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Neopedia : Shadow of the Eyrie

How could I have been so foolish? the fire Eyrie thought as he ran through the woods. The moon was already rising on the horizon, and Deakon (who had been busy reading a spooky book) had lost track of time and done something no sane Neopet should ever do... stay in the Haunted Woods past nightfall. He looked up as he ran, scanning the dead branches overhead that arched over the path like a foreboding cathedral. He'd never be able to fly through that tangled mess, so for now, he was stuck with running.

Something bright green caught the corner of his eye. The Eyrie looked down, then skidded to a halt, just in time to avoid stepping in a bubbling green puddle. It looked acidic, and seemed to glow. Deakon quietly thanked his lucky stars he hadn't stepped in it... who knows what would have happened! He then noticed that his shadow fell over the puddle, and he turned his head to look over his shoulder. The bright, full moon was rising higher in the sky. Its light filtered through the dead branches and trees, producing an array of spooky shadows. Not wanting to waste any more time getting out of the woods, the Eyrie took a few steps back, then made a running jump over the puddle. With a little help from his wings, he managed to clear the puddle by a good margin, which was just fine with the Eyrie. That glowing goop gave him the creeps. After landing, he took one last glance at the seemingly radioactive puddle, gave a shudder, and desperately hurried home.

The next morning, Deakon awoke and then groggily sat up in bed and yawned. What a horrible night that was, he thought, remembering last night's events. However, he had eventually made it home unscathed, so there was no harm done. The Eyrie crawled from his bed, smoothed out his feathers, and went downstairs to start the day. He had some shopping to do, so his first task was to head to the Neopian Bazaar.

It was lovely, bright day outside, so several shopkeepers had set up their wares in carts outside that day, to entice Neopets to come into their stores. Deakon hummed as he walked down the sidewalk. Behind him he heard an angry shout, followed by a blue Kacheek wearing an apron running out in front of the Eyrie and holding a hand out to stop him. "Just what do you think you're doing!?!" the Kacheek demanded before crossing his arms.

Flabbergasted, the Eyrie stared at the Kacheek. "W-walking?"

"Don't be smart with me!" the Kacheek growled.

Still stunned, Deakon felt his cheeks flush as he realised other Neopets were stopping and staring. "I honestly don't know what you're upset about."

The Kacheek growled again and pointed behind Deakon. The Eyrie turned his head around, then jerked in shock. There, looped around his tail, were a good half a dozen doughnuts! Deakon gaped in absolute shock, then turned back to the shopkeeper. "I-I'm sorry! I have no idea how those got onto my tail!"

The Kacheek glared at him. "Uh-huh."

"Really!" Deakon said, turning around to hold out his tail to the Kacheek. "It must have been an accident... please take them back!"

The Kacheek crunched his nose up in disgust. "I doubt anyone wants to eat a doughnut that's been swinging around on an Eyrie's tail."

"Oh! Of course," Deakon said, blushing and turning back around. Quite a large group of Neopets were staring at him now. Deakon opened the coin purse he had around his neck and handed the shopkeeper more than enough Neopoints for the doughnuts, as an apology.

The shopkeeper nodded roughly and went back to his shop. The crowd that had gathered began to disperse, and Deakon heard several unflattering mutters. He flicked his tail toward a nearby wastebasket, tossing the now fur-covered doughnuts into the trash. Embarrassed beyond words, Deakon quickened his pace to a trot, eager to get his shopping done and go home.

Not five minutes later, he heard a shrill shriek, and had only a moment to look around before a heavy purse collided with the top of his head. "You fiend!" The satchel collided with his head again before he could even open his mouth. "You monster!" Again it struck. "Never in my whole time in Neopia have I ever-" The purse again smacked into Deakon's sore head.

"Please, ma'am! Please stop hitting me!" Deakon cried, collapsing to the ground and throwing his paws over his head.

The Usul that had been attacking him thrust her fist to her hips and shouted, "Nothing less than what you deserved, you filthy little thief! How dare you snatch my friend's purse?!? Give it back immediately!"

Deakon gawked in horror. Why in the world did this Usul think he was a purse snatcher, of all things? He sat up onto his haunches to explain to her that she must be mistaken, but then he realized he had a black and gold purse in his right paw! His eyes bulged, and he was struck speechless. All he was able to do was open and close his mouth, trying to stutter an apology, but nothing came out. He shook his head, shoved the purse into the angry Usul's paws, then took off running down the street. Not trusting himself near anyone else, as soon as he gained enough speed, he took off into the air and headed for home.

He didn't touch ground until he landed on his doorstep. He flung his front door open, then slammed it shut soon as he was inside. He panted heavily as he wracked his brains for an explanation of what could've possibly happened back at the bazaar. He walked to the kitchen to get some warm milk and calm his nerves when, out of the corner of his eyes, he saw the unimaginable. The shadow of his right front paw, despite the fact that his leg was standing firmly on the ground, reached out and snatched a mug off the counter.

Deakon blinked in surprise, and looked again, but the shadow was once again underneath him... and he was holding the mug! Deakon leapt backward with a squawk, dropping the mug in the process. He then stood there, trembling. Shadows are supposed to do what you do... not the other way around! Once again he saw his shadow reach forward and grab the mug, and in a sudden burst of reason, Deakon reached out and turned off the light in the kitchen. Immediately the shadow disappeared, and the mug clattered to the floor. At least there is a way to control it, Deakon thought, but that was only a small comfort. His shadow was cursed, and there was only one place he knew that could deal with curses... the Haunted Woods.

Now, although Deakon journeys to the Haunted Woods every day and asks everyone he can find if they know how to lift the curse, he has yet to be successful. The poor Eyrie only shops on cloudy, overcast days, when his shadow is too weak to be a threat. Deakon does what he can, warning other Neopets about the dangers of staying in the Haunted Woods at night, trying to right the wrongs of his shadow. His dreams are fitful, for he always has the fear that one day his shadow will become angry with him and use its strange power to do something far worse than snatching a mug...

He sighs as he walks down the street, and those he passes stare and whisper about him. They say, "There goes Deakon - the Eyrie who really is afraid of his own shadow."