I was careful not to wake the sleeping tiger behind me as I unwrapped myself from his arms so I could start the day, but my efforts were in vain.
“Where’re you going?” he asked with a yawn and pulled me back in under the covers.
“I’m training Nathaniel this morning.”
There was silence from Noah so I assumed that he fell back asleep and tried to slip away again. “No,” he grumbled from under a pillow and refused to let go.
“What do you mean no? Nathaniel’s waiting for me.” I tickled along the vein trailing Noah’s arm to get him to retreat.
“I’ll be back before you get up.” He kissed lazily up my back to find his way to my neck without opening his eyes. “I don’t have time right now, Tiger.”
“Just a nibble. It’ll only take a few minutes,” he said with sleep still heavy in his voice.
“It’s never just a few minutes with you.”
“Just a couple of hours then.”
“That’s not how negotiating works,” I laughed.
Noah put his hand on my thigh and pulled my lower half back against his so I could feel his true intentions, as if I didn’t already know. “How about now?”
“Sorry I’m late,” I apologized to Nathaniel and Lyle who had been waiting for me outside the abbey. Nathaniel and I were looking to test the limits of his energy output along with Lyle’s help using some of PROJECT: UNITY’s equipment.
“It’s been three hours. What the hell happened?” Lyle asked.
“You must have been having very good dreams,” Nathaniel smiled knowingly. Our bond enabled us to sense each other’s emotions to some extent and despite it being that way for months it was still taking some getting used to.
“Don’t you sass me, Nathaniel.”
“I’m sorry, master.” He continued to smile. He knew I hated when he called me that, but I liked that Nathaniel had come out of his shell enough to be a bit cheeky with me.
“We should really be doing this inside somewhere with safety features like lead walls or something,” Lyle said and put on his helmet.
“Mistakes were meant to be made,” I told him. “I don’t think there’s anywhere safer than out over the water, anyway. He busted his gauntlets last time and enchanted orichalcum is way more durable than any metal on Earth.”
I took off my prayer beads and started removing Nathaniel’s new gauntlets for him without realizing. The bond between our souls was more than just a trickle of emotions, but a metaphysical empathic connection. As strange as it sounded, we felt as if we shared one body; when either one of us touched the other’s skin it felt like we were touching our own.
It was confusing at times and I never imagined the definition of a soulmate being so literal, but it was pleasant. The piece of my soul that was fused with Nathaniel’s brought us together like a personal gravitational force. We were inseparable and took care of each other like we were taking care of ourselves.
“Fine, but I’m gonna be pissed if you kill me. Go a couple hundred feet out and I’ll start scanning so PARAGON can measure what he can do,” said Lyle.
Nathaniel and I set off from the cliff behind the abbey to fly out over the Mediterranean. Once we were far enough away I took both of Nathaniel’s hands in mine.
“Keep it to the size of a golf ball this time and no big leaps in power or I can’t contain it and you’ll blow my hands off again,” I instructed.
“It’s fine, I’m used to it.”
Nathaniel created a small orb of light in our hands that immediately pushed them apart until I pushed back with telekinesis.
He was getting the hang of his super speed and strength, but his energy-based powers were still giving him trouble. The problem was that he didn’t only emit light, but also a concussive force inherited from my telekinesis that he didn’t know how to control yet. I was able to help by applying a counter-force to contain the blast so he didn’t turn the Mediterranean into a smoking crater, but he was so unstable it was difficult to gauge from one second to the next.
“Keep going,” I told him. I could feel the kinetic force of the orb wobbling as it increased in strength. “Just concentrate on keeping balance on all sides before adding more power. Picture it like making a snowball with your mind.”
“I’ve never made a snowball before.”
“Maybe we should’ve started with that.” I already had to close my eyes from how bright it was, but Nathaniel seemed to be immune to the light. “Nathaniel, round it out.”
“I’m trying.” The energy was flaring out from the orb in an attempt to find a place to vent. “It feels good releasing the energy, but it’s hard to stop it.”
“That’s why we’re practicing!” The more he tried balancing out one side, the more he increased his total energy output with inconsistent spikes in power.
My ears were starting to ring as the hum of energy flow changed to a high-pitched whistle. Nathaniel was doing much better this time and with a lot more power.
“Slow down,” I ordered. “We’re starting to push my limits. I’m not used to doing this.”
“I don’t know how to stop…What do I do with it?”
“Uh…what? I don’t know. What did you do last time?”
“It blew up on us.”
“Oh, yeah. Try to let it disperse little at a time and fly up above the clouds with it as far as you can go in case you lose control.”
I stayed with Nathaniel letting the miniature star he had created burn out to a point I felt was safe enough for him to take up into the atmosphere on his own. After a few seconds there was an explosion brighter than the midday sun that sent him hurtling back down. I stopped him in the air before he hit the water.
“That was fun,” he said, looking up at me.
We returned to Lyle and saw Noah lying in the grass watching us with his sunglasses on. I should have borrowed them, but I’d never hear the end of it if they got destroyed.
I landed on Noah to sit with him while I listened to Lyle report.
“I want lunch,” Noah interrupted, but I covered his mouth.
“PARAGON measured Nathaniel’s light energy in joules and lumens,” Lyle said. “Joules are a measurement of energy and what they use to measure stuff like nuclear weapons. Lumens are a measurement of brightness.”
“How’d I do?” Nathaniel asked.
“Good and bad, I guess. I don’t really know how to say this, but… you released approximately ten to the power of thirty-five joules. Just picture a one with thirty-five zeroes after it. That’s more energy than any nuclear weapon ever tested and more energy than we use on Earth for a whole year…it’s ten times more energy than the Sun puts out for an entire year and it was brighter. You aren’t radiating any heat though. It’s all light and concussive force, kind of like the light is not normal light, but a different form of energy.”
“Wow!” Nathaniel and I both exclaimed.
“I could have kept going too,” he said.
“Yeah…you can’t use that power,” said Lyle. “You could destroy all life on Earth, including the Earth itself.”
“Leave it to the human to be afraid of power he doesn’t have,” Noah scoffed. “The kid just has to learn to use it right.”
“I know Nathaniel can do it,” I said to back him up.
“Dorian, even though PARAGON couldn’t separate who was doing what, you had to have been even stronger to contain all that kinetic energy,” said Lyle.
“Well, I did blow up a moon. Don’t tell me you want me to start using a gun now instead though.”
“No. I guess I’m more comfortable with it coming from you because you grew into it, even if it was rushed at times.”
“I trained him right,” Noah boasted. “And I’ll train this kid right too, with Dorian.”
“Thank you,” Nathaniel said. Not only was Nathaniel a fast learner with everything he was taught, but he showed an incredible passion for it whether it was with me or Noah.
“Try not to piss him off like you do everyone else or it’ll be a lot worse than blowing up the wall to a chateau,” Lyle warned.
“Don’t tell me what to do,” Noah complained. “Why are you even talking to me?”
“If someone can learn to put up with Noah, it’s the ultimate test in keeping calm,” I smiled and patted his chest. “Just imagine how helpful all that power will be against the Infernal Kings. Maybe PROJECT: UNITY could figure out a way to make a rechargeable battery for Nathaniel to zap and be used to power whole countries.”
“I’d like that,” Nathaniel said. “Maybe I could charge aether crystals for them.”
“No you wouldn’t,” said Noah. “Don’t let humans rely on you or they’ll always expect it, then demand it. And if you don’t come through just one time they’ll turn on you and make you the bad guy.”
Lyle sighed and changed the subject. “Something really interesting about all of this is that there was hardly any radiation released from all that energy. According to PARAGON that’s an impossibility in nuclear physics, but cross-referencing what we know about the supernatural and where the energy was coming from in the first place; it’s possible that the backflow of radiation returned to the dimension it came from.”
“That’s good news,” I said. “I wasn’t even thinking about radiation. I kept picturing it as a light bulb. I wonder what effects it’ll have on the Rift though.”
“I guess we won’t know unless we go there, but if it’s spiritual energy fueling my powers, wouldn’t the radiation be spiritual too?” Nathaniel asked. “That would be good then since the Rift is always trying to collect more.”
“It’s possible, man,” said Lyle. “That isn’t really my specialty. I’ve just been reading what PARAGON tells me. You gotta keep a lid on that power though either way.”
“Don’t worry about it. We’ll keep training until it becomes second nature,” I assured him.
After Lyle left, Nathaniel joined Noah and I back in our room. I lied in bed and watched the two of them spar for hours. It was a bit humorous since nothing Noah could do would hurt Nathaniel—let alone move him against his will.
“Pull back on the shoulder like this once you’ve got your grip locked in,” Noah instructed Nathaniel while demonstrating another submission move on him.
“Take a break guys,” I told them. “We need to work on his light powers.”
“We should find some demons for him to practice on.” Noah threw himself on the bed and rolled over on top of me. “After lunch.”
“Good idea,” I said and hugged Noah’s head.
330 Joules energy to melt 1 gram of ice
4,200 Joules energy released by explosion of 1 gram of TNT
1,100,000,000 Joules energy in an average lightning bolt
600,000,000,000,000 Joules energy released by an average hurricane in 1 second
210,000,000,000,000,000 Joules yield of the Tsar Bomba, largest nuclear weapon ever tested
500,000,000,000,000,000,000 Joules total world annual energy consumption in 2010
12,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Joules total energy output of the Sun each year
150,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Joules Nathaniel’s current energy output