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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 23rd day of Swimming, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 128 > New Series > Into the Shadows: Part One

Into the Shadows: Part One

by superixionffx

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...

-The Gallery of Evil

***

Zayin opened her eyes. Sunlight streamed through a crack in the wall, lighting the whole room. Well, mostly. Zayin stayed in a dark corner. Not that she liked the dark. In fact, she hated it. But the darkness clung to her like leeches to skin.

     She moved out into the light. The room was light everywhere except for where she was standing.

     "It's not fair!!" Zayin cried, stomping her foot in anger. "Why can't I get out of the darkness?"

     And she stomped out of the room, angry and frustrated.

     The sun shone brightly outside, Neopia's spring magic casting a spell of delight on the Zayin, such a powerful spell that she forgot her plight and ran about, dancing and twirling in a magnificent dance. Oh, how wonderful it was to be outside!

     But darkness clung to Zayin's sleek coat, even as she leapt up into the air, face to the sun. It made no difference.

     Zayin, a beautiful shadow Usul, had been like this since she was painted after birth. Her eyes were a bright yellow, so bright that they should have shone like streetlights on a rainy day. And the ring of purple fur around her neck ought to reflect the light like a mirror. But the eyes were a deep shadow, and her purple fur stayed dark and never glinted as it should have.

     "Hey Zayin!"

     A lovely Strawberry Usul trotted over to where Zayin stood. Light seemed to flow directly out of her. She was so beautiful...

     "Hi, Krysta."

     Zayin fluffed her ears impatiently as she waited for her sister to speak.

     "Well," Krysta said, beaming, "You look so grumpy... but I know just the thing to cheer you up! It hit me in the head while I was knitting. Literally. Now close your eyes and I'll let you open them later."

     Zayin reluctantly closed her eyes and let Krysta lead her around for a few minutes.

     "You can open your eyes now."

     And when Zayin opened her eyes, she gasped in disbelief, mouth gaping like a Pfish out of water. Right in front of them stood a Ganuthor, black as night. The light seemed to avoid her, too.

     Just like me, thought Zayin, a smile flickering across her face. But still so beautiful...

     "So do you like her, Zayin?" Krysta asked earnestly. "Are you pleased?"

     "She's beautiful." Zayin would have said more but her eyes seemed glued to the Ganuthor. She could not pull free of the PetPet's grasp...

***

The little Ganuthor stuck to Zayin's side, always. Not once did she stray, even when a colorful butterfly danced in their path, seeming to ask to be chased around.

     Now they walked silently, the Ganuthor in the lead. Zayin had the feeling that her PetPet was trying to lead her somewhere.

     It wasn't long until she found out where.

     Underneath Zayin's room, there were dark caverns with huge spikes hanging from the floor and ceiling. Sharp metal spikes.

     A small stream flowed through the bottom of the caverns, the water shimmering on the walls, making the caverns glow with a dim, eerie light. Zayin shivered.

     "Are you cold, Zayin?" a hissing voice snaked around the walls like some giant sea creature.

     Zayin jumped. "Who was that?" she demanded, thrusting a furry black paw around in random directions.

     "It was me." The Ganuthor's yellow eyes were fixed on Zayin as she spoke.

     "Ganuthors don't talk!!" Zayin screamed and bared her tiny teeth.

     "Then why are you talking to one?" As the Ganuthor said this, she began to change. Purple hair sprouted from her scalp; the rest of her hair began to molt away, leaving an ugly black cloak in its place. The creature's green eyes glowed fiercely as her paws became hands. Her claws became sharp nails.

     Zayin leaped back, screaming, and ran as hard as she could in the opposite direction. The Dark Faerie's voice followed her, snickering. "You will never escape me, Zayin. You may try, for years and years, but you are my creature. You belong to the darkness. You must return to the darkness."

     But the shadow Usul did not answer. The rocks scraped her delicate paws and she frequently tripped and fell on small creatures that scuttled around on the floor. It was a very miserable experience, and soon Zayin became tired and sat down to rest behind a large boulder, breathing hard.

     For a moment it was silent. Not a sound.

     And as she sat there, sobbing quietly, thoughts snaked into her mind. Thoughts Zayin would rather have banished from Neopia.

     I'm her creature? How can that be? I've always thought that I was mine.

     Then, a scratching noise. A stifled giggle.

     The Faerie was on the other side of the boulder. She knew where Zayin was.

     Zayin froze, not daring to breathe.

     Shuffling noises. Then a green eye appeared through a hole in the rock. The Faerie had seen Zayin.

     All thoughts were banished from Zayin's mind. Her instincts took over, flinging her against the solid rock wall - anything to be away from that vile creature.

     Wait... the solid rock wall -- it wasn't solid.

     Zayin was flung backwards, falling into a dark abyss. The Faerie's green eyes peered down, watching the poor Usul fall.

     "Remember, you are mine," the Dark Faerie smirked at Zayin. "You shall always be mine. And you are falling into my clutches -- falling into my darkness."

     And then she disappeared.

***

It's hard to keep track of time when you're falling. You might try -- but the darkness will begin to play tricks on you. You'll wonder if you've gone insane, if it's been five hours or five days instead of five minutes. What makes it worse is, there's no way to tell.

     Maybe you've been on a big rollercoaster before -- the kind that has huge drops and gigantic loops and such. When you go down a big drop, your stomach finds it's way into your throat and you scream until all you can make is a croaking noise. And then, once the ride is over, you buy another ticket and go on the ride again.

     But when you're on a rollercoaster, you're not really falling. You're strapped in, guaranteed safety. The rides have time limits and you know they'll end eventually.

     Also, with rollercoasters, you've got a choice of which one to go on, or whether or not you'll ride one at all.

     But Zayin wasn't on a rollercoaster. She was falling, not attached to anything. And she was in danger of being killed. Only, the fear of that melted away after a while, since she wasn't sure her fall was ever going to end.

     It did, though.

     After falling for what seemed an eternity, a soft bed of moss seemed to come up and hit Zayin square in the face. She sank into it, down and down and down until she didn't think she could hold her breath any longer.

     But soon the moss ended, and Zayin was thrown onto a large white bed. The room was well lit, and it blinded Zayin. All her senses blurred -- her ears rang and she went numb and she could hardly breathe. She was vaguely aware of muffled screams and thumping noises, but nothing mattered now. The poor little Usul had been through a lot, and now the only thing that mattered was sleep.

***

Zayin lifted her head. She seemed to be in some sort of forest clearing, what with the dark trees with their emerald leaves that glistened with pearly dewdrops encircling where she stood. Moonlight flooded through the tiny gaps between the leaves, shedding a silvery curtain on the unreal world. A bubbling river twisted around the edge of the clearing. A tiny island, almost. Zayin smiled slightly.

     The moonlight seemed to shine directly on a figure, a figure slumped in the middle of the clearing. Though the light followed her, she was still a shadow, a blurry line that wavered on the edge of reality, but seemed to be stuck in the world of dreams. Zayin approached it cautiously, the Dark Faerie incident flashing through her mind.

     "Erm... are you... are you... are you alright?" Zayin took a step closer to the figure.

     The figure lifted its head to look at Zayin. It was a girl, with long, silver hair -- spun moonlight, Zayin guessed. The girl wore a silver robe that shimmered, a flowing river of the moonlight, once again. The only thing about her that wasn't silver was her skin -- pale, nearly white.

     And the girl's eyes -- silver eyes -- were filled with pain. Sorrow too. Her gaze caught Zayin's -- wouldn't let go. But Zayin wasn't afraid of the girl. In fact, all the fear washed out of her instantly after seeing those eyes.

     Replaced by sorrow, a deep sorrow that welled up in Zayin's heart. It was almost unbearable.

     "Zayin." The girl was speaking now, her silvery lips just barely opening to let her whisper out.

     "Zayin. You must not allow Eldritch -- the Dark Faerie -- to catch you. You are not her creature, but you shall become hers if you are captured. Never let her touch you."

     And the girl began to fade away. Slowly she became part of the moonlight, drifting away.

     "Wait!" Zayin shouted. "Who are you? Tell me!"

     Zayin reached out to grab the girl, who was now shimmering like a reflection, a mirage. Her paw went through the girl, who dissolved into mist and snaked away.

     Only one trace of the girl was left. Her voice echoed throughout Zayin's mind - "Never..." "Never..." "Never..."

To be continued...
Previous Episodes

Into the Shadows: Part Two

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by _shadow_ice_dragon1_



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