The Terra Episode Chapter 10
Tayan walked the corridors of the infirmary without a sound. It was practically empty save for the guards at the entrance of the building. The guards did not stop him for he was invisible. He had mastered the magic of invisibility. Almost always he followed his master, Kefka, invisibly. He did it not to hide from him but to hide from the people with his master. That was what they all did in their masters presence.
Kefka, of course, knew about this. They were his personal bodyguards and fanatical followers. They were sworn to silence and utter loyalty to Kefka. They would sacrifice themselves to their master without hesitation. They would obey without question, and they would fight to the death for their master.
This was one of the most mysterious characteristics of the enigmatic cult. The members treated their master like a god. It was more than they could say about the soldiers loyalty to the Emperor. One would ponder the reason and fail to discover it.
Tayan reached his destination. He was outside the high security room guarded with two Empire soldiers. The soldiers sat at a small table situated by the door, facing each other. One was reading a newspaper, while the other was scribbling notes on a clipboard. Tayan drew closer to them, and then he whispered, "Sleep."
The first guard collapsed to the floor while the other slumped onto the small table, snoring. Tayan took the keycard from one of the soldiers, and he used it to open the door to the high security room. The door beeped, and slid open with a soft hiss. Tayan entered the room, still invisible. It was dimly illuminated.
A man with half of his body wrapped in bandages lay on top of a hospital bed at the center of the room. To the patient's right were different machines that constantly monitored his condition. A security camera watched the room for intruders. Unfortunately for the security team in charge, the camera was not capable of detecting invisible intruders.
Tayan looked at the camera and smirked. He proceeded to the machines to the right side of the sleeping witness. He tinkered with the knobs and buttons for a few moments, and when he was satisfied at the settings, he turned back towards the camera. It had a tiny red light on that signified that it was active.
Tayan waited patiently for his cue. It arrived promptly. The light on the camera started to blink continuously. He then held the mans wrist tightly and uttered another magical word of command.
Both of them vanished out of the high security room not just in sight but in presence as well. The hospital room faded out of sight and was replaced by a slightly larger room with black-painted walls. A single light source dangled above them from a hanging lamp. They were both magically teleported to a different room with Tayan still holding onto the mans wrist, and the injured man was now on a hard, uncushioned wooden table. He was still unconscious.
Tayan was no longer invisible. The invisibility magic is very sensitive and volatile to other magical auras. Casting the Warp spell completely negated the Invisibility spell. He opened his eyes and raised his hand as a signal. Almost immediately, two other Devouts slowly materialized into sight. One of them was carrying a black leather bag, and the other was carrying an odd-looking contraption with a strap, wires dangling on one side.
The two Devouts moved quickly. The one with the black leather bag placed it on the table to the right side of the mans head, and opened it. The other Devout placed the contraption on the floor and pulled the straps and the wires up so it would reach the man. The one with the bag pulled out two small bottles of liquid. One contained clear liquid while the other, gray. The Devout uncapped the bottle with the gray liquid inside. He took a small dropper from the bag and took a sample of the gray liquid with it. The same Devout, then, opened the mans right eye and squeezed two drops of the liquid from the dropper. He did the same for the left eye.
The second Devout started strapping the mans wrist, connecting an edge to the contraption with the wires. Then he wrapped another strap around the mans forehead, again, connecting the strap to the mysterious box with the wires. After this was done, the Devout flipped a switch on the contraption, and it hummed to life. Three gauges on the contraption began to glow and gave readouts about the mans vital signs. Beeps echoed the mans heartbeats; it was steady and stable.
"Is everything ready?" Tayan asked the Devouts.
The Devouts simply nodded, maintaining their silence. They were only allowed to speak if absolutely necessary.
"Good. Hold him down firmly," Tayan commanded them. "I want to make this fast. I dont know how long the security camera in the hospital can be fooled."
The Devouts held the man by the arms and shoulders on both sides of the table. Then Tayan walked closer to the table and held his open hands over the mans body. He bowed in concentration and uttered a word softly.
His hands glowed dimly in the already-dark room. The luminescence lasted for a few seconds, after which it died out. The mans beating remained stable. The second Devout glanced at one of the gauges and shook his head. Tayan sighed and tried the process again.
"Heal," he said more loudly. The radiance in his hands was stronger than the last. It lasted for the same amount of time.
The contraption showed a positive reaction from the unconscious man. The beeps became slightly faster and stable still. The second Devout, again, glanced at the gauge and nodded affirmatively.
"How long?" Tayan asked.
The second Devout raised his hand and held up five fingers as an answer. Tayan nodded to the first Devout as another signal to continue with the procedure. The Devout released the mans arm and shoulder and pulled out a syringe from the black back. He removed the safety cover and drew a carefully measured amount from the bottle of clear liquid.
Without delay he stuck the needle into the mans right arm and injected the entire measurement into the mans body. Almost instantly, the needle on the third gauge of the contraption responded with rapid erratic movements. The heartbeat changed pace as well, but it was still stable.
The man began to move and groan. The mans breathing became labored. The first Devout dropped the syringe inside the black bag and held the man firmly by the arm and shoulder again. Tayan let the man try to regain consciousness on his own.
"Wha whats goin on?" the man asked softly, as soon as he regain sufficient awareness to answer. His voice was hoarse as his throat was dry.
Tayan spoke softly. "Can you hear me, clearly?" Tayan asked in a clear voice.
The man opened his eyes. They were dilated because of the liquid that the first Devout dropped. The man only saw a blinding light at the center of his vision against blackness. He moved his head from side to side trying to get a clear vision of his surroundings but to no avail.
"Where am I?" the man asked worriedly.
"You are safe inside a hospital, Mr. Massarani. Do you remember what happened?" Tayan asked again without sounding intimidating.
"Hospital?" the man said, his eyes fixated into the light. "Why am I in the hospital?" he asked, confused. "My eyes!"
"Calm yourself, Mr. Massarani. There are doctors around you."
"What happened?" the man asked in a rising panicky state. He tried to sit up, but the Devouts strongly held him down. The man struggled weakly and in pain. He eventually gave up and relaxed.
"Clear your mind. You are being cared for and are recovering quite well. Your eyesight will return to you soon."
"Who are you? What happened to me?" the man asked.
"I am your emperor, Gestahl," Tayan lied without making an effort to imitate the emperors voice.
The man gasped. "Your majesty?"
"Yes. It is I. You were in an accident, Mr. Massarani. Do you remember?"
The man closed his useless eyes and thought hard. "Vaguely, my lord. I only remember an explosion and then nothing," the man answered.
"You died in that explosion, Mr. Massarani. But we were able to revive you," Tayan explained.
"Oh, bless you, my lord! You are most benevolent!" the man replied despite the pain in his head. "I am in your debt."
"I need your help, Mr. Massarani. The entire empire needs your help. We need you to tell me everything that you remember about the accident," Tayan said.
The man expressed a painful frown. "I beg your mercy, my lord. But I do not remember anything. I am confused," the man answered apologetically.
"We will help you remember," Tayan replied assuredly. "It is imperative that we learn about the accident for it might happen again. Lives are at stake, Mr. Massarani," Tayan said in a very urgent and convincing tone.
The man swallowed nervously. "I I I do not know what to do."
"We have a special way of making you remember. All you have to do is think as hard as you can, and tell us everything that comes back to you. It will feel strange, even painful. But you must endure it. Remember that you are surrounded by doctors. They will not let anything happen to you. Do you understand, Mr. Massarani?"
"Y-y-yes. I understand, my lord," the man replied.
"Good. Then we shall begin. Remember tell us everything that comes back to you."
Tayan nodded to the second Devout. The Devout flicked another switch from the odd contraption sitting on the floor. A different kind of soft hum filled the air. The man gasped in surprise. A strange sensation filled his head, but it wasnt pain. He opened his eyes and met the familiar blinding light against the dark. He saw it grow, expanding to the dark edges until it covered his entire field of vision. Ghostly images flashed rapidly everywhere. He tried to identify them, but they seemed to disappear to fast.
"Recall the explosion," Tayan instructed. "Dont try to seize the images. Let it come to you."
The man ignored the vague forms and followed Tayans instructions. He gasped as a vivid image of the explosion came back to him, accompanied by the deafening sound. He screamed and reflexively reached out with his hands for help. The Devouts held them down tightly.
"We are here, Mr. Massarani!" Tayan shouted. "You are still safe! Tell me what you see!"
The man was in utter terror, but he was still able to answer back.
"Loud fire pain!" the man cried in anguish. "Again and again!"
"Think back further! What were you doing in the warehouse before the explosion?" Tayan said loudly. He could only imagine that the man was reliving the exact moment that he died.
"Cant! Just pain!" the man cried back in visible agony.
Tayan nodded to the second Devout. The Devout turned a dial on the contraption one notch up.
"You were working in the warehouse, Mr. Massarani!" Tayan said suggestively. The human mind followed obligingly. "Its your job as a Magitek Weapon Technician! Remember!"
Whatever it was for, the contraption helped. The mans expression of pain left his face. "Yes. I was working," the man said, without a trace of pain in his voice. A new image replaced the traumatic instant of the accident.
"You were working a shift that starts at timestrike one and ends at--"
"Timestrike six," the man finished.
"Good. Tell me."
"I see Magitek Weapons. A-class. Heavy Armor. Procedure 10-A. We were recharging the Magitek power cores. I see now. I remember."
"How do you recharge the power cores, Mr. Massarani?" Tayan asked to assist in the process of recollection.
"Procedure 10-A, my lord," the man repeated. "We extract the power cores from the commissioned Magitek Armors, drain the remaining energy and recharge them," the man summarized the procedure. "And then we--"
"Where do you get the power from?" Tayan interrupted.
"The the primary reactor," the man answered. Seconds later his face was filled with pain again as the image of the reactor explosion filled his vision again.
Tayan turned to the second Devout and gave him a signal. The Devout quickly responded by turning the same dial up one more notch. "The primary reactor is intact, Mr. Massarani. It hasnt exploded. You were using it to power the cores!" Tayan said suggestively.
The pain-filled expression left the man again as another replaced the image.
"Y-yes the cores procedure 10-A. We followed everything by the book."
"What caused the explosion?" Tayan asked. He knew that the man may not know the answer, but he wanted him to formulate theories.
"I dont know, my lord. The reactor was being monitored closely "
"Were you monitoring it?"
"No. I was farthest away from it, extracting the core from the last Magitek Armor."
"Something compromised the primary reactor, Mr. Massarani. What was it?" Tayan asked in a very direct tone.
"I dont know, my lord," he answered calmly.
"One of the power cores was malfunctioning. It caused the explosion," said Tayan again, suggestively.
"Impossible," answered the witness after careful consideration. A damaged power core would not do that much damage. Only an overload can do it."
"What can cause an overload, Mr. Massarani?"
The man thought hard. As he did his eyelids started to close. He was getting too weak to keep them open. His heartbeat started to become slightly erratic. Tayan looked at the second Devout, waiting for an answer. "The drug is quickly losing effect. Hell go back to coma in a few minutes," he said in a soft but clear voice.
"Then we must speed things up. Increase power by twenty percent," commanded Tayan.
The Devout turned the dial again. The mans heartbeat raced for a few seconds and his breathing became rapid as well. Tayan cast another healing magic to help the mans body compensate for the surge of energy being fed into his brain.
"Mr. Massarani, time is running out. Tell me what happened between what you are doing now and the instant of the explosion," Tayan said with urgency.
"Siren!" the man exclaimed. He was clearly in pain.
"Siren? Was it from the reactor?"
"Si-si-si-si-ren!" the man stuttered.
"N-n-n-no! No! No!" Apparently, the magical healing had little effect. Images and sounds came back to him rapidly, but they were more distinct than when they started.
"Heal!" Tayan shouted. A burst of golden yellow light came from his hands, engulfing the mans entire body for approximately three seconds. The mans breathing became slightly relaxed, and his pulse slowed.
"No! Alarm!" the man shouted the answers as though trying to get heard above the siren that he kept hearing repeatedly.
"Where is it coming from?"
"Look! Look!" he said as he struggled to get his right hand free, but the first Devout held it fast.
"Release his hand!" Tayan ordered.
The Devout followed. Massarani raised his hand and pointed up towards the ceiling. His eyes moved rapidly, though he could not see anything in the room itself.
"What is up there?!"
"A plank a door lights red lights!"
"Inner complex lights "
"Is the door open?"
"Running!" the man exclaimed just before he started to convulse.
"Heal!" Tayan shouted. The same yellow light flooded the room for four seconds. The beeping from the contraption became really erratic. The lines on the gauges danced wildly as well. "Increase to eighty percent!"
The man stopped convulsing, but his face, again, was filled with agony.
"What are you running away from?" Tayan asked.
"N-no! Running! Sh-sh-sh-sh-shouts!"
"Whos shouting? What do the shouts say?"
"S-s-s-stop-p-p-p-p! Stop! Opens! Door opens!"
Tayan held the man by the shoulders tightly. "Whos shouting?"
"G-g-g-guards! Sh-sh-sh-out!" the man was barely conscious. He could hear Tayans voice, but he found it very difficult to speak clearly. His muscles continued to twitch in random spasms.
Tayans eyes widened. He was getting close to an answer. "The guards? They were after somebody?"
The man started to convulse again, but more violently this time.
"Heal! Heal!" The radiance of the magical aura was blinding that the two Devouts turned their heads away. "Increase power to full!"
The Devout turned the dial all the way. The beeps from the contraption went crazy in no particular pattern. Massarani gasped for air as though he was drowning.
"Yes," the man shouted. "Running away drone black lights!"
"How many intruders?"
"One black c-c-c-c-clothes "
"Face! Did you see the face?"
"Far! Too far but drone with her."
"Her?! The intruder is a woman?"
"D-d-dont know "
Tayan believed the man. He knew that he wouldnt simply blurt out something that specific by accident.
"The intruder was running away from the guards and the drone from the door. How did you know the intruder was female?"
"I I dont know!"
"Black clothes. Was the intruder wearing a mask?"
"No No mask "
"You saw the face," Tayan said as a suggestion rather than a question to see how the man would respond.
"No!" Massarani said strongly.
"Then how did you know the intruder was a woman?" Then an idea came to him. "Hair! You saw the hair!"
"Y-y-yes! Yes hair "
"Long hair long no mask!"
"Color! What color!" Tayan was practically screaming at the man.
"Long! Explosion! Guards! G-g-g-g-uards!" The man was losing control again.
"Heal! What was the color of the hair?"
"Damn it! What is the color of the hair?!" Tayan yelled at the mans face.
"Long hair "
"Lights! Green! Red! Light! Explosion! Guards! Black!" Massarani seemed to blurt out random words.
"Heal!" Tayan shouted again. "What is the color of the hair?!"
The man screamed in severe pain as he relived the instant of the explosion. The very next second was utter silence from the man.
"Heal! Heal!" Tayan shouted. He fed the mans body with magical energy, but it still wasnt enough to compensate for the strenuous energy directed to the mans brain to induce the lost images and memories.
"Hes lost, Chosen Mage. His receptive brain cells are all burned out. Hes in a coma forever," said the second Devout after reading the gauges from the contraption on the floor. The needles stopped moving, though the beeps that echoed the mans pulse were still constant.
Tayan, in a fit of anger, grabbed the black bag from the table and savagely threw it to the far corner of the room, breaking whatever was left inside it. The two Devouts stepped away from Tayan, afraid to be a victim of his frustration.
However, Tayan caught himself before he completely lost his control. He closed his eyes and took long, deep breaths. He did it for a moment before turning to the two Devouts.
"Lets get him back," he commanded in a more calm voice.
The two Devouts removed the straps from the mans arm and head. After which, Tayan raised both his arms into the air with his palms open.
"Return!" he cried.
The room was flooded with white light. At the very next second they were all in the empty hospital room. The man was lying on the floor. The two Devouts carried him up the hospital bed while Tayan reconnected the monitoring devices to Mr. Massaranis wrist and chest. He put everything else as it was. The monitoring equipment in the room started to register the mans vital signs again. Obviously, it was different than before. Tayan did not worry. It was the doctors problems now about how they would explain the mans sudden reversal of recovery to General Fencross.
Tayan looked at the corner of the ceiling where the camera was. The light still blinked, which meant that the security was still down just as he planned it to be. But it would only be a matter of seconds before the security would activate itself again.
"Vanish!" he said and the three Devouts, including himself, vanished out of sight. They would have to exit the building while invisible because Tayan did not have enough magical energy in him to teleport the three out of the building. He only had enough left to cast Vanish spells on the three of them which used up less energy and concentration than a successful Warp spell.
The three exited the room and saw the two guards outside of the room, lying on the floor and slumped on the table, asleep. Tayan drew something from his cloak. It was a vial of volatile liquid. If they werent invisible the color would be green. Tayan removed the cap, and held the vial about an inch from the first soldiers nose. When the soldier started to groan he moved to the other soldier and did the same. The second soldier groaned, too, as though waking up from a tiring dream.
"Hold them up to their chairs, quickly!" Tayan commanded the two Devouts.
The guards very slowly, but surely regained consciousness. The invisible Devouts helped them up as best as they could before they completely regained awareness and noticed that invisible people were helping them up. The guards, in a very dreamy state, sat up almost on their own strength, still oblivious to what just happened. The Devouts released them as soon as the guards were able to balance on their own.
"Exit without incident," he whispered to the two other invisible Devouts as a last command.
"Understood," the Devouts whispered back in unison.
The three started walking away through the corridor. From behind them they heard one of the soldiers say, "Whoa! For a second there I felt dizzy. Did you feel it, too?"
"Yeah. I thought I was gonna collapse and fall asleep," replied the second one. "Mustve been something we ate at the mess hall."
Tayan smiled. They have successfully created the illusion that the soldiers never lost consciousness. In general, the mission was a success. Confirming that there was an intruder alone, was a good find. But he wished that he couldve gotten more information about the intruder. He could only wonder whether this discovery would please his master or anger him.
Massarani : Y-y-yes! Yes
Tayan : Describe it!
Massarani : Long hair long no mask!
Tayan : Color! What color!
Massarani : Long! Explosion! Guards! G-g-g-g-uards!
Tayan : Heal! What is the color of the hair?
Massarani : Red
Tayan : Red hair?
Massarani : Lights red.
Tayan : Damn it! What is the color of the hair?!
Massarani : Long hair
Tayan : Color!
Massarani : Lights! Green! Red! Light! Explosion! Guards! Black!
Tayan : Black hair?!
Massarani : Fire!
Tayan : Heal! What is the color of the hair?!
Tayan: Heal! Heal!
Devout: Hes lost, Chosen Mage. His receptive brain cells are all burned out. Hes in a coma forever.
Kefka stopped the recording of Tayans mission. It had been the fourth time he played it, listening very carefully for clues that he mightve missed. Tayan stood nearby, waiting.
Kefka wore a frown on his face but not of disappointment.
"Ive failed to get a good description of the intruder, Master. I have failed you," said Tayan not as an apology but pure admittance.
"On the contrary, Tayan. The mission was a complete success. I believe I know who the intruder is," Kefka answered with an ugly grin that quickly replaced his frown.
"Indeed, Master? But the man wasnt even sure whether he saw a man or a woman. Its possible for men to have long hair, too, whatever the color," Tayan said in doubt.
"Whatever the color, my Chosen Mage? I think not." Kefka rose from his chair and stared into Tayans eyes. "Black clothes. Red " Kefka stopped and waited for Tayan to complete what he was to say.
"Lights," Tayan finished.
"And green "
Tayan was lost. He never thought about why the man blurted out the color green. There were different lights of signals in the warehouse but green light wouldnt be flashing if there were an emergency. Then, as sudden as the explosion was to the witness, it dawned on Tayan.
"Green hair! That's why he said 'green!' The intruder had green hair!"
Kefka grinned, pleased by Tayans answer, but his face grew solidly stern suddenly.
"Looks like our little magic-user has been up to no good lately. I predicted that this would happen, but the Emperor wouldnt listen to me. So I think Ill just assume control of the situation with or without his authority!"
Kefka cackled in delight as ideas rushed into his mind. He plotted with cruel, calculating thoughts, conspired with guile, and executed with sharp and systematic efficacy.
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