diner and stopped at the final turn to enter it, L’lorne figured it would be seven minutes before Deborah made her mind up. Five minutes passed as Deborah stood there, probably thinking over the consequences of her decision. Did she even know her full potential if she walked away? L’lorne had made a concerted effort to prevent that, it would ruin the plan if she had even an inkling.
Two more minutes, and finally Deborah began to move. L’lorne felt tension for about a tenth of a second as the signal transmitted from Deborah's brain to her legs caused them to move. Then it was obvious where she was going, and L’lorne relaxed.
Deborah entered the diner, and without a word sat in the booth opposite L’lorne. L’lorne didn't smile, figuring that would only turn her off more. Instead she picked up the menu and handed it to her over the pile of food. “Would you like something?”
1. What kind of person is Lcorn L'lorne? What does she look like (in your mind)?
2. What kind of person is the Deborah Ignigus? What does she look like (in your mind)?
3. Does the setting seem fitting? Would you like to know more?
4. Why do you think Deborah went into the diner?