The Invisible

Life isn't easy when you're the younger twin in a respected family, and Kaze Rais knows this well, being constantly overshadowed by his brother Rajin. However, when a mission goes completely out-of-control, Kaze is forced into the Invisible, a mysterious land where the only inhabitants are those who know little more than he does. With Rajin missing and stranded with faint hopes of escaping, Kaze, along with newfound companions, has to discover the secrets of the Invisible - and face pasts that never should have come to light...
Rated Y for violence and mature/dark themes.

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2. Chapter 2

“Master? Master, is something the matter?”

 He ignored Felisa’s call, flicking the hologram of the world map to see the abnormality again. Still there – a star-like light, throbbing with the same glow, over and over.

 “Master?”

 He turned and folded his arms. Felisa stood behind him, twirling the light blue ends of her mainly pink ponytail. With a flurry of hand gestures towards her, he glanced back towards the magic map, which still highlighted the magical outburst.

 “Um… sorry, Master.”

 He sent a glare towards her.

 “I-I mean… Taru…”

 He nodded with a gentle smile. Signalling towards her in sign language, he perched on the edge of a chair near the whirring computer.

 “Yeah… about that…” Felisa sighed. “Taru, you know it’s… me. I just do it…”

 “You are my equal, not a servant,” he signed, and swivelled his chair to see the screen.

 Felisa peeked over his shoulder. “I suppose…” She gasped. “An abnormality? In the magic system?”

 “Yes.”

 “T-Then… four years?!”

 He pointed to the passage underneath.

 “‘The last magic system we had detected it, but it caused an overload and crashed the detector. To prevent further issues, it stopped reading the source entirely.’ Taru, this is madness… a magic abnormality like this…” Felisa paused, twisting strands of her hair into a braid. “There aren’t many magic users who have that much, let alone spells!”

 “That’s our job,” he reminded her. “We gather data on this sort of thing and report to the MIS, so they can deal with it.”

 The MIS… The Magic Identification System was always looking out for anything unusual in the magical categories – with many secret operators under the guise of normal people, though some only worked at specific times.

 Granted, he wasn’t ‘normal’. Just useful. A pawn, like so many others.

 “Guess so…” Felisa glanced over the information on the magical outburst, frowning. “And stay out of the law. You know, with you still being under murder charges and everything…”

 “Don’t bring that up!”

 Those charges… they weren’t his fault. How could he have killed when he barely remembered what had happened there in the first place? Yet, the government painted him as the culprit – though he didn’t know if he was to blame.

 Felisa hesitated, eyebrows furrowed. “…Well… um… when are we going?”

 “Give me a tick.”

 Despite his role as a supposed ‘criminal’ on the run, the MIS refused to accept the reports via email – may get read by the wrong eyes, seen by the wrong people, hacked and messed up so the truth would never come to light.

 He walked over to the holographic map of the world of Medeis. The abnormality was still there – moving slightly, around the border between the central island of Globus and the western land of Ignis, on the coast near the bridge connecting the two. With a shake of his head, he shut off the projector, then turned back to Felisa. “I’m hoping we don’t see that insulting yapper again. Sometimes the staff there are a little too… inquisitive.”

 “Never tease Taru about his ‘mutation’ – ever, even on the good days.” Felisa giggled. “Yeah, that was funny.”

 “I’m tempted to pay you back for that sentence alone.”

 “S-Sorry, Master!”

 “Don’t call me Master!”

***

 

Every time he walked through the crowds that lurked in the northern country of Caelum, there were always chills that prickled up his spine, like mini pins being pressed against his skin.

 Why, he didn’t know. Perhaps it was the buildings stretching for the sky, towers of glass. Or maybe it was the technology, which lurked almost in every corner, signifying the monopoly Caelum held over it.

 Still, he ignored the urge to head back to Ignis for her sake – no matter what Rajin said about ‘upholding the ninja duty’ and all that nonsense, none of it applied to Aiko.

 Aiko would never be a ninja, and would never want to be.

 That was why he chose to take her to a Caelum school, right under Rajin’s nose. At least his brother’s shell didn’t pay enough attention to notice where Aiko truly went, day after day.

 He pushed through the chattering people, glimpsing the somewhat cutesy sign of Aiko’s school. He shouldn’t have started this. Shouldn’t have continued after his brother discovered it the last time, when everything had changed completely…

 “Big Brother Kaze!”

 Aiko darted out from the school’s entrance, waving so hard Kaze worried her arm might fall off if she weren’t careful. The twisted feeling his stomach settled. Aiko was fine. There was nothing to worry about. Nothing at all…

 He smiled back, and she trotted over to him, weaving in between the masses of people crowding the city. “Big Brother Kaze’s late.”

 “Sorry!” Kaze sighed and shook his head. “Blame Rajin. He wanted to talk to me about something, and arrived a little later than I expected…”

 Aiko cocked her head, green pigtails bouncing. “What about?”

 “He wanted to see if I’d come on a mission with him.” Kaze adverted his gaze, biting his lip. “I refused. I’m not leaving you alone.”

 Aiko grinned. “Thanks! Where’s Big Brother Rajin going?”

 “Terra. Tomorrow.”

 Aiko nodded. “How long?”

 “Don’t know.”

 Aiko flicked a loose thread on her pouch, eyes adverted. “Aiko glad. Aiko wants Big Brother Rajin gone…”

 “Don’t insult him!”

 Aiko flinched.

 Kaze breathed out. Where was his incense when he needed it? Probably at home. “I understand how you feel, Aiko, but I won’t let you insult him. If you want to say something, say it to his face. Got it?”

 Aiko lowered her head. “But…”

 “There’s no argument in the matter.”

 Despite the buzzing chatter around them, there was silence.

 She slipped her hand into his palm, and forced a smile. “Okay… but Aiko has news…”
 “News?”

 Undoing the button on her bag, she giggled. “Big times are coming…” She pulled out a piece of paper, and passed it to Kaze.

 As he skimmed the page, his eyes widened.

 A registration form for Aiko’s high school.

 “Aiko, this is…”

 “…It’s due tomorrow,” Aiko murmured, hanging her head.

 “Tomorrow?! Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
 “The teacher forgot…”

 Kaze furrowed his eyebrows. “How am I going to do this…? Rajin will never forgive me if he finds out…”

 “…Sorry…”

 He sighed. “It’s not your fault. I can’t complete this before I take you to school tomorrow… we’re going to have to risk it. I hope Rajin doesn’t find out…”

 Aiko didn’t answer.

 “Come on. We should go. I have one last thing to do here before we head home.”
 “Yes, Big Brother Kaze…”

***

 

He could feel the stares on him.

 Why did the MIS employees care so much about him? As he thought the question, he answered it himself.

 They considered him strange. He was someone to be wary of – a threat.

 “You alright, Taru?” Felisa whispered beside him.

 With a mental sigh, he nodded. Inside, he admitted to himself Felisa already knew the truth – as the ‘outlaw’, so many people wondered why the MIS leader allowed him to gather information.

 After all, he was the famed criminal – the Caelum officials even gave him a nickname. ‘The Silent Sniper’, they called him – because they didn’t know his real name.

 He wouldn’t tell them. No one would know his identity…

 And then there was the whole fiasco of him being mute.

 He caught sight of his reflection in the long, broad windows – however much he wished they would go away, those strings were there. The strings binding his lips together, preventing him from speaking and fitting in with society. He couldn’t remember why they were there, who had sealed his voice away, aside from the few blurry images his memory consisted of.

 Of course, they could mean nothing, as far as he knew. So many of his memories were impaired, rendering him unable to piece together the basics of his past.

 Only Felisa knew. When he asked, she said it was better he didn’t remember.

 That was why he’d hired Felisa to be his translator. They’d met before his lips were sewn, for about a year – according to Felisa. If she knew something, anything, he could piece together his own life, find out the truth behind himself…

 He looked away from the windows. No time to waste moping. Fate had made its decision.

 One of the officials of the MIS strode in, decked out in the ever-so-smart posh black jackets all the MIS’s big names wore, complete with cufflinks and a tie. Oh, and the hair gel – it was obvious, from the overpowering scent of vanilla mixed with the aroma the flowers perfumed the air with.

 “Greetings,” the official said, bowing in turn to Taru, then Felisa. “I suppose you have a report?”

 Felisa nodded. “Yes. Bad news.”

 The official frowned, then gestured for them to follow him. “The leader is expecting you.”

 They walked after him, exchanging their own glances. Why are we expected? Taru thought, frowning. I suppose we’ll find out…

 Maybe it was just him, but every time they entered the western part of the MIS headquarters, Taru could have sworn it had changed from the last time. Today the floors were decked in blood-red carpet, and the floral curtains were pulled aside with golden ribbons.

 “Do you think there’s something going on, Taru?” Felisa murmured.

 Taru shrugged.

 The official stepped to the side as they approached an oak-wood door embedded in the blindingly bright pink walls. “You may proceed.” He bowed, then strode past them back into the waiting hall.

 Felisa opened the door, and Taru followed her into the leader’s chambers.

 “So, you came.” The leader swivelled on her black leather chair, and glanced between Taru and Felisa with crimson eyes. “You should stop with the patterns, Felisa. Same time, same day, every month.”

 Felisa sighed, and perched on one of the wooden audience chairs. “There’s no real way to announce our coming, mam,” she answered.

 With a grimace at the sunshine-bright yellow walls, Taru sat on the last spare seat. The leader still hadn’t changed the colours in her own office, though it seemed as if the rest of the MIS headquarters was repainted almost monthly.

 “Still, the Caelum guards may figure you out.” The leader tapped her black nails against the desk, frowning. “You’re lucky you’re still alive, Taru. Guilty or no, you would be executed if you were caught. They believe you are a murderer, after all.”

 Taru flinched and looked away.

 “Mam, there’s more… important things to discuss.”

 The leader nodded. “Yes, I suppose. Continue.”

 “There’s a magical abnormality in our system. When we left, it was on the border between Globus and Ignis, but appears to be moving.” Felisa chewed on her bottom lip, plaiting a few strands of hair. “Apparently, it’s been around for four years, but hasn’t been able to be identified until now.”

 The leader nodded again. “This one, you mean?” She turned on the projector at the back of the room with a remote, revealing a holographic map of Medeis. With a baton, she pointed to the pulsing star just inside the borders of Ignis, larger than the rest nearby.

 “Yes.”

 The leader bit her lip. “We have been tracking that abnormality for a while now. The sheer power of the source is horrendous – and depending on what it is, there could be major issues that stem from it.” She shut off the image, shaking her head. “From our research, we have concluded ‘it’ is one of the strongest forms of magic in Medeis – a life spell, a portal, or some hoarding magician.”

 Felisa paled.

 Magic was to be feared – even minor magic could wreak havoc. Most of the smaller sources were ignored in the MIS, but sorcerers with more than a few abilities and somewhat darker intentions… well, luck simply ran out for them.

 “W-Which one…?” Felisa murmurs, with a shudder.

 “Since portals can’t move, we can probably cross that one out.” The leader sighed. “Life spells tend to die out after a time, since the energy required is immense – the most likely one is that there’s a sorcerer.”

“A sorcerer…” Felisa lowered her head.

 The leader waved her hand. “I’ll confirm what it is soon, hopefully. Now, buzz off, and don’t get yourselves caught.”

 Taru made a flurry of signals in reply, and Felisa translated. “He says for you to not jinx us, mam.”

 The leader laughed. “I suppose.” She frowned, and then examined a file of documents on her desk. “See you two another time.”

 “What’s that?” Felisa asked, glancing towards the papers.

 “Hmm?” The leader lifted her head. “Ah, yes. We’ve been having issues with one of our other members recently.”

 Taru signed a reply, and Felisa answered for him. “What do you mean, mam?”

 The leader hesitated. “Well, we have a few ninjas working for us on our side. One of these is the Rais heir.”
 Felisa’s eyes widened. “How’d you manage to get the chief of the ninjas to work for you?” She hesitated, and corrected herself. “Or, soon-to-be chief, at least.”

 Taru shivered. Ninjas were almost as dangerous as magic – quick, quiet, and deadly. Prideful and somewhat arrogant, ninjas refused to fail on a mission – if they needed to kill someone, the options didn’t include ‘failure’.

 The very thought made his stomach curl. Criminals were mainly their targets – and he was lucky no one had sent a ninja after him. Perhaps the MIS created some influence among them? He didn’t know, but the threat still loomed.

 The manager shrugged. “Secondary sources.” A tapping echoed as she knocked her fingernails against the wooden table. “Problem is; we have two differing sources on who the heir is.”

 Felisa frowned. “Differing sources? Impossible. There’s only one heir – Rajin Rais. I know that, and I don’t care about the ninjas unless they’re trying to kill us.”

 “You’re right on the matter, Felisa.” The leader shook her head. “But we never did ask for a name. When we first hired him, we needed a ninja to take down a powerful foe.” She hesitated. “We later discovered the ninja completing the missions was the Rais heir, but before… some of our side institutes confirmed the Rais heir wasn’t Rajin.”

 Taru raised an eyebrow, and signed his answer to Felisa. “Impossible,” she translated. “Taru says to ‘wake up and go look at the news for once’.”
 The boss gave a chuckle. “Yes, yes, I suppose. Still…” A polished nail snapped as it was pressed against the desk. “They usually are quite trustworthy…” With a sigh, she waved her hand. “I’ll see you another time, Felisa, Taru.”

 Felisa curtsied, and slipped out the room with a gesture for Taru to follow.

 As he reached the door, he heard the leader’s voice call out from behind him, and he turned.

 “One more thing,” the manager began. “Have you ever thought about cutting those strings? If you’d like, the MIS could help.”

 Taru froze.

 He already knew his answer. Explaining was the problem.

 No. When he thought about it, he always broke into a sweat, with prickles racing his spine and a desperate pulse to stay away. Being able to speak again would be a miracle – but until he finally decided to take the risk, he was stuck.

 It didn’t help the MIS could betray him.

 Two years had passed since he started working for the MIS. Yet still, he was an outlaw – an outlaw trusted nobody, besides the few exceptions, in case someone turned him in. They were like the others… they didn’t know the truth behind his ‘crime’…

 He glanced away. I should go…

 “Taru?”

 Felisa stepped back into the room, twirling a strand of hair. “Is something the matter?” she asked, cocking her head.

 “Why doesn’t Taru cut the strings binding his lips together, Felisa?” The leader repeated, gaze not leaving his translator’s eyes.

 Felisa hesitated. “Well… um… he has his reasons, mam. I am afraid, as his servant, I cannot divulge them.”

 He held back a sign language retort about her use the word ‘servant’. They were equals – nothing less, nothing more.

 The leader sighed. “Oh well. If you two change your minds, I’ll be glad to help. Now, go. I have work.”

 For a second time, Felisa left the room, and Taru followed, not paying attention to the sickeningly bright walls.

 Only one thought lurked in his mind.

 Will this ever end?

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