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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 12th day of Eating, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 127 > Continuing Series > The Curse of the Dark Nova: Part Four

The Curse of the Dark Nova: Part Four

by dancepixie100

It was another morning when the Ixi stirred from sleep. This time, she did not wake up inside her cozy room in the cottage, but outside in the midst of a glade. Lush green trees formed an enclosed circle and created a cool, relaxing shade where the sunlight was filtered between the thick branches. Yellow poppies and lilac blossoms sprouted between the tall thick grass that was decorated with beads of dew dropped water. Small puddles of rain left delicate crystals on the soft earth, which tickled the Ixi’s nose.

     Ritz’s eyes fluttered open after a long and restless night. At first she couldn’t remember why she had been sleeping outside, but then the past events flashed before her eyes and she remembered. There was a terrible fight the night before in which a Darigan Eyrie and a mutant Draik managed to crawl through the window and attack. Ritz succeeded in fighting them off and protecting herself, but her nurse Kallisto had not been as lucky. She shuddered as she recounted Kallisto’s terrible death. It had all been her fault, she concluded, and therefore ran away from home never to return again.

     The sac of items Ritz saved lay nearby behind a stump of a tree. A little squeaking sound emerged from there. She pulled open the bag and took out Flutter who seemed quite unaware of what had happened. Ritz hugged the petpet close to her. It was the only thing she had left now, the only companion she had. The Faellie’s eyes seemed hopeful for some nourishment so Ritz scavenged for a few red berries and a little puddle of water. As Flutter ate soundlessly, the Ixi realized how hungry she was herself. She would need plenty of energy for the long journey she planned to take. But Ritz didn’t even know where she was going. All she knew is that she wanted to get as far away as possible.

     “Well its best we be on our way,” she told Flutter once they had both finished eating. She repacked her things, tossed her sac across her shoulders, and looked ahead for a good direction to follow. She could go straight towards the mountains, which was steep but well sheltered. Or she could go east following the path through the country land. Her other option was to turn west to the river country, but she could see dark storm clouds forming in the distance, billowing up energy and executing bolts of lightning. The storm was moving closer, and Ritz instinctively knew that she would have to find a dry shelter. The mountains were her best choice now; surely there would be a cave of some sort for her and Flutter to inhabit.

     They journeyed on crossing over rolling meadows and green hills. Ritz felt the great rush of open-air flow through her face and tangle her hair. It was getting colder as they climbed higher, so Ritz got out a blanket from her sac to wrap around her shoulders. She shivered and breathed out icy breath. They began to climb over huge boulders and rocks that were the shade of gray matching the sky above. The gloomy clouds spat out drops of rain so that it pattered on the ground. Ritz and Flutter began to run faster, winding up the narrow path to escape the beating rain. The trees seemed like a good place to rest, except for when Ritz spotted a lighting bolt crash upon a great old tree so that it burst into smoke and flames. “Come on Flutter, lets hurry!” remarked the Ixi with fright. She desperately scanned her eyes high and low, observing the crevices of the mountain walls for a dry overhead or cave. The rain was getting heavier and the air colder. Ritz was feeling weaker with every step she took.

     Just as they turned the corner, Ritz noticed a crack in the mountain wall. It could have easily been passed by unnoticed, but Ritz took a closer look. She walked towards it and discovered that it led into an opening that was dry and sheltered from the harsh weather. Ritz smiled with relief as she led Flutter in the cave. It wasn’t much but at least they could call it home. She walked forward and peered into the darkness. Ritz lit a candle, but when she saw what was in the cave she dropped it with a gasp and screamed out loud.

     “Who comes to disturb my lair?” called out a voice.

     “I’m sorry,” Ritz called back after a long silence. “It’s just that there is a storm outside and I am terribly cold and tired.” Something at the end of the cave stirred. Ritz couldn’t tell what it was so she drew her sword just in case.

     “Drop your sword,” said the voice. “I’m not going to hurt you.” Ritz didn’t move a muscle. She didn’t know if she could trust this mysterious person.

     “Then show yourself in the light,” she called back. The creature stepped forward so Ritz could see clearly. He was a handsome white Draik, a dragon with enormous powerful wings. Ridged scales ran down his back and his tail curved around his body. His eyes were wide and glossy but there was also a hint of kindness in his face.

     “Drop your sword!” he repeated. Ritz did as she was told and let the sword drop from her grip to create a loud clang on the stony floor. The Draik studied her for the longest time before saying another word.

     “Well, I suppose it would be alright if you stayed until the storm is over. What is your name, young Ixi?”

     “I am Ritz and this is my petpet Flutter,” she said gesturing to the shaking Faellie. For a moment she was considering telling the Draik that she was Princess Ritzalina but she decided against it. She would never return to be the heir to the throne of Meridell anyway. Besides, it was too risky to be telling strangers more information than they needed to know.

     “I am Evander,” the Draik said with a grunt. He winced at the sound of his own name. Ritz stared at him curiously and realized that he was hiding something else about himself also. Already they shared something in common. He pointed to a smaller creature by his side. “And this is Firenza, my Dragoyle. The little mini dragon was too busy playing with a shiny rock to even notice the guests.

     Evander started to scrounge around for some firewood. “Here let me help,” said Ritz tenderly. She helped carry some of the wood to the stones in the middle of the cave and lit a flame. The warming light flickered and grew larger until it was the size of a bonfire. Almost instantly, she stopped shivering and started to relax by the fire. Then they brought out some breads and vegetables, which they tossed into a pot to start cooking. No one spoke a word until the last bit of food was devoured.

     “Thank you,” Ritz said graciously when she was finished eating. But Evander didn’t respond; only stared sadly into the fire. “What’s wrong?” the Ixi asked with concern. The Draik’s eyes shifted uncomfortably.

     “Let me see your sword,” he said slowly. Ritz was confused. What did the Draik want to do with her weapon? She doubted him but handed him the silver sword anyway. After all, he was kind enough to allow her to stay in his cave for the night. Evander turned the sword over in his hands and examined it closely. He ran his fingers across the delicate words of a strange language that circled around the hilt. A single silver tear dripped from his eye and streamed down his face. Ritz almost felt like crying herself from seeing the sadness that overcame the Draik.

     “This is a very beautiful sword, Ritz. Use it well.” The Ixi couldn’t take it anymore. She had to know what was bothering him. Evander began telling her his story even without the Ixi asking him.

     “A long time ago, I was a knight of the kingdom of Riverence,” he began, sounding out the words carefully. “In fact I was one of the best knights the kingdom had ever seen. I bravely fought in many wars and challenged many beasts, and everyone praised me a hero. One day the king came to give me a new quest. His daughter, a beautiful princess Uni, had been captured and taken by a hideous monster, the Monoceraptor. Many fearless knights had ventured to save the girl before, but none had ever returned from their quest. However, the king trusted me to save the fair Apollonia and I agreed to do this for she was my secret love and I would die for her. After successfully slaying the Monoceraptor and freeing the princess, I was awarded a royal sword for my brave acts. The sword was a true treasure and was handed down to many kings and brave knights before me. It was considered an honor to receive. It just turns out that the very sword in your hands, Ritz, was the same sword given to me.” Evander paused to gaze at the sword once again.

     “But why do I have the sword now and how come you are not a knight any longer?” Ritz asked. The Draik continued sadly.

     “Well, I loved Apollonia so much that I decided to tell her my feelings, only to be crushed by not having them returned. The beautiful princess wasn’t in love with me, but with my only friend, Faunus, who was terribly jealous of my courageous act and of the sword I was awarded. Faunus and Apollonia wanted to be together so badly that they developed a plan to betray me. They told the king that it was not I, who had slain the beast and saved his daughter, but that it was actually Faunus. The king believed him, thinking that I had lied in order to get the sword. So he banished me from Riverence forever, and ever since I have lived here in shame.” Evander ended his story in a rage of tears just like the rain from the storm outside. A gust of wind blew in the cave and the fire blew out.

     “But what do the words around the hilt mean?”

     “It’s the words of a legend. It means, For a time of evil has come, a great hero will save us.” The Draik wiped his tears away and studied the Ixi. “Strange,” he muttered. “Ritz, the prophecy is talking about you.”

To be continued…
Previous Episodes

The Curse of the Dark Nova: Part One

The Curse of the Dark Nova: Part Two

The Curse of the Dark Nova: Part Three

The Curse of the Dark Nova: Part Five

The Curse of the Dark Nova: Part Six

The Curse of the Dark Nova: Part Seven

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