Monday, June 29, 2015

Page 1051

Rather than responding, Ibai merely broadened his smile.

“By the way,” Reever said, “why have you been letting these people hold you captive? We’ve all been wondering what you were even doing here.”

We?” said Ibai. “There are more aberrations here?”

“Oh yeah. There are six of us. All with Invisibility like me. You wanna--?” Reever broke himself off to stare behind Ibai, then said, “Oh, come on. Those buttholes out front already screwed up the mission for everyone. No way things’ll stay quiet until the Saqqafs show up, so we might as well take this guy with us now.”

“Who are you talking to?” said Ibai.

“Oh, right, here.” Reever waved his left hand, and another figure was revealed, this time behind Ibai.

“No, you idiot, don’t--!” the new person was saying as the invisible facade fell away, but as soon as he realized that Ibai was looking at him, he shut his mouth.

“Hello there,” said Ibai. “And what’s your name?”

The man frowned but still said, “Arnold. Nice to meet you.”

After a second, Ibai noticed the toy figurine floating behind the man’s back. A reaper. So Arnold was not an aberration, then. Ibai was getting the distinct impression that these folks were not supposed to be here. “So why have you come to Dunehall? And why were you hiding?”

“It’s complicated,” said Reever. “Anyway, how about I help you get out of here? With my power, even reapers won’t be able to sense your presence.”

Ibai bobbed his head. “You don’t say. How many people can you conceal at one time?”

“Me? Only about fifty or so, still. But I’m working on it.”

Arnold shifted his feet. “Why don’t we talk about this somewhere else? It’s not safe here.”

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Page 1050

In a flash, Ibai was in an empty corridor. The cool sandstone beneath his toes reminded him that he’d left without putting shoes on. It was too late now, he supposed, but he regretted not wearing socks at least. Now he couldn’t even pretend to be ice skating.

He knew his father and Rholtam would be hot on his heels, so he jumped again, this time two floors down, then once more into another hallway a couple rooms over.

“Oh, it’s you!” came a sudden voice. “Careful where you pop in, man!”

Ibai looked around, but no one was there. Nor should there have been. He was certain that he hadn’t seen any souls in this hallway when he teleported here.

“Running away, huh? Want some help?”

“Who’s talking?” said Ibai. “Where are you?”

“Oh, right.”

And abruptly, a ripple appeared in mid-air, distorting an area of Ibai’s vision for a moment before a young man’s face revealed itself. Then the neck, shoulders, and everything else followed. The clothes were clearly foreign--Steccati in origin, if Ibai wasn’t mistaken. That country’s attire was popular in movies, which was where this guy looked like he belonged. Ibai liked the sparkling jacket in particular.

“Sorry for the confusion,” the guy said. “We’re supposed to keep our presence hidden, but it’s okay now, because someone else already screwed up. I won’t get in trouble.”

Ibai returned a big smile. “My name is Ibai. What’s yours?”

“Reever,” he said, smiling similarly.

And Ibai’s gaze flickered as he realized. This man. Something about him. Already, Ibai was almost entirely certain that this person was an aberration. “You’re like me,” he said curiously.

“You can tell,” said Reever. “Well, of course you can. You must be a monster by now, huh? I’ve never met one of us who was as old as you.”

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Page 1049

Ismael only returned a heavy-eyed stare.

Briefly, Ibai wondered if he could put the man to sleep by droning on long enough. If it weren’t for Rholtam’s presence, he might’ve tried. “Papa. Let me be direct with you. I don’t think anyone is going to prove my innocence for me. I think I will have to either do that myself or just run away and take all these problems with me.”

“No, Ibai. I won’t let you do that.”

“Yeah, I didn’t think you would. That’s why I’ve always snuck out. That’s why I never told you that I could sneak out anytime I wanted. And that’s why I’m going to sneak out right now. Well, I guess it’s not sneaking out anymore now that I’m telling you about it, huh?”

His father stood. “Ibai--!”

Ibai held up a hand. “Look, the point is, I’m not going to hurt anyone, and you’re not going to hurt me, so you can’t really stop me. But even if you were going to hurt me, you probably still couldn’t stop me.”

Ismael’s brow depressed enough to make his eyes look like they might disappear beneath it. “Now you listen to me, mijoro. If you leave this place, the other Rainlords will hunt you down and kill you. Would you do that to your mother? To me? Don’t you understand? You are our son. Everything we’ve done was to keep you safe from a world that hates you. You cannot simply throw all that away now.”

Ibai placed the figurine back on the board and stood as well. “I understand, Papa. Protecting me is important to you.” He moved around the table to give his father a hug. “But protecting you is important to me. And you’ve done more than enough already. So I’m going to go now. I intend to come back, but if I don’t, then please don’t worry about me. I will be fine.” Then he let his father go. “Okay, bye.”

“Ibai--” growled Ismael, but his voice was cut off as the aberration teleported away.