And not the real magic like he was used to, either. The fake, illusionary stage magic by which humans—for some reason—were so awed.
Miist began the process by putting her hand on Khaos’s cheek. He closed his eyes, looking understandably nervous. She closed her eyes, too, and they flickered rapidly under her eyelids. She was breathing deep and slow, he was breathing shallow and quick.
“Don’t be so afraid,” Miist said. Her voice was gentle and warm.
“Will you be able to change me back?” Khaos asked, in the weakest voice Nathaniel had ever heard him use.
Miist hesitated and Nathaniel wondered if she was thinking the same thing he was: that she would never have the chance.
She answered simply, “I am the most practiced and powerful Unweaver in the known world. Your appearance is like a paints on a canvas.”
Khaos swallowed and his eyes opened for a brief moment and he caught Nathaniel’s eye. He really did look frightened. Nathaniel couldn’t really understand why. Miist clearly knew what she was doing.
Eliot, who was sitting quietly to Nathaniel’s left, cleared his throat and leaned in a little closer. Nathaniel wondered what the Flash could see in Khaos’s Light and what it was telling him.
As the next few moments dragged on, Khaos’s breathing slowed and a great deal of the tension left his face. Miist grinned a little. She lifted her other hand and placed it on Khaos’s other cheek.
Nathaniel felt the air grow cold, colder than it already was. He hugged his arms, but Eliot seemed to shrink into himself. This time, when Nathaniel put an arm around Eliot to keep the Flash from fainting with dreariness, Eliot did not pull back, slap Nathaniel, or even say a word.
Miist’s expression did not change, but her pale, thin body began to glow. Her silver hair shone its own light. After only a minute, her body was invisible behind the white light that filled the air. Nathaniel squinted and held his free arm out to block the brightness so that he could see Khaos. The half-toshi’s face was almost serene.
Before Nathaniel’s eyes, he saw Khaos’s face begin to change. His hair grew. His beard crawled up his cheeks until it nearly touched his eyes. His eyes shifted and darkened. His cheeks sharpened. In a matter of minutes, Khaos had an undeniable mane no smaller than any other toshi’s. His face was almost unrecognizable.
Miist’s hands—if that’s what they still were; they were far more fluid and ethereal than flesh could ever be—came down from Khaos’s cheeks and she backed away.
Khaos blinked several times very rapidly then stared forward, like he was waiting for something to happen. He slowly lifted a hand to his face and felt his mane, felt his nose and cheeks. He ran his fingers through his hair, which had broken out of its tie, and now fell down to his legs in back.
“Well?” he said, glancing to Nathaniel and Eliot.
“You look—” Nathaniel began.
“Toshi,” Eliot barked, or he would have if he’d had the energy. It sounded more like a cough.
Miist looked on her work. Her eyes were the only features left on her face, which was still glowing like the sun. She said nothing and Nathaniel wondered if she could speak at all when she was in this form.
Khaos’s breathing was now heavy and slightly panicked. “Really, really toshi?”
Nathaniel could only nod. Really, really toshi.
“No one else will believe it,” Eliot muttered. “You don’t look like yourself at all.”
Khaos sighed, his bulky shoulders dropping. “I suppose that is what we were aiming for.”
Miist’s glow was beginning to subside and her physical, non-luminescent body was starting to take shape within the fading light. Nathaniel watched the whole process in awe.
“Not even your closest friends will recognize you,” Miist said once she was mostly reformed.
Khaos nodded, still running his curious hands over his new features. “Great.”