And now, the exciting conclusion. I hope you enjoyed the sharing of this story for free.
“Dem? Are you okay? You phased out on me again.”
I’m fine mom. But I have to go to the south entrance to the plant to talk to a Master A’Ah. Have you heard of him?”
“Master A’Ah? Yes, he is one of the senior masters that works for the plant. What business do you have with him?”
“I apparently did something wrong at the mine, and he intervened. But I have to meet with him to learn how not to make the same mistake again. Then he will undo the weave he put on me.”
Dem was amazed to realize he knew exactly what he was speaking about. The power separation weave was considered to be the worst thing you could do to a master, and was only done at a last option or to win a sparring session during testing. What he had done by touching all the crystals at the mine was to draw the power colors through them, and the huge number of crystals there made that very dangerous. He could have burned himself out if he had continued unchecked. Not to mention the fact that such an incredible amount of power in the hands of someone who did not know how to control it could be a disaster in and of itself.
“He intervened? What did you do? The masters never intervene.”
“Too many of the crystals in the mine were singing to me. Fortunately he was alert and noticed it immediately.”
“So that’s what brought you back. He did?”
“Then I owe him my thanks even if he reports this and it costs you the chance of getting that tuning position. At least you are still with me.”
Dem had not considered that possibility and now he was concerned. If he was disqualified from the tuner position, he had no other plans. He had prepared his whole life to become a cutter and his ‘talent’ would prevent that from happening. The only position in a crystal mining community for someone with the talent was as a tuner.
If he were blocked from that position, he would have to go to one of the big cities and try to find work there.
The thirty minutes it took to get to the plant entrance seemed like three days as Dem worried constantly about what the master would say to the plant officials.
They walked toward the entrance and Dem scanned the people there looking for someone who looked like a master. But none were wearing the robes he had heard they often wore.
“Dem, and your mother foreman Rem I presume.”
Dem nearly jumped as the tall slender young man spoke to him and his mom.
“Sir, I understand you brought my son back to me today. For that I am eternally grateful.”
“It is an honor to serve ma’am. But in all honesty someone with such an affinity for the crystals probably would have figured it out sooner or later and freed himself. Of greater concern is his lack of training. He was gathering a very large amount of power colors.”
“Sir, I’m a miner, I should have known better than to take him to the mine after learning he was being considered for a tuner position. Thank you for protecting my son from my mistake.”
“It’s an honor to serve ma’am. Now I need to borrow your son for about an hour. I apologize, but this must be private time so I can ensure he understands and learns what is necessary.”
“Thank you sir, I will wait in the dining hall.”
“Excellent, I will send him there when we are done. Dem, please come with me.”
Dem could not force himself to speak for fear of saying the wrong thing, so he simply nodded and followed the master through the security checkpoint and into the plant fearing the worst every step of the way.
Finally, Master A’Ah pressed his palm to the security plate in front of a door and stood aside indicating Dem should enter as the door opened.
Dem tried to pull on the years of training and focusing for cutting crystals to calm himself as he walked into the room beyond. It was a relatively small room with a table designed for a group of six or less people and a set of privacy controls. The walls, table and chairs were all white and the ambient light made the room bright without making it blinding.
“Have a seat Dem, we need to talk a bit.”
Dem obediently went to the other side of the table and sat in the chair that was roughly at the middle of that side of the oblong table. Master A’Ah sat directly opposite him after keying the privacy controls. Then he pulled two crystals out of his pocket and placed one on the table and gripped the other in the palm of his hand as he lost focus for a few moments.
“Okay, we are secure. We had planned to have this conversation with you in a couple of days when you came in for the interview, but events of the day have pushed my hand a bit and we need to determine if you are what I think you are.
First, though, I need to teach you how to shield yourself from the compound effects of crystals. To do that, I am going to release the power separation weave, but I need you not to reach out to the crystals you have stored away. Okay?”
Dem was confused. How could Master A’Ah know about his crystals? More importantly how did he know that Dem tended to reach for them when he was nervous? But clearly he knew those things, so the best thing to do was follow instructions.
Master A’Ah again closed his hand around the one crystal and lost focus for a moment and suddenly Dem could feel the crystals on the table and the two that Master A’Ah still had in his belt pouch.
“Okay, Dem. Now comes the hard part. I want you to focus on this green crystal here, and ignore the yellow crystal in my palm.”
As he spoke he pointed first at the green crystal that he had placed on the table earlier and then at the one he held in the palm of his hand.
“I want you to feel the green crystal, ask it to send you strength and fill yourself until you no longer feel nervous.”
Dem followed instructions and reached out to the green crystal with his mind, imagining that he was caressing it feeling its cool sleek sides. How cool it was and how comforting, then he imagined feeling it warm up as it drew in energy and sent it to him, filling him with its strength and calm.
Everything was working smoothly and then suddenly he felt the yellow crystal warm up and begin sending him energy. He pushed that aside and focused on the green, but the yellow was persistent and pressed him. Dem was frustrated, that it kept pressing him, but he did as he had been instructed and ignored the yellow focusing his mind on the green. The yellow remained, and became more persistent.
I need to do something, that yellow is continuing to send me energy, and now I feel the blue and the black from his belt pouch pushing energy toward me as well. I need a shield to block them, but it has to allow the green to reach me.
As soon as he thought about a shield, his mind sifted the weaves he had learned from the key crystal and the black, and sure enough there were three shield weaves among those he had kept in his memory. Two of those had to do with protecting his body from various types of attacks. The other one was to shield his mind from mental attacks. That was the right type, but he knew he needed to modify it to work in this scenario. He examined the weave, the colors that were woven together and how they were woven. How was probably not the answer, but maybe the colors involved were the key.
He felt the deep focus he used when cleansing the crystals shift into place and suddenly it all came clearly to him. He did need to adjust the weave, but he also needed to change the color combinations. If he did this instead of that and added the greens here, he could make what he wanted.
He got the weave the way he thought it should be and then imagined it coming into existence and settling on him. Immediately the other crystals stopped sending him energy and he was able to focus on the green and draw energy and comfort from it.
There that is right. Now he said to draw the energy until I was no longer nervous. Am I nervous? No, I’ve got this.
He opened his eyes and lifted them back up to Master A’Ah’s face noting that he had that distant look in his eyes.
“Okay, sir. I am calm and no longer nervous.”
Master A’Ah’s eyes focused again and he smiled.
“Yes, I see that. That was a rather unique weave you used. Where did you learn that?”
“Sir, the core of it came from a weave that my black crystal shared with me. But it needed to be modified to allow the green to reach me while all others were blocked. In this case, I believe all green crystals would be accessible to me, but I am not 100% certain. I know your instruction was to focus on just this one, so I will need to think through that and try to get a better solution long term.”
“Excellent, but I saw no indication of training in the mastery in your records. Where did you learn to form weaves and modify their patterns to fit your needs?”
“Sir, I don’t know how to form weaves, I just focus on the pattern I know and suddenly what I that pattern produces happens. As to the modification, I really don’t know where that came from. I don’t remember it being in any of the memories from the crystals, and that is the source of all my other knowledge of patterns.”
“So you are saying that you learned these weaves from the crystals? How did that work?”
Dem felt panic as he realized he would have to tell his secret, and that likely would mean the company might claim his two clear crystals as their property. But he knew that there was no chance he could lie to this master without being caught.
“Sir, I just ask them to share their memories with me, and then I filter through them and keep the ones that I think will be of value to me or someone else. So far that is mostly a stack of patterns that have been formed with the assistance of the crystal in question.”
“So you get the crystal to share its memory with you. And then what happens?”
“Sir, the crystal releases those memories when it shares them, and the crystal becomes more effective at gathering and distributing the power.”
“It’s true then. You are a crystal cleanser. I have read that such talents existed once, but had never really believed they still did.
So you don’t see the power ribbons in the air around you?”
Dem was confused, but he looked around the room to make sure that the master was not creating something he was supposed to see.
“No, sir. I don’t see any ribbons, at least not in this room. Is that where the colors in the weaves come from?”
“Yes. We in the mastery who study how to form weaves can all see them in and around everything. You are the first person I have ever met who can form power color weaves without seeing the power color ribbons.
And I just tried to get my crystal to tell me about the weaves it has experienced, and got nothing at all in response. But you say you ask the crystal to share its memories and it does, right?”
“Yes, sir. And after it shares its memories, it releases them and becomes an untarnished crystal. I have done this with a key crystal and a large black one. Please don’t take my collection of crystals away.”
“Trust me, your talent is so rare and so needed, no one will take any crystals from you that you do not want to part with. We just need to have you cleanse crystals for us so we can make use of all those lost batches. There are billions of credits worth of those to be cleansed, making those you have cleansed from your own collection a pretty inexpensive bonus.
What do you say? Are you interested in a position as a crystal cleanser for the mastery? We will want to share your skills with companies like the one here who produces so many crystals from the mines. But you will become a master in your own right and will earn a commission for every crystal you cleans.
Dem could not believe the words coming out of his mouth, but they tumbled out unbidden anyway.
“Sir, two questions. What’s in it for the mastery? And how much commission are we talking about?”
“Fair questions. First the commission part. The company will want to give you 10%, but you can easily claim 50% because without you, those crystals are worthless.
As for what the mastery gets out of it. Other than the obvious increase in the number of available crystals, we have experienced a number of crystals becoming less and less effective over time and use. And we would like to restore those before they become useless.
More, if there is one of you, there are likely others in the realm, and we will want you to teach the others to do what you do.
The time is near when every available crystal will be needed, and all will need to be at peak performance. You are critical to that day.”
50%? On a crystal like the large black I have at home, that would be very significant indeed. We are talking enough credits to make me very wealthy. And provide security for mom and dad.
“Sir, I have only cleansed two crystals, and each of those left me completely drained. I can do this, but it is not a fast process. Are you certain, that the company will allow me to keep my crystals even if I cannot produce more than a couple per week for them?”
“First, I think we can help you to become more efficient, and we certainly can reduce your recovery time. But even if we could not, yes, the company has enough unusable crystals they will not care about the ones you have, so long as you are willing to help them recover some of theirs.”
“Okay, sir. And you say I will become a member of the mastery and have the protections that affords a person?”
“Yes, absolutely. We have as much reason to want you on our team as the factories do. So in exchange for helping us find and train more like you, we will extend the protections of the mastery to you.”
Thank you Sir. I believe I would be very interested in such an arrangement. When do I start?”
“First thing tomorrow if you are willing. I will share an image of where you want to go to join the mastery, and you can find one of those weaves that allows you to teleport I’m sure. Use this image to focus on with the teleportation weave in place and you will teleport directly there. Okay?”
“Yes, sir. Thank you Sir.”
Dem suddenly had the image of a large beautiful entry to a group of buildings that looked very much like one of the universities. But he knew instinctively this was a school for the mastery.
Hm. Master Dem? Crystal Cleanser Dem? Master Crystal Cleanser Dem?
I think Crystal Cleanser Dem. No reason to tie this too closely to the mastery. They will want to care for me more if I don’t claim to be one of them.
What a glorious day this turned out to be.
Dem reached out with his heart for the key crystal and felt it respond immediately, filling him with the absolute calm once more.
He would be a critical player in the Xum crystal business. And he would be returning commissions to his parents instead of denying them commissions. That was worth a lot.
And it did not hurt a bit knowing he would be a very wealthy man. How could it be that he was the only Crystal Cleanser?
Dem could not wipe the smile from his face as he left the small room and headed back to find his mother in the dining hall.
“Thank you for your time Dem! I have shared your skills with Master H’San and we both look forward to working with you Crystal Cleanser Dem.”
“And I look forward to working with you Master A’Ah.”