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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 25th day of Eating, Yr 20
The Neopian Times Week 97 > Continuing Series > The Reality of Dreams: Part Eleven

The Reality of Dreams: Part Eleven

by sabreur

> incident11.txt
This file has been locked.
Enter password: *********
Checking password...
Access Granted...

:::::::::  FILE NAME:  INCIDENT11.TXT  ::::::::::::::::::::::
Cutting outside communications...

Prologue

Nightmare was making mistakes. Although they appeared minor, I fully intended to exploit them to their full potential. His first mistake was in believing I would sacrifice my friends for my own safety. Instead, the threat of losing my friends galvanized me into action.

But his second mistake was far more subtle -- and dangerous. Nightmare had assumed I wouldn't seek help. Ordinarily, he would have been right. I do tend to work alone when possible, preferring the company of my own thoughts. But this was far more serious than a laboratory experiment or a physics class. I needed some help.

Fortunately, I knew exactly where to find it.

End of Prologue

Location:  Neopia Central Launch Pad 1
Time:  9:26 pm NST

The flight passed uneventfully, thankfully. We passed through the upper atmosphere of Neopia like a fiery comet, superheated air trailing away from the ship as it plunged towards the ground. Once we were through the clouds above the landing pad, the pilot (a human girl with a co-pilot Wocky) cut the engines and smoothly glided the craft to a landing. We exited the plane as quickly as we could, carrying the precious lump of titanium in one of my bags. The night sky was overcast, so we couldn't see any stars. As we walked towards the parking lot, I heard a familiar voice.

     "There he is!" I groaned inwardly. It was Dark Night. The shadow Shoyru ran up to us, trench coat flapping in the slight breeze. Behind him ran a girl I assumed was his owner. She was about my height, and had long yellow-blonde hair that seemed to keep getting in her way. She wore a dark grey sweater with a flame pattern on the sleeves, as well as an ordinary pair of blue jeans. From the amused expression she wore, I got the impression that she was quite used to Dark's attitude. The pair stopped in front of us, and Dark got out a notepad from inside his coat.

     "To save you some questions," began Dark Night, "this lady here is Megz. She's my owner. Treat her nice or I'll shove this notepad down your throat. Now, I understand there was something of an incident on the way to the Virtupets Space Station?" He smirked, pen poised above his notepad. Infernus spoke first, and I choked back an angry reply.

     "You would be better off asking the spaceport management," Infernus spoke, his calm tones taking the edge of my irritation. "Sabreur was asleep when the incident occurred, and I wasn't in a position to see much." Dark Night scowled. He had clearly been hoping for me to speak to quickly and incriminate myself.

     "Well," Dark said testily, "I guess I'll go do just that. But you'd better be telling the truth, you hear me?" He waved his pen in our direction and stalked off towards the spaceport. Megz turned to follow him, but stopped and turned back to us.

     "Don't mind him," she said with a weary smile. "He always gets like this when he thinks he's on to something big. Just so long as you haven't done anything wrong, you'll be fine." She paused. "You -- haven't done anything, have you?"

     "No, nothing," I replied, laughing a little.

     "Good," she said, chuckling, "otherwise I'd have to smack you with a fish!"

     "Umm..." I wasn't sure how to respond to that one.

Location: On the road
Time:  9:31 pm NST
"So, where are we going?" queried Infernus from the passenger seat. I kept my eyes on the road, as the headlights pierced the darkness ahead.

     "Drake's house. I need to get this titanium forged, but we don't have the right equipment in the lab." Drake_Da_Dragon was a long time friend of mine. He was well-built, brown haired, and appeared in all respects normal (although he had a habit of wearing armor on a regular basis). I could never shake the feeling that there was something not-quite-natural about him, but I had yet to see anything out of the ordinary. In any case, Drake was highly interested in armor and swords of all types, and had a well-maintained forge attached to his house. I was certain he could help me modify the fire sword, provided he could heat his forge enough to work with the heat-resistant titanium.

     We pulled up into Drake's driveway, and I noted with some relief that the lights were on - Drake was home. We got out and ran up to the door, knocking hurriedly. Drake answered the door, wearing his usual set of armor made from overlapping metal scales.

     "Um, hi," Drake said, obviously surprised by our arrival at the somewhat late hour.

     "Sorry to bother you, Drake," I said, "but we need help." Drake glanced at us, then turned around.

     "Okay, come on in. You can tell me about it inside." We followed him in, and sat down at a large oaken dinner table. As quickly as we could, we explained the events of the past few weeks. Drake listened, occasionally raising an eyebrow at some of the stranger parts of the story. When we had finished, I brought out the fire sword and the titanium from the Virtupets Space Station.

     "That's where you come in," I said, pointing to the fire sword. "I want to replace the blade on the fire sword, but I can't get enough heat with the equipment in my lab to make titanium soft enough to work with."

     "Hrmm," Drake mumbled, leaning over the table and gently running his hand across the blade. He picked up the lump of titanium and closed his eyes, thinking. After perhaps a minute, he opened his eyes and set the titanium back on the table with a thud. "I can do it. It will take maybe an hour to get the forge up to the right temperature. In the meantime, I want you to draw up plans for exactly how you want the new blade to look."

     Drake picked up the fire sword and strode purposefully through a door leading to the back of the house, where the forge was. After a few moments, I heard an unearthly roar - most likely Drake had just started up his furnace. I took out some drafting tools from my bags and began to sketch some preliminary designs. Infernus took out a notebook and began reading off critical measurements and calculations we had made on the flight back to Neopia.

     An hour passed. I had just finished the final design, complete with measurements when Drake burst into the room. He was sweating heavily, and smelled like sulfur. "If you want to use the forge, now's the time! I can't keep it at this temperature for long!"

     "It's ready!" I said, grabbing up the designs. Infernus snatched the titanium off the table and we darted into the forge room. A blast of heat hit us like the backwash from a jet engine. Tears stung my eyes, and I began to sweat. Even Infernus looked uncomfortable. The haze of heat made it difficult to see, but Drake directed us through the maze of equipment littering the room easily. At Drake's urging, Infernus set the titanium down on a table next to a barely-contained inferno.

     "Alright!" Drake exclaimed, grabbing a massive blacksmith's hammer. "Now for the fun part!"

Location: Drake's House
Time:  11:21 pm NST

"I think that's it!" yelled Drake, slightly hoarse from yelling over the noise of the forge. With a pair of tongs he plunged the semi-molten titanium into a vast container of water, sending clouds of steam everywhere. He wiped sweat off his forehead and placed the newly finished blade on a table for inspection. Infernus looked closely at the sword with a magnifying glass.

     "Even blade, straight lines... no dents or deformities... no discolorations..." Infernus muttered, running a clawed hand along the blade. He looked up and grinned. "It looks perfect."

     "You weren't doubting my work, were you?" said Drake, trying without much success to turn his grin into a scowl. Despite his comment, he seemed pleased. I looked at the blade, and grinned. As Infernus had said, it looked perfect.

     The original fire sword had been dully metallic. The new sword gleamed brightly. It was also considerably thinner, and was only sharpened on one edge. This made it a great deal stronger, and I could twist my wrist to keep the blade pointed in the correct direction. The blade had been remodeled from an unwieldy cutlass-style blade to a thin saber, similar to my old sword. The tip was sharpened on both ends, making the sword suitable for both cutting and thrusting.

     The fire sword was no more. The Advanced Fire Saber had taken its place.

     "Anything else you need?" Drake asked, placing his tools back in their racks.

     "No, thank you," I replied, sheathing the sword in my belt. "There are some other modifications I want to make, but I need my lab to do that."

     "Alright," Drake sighed and turned towards me, smiling. "But next time, would you give me a little warning before barging in here in the middle of the night!?"

::::::::::  END OF FILE:  INCIDENT11.TXT  ::::::::::::::::::


To be continued...


Previous Episodes

The Reality of Dreams: Part One

The Reality of Dreams: Part Two

The Reality of Dreams: Part Three

The Reality of Dreams: Part Four

The Reality of Dreams: Part Five

The Reality of Dreams: Part Six

The Reality of Dreams: Part Seven

The Reality of Dreams: Part Eight

The Reality of Dreams: Part Nine

The Reality of Dreams: Part Ten

The Reality of Dreams: Part Twelve

The Reality of Dreams: Part Thirteen

The Reality of Dreams: Part Fourteen

The Reality of Dreams: Part Fifteen

The Reality of Dreams: Part Sixteen


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