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A smile slowly appeared - but with no cat attached.
Color Doodle
aearo

I've been hit on the head with the hammer of a mischievious muse, and furthermore it has happened while I was on LJ. So, here at last is a proper post. I wrote this based on the line that starts it. That line comes from a list I made during school last year. The rest is off the top of my head, and unrevised.

A smile slowly appeared - but with no cat attached.

My mouth curved in the opposite direction. This was not a good sign. I shook the device like an Etch-a-Sketch, but nothing changed - there was still a smile there on the screen, and nothing else.
Well then. There was nothing I could do about that. I set the device back on the table.
"Aleu!" I shouted, "get the defenses ready!"
There was a faint response from the other room. I frowned deeper. "Speak up, boy!" I shouted.
Another  feeble response, equally unintelligible. What was wrong with that kid? I stood up angrily, shoving my chair backwards with my knees. "Aleu," I yelled, "don't make me come in there!"
This time I was just able to make out what the boy was saying. It was "Help me, master!"
Oh. Well, that was different. I grabbed my staff from where it was leaning against the table and crept over to the door, balanced on the balls of my feet. Pulling my robe back so the folds wouldn't show through the crack, I peered into the other room.
Aleu was lying on the floor, bound and gagged. His dinner - porridge - had been knocked from the table and lay strewn across the ground nearby. Other than that, nothing was amiss. I started to open the door. Then a warning sigil I'd inscribed in my mind went up in a puff of metaphorical flame, and I stopped. 
I'd put the sigil there years ago, at great personal cost - five of them, as a matter of fact. Their purpose was to alert me when I was in mortal danger, which had been an immediate concern of mine at the time. One had been used up soon afterward. Since then, my life had been much quieter, and I'd nearly forgotten about them. Now there were three left, and presumably this meant that whatever had attacked poor Aleu posessed the capacity to kill me.
I decided, understandably, to proceed with the utmost caution. There aren't many things that are capable of killing wizards as old and as powerful as me.
I listened carefully, waiting. Aleu still hadn't seen me standing on the other side of the door, not that he had ever been particularly observant. Quite the opposite, in fact. 
"Master!" he called out again, as faintly as before.
I could hear nothing, and I could see nothing. I could sense no magic coming from the room, either. It appeared as if the mysterious intruder had left, but that didn't neccesarily mean that he hadn't left some trap behind or something of the sort. Moving quietly, I stepped back from the door and examined the edges of the doorway. No wires or precariously balanced buckets of acid were evident. Still, it wouldn't be a very good trap if it were visible, now would it? Besides, I had strong magical protections against most physical forms of attack, and this threat was very definately able to kill me. The sigil wouldn't have flared if it wasn't. If there were a trap, it would have to be an extremely clever one.
On the other hand, perhaps I was wasting time. The intruder may have rigged some disaster to befall my entire home as soon as he had escaped the area. I would have to move quickly as well as cautiously. I stepped back and prepared to push open the door with my staff, hoping that this would be enough to ensure that any trap on the door missed me.
Just as I was about to thrust the staff forward, however, I heard a noise. It was an odd, squishing noise. I stopped and resumed my earlier position, peering through the open crack.
I saw nothing, and scowled.
Aleu started squirming, which caught my attention. I glanced over at him. Perhaps he'd finally decided to try to free himself without my help. It was about time, I thought, and that was when I saw it; a single footprint in the spilled porridge.
So there was someone still in the room. But, I realized, there was a faint trail of footprints leading away from the spill - and as I watched, another appeared on the floor at the end of the trail. I stared in shock. Was there someone invisible in my house? I hadn't detected any magic earlier, and I still didn't sense any now. I pushed a button on a small device hanging on my belt. There were two small lights attached to it, a red one and a green one. I stared expectantly at the green light, but it was the red that lit. There weren't any electronic devices in the vicinity, either. I wasn't aware of any electronic devices that could turn a person invisible anyway.
Well then, perhaps this was a creature that was naturally invisible, I thought as another footprint appeared. Whatever it was, it was slowly making its way towards the opposite door. I didn't intend to let it get that far.
Brandishing my staff, I leapt out and sent a wave of magical energy at the intruder. It bounced back at me, and I caught it in my mind - that had been a sort of magical radar. I was pinging the other's defenses. They were strong indeed. Judging from the way the porridge footprints appeared, the stranger had just spun around to see what had burst through the door behind him or her. I had lost the element of surprise - but if I had lead with a bright, sparkly and exciting fireball, it would have rebounded straight back at me and I would have both lost the element of surprise and been too distracted to counter the beam of magical energy that the invisible person was now sending back at me. Even if I had somehow been able to deflect the beam, which I now did, then I wouldn't have known enough to realize that the magical shielding the other posessed had a terrible flaw along a certain wavelength, and therefore might have tried retaliating with a lightning bolt rather than the wave of carefully configured magic I now used.
Of course, every single one of these spells that we were throwing at each other were as invisible to the naked eye as my opponent. Innocent bystanders - such as my poor apprentice, who was shouting at me to stop waving my arms about and DO something already - wouldn't realize that anything was going on at all. This, no doubt, is why fireballs are so popular - not to mention that they are terribly easy to make. 
My wave of magic worked perfectly, and the defenses of the other shattered violently enough that I was able to feel the blast in my mind from across the room. The intruder hesitated for a moment, startled perhaps, and I sent another wave of pure magic forward. They countered it as it flew across the room with their own wave at the proper frequency to cancel mine, but my attack had been a ruse. It gave me time to do something I was certain my opponent would never expect me to do.
I darted forward, grabbed a chair and threw it. 
Physical attacks during a spellfight aren't completely unheard of. I'd had many a duel in which both me and my opponent were screaming and yanking on their opponent's beard as they cast their spells. I even had one enemy who was so notorious for using that tactic that I shaved my beard and wore a loosely attached fake one during the fight. It came off as he grabbed it, which allowed me to quickly gain the upper hand as he stumbled forward onto the ground. The look on his face had been worth the trouble of waiting for my beard to grow back. 
 But in this particular fight, there was a whole dining room between us, and I am considerably old and feeble-looking these days. Since I had yet to take a single step into the room, I was sure that my opponent assumed that I was quite content merely hurling spells. My tactic worked beautifully. It caught the intruder off guard and disrupted their next spell. I heard the thump as they stumbled back and hit the door with their head.
For all I knew, they had been knocked unconscious. Unfortunately, as long as they were invisible I couldn't be sure. I I sent a simple sleeping spell across the room, then climbed carefully over the table. Aleu made noises at me through his gag to the effect that he'd like to be untied, please, if it wasn't too much trouble, but I ignored him.
This person, I remembered, was capable of killing me. If I hadn't put them to sleep properly...
I grabbed the tin of oats off the table behind me and threw the contents over where I thought - hoped - the invisible figure lay. They outlined an oddly lumpy-looking biped lying on the floor. The intruder wasn't moving aside from their breaths, but I wasn't entirely convinced yet. Seeing my intruder made me feel a lot better, but there was something unsettling about the way they were shaped.
I reached out with my staff and poked them gently a couple of times, ready to throw up my strongest magical defenses in a heartbeat if need be. They didn't respond. I poked them harder; still nothing. 
Rather than putting me at ease, this made me worry. My sleeping spell hadn't been very strong. I gave them a sharp jab, and there was still no change. Surely that knock on the head couldn't have been that bad? 
 There was still the matter of how this person was invisible without magic. I probed them with my mind again, but found nothing helpful. I was quite hesitant to touch them with my hand. I still hadn't seen anything dangerous enough to kill me. For all I knew, they were coated in some eldritch poision that could be absorbed through the skin. 
That, I thought, was laughably paranoid - but even still.
I cast a telekinesis spell at the being and used it to probe their surface. It moved independantly from their body - they were wearing a suit of some kind. Presumably, this was what made them invisible. 
I directed a cutting spell at the suit, pulling the section I was cutting away from the figure on the floor with the telekinesis as I did so. To my surprise, it failed - the material refused to cut. I considered going at it with a knife, but I doubted that that would be any more effective.
Well, there was nothing else left. Without being able to see or cut the suit, I would never be able to remove it with magic. I needed to feel it with my own hands. I slipped on a pair of work gloves I had left in one of my many pockets and reached out to the creature. Tentatively, I let my fingers fall on where I thought their collar must be.
Nothing happened. I breathed a sigh of relief. Perhaps, I though, they had merely known a spell that was capable of killing me and hadn't gotten a chance to use it. I quickly peeled the suit from their body. Underneath it, the intruder was clearly visible, and as I removed it, the suit appeared as well. I held it up. 
It was dragon scale, cleverly cut and molded to form a full-body suit with a hood and mask. I recognized the breed. They were extremely rare, and utterly invisible to the naked human eye. Other dragons could see them, since they radiated light in wavelengths only visible to the eyes of dragons and some birds. I was once, due to an unusual set of circumstances, fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of one of these dragons while able to see those wavelengths. They were extrordinarily beautiful - and also highly intelligent.
This suit, however, was not beautiful. The craftmanship was, admittedly, impressive. The scales, however, were a dull gray now that the invisibility effect had stopped. I glared furiously down at the sleeping figure.
Only, he wasn't sleeping any more. He was dead.
I jumped backward, shocked and afraid. The man lying on the floor in a light cotton tunic and short breeches had stopped breathing. He was lying still. There was no way, I realized, that the bump on his head could have even knocked him unconscious through the dragon scale hood.
This was extremely upsetting, both because it was possible that whatever had killed him posed a threat to me, and because I had wanted to question him. Could he have been diseased? Was it, perhaps, contagious? If that were the case, there was nothing that I could do. I was already exposed.
Well, I thought, in for a kedd, in for a drand. I had no idea how to protect myself from this mysterious threat, and I had no idea who this mysterious intruder was. Perhaps it was dangerous to go near him, but I needed answers. I bent over the man and did what muggers and cutthroats traditionally do: I went through his pockets.
One of them was empty. One of them contained a strange lump of metal, which was warm to the touch and covered in strange runes. I dropped it as soon as I saw what it was, but it didn't seem to do anything. I quickly scooped it up again, hoping my gloves would protect me from any adverse effects, and ran to my laboratory where I locked it in my magical quarantine box. The box was designed to prevent any magic originating inside it from reaching outside - if it was harmful, I would be safe from it while it was there.
That, it seemed, was all that I could do. I returned to the dining room and untied Aleu.
"What happened?" he asked, "who was that?"
"I wish I knew," I said. "Unfortunately, he is dead now."
"Why didn't you blast him to pieces as soon as you heard me calling?" he demanded. "Why did you throw a chair at him?"
"Do not take that tone with me, apprentice," I said, but there was no anger behind it. I shook my head. "Let's get this room cleaned up. We need to set up the defenses we arranged last week."
Aleu's brow furrowed. "Why?" he asked, "because of the intruder?"
"No," I said. "Because the person we set them up for in the first place is coming."
His eyes widened. "He is? When?"
"Soon."
"Did he send the intruder?"
I shook my head violently. "I cannot be sure," I said, "but I severely doubt that, for a number of reasons which do not concern you at the moment."
 "But then..."
I shrugged. "I have been a wizard for a long time," I said. "I have made many enemies, of course. We may never know."
Aleu stood up and walked over to the corpse. "What should I do with him?" he asked.
"Take him away and bury him, of course. Far away from here."
"And this?" he picked up the suit of dragon scales. "If you don't want it, can I keep it? It might look smart on me." He grinned. "Surely I deserve some souvenier for lying there, tied up for so long?"
I have encountered many dragons in my lifetime - big, small, ferocious, calm, intelligent and otherwise. Sometimes I have killed them, when it was neccesary. Without exception, however, they have had a certain nobility to them. They are beautiful creatures, both in form and in mind. Many have been my friends. The dragon that died to provide this assassin with his special suit was of a type that posesses particular beauty in both those aspects. Furthermore, they are far more peaceful than many of their kin, and also far more rare. Judging from the size of the scales, this one couldn't have been very old yet. Not a hatchling, perhaps, but certainly a child. Somewhere, I could only assume, there lay the corpse of this beautiful creature, stripped of its skin and left to rot. Perhaps its friends and family had found that corpse. Perhaps they hadn't. Now - here was this suit, ugly and grey, constructed for evil and by evil.
But of course, poor Aleu couldn't know all this. He probably didn't even realize that he was holding the scales of a dragon. I took some deep breaths, and calmed my rage rather than direct it at my hapless apprentice. It was hardly his fault, after all.
"No," I said. "It will be buried - and I will be the one to bury it."
He gave me a confused look.
"I can't explain now," I said, "there isn't time. We still have those defenses to activate."
He nodded and ran off. I sat down slowly in the chair I hadn't thrown across the room. Dangerous times were ahead.
But at least, I thought, this one threat had been taken care of.

I'll have to write a sequel someday, I suppose. At least now I have a proper entry.
If I'm extremely lucky, someone might actually read this.
I'll fix the typos later. I don't have the patience right now. They're pretty minor, anyway.    
 
   
   
    
                               
         

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a nice story! I like your style of writing. I can't wait for the next installment, quite exciting!

Glad you like it!
I wrote this back in '07, and I'm actually not terribly pleased with it myself. So the odds are against there being a continuation. But I'll probably post more fiction of SOME sort or another here at some point in time, so who knows?

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