"We can't stay here any longer. I'm afraid that they might come for you," Sinyae Quinn's mother said. The young Mystal looked into his mother's blue eyes. The Galactic Research Association took his father just five days ago, and now his mother wanted to move. What was going on?
"Why yama? Why must we leave Apauntaun?" Sinyae asked as his mother turned away.
"It's not safe here any more. Please obey me and follow me to our ship."
"I don't want to go."
"Sinyae, do I have to…?"
She stopped and stared at the door, not sure whether she had heard the chimes or not. She hoped that it was her imagination, because if the chimes had been real, the GRA might be on the other side of the door, waiting to take her son.
"Open up, Tristell, I have an offer that you may be interested in," a smooth male voice said.
"Leave us alone, Xinget. Why does my own brother torment me at this time?" Tristell asked.
"I am willing to take custody of Sinyae and train him."
"For what? Thievery?"
"A fighter under the Assassi Code."
Tristell walked towards the door and opened it. She gazed at her younger brother for a moment, wondering if her son was worthy enough for what was being offered. Xinget walked past her and over to where Sinyae stood. He looked at his nephew, who was tall and slim, with shoulder length black hair, light gray eyes and a moderately dark complexion. Xinget smiled as Sinyae took an uneasy step backwards and tripped on a piece of loose carpeting.
"He'll do fine, dear sister," Xinget said and Sinyae stood up.
"Does this mean I get to stay?" he asked and his mother smiled sadly.
"Yes, punye. Go and pack for the journey ahead of you," Tristell said. Xinget watched Sinyae leave the room then turned to his sister.
"You've made a wise decision, Tristell. Once he's a member of the Nyghts, the GRA won't be able to use him in their research. Besides, the emperor pays well for hunters and I believe that your punye will become one of the best," Xinget said.
Sinyae walked into the room, carrying a small bag that held a couple of changes of clothes, a small gun for defense purposes and the most recent issues of Galactic Warrior. He had also brought a handful of personal hygiene items because he knew his mother would remind him about that. He walked towards the door and set his bag next to a glow tree, then turned to face his mother.
"I'm ready," Sinyae said and Tristell looked at him.
"Do you have your…?" Tristell inquired and Sinyae nodded his head.
"Then let's go. We need to leave this area as quickly as possible. Tristell, you need to leave soon too. Try to book a passage to Weston. The GRA won't find you there," Xinget said.
"Everything will be okay, yama, you'll see," Sinyae said and Tristell nodded his head.
"Goodbye, punye," Tristell whispered as her son and brother walked out of the house.
"Uncle, what is the Assassi code that you had mentioned to yame?" Sinyae asked, once they were out on the street. Xinget looked up and down the street for a moment then unbuttoned his shirt.
"Look," he commanded and Sinyae looked at his uncle's chest. There, right above his navel, was a seven-pointed star. Sinyae sharply drew his breath in, wondering if his assumption about the star was correct or not.
"Uncle," Sinyae whispered. "Is that the mark of the Camarike?"
"Yes. I was born with it. Legend has it that whoever bears this mark will become king."
"So why aren't you at the Camarike palace?"
"The emperor destroyed the palace when he decided to conquer Mystalis. Unfortunately, none of us were ready for the invasion so we couldn't defend the palace when the emperor came. I'm sure this planet was the easiest world for him to conquer because we didn't see the threat until it was too late."
"Why don't more people know about you status?"
"It's not time to reclaim my throne. Besides, I have an obligation to the Nyghts and it's very risky to start an outspoken rebellion against the Trinity."
"What are the Nyghts?"
"I'll tell you when we get inside my house. We've only got a few more streets to go down."
"Is this part of Apauntaun always this quiet?" Sinyae asked s they crossed a deserted street.
"How much has your yama sheltered you? This neighborhood is where the GRA's headquarters is. Anyone out past the curfew will be taken in for questioning."
"So we'll get stopped," Sinyae said as he reached into his bag to locate his gun.
"No we won't. My mark warns others that disaster will befall whoever touches me. Those who work at the GRA are very superstitious. Here we are," Xinget said and produced a metal card from somewhere inside his coat. He slid the card through the lock, then after a prompt, punched in a numerical code. The door confirmed the code and swung open, allowing Xinget and Sinyae to enter.
"Why all the security, Uncle? Are you hoarding drugs?" Sinyae asked and Xinget grinned.
"As I've said before, I'll explain soon. I'll show you to your room, then we can talk."
"Is that Infinity playing?"
"Yes, it comes on at the sound of my voice. It's playing Neo Love right now."
"I didn't think older people listened to that kind of music."
"I'm only twenty-six in Galactic Time. I'm not that much older than you."
"You're twelve years older than me. That's old."
Xinget laughed as he led his nephew upstairs. Sinyae paid close attention to the objects in the hall, hoping that one of them would shed light on the Assassi Code. However, none of the objects were from Mystalis and Sinyae was just as confused as ever. What was the Assassi Code and who were the Nyghts? He wished that his uncle would tell him right away because he hated waiting for things.
"Here's where you'll be staying. Now I'll tell you about the Nyghts," Xinget said as Sinyae threw his bag on the bed.
"It's about time," Sinyae said as he sat on the bed.
"Impatience is not a good thing to have, nephew, but sometimes it's a valuable resource. About three hundred years ago, when the Camarike Queen Lyane was on the throne, warlike tribes that lived outside the country's boarders were threatening Camari. My distant grandfather, Xan, came up with a plan to save Camari. 'What we need' he said, 'Is an army of trained hunters, skilled in the movement of shadows.' So, he formed the Nyghts, which means Silent Warriors in our tongue. The Nyghts eradicated Camari's threat and Xan was hailed as a hero. Over the years, however, the Nyghts have changed. Our written codes are different now as well as membership. We are still sworn to protect Camari, but we must find a way to get the emperor off our planet. A lot of the Nyghts are off planet searching for a way to free our home. Now you know about the Nyghts. Do you have any questions?" Xinget inquired as Sinyae stood up.
"What is the Assassi Code?" he asked.
"Read this," Xinget said and handed his nephew a scroll of paper. Sinyae opened it and read: The Assassi Code is and will always be the hunting protocol of the Nyghts whereas the Nyghts are always identified as the predator. Item one: In one-on-one combat, the predator may not strike without giving the hunted ten-minute heads start to "flee". Item two: A Nyght may only use his hunting teeth in the type of combat stated in Item 1.
"Hunting teeth?" Sinyae asked.
"Yes. You should know about them by now. Haven't your instincts kicked in yet?" Xinget asked.
"Which ones are you talking about?"
"The most primitive instinct there is. Hunting. Haven't you felt the need to kill?"
"Sure, but the last time I felt it, I got in trouble at school."
"For seriously wounding another student. Yama threatened to take everything away from me if I did it again and I haven't."
"What did you use?"
"My hand gun."
"I can't believe my sister restricted you that much. Come with me. It's time for the Nyghts to meet you."
Xinget and Sinyae walked out of the room and down the hall to where a left was located. Xinget pressed a button and the doors of the lift opened. They stepped onto the circular platform and Xinget pressed the floor number on the handrail. Sinyae watched them being sucked into the darkness and shuddered. He felt pulled to the darkness as if some unseen force was tempting him with beauty. Leave the land; the air about him seemed to whisper. And explore the beautiful darkness.
"Watch it," Xinget said as he pulled Sinyae away from the edge. Sinyae's hand shook in fear as he slowly realized what he had almost done.
"T-thank you, uncle. What was it?" he asked as the lift suddenly stopped.
"Vertigo. It happens when you're not used to free-fall. Follow me."
Xinget led him down a long, dark hallway, which was filled with strange, foreboding shadows. Sinyae was wondering what exactly were behind the shadows as they stopped at a door. Again Xinget produced a metal card, but it was different than the one Sinyae had seen before. The door opened and Xinget and Sinyae stepped into an oval room where about twelve other Mystals sat, waiting.
"My apologies for being late, men. I had to rescue my nephew from being taken to the GRA's headquarters," Xinget said as he sat at the head of the table.
"What are your plans for him?" a Mystal with long, silver hair asked.
"He will join us."
" He doesn't look like he knows anything about hunting," another Mystal said.
"He is more than he appears to be. I sense much power in him. He may be the on that we're looking for," an older Mystal said and the others looked at him.
"I wish you'd stop imitating the Dija warriors, Gabar," the silver haired Mystal said and Gabar looked upon him with pale eyes.
"I'm not imitating, Ethon. I say what is true. I believe we should let him take the Trial."
"Gabar, I agree with you, but I don't think he's ready yet," Xinget said and Gabar looked at Sinyae. Sinyae drew back, suddenly feeling that his soul was on the outside where everyone could see it. Gabar nodded approvingly then stood up.
"He's ready. Let him take the Trial," he said.
"Gabar, I hope you won't take this offensively, but I can't endanger my nephew's life just because you think he's ready."
"Have him take a companion."
"I object!" Ethon sputtered and Gabar looked smugly at him.
"What's the matter, Ethon? Why do you protest?" Gabar inquired.
"You know that the companion is the one who most recently finished the Trial. I'd have to go with him."
"Why Ethon! Thank you for volunteering!"
"I see that we're not going to get down to business until this is resolved. Sinyae, empty your pockets. Sueral, get him a medium sized suit. I hope this pleases you, Gabar," Xinget said and Gabar bowed solemnly.
"I am pleased by you wisdom, Xinget," Gabar said as he sat down.
"No words for me, huh?" Ethon asked as he covered his ears with his hair. Sinyae noticed that his ears ended in a little point at the top and wondered if all Mystal ears were like that. Being a young male, Sinyae didn't pay much attention to his ears. They were there and they worked. What more could he say about them? Sueral returned with a black one-piece suit and handed it to Sinyae. Sinyae felt the material. It was similar to plether, except that it didn't have the same intensity of softness as plether.
"This suit will provide minimal protection, Sinyae. There is a room behind my chair. You may change in there. There are also some boots in there that should fit you," Xinget said and stood up. Instantly, a portion of the wall slid open to reveal a room big enough for Sinyae to change in.
"We aren't going to get anything done now," Ethon muttered as the door closed behind Sinyae.
"Why do you have so much faith in him, Gabar?" Xinget inquired and Gabar looked at him.
"Can you not feel it? There's something inside that boy. Some strong energy that's been bottled up for a long time is there, waiting. Once the energy is released, he will become a different Mystal," Gabar said.
"Maybe you've got your signs wrong. For all we know, it could be me that you're talking about," Ethon said.
"How could you be the one? You're chained to the Trinity by that wristband. You don't have the freedom or the intelligence to be the one we're waiting for."
"Do you realize the reason why I have to wear this damned wrist band? Are you aware that I barely escaped being sent to the GRA? Or are you too busy having delusions that you didn't notice?"
"If you are ill, you could have stayed home my friend," a Mystal with light gold hair said.
"I feel fine, Cynthrax. I'm just disappointed at how you all have gotten," Gabar said as Sinyae walked into the room. Ethon walked to a corner of the room and watched the others with bitter eyes.
"How does it fit, nephew?" Xinget inquired.
"Fine. I guess I'm ready," Sinyae replied.
"Ethon will help you if you get into trouble."
"What am I supposed to do?"
"It will become clear to you in the jungle."
"The jungle? You don't mean the Garimn Jungle, do you?"
"That's the place. Ever been there?" Ethon asked as he walked back to where the others sat.
"No," Sinyae replied.
"Then you're on the adventure of your life. Let's go."
Sinyae wondered if Ethon had meant the adventure for his life was about to begin.