Visions III: Revealed - Part Three
The slow, steady rising and falling of his chest as he breathed filled his mind for an indefinite amount of time. He could feel the pain his body held and he wanted to stay curled up inside, where there was no pain. The world was calling, though, and he couldn't ignore the cry forever. Slowly, he peeled open his eyes and took in the roof of a building, one unfamiliar to him.
Where am I? Jazan wondered. At least I'm alive and not in an alley anymore. He looked around for a moment and tried to sit up, but a sharp pain shot through him and he lay back down, clenching his teeth against the pain. For a moment, he lay there, not daring to move until the pain had subsided slightly. He turned his head to the side and looked around at unfamiliar surroundings.
There were a couple of strangers sleeping far away from each other. One was a yellow Kyrii and the other was a red Xweetok. Both seemed like roughened travelers and he could feel small amounts of magic in both of them.
Jazan turned his head back towards the ceiling and sighed heavily. There was a crazed Wocky somewhere in his city and he was helpless to stop him. He couldn't even sit up properly, let alone fight someone as skilled as the Wocky.
I hope Nabile's alright, he thought, picturing the pink Ixi in his mind. He smiled a bit to himself as he thought of her running about the palace, trying to find him. He knew she wouldn't truly begin to worry until after the sun set and he hadn't sent word of where he had gone. Even then, it could be a while before she began sending guards to look for him. He had the habit of disappearing for a few days...
The Kyrii stirred slightly and got up, glancing over at her companion. As she did so, he noticed the scar across her blind eye and he realized who she was.
"Why are you here?" he asked and the Kyrii turned towards him, showing him her other undamaged eye. He moved into a half-sitting, half-lying position so that he could see her better.
"This is where I dragged you," she explained, her tone firm and uncaring. "After Jix left, I brought you here. You could do to lose some weight, you know."
Jazan looked at her. Why is she talking to me like that? "Who are you?"
"The Kyrii thief that's been getting the blame for all of Jix's crimes," she replied smoothly, using the same tone of voice. "My name's Nil, if that's what you're asking, although I think you already know that." She fiddled with a small, golden stud in her right ear.
"Did you steal that from me?" he asked, checking both his ears for a missing earring. They were all still there.
"I got it a while back," she replied. "I lost my other one somewhere in Shenkuu, so I got this one to replace it. Still, you might want to keep track of what you have." She stood and Jazan realized just how young she was. She was somewhere between fourteen and sixteen.
"Aren't you a bit young to be a thief?" he asked, then realized the stupidity of his question as soon as it left his mouth. Nabile's been a thief most her life.
"My mom didn't think so when she dumped me out on the street," she replied angrily, heading for the door. "I'm getting food. When Karan wakes up, tell him what I'm doing, if you don't mind, Your Majesty." She said the last words with a poison in her voice and she left before Jazan could say anything more.
She's certainly charming, he thought, lying back down. I hope I can trust her and her friend, though I don't really have a choice. He put a hand against his stomach and felt the bandages. They seemed to be carefully wrapped, as if an expert had done it. Neither of them looked like an expert at it, though. I'll have to remember to thank whoever did it. They saved my life with it.
Nil quickly snatched a handful of Queelas from an unsuspecting vendor and stowed the fruits away in her bag at her side. It was close to evening and most vendors were packing their shops up, though she managed to grab a good deal of food from what was available. Not many Qasalans were about, either, she noticed. A few guards were still present, regarding her with some curiosity as she moved about, though she made sure that they didn't see her steal the food. It would be difficult to keep them from finding out who she really was if they arrested her.
One of them, a Desert Eyrie, approached her as she began making her way back to the building.
"Do you mind if I see your face for a moment?" he asked, pointing to the scarf.
"Why do you need to?" she asked, backing up a step. "I just want to keep the sun off my face, that's all."
"Yes, but there is a Kyrii trying to kill King Jazan, so if you would--"
"No!" She turned and ran, not daring to glance over her shoulder at the guard, who was no doubt pursuing her.
From behind her, the sound of wings filled the air as the guard pursued her from the skies. She immediately knew it had been a mistake to run from an Eyrie while she still had an injured foot. There was no way she could outrun him on foot.
Maybe I can outmaneuver him, she thought, and took off towards an alley, hoping to lose him in the narrow passage. She ducked inside and the Eyrie was forced to halt from the restricted space. Without hesitation, she ran on. The Eyrie landed and began pursuing her on foot, but by the time he rounded the corner she had run behind, Nil was already gone.
The Eyrie glared down the empty passageway and dropped his disguise, transforming back into a blue Wocky.
Next time, Nil, he thought. The next time for sure.
Karan explained to King Jazan what he and Nil had gone through while they waited for the Kyrii to return. The King listened without more than a question or two, which Karan really couldn't answer without Nil's help. By the time he was finished, the sun had set and Nil still hadn't returned.
"Do you think a guard caught her?" Karan asked King Jazan, trying to distract himself from his hunger.
"It's possible," King Jazan replied. "I prefer keeping matters like this private, but for Nabile's sake I told the guards to keep an eye out for anyone suspicious."
The Xweetok sighed and leaned against the wall. Nil, where are you? He stood and grabbed his cloak from the ground. "I'm going out to look for Nil. I'll try to be back soon. I wish I didn't have to leave you alone, but I need to make sure she's alright. Besides, Hara will probably be here soon anyway." He fastened the cloak's button around his throat. "Don't go anywhere," he joked, and departed.
Wasn't planning to, Jazan thought, and closed his eyes to rest.
The stars twinkled down upon the palace from above and Nabile wondered where her husband could be. It was already past the time they had arranged to have dinner, and everyone was being held up inside until Jazan returned.
She sighed and turned around, about to exit the balcony when an Eyrie guard ran up to her.
"Milady," the guard said, bowing slightly to her.
"What is it?" she asked after a moment, still unused to being referred to as royalty.
"I found something in one of the alleys I thought you should see." He took a sword out from its sheath and handed it, hilt-first, to her.
Nabile instantly recognized the blade. "Where's this alley?"
"It's down near the marketplace, close to the palace," the guard replied. "I found signs of a fight on the spot, but there was no sign of the King. It did seem like he was dragged off, though. I'm not sure by whom."
The Ixi closed her fist around the hilt and looked sadly down at it for a moment, thinking about what could have possibly happened to her husband. Jazan, what have you gotten yourself into this time? Her head snapped up and a steely look entered her eyes. "Inform the others. Jazan is missing and possibly injured."
The Eyrie guard almost seemed to smile as he bowed and left. Perhaps it was a trick of the light, but he also almost seemed to turn slightly blue.
Nabile dismissed it and went back towards the dinner hall to talk with King Altador and the others.
Hara quickly gathered up the different bottles and bags that she needed to give to Nil and Karan. She ran through each ingredient in her mind at least three times and made sure there was enough for any situation they might encounter. She also made sure to include enough of the remedy for the spell along with the enchantment book, just in case it was the wrong one she was treating.
Once she was sure she had everything, she put the bags on and stood. She checked one last time to make sure she hadn't forgotten anything and turn around to face a blue Acara.
"Misha!" Hara exclaimed, tripping over her own feet and landing with a thud.
The Acara smiled and went over to help her up. "Going somewhere with that insufficient amount of supplies to heal dark spells?"
"Insufficient?!" Hara ran her hands over every pouch and bottle. Her eyes widened as she realized what she was missing.
"I thought I taught you better than to leave mint leaves," Misha said, her voice mockingly dismayed. She smiled and pulled out a glass jar with tiny green leaves in it and handed it to Hara. "Now, before you kill your patient, can you tell me who it is?"
Hara bit her lip. Should I tell her? Can I not? She's my teacher! I have to let her know. She was about to respond, but another thought came to mind. What if Xagam is there when I go? Misha's sure to insist on coming along. He'll attack us both!
"Is something wrong?" Misha asked. "What are you thinking about?"
"Oh, um..." What should I do? Should I tell her or not?
"Tell me what or not?" Misha asked.
"Since when could you read my mind?!" Hara exclaimed, backing away from Misha.
The Acara laughed a bit and shook her head. "No, my self-muttering apprentice. You were thinking aloud."
Hara sat down and sighed. "I was?"
Misha nodded and sat down beside her. "I'm afraid so. You tend to do that when you're nervous."
Why didn't someone tell me that? Hara wondered, making sure not to speak aloud.
Suddenly, Misha grabbed Hara's hands in her own and looked straight at the Zafara. "Now, tell me, who came into the shop while I was gone. Nabile? Nightsteed? Perhaps even King Jazan himself?"
"Well, he didn't exactly come in," Hara replied. "I sort of went to him."
"It's Jazan, isn't it?" Misha said, her voice reminding Hara of a child on their birthday. "Has he been attacked by the actual perpetrator?"
"Yes, he has," a new voice said from the doorway.
Hara and Misha stood up simultaneously and turned to see the visitor. He was barely visible in the dim candlelight, but it was instantly clear who he was.
Misha's eyes grew wide and a smile spread across her face as she recognized the blue Wocky. "Jix!"
To be continued...