Book 3 Chapter 40

“So what do you think?” NaDo’s wings and arms extended wide, his short hair whipping around in the salty ocean breeze. His smile shone brightly with the great dome of sky as a backdrop. “What a view, eh?”

Lucci found himself struggling for words, caught between the embarrassment of his earlier dinner time outburst and excitement of a new discovery. The world stretched below them, vast and wonderful, full of color and life in every direction.


To the east, the endless expanse of the ocean rose to greet the pale horizon. The sparkle of the setting sun danced over the caps of white waves that rushed forward and back from the pale strip of white sand. The clouds reflected across the water as they drifted off into the distance, their bellies touched with the faintest colors of the oncoming twilight.

Multicolored forests swayed in the breeze, sweeping up to hug the base of the Shellab. Trees swam off opposite of the ocean, alive with the song of birds and insects. Grasses swayed in soft patches of green and gold between the bustle of the tree canopies. Tropic plants dipped and swung, heavy with bursts of flowers and strange fruits. Somewhere far to the west was the faintest hint of mighty mountains, purpling with the sinking sun.

“Master NaDo,” the youth breathed, slowly turning around and around. So much to take in. All glowing and magical. Seeing this melted away lingering thoughts of sorrow as the fresh ocean air filled him with a renewed hope.

The winged man quipped and stretched his wings one more time before folding them. “I thought you’d like it up here. It’s a great place to sit and just take it all in.”

“Is that the ocean?” Lucci pointed to the sparkling patch of water to the east.

“That’s right. We’ll go check that out if you want, maybe tomorrow?”

“Yes! Yes! I want to see it!”

NaDo returned the excitement with a quiet smile.

Over and over, Lucci’s silver eyes swept the world around him. They stood on the observation platform at the very peak of the Shellab. The youth didn’t realize that the structure was so large until they climbed the stairs to reach the top. There were a lot of stairs, and NaDo joked all the way up about working off their supper.

Whatever that meant.

As his excitement began to quiet down, something strange caught the corner of Lucci’s eyes. Far to the north, he could make out a soft, blue pillar of light that spiraled from the ground up towards the sky. He realized it was the same light that made the clouds seem to reflect and shimmer in the way that they did. Squinting, the youth frowned.

I can’t see what the light is coming from. It’s pretty far away.

NaDo just stood and watched him with a knowing look. As if that was the very thing that he hoped that Lucci noticed.

Encouraged by the hint of expectation, the youth asked, “What’s that light over there?”

“Light?” NaDo inquired, as if that wasn’t what he had expected to hear.

“Yes. There’s a tall stream of light that’s shining up into the sky,” Lucci pointed it out. “Don’t you see it?”

“No, I don’t.” At first, Lucci wondered if NaDo didn’t believe that he was telling the truth. Then the winged man continued, “I don’t doubt whatever you see there, though. That is the Vision Stone, and it has ways of communicating to individuals differently.”

“Vision Stone?”

“Yes,” NaDo rocked on his heels, folding his hands behind his back. “The Vision Stone is what Maru and I are here to research. We’re hoping that it might be able to help you find what you’re looking for.”

The youth opened his mouth, then closed it again, peering over. “What is it?”

“To describe it plainly, it’s a stone located out in the middle of the forest. What kind of stone, we don’t know. Maru and I could never match it with any other established rock. We speculate that it was a part of something larger, built here during the Time Before,” the scientist pursed his lips. “Some people believe it served as a gateway between this land and somewhere else. Other people think that maybe it was just a power source. Whatever it was, it has an effect on those who are mind sensitive.”

“You mean Athrylith?” the youth looked over.


“Like Maru and KiNa?” Lucci asked slowly.

“Yes again,” NaDo glanced over. “It’s the reason Maru and I chose this location to study. She can see so much here that I cannot.”

“Like what?”

“I’m not really sure,” he shook his head. “You’ll have to ask her. She says that it has a certain protective and mind clearing effect. It’s far weaker than it was when it was first put here. We’ve found traces of its influence in a far wider radius than it reaches at this point. So, it might have been something quite powerful at one time.”

Mind clearing effects? I wonder if that’s why They haven’t been here. Maybe the Vision Stone is doing something to keep Them away.

“I don’t think being near it has any sort of bad long-term effect. We’ve been here studying the Stone for decades,” Though Lucci was lost to his thoughts, NaDo seemed not to notice. He simply continued on, “In fact, we really didn’t think a lot about it, not until after KiNa was born. Being a mind mage, he was conceived and raised within the influence of the Vision Stone.”

Lucci turned to give a questioning look.

“Well, he was a sorta unexpected child. So we’re just doing our best to figure everything out as parents,” he took a deep breath, eyes focusing out towards the north, “But then, he Awakened so early, and he bore strange markings on his wings.”

“Does it mean something?” the youth asked.

“We really don’t know,” NaDo spread his hands. “Maru says that it’s nothing harmful. Still, whenever you’re dealing with powers from the Time Before, there’s so little we know. So little information.”

“I’m sure he’ll be fine,” Lucci offered.

The concerned father shook his head out, the usual, easy smile reappearing. “Yes. Of course he will. He’s my son. He’ll be better than fine! He’ll be great!”

NaDo laughed about it to himself for a little while, before finally falling still again. As much as he wanted to seem cheerful, it wasn’t hard to tell that he took this topic quite seriously. That it was his personal crusade to unlock the secret of the power that the Vision Stone harbored, if not for knowledge’s sake, then to understand what it meant to the future of his son.

When the winged man spoke again, his voice was level and quiet, “Whenever you’re ready, I’ll take you to the Vision Stone. I’m not sure what you’ll find there, if you’ll find anything at all. But, already, you’re seeing things that Maru hasn’t told me.”

“She never saw the light?” Lucci questioned.

“No. She’s never described a pillar of light coming from it. We document everything.”

The youth frowned a little. Then he gave a hopeful look. “If I do see something in the Vision Stone that will help you understand it, I’ll let you document that, too. If you want?”

The light in the winged man’s eyes and true smile rising over his face was more than enough reward. “Would you really do that for me, Lucci?”

“Of course I would. After everything you’ve done for me, I want to help you, too.”

“Well, that’s very kind of you, but we don’t require any reward. We’re just doing what should be done,” he replied. There was still a hint of eagerness that couldn’t be overlooked.

“I know that. I want to do what should be done, too,” Lucci gave a bright smile in return.

The scientist reached over and clapped his hand on the youth’s shoulder. “You’re a good boy, Lucci. I understand why Lord Zemi wants to look after you.”


“Yes. He’s pretty worried about you,” NaDo gave the shoulder a slight squeeze. “I know you feel like a lot of people think bad things, but people like Lord Zemi really do care a lot about what happens to you.”

Lucci swallowed down the lump rising in his throat. He knew what the winged man said was true. As he thought about all the people on the Islands, another hint of homesickness tugged at the back of his mind. When his silver eyes focused on the strange pillar of light that rose in the north, he knew exactly what he needed to do in order to protect them.