Chapter 21:

Leap of Faith (Shiro Kaeda) - Part 3

Mages and Dragons in a New Land? They Obviously Haven't Seen a Modern War Man! Book 2


"You see now? They only judge you for what you are… What you really are."

Kaeda was back in the dark space. The pain accompanied her even here. Not only that, but she felt as if something was pulsating in her body.

"Who the hell are you?" Kaeda asked, annoyed.

"You will know soon enough, girl." the voice responded,"But let me ask you something."

Kaeda rolled her eyes. She was getting tired of all this vagueness. Heaving a sigh, she nodded.

"You saw the scene right there, didn't you? You felt it too, didn't you?"

Kaeda was confused. I understand what this voice was asking about but she didn't know how to respond.

"I can feel your doubt and confusion." it continued, "Don't you want answers?"

'Well…' Kaeda thought, 'I am curious.'

"What's the catch?" she asked, "There's always a catch."

A cackle echoed across the dark space,

"You catch on quickly, Shiro Kaeda. And to answer your question… We had talked earlier, haven't we?"

Kaeda let out an angry grunt in response.

"I've told you once already but, I do NOT need payment."

Silence fell upon the space. Kaeda tapped her foot on the ground waiting for a response.

"Can you just stop that?!" the voice bellowed.

Kaeda chuckled, "It seems I'm getting in your head-"

Suddenly, the space broke open. Kaeda felt weightless. She screamed as she felt herself fall. Chills ran doen her spine once again.

"You will know soon enough, Shiro Kaeda and then you will rethink your decision. Because once you know they will too. So prepare yourself Shiro Kaeda."

—-

A dark desolate landscape is what was the place. She opened her eyes to a cityscape. Towering skyscrapers below a navy blue sky and Kaeda was above one.

" This isn't…home?"

"Of course it isn't dumbass!"

That voice resounded in her head once again.

"Then where am I?"

The voice laughed, "Wait and see."

Kaeda heard a sound from below. She got up from the cold area where she was lying down. But then she noticed her clothes. A black cloak that hid her face and her hair was tied to a bun.

"Why is there a robe underneath my dress? Not that I don't like it or anything. Black is a great colour."

"I don't know. Must be the sim's way of keeping you hidden when you observe them."

"Them?" Kaeda asked, "Them who?"

"You talk too much!" the voice shouted, "Do you know what the words you will see mean?"

"Okay, okay. I will see." Kaeda responded, rolling her eyes. She looked down from the building. A four-wheeled vehicle sped on the grey coloured path. Kaeda saw a figure inside the vehicle.

"Oh that's a car right?" Kaeda said to herself, "We must be in the capital then… But this doesn't look like the capital.."

She squinted her eyes to get a closer look at the surroundings. People were busy, walking back and forth from building to building. They stopped to bow down to the person in the car.

'The guy must be of great importance… And these guys… don't look human.'

Kaeda observed further. Everyone had a threatening air around them. Sure they all looked humanoid but they had horns on their heads and they looked like they were about to strangle each other any moment now. Kaeda saw how different they were but still felt something that was familiar to her.

'This was the same feeling I got from the incident with mom.' she thought, 'And that car…'

She focused her attention on the car. It was speeding past buildings. Kaeda decided to follow it. She looked down from the building now.

'It's not that high. At least compared to the cliff.'

"Don't tell me you're…" she heard the voice say to which she nodded.

"Standing here won't get us anywhere." she stated, "I want to find out who that is. I feel like it's the way to getting out of here."

Kaeda heard the voice cackle, "You're funny, I'll give you that. But, you are right about one thing though. It's a good idea to follow. Speaking of which, I'll give you a hand."

Kaeda was baffled, "Why help me now? Weren't you trying to manipulate me?"

"This is me trying." the voice responded, As soon as you see what there is to see, you will understand what I want from you. I'll use my utmost strength to get you there."

Kaeda considered this. "Well, now I know it's a trap. But do I have any choice? The car is getting away."

She sighed and nodded, "Fine, you can intervene."

Without waiting for a response, Kaeda took a deep breath and jumped.

The cold air whooshed past her, calming her mind. Her only focus now was the vehicle and the so-called 'answers' to her problems. The car got closer to her with each passing moment.

'Now… I fly!'

She used wind magic to slow herself down. But, as she thought of controlling the mana, wings sprouted out of her back.

"What the-"

"Shut up!" the voice shouted, "Keep yourself up here. You'll be considered normal this way."

Kaeda rolled her eyes. "What's your definition of 'normal' again?"

"Just listen, alright?" she heard the voice urge.

"What are you?" she asked. But no response was heard from the opposite end.

She focused on the vehicle. The two travelled past brightly lit buildings and sounds of the citizens' hustling and bustling about. It seemed lively for a dark place that even she didn't know about. She looked past the car to see where they were headed but noticed that the path ended.

"Huh?" she said, "But where-"

Then she noticed a ship in the distance.

"Let's catch the ship." the voice said.

Kaeda was surprised, "But we don't even have the gold for that. And I don't know this place well."

"Aaand that's where I come in."

----

Graytown Port - Zolren Travel Agency

Cheap and easy transportation. Get anywhere within a split second with just your permits and three Aku Gold!

The pale skinned man with the dark grey tuxedo got out of the car. A man, his attendant, adjusted his tie. The tuxedo man combed his hair back past his dark coloured horn.

"You have to catch the ship." he said, "I know you are in a hurry but couldn't you choose something more… attractive? How did that woman fall for you anyway?"

The man in the tux laughed, "I don't know myself. It's a great change from all those critiques about my fashion sense."

The two laughed.

"Honestly, you and I being the two immune to this environment is a relief. I can talk about her like this to you so it won't necessarily be a secret. You've been with me for centuries and that's why, Sitri, you are my most trusted attendant and best friend."

"Thank you for your kind words, my lord," the attendant said, "If the others knew about her, it would be troublesome. But, no matter what happens, I will be by your side and serve you till my last breath."

The man laughed, "Thank you, Sitri."

The two walked to the port.

"Ah, my lord." the boatman said, "Your reservation was approved beforehand. Please enter inside."

The man slid four gold coins into the boatman's hand.

"Keep it." he said, "And keep the change"

"Four Aku Gold??" the boatman exclaimed, "B-but I can't accept this. Please-"

But the man only waved him away and walked on shooting a warm smile at the direction.

The duo walked inside the ship. It was crowded with lots and lots of people. His position was in a studio sized room of the ship reserved for the VIPs. But just as he walked, he heard some commotion.

"O-oh I forgot to bring my permit." a female voice said.

"I'm sorry, but you can't get in by flying inside or without a permit.

The man walked back to the boatman with a forced smile on his face.

"Don't worry." he said, "She's with me."

The boatman raised an eyebrow at the girl. She looked young and frail to serve that man. The girl only nodded.

"Uh…yeah," she said, "Sorry I'm late."

She quickly got in with the approval and the trio walked to their room.

---

"Which part of this is handling it?!" Kaeda's voice rang, "You steal control from me, almost get us caught! So much for your 'stealth'."

"That man came to us like I anticipated." the voice explained, "Now, I'll take care of things. Watch."

"So…" the man said, "Trying out a new look?"

"Yeah," she responded, "Just saw her while going between the realms (as always) and possessed her. We are on good terms though, so we can switch whenever just so you know."

"I… I see.."

The man straightened his tie. "Although you shouldn't go around looking like…that."

"Aww.. You shouldn't have! Does she look that cute?"

He cleared his throat. "Well, you are lucky that we are alone. I'm the only one who is friendly with their kind after all."

"And that's why you were such a wuss."

"Were?" the man questioned, his eyebrows raised.

The voice faltered. "A-ah, that's one of the tricks this host likes to play. Tug at me when least expected."

The man's eyes glowed with suspicion.

"You are hiding something." he concluded, "But it's useless asking you."

The voice laughed, "Well, since you know that, may I take a seat?"

The man reluctantly nodded. The voice surveyed the room with Kaeda's eyes. It's main colours were red and brown. Extravagant-looking decorations were everywhere. The bed was king sized which was unexpected considering the boat's size. The couches next to them looked new and clean, made of leather. The two took their seats.

Moments passed with silence.

The man kept staring at the girl that came in. Sure he knew the thing controlling her but the girl herself was a mystery and yet.. She looked familiar.

"May I speak with your host please?" he asked.

The girl raised an eyebrow. "Why would you want that?"

"Well considering the look on your face, it must've been a long time since you assumed control over her and since you both are sharing a body, it must be tiring. You deserve a rest, no?"

"I know you just want to question her." the voice said, "You are too suspicious sometimes, it surprises me when you turn all goody-two-shoes. As high in the Thirteen as you are, your mind-bending won't work on me considering what I am."

The room fell into a silence again.

"It's fine." Kaeda's voice said, "Let him ask away."

"You asked for it." the voice responded. Moments later, Kaeda was back. She moved her hands around and stretched them.

"It's too hot.." she said under her breath.

"Hang your hood over there. I don't mind what race you are."

"Alright. Thanks."

Kaeda looked toward the hanger rack and hung the hood. Taking a seat, she stared at the baffled expression of the man.

"What's wrong? Do I have something on my face?"

"You are too trusting for your own good. If it were anyone else, they would've killed you on the spot."

Kaeda looked at the other man beside him who nodded in agreement.

"What's your name, girl?" the man asked

"Kaeda." she replied, "Nakamura Kaeda."

"Good call using an alias." the voice commented, "Won't be good if he knew."

"And your's?"

"I'm Sitri." he responded with a smile. "It's a pleasure to meet you."

Kaeda returned the smile and looked at the sitting man.

"And you?" she asked.

She didn't know why she was talking so casually with the man. He looked so familiar and friendly that she felt like the reaction she's having was second nature. It was like she could see herself in him which wasn't possible.

The man was lost in thought. Kaeda quizzically tapped his shoulder. But she instantly withdrew her hand.

"Cold!" the voice shouted inside her. Kaeda felt short of breath like she was standing on top of a mountain for a moment. But that feeling immediately subsided.

The man was jolted back to reality.

"Me…?" he asked, "Well, my name is Morax."