Chapter One

There was a battered desk in one corner of the large office, and a chair that went behind the desk, and another chair that sat beside the desk. There were also about three thousand books in the room: books lining the walls, books piled in precariously high stacks on the floor, books holding other books open. The window showed its pale morning light to the books, and to the portly, curly-haired little man who sat at the desk, his bright black eyes twinkling merrily across the disarray, watching the door.

Dr. Pablo Padeyevsky was too short, too round-bellied, too reminiscent of the organ grinder without monkey to have the reputation that he had. But he managed to make people forget his rotundity, make them recognize him for the researcher, educator, and consultant that he was. His technique for making people realize his talents was simple and effortless: he opened his mouth to lecture, or answer a question.

And so, although he was no impressive figure, sitting behind the scarred old desk, round steel-rimmed spectacles framing roundish eyes, his reputation went before him, and there was no one, including Theodore Behr, who was not in awe of him.

Professor Pablo Padeyevsky’s connection with Theodore Behr began in a most tenuous fashion. In the first place, he deserved the title of professor by virtue of only one course. He taught a graduate course in the history and philosophy of science each semester, spending one morning each week at the university. The course was done mainly as a favor to the dean of the graduate school of the university: he had convinced Padeyevsky that the school’s reputation-and it was already considerable-depended to an extent on continuing to include Padeyevsky’s name in its list of faculty. Pablo Padeyevsky had therefore continued teaching the one course, the fee for which was small change to him, compared to his consulting fees and other income. He ran the course, as might be expected, along iconoclastic lines, speaking from the standpoint of the administration. He required no readings, no homework: he assigned one paper or two, depending upon the interest of the student, and graded not by the footnote or the page but by the idea. In the eleven years that Pablo Padeyevsky had been teaching this course, over four hundred people had gotten Bs; seven had gotten an A.

That Theodore Behr came into contact with the good Dr. Padeyevsky was sheerest coincidence. Theodore had almost never come to college at all. His childhood had been a quiet nightmare of being slow and awkward. He had only by miracles managed to achieve the tenth grade in high school, the miracles being allowed because teachers had nothing against the boy: he was not a fomenter of classroom trouble. They usually couldn’t even remember who he was. And so they passed him barely, to his sophomore year in high school.

This was all the boy needed to work from. In this year, he was given his first pure science courses, and he took off from his zero status like a rocket from the launching pad. Before his junior year, he had been given IQ tests, and other tests: he was acclaimed a genius; he was accelerated; he was forgiven the foreign languages and athletics credits he would not pay attention to; he was graduated from high school with a near-perfect grade record at the tender age of sixteen, and enrolled post-haste in pure sciences at the local university, where Pablo Padeyevsky taught his single course.

Theodore Behr’s own attitude towards his environment had not changed just because it had begun looking at him as a genius instead of a dodo. His eye had always been a cold eye, an outsider’s eye; he hadn’t meant it to be, but there was only one way his mind worked. And that was, apparently, one hundred and eighty degrees from the way everyone else’s minds worked. When other people thought he was a dodo, he agreed with them. It was self-evident. He could not understand what made his classmates’ jokes funny, what made their lives interesting enough to continue with. He had never met anyone he considered worth talking to. Therefore, he was most likely a dodo, a real out-of-step person. And when the people around him decided he was a genius, Theodore could again see what they meant. He knew the answer to most scientific questions because they seemed self-evident. Obviously, this self-evidence was unusual. Other people didn’t see it. So, all right, they could call him a genius. To himself, it simply felt normal to know what he knew, to think what he thought, to speculate as he did speculate.

But both the genius and the dodo are lonely types, and Theodore was very lonely. He had had a brief hope that in college he would meet someone worthwhile, someone with whom to share his ideas, his developing philosophies. The hope did not last. He was accelerated again; he approached the age of nineteen and the status of second semester college senior without meeting a soul to talk to.

Just on a whim, he decided to sit in on the graduate course on the philosophy of science taught by Dr. Pablo Padeyevsky. He was not eligible to enroll in the course, for he was not in graduate school, but it was quite common for the brighter undergraduates voluntarily to fill up the back seats in his lectures, simply to listen. Because, when Padeyevsky was on, when he was letting his mind run, when he was talking about hermetic philosophy or theosophy or alchemy or the relativistic implications suggesting the worlds of anti-matter, he could hold a group of coupon-minded, professional-student-geared grade getters in complete thrall. He could work miracles of spellbinding. It worked on the students who had come to learn; it worked on the ones who had come to get a degree; it worked very strongly on Theodore Behr. He was, in fact, inspired to write and hand in a paper to Dr. Padeyevsky, even though he was not officially a member of the class. The chance to share his thoughts with the first man he had ever met that might appreciate them was irresistible.

Pablo Padeyevsky was reading that paper through for the fourth time, now, in the light of early morning. He was refreshing his mind on each inflection of thought. He had found this paper remarkable, exciting, surprising. He had summoned Theodore Behr when he had read it, because he wanted to see the boy who had done this work, and because he couldn’t imagine an undergraduate, or even a graduate student, having the background necessary to write this paper. The technical competence was outstanding, but the insight linking physical science with metaphysics, the maturity of mind that could produce such exploration, was a puzzle and a joy to him.

The young man had begun by listing quite a few basic equations in the fields of electricity, quantum mechanics, relativity, and atomic physics. In each equation was found the value “c,” which was the symbol for the velocity of light. The fifteen pages of the paper answered the simple question: “why were so many basic equations dependent on a property of light; namely, its speed?” The paper was replete with many mathematical analogies to metaphysical concepts, and was sophisticated and incredibly accurate in detail, but the basic postulations were even more incredible, and were much simpler. The young man had said that there were two basic substances in’ the universe: light and consciousness. From these two substances, one physical, one non-physical, were formed all the various physical materials that we know of, collectively, as matter, in each of its various and infinite configurations. He postulated that consciousness acted upon light in order to form these varieties of matter, and further postulated that all changes, all of what we call evolution, came about as a function of changing and evolving consciousness. He went on to state that consciousness was a field of energy that gained its power from duality, or polarity. Just as there were positive and negative poles in the material or physical universe, so were there positive and negative poles which affected consciousness. These poles were known, he postulated, as good and evil. He set forth the theory, in conclusion, that the physical phenomena which body themselves forth as the physical universe, were reflections of corresponding phenomena within the realm of consciousness; that duality of good and evil in consciousness was responsible for the physical interactions and changes that made up the material world. All energies in the physical creation were aberrations from total perfection. These aberrations resulted from a corresponding energy bias in the good/evil potential difference which moved consciousness away from its total perfection.

So had spoken Theodore Behr, and Dr. Pablo Padeyevsky was very, very eager to meet him. His office hours were, admittedly, a bit odd, seven to eight in the morning, but that was the time of day that suited him best; he liked sunrises and sunsets, and went to bed as early as he could, whenever he could. He sat, cheerful and sturdy in his big chair, almost elf-like, and very expectant.

Theodore was expectant too, but the feeling partook much more of nervousness. He had told the truth about what he thought in the paper, and had gone out on a limb emotionally by showing it to another human being. Theodore was no fonder of ridicule than anyone else. And he expected that, having exposed himself to the outside world, he would get ridiculed. His relations with that world had been so uniformly unhappy that he waited in apprehension for the emotional blows to fall. What a fool he had been, to think that anyone would ever be in sympathy with him. He threaded his way through the morass of short hallways and cul-de-sacs and finally discovered where the capricious numbering system had deposited Pablo Padeyevsky’s office. He knocked tentatively on the frosted glass door.

“Come in.”

He opened the door to the ocean of books, and his eyes rebelled for just a minute; then he found the moving entity in their midst. Padeyevsky was bouncing towards him, beaming at him, one plump hand stuck out for a warm handshake. Holding on to Theodore’s arm, he steered him through a two-foot avenue in the stacks of books, and sat him down on the chair beside the desk.

“Have you eaten breakfast?”

Theodore stared. He kept on staring. This was the ridicule he had been afraid of? This was the biting and satirical barrage of gibes about his paper? “Ah, no, Professor Padeyevsky, I, ah, no, I haven’t.”

“Very good. Sweet rolls, lemonade … do you like cheese? Here’s some milk, just got it today, and instant coffee, if the water’s hot.” Padeyevsky opened a gap in the wall of books that turned out to be a refrigerator, and removed things. He checked an aluminum break in more book stacks that turned out to be an electric heating plate. “And call me Pablo. You’ll sprain your tongue with Professor Padeyevsky.” He spooned coffee powder into two dubiously clean cups. Behr took things into limp hands, ate first bites, and stared, until he discovered he was being stared back at. Then he found that it wasn’t such a bad idea to return the warm, friendly appraisal which Pablo’s bright, black-button eyes were giving him. He didn’t mind being a specimen under this particular microscope.

Pablo Padeyevsky was staring, staring with rising elation. It was too good to be true. This boy was the one he had been looking for, he and his two fellow experimenters, for years. He examined Theodore’s features. The slender, pale face, with its high cheekbones, its wide-spaced, rather deep-set eyes, the high forehead, the carefully modeled, almost arrogant discipline of the nose and mouth, all bore an uncanny resemblance to his niece, Esmerelda Sweetwater. The same features that made for startling beauty in a girl added up to totally unremarkable, quiet good looks in a boy. He judged Theodore’s height to be about six feet; that was right, Esmerelda was exactly six feet tall. And Theodore was of the same blonde coloring that his niece enjoyed. There really didn’t seem to be any doubt.

Padeyevsky held up the paper he had just been rereading. “I was wondering what the source of these thoughts might be.” Theodore considered. “Really, there isn’t any source. I’ve been doing my own research in the natural sciences for quite a while now, since I was about fifteen. And philosophy has always interested me; I’ve read a lot of it. But these particular ideas are just my own, I guess. I’ve never read them anywhere. It just seems to me to be the way that things work.”

Dr. Padeyevsky’s face was incandescent with his smile. “Perfect, perfect. I’ll tell you what, Theodore. I’d like for you to work with me on a special project.”

Theodore was having intense difficulty believing what he had heard. The man hadn’t even begun to discuss the paper. Now he wanted the help of an undergraduate. “Uh,” he said.

It is a very unusual experimental project. Are you interested?”

“Uh,” repeated Theodore.

Pablo Padeyevsky waited.

Theodore got part of himself under control. “Why me?”

“Because I believe that you are an alien. In fact, I believe that you are the one alien that we have been looking for for years.”

“Oh, no, sir. I was born right here in this county, lived here all my life. I’ve never even been out of the United States.”

“Not that kind of alien. I think that your spirit has dwelled other places than this planet.”

Theodore sat in stunned silence.

“Do you know what I mean by ‘spirit’?” Padeyevsky spoke gently, taming his exuberance. “Have you run across the words ‘mental body’ or ‘astral body’ or ‘soul’ in your reading in philosophy? Meaning the true body, the one that does not die when the physical body dies?”

Theodore had indeed run across each of these words.

“Then that is what I mean. I believe that your mental body, your soul, is not native to this planet. It is an alien to Earth.” Theodore’s mind was beginning to function. If Dr. Padeyevsky hadn’t held such a very high place in his estimation prior to this meeting, Theodore would probably have left. As it was, he sat and munched absentmindedly on cheese and Danish, and tried to follow the peculiar conversation. “You mean you think I lived other places than here, before I was born?”

“Exactly.” Dr. Padeyevsky’s beam extended still further towards each ear. “Every particle of consciousness, Theodore, has to come from someplace. You have explained how consciousness acts and how it changes in your paper, and you are to be given full credit for that. Now, it should make sense to you that each particle of consciousness continues, through these changes, and grows with each new experience, whether it is the consciousness of a rock, a tree, an animal, or a person. This individualized consciousness continues with the evolution, grows with it. Do you not agree?”

Of course Theodore agreed. It was, more or less, in his paper. “Very well then. In the case of some human entities such as you, Theodore, the consciousness that assimilated the chemicals that formed a physical body for you to use here, upon the surface of this planet, was a consciousness alien to this Earth. Totally alien, in nature, in knowledge, in understanding. Haven’t you ever felt like an alien here?”

The question was easy, Theodore had answered it, to himself, many times. “Yes, I’ve always been different from everybody else. In fact, I always noticed one simple rule. If society believes something is right and correct and proper, then it must be wrong. Because society always seems to look at things just the opposite of the way I do.”

Pablo reached over the desk’s heaps of books and pounded Theodore heartily on the shoulder. “That’s wonderful. Just wonderful. Now, I repeat. I have reason to believe that you are an alien. And, because of your thinking, and the fact that you and my niece have a great similarity of physical appearance, I believe that you are the alien, the one that we have been waiting for, for several years. Will you join me in working on this experiment?”

Theodore had never been an unkind or surly person; he had just been alone. Now, for the first time in his life, he was being offered a part in something by someone he could respect and admire, even if he sounded strange at the moment. “Yes, sir, ah, Pablo. There’s nothing I’d rather do.”

“Excellent. I’m almost sure that you’re the right one, but of course the acid test will come when you meet my niece, Esmerelda Sweetwater.”

Theodore nodded, uncomprehendingly. “I’ll give you a map. Do you have a car?” Theodore nodded affirmatively again. “That’s fine. Can you visit us this weekend?”

A third nod from the very happy and very confused Theodore. He accepted the accurate pencil map of the way to the Padeyevsky farm, and thought of very little else for the rest of the week. The October days seemed as crisp as his anticipation; he wondered about the experiment, about the person known as Esmerelda-an odd name, an interesting one-and, most of all, about being an alien.

Finally Friday’s classes came to an end, and he was soon moving down the highway out of town, as per Padeyevsky’s instructions. The map he had drawn had detailed the twenty or so miles of winding road which led off the main highway to his farm with clarity, but had said nothing about the great beauty of these roads, the October radiance of the trees shielding the blacktop like a tawny arch in the late afternoon sun. The autumn glow of the maples lent a russet sweetness to the fields and woods Theodore passed, and he felt like the solitary viewer of a perfect and fleeting work of art. He mused on the conversation that had so interested him in Pablo Padeyevsky’s office. He must practice saying Pablo, instead of Professor Padeyevsky. What had he meant by it all? Well, he thought, if the map was correct, he would soon find out; the map stated that there was a gravel road marked with his name just beyond this single-lane bridge. The map did not lie, and Theodore’s middle-aged Ford passed under an even more richly furnished.

canopy as it began to follow the winding, hilly private road. The driveway extended nearly two miles; there was an abandoned farmhouse, nearly leveled by years of weather, at the head of the drive; there was a side road and a mailbox marked “Mathpart Fendler” off to the right; these were the only dwellings close to the Padeyevsky house. The good doctor certainly had privacy.

Then the “farm” itself opened up in front of Theodore. FARM, he thought, as he slowed the car to an idle in the broad, circular driveway which spread generously from the gravel road. This was no farm: it was an estate, a domain, a plantation. The circle of drive was bordered with peonies; there was thick forest on each side of the house. The house itself was three stories tall, and had the look of a grand ship that had come to rest on high ground. It was brick, with a veranda across the columned front and going around on the left side to form a covered, open-sided porch; the right side of the house was indented for half a room, then it elled asymmetrically into an enclosed screen porch. Through the long windows across the front of the house, Theodore could see the elegance of draped velvet curtains. He began to feel obscurely apologetic for everything: his casual clothes, his venerable and never dignified automobile, his unprepossessing face, his unassuming personality. He awaited the liveried footman.

None appeared. As he parked in the shade of a huge, low-branched walnut tree, a collie bounded up to him, tail wagging happily, no sign of the watchdog personality about him. Theodore took an instant liking to the friendly animal, and got out of the car to pat him. The beast put his head down to enjoy the greeting and was standing, leaning against Theodore’s caresses, when the boy looked up to see a girl walking towards him.

The dog nearly fell over as Theodore abruptly took his hand away and straightened up, staring. Now he understood the mansion: no other background would have been suitable as a frame to her beauty. She came walking across the drive, the gentle bloom of autumn trees against her face, and Theodore hoped with all his heart that this was Esmerelda Sweetwater. Because if it was, he was the most fortunate of men. He remembered to breathe just as she neared, and held out her hand.

“Hello.” Her voice was as light and strong as her smile. “You must be Theodore Behr. I’m Esmerelda Sweetwater.”

He shook her hand, looking at her hard, attempting to speak. The first try was a solid failure; he had temporarily forgotten how to breathe and talk all at the same time. He managed finally to acknowledge that he was Theodore Behr. He let her hand go.

There was a period of silence, while he looked at the girl in front of him, and tried to think of something witty to say. She was as tall as he, and as blonde. Her hair grew to below her waist, and she wore it unbound, the bangs across her high forehead wisping past straight eyebrows, the sides and back falling free down her shoulders. Her height was in such proportion that, away from reference points with which to judge her size, she would have appeared light, delicate. She was the most beautiful woman Theodore had ever seen. He could think of absolutely nothing to say. For what seemed to be about five years, he worked on the difficulty. Finally, he remembered his first impression of the house. “Say, this place looks just like the setting for a Civil War movie.”

“It was the setting for a Civil War movie,” said Esmerelda, putting her head to one side and grinning at him. “A movie company bought it and remodeled it for a film about fifteen years ago, and Pablo bought it from them.”

“Oh,” said Theodore. He breathed again, with an effort of will. Esmerelda held out her slender hand. “Come up to the house,” she said, smoothing his intense shyness with her gesture. “I’ll give you a tour of the rest of the movie set. It’s really a very pleasant place to live.” She kept Theodore walking, to relieve his tension, and chatted about the history of various pieces of furniture. He began to feel more at ease in her presence, as her good humor and simple friendliness began to ease him away from the worst of his awkwardness. She stopped looking so unbelievable to him and began looking right, just perfectly right. Her face began to seem very dear, very familiar; her slender body seemed to float in front of him; he began to have the vague feeling that he could remember how she felt. He watched the golden hair move as her head moved, and listened to her talk, and all his senses seemed to come alive to her. Though he was still tense, in a way he began to feel comfortable for the first time in his life. As though he had come home.

“ … and Uncle Pablo told me that he thought you might be the one,” she was saying, “and he wanted me to help him find out for sure.”

He came out of the reverie, no longer shy, no longer uncomfortable, but peaceful, fulfilled. Nothing seemed to matter right now. He looked at the girl he had come home to. “Hmm?” he said.

She was smiling warmly, her blue eyes sparkling with their moving flecks of gold. “Let’s wait for Uncle Pablo to talk about it,” she said, moving to a small couch and pulling him gently down beside her. They looked at each other and Theodore felt somehow as though they shared some knowledge, some understanding. “Hello, Ted,” said his mind. He started slightly, and looked closer at Esmerelda. She regarded him with the same warm expression. “Is it all right if I call you Ted?” she said aloud.

He thought, “Yes, it is,” and before he had had a chance to verbalize it, she had stood up and walked the few steps to the front windows. “Very good,” she said, pulling the windows down halfway. It was beginning to be chilly outside, with the swift chill of October evenings after sundown.

Theodore sat watching her. He thought of saying something about the fact that they seemed to have communicated with each other without speaking, but his mind felt warmed again, and reassured, and he knew that he had indeed discovered telepathy with Esmerelda, and that communication between them was going to be effortless. And so, instead of speaking, he simply projected his realization of the situation, and his enjoyment of it, and immediately he felt the pressure of her agreement and understanding.

“It really doesn’t need saying,” she said, turning back to him and reseating herself beside him on the loveseat. “But I shall say it anyway, just to make it official. I completely agree with Pablo. You’re the one, all right.”

He nodded. He still had no idea of what he was the one for, but that he belonged here, with Esmerelda, was unquestionably so. The rest would come in its own good time. Theodore sat back comfortably, his arm across the back of the small couch, his fingers playing with strands of Esmerelda’s hair that had fallen across his arm when she sat down.

“This house is fantastic. I can’t imagine how Pablo was able to buy it, on a professor’s salary, but it’s the greatest place I ever saw.”

“Oh, Uncle Pablo does a little bit of a lot of things. He doesn’t just teach and do research for the university. Mostly, he consults, with corporations all over the United States. He’s even done work with the army. He flies all over the country, and has a long waiting list of clients.”

“How did he learn all those different fields?”

“He has a rather unusual ability,” she said, “to assimilate knowledge more quickly than most people. He’s been developing these techniques for years with a friend of ours, who is a magician. When he wants to get inside a new subject, he just gets the relevant literature together and absorbs it, in a few days’ time. Sometimes he even manages to do better than do most of the slower readers of the books, because he has some ability towards reading between the lines.” She gave Theodore a mental picture, of a book acting somehow as a link between two minds, the reader’s and the author’s. “He can see past a lot of awkward language, and sometimes understands what the author means better than people do who have to depend on the written word alone. So many good minds have the ability to understand, but not to express, what they discover. Probably more important, though, than his knowledge of any single subject is his ability to link supposedly unrelated fields so as to produce new methods in technology. He has a very associative mind.”

Her eyes watched Theodore’s carefully, and she waited in his mind for his reaction to what she had said.

He mentally grinned at her, feeling clear at last about the reason for all those books in Padeyevsky’s office. “Oh,” he said. It was all right with him; he welcomed the whole unique set-up-a house with lovely trees, refreshing breezes, and a totally successful collie dog, and most of all a girl who was, improbably but certainly, his girl, his companion, his mate. It sounded strange, but it felt fine. It felt like home.

He felt her understand all these thoughts as he thought them, and the mental grin spread to his normally sober face, as he reflected on how much an “oh” could convey, if it didn’t have to be dissected by language.

“Meow,” said the next room.

“Here comes Uncle Pablo now. Has he told you about his research with animals?”

“No, he hasn’t. Greetings, uh, Pablo,” said Theodore, as the rotund little man entered the room, with a tiger-striped cat walking sedately beside him. She flopped slab-sided down on the rug and he was down on all fours beside her instantly. “Meow,” he said, in a different tone than the first offering. The cat said nothing in return, but seemed to smile, slightly; then, abruptly, she bent double and licked her tail, one front paw waving casually in the air just above her middle.

Pablo hitched himself up to a sitting position, and then got completely vertical. He went over to Theodore with the same beaming greeting with which he had welcomed him to his office. “So you got here, Theodore. What do you think of the farm?”

Theodore was over being nervous about this household. “I think I can see now why people talk about the good old days, ah, Pablo.”

“And you’ve met my niece?”

Theodore looked in utter contentment at the girl sitting beside him. “Yes.”

Esmerelda turned her golden-flecked eyes to Padeyevsky. “You were right, Uncle Pablo. He’s the one.”

All three smiled their gladdest smiles. “Yes,” said Pablo. Theodore knew he was the one; he’d heard it several times by now. “Can you really talk to animals?” On to other matters. “Well, it’s not actually talking.” Pablo squirmed around in his seat until he was comfortable; Esmerelda was putting lemonade within reach. “You’ve met me, and Esmerelda, but there’s another member of the group that you haven’t met. His name is Joshua Starr. You may have heard of him; he’s the celebrity in our midst. Does television work.”

Theodore shook his head; he hadn’t heard of anyone named Joshua Starr.

“Well, maybe you wouldn’t have; he’s on during the daytime. But I thought you might have noticed his name in the credits of some of the shows that are on in the evenings. He’s also a writer for TV.”

Theodore hadn’t heard of him.

“Well, anyway.” Pablo gulped like a little boy at the lemonade. “He’s also a very close friend of ours. He and Esmerelda worked on this problem with me. They have some talents I don’t have. More about that in a minute. Anyhow, they studied animals, and discovered that animals transmit thoughts, using a primitive form of telepathy, and modulate the thoughts with sounds so as to convey meaning. They’ve helped me, and now I can interpret a good many of these animal thought-sound modulations.”


Padeyevsky finished his lemonade and took another glass. “It probably sounds a little unusual, to you.”

“Well-unique, anyway.” Theodore was enjoying the situation too much to call it unusual. It was all right if Pablo wanted to talk to his cat. More power to him.

“Are you interested in magic?” asked Pablo.

Theodore’s eyebrows raised, in confusion. “I really don’t know anything about it.”

“Most people identify magic with trickery.” Pablo got up and began to pace as he talked, a habit with which Theodore was familiar from watching him lecture. “True magic has very little to do with tricks, or the production of any physical phenomena. It operates within the realms of consciousness and thought, in the astral and mental planes. And all of its objectives and purposes lie there, in the world of thought. In the case of white magic, anyway. Now black magic, unfortunately, does have some objectives that lie within the physical world.”

Well, son of a gun, thought Theodore. Pablo could call that magic, but it sounded to him like what he’d been writing about in his paper: the power of the thought world to affect the physical world. That wasn’t unique, or unusual, after all. “Sure. That makes sense.

Pablo put his head back and laughed. “Well, Theodore,” he said, finally, “you’re going to be all right, I do believe.” He poured him more lemonade. “It’s in the field of magic that this experiment that I spoke about earlier lies. Are you still interested?”


“There is much to do then, Ted. Although you already know more than I do, I’m afraid. You just have the talent for it. You see, I’m not an alien.”

Theodore frowned, turned to Esmerelda.

“That’s right, Ted. He can’t use telepathy as well as you, for instance, and he’s been practicing for years.”

Theodore turned to Pablo. “Still, how could I possibly know more than you do, about anything?”

“Well, Ted, this experiment has to do with an area much deeper than the intellect. Of course I know more than you, in some areas, intellectually. But this magic is concentrated upon the spirit. And so you will be working with Esmerelda and my good friend, Joshua Starr, not with me. Because I’m not much good, and they both are. They are both white magicians. You’ll meet Joshua as soon as Esmerelda says you’re ready.”

Esmerelda’s golden eyes were warm. “It won’t be more than a week, Uncle Pablo.”

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