Teaser for "The Flight of the Rose Butterfly"
The harmonichron arrived shortly after breakfast, carried into the house by two delivery men. Jenorv oversaw its placement in the newly declared music room. Bai chattered happily and got in the way until Jenorv made him sit down.
Rai came to the doorway. From there, the instrument was just a big white blur smeared with other colors. His mother led him over to it. Up close, he could make out the smooth pearly finish, every edge and corner lined with swirls of gold. Pastel smudges resolved into small paintings -- flowers, perhaps, or people on picnics. Rai trailed a hand along the upright box, which curved in a long arc, as he tried to memorize its placement in the room so he wouldn't bump into it later. "It's pretty," he said finally.
"Come around here, Rai," said Jenorv. She settled him on the matching bench, its golden cushion perched atop thin white legs. Then she lifted some kind of lid on the harmonichron, two of them side by side. "These are the keyboards." She placed one of Rai's hands on each. "The left one plays the low notes. The right one plays the high notes."
"What makes the notes?" Rai asked.
"When you push the keys, little hammers hit a set of strings inside the box. Slow time crystals make the notes lower on the left, and fast time crystals make the notes higher on the right," his mother explained.
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