Tin Man: Dragons and Ninjas

Chapter Fourteen

Raw thought he was the first one awake in the camp, but he heard low voices. He sat up on his bedroll to see Zack and DG sitting in the sparring area.

"Buddhists call it the monkey mind, the non-stop mental conversation. It tries to remember everything for you and keeps reminding you to do everything right now. Monkey mind has no concept of time and a poor concept of priorities. You have to learn to shut it up."

The Viewer considered Zack's explanation. His people had noticed the same thing, but called it human mind. Sometimes it was very hard for them to come out of there. Cain could Raw had noticed, but he worried if the man only did it to keep from feeling anything at all. Zack's knowing explained the human boy's emotional balance.

DG had never realized how chaotic her emotions almost always were. "The only time I can shut my head up is when we're in oh-my-God-we're-going-to-die situations and then that's all I can think of."

Zack chuckled, "Yeah, but that's not how you win a fight, physically or diplomatically."

"Getting angry has always kept me focused."

"Bad place to work magic from. And a bad place to try to win support from. And you can't always punch your way out of a fight."

DG looked at the ground. "Cain told me once I had to let go of what I had no control over, especially the past."

"Good place to start. I think he's more worried about your mental health though. I'd rather you not lose it in the middle of a firefight." Zack shifted his seat. "Master Splinter always prescribes meditation."

"You expect me to sit and chant?" DG chuckled. "You don't know me better than that by now?"

Raw agreed silently. He had observed DG sitting still only when she was exhausted, when Cain or Glitch sat on her, or when she was drawing.

"Believe me, I know. That's why I'm showing you concentrated breathing." Zack placed his palms together, and then pushed them above his head. "Breathe out." He pulled them down to the center of his chest. "Breathe in." Skepticism rolled off DG as she copied his movements. "Close your eyes. The breath is the only thing that exists. In with the pure energy, out with the negative energy."

Raw opened his senses more. His people had a technique like that before viewing someone. DG's doubts and anxiety eased.

Her eyes fluttered open. "Did you hypnotize me?"

"No. Feel better?"

"Yeah, like I finished a painting."

"It's a way to find your center, to focus your chi on one thing." Zack stood and helped DG to her feet. "Now, more self-defense."

A vision assaulted Raw. DG and Zack emerged into an unfamiliar courtyard of a castle. A white serpentine body as thick as the trees around Finaqua uncoiled in front of them with a roar. A hand clapped his shoulder, bringing him back to the morning forest. His eyes jerked open with an inhale like he had outran a pack of Papay.

Cain squatted beside him. "Raw, you okay?"

"Vision."

The man's lips pressed together before speaking, his sign for thinking hard. "You looked like you were having a fit."

Raw shrugged. "Seen past and present. First time see future. Future hard." He told before the Tin Man asked. "Saw DG and Zack finding dragon. Think it is dragon. I never saw that kind of creature before."

Cain's lips pressed together again as he looked over at them. DG shouted, having thrown Zack off her back. "Where were the rest of us?"

"Didn't see." Cain's worry for her made it hard to breathe. "In a castle."

"The next two stops are castles."

"DG reminds Zack of his sister. He will keep her safe."

Cain frowned. "We better get going, if we want to reach Lord Gillikin's before sundown." He stood up, calling for Zack and DG to stop.

Raw sighed as he packed his bedroll. He couldn't ease the Tin Man's worries when he couldn't ease his own.