Secrets of Shiryoku: The Gift - Part Five
“So this is where you escaped to every time you ran away from the Brightvale Dungeons...” the Captain mused.
It was an impressive underground hideaway behind the Brightvale Books store. In order to even reach the actual chamber where his hidden shelter was located, one had to successfully navigate through a series of tunnels that seemed to have been dug out by a family of Symols. The interior was very cluttered; there were stolen items lining the walls of the chamber. His bed was musty and the sheets disheveled. However, some of the area was very prim and proper. In one portion of the room, he had a regal sofa (which I assumed that he had stolen) sitting in front of a small Neovision. There was a shelf in the same area that was filled with canned food.
However, most of the chamber was packed full with stolen goods. The fact that he managed to get half of his stolen merchandise down there perplexed me, considering that some of the objects were of a large size.
As a thief, he impressed me; as the owner of a secret annex, however, he disgusted me.
Hanso grinned. “I would’ve told you about it earlier, Brynn, but then that would defeat the purpose of calling it a secret hideout,” he explained. After that, he winked at the Kougra.
Brynn elbowed the Ixi. The two seemed to be really close friends. I somewhat envied Hanso, considering that I—a fellow thief—never really had any friends until Nikkou came along.
Looking at the two longingly, I then reconsidered what my real motives for stealing books were. Do I steal because I crave knowledge, I thought as I pretended to show interest in Hanso’s hideout, or do I steal because I have an empty void in my heart?
Too many thoughts were clouding my mind at that moment. Nikkou shook my shoulder. “Are you okay?” she asked me. “You seemed to be in some sort of a trance.”
I faked a smile. “Just... just fine,” I lied. “I’m only worried about Xandra—”
The light faerie patted my back. “We’re safe down here,” she said to me calmly. “I don’t even think that she is smart enough to find her way through these tunnels.”
“But,” I objected, “she knows magic! Isn’t there some kind of spell or something that could—”
Nikkou covered my mouth with her dainty, frail hand. “Let’s try to think positively,” she suggested. “At least, we should try to do so for now.”
The faerie then began to weaken, slowly collapsing onto the uncarpeted region of the hideaway. Once she hit the floor, I fell to my knees and instantly began studying her in attempts to find out what happened to her. She seemed fine, for the most part, except for the fact that her face was flinching in pain. Her eyebrows twitched spastically, and her eyes were shut tight, as if they were fighting to open. “Nikkou?!” I cried out in fear. “Are you okay, Nikkou? Nikkou, please—answer me!!!”
Brynn put her hand on my shoulder, and Hanso did the same to hers. She used her free hand to swat Hanso’s away from her, then placed it on my free shoulder. I began to cry, recalling everything the light faerie and I went through as if my life was flashing before my eyes. I then remembered the two books on Nikkou’s ability, and decided that there was still hope.
I needed to find out more about Shiryoku, and fast. “Hold on a moment,” I said as I wiped the tears from my eyes. “We might still have hope.”
We sat at a table near Nikkou to examine the books. I sat on one side, by myself, while Hanso and Brynn sat next to each other on the opposite side. First, I pulled out Unlocking “The Sight”, which was still sealed with a padlock. Brynn and I both examined the book closely, whereas Hanso looked disinterested and exhausted. After a few minutes of trying to figure out how to open the book, Brynn asked, “So... you don’t know how to open it?”
“Not yet, no,” I told her. “Let’s look at the other book that I have.”
I grabbed The Key to “The Sight” and placed it next to the other book on the table. Brynn remembered this book exactly, and I could tell by the shocked expression on her face. “It’s the book you stole from Fyora!” she exclaimed. “Why, you—”
“Brynn,” I explained, “I had a reason for stealing this... unlike all the other ones that I had stolen in the past.”
“Really now? Well, then, let’s—wait a minute! What do you mean by that?!”
“I’ll explain that another time; right now, let’s focus on curing Nikkou, okay?”
We both looked at the books closely for a few minutes. Brynn grabbed Unlocking “The Sight” and began to closely examine it. I, on the other hand, refused to touch The Key to “The Sight”. I just stared at it.
And then it hit me.
“Brynn!” I exclaimed. “Give me the book!”
“This one?” she asked, pointing to the book in her hand.
She handed the book to me, and I set it back down on the table. I then opened The Key to “The Sight” ever so carefully. The interior of the book was hollowed out, and inside was exactly what I expected to be there: a shiny, gold key. I pulled it out and showed it to Brynn. “Incredible,” she said. “Why didn’t I think of that before?”
I stuck the key into the lock and turned it. Click! went the lock, and I took the heavy object off of the book. Finally, I was able to read the book’s contents. I picked up the book and gave it a cursory scanning. I didn’t see anything... that is, until I found a header entitled, “Shiryoku in Extreme Cases.”
I read each line of the section carefully, being sure to take in every piece of information. It said:
Shiryoku’s abilities usually only trigger when the diagnosed faerie is asleep; however, there are some exceptions to this. For starters, Shiryoku will trigger when the vision the user is about to receive involves an event of urgent, utmost importance. Out of nowhere, the user will instantly fall into a state of Yume—Shiryoku-induced dreaming—and begin to see a vision. How they react to this vision can change its outcome for either the worse or the better...
The passage continued to blabber on about a bunch of other things that were irrelevant to the matter at hand, so, after that, I closed the book and looked at Nikkou. She was still passed out on the floor and all. Her head was jerking wildly, like it was when she was dreaming at the Hidden Tower.
I then wondered about what she was dreaming about. Is she dreaming about Xandra? Has that witch found us? Will we defeat her? Gosh, I hope that whatever she’s dreaming about is a good thing for us.
I then focused my attention back on Brynn and Hanso. The Kougra seemed displeased with her friend. The Ixi was apathetic and couldn’t care less out of boredom.
Then, I saw it: Nikkou’s eyes shot open. She turned her head slowly to the left, and then ever-so slowly to the right. Her breathing was heavy. Her fists were clamped in a tight ball shape. They unraveled slowly, and then they found a place on the floor to rest. Nikkou then pushed down on the floor with an abundance of force. She managed to push her back off the floor so she could sit up. Her hands then immediately pressed to her face. I didn’t need to see her facial expression to know that something was wrong with her vision.
Brynn and Hanso were too preoccupied with each other to notice that Nikkou had exited her Yume state. Without saying anything, I rose from my seat slowly. Very slowly. “Where are you going?” Brynn asked.
I stepped aside and pushed my chair in. After that, I walked towards the revived Nikkou. “Wait a minute, what are you doing?” Brynn asked, slightly more irritated than the first time she questioned my motives. I ignored her and kept walking towards Nikkou. This drove her up the wall. “Hey! I’m talking to you! Get back—”
Once she realized that Nikkou was conscious, she shut up. The both of them followed me to the place where Nikkou was sitting. I gave her a really good look once her face was in view. She seemed petrified—err, the closest that I thought she would ever get to petrified, that is—and afraid. “Nikkou, are you okay? The book said that you were most likely dreaming about something life-changing,” I said. “Tell me, what did you see?”
“First of all, you opened the book? Incredible,” she responded, her face staring out into space with horror. She made absolutely no eye contact with us when she told us, “Second of all... yes, I did see something life-changing. Now, before you all panic, let me explain what I saw. It was about Xandra. She’s on our trail. She’s located the hideout. Worst of all, she’s using shape-shifting spells. For all we know, she could be anyone, anywhere. It’s Nox all over again.”
To be continued...