Chapter 5: A Time to Learn
“Alright everyone, welcome to your first official day of Care Bear training.” Brave Heart Lion paced in front of the assembled Care Bear Magi. Love Heart Bear, Confidence Heart Fennec, Flash Heart Bear, Independent Bear, Anger Heart Fox and Guidance Heart Raccoon all stood in a line in matching grey track suits with their tummy symbols on the front where their symbols were underneath (their symbols automatically appeared on any clothes Grams made for them unless they asked otherwise).
“We’re gonna start with the running course down to the outdoor gym then move on to chin ups and any other exercises I think you need to do,” Brave Heart pointed down the path they had to run, which had three small hills of increasing height until it ended with a small outdoor training area.
“Just try to keep up, sports fans, and don’t be afraid to slow down if you get tired.” Champ was nearby doing stretches. “It’s a good idea to start by stretching, so you don’t cramp up later.”
Anger Heart rolled his eyes and leaned down to touch his toes, “How long do we have to do this?”
“You hold each stretch for thirty seconds, then move on to the next.” Brave Heart had started doing stretches alongside Champ.
Anger Heart growled, “No, I mean how long do we have to do this physical training thing?”
“Until we say you’re in good enough shape.” Brave Heart stood up and started stretching his arms, “you’ve had it easy up until now but now it’s time to really start your lives up here.”
Once everyone was all stretched out Champ and Brave Heart stood ahead of them. “Alright everyone, go!” Champ and Brave Heart took off at an easy jog.
At first it seemed fairly typical, that is until Confidence Heart passed them with a cocky grin plastered on her face followed shortly by Love Heart, Flash, Indy, then Anger Heart and even Guidance Heart managed to match their pace. As they went over the first hill, Brave Heart saw the Magi descend the next hill ahead of them as Guidance Heart pulled ahead of them on the downwards slope. Brave Heart and Champ Bear both broke into a sprint as they crossed the second hill and couldn’t see the Magi ahead of them, except Guidance Heart who had just reached the top of the third hill.
When they finally reached the gym, both Champ and Brave Heart were winded, mostly from trying to sprint up the last hill, while the only one of their students who was even breathing hard was Guidance Heart, the rest had barely broken a sweat.
“Is this all we have to do?” Confidence Heart looked up at the chin up bar, shrugged then jumped up to the bar with a short hop and grabbed on before she started her chin ups. Brave Heart and Champ watched, slack jawed and panting, as the rest of the Magi followed suit. Guidance Heart needed a boost from Anger Heart, the fox managed to get up on his own. Even Guidance Heart managed to do ten chin up before she dropped back to the clouds, visibly tired but still on her feet. The rest of the Magi made it to fifteen easy.
“Heh, sure beats running for your life,” Flash Heart grinned as he dropped, “too bad Cheer couldn’t instruct us. That’d give me something better to look at.”
“Watch…it…she’s…dating…me!” Champ panted out as the rest of the Magi landed back on the clouds.
Anger Heart snorted, “Really, you two are tired? This is weaksauce.”
“Alright…I think… we’re done the…physical training.” Brave Heart took a deep breath then held it for a few seconds to stop his panting. “I think it’s time to move on to tummy symbol training.”
Love Heart sniffed, then wrinkled his nose, “After we’ve had a shower.”
Fifteen minutes later, the freshly showered Care Bears stood, without their track suits, at the tummy symbol range. Champ and Brave Heart shared a glance as they looked at their six students, then Champ spoke. “Alright, sports fans, time to learn how to do the Care Bear Stare… or Cousin Call if you’re not a bear.”
“You mean like this?” Indy turned to face the target, a crude cardboard cut-out of Beastly with arms raised and a crude scowl, and fired off a green beam of light from his tummy symbol which missed the target.
Brave Heart’s mouth fell open and he just kept staring until Champ pushed his mouth closed. “H-how did you learn that?” Indy hadn’t even stumbled from the recoil of his stare.
“Dad taught me and Indy and I taught Confidence and Flash Heart,” Love Heart pointed to himself then to the other three as he spoke.
“He didn’t even need a countdown for full strength,” Champ whispered.
“Umm excuse me,” Guidance Heart spoke up, “But we still don’t know how to use our tummy symbols.”
Brave Heart shook his head then looked out at his group. “Alright, the four of you practise your aim, Champ teach Anger Heart and Guidance Heart how to use the stare. I need to go see Take Care.” Brave Heart took off towards Take Care’s clinic.
Champ watched Brave Heart running for a moment then turned back to the fox and Raccoon. “Alright. Anger Heart, Guidance Heart plant your feet so you can be stable and face the target.” Champ stood alongside his two students, “Good, now reach down, find your center where you feel your emotions and squeeze!” Champ fired off a weak care bear stare, a ray of light filled with small hearts and stars, which struck the target of Beastly, which made its angry scowl turn into a silly grin. “If you do a countdown it will be stronger.”
“Alright, here goes.” Anger Heart faced the target and followed Champ’s directions. Anger Heart fired off a red beam of energy from his symbol and fell to his back, firing a second beam off into the sky.
“Sorry, sports fan, forgot to mention that it has a strong kick.” Champ stooped to help Anger Heart stand. “At least you aren’t having the same trouble the pandas had.”
Anger Heart accepted his hand and let Champ pull him up, “That would have been nice to know!” he snapped. “And who are the pandas?”
“It’s a long story, sports fan, I’ll tell you some other time,” Champ said as he got Anger Heart to his feet.
“Stop calling me that,” Anger Heart growled, which made Champ take a step back.
Guidance Heart looked down at the target, then turned to watch the other four magi. They didn’t seem to have any trouble with the recoil though they were having trouble with their aim. She turned to face the target again, feeling her legs shake until someone took hold of her shoulders from behind. “I’ll support you, don’t be scared.” Anger Heart whispered into Guidance’s ear. Guidance smiled and took a deep breath then fired off her own stare.
Both Guidance Heart and Anger Heart took a step back and Guidance’s stare flew wide of her target, but they both remained standing. Germaine smiled and turned her head, “Thank you.”
Anger Heart blushed, “Any time, Guidance.”
“Don’t you have a larger collection of books than me?” Take Care was sitting in her living room, looking over the top of a book she was reading.
Soulful Heart Fox was browsing through Take Care’s bookshelf, “I’m trying to expand my horizons. Hmm…” he tracked his finger over a title he was unfamiliar with.
They both heard the front door open, followed by Brave Heart’s voice, “Take Care! I need to talk to you!”
Soulful Heart bristled slightly and stood up, “I’ll come back later.”
Take Care sighed and closed her book. “Alright. I’d better make sure this isn’t an emergency.
They both found Brave Heart leaning up against Take Care’s desk and panting. “Just came… from the tummy…symbol range.” He took a deep breath to calm his breathing, “I gotta tell you more about the Magi.”
Take Care sighed, “Well I might as well update their profiles.” Take Care fished the files she’d set aside for the Magi out of her file cabinets and sat down at the desk.
“Well for one thing, they blew both me and Champ out of the water with the physical exam. They easily beat us when running and barely broke a sweat on the chin up bars, even Guidance Heart out-jogged us. Then it turns out that Love Heart, Confidence Heart, Independent Bear and Flash Heart already know how to do the Care Bear Stare, and it was at full strength without a countdown.”
Take Care looked up and gave a wide-eyed stare to Brave Heart, “Without the countdown? Like Noble Heart and True Heart?”
Brave Heart nodded, “And Grams Bear.”
“They can use that much power from a simple stare…” Take Care was writing as she spoke, “Denser muscles and bones, better stamina, stronger tummy symbols that conjure real weapons and magical affinity, if what we’ve been told is true. And then there’s the fact that they don’t have the same ability the rest of us have that lets them speak any language they hear.”
“They sound like super soldiers.”
Both Take Care and Brave Heart turned to the doorway where Soulful Heart Fox now stood. He had slipped past Brave Heart while he was talking with Take Care and was about to leave until he heard Take Care’s summation.
“I’m sorry, what?” Brave Heart gave a quizzical look to Soulful Heart.
Soulful rolled his eyes but continued regardless, “Super Soldiers are a concept from science-fiction: people enhanced through cybernetics, genetic engineering, selective breeding, intense training or a multitude of other methods solely for the purpose of creating the stronger soldiers imaginable. I doubt the Magi could be as strong as they are this easily without that intent behind their creation.”
Take Care sat back in her chair as she pondered Soulful’s words. “It makes sense. The Care Bear Magi were meant to protect us from people like Dark Heart and No-Heart so of course they were made to be stronger, faster and more powerful than the rest of us so they could focus on protecting us while we looked after the world.”
“Guess I have to change my strategy for training then,” Brave Heart sighed.
“Or you could just let them be.” Soulful Heart raised a hand to his side, palm upwards, “The Care Bear Magi probably have their own training regiment that’s vastly different from ours and they should be allowed to do it without us forcing our ways onto them.”
“I’m not stupid, Soulful.”
“What?” Soulful blinked and took a second look at the lion. Brave Heart’s hands were clenched into fists, his head was bowed and he was shaking.
Brave Heart glared at Soulful from the edge of fierce eyes. “I know what everyone thinks of me: that I’m just a big lovable oaf who charges through life without thinking because it hurts my head. I didn’t become the leader of the Care Bear Cousins on a fluke or because no one else wanted the job. I’m not going to force them but I will help them learn how we live and let them choose how they want to live. They might be harder, better, faster and stronger than us, but they’re still Care Bears and I’m going to treat them like members of the family. I want them to be able to live here without fighting if that’s what they want and make sure they don’t feel alienated.” Brave Heart locked his gaze forward and walked past Soulful Heart and out of the clinic. Soulful just stared after him for a moment. Take Care watched him leave, then turned back to update the Magi’s files.
“I hope he knows what he’s doing.” Soulful finally said.
The Magi were still practising aiming their stares when Brave Heart returned, with only Love Heart and Indy having any consistent success. Brave Heart walked over to Love Heart and put a hand on his shoulder. “Love Heart, can I talk to you for a minute, please?”
Love Heart stopped firing his stare at the target and turned to face Brave Heart. “Ok, but why?”
“I just… want to talk to you alone OK. Everyone else keep practising,” Brave Heart looked over at the others. There was some grumbling from Anger Heart, who was being stabilized by both Guidance Heart and Champ Bear, but they didn’t stop.
Brave Heart led Love Heart to the other side of the gym and out of earshot of the others.
Brave Heart stopped, facing away from Love Heart. “I’m sorry.”
“You’re sorry?” Love Heart was taken aback, “For what?”
“For not treating you like an equal, for talking down to you when I was instructing you earlier.” Brave Heart turned to face Love Heart, his eyes shaking. “You’re the leader of the Care Bear Magi, right?”
“Well then you’re on the same level as Tenderheart and me so I should treat you like that and…” Brave Heart took a deep breath. “The point is that I want to know if you have your own training program for the Care Bear Magi.”
Love Heart nodded, “I do, the same methods I used back when I taught Confidence and Flash Heart.”
“Then, I want you to take over. I shouldn’t be forcing you to do things our way but…” Brave Heart lowered his head, “if you want… You know what, never mind, I just-“
“Whoa!” Love Heart stepped forwards and put his hands on Brave Heart’s shoulders, “What’s wrong, Brave Heart?”
Brave Heart raised his head to look Love Heart in the eyes. “I’m just trying to do the right thing here, if I can do it without messing things up.”
Love Heart’s eyes softened. “OK, for real, what’s wrong Brave Heart?”
Brave Heart sighed and pulled away, moving to sit on a bench outside the front door of the gym. “Did you know we made a cartoon a few years ago?”
“I never really watched cartoons, unless anime counts because Confidence really loves that stuff.” Love Heart chuckled.
Brave Heart looked up at Love Heart, “Well we made them. We worked with three different companies: Atkinsons Film Association, DiC and Nelvana. It was a deal we made to increase our visibility and help parents and kids feel safer around us. We based the episodes on real adventures we had, without the actual dangers that happened, but with the real events, even did a couple movies with them. The thing is, in those shows I ended up being one of the more prominent characters but they felt I worked best as a gung-ho, act-first think-never, stubborn boisterous pig-headed leader so I could be funnier… and I hated it. I had to do some things I found very humiliating at the time and I don’t want to name. And somehow, I feel that the rest of the family kinda stopped thinking about the real me and just thinks about the me I had to act like when I was on TV. Kids still respect me, to a point, but even so I see how they treat me, how they think I think, or don’t think, and I hear what some of them say behind my back. Sometimes I think I really am like that idiot from the cartoon and it scares the bajesus out of me.” Brave Heart hadn’t realized he’d started crying in the midst of his explanation, but Love Heart noticed.
Love Heart walked over and knelt down in front of Brave Heart, “You’re scared?”
“Of course I’m scared. I’m scared of a lot more than people think.” Brave Heart looked up at Love Heart. “I’m scared I won’t be able to handle being a leader in times of crisis, I’m scared that some day No-Heart or Cold Heart or someone else will come up with a scheme so dangerous if finally defeats us, I’m scared that I’m going to become as dumb as that oaf I played on the cartoon, I’m scared that I’m going to spend the rest of my life alone, and I’m scared of the dark… But that’s what being brave means: not that I’m not afraid but that I can keep going on despite my fears, that I can stand and face them without backing down, most of the time.”
Love Heart gave Brave Heart a gentle smile, “For what it’s worth, I think it was brave to tell me all of this and I think you’re a great leader,” Love Heart chuckled, “but I guess that doesn’t mean much since I’ve haven’t even been here a month.”
Brave Heart smiled, “Thanks Love Heart.” He finally noticed the wetness on his face and reached up to dry his eyes.
“Hey, I’m a Care Bear, this is kinda my job,” Love Heart chuckled and stood up.
“Yeah, you are.” Brave Heart brightened up and stood up, “Follow me, I have an idea.” Brave Heart led Love Heart into the gym.
Love Heart and Brave Heart were gone for almost half an hour, during which the rest of the magi decided to take a break and rest from using their stares so much. Love Heart and Brave Heart emerged, a green duo-tang in Love Heart’s hand.
“Alright, everyone, pay attention. Brave Heart and I have worked out a training regiment for all of you.” Love Heart opened the duo-tang and waited until everyone was listening, “From now on, I will be training you, physically, magically and in the use of tummy symbol powers. Honestly, the training the rest of the Care Bears go through isn’t appropriate for us so we need to take things up a notch. Anger Heart and Guidance Heart,” Love Heart looked over at the fox and raccoon, “When you’ve rested you’re coming with me to learn the basics of kinetics, Confidence Heart, Flash Heart, Independent Bear, you’re going with Brave Heart to learn how to drive.”
“I’m sorry, what?” Flash Heart shook his head.
“You all need to learn to drive a cloud car,” Brave Heart took over. “You need to be able get around and down to earth in case of emergencies, or if you decide to go on caring missions, and a cloud car is the best way to do that. I’m going to teach all six of you how to create and drive a cloud car.”
Confidence Heart grinned and shot to her feet, “Alright, lead the way Brave Heart!”
“Sound good, this way everyone!” Brave Heart swung his arm in a motion for the three older magi to follow him. “I’ll teach you later, Love Heart.”
“I look forwards to it.” Love Heart turned to Anger Heart and Guidance Heart, who were standing up. “Thanks for your help, Champ, I’ll take over.”
“Good luck, sports fan,” Champ waved as he left Love Heart alone with Guidance and Anger Heart.
“So… where do we start?” Guidance Heart stood with her hands together in front of her stomach.
Love Heart set the duo-tang down, “First you need to learn how to access your mana reserves. Remember how you used your Care Bear Stare?”
Anger Heart nodded, “Yeah?”
“Well you have to do something similar, except you need to find the spark of magic inside yourself and bring it out into the world. Like this,” Love Heart held up both his hands and produced what appeared to be a shimmering blue cloud of energy.
“What is that?” Guidance Heart stepped forwards and passed her hand through the shimmering cloud. It tingled.
“This is mana, the source of all magic and the essence of all life.” Love Heart looked over at Anger Heart, “go ahead and touch it, it will help.”
“Alright.” Anger Heart stepped forwards and slowly reached for the cloud, as though it were going to burn him, but all he felt was a tingling spreading all the way up his spine and jumped, “What was that?!”
“That was what mana feels like.” Love Heart let the cloud disperse, “It helps to know what you’re looking for before you try to search for it.”
“Shouldn’t you be, ya know, telling us ‘we’ll know it when we see it’ and just let us figure everything out on our own?” Anger Heart folded his arms.
Love Heart snorted, “Yeah, because it’s best if people have no idea what they’re looking for. Dad wasn’t cryptic with me so I’m not being cryptic with you. Now you might want to sit down for this, unless you want to stay standing.”
Guidance Heart sat down, cross-legged, “So I just try to find that tingly magic inside of me?”
“Exactly. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t get it on your first try, it takes time.” Love Heart reassured both of them. “But if you do then you can learn to control and change the shape of your mana,” as he continued, Love Heart began to weave his hands through the air as streaks of blue lightning appeared from his finger tips. “And once you get the hang of it, this will become second nature!” with the last word he fired off a bolt of lightning high into the sky with a great *CRACK* of thunder that forced Anger Heart and Guidance Heart to cover their ears.
Anger Heart uncovered his ears, “That was… wow I mean…”
“That was incredible,” Guidance Heart stared in awe at Love Heart.
“Well it takes a while to get that far, so you need to start trying to brig out your magic,” Love Heart clapped his hands together, “So let’s get to it!”
Anger Heart and Guidance Heart sat down alongside each other and closed their eyes then started searching for that spark of energy.
At the communal cloud car hangar, Brave Heart found Love-a-Lot Bear washing one of the parked cars and whistling a tune. Brave Heart waved, “Hey, Love-a-Lot, can you help me with something?”
Love-a-Lot looked up, “Oh hey, Brave Heart. What do you need help with?”
“Well it’s time for their first day driving lessons,” Brave Heart motioned to Confidence Heart Fennec, Flash Heart Bear and Independent Bear walking along with me, “Can you help me?”
“Sure. So who should I take up?” Love-a-Lot asked to the three Magi.
Flash Heart grinned and hurried forwards, taking her hand, “I’d like to have a cute instructor, if I may.”
Love-a-Lot giggled, “Tease! But I have a boyfriend.”
“Oh, what a sad thing it is to hear that,” Flash Heart put a hand over his heart, “but still I’d love to have you as my teacher.”
Love-a-Lot leaned against the cloud car, “Alright, then get in the car and we can start.”
“Alright that’s taken care of. Just wait a moment, I need to make a phone call,” Brave Heart said as he pulled his cell phone out of his tummy symbol. A less well known ability the Care Bears had was the ability to store small objects in their tummy symbols. A useful ability as most of them rarely wore clothes.
“Hello, Swift Heart? I have someone who needs a driving lesson at the hangar-” Brave Heart was cut off as a blue blur came to a sudden stop next to him.
Swift Heart grinned, “Came as fast as I could. So who wants to learn from the fastest?”
“That should be me.” Confidence Heart stepped forwards. “Nice to see you again, Swift Heart.”
Swift Heart looked the fennec up and down, “Confidence Heart right? Well follow me and hop in the car.”
“So, are we just jumping right into the car?” Independent Bear walked over to the closest cloud car and looked into the seat.
“I think it’s best to see how you try to drive first before I figure out what I need to teach you.” Brave Heart walked over to the passenger’s seat and got in.
“YEAAAAAAGGH!” Swift Heart’s cry caused Brave Heart to duck on instinct as the cloud car being driven by Confidence Heart flew right past them.
He looked up and shuddered, “It’s the pandas all over again.” He glanced sideways as Flash Heart and Love-a-Lot, as Flash Heart stalled out for the third time, then lurched forwards an came to an abrupt stop.
“Right.” Indy stepped into the car and did up his seatbelt. He stared at the instrument panel, “So… what do I do?”
Brave Heart sighed in relief, “At least I got the cautious one. Alright so this instrument panel shows you how fast you’re going, how fast the engine is running and if you left the lights on.”
Indy nodded, his attention focused solely on Brave Heart’s lessons.
After an hour of trying, Guidance Heart sat back, supporting herself with her arms. “I can’t quite reach it.” She sighed.
Love Heart put a hand on Guidance’s shoulder, “That’s fine, it takes a while to figure out.”
Anger Heart was still pushing forwards. His eyes screwed shut, his teeth bared and his hands shaking as he could feel that tingly spark inside of him just out of reach. Love Heart gave the fox a look of concern, “Anger Heart, are you OK?”
“I. Can. Do. This!” Anger Heart growled as he kept trying to reach that spark.
“You don’t have to, you… just…” Love Heart tried to protest but slowed down as he saw a shimmering between Anger Heart’s hands.
“I GOT IT!” Anger Heart opened his eyes just in time to see the shimmering cloud of mana between his hands, until it dissipated and he started panting.
“That’s amazing,” Love Heart walked over to Anger Heart and offered a hand to help him stand. “that’s the first time I’ve seen someone do that on the fist try.”
Alex smirked, “Impressed?”
“Very, but be careful. The first time is the most tiring,” Love Heart did his best to steady Anger Heart.
Anger Heart bristled and pushed Love Heart off him. “I can stand on my oooOOOO!” Anger Heart’s felt his legs go weak under him and he fell to the ground.
“Oh dear! Are you alright?” Guidance Heart was on her feet in an instant and over Anger Heart, helping him to stand.
“The first time takes a lot out of you because you’re trying to redirect the mana in your body that is part of your life force.” Love Heart walked over and help Anger Heart stand, despite his protest. “Just get a full night’s rest and you’ll feel better tomorrow.”
“Right, thanks.” Anger Heart finally managed to stand on his own, but needed to use the wall to support himself.
“What about me?” Gudiance Heart asked.
“You still need to practise, but don’t feel the need to rush it.” Love Heart said, “Go home and get some rest but feel free to practise on your own.”
“OK, thank you.” Guidance Heart smiled then she and Anger Heart headed home.
With no-one else around, Love Heart held his hands up and grit his teeth as he started focusing energy into his hands. Blue lightning started leaping between his fingers until a veritable web of electricity danced in his hands. Love Heart narrowed his eyes and forced the lightning together, bolts overlapping until they converged into a single string of bright purple energy. Love Heart was sweating as he tried to maintain the string of energy, only for it to dissolve in his hands. “Still not good enough.” He let out a sigh then turned to head after where Brave Heart had gone with the rest of the magi.
The cloud car hangar was thankfully mostly empty and Love Heart watched Brave Heart and Independent Bear came in for a slow landing.
“Not bad just try to be a little more aggressive when driving, you need to be able to drive fast and safe to get to danger zones.” Brave Heart stepped out of the car.
Indy smiled, “Thanks. Is there anything else?”
“Nope. Just come back to practise for the next couple days until I think you’re ready to drive safely on your own.” Brave Heart waved as Indy left, who waved half-heartedly over his shoulder as he headed into the Forest of Feelings.
“So where are Confidence and Flash Heart?” Love Heart walked over to Brave Heart as he watched Indy leave.
Brave Heart groaned, “Confidence almost crashed and Flash Heart almost gave Love-a-Lot whiplash when he tried to drive so they both got sent to take classes on driving safety. Thankfully Indy was willing to listen, even if he’s a bit too careful.”
Love Heart chuckled, “Sounds like my brother alright. So since you’re not traumatized by his driving can you teach me now?”
“Sure, hop in but give me a minute to stretch.” Brave Heart pointed to the car before he bent down to touch his toes.
Love Heart buckled in and looked at the instrument panel of the cloud car. Like Indy Love Heart was a bit mystified by the controls and stared at the various symbols and numbers until Brave Heart got in the passenger seat.
“Love Heart, can you do me a favor?”
“What?” Love Heart turned to Brave Heart.
“Please take it slow, I don’t want a repeat of what happened with the pandas.”
Love Heart turned his upper body to face Brave Heart, putting his right arm over the seat, “Who are these pandas? I’ve heard about them but no one’s told me anything.”
Brave Heart blinked then chuckled, slightly embarrassed, “They’re Perfect and Polite Panda, twin pandas we found living in this tropical valley in the middle of a snowy mountain range. After they were invited back up here we found out they were Care Bears that had been scared away from our group before we came to the Kingdom of Caring. We tried to help them fit in but they just couldn’t get the hang of their tummy symbols, or driving, or much else. Eventually they decided to return home and found out that it was their love that kept their valley tropical despite being surrounded by a constant winter. Is something wrong, Love Heart?”
Love Heart expression had become downcast, “How many more of us are there?”
“Of us? You mean more lost Care Bears?” Brave Heart asked.
Love Heart nodded, “I mean, apart from them there’s Anger Heart and Guidance Heart, Confidence, Flash, Indy and myself.”
“Then there was Regal and Defender Bear, and I guess we can count Stellar, Truth Bear and Soulful Heart Fox,” Brave Heart said, counting them off on his fingers.
“You guess?” Love Heart gave Brave Heart a quizzical look.
Brave Heart waved a hand then pointed to the dashboard, “I’ll explain when you can get us in the air, now pay attention and I’ll show you what all of this means.”
Thankfully Love Heart caught on fast and was a careful driver, not nearly as nervous as Indy had been and he was in the air in thirty minutes. He held the steering wheel and kept the car level, flying in patterns that Brave Heart set out for him. Once they were both comfortable Brave Heart started telling Love Heart about the other lost family members who had joined, and about the origins of Stellar Heart Tiger, Soulful Heart Fox and Truth Bear, who had once been known as Shade Foyle.
Love Heart kept quiet and focused on his driving until Brave Heart finished. “I guess we weren’t the only ones dealing with dangerous shit before we came here.” Brave Heart winced at Love Heart swear but didn’t stop him from talking, “I heard what Defender and Truth did when they first found us,” Love Heart’s grip on the steering wheel was making the cloud car shake slightly. “All my life dad told me that my job was to protect the Care Bear Family and what’s the first thing that happens? I get rescued by the Care Bears because I couldn’t even fight my own battle.”
Love Heart was starting to tear up when Brave Heart put a hand on his shoulder. “Love Heart, you were running for years and you were fighting someone who used to be your brother, but even so you kept them all alive until we met and you’re here now.”
Love Heart smiled, “Thanks. So can I land now?”
“Of course, actually,” Brave Heart looked at the dashboard clock, “Yikes! We’ve been up here too long. We should finish up. But I think you’ll be cleared to drive a cloud car in no time.”
Love Heart landed the car back at the hangar and stepped out, “Thanks for the lesson, so should I come back tomorrow?”
“Sure thing, stop by anytime.” Brave Heart waved to Love Heart as he headed to the Hall of Hearts. Hopefully their houses would be finished by the following week.
Independent Bear had found his way to the four trees fallen in a square and took a seat on one of the logs. He sighed contentedly and looked up at the sky through the gap in the canopy. Indy turned sideways and lay back on the log. It was hard and rough but to him it was better than a bed because it was so peaceful here…
“Independent Bear what are you doing here?”
Indy’s eyes shot open and he sat up to find Take Care Bear standing near the trees with a book in one hand. “Oh, hello Take Care. I just found this place to be nice and quiet, away from everyone else.”
“I see,” Take Care took a seat on the log opposite to him. “I come here to read and get some peace when there’s no emergencies.”
“Do you want me to leave?” Indy turned to stand up but Take Care shook her head.
“I won’t make you leave. But how did you find this place, no one else knows about it.”
Indy lay back down to stare up at the sky, “I just looked for the quietest around here and this was it.”
Take Care raised an eyebrow but shrugged and opened her book to the bookmarked page. Even though he was completely silent Indy’s presence still changed the feeling of the place for Take Care. Despite that she still read without being interrupted, but something nagged at the back of her mind. After she finished five chapters, Take Care bookmarked the page and looked over at Indy, who was still lay on the log and stared up at the sky.
“Independent Bear, can I ask you something?”
“Hmm?” Indy tried to turn sideways but only succeeded in falling off the log. He spat some dirt out of his mouth and brushed the fallen twigs and leaves out of his fur. “Sure, what do you want to know?”
Take Care crossed her left leg over her right, “What kind of magic do you Magi use? I didn’t get much of a chance to see it when we rescued you from Dusk Heart, and so far none of you have told me exactly what kind of magic you use.”
Indy nodded and sat back down, “I see. They use kinetics, or sometimes called elementalism. It involves pulling the magic essence, also called mana, out of the world around you or out of yourself and using your body to convert the raw mana into an element for use in the world around you. It doesn’t need words, gestures or complex recipes so it’s more like a martial art for mana than traditional magic. Love Heart and Confidence Heart both use wind, though Love Heart mostly uses electricity, and Flash Heart uses light.”
“And what about you?” Take Care asked.
Indy shuffled around on the log and avoided looking at Take Care.
“You don’t have to tell me if it makes you uncomfortable,” Take Care was about to stand up, until Indy help up a hand.
“No, I’ll show you just… promise not to get scared.” Indy took a deep breath then extended his right hand towards a small rock on the ground. Take Care followed the direction of his arm then watched as the rock floated about a meter off the ground before it fell back down.
“What was that?” Take Care turned back to Independent Bear.
“Telekinesis.” Indy brought his hand back to his side, “I’m psionic, or psychic if you prefer.”
Take Care tensed slightly, “Can you read minds.”
Indy shook his head, “No, I can’t even read emotions, but I can ‘hear’ the sounds left by thoughts everywhere. Even if they aren’t talking I can hear a small drone in the back of my mind when I’m near people and I can use that to see if anyone’s nearby.” He tapped the side of his head, “It’s usually an alarm bell that keeps me safe, but it doesn’t always work.”
“Which is why you didn’t notice me,” Take Care relaxed once she realized her thoughts weren’t being listened in on.
“People also leave ‘echoes’ of their thoughts when they spend a lot of time somewhere so it’s hard for to get some peace, except here,” Indy looked down at his feet, “I can sort of hear the echoes from your mind here, but it’s just one mind so it’s very peaceful here.”
“I see.” Take Care stood up, “Do you read much?”
“I used to, haven’t had much chance lately,” Indy looked up at Take Care.
“You can borrow books from me if you want, you can ask Soulful too.” Take Care said, “Feel free to come here and read if you want to get away from the rest of the family, just don’t tell anyone about this place.”
Indy stood up, “I won’t. Thank you, Take Care.”