Elements (Tear of God Book 1)
Reeds of grass whipped against his legs as he advanced down to the greener elevations of the wilderness. He didn’t have a clue how fast he was going now, and his biggest adjustment was being able to breathe in the rushing Air. The only way for him not to trip or lose his balance was to stop thinking about his steps at all.
    “I’ll go ahead of you a bit. Try to stop right in front of me,” Nyam said as she sprinted off, making Mink feel like he was standing still.
    Nyam stopped directly in his path. By his best estimate, it would take five seconds to reach her. He slowed his jog down to a walk and stopped by face-planting on the ground and plowing through the grass. He slid ten feet to a stop about thirty yards from his mother’s feet.
    “That’s one way,” he heard Nyam yell. “But try to keep at least one foot forward next time.”
    Mink pressed himself up and walked a few steps to meet his mom.
    “I guess you haven’t exactly told me everything yet.” Mink brushed himself off.
    “Well. Some things are better learned through experience.”
    From her thigh pocket Nyam grabbed a flat wrap, a single square of ruddy leather folded into an envelope. Her eyes shifted over Mink’s shoulder and he turned to look out of curiosity. If it weren’t for the thin wisp of smoke rising from their camp Fire, he probably wouldn’t have been able to locate where they had just come from. He followed the smoke down as his eyes zoomed in on it. The campsite couldn’t be seen at all from where they were now, on the slope leading up to the plateau of Rift Ridge.
    “You can’t see your dad, can you?”
    “Nope. I guess he’s by where the smoke is.”
    “That’s fine. Just double-checking. He’d kill me if he knew I was giving this to you.”
    Mink whipped his head around and lost his balance. He almost stuck a foot out to catch himself, but thought better of it just in time. Teetering, he tried to make sense of Nyam’s flatwrap.
    “Your father doesn’t even like me using this. But, given the circumstances, I don’t think you’ll get to Protallus City in time without it.”


    M INK WATCHED Nyam unfold the flatwrap. Her hands appeared ridiculously large in his focus. The distortion coupled with the dimming light eliminated any hope of recognizing the flatwrap’s contents. “What is it?”
    “A couple of boost bars.” Nyam’s voice took a conspiratory hush in spite of their total isolation.
    “Boost bars? As in, banned boost bars?” Mink raised the question too loud for her comfort. “That’ll make my heart explode. I can’t handle that kind of energy.”
    “With the Regenerative Cells effect, you can,” Nyam asserted. “You’ll find out tonight that this speed takes its toll on you. You’ve got about thirty-six hours of running to do. Have you ever run thirty-six hours in a row before?”
    “No. Of course not.”
    “That will kill you,” she confessed. “Unless you take these and eat some when you feel like you’re about to collapse. But, promise me you won’t eat any after my effects are Dispelled.”
    “Mom. I don’t want to eat them anyway. That won’t be a problem.”
    Nyam closed the flatwrap and handed it over to Mink. He tucked it away in one of the easily reached interior pockets of his jacket. He had yet to fully consider just how long his journey would be. He took for granted that whatever his mom did would make it possible. Now, the gravity of her tone and the falling dusk reminded him that time was of the essence.
    “Is that all the training I’m going to get then?”
    Nyam gave Mink her special unsettling smile. “Why, Mink, this is where your training begins. I just thought it’d be kind to teach you how to walk first.”
    Mink was afraid she’d say something like that. “Shall we?” he said reluctantly.
    “Now, find that target tree again, and be sure you can find it from anywhere.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “Tag! You’re it.” Nyam’s playfulness helped to

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