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As summer transitions into early autumn, Sophia is able to make time between her retail shifts and course load to start providing divination services at the Lotus bookstore.

A few days prior, Eugene set up a cozy round table against the wall inside of the main room for her, so she decided it was time for her to take clients – by appointment of course, while doing a bit of homework from time to time.

As a young woman living in the modern era, Sophia certainly is no stranger to her specula, but like most in her generation, she limits her usage to activities with more practical or utilitarian purposes – like education, news and economics. For everything else, Sophia prefers to engage with people directly whenever possible. The approach she takes is strongly reinforced by pagan culture in therian society as a whole.

Sophia is especially keen on one of the oldest and most culturally widespread divination techniques. She is a scryer and prefers clean water in a modest, darkly colored bowl when she is performing readings for clients. Despite her age, she has spent years cultivating her technique, and has also refined it further with the help of Eugene – an especially experienced diviner in his own right.

“Are you Sophia?” a young carp female says while approaching her table.

“You must be Hayden” Sophia replies warmly.

“That’s right” Hayden says. “Luke recommended you to me.”

“Have you ever had anyone scry for you before?” Sophia asks.

“I learned about it in university, but I’ve never actually seen it before” Hayden replies. “I’m mostly accustomed to runes or tarot – as you might expect.”

Hayden sits down on a chair across from Sophia and somewhat nervously places her hands on the table before saying, “Is there anything I need to do for the reading?”

“That depends” Sophia says. “Did you have a particular question in mind?”

“I don’t think so” Hayden says while trailing off a bit.

“That’s just fine” Sophia says. “Just try to relax.”

Sophia softly gazes into the scrying bowl for a while – allowing her vibrant cat eyes to widen. She takes a deep breath, and after a short silence she says, “I see a young carp woman at the edge of a flowing stream holding a silver chalice. Out of the chalice jumps a fish – which goes into the stream and disappears out of sight.”

“That’s like the page of cups, but different” Hayden says.

“That’s right” Sophia replies. “You have an opportunity to explore your creativity. It is sudden, and seems like it might slip away from you, but there is more.”

Sophia gazes deeper into the scrying bowl before saying, “As the young woman walks along the stream, she finds a young carp man fishing. He catches the fish that you lost and beckons you to join him.”

“What does that mean?” Hayden asks.

“You have someone new in your life who will help you explore your intuition and creativity” Sophia replies. “This man is someone who is already familiar to you.”

“Luke” Hayden says with a soft smile.

“It seems so” Sophia says sagaciously. “Just remember that you’ll need to grab a fishing pole with him too. There’s a lot more fish in the stream.”

Hayden nods before saying, “Thank you Sophia. I appreciate it.”

Hayden digitally sends Sophia payment for the reading and the two women make small talk amongst themselves for a little while. A few moments later, Luke passes through the front door in the Lotus bookstore and approaches the two of them.

“Hey there you two” Luke says warmly. “I’m glad to see you two are getting along.”

Luke pauses for a moment before saying, “So Hayden, I was wondering if you would like to join me at the museum across town. There’s an exhibit I’d really like to see. I’m not sure if that’s your thing, but I think you might enjoy it.”

Hayden gives a knowing glance to Sophia, turns to Luke and says, “I’d love that.”

“You two have fun” Sophia says.

“Thanks” Hayden replies.

Luke and Hayden arrived sometime later at a local art museum. Luke selected it because of the sheer variety of styles represented. Though the grounds of the museum is a bit more modestly sized, Luke considers that a plus. The last thing he wants to do is overwhelm the girl he fancies with a long museum trip. Their double date at his place was quite enjoyable for everyone involved, and he was glad to show her his cooking skills. Today however, he wants to do something different with her.

As they both enter the museum, Hayden is in awe at the expansiveness of the space. In contrast to the minimalist color on the walls and floors, each piece of art breathes with the colors and passions of the artists who made them. The intuitions of artists and their admirers flows through the museum like a quiet stream and Luke is there to guide Hayden through it.

In the middle of their journey, Hayden is captivated by a traditional painting. Despite its age, it speaks to her across time. It has the cool colors of flowing water, the green of lush vegetation and the warmth of the setting sun shaped by the pigments of a meticulously painted scene.

“You know” Luke says, “I think you are quite creative.”

“I don’t know if I’m this creative” Hayden replies.

“Preston showed me some of what you’ve made at university” Luke says. “You may be a business major, but your art is really good.”

“You really think so?” Hayden replies with an elevated tone.

“Absolutely” Luke says with a big smile. “There’s a local exhibition for new artists soon. You should submit one of your finished pieces, Hayden.”

“What makes you think I’d do well?” Hayden says.

“I showed one of my art contacts some of your pieces online” Luke replies. “He said it would be a crying shame if you didn’t participate.”

Hayden looks into Luke’s eyes for a moment – holding his hand gently and replies, “If you think I should, I’ll give it a try.”

“I absolutely do” Luke says warmly. “But for now, let’s see the rest of the museum.”

“Sure. Let’s go” Hayden replies.