He should have asked that Mr. Ionia lady what to do. Lucas thought that with every step, over and over as the blood-warm tunnels dragged past and Boney began to pant. He should have asked how to use his magical powers, and what to expect from them, and what to do with them. Lucas wasn't very good at asking questions.

Mom would have known what to do.

They slowed, shoes and paws scuffing louder. Boney looked up at him, and whined.

"I-I'm OK."

Boney kept staring, but that was the only answer Lucas had. So they walked together, without comment. Except when Boney growled darkly at something on the other side of the tracks, some twitch in the dirt. Whatever it was listened to him, and didn't attack. He was a good dog. Lucas should have given him more of the jerky, but at least Boney had gotten the last piece.

They walked, and it felt like it was never going to stop. It kept getting hotter. The sun wasn't even high yet -- their shadows skimmed along in front of them -- and it just kept getting hotter, the wavering ground ahead and Lucas's insides glowing, like coals.

He'd have to take this into his own hands, then. Everyone had to, sooner or later. He rubbed sweat off his forehead and gathered himself up to try.

PK Lifeup. He knew the name like grasping a crystal, cool and smooth and strange. Energy poured out from his heart, bubbling green inside his eyelids. Lucas peeked through his eyelashes at the neverending silver train rails. He was still heavy-limbed and dizzy, still tired but there were no building-shapes in sight.

He took a few more steps before trying again, fur steady under his hand, sand roiling under his feet. PK Healing. Maybe he had heatstroke, or maybe that Muttshroom that bit him was poisonous, or ... or ...

Energy fizzed through him and vanished. And he was the same as before, standing in sun and dirt with heat making his heartbeat drum in his ears.

They stopped; Lucas's own dull weight nearly carried him over his feet and down but Boney was there, all muscles. It took a moment for Lucas's vision to clear and it turned out he was watching dark, worried dog eyes. And he'd made a sound. A little one. He hadn't meant to.

"I ... don't think I'm doing it right," he said, and looked to his shoelaces, "The PSI power ... thing."

He wanted to cry, sort of: that helped even though it never helped anything. He reached for PK Love because the name felt soft, but no, his heart said, now wasn't the time.

And then Boney shifted, butting at Lucas's leg so they both wobbled.

You'll be OK, his eyes said. I'll make sure.

Offense. The word floated there in Lucas's head, waiting. Offense ... something. It tasted a bit like this trip, like pushing on and harder. Maybe it would make sense later.

He swallowed, and his throat stuck dry.

"C-Come on, boy." They lurched back to motion together. Heat wavered harder up ahead, and crunched the same underfoot.

Keep trying. PK Lifeup. Don't quit; no one brave ever quit.