Nightmares again. Always nightmares. I sat in my room at three in the morning,
unable to fall back asleep. Now I was seeing a shadowed Shoyru in my dreams,
probably a result of MoonFall's tale. I slipped out of bed and padded down the
dark hallway to the kitchen. Maybe a glass of water would help. I was utterly
quiet, so as not to wake up the others.
"Hello child_dragon," a voice said from behind me.
I stifled a shriek and managed to not drop the glass. I turned around, heart
thudding painfully in my chest. A Dark Faerie hovered there, smiling smugly
"Who are you?" I demanded.
"Rycio. I want you to bring me something."
I paused for a moment. A Faerie quest then. "What?"
"A small item. A crystal, in the shape of a starburst. It was stolen from
us a long time ago."
I was still suspicious. That was pretty specific for a Faerie quest. "Where
is it?" I demanded. Get all the details before agreeing.
"Part of a dragon's hoard. In the Terror Mountain range."
I took a deep breath. "No way on earth. I am not facing some dragon."
The Dark Faerie glared at me.
"You have no choice."
"I do too! I say no, and that's final. I'm not risking my life, and my pets
lives." I heard footsteps behind me.
"What's going on?" a shaky voice asked. Aldrai.
"Nothing, go back to bed," I said firmly, not taking my eyes off the Faerie,
who was utterly still and watching me in a way I didn't like. She sneered, and
raised her hand. A dark aura started to glow around Aldrai, Rycio chanting in
a strange language.
"Stop it!" I shrieked, and rushed over to Aldrai, frantic.
Something knocked me back, throwing me across the room to land painfully on
the floor. The room seemed to spin, and I lay there, unable to move or even
think. There was a flash of dark power, then it subsided. Aldrai was crying
from somewhere, terrified. I weakly rolled onto my side and staggered to my
feet. Aldrai was crouched in a corner, hiding his head in his arms. Rycio hovered
in mid-air, smiling cruelly. I put one hand on the wall for support and stared
at her in a mixture of disbelief and fury.
"What have you done?" I demanded.
"A simple curse, nothing more," she said calmly. "Bring me the jewel within
the week, or you will never see Aldrai again."
I gasped and closed my eyes, tears threatening. I felt like someone had punched
me in the stomach. The world around me seemed to tilt, to be dumped upside down.
"You can't do this," I gasped.
"Already did. A week, child_dragon," she said.
"No!!" I cried, and fell to my knees, "please, leave Aldrai alone! I'll take
the curse, let my life be forfeit! Leave him alone!!"
She merely faded from view, disappearing with a small trail of black smoke.
I rocked back and forth on my knees, sobbing, lost and afraid. I dimly heard
frantic footsteps of MoonFall and Un-eairkagh.
"Get Melody and Sabreur," one ordered.
They came, they all did. Sakuko and her pet, Sabreur, Melody, and everyone
else. Melody managed to calm me down somewhat by the time Sakuko got there,
and Sabreur had to go outside so as not to upset the pets even more. He gets
really really mad when people mess with his family. Aldrai was terrified, he
did not speak, only sat there and shook. Netsuko sat by him and looked at us
fearfully, at a loss of what to do. I stared at the floor, still crying silently,
shaking with anger at this Faerie who could place so little value on life. Part
of me wanted to curl up and cry, the other part wanted to scream and rage and
"Why couldn't it of been me?" I said to Melody, in a daze, "I'm the owner,
it's my responsibility. I should be the one in danger, Aldrai is my responsibility,
I would give all for himů"
I cried in her arms, and it was then Sakuko took charge.
"We have a week," she said firmly. "Aldrai's not going to vanish on us yet.
We have time, and we have a pretty good chance. There's four of us, and we've
all got great pets. We can pull this off."
The assembled Neopians muttered agreement, and Sabreur and Infernus put their
heads together to talk.
"I say we go over there, get the stupid crystal, and get the curse lifted,"
she continued, and walked over to me. "Child_dragon," she said firmly, "you've
been blessed by the Faerie Queen. You are the only shape shifter alive. You've
got four brave pets, one heck of a brother, and two friends ready to stand by
you. Life isn't over. We can do this!"
I looked up, and saw hope. It was in Sakuko's determined eyes.
"We leave in the morning," she said firmly. "Melody, you stay here with Aldrai
and the non-fighting pets."
"But we all want to come!" Lady MoonFall protested.
"But you can't. We can't just face a dragon head on, we've got to be sneaky.
We need the pets who are fast, and can handle dangerous situations. Padiglione,
are you in?"
The blue Kougra nodded determinedly.
"Always," he said, eyes blazing.
"This is my family."
"Was there any doubt?"
"No one messes with my sister."
I gazed at her, my tears gone.
"Let's do this."
The fire Lupe lay in the darkened woods, licking a shallow gash on one leg.
A white Aisha stalked back and forth, muttering angrily.
"Deealoe, please stop, that's very irritating," the Lupe said sourly.
"Well, WeatherWolf, if you'd actually done what you promised to do, instead
of getting mauled by a psycho Zafara, we'd be a lot richer now," the Aisha retorted
"Instead, now I've got to placate the rest of the group, Jenina and Citrus
are going to use this to undermine your authority, you know that. You're on
shaky ground here." The Lupe sighed and stood up, towering over the Aisha.
"Let them," he said coldly. "They cannot ever hope to defeat me, and they
know it. I am too strong. They are not a threat."
The Aisha stopped pacing and sighed.
"Okay, you're right there. I guess I worry too much about the others.... Now,
I've done some spying, and these people are heading up into the mountains tomorrow.
We could ambush them, the whole gang of us. We're more than enough."
WeatherWolf nodded, pleased. "Oh, and Deealoe?" he said.
"You lied to me. He's still around." The Aisha looked puzzled.
"From about a year ago. The red Zafara. You promised me you got rid of it.
It survived, somehow. It belongs to this girl now, he's her pet," he said with
a sneer. "So, when we go to the mountains tomorrow, I want you to finish the
job. He'll be staying behind, and he's spotted now. You destroyed the mother,
now eliminate the son. "
"How do you know it's the same one?"
The Lupe looked at the Aisha in disgust.
"Paintbrush or not, you can't change your scent. I do have a nose."
And with that, the Lupe vanished into the night. The Aisha stared at his departing
"Bah," he muttered. "Silly Zafaras. Should be easy for me. I've
fought much larger," he said with a smile, remembering his previous owner, the
fool who'd abandoned him to the pound. Gone now, had an 'accident' one night.
He laughed and followed the Lupe off into the night.
It had taken a full day to reach the base of the dragon's mountain. Sabreur
had discovered a map the morning we left, bearing Rycio's signature. She had
helped us that much. We made camp, and went over our plans for the morning.
We would climb up to the entrance of the cave, and Terraile would sneak in to
scout. We'd figure out what to do from there once we actually reached that point.
We had two tents, one for the girls, one for the guys. Of course, the girls
tent was quite crowded, as there were five of us and only three of them. But
none of us were about to sleep outside, the mountains were bitter cold even
during the day. We settled in for the night, putting out the campfire and unrolling
our sleeping bags.
I was startled out of my latest nightmare by the tent collapsing and Sabreur
yelling. I struggled in the dark, desperately trying to make sense of the confusion.
There were voices, a lot of voices, and I recognised none. I morphed into my
Eyrie form and quickly ripped a hole in the tent fabric, freeing us. I yanked
Sakuko out and the other girls followed, Terraile drawing her expert bow. I
stared in shock for a few moments. A huge group of NeoPets were attacking us,
Infernus was fighting off two at once, a fire Lupe and a blue Pteri. Sabreur
had a rapier and was facing off with a Skeith, the fencing lessons he'd taken
in college the only thing keeping him alive right at the moment. The next thing
I knew it, something dropped on me from above, and I rolled, snarling, trying
to throw the weight off my back. Terraile yelled and took to the air, shooting
off arrows. Netsuko stayed by Sakuko's side, the two fighting back to back.
I managed to fling the pet attacking me off, and jumped for it, claws out. It
was a Wocky, she met my attack head on, and we rolled across the ground, snarling
and biting at each other. Hot blood stained my white fur, and I couldn't tell
whether it was mine or my opponents. All was mass confusion.
"The Eyrie!! The white one!" a voice called.
I leaped into the air, followed by rapid wing beats. Apparently our attackers
had quite a few flyers. I desperately gained altitude, when I saw a white form
leap into the air. Un-eairkagh, in the darkness his stripes were nearly invisible.
"There's two!" a voice called out, the Pteri.
I grinned. Good ol' Eairkagh, pulling his usual stunts of deception. I veered
to the right, and Un-eairkagh took left. The flyers split up, some straying
off to pursue Un-eairkagh. I suddenly reversed my flight, diving back towards
the camp. I dove right into the middle of the melee, startling the Lupe and
Infernus. The two split apart and I faced the Lupe, backed by Infernus.
"There's too many," Infernus muttered in my ear.
"I know, but we have no choice," I replied.
The Lupe smiled and leaped at me, I met the attack head on. Infernus jumped
in too, wielding his sword with incredible skill.
"Child_dragon!" I heard Sabreur yell.
I broke off from the fight, and ran towards his voice, the Lupe pursuing for
half a second before being engaged by Infernus. My brother was pinned between
a purple Acara, and the Skeith. I bowled into the Acara, carrying him to the
"We've got to get out of here!" Sabreur yelled.
I leaped into the air, scanning for the other pets. "Retreat!" I yelled, praying
I would be heard. "C'mon!" I dove, catching up my brother and desperately flapping
to gain altitude. I caught sight of Netsuko and Sakuko heading off in one direction,
covered by Terraile and her bow. Padiglione leaped over her opponent to race
off in another direction, while Infernus remained, holding off three at once.
"Infernus!" my brother screamed, twisting in my arms.
"Just go!" the Scorchio yelled back. "I'll be fine!"
"We've got to, bro," I said, a knot in my chest. "They'd be on us in no time
if he didn't hold them back. All we can do is pray."
My brother held on grimly as I flew on, tired and sick at heart.
I flew for the rest of the night, up the mountain. Hopefully everyone would
make it to the dragon's cave and we could regroup there. We only had a week,
there was no turning back. At first light I landed. Sabreur stood there, staring
off into the distance.
"It'll be okay," I said, in way of consolation.
"This wasn't the Battledome," he said softly. "There is no Healing Springs
He hung his head, the wind ruffling his golden hair. I quickly took stock
of our situation. I was only mildly hurt, Sabreur had a deep cut along one arm.
Infernus most likely didn't make it out, there was no way of knowing if the
rest of our group had escaped, and Aldrai was still cursed. My world was falling
apart, piece by painful piece.
WeatherWolf stalked back and forth before his gang.
"Fools!" he snarled. "You let the Eyrie escape!"
"It wasn't our fault, there were two!" the blue Pteri protested.
"Silence Jenina!" he snarled, and continued pacing, glaring at his followers.
"We continue on. Hopefully we can catch up with them, even though they are
scattered and have a lead," he growled, casting an angry glare at the fire Scorchio.
It lay in a crumpled heap, the ground around stained red, the sword broken in
"We split up, in groups of two. Find a trail and follow it. We will look for
three days, if they aren't found by then, return to the forest. Deriff, I want
you to take Golden and Corin back to the forest now. Deealoe should be there,
I sent him after this girl's pet that stayed behind."
The two pets looked at their leader, then over at Deriff. Of all of the attackers,
they were the worst injured. The others had some minor injuries, nothing more.
WeatherWolf had a gash on his flank, the only wound any of them had seen him
take. It was from the Scorchio's sword.
"Now go. Three days, and I want them all destroyed."
The pets split off and started up the mountain. WeatherWolf paused for a moment,
regarding the fire Scorchio.
"What a waste," he said. "A fine fighter, throwing everything away for an
And the Lupe bounded off, leaving the fallen NeoPet behind him.
To be continued...
Feel free to Neomail me, I encourage it. I like feedback. Sabreur is really my
brother, you can Neomail him also, though I ask you to go easy on that. He's in
college right now, and I'd rather not have him mad at me for getting a ton of
Battledome challenges, etc. Melody is also real, my best friend. She's in college
too, her NeoPets name is horngodess, but I wouldn't suggest bugging her, she has
a very demanding major and hardly any free time. Sakuko is also real, she's a
really nice person.