See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil. Those are the immortal words of the so-called "Three wise monkeys." Yet I fail to see the wisdom in such naïvety. If you look away from evil, refuse to hear a word of it, and refuse to spread the truth of its existence, then evil will simply grow stronger while you refuse to acknowledge it. Then the monster known as evil rises, now strong enough to tear everything you have ever cared about, destroys your world as you know it, and you find yourself asking "How did this happen?", one must begin to understand why the gods let us live in such misery. Here in America, we censor everything, and are constantly trying to hide from the evil around us. What good could come from forcing kids to live in ignorance, only to have them grow up and truly believe that such evil has vanished?
May 5th. Wiltshire, England, 20:36 GMT.
Xavier and the twelve other Invisible recruits stood inside of Stonehenge for the first time. Anyone who ever aspired to join Invisible knew that Stonehenge was actually the burial ground of the thirteen founders of Invisible. This made Xavier very nervous about the other kids that were lying about the ancient graveyard. Fooling around as if this place was simply a huge collection stones made for lounging on. He also knew that he already didn't belong anyway; he was a "blind" black teenager with an obsession for poetry, manga, sports, and college football (Which is not a sport according to Xavier).
Xavier glanced around at his fellow recruits. There was a guy with pure black skin that made him nearly impossible to see, an Asian girl who was busy cleaning her SIG Pro Pistol, two guys who were sparring, and a girl who could shape-shift into a bear, among others with equally strange abilities or habits. Just like Xavier, they were all dressed in black jackets with black pants, black sneakers and white t-shirts. Despite this, Xavier was wondering how he still managed to stand out as a freak among them. He sighed, dug into his pocket and pulled out granola bar. He took a few bites before taking a shiny silver journal from his inner jacket pocket.
"What might this be then?" A voice said startling Xavier. Before he could respond, they snatch the journal from him.
"Hey!" Xavier cried, crumbs falling from his mouth. Only seconds later did he realize the pure black skin guy from earlier was the culprit. The girls were giggling at Xavier as he tried to grab his journal back.
"Settle down there my friend, only having a spot of fun. My name is Davis." The black-skinned guy said throwing Xavier's journal back to him.
"Xavier." Xavier replied while dusting off his journal. The other kids stopped laughing and went back to their conversations, with the occasional snicker in Xavier's direction.
"Xavier huh? You're not on the list then…" Davis muttered.
"The list…?" Xavier inquired, though his attention was truly on his journal.
"Ah yes, forgive my rudeness. I was simply referring to the list for the top 100 Recruits for Invisible, made by Jinn Magazine. However you are not on it like the other people here."
Oh great… Xavier thought. Another reason to stick out.
"No worries my friend. No one here is ranked very high. Not even a top 10 member here."
"Who's the highest ranked recruit here?"
"Over there is Ashe Runner, No. 11."
Xavier stared at Davis blankly.
"Well it dips a little from there. Next up is Leo Normes No. 33."
"Wait a Normes kid is here? Where?" Xavier said, finally looking away from his journal.
"Mr. Leo is now buttering up the girl with the pistol at this moment."
Xavier turned to get a good look. Over by the Asian girl was now a tall toned guy with blond hair and sea-green eyes. He was using his hands to make strange signs, which created glowing circles that Xavier knew to be Seals. Xavier stuffed his journal back into his jacket.
"He's a Seal Mage?" Xavier said with astonishment.
"So it would seem."
"But, he's supposed to be strong!"
"It would seem that the significance of your words have eluded me." Davis muttered.
Xavier sighed. "Forget it. What your rank?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"You said everyone but me was ranked here. I am also guessing you were including yourself."
"Oh I'm No. 9. Davis Kain Hail."
Xavier shot up. "What!? I thought you just said there was no one over ten here!"
"Oh forgive me. I forgot to include myself into the equation. My apologies."
Xavier sat back down, with the group staring at him. Talent was everywhere around him on his one invitational mission. He had no idea how he could impress the Intangible Academy with all these powerful candidates moseying around.
"If I may be blunt…" Davis trailed off, breaking Xavier's thoughts.
"Go ahead." Xavier said, sensing the tension in Davis's voice.
"I have noticed you seem to be void of the gift of sight."
Xavier chuckled. "Trust me friend, sight is NOT a gift. And I am indeed blind in the way you mean it."
"Yes quite true, forgive my rude…" Davis trailed off again, but this time something had caught his attention.
Xavier didn't need to ask, as his acute hearing allowed him to pick up on it as well. The other recruits seemed to notice too, as they took battle positions around Stonehenge. Quickly, Xavier flipped up to the outside ring of stones. Balancing himself on one hand, Xavier scanned the horizon for those hidden to blind, The Jesters. After doing a light scan, Xavier found no abnormalities. But he knew what he heard, so he re-doubled his efforts.
"Are you picking up anything Davis?" Runner asked Davis, who were both standing a little outside the Stonehenge right below Xavier.
"No… I'm not getting anything now…" Davis replied cautiously. Xavier continued to scan regardless.
"Dudes this is so stupid!" one of the female recruits said, stepping out past Davis.
"Helen! Don't go too far! There may be ̶"
"Jesters?" Helen cut off. "Psssh! As if Jesters would be stupid enough to come around Stonehenge! We have this place on lockdown for one and no way the top brass would let some stupid ass Jesters hurt their ̶ "
At that moment, Xavier finally managed to lock on to his target, but he was a little too late. In a flash, a giant red monster with sharp teeth materialized behind Helen and bisected the girl with its double-sided ax. The other recruits watched in horror as the monster picked up the girl's remains crunched loudly on them, blood oozing from his oversized jaw. Xavier was the first to speak.
"HEY! Snap out of it! We have a Jester attacking us remember!" The other recruits stared, but Davis backed Xavier up.
"He's right, we can lollygag another time! I won't allow this red blob to blink for but another second!"
The recruits roared in agreement, as they all charged in on the demon. The first to attack was the bear girl from earlier, who tried to take a swing at the Jester. The effort was in vain as the creäture simply sidestepped her and knocked her into two more recruits. Next two guys rushed in, hands glowing with lightning. The demon quickly transformed his axe into a metal club and slammed it into the ground just in time for it to act as a lightning rod before crumbling under the joint might of their attacks. Before the boys could regroup, the Jester had materialized behind them and scooped into his mouth as he crunched away on their little bodies. Runner and Davis dashed in on opposite sides and flipped on to the shoulders of the creäture. Each of them slammed a hand on their respective side of the beast and moments later the Jester erupted in purple and green flames. The recruits cheered, but the celebration was cut short when Davis back-flipped out of the flames. Following behind was the demon, but this time he had shifted forms into a giant lion-like beast with the same head and long, sharp teeth. Impaled on his left teeth was Runner, hanging lifelessly as the other recruits revved up for a second attack.
Xavier pranced around the battle; studying the creäture's movements as it bounced around, swiping its claws at his fellow recruits. Every time the Jester took a swing at his comrades, Xavier would rush in and blast the demon in the face with fire to prevent any more serious injuries. The Jester caught on to this plan after a while however. When the next wave was shoved aside, Xavier charged in ready to attack, but this time the Jester transformed into a human-sized creature and tossed Xavier out-of-the-way.
Xavier cursed, and looked up to find the Jester pointing at him. All in a matter of seconds, a green ball materialized at the point of his finger and a large laser was blasted in Xavier's direction. Xavier sidestepped the blast, but the Jester just kept firing away. Xavier danced around, dodging blast after blast, before the Jester got sick of playing. The demon transformed back into its lion form, and using its tail fired a blue laser at Xavier. Xavier dodged this one as well, however the laser changed directory and honed in on Xavier.
"Fuck!" Xavier cried, and braced himself for the attack when a raven-haired girl flipped to his side and took the blast for him. Xavier rushed to her side, only to find her unharmed. Seconds later she shoved him out-of-the-way and fired a big blue laser at the Jester, which zapped the demon and left it crying in agony. Xavier stared at the girl for a minute or so before she slapped him back into reality.
"Snap out of it Oreo! He's coming around!"
"Oreo?!" Xavier roared, but didn't have time to go further as the Jester rose to its feet snarling. The girl was ready for it to fire another laser, but Xavier saw through her plan. "Don't bother darling. He won't try the same tactics twice."
"Then what do you suggest Oreo?" She said calmly.
"Do NOT call me that."
"Don't call me darling!"
While they bickered, The Asian girl with the pistol summoned a female knight in revealing armor to her side. The Knight dashed in on the Jester, slicing off its head. The demon was not dead yet though, as the head shifted into grey humanoid creäture with a lion's head. The demon clapped its hands together and created both a flaming spear and sword out of thin air. Both Xavier and the raven-haired girl dropped their heads and sighed.
"This is some fucking bullshit." They stated simultaneously, as the demon and lady knight crossed blades. The other recruits were slowly regaining consciousness.
"Why in the world is that women in such skimpy armor anyway?" the raven-haired girl cried annoyingly.
"Darling… Do you not see how every time the demon cuts her armor it breaks but when he hits her skin it does nothing? Why wear armor when your skin protects you more?"
"Public decency you perverted Oreo!"
"Psssh…" Xavier said waving his head, "Have you not read manga or watched anime? It's all coming off anyway. You might as well take everything off right ̶ "
Before he could even finish, Xavier received a size 7 boot to the face, and went tumbling to the ground. Before the party could continue, Davis came running over a little peeved.
"Sorry to interrupt tea-time old chums, but is there a reason you guys are standing over here playing footsies instead of aiding your comrade in battle Ms. Salazar?" Davis inquired calmly, though his eyes were seething with rage.
"I don't know dude," The girl responded, "That slutty knight seems to have this under control."
Almost on cue, Jester's lion body sprung to life, shifting into that of a giant snake-like creäture with the same skin as its human half. The lion-humanoid flipped on top of the beast, as it closed in on the female knight. From behind the knight, The Asian girl who summoned the warrior started to unload on the Jester, and the knight charged in, stabbing the lion-humanoid in the face. The demon burst into a million little pieces upon impact, but there was no time to celebrate. Moments later the snake-like creäture impaled the knight through the chest with the horn on its head, causing her to crumble into a million pieces.
"Well alrighty then." Xavier said calmly, and along with Davis and Ms. Salazar, charged the beast with the other recruits.
Xavier and Davis went in first. Both of them were tossing fireballs at the Jester from each side to leave it confused. Every now and then, the Jester would fire a laser off at either of them; but Ms. Salazar would hop in front and absorb it before they had a chance to hit. Realizing this was getting it nowhere; the Jester transformed back into its lion form and continued its earlier rampage. The bear girl tried once more to tangle with the monster, only to be slapped away and sent tumbling back into Stonehenge. When the Jester tried to follow after her, he was stonewalled by an invisible barrier. Instantly realizing the situation, Davis called out to his fellow recruits.
"Everyone! Back to Stonehenge on the double!" He cried, and bolted for the stone circle.
The other recruits followed close on his heels, but the demon stood his ground as he blocked the only available path to their destination. Knowing that there was no way for them to get past the beast without casualties Xavier quickly ran up to the demon and catapulted off its face.
"Let's hope this works…" Xavier murmured to himself and began to concentrate as he twirled in the air.
Slowly his left hand began to freeze over, and after a few seconds his right hand was on fire. With a smile on his face, Xavier used his left hand to create a frozen bridge over the beast, freezing it in place. The recruits were dumbstruck as if they were the ones frozen. Xavier landed inside Stonehenge's borders, crying out to his fellow recruits.
"He won't stay frozen forever guys! Haul ass!"
The remaining recruits rushed over the frozen bridge, but one recruit banged hard against the magic seal that kept the Jester out. She hopped up, banging hard on the seal. Underneath her, the Jester burst out of his frozen prison; sending her tumbling to the ground as it rolled around in angry while trying to warm up.
"Why the hell did it block her?!" The Asian girl asked.
"That's Aulene Salazar. Capable of absorbing enemy chi to redirect it back at her enemy. The seal is recognizing the Jester's chi… she can't get in unless she dispels it all." Davis said defeated.
Xavier cursed himself under his breath, and charged outside, despite the protest of Davis. The jester had reared up for another assault, while Aulene stood with her back to the seal as tears rolled down her face. The Jester pounced, but was met with a flaming punch by Xavier.
"Stay behind me!" Xavier cried to Aulene, who simply nodded her head.
Seconds later, the seal dropped around Stonehenge. Standing right inside was Leo Normes, who was quickly pulling Aulene inside. Xavier did not waste another second thinking; he bolted back inside Stonehenge, with the Jester almost right on his heels. The moment Xavier past inside the boundaries of Stonehenge, Leo Normes resealed the ruins and the Jester was caught right in the middle. Howling in pain for multiple seconds, The Jester disintegrated and the recruits all collapsed in exhaustion. The Asian girl from earlier was comforting Aulene, while Davis was busying checking up on the various remaining recruits. Xavier lied out on the ground, grasping at every little speck of air he could.
So much for impressing anyone. Xavier thought, as he watched some of the kids get up and surround Leo, who was looking very smug at the moment.
"Perhaps Seal Mages aren't all that weak after all." Davis said, startling Xavier.
"Huh? Oh… yeah that."
"The Seal that protects this place is definitely a Triple S-Class Seal."
"Impossible, I watched Leo open it and close it in a matter of seconds. You can't even do that with C-Class Seals. That's what makes them so powerful. Sides, how would you know? Are you a master in seals now?"
Davis held his hand out, and a purple circle formed in his hand. Davis snapped his fingers, and the circle exploded into purple flames before dying out.
"I had no idea Seal Mages could do that… I thought all you guys were good for was removing Seals." Xavier whispered, already feeling dumb enough.
"We get that a lot. Though Seal Removal is the most common from Seal Mage to Seal Mage, if that was our only power we wouldn't be able to match the top brass in combat. Even then though, we can unlock the seal on one's inner power, or give enlightenment to the blind. But you," Davis said, eyes bearing right into Xavier, "Your powers do not make sense. You have a built-in radar, Pyrokinesis, and Cryokinesis? That should make you a triple core… which is humanly impossible."
Xavier looked away nervously. "Oh well, that's because of, um… Atmokinesis! Yeah I totally can control the weather and stuff!"
"Is that so?" Davis inquired. "Ah well that clears that up."
Davis patted Xavier on the back, who laughed nervously. The conversation was cut short when several men and women with black coats, Invisible Associates, rushed into Stonehenge. Xavier released a huge sigh.
"And this was just an invitational mission…" Xavier said, shifting to his feet. "Now I see why so few people accept these invitational missions. I still have to accept two more before the IA will accept my application…"
"I think you have what it takes to make it. We lost five Top 100 members today, and you survived. Perhaps you will make it into the Top 100."
"How can you talk like that? Five people died today…"
"They knew the risks when they came here. Look, this isn't a game out here. It takes a whole different level of resolve to do the job we are being tasked with now. Millions of people are killed by Jesters daily Xavier. I stand by what said about earlier but bit of advice. If you can't numb yourself to death, then you're not strong enough to be here."
Davis stalked off to towards the Invisible Associates, leaving Xavier to his our thoughts.
"There is no strength in numbness my friend," Xavier spoke softly aloud. "All numbness does is convince you there no evil growing inside you, lying to you and telling you something isn't there."
"It is the same weakness as blindness is it not?" A male voice said behind Xavier, but he didn't even move to face him.
"Indeed my friend. Forgive me for not facing you, but I am afraid that my radar has run out of juice for the day. It would be quite pointless."
The voice laughed. "No need. I am quite impressed you noticed me here."
"I have very good hearing thanks to my condition. So I'm guessing you are one of the Watchers for this particular invitational?"
"Nah, I just like to stalk young adults as they are attacked by shape-shifting demons." The man laughed again, but Xavier felt as though he wasn't kidding.
"I don't see how you expect me to take you seriously while you're laughing about five people getting killed by a ja ̶ "
"Oops wrong one. I meant to say 'Ridentem dicere verum quid vetat?'"
"If my Latin is correct, that means 'What forbids a laughing man from telling the truth?'"
"Bravo! Bravo! Now then, on to business. I didn't come here to laugh at you, but to give you this letter of recommendation for the Intangible Academy."
"Why?" Xavier asked, not fully grasping the situation as he took the letter.
"I like to watch young adults ̶ "
"Okay never mind."
"Well, to be blunt, only the blind seem to be looking for something that is invisible to our eyes around here anymore. Whelp, until next time chump."
The man turned to leave, but Xavier stepped out in front of him, impeding his progress.
"What's your name?" Xavier demanded.
"Kid, I'm not looking to be anyone's mentor or anything."
"Not why I'm asking. I need to put your name down if I am going to skip two invitational missions."
"Ah yes good point. I'm Aike Williams. President of the Kappa Kats Suit. That should get you in no problem." The man said proudly.
"I see that I'm basically in the presence of royalty." Xavier said mockingly.
"Please don't go there." Aike said with his hand up. "However it's only common courtesy to give your name in return."
"My name is Xavier Mizaru ̶ "
"The name you actually intend to go by if you'd be so kind." Aike said, confusing Xavier. After a few minutes Xavier grinned and then chuckled to himself before answering.
"Columbus Mizaru Salvatore."