In the office at her restaurant, Erika was talking to Jason through an incarnation of Shade. After weeks of such communication, it was starting to feel normal which, when she thought about, was rather concerning.

“I told him you had contacts,” Erika said. “What was I supposed to say? That your eyes changed when you became a gestalt entity of body and spirit? I don’t even know what that means.”

"Well," Jason said, "it basically means that… actually, I'm still kind of figuring it out."

“When will you be back?”

“Not until I pick up Emi at school. Will you be coming to the houseboat for dinner?”

“Yeah, although I’m concerned about bringing him to the houseboat. Ian hasn’t forgiven me yet for making him go home and give up the cloud bed.”

“You know that you’re welcome to keep staying here.”

"I just want to maintain some normalcy," Erika said. "Is that so bad?"

“I get it,” Jason said. “I just know from experience that when you stop obsessing over normal and give yourself over to magic, life gets amazing.”

“You realise you’re starting to sound religious when you talk like that.”

“Speaking of religious, did anyone tell Great Aunt Marjory about magic yet?”

“No, and we’re not going to,” Erika said. “If she finds out that you came back from the dead, heal the sick and can walk on water, she is not going to keep the secret. Will anyone on talkback radio believe her? Probably not, but she’s already intimated that the devil sent you back. I don’t want her roaming around town yelling ‘false prophet’ at passers-by."

“That’s fair.”

“You know, Jase, what you said about giving over to magic. It’s not all good. It’s getting harder to go around living my life with everything I’ve learned. How do I treat everything as normal when I know about teleporting, secret monsters and alternate worlds. You’re a sorcerer. It suddenly hit me the other day that you can cure cancer with a literal magic spell. (...)