Illie stood behind me, making sure my shirts were loose enough. I breathed little, just in and out, then I took one deep breath.
The fabric binding me swelled like a balloon, allowing for me to fill my lungs as much as I could. I let the breath out in a quick huff.
“Do you think I should tighten your over-garments?” Illie asked, coming around to face me. Her jewel blue eyes looked at me with a mixture of concern, fear, and wonder.
“No, this should be fine, unless a strong wind comes along and blows me away,” I joked. She nodded, smiling.
The hill we stood on was one of the many that stretched out across the skyline. It would serve as a good place for our little experiment.
I looked down at the wildflowers and tall grasses that grew across the hills. A zephyr blew everything gently, so it appeared the Hillands were a sea of grasses. I hoped this wouldn’t end badly.
“Best go to the very top for a good running start,” Illie said to me. We began to climb up the steep incline to the summit. The tall grasses swayed around my legs as I took step after step.
“Are you ready, Ynnis?” she asked me.
I nodded and waved my fingers, smiling, “Prepare to be amazed!” She snorted.
“Go on, you idiot!” she giggled. I breathed in deeply, looking down across the hills. I lowered my body, one foot forward.
From behind me, I could hear, “3…2…1.”
I ran. The hill came rushing beneath my feet, the wind pushing me up. Gravity started to lose its hold on me as I ran down the steep slope. I jumped.
The ground was rushing to greet me ten feet below, and I started flapping my arms and legs like a madwoman, feeling my magic being drained away.
Suddenly, I was without any energy, any magic. I was as helpless as a human falling to die on the hard earth.
Just as I was two feet from the hill, a new energy flowed through me, sparkling, silver, and light. I leant forward and glided over the grasses, never touching the ground.
I reached upwards with my body. The wind pushed me along as I flew into the sky.
Suddenly the Hillands were small, knobbly lumps on grasses on the land. I could see bits of a yellow and pink dress beneath me as Illie followed me, laughing.
I angled my body downwards and I sailed down to fly five feet above her head. We laughed in wonder and excitement.
I pushed my torso upwards again and the movement sent me racing up into the clouds. I trailed my hand through the cool wetness, enjoying the shivers it gave me.
I broke through the cloud, coughing as the taste of cold dust filled my mouth. Illie was a small pink flower on the ground, dashing and leaping like a young doe.
I decided to fly back down and attempt a descent. Finding a longer patch of grass to land on, I glided down towards the ground.
I put myself upright, preparing for the landing.
I was racing along, hovering less than a foot above the grass that was flattened against my breeze, ruffling violently like the true sea.
Readying for a touchdown point, I started making a running action with my feet. Then, confident I would land running, I touched the ground.
Unable to stop immediately, I ran with the invisible force of flight behind me.
Feeling like I couldn’t come to a slow halt, I tried backpedaling before I tripped and fell on my face, rolling over twice before eventually coming to a stop.
I stayed there, face to the sky, watching the clouds.
Suddenly all my senses were aware, and I lay there, still but for breathing, just experiencing the world.
The feeling of crushed grass and cold ground against my back, the gentle rush of myriad breezes whipping across my inert form, the touch of the sun’s warmth, the coldness of the passing clouds,
the scent of grass seed and sky.
I could sense Illie coming as I heard her breathing and felt her energy wrapping the fields in bright happiness.
She leant over my face. “That was awesome!” she grinned. I gave her a small grin, something that tired my peaceful body.
I was too wrapped up in the feeling of the world around me to hear her gush about the wonderment of my flight.
“What was it like?” she shook me awake, quivering with lightning adrenaline and bubbly wonder.
I breathed in. Then out. “Beyond words.”
She smiled, then laid down next to me, putting her hands behind her head and looking up at the endless skies.
“How does that even work?” Illie asked me, turning to face my body and resting her head on one of her hands.
I looked back at her. “What? Flying?” I asked, and she nodded. I sighed in thought, closing my eyes slowly, then opening them.
“First, I jump and I try to fly like a little kid, you know, like a bird,” I start, and Illie starts cracking up laughing.
I blush and try to defend myself, “I don’t know why flailing around works, it just does!”
She snorted and I bit my lip in frustration, trying to glare at her but ultimately falling victim to her infectious laughter and conceding a grudging smile.
She shook her head, sapphire eyes bright, then said with her voice still breaking with giggles, “Alright, it works! Just keep going!”
I huff, trying to regain my composure and concentration.
“After the flailing around—” Illie covered her mouth, but her eyes were still laughing— “my magic starts to leave me and I feel incredibly weak,
but then it’s as if trying to flap my arms and the like is charging me.
I feel like new energy is filling my body and when I’m fully charged, I can shift my weight around my body to control my flying.”
Illie bit her lip, pondering, then said, “Do you think you could ever do it from a running start on flat ground instead of a hill?”
I shrugged the best I could lying down. “Maybe.”