It was a distinct tingling that radiated from the pit of his stomach and spread throughout his entire body. It felt like pure energy was flowing through his veins. A sudden, incredible sense of exhilaration flooded his brain, making his breath catch in his throat and causing his eyes to grow huge.
Morgan took notice, and her eyes widened likewise. “Are you okay?” she asked anxiously. Her eyes grew even wider. “Is it happening
Before Solonn could even begin to form any sort of an answer, a powerful jolt from deep within him struck him with almost no warning, taking his breath away completely. The tingling sensation that was still coursing throughout his body shifted in an instant into a strong vibration, one that intensified by the second and produced a dull ache in his bones.
His mouth opened in a silent scream as the sensations he was experiencing made a turn toward earnest pain. He stared wildly at Morgan, who now looked more terrified than excited. She could clearly see the fear and pain in his eyes. Then her face was erased from Solonn’s sight as bright light began to shine from his entire body, filling his vision with a blindingly white emptiness.
In an instant so swift that he could not possibly have marked its precise arrival or passing, Solonn went from feeling full to bursting with energy to feeling as though he were made of energy
. The sensation was, in a sense, similar to that of entering a capture ball. The difference was that rather than feeling as though he had ceased to actually exist as confinement within the great ball made him feel, he instead felt as though he becoming more
There was no longer any pain. Distantly, as he began to rematerialize into his new form, he could sense that he was growing larger, but it didn’t quite manage to register as a truly physical sensation; he was presently not truly physical himself, after all.
Though the physical aspects of his change were mere shadows of sensations, there was another feeling present that he found overwhelming. This, he recognized with amazement and sheer elation, was the raw power of his element—and here he was, united with it in a way that made his prior experiences of closeness to his element look like the poor facsimiles of this strange, sweet union that they truly were. At last, he had truly become one with his element, and it was a wonderful
The bright, white nothingness drained at last from Solonn’s vision, allowing his surroundings to come back into focus. The first thing he saw, through eyes whose vision was much sharper than that which he had previously known, was the face of his coordinator. It was as white as snow in her awe, her eyes very wide and her mouth agape.
Solonn couldn’t blame her. Along with his sight, all of his other senses had returned, as well, giving him a full sense of what he had become. He was aware of the sheer size of his new body—he was huge
. At the same time, however, he didn’t feel like he was very heavy at all.
He realized then that he had taken to hovering without even consciously trying to do so and was now suspended just above the surface of Morgan’s bed. Solonn became fascinated at once with his newly gained levitation. He moved himself for the first time in this new fashion, gliding a very short distance forward, marveling at how effortless it felt.
Solonn was instantly at home within his new form. He felt a wonderful blend of elation and immense relief wash over him and wondered how he could have ever feared to become what he now was. A contented sigh escaped him, and he began to set himself down upon the bed with a smile—but he got back up in a hurry when the bed creaked ominously beneath his now considerable weight. In doing so, he knocked his horns against the ceiling. Biting back a swear, Solonn looked up to see if his horns had damaged the ceiling and saw to his relief that they hadn’t.
Morgan laughed. “Oh God, be careful! You’re almost too big for this room, you know that?”
She wasn’t kidding. Solonn realized how fortunate it was that Morgan’s room was as large as it happened to be; he took up a sizable share of its space. If the room had been any smaller…
“Actually… you’re too big, period,” Morgan noted. “No offense, but normally, glalie don’t get quite so large; I’d expected you to be closer to my height, actually. Do you have any idea what could have made you turn out this way?”
Solonn would have shrugged were it not for the fact that he no longer possessed shoulders. “Well, uh… I’ve always been kind of tall,” he said in his new, much deeper voice, “but I have to admit, this is…” He trailed off, rather at a loss for words. He was easily half again the size of even the largest glalie he had ever seen, and he had no explanation as to why.
“You know,” Morgan said then, “this might actually be a development that could work out in our favor. The audience is likely to be impressed by your size, and so are the judges.”
“Mm. Well, that’s good to know.”
Morgan nodded. A second later, her expression suggested that something had just occurred to her. She cast a slightly uneasy glance at the doorway, then at Solonn, and then back to the doorway once more. “Hey… um, how do you suppose we’re even going to get you out of here so we can take you to the contest hall?”
Solonn gave her a puzzled look, then followed her gaze to the doorway and understood at once.
“I will never fit through there,” he said with a small, hissing chuckle. “Never again.”
“No, you won’t,” Morgan concurred, laughing.
“…The ball will, though,” Solonn noted.
Morgan frowned slightly. “Well… you are right about that, but…” She sighed. “I don’t know. I mean, I know you don’t like it in there…”
Solonn made a dismissive noise. "It’s fine. You and I both know I can’t be trapped here in this room. There’s barely any room for us both to be in here at the same time; you’d hardly be able to get around in here with me in your way. You can’t even get into your own bed with me in here.”
Morgan cast a glance backwards at where her capture ball belt was hung, from whence Solonn’s great ball gave off a slight, teal glint in the soft lamplight. “Yeah, I know,” she said, traces of guilt in her voice making her speech sound slightly awkward, “but…”
“But nothing,” Solonn said gently. “I don’t mind going in there from time to time as long as it’s only when I really have to. For now, go ahead and get some sleep, all right? I’ll go in the ball for the night, and in the morning you can just take me out to the backyard where there’s plenty of room, and I’ll just stay out there from now on.”
Morgan gave him one last look of uncertainty. “Well, as long as you’re sure you don’t mind…” she said, then went to fetch the great ball.
“Hey,” Solonn said then. Morgan turned an inquisitive gaze upon him. “…I just wanted to thank you for making this happen… I never imagined this change would be so wonderful,” he said earnestly.
“Oh…” Morgan turned her head and smiled broadly, blushing slightly. “You’re welcome,” she said. “I’m glad you’re happy with your new form.”
She raised the ball toward Solonn, preparing to activate its recall function. “Goodnight, Solonn.”
“Goodnight,” the glalie echoed. As he allowed his body to be absorbed by the capture ball, he allowed his mind to be absorbed by thoughts of what he had become and the possible ramifications of the change.
* * *
Four days after Solonn’s evolution, Morgan and Sei Salma stepped out into the backyard to join him. The former brought along with her a small, portable stereo, just as she had done on Solonn’s request each day since he had evolved.
Solonn sat serenely beneath the sitrus tree. Morgan took a seat next to him, while Sei, carrying a large stack of magazines, levitated herself up into the branches above, picking a large sitrus berry for herself as she settled into a comfortable position. Morgan then started the music with a smile.
Solonn imagined that he would never cease to be amazed by human accomplishments such as the stereo that sat nearby, what with the way that it somehow produced human voices and the widely varying sounds of their music. The music that had been chosen that day impressed him more than any other that he had heard to date. One song in particular took a peculiar hold of him; he found its instrumentation rich and its lyrics poetic.
He closed his eyes, and he swore that he could actually see
the music in his mind’s eye. He visualized the music in the form of twisting, spiraling shapes that branched upward and outward, forming intricate patterns…
A sharp gasp, easily audible and discernible over the music to Solonn’s keen hearing, interrupted his reverie. A second later, the music was shut off. Solonn’s eyes opened, and a hiss of surprise escaped him at what he saw. Surrounding himself, Morgan, and Sei Salma were the shapes that he had envisioned within his mind. As if of their own accord, they had been brought out of his head and into the backyard, formed out of spontaneously generated ice.
<But… how?> Solonn asked.
<You’re a cryokinetic,> Sei said, gazing down with a smile as she munched on the sitrus berry. <Among other things, this gives you the ability to generate ice. You are also able to mentally manipulate it. All glalie have these abilities.>
<Well, yes, I knew that,> Solonn said, <but—>
<—You didn’t mean to use them,> Sei finished. <The subconscious activities of a cryokinetic can sometimes manifest themselves in a visible display, especially when said cryokinetic’s abilities first awaken. And I did not mean to read your mind there,> she added.
Solonn continued to stare, stupefied by the formations of ice that had been born of his own mind. He had created that display while being completely unaware of doing so. He had managed to lose himself in that act, just as he had lost himself in the music that had inspired it.
His gaze fell upon Morgan, who wore an awed expression as her eyes swept from one part of the ice formation to another. <Do you… do you like it?> he asked tentatively.
The human turned toward him and nodded, beaming brightly. Her finger moved over the “PLAY” button. <Keep it up. Please,> she said, then pushed the button.
The song resumed, and Solonn closed his eyes and tried to let the music absorb him once again, succeeding quite readily. For a brief moment, he wondered if continuing his cryokinetic display would not be so easy now that he was conscious of his actions, but he found that awareness of the use of this ability had no effect on its ease and enjoyability. He was still able to lose himself within his actions even though he now consciously chose them.
Solonn allowed his eyes to open and serenely watched the manifestations of ice that changed, grew and danced in time with the music. Through them, Solonn discovered the simple ecstasy of being quite literally in his element.
* * *