Return of the Mirage

Winds of Change.

Chapter 1 The Discovery!

IMPORTANT! Please read absurdly long AN before reading the story.

AN: Ok, I can tell that some people are probably rolling their eye's and saying, "Archer, you've got four stories already, try finishing one of those up before moving on to something else." Well, normally, I'd be inclined to agree with those people. However, I have no intention of either Broken Wing or Yesteryears ending anytime in the near future, The One Year Flight has only just reached the ten percent completion mark, and I have plenty more chapters of Total Drama Terra planned (each of the twenty five challenges takes up two chapters, one for the challenge and a second for the voting off bit.) But this is something else entirely. This will be my first true stand alone story. I wanted to change a few things about my OC Kai, and I thought rather than just having him change overnight; why not make it believable? This story revolves around a theory that I have been working on for a little while now and first brought to readers attention in chapter four of Broken Wing. My theory is that Atmos is really Earth in the distant future after some cataclysmic event, and the super advanced "Ancients" are in actuality present day us.

Disclaimer: I do not own Storm Hawks, and never will. They are the property of Asaph "Ace" Fipke and made by Nerd Corps Entertainment, however I DO own Kai, Rose, the Shadow crystal and this story.

"Speech"

"Thought"

Sound

Looking through his binoculars, Kai surveyed the camp. It was heavily guarded, as he had expected. Then, he saw him.

I.J. Domiwick

The man was becoming quite the nuisance lately. As much as Kai hated to admit it, they guy was good at his job. Once an explorer adventurer, the man made a career not too long ago and became an adventurer capitalist.

In laymen's terms, he was a hired grave robber and tomb plunderer.

In the last year he had managed to make several great finds, all for Cyclonia. Gone were the days he searched for lost cities or forgotten terra's, now he searched for artifacts of the ancients, more specifically, weapons.

Thanks to Rose, Kai had seen through her eyes just what some of these artifacts were capable of. Some would leave him nauseous for days on end, while others would rob him of sleep for nearly a week. That was the reason he kept such a close eye on Domiwick, to insure that he never got his hands on anything too dangerous. He knew it would be impossible to prevent him from finding everything, so he focused on stopping him where it mattered.

Three days ago, Ayrgyn the Skeelur had once again sent him out on a mission. Kai didn't mind them for the most part; as they gave him something to do, and on occasion, an excuse to see old friends. Ever since the Cabion, Ayrgyn would alert Kia when there was any serious problem regarding anything related to the Ancients. This was due to their sensitive nature. Very few people had the proper respect of these items, and even fewer could be trusted with them. Kai was one of the very few that understood that something's were buried and forgotten for a reason, and should stay as such.

That was why instead of training, studying, or, more preferably, sleeping. Kai was hiding in a tree in near hundred degree temperatures while under constant assault from various biting insects.

"Well, I've got six more hours till I can do anything, might as well take a nap." Kai shifted his position so that he would be a bit more comfortable while at the same time not be in any danger of falling out of the tree.

"Well, well, looks like you're keeping busy."

Kai jumped at hearing the familiar voice. "Ayrgyn! What are you doing here?! And how did you get in?"

The man just smirked. "Oh I was just in the neighborhood and thought I'd drop in. Ugh, I see your sense of taste hasn't changed." He said looking around at the sparse conditions.

"It's my base, besides, it suites me just fine. Now, why are you here, I knew you don't just randomly drop in for no reason." Kai said as he leaned against the wall.

"Ah true, true. Time's always on the run. Of course, if so many were trying to kill me, I'd be too."

Kai just rolled his eyes. "Seriously, what is it? You only come around when something really bad is going on. Cyclonis find some new crystal? Snipe grew a brain?"

"Starling finally accepting Harrier's proposal of marriage?" Ayrgyn caught the book right before it hit him in the face and smiled.

"Since you seem to be in such a joking mood, I'm guessing it's nothing major, which means I'm going back to bed." As he got up though he found himself hovering a few inches off the ground. "Not this again. I learned my lesson, I work in teams remember?" Kai groaned.

"You learned a little, but you're far from learning the complete lesson boy." Sitting down he turned to Kai and gave his usual grin. "Besides, wasn't last time fun? You got to meet some new people, make a few friends, and, you even had a shot at getting a life." He said counting off on his fingers.

Remembering what happened last time, Kai took a deep breath to keep himself calm. He already knew that he was no match for the green hared prankster. "I was glad to be of service in aiding the Sky Knights, and I am thankful that we were able to save the others. But I would appreciate it if you did not comment on my personal life." He replied evenly.

"Ptth personal life he says. I've seen rocks that had more of a personal life than you boy. But that's for another time. It seems that Domiwick has been poking around and might have actually come across something dangerous." His face and voice switched from joking to serious.

"So what is it this time? A sword that can turn people into fish?" Kai said sarcastically.

"Nope, fortunately, the Harring Blade is still hidden. Tell me, how versed are you in lore?"

It took a few seconds for Kai's brain to register; he was still slightly dazed from finding out that the sword was in fact real. "Lore? You mean like old legends and stuff? Pretty well I guess. Why?"

"It seems that Domiwick has found something of interest." Seeing that he now had Kai's attention he continued. "After the cave in at terra Xoam, Domiwick was able to find a second chamber within the temple treasure room."

"I'm not surprised that he survived, cockroaches are usually hard to kill. But what did he find?"

"I'm not quite sure what he found. It was a wall carving, but he destroyed it after making a copy, which he carriers on person at all times." Kai couldn't help but notice Ayrgyn had a rather annoyed look about him.

"But I thought you knew all about these artifacts and…stuff." He said.

"I have been around for quite some time boy, but there are some things that far older than I."

"Like what? Your sense of humor?" Kai joked. When the look on Ayrgyn's face didn't change though, he knew that whatever was going on must be serious.

"I believe it was a map that he found. As to what it is to, I haven't a clue." Ayrgyn laughed at his little rhyme before getting up. "Go to terra Xome, that is where the new dig site is. You need to find out what it is they are searching for, and either get to it first, of take it before it can be used."

When Kai looked back, he was gone.

"Great, what am I? His errand boy or something." Kai muttered before heading to the hanger.

"SIR! We've found it!"

Kai woke with a start. Judging by the amount of light, he guessed that it was late afternoon. "This is bad; I won't be able to see straight for at least another hour." Hopping out of the tree, he crouched down as low as he could. "I need to get keep them here for the night, if they go now, I'll never catch them." Looking around, he saw that there wasn't much equipment around, but he did see one dozer that was in use. "Oh this is going to be fun."

When he saw that the driver was about to turn off the dozer, Kai put his plan into action. It wasn't anything big, just a very small illusion. Though he was able to make much larger ones, he found that sometimes, the smallest of things can have the biggest of impacts.

In this case, it was a three foot long grey and olive colored snake; more commonly know as, a black mamba.

The results were both quick, and what he had expected. The man screamed and jumped out of the still moving vehicle. When everyone turned to see what the commotion was about, they were met with the sight of a dozer blowing into and running over their skimmers and heliblades.

Doing his best no to laugh at their plight, but not quite succeeding, Kai returned to the tree he had been using and waited for night fall. "Their not going anywhere. Ok, now, back to my nap."

Things were pretty uneventful after that, instead of heading into the camp after an hour, Kai decided to wait for several, so not only would his vision be better, but it would also make it harder for him to be seen. He almost laughed when he saw the men make a large fire in the center of the camp as he moved in.

"Good, these guys are idiots, so it shouldn't be too hard to get in and out without being seen." Kai, like every other hunter knew that at night, a person could actually see better without a large source of light. A bonfire would light up everything within fifty or so feet, but it would prevent you from seeing any further than the light barrier it formed, not to mention that it also negated a person's ability to see movement. (1)

Once inside the camp, it didn't take too long for Kai to find Domiwick's tent. It was about the size of a small two story building and had guards posted at its one entrance. "Well, looks like I'll just have to make my own door." Moving around to the back side of the tent, he was sure that he could hear snoring, which meant he was close. Smiling, Kai flicked out his slicer blade and cut through the material with ease. It only took a few seconds to make a decent sized hole.

Then the lights came on.

"Well well, looks like we have our selves a thief." Domiwick grinned. "Let me guess, you're here to take my little find aren't you?"

"Perhaps, if it is small, then yes, but if it was big I was going to just break it." Was Kai's reply.

Several talons had surrounded him at this point. One more talon came into the tent and stood beside Domiwick.

"You're that little runt that keeps interfering with my work." Walking around him, Domiwick sized him up. "Your no Sky Knight, and your certainly not part of any squadron, so tell me, why do you pester me so?"

The black clad teen narrowed his eyes, but remained silent.

"Someone with your skills would be a benefit to my cause. You seem to have, some level of understanding as to my work, otherwise you wouldn't focus solely on me." Several seconds passed and still he remained silent.

"Sir, what do you want us to do with him?" One of the talons asked.

"Take him in. Master Cyclonis should find him intresting." Domiwick turned to leave.

"Just try." A small grey crystal was thrown to the ground and the tent was filled with smoke.

"IDIOTS! Make sure he doesn't escape!" Domiwick yelled.

A few seconds passed and the smoke cleared to reveal a dozen Kai's, and no talons.

"What? Where are my men!" Domiwick shouted in panic.

One of the Kai's turned to him. "Uh boss, what are you talking about?" That's when the talons all noticed that not only did they all look the same as the intruder, but that the intruder was now missing.

"Hey, I thought there were only twelve of us before he dropped the smoker." One of the "smarter" (read, has an I.Q. that is a double digit) said.

Counting quickly, Domiwick realized what had happened. During the smoke screen, the intruder had placed himself in the surrounding formation. "So, he's still in here." Stroking his chin, Domiwick came up with a plan. Reaching into his vest, he quickly pulled out a handful of crystals and threw them at the group. Seconds later, they all fell to the ground. "Paralysis stones. Never know when an angry mob of tribesmen will come chasing after you." Looking over to the one remaining talon, the one that had been by his side the entire time, Domiwick grinned.

"Nice. But I think my plan worked better." The talon grinned. Before Domiwick was even able to register what was happening, he was struck in stomach and collapsed to his knees. "Thanks for taking care of the other guards by the way." The talons uniform melted away in its place was the intruder from earlier. (2)

"But…but..how?" Domiwick gasped between breaths.

"It wasn't hard to tell you had a trap waiting for me. So after making the hole I switched knocked out one of your guards and took his place."

"But, how did?" Before he could finish Kai nailed him with an uppercut and knocked him out.

"Why would I tell an enemy how my abilities work or what skills I have?" Shaking his head, Kai went started searching the tent. It didn't take too long for him to find what he was looking for; he just looked for the box that had the most locks on it. "Do I really want to spend the next two days picking all those things open?" Taping his chin thoughtfully, Kai made his decision. "Nah." Bringing his staff out, he slammed the butt end down and smashed the first lock off, then the second, third, forth and fifth. That's when he ran into a problem.

Number six.

Kai glared at the last lock. It was the only thing that stood in his way. "Why couldn't you have been like your brothers and just die? Oh no, you had to go and be little Jonny Live-a-lot!" Not only was it the last lock, it also happened to be the smallest. Putting some distance between himself and the box, Kai leveled his staff and fired a barrage of crystal blasts. When the smoke cleared, he could see the box was now dented and covered with blaster scores, but the lock was still intact. In fact, it almost looked shinier than it had been before. "This is some kind of joke right? What does it take to make this thing OPEN!"

Ptnk

Kai's jaw nearly fell off. "Know what? I'm not even going to ask." Opening the box he was surprised at what he found. "A book?" Picking it up, he noted that it was rather large, about the size of a dictionary.

"Ugh."

"Looks like the locals are waking up, time to fly." Tucking to book under his arm, Kai took off for his skimmer.

A few hours later he had made it back to his base at terra deep. The old shipwreck had served as his base of operations for about a year, but he had yet to refer to it as his home. Sure, he lived in it, but there was deference.

"I really need to patch that hole up." Kai thought as he circled around to land. It was just one of the numerous things he had on his 'get around to it later' list that seemed to keep growing.

"So, what did you find?" Though marginally startled, Kai wasn't too surprised to see Ayrgyn waiting for him.

"Not much, just a book." Kai held out the leather book in one hand.

Ayrgyn took it and flipped it open. "Hmm that's odd."

"What? Don't tell me I went through all that work for some ancient cook book." Kai said agitated.

"Believe it or not, I can't read a word in it."

This did surprise him. "I thought you knew all about the ancients. What do you mean you can't read it?" Kai knew that Ayrgyn was much, much, older than he looked. Not quite as old as Rose, but he had been around for over a thousand years.

"I do, but this is not their writing. It's something else, similar, but not the same." He replied.

"How can it be similar, and you not be able to read it?" Kai asked raising an eyebrow.

"The lettering is the same, but the words have no meaning." Ayrgyn said slightly annoyed.

"So then…it's useless?" Kai groaned. "I could have been sleeping, but no, I got sent out to retrieve a thousand year old crossword puzzle book."

"Nah, they had a different kind of cover. Besides, if it was a crossword puzzle book, the letters would be alighted in even rows." Kai couldn't tell how much of that had been a joke and how much had been serious.

"So what now? Can I go back to sleep? Or do you need me to find a two thousand year old newspaper to go with it?" Kai asked sharply.

"Do I need to teach you another lesson in respect boy?" Ayrgyn asked.

"Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. I wont fall for the same trick twice, so illusions wont work, I know you wont physically hurt or maim me, so I doubt you'd kill me, and I know for a fact you cant do squat to make my dreams any worse. So tell me, what do you intend to do?"

Ayrgyn remained silent and shook his head. "If this is the life you really want, I'm not going to say anything more about it. Just remember, locking yourself up doesn't change the past, nor does it make up for it."

Kai snorted.

"Isolation isn't healthy for anyone, even she knows this. You should get out more often; it'd do you some good." Ayrgyn was about to leave when Kai called out.

"Hey, aren't you going to take your book?"

Looking over his shoulder, Ayrgyn smiled. "I've got plenty. You keep it." Then, he transformed into a hawk and flew off.

Picking up the book, Kai thumbed through a few pages. "Bah, I have no use for something I can't even read." Setting the book down Kai went back to bed. "Maybe Piper would enjoy it; she always seems to enjoy puzzles." He couldn't help but give a slight laugh when he remembered his last little visit to the teen team.

End Chapter 1.

(1): This is actually true. Human eye's are like any other predators. They are specifically designed to focus on movement. This is especially true at night. So while you might not be able to see exactly what something is, you can easily see something moving at night if you have just a little bit of light. Also the light barrier thing is true as well. Next time you go camping, try to focus on something that is outside the fires light barrier, you'll find that it's impossible. However, if you travel outside the light barrier, you can see further, though less clearly.

(2) When Kai uses his illusion powers to mimic a person, or to change his cloths, and when he changes back, the effect is basically the same as Mistuqe's transformation power in the live action X-Men movie. Only it's got a light grey glow to it as well.

AN: Ok, I know that Kai seems to be a bit bitter, but that is fairly common for someone that spends long periods of time alone. This story will be focused on two things, one is Kai finally getting a Carrier, the other is his (forceful) change in personality. You'll understand. Lastly, if anyone wants their OC's to have a cameo appearance in this thing, drop me a PM or say it in a review. I can't make any promises, but I'll do my best. I have already contacted the authors whose OC's will have a major role in this thing, and theyall said yes. So no sicking the admins on me!