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Pursuers who could track my teleports, a truly rare gift, would see I had stopped moving and charge after me. I hadn’t hurt any of them yet, but if someone followed my jumps they’d learn how good I am at wrecking things. That’s very good at wrecking things. Wrecking pursuers, in particular. I waited until the teleport traces faded away. There were no pursuers. Fortunately, teleport traces do not fade by becoming ever fainter, so you don’t have to wonder if someone with really, really good tracking gifts can follow you. Teleport traces chug along and then stop dead, gone forever. A few more jumps brought me to the second-floor study in my very own house. I don’t remember what I did next. I must have dropped the Namestone into its hiding place, stripped off my garb, and fallen into bed, because here I am, lying under my quilt, looking up at the stars.
One of the times when I woke up, the healing matrix prompted me to ramp down my mind control, so the matrix could tell exactly where I’d been injured. I overdid it. I cut the mind control off. Pain swallowed me. I burst into sobs and uncontrollable tears. The healing matrix kept me from going into shock. After a few minutes I remembered I could ramp control back up. By then I was soaked in sweat.
That brought me to the here and now. I was incredibly thirsty. Stomach said a solid meal was in order. I rolled out of bed, every muscle complaining. The floor was beautifully finished silken-smooth hardwood, chill beneath my bare feet. I padded to my bathroom for a glass of water. I was more than a bit cold, but water was definitely the first priority. I remembered to check the bathroom scale. I’d lost weight. A fair piece of weight, remembering that I’m all of five-foot-three and muscular-slim in bare feet.
A night light threw a feeble shadow up the stairs. I dropped into my down bathrobe, shoulder and ribs protesting at the motion, and headed to the kitchen. Down bathrobe? I’d left the heat pump at low, keeping the house temperature in the mid-50s, enough to keep the pipes from freezing.
Yes, I have some neat photographs of the Pluto ruins, taken with me and camera inside my body field, but right now my gifts were very definitely turned off. The robe kept me warm, or I’d be cold indeed. Climbing down the stairs was painful. I held firmly to the railing, taking some of the weight off my knees. Besides hand-to-hand combat, the Maze set other physical and mental challenges, enough to push me to all my limits. Mum had taught me to be thoughtful and physically vigorous, but endurance and weight training only take you so far.