The world had no feeling. It was neither hot nor cold, and nothing in between. No breath was drawn in the place between the mists.
His vision was doubled. Then tripled. Sight that could see what was real. Twisted and shivering, it lay hidden under the guise of the literal.
Layers of worlds upon worlds. Dimensions that met only to condense and expand. Everything was interconnected. Time was no boundary.
When Lucci moved, his weightless body left a trail of silver light. His fingertips drew streams in the air, and he watched in mute curiosity. It was the most fascinating thing ever, and it occurred to him that he could sit and watch it endlessly.
If it wasn’t for the eyes that watched him.
Eyes in the mist. Many, many eyes. Whenever he turned to look at them, the eyes vanished. Cowering. When he looked away again, they returned. Every time.
Lucci wanted to tell them to leave. They could go make light streams from their own fingertips. These light streams belonged to him. He couldn’t speak, though, not like he used to in the other world.
Yes. There was another world. He almost forgot about it.
It was a cruel world. A world where people treated him like a cast away. There was fighting and war. There was the darkness of Chaos.
There was no reason to want to return to that other world. The place in the mist was far more welcoming. The light streams didn’t work in the other world, anyway.
Between the spread of his fingers, he notice something odd. It was walking towards him. Shaped like a person, except it was strange and silvery. Glowing like the mist.
The Mistperson was looking over its shoulder as it walked as if it wasn’t sure where it was. Or where it was going. Or maybe it was afraid that something was following it.
Lucci hoped not. There were already too many eyes in the mist as there was.
Finally, the Mistperson stopped to look at him. Then it fell to its knees, hands upraised. Like it was begging. Begging for something from him. The eyes were wide and pleading as they focused on Lucci’s face.
That’s when Lucci recognized the Mistperson. This was the winged soldier that the man named KoGuRai killed.
~Aren’t you dead?~
Lucci thought to ask. But then, maybe it would be rude to ask that. It was obvious that he was dead, which was also probably why the Mistperson was so afraid.
~You are the ghost. Shouldn’t I be afraid of you, instead?~
Then the realization came to him. Something funny happened to Lucci when the Cyngan soldier was slain. He could remember the mists coming from everywhere, rushing forward as if to take the spirit of the dead.
To bring it to Lucci.
He watched as the trails from his fingertips began to glow brighter. Maybe it was because the Mistperson was there. He didn’t know, but it was a curious thing. So Lucci reached to the Mistperson just to see what would happen.
The Mistperson began to glow, too. But it wasn’t a happy glow. It seemed afraid.
Images began to flicker in front of Lucci’s eyes. At first, he didn’t know exactly what he was seeing. As the images continued, the Mistperson began to dissolve away, drawn into the light at Lucci’s fingertips.
Lucci realized the images were the memories of the Mistperson that were now, somehow, being given to him. Drawn away by the mists. Drawn away by the light. And becoming part of him, now. Written upon him like the marks of ink upon a blank page.
A life that he had never lived. A death that he did not die. And power. Growing power from the fading spirit of the Mistperson.
When Lucci drew his hand back, the Mistperson was gone. No more than a voice without people, an essence trapped within the silver mist that hung around his shoulders. An essence and power that would serve him without question.
~Wait. That’s wrong, isn’t it?~
Just as quickly as the thought came, it slipped away from his mind. From the mists, the shape of silver wings began to form. Wings, just for him. Wings that held silent promise.
No longer would he be called Lei’ Igro.
And maybe if he had wings like the Awakened, Master ZenToYa would finally like him.
A smile parted his lips. Maybe he could go back to the other world now, and everything would be alright, afterall.
Another shape appeared in the mists. Though it walked towards him, it was not like the first shape. It wasn’t a Mistperson. In fact, the mists seemed to part for it.
Dark wings gave the identity away before it came too close. It was the man called KoGuRai. He was smiling with a crusty, black-toothed smile.
Lucci suddenly wished that he wasn’t there. There was something about the man called KoGuRai that he didn’t really like. Besides, Master TsuYa didn’t seem to like him either.
“How is it, Lord LuShi?” Somehow, the man called KoGuRai could speak in the place between the mists.
Lucci tilted his head in curiosity, considering how such a feat was done. He closed his eyes. He could feel the mists drawing near to him. When he opened his eyes again, he discovered his voice.
“How what is?”
“Your power. Your birthright,” the man called KoGuRai motioned widely with one hand. “Your wings.”
“The wings are nice,” Lucci told him.
The oily smile crept over the man called KoGuRai’s face. It was a gloating smile. A victory smile. “I knew you’d approve, Lord LuShi.”
Lucci nodded slowly, then brought a glowing fingertip up before his face. “But I’m still not coming with you.”
The slick smile faded instantly. Lucci suddenly understood the satisfaction that Master TsuYa found in frustrating people who were particularly annoying to begin with.
“But… Lord LuShi… I…” came the astonished protest.
“In fact, I want you to leave,” Lucci found his voice growing in strength. A new realization came to him. The realization that there, within the mists, he had a lot of power.
The man called KoGuRai shrank back a step, as if he couldn’t fight against what Lucci ordered.
“I want you to leave. Right NOW,” the glow around his fingers spread, illuminating both of his hands.
The mists started to churn, losing the shape of wings as they did. A thousand cold voices seemed to rise up at his back. The voices without people. A lifeless chorus echoed his words in a haunted chant.
-…right now… right now… right now… –
A gurgling hiss came from the man called KoGuRai. He threw one hand over his face, backing further and further away, struggling as the silver tendrils swept towards him. Then he was lost from Lucci’s sight, drown by the mists.
Lucci’s lips curved upwards. There was satisfaction in that.
Before he could consider the feeling much further, he heard a voice shout his name. He turned, with a start. He knew that voice.
-…Lord Zemi… Lord Zemi… Lord Zemi…-
The voice called his name again. But it was fuzzy. Muted by the mists.
“Lord Zemi?” Lucci turned around and around frantically. A feeling of suffocation. The mists that were a source of power just a moment ago were now a source of separation. He couldn’t see Lord Zemi anywhere. “Lord Zemi, I’m here! Where are you?”
-…are you… are you… are you…-
The silence was so deep that he wondered if he would be trapped within the web of silver mist forever. It was true. The realization that he didn’t know his way back to the other world.
“Lord Zemi,” Lucci’s voice dropped to a whisper, hoping that the voices without people would not echo anymore, “Please don’t leave me.”
-…leave me… leave me… leave me…-
A hand shot out of the mists, a large hand that looked like a claw at first. The moment that it clamped down on Lucci’s shoulder, a white smoke rose from the hand, and it became just a hand, wrapped in familiar black cloth.
Lucci found himself staring up into the face of Lord Zemi. Except, something was wrong. He couldn’t see Lord Zemi the way he knew that Lord Zemi really looked. Instead, there seemed to be a fierce visage of a white dragon layered over top of the usual kindly features. Draconic eyes burned brilliant teal, fangs gleaming wickedly.
“Nooo!” Lucci pulled away in genuine fear.
“Lucci!” the voice was gritty and distorted. Bordering on a growl.
The boy continued to back away, shaking his head. “It’s all wrong!”
-..all wrong… all wrong… all wrong…-
“Lucci-boy, what have you done?” despite the growly sound, there was deep concern within the words.
“I don’t know!” Lucci choked, for the first time wondering if maybe he had done something terribly wrong. “Lord Zemi, I’m scared!”
“I’m here. Let me help you, Lucci,” the voice sounded more and more like the voice he remembered.
The mists faded from his vision. The Dragon’s image drifted away as the silver light parted. Very blurry, the other world began to appear, as if viewed through rippled water. Then he saw the concerned lines tracing across the familiar face of Lord Zemi.
The boy stumbled forward, reaching for the Dreigiau. As he fell into the waiting arms, his senses dulled. He could feel the warmth once more. The sound of his breath was loud in his ears. His heartbeat.
When his eyes closed, a deep, unknowing sleep swept the mist away.