“Is that where you live?”
“No.” She smiled. “My home is—or was—three hundred years further still into that particular future. But, don’t worry, we won’t be going there . . . at least, I don’t expect we will.”
“Does a body always go to a different place?”
“A different world or dimension, you mean?” Mina considered this. “I think so,” she replied. “At least, so far as I know. Even so, it is possible to make a jump and remain in the same geographical area, so to speak. If Kit followed the instructions I gave him, he has made a jump that keeps him in Egypt—only it will be a different Egypt in a different time from the one he left. It took me a long time to work that out, but it is incredibly useful.”
Giles accepted this without comment. They proceeded up the long ramping incline of the hill to the top, where they paused to look down into the valley beyond. If there was an old straight track down there, it was well hidden. After taking in the view for a moment, Giles asked, “What is this place?”
“To tell you the truth, I don’t know. I have not explored this world. I only use it as a sort of stepping-stone to get from one ley to another. There are many such as these—unknown worlds, I call them.” She laughed. “Mostly because I don’t know anything about them.”
“Are there people hereabouts?”
“A few,” replied Mina. “Farmers and the like. I have seen them working in their fields beyond those hills just there. Once or twice I have encountered them herding sheep in the valley as well. I don’t know what country this is, or what language is spoken. I hope we won’t be here long enough to find out.” She pointed to the silver sliver of water coursing along the wide valley bottom. “The ley is just on the other side of that little stream. Once we reach it, we’ll be on our way.”
Soon their feet were swishing through the bracken that covered the hillside all the way down to the banks of the stream, where they stopped to refresh themselves before moving on.
“There it is,” Wilhelmina said, indicating a rough stone shaped like a magician’s hat rising from the weeds near the bank. “That marker is where it begins. You will see the line once you are on the path. It is not very long, so we must be in step and up to speed when we reach the stone.”
“And this ley will take us to Scotland?”
“I’m sorry, Giles, no. We must make two more jumps to get there from here.” She pulled from her pocket a small brass object shaped like a river stone, twisted a tiny dial, and held the thing in the direction of the marker.
Giles watched, and when nothing seemed to happen Mina cast a glance at the sky, observing the clouds and the position of the sun.
“I think we have an hour or two to wait before the ley becomes active,” she announced, stuffing the little device back into the pocket of her trousers. “We might as well rest and try to sleep a little. We may not have much chance when we get to Edinburgh.”
They rested then, and when Mina again tried the device a tiny blue light flickered on the brass casing. Satisfied, she said, “The ley is not yet at full strength, but it is active.” She explained that they must be in step and make the jump on the ninth pace from the marking stone. “This is important,” she told him. “If you feel that it is not working, stop at once. Do not take another step. We will hold hands so that we do not become separated.”
She saw his worried expression. “Relax, Giles. I won’t lose you.” She held out her hand. “Ready?”
“Yes, my lady.”
“Then here we go.” She started for the stone in long, measured strides that, after three or four paces, Giles matched easily. They reached the stone and Wilhelmina counted off the steps. Between the fifth and sixth, the light dimmed as if a cloud had passed before the sun; at the seventh step, the wind whipped up; between the eighth and ninth, there arose a
Loveand the Single Heiress