“They’re here! Run for your lives!” –Castle Sanctuary (TCG)
* * *
Chaos followed Galgarrath’s statement, as everyone tried
to get ready and outside all at once.
Finally, with armor clanking, they ran out into
the hall. When they reached the throne room, they could already smell the smoke.
Outside, they saw a horrific scene. Demona hovered
ominously above the blackened ground, with fire swirling and smoke wreathing
around her, reminding Darigan of her terrible dark palace.
Everywhere, Neopets ran, some to fight, some
to find safety, and some who were just running blindly because of their fear.
An army of fire creatures destroyed everything
in their path, as they tried to get through the soldiers to Lord Garwin, who
viewed everything from a safe point, not being the type that risked his life.
Demona’s fire creatures looked as though their
creator had tried to make Neopets with only a vague idea of what one looked
like. They all were either shrunken or enlarged versions of Neopets—or perhaps
only parts of them were wrong—and they were covered in fire. They attacked relentlessly,
with no regard to their own lives. Everywhere they went, a new blaze started.
Little Neopet children screamed as their families
fled the ruins of their homes, which were being mercilessly destroyed.
Darigan and his friends joined the hopeless battle
against Demona’s troops.
“Darigan, no!” yelled Lord Garwin, wanting his
son to be safe with him. But he might as well have been talking to the burning
trees, for all his son listened.
For many, Darigan included, this was the first
real battle of their lives. Some fought without really knowing what to do, much
to Demona’s sadistic delight.
Looking around the battlefield, Darigan tried
to spot his friends. Everyone seemed to be doing okay, except for one.
A towering, cloaked Moehog had Kass backed up
against a building. He tried to escape, but he was trapped. The Moehog put something
around his neck, and he stopped wiggling abruptly.
Morguss. Darigan didn’t know how he knew,
but he somehow did, and the name sent shivers up his spine. What had she done
Going back to what was happening, he began to
fly up towards the Faerie, who was laughing insanely.
Before he reached her however, a voice from below
cried, “Stop it! Get out of my head! Leave me alone!”
Through all the smoke and confusion, the Korbat
saw Kass, now all alone, screaming to himself.
Landing next to him, he touched him lightly on
the wing. “What’s wr—?” He stopped, frozen. When they touched, he could hazily
see what Kass saw all too clearly.
Three hooded figures, all frightening and ghostlike.
One was a tall, slender Faerie. The same one, he realized, that Tara
had seen in the woods.
A Lupe stood by her. The silent, staring,
killer type, echoed Kass’s words in his head.
And finally, the crazy-looking Skeith.
They all glowed with an eerie, green light, and
they were all mysterious and spectral. He knew who they were. They were Demona’s
three friends. The Three.
As he silently gave them a name, albeit a bad
one, the Faerie’s delicate face began to turn towards him, as though just realizing
With horror, he realized he could hear Kass’s
voice, crying for them to leave. He felt afraid, feeling somehow that if the
Faerie saw him, she could imprison him as well. He tried to move, but he was
frozen in place.
Then, gentle but strong paws grabbed him, and
his connection with Kass broke before the dark lady could get a good look at
The figures vanished, and he found himself staring
into Tara’s blue eyes.
“Darigan.” Her voice was remarkably calm. “You
need to help your people. Go.”
“But…” He stared in horror at Kass, who now silently
wept, tortured by those fiends. He noticed that awful charm, hanging from a
cord around his neck. “I have to try to save him…The Three—”
“Do you want them to get you too?” snapped Tara.
“I saw them all when I took control of Demona, but I did not tell you; it was
just too weird! I know what they can do! Kass is my friend too, and I could
help him more than you, with my hypnosis. Here is my deal, Darigan. I will do
everything in my power to help him, and you will do everything in your power
to stop Demona!”
She held out her paw. After hesitating, Darigan
“Goodbye, Darigan. This may be the last time
you will know me as who I am, not as who I can become,” she said softly.
Puzzled, Darigan said, “Goodbye, Tara.”
As he started to lift into the air, he glanced
back at her.
Brave and determined, the little Aisha mage walked
up to Kass. She extended a trembling paw, and placed it firmly on his wing.
Not wanting to see what would happen to her,
Darigan turned and glided towards Demona, honoring his end of the deal.
Demona’s fire had created an almost impenetrable
shield around her. Several brave or reckless Neopets had already been seriously
injured trying to get to her.
If trained knights failed, what were the chances
that one young Korbat could get to the Faerie? Lord Garwin, for one, didn’t
want to find out.
“Darigan!” he yelled from his safe haven. “Get
down here! Darigan!”
“I made a promise to Tara! I have to stop Demona!”
was his reply.
Darigan had been a little sad when his father
hadn’t exactly led his troops gloriously into battle, but now he was glad that
the lord wasn’t coming to pull him out of the sky.
Ignoring Lord Garwin’s shouts, he took a deep
breath, squeezed his eyes shut, and plunged into the fire. Saying that it was
hot would have replaced “Kass is just a little odd,” as the understatement of
the year. He was on fire!
The fire shield was thicker than it looked, and
soon he forgot about the immense heat and pain, because he suddenly realized
he needed air.
He stopped flying altogether, and just tumbled
around wildly for a while. He did eventually make it to the center, and his
arrival was marked by Demona’s cold, sarcastic voice.
“There are easier ways than that to get painted
Darigan was too busy hacking and coughing to
glare at her. He felt dizzy and lightheaded, and his white fur and light blue
wings were now blackened.
“I suppose you plan to defeat me and save the
day,” snickered the Fire Faerie. “It doesn’t work like it does in the storybooks.”
“You said you’d spare us,” rasped Darigan, trying
to catch his breath.
“Oh, but I just LOVE the element of surprise!
It is so much better than saying, ‘I am coming to crush you! Fear me!’ That
gives it all away! Whereas my way, no one expected an attack, with the possible
exception of you, Kass, and Vex, who are completely too paranoid.” She began
inspecting her fingernails, not troubled in the least. “Of course, I almost
have the whole empire in my grasp now.”
“What?” asked Darigan sarcastically. “Morguss
is distributing little talismans to everyone?”
She laughed. “You don’t see it? Of course, the
brighter ones, your friends Vex and Ridella included, would be suspicious of
such a thing. But who would refuse to watch a little Aisha dance.”
Darigan felt miserable. They had Tara.
“But…you don’t have her. The Three do.”
Demona’s eyebrows shot into the air. “ ‘The Three’?
How original. They will obey me. Just call us The Four, and be done with it.”
But she looked slightly worried.
“I promised Tara that I would try to stop you.”
He drew his sword.
This amused Demona. “Oh, is the little Korbat
going to hit me with his sword? I’m so scared!”
With a wave of her hand, the blade shot out of
his paw, and fell to Neopia, leaving him a little shaken.
Then, with giant fireballs, she struggled to
shoot him down as well.
Suddenly, something appeared next to him, and
Demona began laughing again. “So, you do have the power to destroy me…and
I gave it to you, how ironic. But I know you’ll never use it, and even if you
do, I’ll never truly leave you. I’ll haunt you for the rest of your life!” Her
eyes glinted with twisted glee.
Darigan looked. The golden orb was hovering beside
him. He hesitated. It was a gift from Demona; something was wrong with it. He
felt an urge to forget it was there. But then he remembered how he had made
a deal with Tara, who had given up her freedom to keep her promise. He had to
keep his. If the orb was the only way to stop the evil Fire Faerie, then so
He carefully picked it up.
Demona’s raucous laughter did not cease as she
raced across the sky, with a very weary Korbat pursuing her. She didn’t seem
at all disturbed, which disturbed him.
He had no idea what he was going to do, only
that he had to try. He focused on the orb, and pictured a golden blast of light
destroying the insane Faerie. To his surprise, it worked. She twisted in the
air, and her perpetual laughter was laced with screams.
Darigan’s wings finally gave out, and as he plummeted
to the ground, he could hear Demona’s laughter finally fade away. Then he hit,
and everything went black.
To be continued…