Chapter 56

Cedric pulled Andie and Dyllan into a nearby alleyway. “Reach through the darkness, my Cunning.” The black drone that was Cedric’s vice rippled into visibility, revealing ears and a tail. Even though his alliance with his shadow was no longer secret, openly showing its side effects still made him uncomfortable – and he could tell from the looks his friends gave him that it made them uncomfortable too.
Andie shivered as Cedric’s Cunning turned the three dreamwalkers invisible. “Cedric, this is a terrible position.” She glanced about warily. “We’re in the middle of the alley, and only a few feet from the entrance. It doesn’t matter that we’re invisible if Maddie just walks right into us!”
“This is a great position, but I don’t have time to explain why.” Cedric held a finger to his lips and whispered under his breath. “So please just trust me, stay quiet, and do not move.
Andie did trust Cedric… but not enough to go along with such an overtly insane plan. Then again, she didn’t have a better idea, so all she could do was freeze in place and hope that Cedric knew what he was doing.
“Hello-o-o… Olly olly oxen free…” Maddie peered around the corner and into the alleyway where the three dreamwalkers hid – the Nightmare looming obediently behind her. “I know you’re in here, I heard voices… You aren’t gossiping about me, are you?” She walked slowly toward the three heroes – and then through them, like a ghost. It felt quite uncomfortable. Similar to the sensation of wind on your face, but passing through every inch of your flesh. The sensation brought clear signs of confusion and displeasure into Andie and Dyllan’s body language. “Maybe you’re invisible?” Maddie raised her hammer to the sky. “Crank it up, my Selfishness!” She slammed the hammer down, sending a shockwave rippling through the alleyway and tearing it to shreds. Only the asphalt behind her was spared, which was where the dreamwalkers were standing. “Yeah, didn’t think so. What kinda dreamwalker would have a creepy power like invisibility, anyway?”
Cedric winced at Maddie’s words, his gaze affixed firmly to the ground until she had left.
“Ohhh my god, we’re alive.” A sigh of relief washed over Andie as she slumped down onto the ground. “I’m sorry I doubted your crazy plan, Cedric.” A twinge of frustration crossed her face, followed by a rare moping expression. “…and I’m really sorry I charged in like an idiot. I, I just don’t know what I was thinking…”
“I think it’s pretty obvious you weren’t.”
Cedric!” Dyllan shot a nasty glare at his friend.
“Patience, Dyllan. I’m going somewhere with this.” Cedric sat down next to Andie. “As I was saying, it’s pretty obvious you weren’t thinking – but we all make mistakes. I mean, sure your mistake almost got all three of us killed…” He smiled reassuringly. “But you only made a big mistake like that because you had to make a big decision. Doing nothing while people are being hurt, especially when you really want to believe you have the power to help those people… it isn’t easy. Trust, me. I know better than most.”


A note from the author ninja:

The illusions created by Cedric’s vice aren’t really illusions. See, as long as someone doesn’t suspect the illusion, it reacts to that person as though it wasn’t an illusion. (To clarify, just thinking “I wonder if one of these walls might be an illusion” isn’t enough to count as suspecting the illusion. You have to think “I’m starting to think this specific wall might not be real.”) In other words, he could actually cut someone in half with one of his illusory swords – as long as the person being cut in half had no idea it was illusory.

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