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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 25th day of Hunting, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 111 > Continuing Series > Dark Flame: Part Three

Dark Flame: Part Three

by child_dragon

Destiny?

I spent the rest of the day in kind of a daze. My mind was still reeling from what had just happened. Melody fixed dinner, karma, a kind of strange vegetarian pasta with olives. She remembered to pick those nasty things out of my helping even. I ate it without really tasting anything. After that Sabreur suggested a movie. I fell asleep halfway through and woke up the next morning in my bed, still dressed, with a massive ache in my shoulders and neck.

     I groaned and literally rolled out of bed. My back was just one massive lump of pain. I drew my magic to me and loosened the muscles and healed the damaged areas. The pain faded and I stood. Better see to my pets. They were probably in the same state.

     I found Terraile in her room, listening to music. She turned it down when I entered.

     "You okay?" I asked.

     "Oh, I'm fine. I hurt like heck this morning but Aldrai fixed that. He did that for all of us."

     "Really? That was nice of him."

     "Yeah. Try to be quiet when you go downstairs, I think everyone else is still asleep."

     I nodded and padded downstairs. Sure enough, Sakuko and Netsuko were curled up on the couch, Sabreur in the recliner, and Melody on the floor with a pillow under her head. Infernus and Melody's three pets were piled in a heap by the sliding door to the backyard. I couldn't remember when they had come over.

     I tiptoed over to Aldrai's room where I could hear voices. I slipped in and found MoonFall and Aldrai awake and talking.

     "I was just about to go get everyone up and make breakfast," the island Uni said, "Faerie pancakes sound good?"

     "Sure."

     She nodded and trotted from the room.

     "So Aldrai," I said, sitting on his chair, "how're feeling?"

     He ducked his head in a half-nod.

     "Pretty good. Ya know… I've been thinking about this crash."

     "And?"

     "Well, I've always wondered why I've had magic. I mean, you have yours, Terraile has her bow, so why do you need me? And then… there's this crash. And Terraile can't heal because she uses dark magic and you can only tend to one at a time… and there I am. I think, I don't know, maybe it's my purpose to use my magic to help others. Maybe it was destiny at work yesterday."

     "Perhaps," I said thoughtfully.

     "I mean, maybe that crash was supposed to happen. So I'd learn what I'm supposed to do with my magic."

     "But the crash was a bad thing," I said gently.

     "Good things can come out of bad, right? I mean, the flood and all was bad, but you got me out of it. And… the Shadows were bad but you became the Essence out of that. That's good, right?"

     "I'm not so sure. Yeah, it comes in handy sometimes, but all in all, I'd rather have stayed a normal Neopian family."

     "But what about the power you have?"

     "There are some things more important than power… ah, sounds like MoonFall is done with the pancakes."

     I smiled and stood, heading for the door. Aldrai watched me leave.

     Aldrai took his new revelation quite seriously. We returned to the marketplace a couple days later with Sabreur and Infernus as I still needed groceries. My vehicle wasn't fixed yet so we went via air. Infernus carried Sabreur in their unique hangliding way, I flew on my own, and Aldrai used his magic to shift into the Christmas Zafara color. We landed near the bakery and I quickly slipped inside to see if there had been a recent restock.

     Sure enough, the Kacheek had just put out oodles of fresh newly-baked bread. I practically pounced on them and started buying stuff up faster than he could put it into bags. I loooove bread. I managed to buy up enough to keep my pets fed for a couple days before Un-eairkagh dragged me out of the store.

     "We need a balanced diet!" he cried.

     "But bread is an important source of nutrients," I argued.

     His eyes drifted over to the chocolate factory and then to Hubert's Hotdogs.

     "Oh fine. We'll get some other food for the week."

     I sprung for lunch while we were out. We ate near the rainbow pool, sitting on the grass. We weren't the only group out there either. A lot of pets and owners were gathered around the Money Tree, giving or taking items and money. Aldrai watched them for a while. He then stood and walked over. I quickly pushed myself to my feet and followed.

     "Mommy… I'm hungry," a young Chia was crying.

     "I know… I'm trying."

     Aldrai gently touched the Chia's shoulder and handed him one of our sandwiches. The Chia's eyes lit up in gratitude and he eagerly started eating it.

     "Thank you…" his owner said, her eyes shining, "I've been trying for so long."

     Aldrai shrugged.

     "I understand."

     I quickly switched to my magical sight and indeed saw the currents of power gathering around Aldrai. I frowned, unsure of what he was doing. Then there was the blinding radiance I had seen yesterday. I narrowed my eyes at the brilliance and continued watching. He reached out a paw and lay it on the Chia's head. The light wrapped around him… the same way it did when Aldrai changed his color. Aldrai stepped back a step, still trailing white radiance and the Chia gasped in utter amazement. He now sported Faerie wings. Aldrai had changed his color.

     "How… how did you know?" he asked in a whisper.

     Aldrai just smiled and walked away. The two watched him go. They didn't even notice me, not even when I walked back over to the group and sat down.

     "Wow Aldrai!" Un-eairkagh said, "That was awesome!"

     "Thanks," he said smugly, "Just trying to use my magic for something good."

     I grinned weakly and exchanged glances with Terraile. She appeared worried. We finished our lunch quickly and hurried through the rest of our shopping. For some reason I didn't want to stay in the marketplace anymore. I blamed it on the heat. I think they believed me.

Helping Hand

Aldrai's new destiny consumed his life after that. He'd leave the house early in the morning and head down to the marketplace. I began to hear stories about a Christmas Zafara that stopped some bully or saved some pet from being robbed. I began to grow nervous. Aldrai was overtaxing himself, pushing his magic to the limits each and every day. Sure, helping others was a good cause, but he was going to hurt himself if he kept up like he was.

     One day I decided to go with him.

     "Well… alright," he said reluctantly.

     I walked down the street with him in silence. My buggy still wasn't fixed, in fact, the garage had said it might not be repairable. Sabreur had gone down in person to prove them wrong. He was going to call me later that evening with how it went.

     "So what do you do all day?" I asked him.

     He just shrugged and kept his head down.

     "Aldrai?"

     "Well… I just… feel who needs something. Then I go help them."

     "All day?"

     "Sometimes."

     "Don't you get tired?"

     "Yeah, but I'm okay. Honestly."

     "Netsuko misses seeing you."

     His ear twitched and he didn't reply.

     "I think you're pushing yourself too hard," I said gently, "It's good to try to help others but you may be taking it too far."

     He didn't say anything and we continued the walk to the marketplace in silence.

     When we arrived there Aldrai quickly turned into his Christmas Zafara form. It soon became apparent where he was needed. A small Bruce had just managed to snag a hundred Neopoints off the Money Tree and was hurrying away, eyes agleam in excitement. A green Kougra walked up and shoved him back.

     "Hey, give me that," the Kougra snapped.

     The Bruce's eyes started to water and he backed away in fear.

     "I said, give me that!"

     "Excuse me," Aldrai said quietly from behind the Kougra.

     The Kougra turned and growled at Aldrai.

     "Watcha want, shrimp?" he snarled.

     "Don't judge by size," the Zafara reproached, "Sometimes things aren't what they appear."

     "Get lost."

     "No. You leave that Bruce alone."

     The Kougra snarled and shoved Aldrai away. The Zafara staggered back a couple steps but then leaped into the air, power flaring up around him. The white fire was visible to everyone nearby. The Kougra gasped and backpedalled away.

     "I said to leave him alone," Aldrai said sternly, "Now get out of here! Go!"

     The Kougra gasped in terror and turned and fled, his tail puffed up in fright. Aldrai landed and the fire vanished. He gave everyone nearby a stern glance and turned his attention to the Bruce. He stared at Aldrai in a mixture of fear and amazement, then babbled out a thank you. Then he too turned and ran.

     Aldrai returned to my side and I did my best to ignore the looks that followed us.

     "See?" he said, glancing up at me.

     "I don't know Aldrai…"

     "Just because we have power doesn't mean we should be scared to use it. I know that's why you rarely use your power."

     "There's more to it then that."

     "Well, I'm not scared to use my magic anymore. I'm done with being scared and weak. I have a purpose now! Can't you see that Kiddo?"

     "I guess so. But still… be careful Aldrai. Just because you have power doesn't mean you have to use it. Sometimes things can be solved by being left alone. And besides… I know it's tiring to work magic all day. Please… for the sake of me worrying, cut back a little. Spend more time at home, with your family. With your friends."

     He sighed and scuffed at the dirt with his paw.

     "Alright. Since you insist."

     Sabreur called me that evening, right after dinner. I flew right over to his house to inspect the buggy that lay half disassembled in his front yard.

     "Talk about ghetto," I muttered, surveying the mess.

     "Ah, I'll get it cleaned up," my brother replied, wiping his hands on a towel.

     "You'd better. The neighbors might file a complaint for such an eyesore."

     "They're used to my lab blowing up. This won't even faze 'em."

     I sighed in resignation and walked over to my truck. The frame was pretty much straightened out but the insides were a mess.

     "So what did the garage say?" I asked.

     "The undercarriage of the buggy is wrecked. They can't fix it."

     "Great, just great," I muttered, "I don't have the money to get a new vehicle."

     "I know. Which is why I'm going to fix it."

     "But the garage said it wasn't repairable."

     He grinned at me and picked up what looked like a screwdriver (although with Sabreur you never knew).

     "That's because they are weak-minded fools with only a shaky grasp of physics," he gloated, "but I, Sabreur, can fix anything!"

     "So you called me over to tell me that you're a mad scientist? I already knew that."

     "No, I called you to tell you I'm going to fix your vehicle. And add some improvements."

     That got my attention.

     "What kind of 'improvements'?"

     He tried to look innocent.

     "Oh… nothing. Much. Just a modified version of the grand lighting beam on the front… reinforced armor plating on the sides… a high-tech inbuilt computer system complete with tracking capabilities for the side mounted guns and GPS."

     I stared at him in disbelief.

     "What?" he protested innocently, "Doesn't everyone want their buggy to be a fully armed assault vehicle?"

     "No… only technology crazed freaks like you."

     He sighed.

     "Alright, I'll leave the armor plating off. But can I pleeease include everything else? It's a new design I've been dying to try out!"

     I sighed in despair. There was no stopping him apparently.

     "Fine. Do what you want. But if my buggy blows up I get yours."

     He beamed happily and dove for his toolbox.

     "Thanks sis!" he cried.

     I rolled my eyes and headed back to my house to break the news.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Dark Flame: Part One

Dark Flame: Part Two

Dark Flame: Part Four

Dark Flame: Part Five

Dark Flame: Part Six

Dark Flame: Part Seven

Dark Flame: Part Eight

Dark Flame: Part Nine

Dark Flame: Part Ten

Dark Flame: Part Eleven

Dark Flame: Part Twelve

Dark Flame: Part Thirteen

Dark Flame: Part Fourteen

Dark Flame: Part Fifiteen

Dark Flame: Part Sixteen

Dark Flame: Part Seventeen

Dark Flame: Part Eighteen

Dark Flame: Part Nineteen

Dark Flame: Part Twenty

Dark Flame: Part Twenty One

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