“The first thing you must learn is to draw upon the wind. It's easy and it should be instinctive,” Frost explained as they left the building and stepped outside onto the snowy plain. He demonstrated how to draw on the wind currents, pulling specific elements to her. “Helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, radon, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon are some the elements we command. There are others of course, and all of them have different value to us. Some are for feeding and others are for shaping. Also the different gases that we can eat have different nutritional value. For instance it would be a bad idea to try to live on nitrogen alone.” He smiled as if that were an understatement.
If it was a joke, it went over Gale’s head. She didn't find it funny when he levitated them without warning either. She stiffened and her eyes went wide as he swiftly rose above the mansion.
“Easy,” Frost advised. “This is as natural as breathing.”
“I'm going to fall!”
“If you did, you would simply drift to the ground. Remember, you're no longer as dense as a human. Gravity does not affect you the same way.” His tone was sympathetic, but she sensed he was enjoying himself.
“You don't like me, do you?” Gale search frantically for way down. She imagined herself slowly drifting to earth and sighed with relief as her body obliged.
Frost watched with approval as her feet gently touched the snow. “I've never had a mother-in-law to torment before. It's fun.”
She glared at him. “I refuse to be your mother in law; you’re centuries older than I am.”
“Don't let my seniority upset you. I promise not to comment on your age…much.” He alighted next to her. “Ready to return to Fairbanks? I'll open a portal.”
She took a step back in surprise as an oval portal opened in the middle of downtown Fairbanks. “How did you do that? I thought we were going to fly!”
He shook his head. “A KC 135 has a top speed of 530 mph (853 km) at 30,000 feet. A category five hurricane, on the other hand, is a storm wind exceeding 156 mph ( or 136 knots/ 251 km). Even if you traveled at hurricane velocity, which I doubt you can do for long, it would take you a while to get back home.
“Fortunately, you have an old elemental at your disposal that can open portals.” He bowed.
She looked at him suspiciously. “Can all air elementals rattle off numbers like that?”
He shrugged. “I bet you can tell me how many miles you can travel in your car on a gallon of gas, average road speeds, and the general mileage on your vehicle. We remember numbers we use often, like anyone else.”
She studied the familiar landmarks, noting that it was later than she’d realized. Her parents must have been notified about her “death” by now. She couldn’t imagine what they were feeling. Had they called the family?
Realizing she was stalling, Gale stepped through the portal. Relieved to arrive in one piece, she looked around. They were in a busy Sam’s Club parking lot, but no one glanced at them. “Can they see us?” she asked uneasily.
“No. It takes an effort to become visible to the human eye. You have to learn to bend light rays, and it’s not easy. Which way?” He levitated both of them, looking at her for directions.
She gave him instructions, then asked, “But my family will see me, right? You can help, can’t you?”
He took a long time to answer. “I know the theory, but I’ve never wished to make myself known to a human. My father can, of course, but he’s far older than I.”
Her shoulders slumped. She’d never imagined it would be this difficult. “I wanted to give my parents a hug, tell them I’m fine. They’ve got to be worried.”
Frost halted their forward motion, hovering as he stared at her sympathetically. “You won’t be able to touch them, Gale. Even if I manage to make you visible, your touch will feel like a gentle breeze, your voice that of the wind, very soft…if they can make it out.”
Gale held very still as she absorbed the news. As far as humans were concerned, she was a ghost.