Book 3 Chapter 20

-Stopstopstop!- the voice echoed in Lucci’s mind.

On cue, the youth jerked to a stop and pressed his back against the smooth white Compound wall. Around the corner, he felt the presence of something living passing by, one of the winged people, he was sure. Even though it probably wouldn’t be a huge mess if someone saw him sneaking away, Lucci still didn’t want to take that chance yet.

-That’s it. The less they see you, the less they can talk about what they’ve seen,- a second voice agreed.

-Okay. They’re gone now,- spoke the first voice.

It didn’t take Lucci much time to realize that the voices without people were really good at scouting for him. Of course, it’s not like he ever had much of a reason to need to scout before now. Nor did he really have much desire to interact with the voices.

The Thing he was about to undertake was large. Far larger than he felt. So, all help that he could get, from any source, was appreciated. Even from the strange eyes that watched him in the mists.

The youth crouched low and began picking his way across the open ground, through the extending shadows. Soon, night would come. Though it probably made more sense to wait until the cover of night to make his escape, Lucci didn’t want to waste any time.

I’m not sure how I ended up here. But, I made a promise to Suzume.

It was Suzume who brought him back to his senses. It was because of Suzume that he forced himself to find strength and leave his bed. He heard that there was a meeting taking place in the hall, so with new found determination, Lucci went there with the intention of showing everyone that he was awake and ready to do whatever needed to be done.

I have to keep trying.

As he approached the doors to the meeting room, he stopped to listen to the conversation already in progress. There was talk of items of power, and even weapons, that could be used to defeat Zeromus. Items that were made to be used by a Sygnus.

That’s what they say I am, but they always seem to think it’s something bad. So maybe if I can find one of the items to defeat Zeromus and bring it back to help… they’ll trust me then.

Lucci didn’t remember what happened after Lord Zemi rescued him from the mists. He spent most of the time in a drowsing world, halfway between dreams and waking. Though, for him, whether he was awake or asleep, the world now looked the same.

It’s so hard. I can’t tell what’s real anymore.

Ever since he regained awareness, he saw an image of a world overlapped upon the world he once knew. It was a far darker and scarier than the waking world was. Everything took on a silvery glow, ghostly wavers of past and present overlaid and woven together. He often found that an object in the distance that seemed to be quite solid was merely an illusion as he approached it. A voice of someone he thought was real was one of the disembodied watchers from the mists.

It all blends together, and They are always there, too.

They. It was the name he gave to the voices without people. He heard Lord Zemi talking once, something about the spirit realm and about how the spirits of those who passed were being drawn to Lucci. He even said something about spirit essence becoming trapped and bound within Lucci’s own essence upon death.

The youth didn’t know what any of that meant, other than it had to do with the silver mists that always gathered around him now. More often than not, it made him afraid.

-It will be alright, Lucci-boy,- spoke the first voice, right next to his ear. As if it knew of the youth’s fears and troubles. As if it actually cared.

It was so hard for him to tell what They wanted from him. Some of them spoke only of their own woes and laments from their past lives. Some of them seemed angry and bitter, urging Lucci to strike out at the things that hurt them in the world. Some of them seemed caring, though it was hard to know if They really cared about Lucci or if They simply seemed nice to earn his trust for their own reasons.

The emotions of living people are confusing enough.

There were so many of Them. Always talking, yearning, feeling… until his head was about ready to explode from the conflicting voices.

-You just gotta learn how to filter out the junk. It’ll come with time and practice,- the voice advised. –Right now, though, you need to concentrate on where you’re going.-

-Shut up! Shut up! SHUT UP!- wailed another voice. –Who’s gone and made YOU the boss of him?-

-Don’t listen to him, kid,- a third voice chimed in from the other side. –He just wants a cut of the profits. I can tell you how to make it big. Just like I did.-


Lucci pressed his palms over his ears, hunching down in the shadows of the nearest tree. His eyes squinted shut, face contorting.

Stop, please. Just no more!

Silence fell within the mists. He could hear the frantic sound of his breathing and feel the fading light of the twilight passing over the world. It took him a moment to find calm again.

I don’t know why I should trust any of you…

-Because we know where to find the things that you seek,- purred one of Them with a tone that made the hair on his arm stand up. –That’s what you really want isn’t it?-

-Powerful… Master…- another voice chimed in from somewhere above his head.

No, not power. I just want to make Zeromus go away. I want our home to be safe.

-But you could have so much more… why waste the opportunity that you have?-

Lucci shook his head mutely. He didn’t like the way these voices spoke.

-Leave him alone.- the first voice returned, sounding annoyed. –If he can’t find a way off the Island, it’s not much of a chance that he’s going anywhere at all.-

Silence fell over the mists again. At least there was one voice there that seemed to be making sense rather than bickering without reason. Lucci was hesitant, but he directed his attention to that voice, and that voice alone.

What do I do?

-Who… me?-

Yes. Help me? What do I do? Where do I start with this?

Lucci’s silver eyes watched the trails of the mist as they reached up towards the darkening sky. Maybe asking for help wasn’t a good idea, but he didn’t really know the first thing about running away.

-Well, first, you need to make sure you got supplies.-


-Extra clothes. Food. You can’t expect that there’s going to be food once you go to the Mainland.-

The youth frowned slowly as something occurred to him.

Is the trip going to be that long?

-I’m afraid so. Which means you’re going to have to be ready for it.-

Lucci swallowed and nodded. This was going to be even harder than he had originally thought. He knew nothing about the lands below… what they looked like… what lived there. How to journey. All of it seemed quite frightening to him.

-Don’t worry, I’ll help you. Let’s start by heading to the kitchen and getting food for the trip. It’s probably best to do it right now before they start to realize you’re gone,- the voice told him.

The youth didn’t argue. It seemed sound enough advice to him. Instead, he began to creep through the tree line around the outside of the Compound. The kitchens were far down on the other side of the building. Luckily, the shadows between here and there allowed him to make his way undetected.

-We also need to make sure you have clothing and a weapon. A map would be good if you could get one, too.-

Have you ever been on a journey before?

-Sure. Lots of them. Why?-

Because you sound like you know what to do.

The voice fell silent for a while, leaving Lucci to creep towards the yellow glow that streamed through the kitchen windows. Most of them were shattered during the last battle and covered with long drapes of tattered cloth.

Lucci poked his head just above the rim of one window, and seeing the room unattended, slipped in. At the voice’s instruction, he took the cloth off of a table to make a sack, and began to shove food into it.

Isn’t this like stealing?

-Consider it a loan in good faith.-

The youth dumped a whole bag of fruits into his sack with a puzzled look.

What do you mean?

-You’ll pay them back later, yes? Just write out an IOU.-

A what?

There was a soft feeling of a chuckle from the mists. It was the first time that Lucci heard kindly laughter, and for some reason, it put him at ease. The voice then began to instruct him on the art of writing an IOU. After that, the voice walked him through the steps of creating the perfect Dear Zemi letter… the proper packing of extra clothing… and obtaining a weapon for the journey ahead.

Lucci began to feel better as he crept out of the door one final time. In fact, if he ignored the wafting silver mists, the whole thing was beginning to feel a like a great adventure.

Just like the stories Suzume used to read to me.

-That’s the spirit, Lucci-boy! Keep your eye on the ball, now!-

What ball?

-Uh… I mean… Well, forget it. Let’s just get to the rift.-

The youth nodded, his strides becoming more sure as he walked towards the pattern of runes on the far Island. With a new found curiosity and excitement, the youth could only imagine the sorts of adventure that he would find there.

Just as he stepped towards the island, he paused. Thoughts came to him — that he would miss people and his home. Even though he left them a letter to say that he would be okay, maybe they would be sad. He turned around, casting one quiet look at the lights of the Compound.

Lord Zemi… Morh-AsaHi.

He could see the dim lights of the kitchens in the distance, the place where he had spent so much time with Morh-AsaHi and Aunt Sara making food. And eating fudge.

Master SoYa. Master TsuYa. …Master ZenToYa…

He could see the training grounds where Master TsuYa trained him. And the now darkened tree where he and Suzume used to sit and play. That time seemed so far away.

-Don’t worry about them, kid. Remember you’re doing this for their sake, yes?-

Lucci nodded and gave a boyish wave towards the soft glow in the distance, “Good-bye…”

-Now now now…- the voice murmured quietly in his ear. –There’s no such thing as “good-bye.” There are only “see you laters.”-

A quiet smile curved Lucci’s lips at the thought. Yes. That was right. He would come back. “Well, then… see you later, Ceiswyr! I’ll be back soon!”

Then he turned and walked towards the waiting blue light that spread across the ground, activated by his presence. The Mainland… and new things… waited for him below.