Sunday, 20 May 2012

Nix and Mist Chapter 10: Spin the World



Nixion regained his senses and was brought back to reality and the present quite abruptly to find himself in an unfamiliar corridor; lost.
He sighed and attempted to banish the thoughts of Mist from his mind which resulted in another lapse of concentration and Nixion was sent tumbling into the wall. Giving up all too quickly, he slid down the rough brick wall and onto the polished floor. Nixion was confused, hopeless and overall quite distraught about the entire ordeal. ‘Mist the Traitor’ did not sit right in his mind. It didn’t make sense, it didn’t fit the image of Mist and it contradicted against almost everything Nixion thought he knew. He did not understand, he couldn’t make sense of it all, of any of it. The Grand Mage did not make sense, the thing he was proposing did not make sense, Mist no longer made sense. Nothing made any sense to him and Nixion soon found himself unable to distinguish the difference between his right and left hand. Nixion was disorientated and if not entirely empty, then thoroughly dampened.
It seemed as if the action of thinking about the Grand Mage had summoned him to Nixion’s side, because Nixion soon became aware that he was standing right in front of him. He did not even have enough energy to sigh.
“Nixion…” he said, obviously with a forced air of comfort.
All the breath left Nixion’s chest at the Grand Mage’s word once again. Why was he telling Nixion this? Why had he told Nixion this? Why was he still confronting him?!
“Why?” Nixion was going to say more, but his throat closed up.
“Look at the evidence,” the Grand Mage began, pacing along the deserted corridor and speaking as if Nixion had not stormed away from him a mere fifteen minutes ago.
Apparently, the Grand Mage had taken the question as ‘Why do you think it’s Mist?’ rather than ‘Why are you telling me all this?’.
“It was Mist who decided where the people should go.” The Grand Mage continued without interruption. “He decided you, him and Thomas should go to the factory. He decided what would happen; Mist is the one that is basically organizing every little thing of this operation. The Remaining knew you were coming.”
“Somebody else could’ve told them,” Nixion managed to choke out. “It could’ve been anybody. Why Mist…?”
The Grand Mage stopped.
“That’s true,” he admitted. “But can you explain why Mist chose to raid a factory that has not been used in years?”
Nixion opened his mouth and closed it, lost for words
“Why would he go to a place where the metal would kill Thomas, and the only other person could be convinced to join them?”
At this Nixion responded. “How did-?”
“Did they offer?” The Grand Mage demanded of him.
Nixion blinked. One side of his brain was wondering how he knew they offered, the other thinking about the possibility of Mist being a traitor. As such, Nixion had no space in his head, nor time in front of him to think up a lie, let alone one that somehow resembled a passable excuse.
“Yes.” He croaked.
The Grand Mage nodded.
“And if Mist told you that you should have joined, would you?” he asked.
Nixion thought for a second and was shocked. He never realised how much influence Mist had over him and was now utterly shocked by it.
“Yes,” he said. If Mist told him that he should, Nixion would. In Nixion’s eyes, Mist was a good person trying to lead him the right way. From here on in, he would have to keep a very watchful eye. He couldn’t let people tell him what to do anymore.
“Have you noticed Mist acting strangely the past few days?”
Nixion barely had to think. He shook his head.
“Mist is always weird…” he muttered.
“It only makes sense-” The Grand Mage started to say, but Nixion cut him off carelessly.
“Why Mist though?” he asked.
The Grand Mage blinked, thrown off. “What?”
“We have a murderer, an ex-Cleaver, a weapons dealer, and a bunch of other people that you know almost nothing about. Almost half of our recruits have a reason or would seem to have a liking in betraying the Sanctuary, why would Mist stand out?”
The Grand Mage thought for a second. “Stavan was never a good Cleaver, but I can trust him to be a good person. Lyra wouldn’t be the sort of person to sell herself out, not even for a large price. The others can be relied on to a certain point.”
“And me?” Nixion asked.
The Grand Mage shrugged. “You’re not the type to join a group of people like The Remaining.” he said after a pause. “You killed because you felt like it, not because someone told you do. I seriously doubt that you would join them if there was nothing big in it for you.”
Nixion almost smiled.
“Look at you with your amateur phycology.”
The Grand Mage might have grinned. Or maybe it was a frown. Nixion was so confused he couldn’t make it out, nor did he care.
“So what about Mist then?” The Grand Mage asked him. “You get it yet?” but Nixion had had enough of this. His head was hurting, his world was spinning and everything he thought he knew could now be questioned. Nixion wasn’t confirming anything now, because nothing could be confirmed. After that, Nixion blocked himself off from the Grand Mage and listened no more. It took him ten minutes, but the Grand Mage finally seemed to realize that he would gain no more from Nixion that day and walked off, muttering darkly.

The fact that Nixion was now completely lost did not seem to matter to him. Nixion needed to be alone. Even if he could not comprehend the matter, he needed time and space to deal with his new problems alone. Solitude. Nixion needed room to think.
After a while, Nixion slowly managed to regain some composure. And in this case composure meant the ability to think. And seeing as thinking was about the only thing that he was able to do, Nixion thought long, he thought hard and he thought like he had never bothered nor had the time to do before.
Nixion was thinking very deeply. He had absolutely no idea why he had trusted Mist from the moment he met him. Maybe it was because Mist had saved his life. Perhaps it had been because he simply seemed like someone to trust. Mist had always carried around that kind of nature for as long as Nixion could recall. Or maybe Mist was the first person who had seemed to give a damn about him. About Nixion. Aiden had managed to have a few people care about him alright. Aiden’s mother, Aiden’s father and his sister. That was about all, but never the less, they were people and they had cared. But Aiden had died when the man in black had taken him away from his life and plunged him into a world of pain and torture. Aiden was dead and Nixion had been insane. He had been a murderer. No one had cared about him, but up until he had met Mist, when he had regained enough sanity in him to feel emotions of sorts, Nixion had never felt any need to be cared for. Was it really that Mist had genuinely given a damn about him, or had he just somehow attached himself to the first person who actually had cared? But then again: did Mist care about him? Does he care about him? Nixion could not tell. He couldn’t tell much of anything anymore, right then, at all.
Mist had saved his life because it was his job. He had been told to bring Nixion in under the charges of murder, and Nixion knew that Mist took his job seriously. So Nixion figured that he would obey orders when it came to “bring him in” and obey that rather than let him die. But then again, Nixion had seen Mist deliberately disobey direct orders before. So had he cared after all? Nixion’s head hurt from trying to figure it out. Had Mist cared about the insane boy in front of him all those years ago? Or had he just been following orders? Like a good little soldier boy…
If he simply had been following orders, then did Mist still only do the things he did because he had been ordered to? Or had he now changed, and actually come to care for Nixion as a friend? People did change, Nixion knew. He himself was a fine example of that…
Nixion decided to sort some things out.
What did he actually know about Mist? He knew that he was a boy about a year older than he was who worked for the Australian Sanctuary. He had saved Nixion’s life. He had fought for him in a court to attempt to prevent Nixion from being executed.
What didn’t he know about Mist?
Nixion sat there in silence, his mind a complete blank, for an entire half an hour after that. There were so many things he did not know about Mist that Nixion found it impossible to find a place to start. For all he knew, Mist could be a traitor to the group, to the Sanctuary, to him. Could be a spy for The Remaining, could be responsible for the death of Thomas. Even then, though, Nixion knew that Mist was intelligent. Surely he would have covered his tracks better than they had been if the Grand Mage could work out what had come to pass.
Was he a traitor?
Was he a spy?
Was he an ally?
An enemy?
A friend?
Nixion knew nothing of these things anymore. Nothing made sense and everything made nothing seem like everything made no sense. Nixion felt like curling up in a secluded place to think about these confusing things alone. At least he did until he realized that was exactly what he was doing at that moment.
Nixion didn’t want to have to rethink his entire life, so he stopped. All he needed to know was that anyone could be the traitor, even Mist. However unlikely… He thought deeply. He needed someone who wasn’t likely to be a traitor, and could help him take down Mist if needed. Because he needed to assume the worst possible thing right now, if Nixion was to be prepared. That would mean that he also needed this person who could help him take down Mist able to be taken down as well if needed.
The only one person Nixion could think of was Stavan.
He was a fighter. He was decent and honourable, at least according to the others. And was a cleaver, so Mist and Nixion should be able to take him if it turned out that he wasn’t a traitor after all and Stavan was. However, he was also better than the average cleaver, so he should be able to help Nixion take down Mist if he was the traitor.

After a while longer, Nixion decided that there wasn’t much more to be done and he was beginning to feel like he could manage to stand. So he got to his feet again and slowly made his way out of the corridor and attempted to locate something in the Sanctuary that was familiar. Admittedly it did take him an entire second half an hour to locate the corner leading into another corridor that held a deep gash in it, but Nixion did eventually find it which told him that he wasn’t too far from the room that held the dozen or so lounges that, as far as Nixion knew, did not actually have a name. Nixion turned left into the corridor, right into a second one leading off it and found himself back in the large room that had corridors leading off in almost every direction once again, the room that he had originally arrived in when walking through the entrance to the Sanctuary. Another two minutes later found Nixion in the room he had decided to dub “The Lazy Area” too see everyone but Mist, Hunter and Dark either lying or sitting down. Dark was pacing and muttering something that Nixion assumed was some stupid Necromancer technique of “inner peace” or something similar under his breath. Hunter was nowhere to be seen and Nixion found it disconcerting that his immediate thought at this discovery was the image of the vampire attempting to get some free blood from the Healers...
Mist was standing to the side of the room, looking right at him. Nixion could see that the Healers had already patched him up thoroughly, but the look on his face that was literally flaming in anger told him that Mist was still clearly very annoyed at him. Nixion walked towards him and the closer he got, the more apparent it became that the term “very annoyed” was majorly understated.
“What the hell was that?” Mist snarled at him the moment Nixion was close enough to hear him in a whisper. Evidently he did not want the others hearing them.
“I dunno…” Nixion muttered after a pause that was spent trying to work out an appropriate answer that did not come. Even after finding out Mist might be the traitor, he still felt horrible, which surprised him. Normally he wouldn’t think twice about anyone else and their pain, much less Mist’s. This was all going to have to change if Nixion was going to be prepared.
Mist glared at him and Nixon had the horrible feeling that his eyes were drilling holes into his soul. Nixion looked away hastily, hating the feeling and hating how week he was appearing because of it. Nixion had never been this confused, at least not for a long time. Normally he was sure of what he knew and the rest he didn’t care about. Now he had no idea what to think. He felt as small as he was when he was kidnapped, if not smaller. Because now he actually had people he could at least half count as friends, as allies.
Or else, they used to be counted as friends…
Refusing to make himself out as a weakling as he had done years before, Nixion forced himself to look up again and glare defiantly back at Mist while his insides squirmed with discomfort at the eyes penetrating his soul.
Mist glared at him for a few more torturous seconds and then turned away, scoffing. Nixion was only thankful he didn’t ask what the Grand Mage has talked to him about. As cautious as Nixion was now, he realized that he very did not want to believe Mist was a traitor and wanted to be counted as a friend. He was changing, definitely, was sure of it. And there wasn’t anything Nixion could do about it now; he was too far inside, too altered already, even if he had wanted to change back. Nixion’s head was only filled with a thousand questions, and no answers.
“I’m sorry.”
The words had already escaped from Nixion’s mouth before he could even comprehend what he was doing, let alone stop it from happening. He had said the same thing right after he had punched Mist, but it was obvious to whoever was listening that he didn’t mean it; he just said it, without meaning, like the old Nixion always had done. Not caring, worthless, arrogant. Nixion hardly ever apologised. But now the apology held a note of desperation in it that made it sound authentic. Nixion was actually surprised himself, not at what he had done, but at how real it actually sounded, and then how much he actually meant it.
There was a tense silence in which Nixion froze and Mist’s face released its form of hatred and morphed itself into something that closely resembled confusion. Then he slowly turned back and looked at Nixion who looked back blankly, unsure of what to say or do.
Mist surveyed Nixion, his face still contorted in that confused form. Then he suddenly broke out into a small grin.  
“Did you just… apologise?” he half laughed, though still speaking quietly.
“Yeah,” Nixion mumbled, looking down at his feet again. “I think so.” This was so out of character for him it was embarrassing and Nixion was suddenly thankful that Mist was making sure the others didn’t hear. Nixion’s head hurt. He almost groaned; he was so tired of this. He was wanted things to change back to the way they were a few hours ago, when everything made sense and the death of Thomas was the most concerning thing on Nixion’s mind.
“Okay then,” Mist said. He looked very much surprised. “It’s fine. Forget about it.”
Nixion looked up.
“What, really?” he asked.
“No.” Mist said at once. “No, you’re going to pay for this when everything’s over.” And laughed. But Nixion could tell he wasn’t kidding.
Nixion wanted to ask about Mist’s tooth. He wanted to ask about their plans. He wanted to ask what they were going to do next. He wanted to ask about their next move and where they would investigate in the days to come. But didn’t want to ask anything about the matter of Mist being a traitor. What he did want to ask about though, was what Nixion should do.
And when he did, Mist gave him another weird look.
“Have tomorrow off.” He said finally.
“What?” Nixion asked, completely shocked. Things were moving faster than anyone had expected, and Mist was asking him to take the day off?
“We have no leads.” Mist explained to him. “I’m going to look at something in the morning by myself, and I’ll come by your place after that.”
Nixion took this in and nodded, deciding it was a good thing; he needed a day off to get his head and his thoughts back in order anyway. He was slightly suspicious at Mist going off on his own which triggered more of his warnings that he had set up around his mind for things like this, but all it really did was make Nixion’s world spin more violently, so he pushed the thought away.
“What’s everyone else doing then?” he asked Mist and was shocked at how much more exhausted his voice sounded after the space of a few mere seconds.
“Having the day off as well.” Mist replied.
“And what about today?”
“Look around.” He almost laughed and threw an arm out in the general direction of the others lounging around, drifting in and out of sleep to everyone excluding Lyra (who was now jabbing the air in front of her with a deadly looking short-blade) and Dark (who seemed to have abandoned his weird, ritual muttering and was now sitting against the far back wall and was controlling a small amount of smoky looking shadows with his fingers.
Nixion nodded but stopped quickly because it made his head spin again. He thought for what seemed like a long time, trying to detangle his thoughts from one another to sort out what had just been said and what had been discussed days previously. He was so disorientated by now, Nixion was only half conscious of what he was saying and as such felt no embarrassment at the question that followed in the slightest.
“Can you bring Stavan along?” he blurted out unexpectedly, struggling to maintain a balance on the ground.
Mist looked at him for a moment, clearly struggling to work out whether or not to mock Nixion. Then he smiled again, having reached a decision.
“Sure.” He said. “I’ll tell him to be there at about one-ish. I might be a little late.”
Nixion nodded and managed to get out “Going now” and stumbled out of the room as Mist nodded.
He staggered out of the room, into the hallway again and somehow managed to get to the exit of the Sanctuary without throwing up.
Nixion had had enough now.
Today sucked and he hated it.
He prayed that tomorrow would make more sense…


  1. *applauds loudly*

    Guess what?!

    Unless you say "never the less" is one word... who cares? Well done!

    I am very happy. Also wondering how everyone could be so relaxed?
    I mean you'd think they'd at least have had a few rounds of poker? Or some shooting competitions? Or even Twister?

    Don't matter anyway. It's fabulous.

  2. Took me long enough, but I finally found the time to read this. It's great! And I REALLY think it could be a book Skulduggery Pleasant minions would like too. Especially the ones who actually know you guys. Hope this could get published in the future! I'd totally buy it. :)

  3. Wow....just wow.

    So much evidence against Mist, but I bet it's not him. I think the Grand Mage is the traitor! He's confusing Nixion, who is the person that I or nearly anyone else would be most afraid to go up against so that he doesn't have to deal with him, and he's sending Mist off on his own tomorrow, probably predicting that Nixion will want Staven to go with him.

    So it'll be the entire Sanctuary against them, minus Mist, Staven, and Nixion, which can't possibly end well. AND he has motive! He's still mad at Nixion for nearly killing him!

    Alright, I'm probably wrong, but it makes sense...