The Black Light Operation
By: Atomic Kokoro
Zed sets out on his father's trail, his friends close by his side. He learns more about his father and himself. However, the mystery turns into a great adventure when they are trapped in Calm, hunted by Relic Hunters, and forced to race time before the dual moons collide and the wind is lost forever.
Before You Read
Last chapter, Mikki woke up, Noa and Zed got into a fight, and Mikki sneaked out of Noa's house in the night. What is Mikki up to?
This night, two guys played a joke on me on Facebook and liked ALL my statuses and ALL my wallposts and ALL my activities and ALL my game updates-IT WAS HILARIOUS! They liked a total of 69 POSTS on my profile page.
On with the story!
Mikki's Own Mission
The night air was suffocating and cold. Calm still seemed the same, even after the wind returned. Mikki knew he had to get back to Noa's house before morning, or before someone realized he was gone, whichever came first.
He rushed down the street, trying to keep himself warm as he made his way into the late night downtown. Rowdy, drunk men laughed and yelled and staggered down the street while several prostitutes and drug dealers stopped to try and get something out of him. He kindly pushed them away, telling them he was in a rush, and continued down the street.
"I hope it's where it was before," he muttered to himself as he advanced down the street, brushing passed a couple. Many people were staring at him due to unusual clothes and signature tattoo on his cheek. Some yelled his name, cheered and smiled, and tried to call him over and he, yet again, explained he was in a rush.
Mikki spotted a building on the other side of the street and smiled. He jumped over the railing and ran across the road to the store. He peered in and found the shop was still open. A man inside sat at the counter, counting the money in the till.
A bell ringed when Mikki opened the door, earning the attention of the shop owner. "Mikki!" he gasped, standing up and walking the baker. "It has been forever since I've seen you."
"As to you, Uncle Tyson," Mikki replied as the man draped an arm around his shoulders. Everything was just as Mikki remembered; the most amazing tattoo designs on the walls, white wallpaper covering the walls, a giant room where the tattoos were done in the back. It almost felt like home.
"What are you doing at such a time in such a place like this? Better yet, how did you get back?" Tyson asked, looking Mikki once over. "You don't have a Shifting Shard, do you?"
Mikki shook his head. "My friend can travel to anywhere, anytime he wants," he explained. "He took us here so he can solve his father's mystery. I said I'd help him, but I really came back to see you."
Tyson frowned. "What happened to Eric and Jackie?"
Mikki's eyes tore away from Tyson's and he fixed his gaze on a tile on the ground. "They were sent off to war. They were killed, and now I live on my own in Templar." He paused for a moment then turned back to Tyson. "I lived with Teacher for a while but he died, too." Then, Mikki smiled. "No need to worry though, Tyson. Roya and Zed helped me open up my own bread shop, and I can support myself, and Zed, now."
The tattoo artist laughed and patted his nephew on the back. "Very good, Mikki. I would've expected no less from the son of Eric."
Mikki blushed and smiled sheepishly. "Well, it wasn't easy..."
"You've learn to defend yourself, too? Dumas was a great friend of your father's and a great fighter."
"Yes," Mikki said. "He taught me a little bit. I could only learn so much in a year."
Tyson smiled and nodded. "Say, why don't you spend the night at my place?" he suggested.
"Oh, no," Mikki sighed. "I can't. My friends don't know yet. They don't even know I left. I think it's best they never know."
Tyson left his arm from around Mikki's shoulders and nodded in understanding. "I won't keep you waiting then," he chuckled humorlessly, walking behind the counter to finish counting his money. "You better say hi to Sophie when you can. And all the others. They missed you."
Mikki smiled and nodded. "I will." He turned and began out the door, the bell ringing, when Mikki stopped and turned around again. "It was nice seeing you again. And thanks. For everything."
Tyson waved goodbye and Mikki walked out the door.
Zed growled as he turned over and fell off the couch. "Gah!" He laid on the ground for a moment, pissed off at his rude awakening. He leaned up and rubbed the back of his wrist which he smacked off the table in his fall. "Damn couch. Could never sleep on one."
He glanced at the other couch to see if he had awaken Mikki by accident to see when wasn't there. He looked down the hall at the bathroom, in which the light was off and the door was open. Unless Mikki didn't know how to shut a door or turn on a light, he wasn't in there.
So, where was Mikki?
Zed got to his feet and glanced down the front hall. His shoes were gone, which meant Mikki had left the house. But why? And where did he go? Would he come back? When?
Questions spun in Zed's head like a really fast merry-go-round. Mikki didn't have a reason to leave. Was he just curious? What if he got lost?
The only choice he had was to go back to bed and address it to someone in the morning. Or perhaps Mikki would come back and he could ask him then.
Something clicked against the window and woke her up. The girl leaned up and walked to the window, wiping sleep from her drowsy eyes. "Who on Earth...?" She didn't bother finishing her sentence and opened her window, peering outside. "Hello?"
"Sophie!" a voice called, earning her instant attention.
"What? No. Mikki? Is that really...?"
Mikki smiled and opened up his arms. "Yeah! It's me!"
Sophie smiled and rushed downstairs. She swung open her door and raced outside in her bare feet to embrace him in a hug. "You came back!" she sobbed. "Just like you said you would."
Mikki nodded and returned the gesture. "Of course I did. I won't be back for long; I can only see you tonight. But I'm glad I get to see you again."
The two stayed for a moment, holding each other. "Stay here," she said. "With me. Please."
Mikki sighed and let her go. "I can't. My friends don't know I've left. They can't know about me, or something will happen. Something probably not good."
Sophie frowned and rest her head on his chest. "I understand." She waited for a moment then kneeled down to look at the Shard Caster's Mark on Mikki's shins. "They've fully revealed, huh?"
Mikki kneeled down and brushed his fingers over the Mark. "Yes. They have. I know how to use them now." He looked up at her, catching her blue gaze with his own caramel eyes. "You can't tell your parents I was here. Then they'll come for me. They'll hurt me. Zed doesn't know they will hurt us if they find us."
The girl frowned and nodded. "Please stay safe. I don't want them to catch you."
Mikki nodded and hugged her one last time. "I have to go. It will be morning soon, and I can't risk the others finding that I'm gone."
Sophie nodded, tears streaming down her cheeks. Mikki stood up and turned to run away, leaving Sophie sitting in the grass, watching him run off. She reached out for him despite that he was out of arm's reach, her tears falling into the soil. "...Good...bye..."
Sunlight fell upon Zed's eyelashes and his eyes slowly fluttered open. He leaned up and rubbed his eyes only to find he had passed out on the ground. He rubbed his stiff neck and cracked his back. "I hate it when that happens."
Suddenly, he remembered the empty couch of which Mikki was supposed to be sleeping on. Zed peered up and found him passed out where he was supposed to be. "Maybe I was dreaming it," Zed muttered to himself. He frowned and pushed himself to his feet.
He gently shook Mikki awake. It took a while; Mikki was pretty beat. Zed frowned and chatted with Mikki until Roya and Noa woke up. The tension instantly grew between the three; Zed, Noa, and Roya. Mikki slunk back, hoping nothing bad would happen.
Thankfully, nothing did.
The team plus Mrs. Boarie sat around the table, eating breakfast in silence. "You know," Mikki said after a moment. "We should cover up our Marks. I mean, Noa's is already covered but mine, Zed's, and Roya's aren't."
Noa looked at Mikki, slightly confused. "Why should we? Couldn't we just say they're tattoos or something?"
"A skin infection," Zed joked, earning glares from everyone. "I was just kidding!"
"Well, cause, you know, we just should." No one looked convinced. "It'll make us look suspicious. Besides. Why would me, Zed, and Roya have so similar tattoos, or...skin infections...but they aren't the same?"
Everyone glanced at each other, looking a little swayed. "If it makes you feel better, Mikki," Roya said after a moment. "We'll cover them up. Which means we'll have to borrow some clothes."
After breakfast, Mrs. Boarie fetched some jeans and a scarf for Mikki and Roya to use while Noa scavenged for a long sleeved shirt and some gloves. Roya tied the long, yellow scarf around her neck. Her Mark was hidden well. Despite that Mikki's jeans worked fine on their own, he insisted on getting a different shirt, discarding his hat (Zed decided to hold onto it for him), and fixed his hair.
Roya labeled him paranoid while Zed wondered what Mikki was afraid of. Noa considered it typical behavior, trying to fit in and attract as little attention as possible. Fixing his hair didn't go over well; Mikki had finer hair than most and it refused to change into anything else than what it had been for all his life, so he let it be.
"It was wonderful to see you, Noa," Mrs. Boarie said, wiping tears from her eyes and hugging her son. "I wish you could stay with me. But I know your alive, and you'll be happy where you are. That's all I need to know to be comforted."
"I'll visit often. I promise."
Mrs. Boarie stepped out the door and walked with the team to the gate. She gave Noa one last hug and the team was off. After a couple minutes of walking into downtown, Mikki asked, "So, where to next?"
Zed smiled at Mikki over his shoulder. "One of my mother's friends met my father. He might know where the note is hidden. I also wanna ask him if he's still in."
Just at that moment, a kid ran passed him, bumping into Zed. "I'm sorry, sir!" he apologized quickly. "I won't do it again!" He glanced at Mikki and his jaw dropped. Mikki quickly gave a signal not to say anything (which no one but the kid noticed). The kid nodded and ran off.
Noa ignored the event and looked back at his friend as the team continued walking. "Really, Zed? After all this time, you honestly think he'll still cut you that deal?" Noa asked, laughing at his friend's naïve comment.
"Of course!" Zed replied. Then he looked forward, sounding doubtful. "I hope. ...Where's my wallet?" Zed checked his pockets and coat when it hit him. "Hey! That kid stole my wallet!"
Mikki slapped his forehead and shook his head. "Again?" he muttered to himself, but this didn't go unnoticed by Roya.
"Again?" she echoed, trying to make sure she heard him right.
Mikki glanced over at her then shrugged. "Not the first time I've heard this." Then he raced off after Zed who went off looking for the kid. Roya watched him in suspicion before running off as well.