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Week 265
You are on Week 266
Week 267

Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...

We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!

Story Two Hundred Sixty Six Ends March 17

"I'm asking you for the last time, Kyle... please don't go." The elderly Maraquan Lupe looked over her spectacles at her nephew. "New Maraqua flourishes more every day! Think of the opportunities that it offers to youths like yourself! Do you really want to throw that all away on a fool's errand?"

"You know that for years now, I've been eagerly waiting to come of age so that I could go off in search of my father," the Maraquan Kyrii answered stubbornly. "Nothing will change my mind now."

"I miss your father every bit as much as you do," Kyle’s aunt answered gently, "but he went missing back when Old Maraqua was being invaded. It's been so long since then. We've gone through two wars, complete devastation, and numerous pirate invasions. It would be impossible to find someone after that!"

"He's still alive out there; I'm sure of it," Kyle said, carefully strapping his maractite dagger to his belt. Hugging the Lupe, he added, "Take care, Aunt Velna. I'll return soon, I promise."

"That's what your father said," the old Lupe murmured, blinking back tears.

"Rest assured, he'll be returning with me." Kyle flashed her a confident smile. "We're all men of our word in this family."

"You're all men of folly," his aunt retorted.

"Or bravery, it's all the same. Farewell, Aunt!"

"Farewell, Kyle..."

Author: MISSING
Date: Mar 10th
...And with a stroke of his tail, Kyle was away, out the door. He and Velna exchanged a last wave of their flippers, and then she shut the door behind him and he sped along the paths and passages of New Maraqua. He swam more slowly through the construction areas near the edge, not wanting to disturb the work -- it could be both delicate and dangerous, and he had no wish to damage the more fragile materials or cause the weightier ones to damage the workers.

He reached the edge and followed the familiar salvage-route back to Old Maraqua. Many Maraquans were wary of going back there, even now that the curse had finally failed. Kyle had never been one of them; he'd put in his time, worked hard, done dangerous jobs... but now, he felt, his duties to Maraqua's rebuilding were done. The time had come to learn what had become of his father Kyvan.

The place to begin was the place Kyvan had left.

Well, so Kyle felt, at any rate. It was easier said than done; Old Maraqua had been so utterly shattered by both the pirate attacks and the subsequent, accursed whirlpool that it was difficult even to make out where exactly his family's home and workplaces had been. He made his way through the rubble, avoiding the creepy area around the weird faerie statue nobody had records of carving, and picked out what seemed to be close enough, and thought.

His father had believed he could find a solution to the pirates' attacks, a counter to their captain's sorcery.

The curse had eventually broken.

Kyvan had been mistaken when he said he would soon return, but had he been right about what he would accomplish?

Since the pirates' treachery, it has been forbidden to visit the surface world, Kyle remembered Kyvan saying, when Kyle had been just a small child. I've obtained permission to go and seek a way to counter him. I intend to go deep. But I wonder if I should be seeking in the air instead.

Perhaps Kyle should seek in the air. But no... surely now that contact with surfacers had been restored, Kyvan would have returned if he could.

"Deep" could mean many things. But Kyle remembered too the stories his father had told him, and he remembered the legendary, terrifying protector of Maraqua....

Chiazilla!...

Author: schefflera
Date: Mar 13th
...The Chia was the stuff of legends, his tale passed on from generation to generation by parents intent on frightening their children into obedience. Kyle remembered well when his father had told him the story, of how a common Chia lusted for power so badly that he condemned himself by stealing a powerful source of magical energy. His plan backfired and he was turned into the gargantuan monster known as Chiazilla. Fear drove the Maraquans to make yearly offerings to the monster, and no one was ever quite sure if he was a predator or protector.

Kyle folded his arms and frowned. Variants of the story existed, mainly those told to the little ones, but the general consensus was that Chiazilla dwelled in relative solitude in the deepest reaches of the Bubbling Pit. A shiver went down Kyle's spine at the thought of going down into the darkness.

Then the memory of Kyvan's smiling face came to mind. Kyle grimaced and turned stoically towards the opening of the Bubbling Pit. "All right Kyle, you can do this," he said confidently to himself before swimming fiercely towards the rift.

Gossamer bubbles, some the size of the Maraquan Kyrii's head, floated up past him like a school of Neuky, their undersides reflecting the eerie green incandescence emanating from the depths. Kyle whistled at the view; the chasm walls seemed to go down forever. It was impossible that even his father could swim down that far.

A tendril of fear brushed his heart. Could Kyvan be -- "No!" Kyle snapped, refusing to even think such thoughts. He was alive, he just knew it!

His ears pricked up and his fin went instinctively to the dagger at his belt. A deep rumbling was coming from somewhere close by, rhythmic and sonorous. He swam cautiously in a downwards spiral.

Kyle only had to swim less than a league before the source of the sound became apparent.

He started in shock; directly below him was a vast head of algae-green hair...

Author: scarrift
Date: Mar 14th
...Stifling a cry of terror, Kyle used both of his front fins to backpedal furiously in what probably would have been a rather funny display had his predicament not been so dire; as soon as he had slowed his descent enough to turn, he wheeled around and propelled himself with all due speed back to the mouth of the chasm. There was no questioning that what he had seen was the hulking form of Chiazilla, and even though the beast appeared to be "trapped" in the pit, Kyle had no doubt that it could follow him out if he was spotted. As soon as he reached the lip of the sheer rock wall he collapsed onto the sea floor, shaking from fear and exertion.

Once he had regained his bearings, the Kyrii peered back down into the void.

The monstrous Chia appeared to be roving the bottom of the underwater canyon, possibly foraging for food, and it didn’t seem to have spotted him. Kyle sighed with relief. Rolling over onto his back, he stared upward, the wan light of the sun filtering down through the water, providing light but little warmth. He had never really doubted that the stories of Chiazilla were true, but to have seen it with his own eyes... That was a different thing all together, and it made him realize all the more the terrible danger that he faced by attempting to find his father.

Could it be that this wasn’t what his father had meant by “deep”? No, he thought, this had to be the place; he had always been very intuitive about such things, and there was no mistaking the strong feeling he was getting now. Kyvan was here.

But how can I get to him? Kyle wondered to himself in frustration. There was just no way he would be able to reach the depths of the cavern without being spotted by Chiazilla. It was too far. So was that it? Was this as close as he would ever get? Kyle tried to choke back the lump of despair that rose in his throat at the thought, but felt a few tears mingling with the cool water around him. He couldn’t bear resigning himself to the impossibility of it all, it just wasn’t fair...

“Changed your mind, have you? Good idea, that.”

Kyle immediately sprang upward from the sea bottom, repeating the backpedaling motion he had adopted earlier to bring himself further from the chasm’s edge. There, clinging to the rocky ledge like the Tyrannian Pterodactyls he had seen on an old tapestry from the surface world, were a pair of large, pale Maraquan Korbats, staring at him with detached interest. One cocked its head in curiousity toward him, and he was struck by how much its wide, emotionless black eyes resembled the void that the two winged pets were teetering on the edge of. “I say, what could have possessed you to attempt that sort of thing in the first place? You could have been killed, you know.”

For a moment, Kyle didn’t know whether to ask where the two had come from or try to get away from them; for reasons he couldn’t explain, they both gave him the creeps. He steeled himself, however, and decided that the best option would be to tell them the truth. “I’m looking for my father. He’s... well, he looks a lot like me, but older,” he added, frustrated that he could only offer one lame description. The Korbats exchanged odd looks with each other, then turned back to stare at the Kyrii.

“You don’t think... No, it couldn’t be,” the first murmured, looking vaguely puzzled.

“But it must.”

“They look so alike.”

“Yes, I agree.”

“What are you talking about?!” Kyle interrupted, upset and slightly annoyed that the two were ignoring him.

“We’ve seen him, but he won’t be coming out of there. No one does,” one Korbat announced, extending his long wing-fin to gesture into the chasm. “We can come and go as we please; the curse won’t touch the cursed." This was spoken with a hollow sort of laugh. "But once anyone else enters our realm...”

“They don’t come out,” the second finished, his airy voice taking on a slightly melancholy note. “Not ever. Even if we brought you to him, it wouldn’t do any good...”

Author: _vespa
Date: Mar 14th
...A second chill laced Kyle's heart. Silently, he drifted before the two Korbats in the murky water, judging the worth of their words. The familiar sixth sense warned him that something was amiss... but what?

“You can do no good, young Kyrii,” one of the Korbats was saying gravely. “Swim home, while you still can.”

A shrewd thought formed in Kyle's mind. If he could convince them to lead him to Kyvan... Lifting his head, he tried to shake the icy snake of fear that squirmed down his spine at the very sight of them. “Take me.”

The Korbats merely stared at him, unblinking, with their dead eyes. Very slowly, they turned to face each other, as stared hard into each other's eyes as though communicating, but neither spoke. At last, the one that appeared older swiveled his gaze back to Kyle. “It would not be wise...”

“No matter,” Kyle interrupted. “If you can come and go at will, surely you can at least lead me past Chiazilla without an encounter.”

The second spoke in a thin voice, trying to dissuade him. “You cannot help him. No...”

Kyle grew impatient. “We shall see. Please, take me to him. That's all I ask.”

Without a word, the Korbats lifted their wing-like fins and, by graceful, flapping motions, flew through the water toward the eerily green chasm. They did not look back as they disappeared into the forbidding depths.

Sucking in a deep breath, Kyle flicked his own fins and quickly followed, clumsy compared to their fluid motions. For a moment, the Kyrii panicked, for he had lost sight of them. His eyes readjusted to the inky water, and he caught their faint figures disappearing into a tiny, jagged hole in the rocky cliff side. Squeezing through the jagged opening, Kyle proceeded to squirm through the tunnel, thankful for the phosphorescent light that glowed from microorganisms that floated in the water.

First slightly up, then sharply down, the tunnel led the trio. Several times, the passage branched. Sometimes the Korbats led Kyle left, sometimes right. But down, always down into the inescapable heart of the "cursed realm."

Just when Kyle thought he could no longer stand the confined quarters, the Korbats led the Kyrii into the midst of a massive underwater chamber. In the center overhead, a brilliant fire burned in a massive glass globe, lighting the cavern. Kyle stopped abruptly, staring in awe at the beautiful sight dazzling his eyes. A faint sound, almost like weeping, reached his ears. Shaking himself, he noticed several other glass bubbles, much smaller than the fire globe. Within each was a dark figure, some moving restlessly, some remaining still. A strong suspicion woke inside Kyle. A heavy dread filled him as he approached the nearest globe. His eyes widened in horror as he saw...

Author: lynnaea
Date: Mar 15th
"...Father!"

The breathless whisper reverberated against the high ceiling of the chamber, stirring the water.

With a deft twist of his finned tail, the Kyrii effortlessly glided to the shadowed creature who had so quickly caught his eye. The contours of the figure rested with familiarity in his eyes, the brilliant glittering of orange scales fondly held in memory. Kyle felt the bubbles fill his chest as all despair fled; he and Kyvan were together again, and somehow no other restrictions mattered.

"Father, it's me! Kyle! I've come to -- I --" He faltered.

Kyvan held himself limply in the glass prison, and at his son's voice his head turned slowly to look behind his shoulder, webbed ears trailing lightly in the water.

"Father..?" Kyle said weakly to the Kyrii that watched him with sunken, empty eyes. The rugged features were unmistakable, but not a flicker of recognition, or even comprehension, betrayed the fact that the pitiful creature had once been Kyle's father.

"We told him this would happen."

"Mm, yes. How sad that he did not listen."

"Indeed."

Kyle twisted around to face the two Korbats who conversed quietly with each other, glancing at him as though he were a vaguely interesting piece of coral. "What happened to him?" he cried, his desperation evident. "What happened to my father?"

One Korbat, completely indistinguishable from the other, shook his head. "We told you your quest was futile. Nothing can help him now."

"Who? Who did this to him? To them?" He demanded, gesturing at the countless domes that contained equally countless captives. Before an answer came to him, the fire that once blazed passionately above him trembled, and the soft sobbing that came from nowhere and everywhere at once grew louder...

Author: keikala
Date: Mar 15th
...As the Korbats continued to remain silent, the empty, disembodied weeping continued, and Kyle found himself struggling not to join in. His father continued to hang limply in the globe, his eyes dead, his face devoid of expression. His heart was still beating, his body still held life, and yet something within him had died.

"NOOOOOOOOO!" Kyle's voice rose in a keening duet with the sourceless torrent of sobs, reverberating throughout the cold stone cavern. "Father, I'm HERE! LOOK at me! I'm going to get you out! Can't you hear me?"

Kyvan stared at him for a moment, then turned wearily away and closed his eyes, a faint tremor shivering through his gaunt body. It was as if he had ceased to be aware of Kyle's existence.

"No, he cannot hear you," one of the Korbats said softly. "Your voice reaches him, and yet your words mean nothing. He sees your body, but the importance is lost to him. He knows nothing of the world outside his prison, remembers nothing but empty despair. Even were he free he could not come to you. Your father as you knew him is lost. And if you do not leave, you will be lost as well."

Kyle whirled on him in a sudden fit of fury. "Who DID this?" he snarled, this time determined not to allow the question to go unanswered. "And what do either of you have to do with it? Does he- she- IT leave you to keep watch? Or are you SUPPOSED to bring people down here?"

"We do as we will," the second Korbat said in an empty, hollow murmur. "It matters little. All will one day fall. None can forever escape. All will join the captives." His dead eyes met Kyle's tearful gaze. "Leave, and enjoy what little freedom you have left to you. You will join your father soon enough."

"WHO TOOK HIM PRISONER?" Kyle insisted, his voice rising with anger and desperation. The emotionless stare of the Korbats and the sudden strangeness of their speech had ceased to unnerve him, and now served only to fuel his wrath.

"His name is not spoken, for he would have it so," the first Korbat murmured, his voice taking on an eerie chantlike quality. "Your time is running short. The Shadow draws near. It is probably too late already." Drifting out of his strange, dreamlike mood, the Korbat gestured meaningfully toward a massive side passage that Kyle had somehow failed to notice earlier. "Ah, here he comes now. I don't think you want to meet him."

But Kyle found himself unable to move, suspended in uncertainty, impulses to flee, to hide, or to stand and fight clashing within him and holding him motionless. "Leave," the Korbats said in unison, their voices haunting and ghostlike. The water around Kyle trembled, the globes began to sway, the fire above him flickered fitfully, and around him a few of the captives cried out while others thrashed in their glass prisons. The remainder of the prisoners lay still, including Kyle's father, who did not move except to raise his head and watch with an expression of empty dread as a dark shape edged into view in the huge side passage, slowly resolving itself into...

Author: sarahleeadvent
Date: Mar 16th
...an uncertain shape with venomous green eyes staring out of the depths of the shadows. Just as quickly as it solidified the wisps of shadow tore themselves apart again and then re-formed; it looked like a whirling mass of dark ghosts or shards of nightmares.

Kyle's fin went immediately to his dagger. He drew it and held it steady in his hand, though the rest of him was shaking visibly.

"...We told him that it would be no use."

"Indeed. Too late now, though."

"Yes. Shame, isn't it?"

In the background the Korbats conversed in their unsettlingly calm tones. The shadow advanced. The prisoners forlornly turned their heads to watch with empty eyes.

The mass of shadows advanced with regal, sinister grace. Kyle drew back his arm, about to hurl his small weapon into the maelstrom, but the small voice in the back of his skull reminded him to keep himself armed. Do not throw it! it said to him in an uncomfortably familiar voice.

The eyes of the Shadow flashed and the prisoners whimpered. Kyle moaned with them.

"Yes, too late now..."

The Korbats were right beside him now, staring at the ground beneath him. The prisoners turned away.

The young Kyrii followed the Korbats' gazes to the ground beneath his tail fin. The hard-packed dirt was pulsating as if boiling, and all around the edges of the nonexistent pot the beginnings of a glass wall were sprouting from nothing. Shouting, Kyle backpedaled and attempted to get away, but the ever-growing pod followed him.

Swim upwards! said the voice in his head.

As Kyle did just that, the Shadow's eyes flared. In a flash of blinding light the great flame in the center of the cavern burned bright green with the radiance of an emerald in the sunlight.

"Resourceful little one, isn't he?"

"Quite so."

The Korbats watched with unblinking eyes, adding to the insanity of the situation, and the mournful stares of the prisoners pinned Kyle with a sense of claustrophobia.

The Shadow advanced on...

Author: i_like_banannas
Date: Mar 16th
...Kyle began to panic as the darkness of the shadow continued to spread throughout the room like a plague. He felt his back touch the stony wall behind him as he swished his dagger, hoping to penetrate the horrid beast. It was like slicing air. Kyle felt a cold chill run through his tail fin. Daring to look down, he saw the shadow was starting to swallow him. He started to yell in terror as he struggled to free himself.

"Poor fellow. Just look at the fear in his eyes," commented one of the Korbats.

"Yes. It won't be long now."

Kyle ignored their cold remarks as he struggled. Soon the shadow was over his tail, then chest, and soon it was up to his chin.

Don't be afraid, he screamed in his mind. Don't be afraid!

* * * * *

"It's ok, Kyle! Don't be afraid, I'm here!"

Kyle hugged his father's tail fins tightly as they swam through the rocky cave. "Daddy! I'm scared! I don't like it here." The Kyrii, who was not much older than five, looked around the cave. The shadows loomed everywhere, transforming the surroundings.

"It won't be much farther, son."

Kyle shut his eyes tightly and held onto his father's arm without any thought of letting go. They swam for awhile longer before Kyle felt his father's fin on his head, soothing him. "Ok, son. Open your eyes. I promise there's nothing to be afraid of."

Slowly, Kyle opened his eyes and the sight held before him was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. Beautiful colors were shining everywhere. Reds, greens, blues, yellows. The cave was illuminated with exotic coral that made the walls shine. It was like being inside a rainbow.

"Wooooow," said the little Kyrii as he swam among the colors. He felt an odd warmth emitting from the corals, giving him an instant comfort.

"I knew you'd like it here. I used to come here all the time when I was a boy. It was my secret place and now, it can be our secret place." Kyvan swam up to his young son and lifted him on his lap. "Kyle, I brought you here to tell you something..."

"What, Daddy?"

"In a few days... I'm going to be leaving."

"When will you be back?"

A sad look came over Kyvan. "I'm not sure. You'll be staying with your Aunt Velna until I return. There have been rumors of a place far from here that might be able to help restore Maraqua. King Kelpbeard has organized some citizens to go...and I volunteered.

"Now, don't look at me like that, Kyle. I don't want to leave you, either, but I'm doing this so you can have a good future. I don't want you to endure the same childhood I had when Maraqua was destroyed. And in order to do that, I have to..."

Kyvan faltered and looked away from his son. If little Kyle didn't know any better, he thought he saw his dad crying. "Daddy... are you scared?"

Kyvan sighed. "A little..."

"But... you never get scared."

Kyvan chuckled. "Kyle, being scared is nothing to be ashamed of. Fear is as much a part of our lives as happiness and joy. Fear can either be one of two things: your adversary or your motivator. Let me explain. There will be times when you will be scared, but instead of letting that fear stop you from doing what's right, use it to help you move forward. Being brave just means doing things you'd normally be scared to do."

Kyvan took his son's face in his fins and looked him in the eyes. "Always remember, Kyle. No matter how long I'm gone, you have to be brave for yourself and for your Aunt. You will be frightened at times, yes, but in your heart I know you will vanquish your adversities."

Kyle looked back at the looming shadows from the cave. He shuddered. "But what if I'm really, REALLY scared?"

Kyvan turned his son's face to the coral. "Then remember this: there cannot be shadows without light. Seek out the light and you will find the courage..."

* * * * *

Author: bitsy_dj
Date: Mar 17th
...Kyle's mind snapped back to the present as the shadow took a crushing grip on his gills and wrapped around to cover his eyes.

Seek out the light.

He turned his eyes upward. The flame above still burned a liquid green, but it burned. It gave light. And he could still see it, even as the cold film of the shadow tried to block his vision.

Swim upward!

His body was bound and numb with cold, and the sea floor was rising up toward him again, frothing. Kyle kept his eyes on the green fire and, with a mighty heave, lashed his powerful tail from side to side. The shadow's grip, insubstantial as it was, shook loose -- and Kyle shot upward, swimming desperately for the light.

The shadow gave chase. He could hear a roaring in his ears of absence, as if the ocean's steady ebb and flow had vanished; out of the corner of his eyes he could see the grasping darkness run along the walls and cover over the globes. Including his father's. Kyle felt sick at himself for fleeing and leaving his father to his fate; he faltered and nearly turned....

Seek out the light and you will find the courage.

Kyvan's words rang in his son's ears. He was not fleeing as a coward; he was seeking the only possible victory....

Swift as a maractite bolt but weeping, Kyle shot upward. The brilliance nearly blinded him, but he didn't stop, and before he realized what he was about to do he had plunged into the heart of the fire.

It blazed around him, brighter still, and the sickly green transformed around him back to gleaming-hot crimson and gold. Kyle gasped and looked down at himself; he was on fire, surrounded by flames, but not hurt or consumed. His fins trailed light when he moved them. His dagger glowed like a sliver of the sun.

BREAK THE CURSE.

"I don't know how," he cried, not knowing to whom.

YOU KNOW. YOU HAVE ALREADY BEGUN.

Kyle stared downward at the writhing shadow. To leave the intoxicating heat of the light and plunge into the shadow-creature's grasp again was the last thing he wanted to do, the most terrifying prospect he could imagine right at this moment.

So he did it.

He dived from the fire with its essence streaming around him, his dagger glowing molten-hot with every color of the sun through sea-spray, every color of the coral, every glorious hue that had ever illuminated the sea. Like a comet through space, like a gout from an underwater volcano, he lunged for the deepest shadow.

There cannot be shadows without light.

But the light did not need the shadow.

He thrust his dagger straight between the venomous, glowing green eyes, with all his weight and speed behind it. He fell through the insubstantial surface into cold blackness, and the fire surrounding him flickered and was quenched.

He crashed into the stone of the cave floor and rolled on it, thrashing and choking, and looked up.

The green eyes ignited with the color of the true flame, and the Shadow screamed around him, on and on, as its own eyes lit up and banished its very substance.

And then it was gone, and the Korbats swayed and slumped in the water, unconscious. Liquid fire danced across the floor and over Kyle, licked up into the water and across the globes.

And they dissolved. The captives seemed not to notice at first, but then one moved, and another, and life came back into their eyes. Kyvan looked around; his gaze fell on Kyle, and for a moment he looked bewildered -- and then he dropped down beside his son and touched a fin incredulously to the younger Kyrii's face.

"Father?" Kyle croaked. "Do you -- do you know me?"

A smile broke across Kyvan's haggard face. "My son," he said. "I knew you all along."

* * * * *

"But I don't understand," Kyle said at last, as Kyvan told his story along the way home, amidst a parade of incredulous, joyous Neopets near weeping with the rediscovery of real feeling. It was slow going; after so long trapped in tiny confined spaces, even by magic, most of the captives were a bit stiff and couldn't swim quickly. "I thought you were going to seek out Chiazilla. How did the fire and shadow come into it? What were those Korbats doing? How did I break the curse? And how did you know me, when they said there was nothing left of you? You certainly didn't look as if you recognized me!"

"Slow down!" Kyvan said, laughing. "Though most of your questions go together, I suppose." He sobered. "I did go to seek Chiazilla -- and found him, I suppose. I even spoke with him, though his voice was so loud I was almost deafened, and it was hard to understand his words. He was guarding the sea from the Shadow-Creature, I think; the two Korbats made the mistake of waking it, long ago. It was supposedly the pet of some Dark Faerie who, if you'll believe it, used to be good -- a protector -- but became corrupted and was imprisoned in stone long before Maraqua was ever founded. A creature of despair...." Kyvan trailed off, shuddering.

"I can believe it," Kyle said, trying to change the tone to something lighter. "The Drenched are Water Faeries and yet still evil; why couldn't a Dark Faerie be good -- or at least pretend for a while? ...But how was the curse broken?"

"Darkness can exist without light, as light can without darkness, but a shadow requires light to cast it." Kyvan smiled faintly. "I think I told you that once, before I left."

"You did," Kyle said softly. "That's how I thought to swim into the fire."

Kyvan's smile was weary, but warm. "The shadow-creature couldn't survive without the fire, but it thus held the seed of its own destruction. None of the rest of us were wise or swift enough to reach the flame of hope before we could be caught. I -- I almost thought of it, but then I found myself trapped, and even when I saw you again and knew who you were, and why you had come, and what might happen to you...." He looked away in shame. "I was too long wrapped in despair to feel or care."

"It wouldn't let you," Kyle corrected him. "And you may not have reached the fire yourself, but you told me how to." He squeezed his father's fin, only slowing them slightly. "I was brave for myself and Aunt Velna for a long time, like you told me. Then I had to come be brave for you." He paused. "She'll be glad to see you. She's--"

"Just ahead." Kyvan had lifted his head and was looking forward.

Kyle followed his gaze. "Aunt Velna!" he called out. "You came to meet us! Aunt Velna, I found him!"

The kind-eyed Lupe darted forward through the water, and the last of the Shadow's hold on Kyvan let him go as he fell into his sister's embrace.

The End

Author: schefflera
Date: Mar 17th



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