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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 16th day of Awakening, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 101 > New Series > Living in the Shadow: Part One

Living in the Shadow: Part One

by frostedfalcon

Every young Neopet gets warned of the evil around Neopia, and every young Neopet gets warned about facing up to the evil and gets told the stories of how others have tried this. Every young Neopet gets told about the Shadow Usul and hears the words that strike terror through the hearts of Neopets, "... creeping slowly up the wall, the Shadow Usul did not make a sound. The light from the moon illuminated the whole area, apart from a slow, crawling blackness, an area in which no light shone. Climbing up to the unlocked window, the shadow flowed inside like a river of darkness..." But, DeepMirage wasn't like every young Neopet…

***

Dae was a rouge Neopet. He needed no-one which suited his situation well, he had no-one. That all changed when he found an owner. They were a misfit pair. Both the complete opposite of each other but it suited them. Dae also found himself a nice petpet, a small mutant Puppyblew called Fang as well as a nice basement, sorry laboratory, a robot assistant turned brother and two siblings who he could torture. Our story is set before the family came , in the days of Mikey and Dae. Dae was happy with his life but buried deep down inside him was fear, fear and hate the very things that had turned him into a rogue, the very things that had shaped his life into the bad thing it now was, the very things Dae shuddered at the thought of…

     The moon was high in the bleak night sky as Dae ran away from the bakers with some bread he'd managed to steal. He stopped in the park and sat down on a nearby bench to eat. He admired the stars, the way each of them had their own individual twinkle, their own individual shape and place in the vast sky. He hoped one day he'd have a nice warm home where he could watch them from the window but he knew that wasn't happening anytime soon. A Neopet and owner passed by him. They both stuck their noses up. No-one wanted to associate with a thief, especially a mutant thief.

     Dae hated this, he hated being mutant, his old owner had done it then chucked him out like rubbish. He continued eating ignoring memories of his childhood. He heard the wild Pteri's twittering in the trees as he finally decided to sleep. It was a warm night and he was thankful for this, but what happened next he wouldn't be thankful for.

     A shadow covered Dae as he turned to rest. He looked up to see two dark eyes glaring at him. He jumped off the bench and tried to run but was frozen on the spot. He looked down at the figure, a dark purple body accompanied the eyes. The thing appeared to be an Usul but it was different somehow. Its eyes were fixed on Dae and this sent shivers down his spine. Its mouth opened and a horrible chill surrounded Dae.

     "Come!" Dae heard the words come from its mouth and he grew more and more afraid. He closed his eyes and opened them to see whether he was dreaming but the thing was still there. The darkness that was all around the Usul began to surround Dae and all he could do was look on in horror.

     Dae woke up and looked at TV the fire. He was back with Mikey, he kept having the dreams of that night over and over again. Every time he went to sleep he immediately remembered it, it had all happened so long ago but his dreams had been haunted ever since.

     "And onto other news tonight. The winners of the latest art gallery contest have just been announced they are…"

     "DeepMirage… come!" Dae jumped and looked around him, there was no-one there, only Mikey. It was the voice, the voice he heard on that night 2 years ago. He jumped on the sofa next to Mikey petrified and stared at the TV.

     "Authorities spoke out today on the recent disease affecting pets in the downtown Neopia area. They said that they are baffled, it only seems to be pets who have been in the Neopian park in the past week that have been affected." Dae heard those words, Neopian park in the past week. He knew fine well what had happened to the pets. They had seen the shadow, the very thing that had made Dae the way he was and he knew it was coming back for him.

     He jumped as there was a knock on the door and Mikey got up to answer it.

     "Sari, hi!"

     "No time to talk we have to go, now!" Sari grabbed Mikey and Dae and tugged them outside.

     "Where are we going?" Mikey managed to stop Sari and Lae as they were walking through the countryside. The sun was high above head and it was unusually hot for the time of year.

     "Somewhere safe!" Sari continued on down the dirt track that had been made from repeated walking.

     "Can you at least tell us what land its in?" Dae chirped up becoming exhausted from the heat. "Haunted Woods, now shut up!" Lae glared at Dae.

     Ten minutes later Sari and Lae finally stopped letting Dae and Mikey rest. Dae looked at Sari and Lae, neither seemed to be exhausted from the heat, instead they just stood staring forward, at the Haunted Woods. They were less than 5 minutes walk away, curious why Sari would pick this spot to rest when they were so close to their destination.

     "Now." Sari hid her voice in a loud cough and laughed as a swarm of Pteri's flew out of the trees and dumped a net over Dae and Mikey.

     "SARA!" Mikey yelled as the net knocked him to the floor, Dae was taken away by shadow Kacheeks and Sari watched and laughed as Mikey was dragged off by shadow Gelerts.

     "It seems the queens plan is coming along nicely Laeyan!" Sari laughed looking up at the sky, "I have captured them for you my queen, as I promised I would!"

     "Get in there you useless mortal!" Mikey jumped up to find himself in a stone room. His legs and arms were chained up to the wall. They weren't fastened in any particular way with the hooks that held them to the wall nearly falling out. The mortar in the walls was crumbling and the only light in the room came from a small slit on the opposite wall to where Mikey was. There was a large wooden door with a metal bolt on, which gave the whole room an eerie effect, but lying in front of the door was Sari.

     "You!" Mikey yanked his chains out of the wall with ease and lurched for Sari, she jumped back with a confused look on her face.

     "What are you doing?" Sari looked straight at Mikey, he could see she had no idea what was going on, or at least pretended to.

     "You, getting me and Dae here and then locking me up!"

     "Mikey you have to listen to me, something serious is going on! The Shadow Usul has taken over the woods and is advancing with her armies through Neopia, she's trying to take it all over, something every other evil pet has failed at. She kidnapped me and Lae and brainwashed us to be her slaves, she's got what she wanted out of me now, I'm just worried about what she wants from Lae!" Sari looked out of the window as a tear rolled down her cheek, Mikey could see she wasn't lying, something any friend would, overlooking the curious fact that she knew so much about what was going on.

     "Or what she wants from Dae!" Mikey walked over to Sari, "So you got a plan for getting out of here?" "As a matter of fact yes, I was in here before she brainwashed me. Lae and I had begun pushing these stones out." Sari pointed to a cluster of 5 stones in the wall that had very little mortar around them, "We're on the ground floor, we should be able to make an easy escape. Once we're out of here its not that far to the Lost Desert, once there we'll be able to get to Faerieland where we can get the help of the faeries to bring down the Usul. Now help me shift these stones." Mikey again overlooked the whole fact that Sari knew so much, the fact she knew how to escape and the fact that her "brainwash" had worn off, and helped her.

     "DeepMirage… come…" Dae looked around him, he was alone in a huge room. There seemed to be no end to it, the walls were covered with images of shadow pets, a Gelert, a Kacheek and the one that scared him the most, an Usul. "What's the matter DeepMirage you don't remember?" Dae turned around to find the Usul stood there smiling at him, "Now I'm going to continue what I started a long time ago!" as she finished her sentence two huge shadows came out from her tail and surrounded Dae, they were choking him. He could put up no fight or do anything other than let them surround him. The evil contained in them twisted through his body and glowed in his eyes. His mutant appearance changed black, the only colour on him was the purple glow from his eyes, he was a shadow Kougra.

     "Where now?" Mikey hopped out of the hole in the wall that Sari and him had made.

     "If I remember correctly, the Lost Desert is this way!" Sari ran forward and stopped dead as she heard a scream from the castle, a scream that belonged to Lae.

Sari turned around and looked forward, she did the same a few times and eventually wandered forward. Mikey was shocked, if he heard Dae scream he wouldn't hesitate to run in after him, it now became increasingly clear that Sari was acting very strange…

     "My queen." Dae bowed before the Usul.

     "Good Kougra, now go out with Laeyan find Mikey and Sari and destroy them." The Shadow Usul smiled as Dae turned to leave.

     "Fran?" Mikey hammered on the NeoHome door, Sari was stood crying next to him.

     "FRANCES!" Shinum screamed as she opened the door.

     "Mikey, what are you doing here and where's Dae?" Fran looked puzzled as she invited Mikey and Sari inside.

     "The Shadow Usul, she kidnapped Dae and Laeyan."

     "Laeyan?" Frances, not being a friend of Sari's looked even more puzzled.

     "Yeah, Sari's pet." Fran looked at Sari, she just seemed to be staring into space, not bothering to look around or sit down.

     "So what do you want me to do?" Fran looked back at Mikey.

     "We were hoping you and Shinum could help us with a rescue plan."

     "A rescue plan? Me and Shinum? One Neopet and three humans aren't much of an army to attack one of the evil creatures in Neopia!" Fran laughed at Mikey.

     "This is a threat to everyone in Neopia, if we ignore her now she's going to get power and support and attack everywhere starting with the lands surrounding the haunted woods, I'm placing bets that she already has all the evil pets rounded up serving her, I wouldn't be surprised if the good will be next!" Mikey glared at Frances.

     "Okay, okay, I'll help but we need more support!" Fran grabbed her jacket and followed Mikey and Sari out of her home making sure Shinum was close.

To be continued…

Authors Note: Feedback is greatly appreciated; I'd love to hear what you think of the story so please Neomail me :) I will do my best to try and reply to all Neomails but please remember, I'm human (contrary to what some of you may believe) and have a life outside of the PC as scary as that may be for someone of you.

Previous Episodes

Living In The Shadow: Part Two

Living In The Shadow: Part Three

Week 101 Related Links

Somebody's Waiting to Take You Home: Part Four
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