Iris clutched the keys to her heart for just a moment, studying the swordsman-shaped gap in the air. And then she made a dash for the garage. No one seemed to remember Cait was present, but that was all right, for the mage was dashing unexpected tears from his eyes.
This was the way life was supposed to be. Filled with drama, tension, promises, chaos, passion, betrayal. In one unpredictable swoop, the swordsman - an awkward japanophile, a shy loner, a social recluse - had ascended to the rank of hero. Cait wanted nothing more than to join him on that plateau. And so without thinking, he found himself shoving his feet into unlaced sneakers and running out into the night, swept along in the wake of an irresistible call to adventure.
And he had the Takusu Mob to thank for it.
The swordsman was sprinting down the street. Cait ran after, and for a few moments the adrenaline made him as fleet as a deer, at least in his own mind. Beneath the streetlights he chased the tail of receding danger. Here and there, dark bedroom windows sprang to light, a few wakeful suburbanites curious about the odd shouts that had penetrated their comfortable cocoons. The mage nearly winked at them as he passed.
It’s real. This is a real thing that’s happening, and all of you can see it. Everyone who made fun, everyone who thinks that real estate and 9 to 5 and high school reunions and golf are the only truth - you’re wrong. You’re wrong, and I told you so. Tonight we’re going after the bad guys. You’ll never know it, and that’s okay, because it’s real. Finally real.
But even his elation couldn’t entirely eliminate the stitch in his side that felt like a dagger prying his ribs apart. Cait fell further and further behind, and was beginning to think that he’d lose them entirely when he saw the tell-tale illumination of brake lights springing to life in the distance and knew that they were upon their prey.
In his mind, he was already in charge of the interrogation, helping to bind the troublesome ninjas to chairs with duct tape, reading their eyes and their body language, figuring out what questions to ask. Who sent them? How much were they getting paid? What was the robot for? The others would watch, jaws agape as the intelligent Mage mentally stripped his victims’ defenses and uncovered their nefarious plot.
It’s all happening!