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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 19th day of Relaxing, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 34 > Continuing Series > As Told by child_dragon: Part Ten - Dragon's Hoard

As Told by child_dragon: Part Ten - Dragon's Hoard

by child_dragon

Sabreur and I walked the rest of the way to the cave. There was no turning back, we didn't have much time left to save Aldrai. All we could do was keep going and try to salvage the shambles the world we knew had become. We went in silence, often checking back behind us to make sure we weren't pursued. There was no other sign of life except us on the mountain. Around evening, we reached the cave. There was no snow around it, just scorched and blackened earth. I knelt and touched the ground. Black ash clung to my fingers.

"I think we're in the right place," I said to my brother nervously.

"You bet!" an enthusiastic voice answered.

I whipped around to face the sound, morphing into my half Eyrie form. Padiglione emerged from behind a scorched rock pile, followed by Un-eairkagh. I let out a shaky breath and returned to normal.

"Scared you, huh?" she said with a grin.

"Don't do that!" my brother said, eyes huge.

"Where's everyone else?" the Eyrie asked.

I took a deep breath. "I don't know. Sakuko and Netsuko are still missing, and Infernus… stayed behind."

Padiglione turned away with a choked sob and Un-eairkagh hung his head. "We've got to keep going though," he said, grieved. "Nothing we can do. We have to save Aldrai."

I nodded. "Then let's make our plans."

***

Sakuko, Netsuko, and Terraile watched the fire Lupe and the purple Acara trudge up the steep slope.

"They're headed for the cave," Netsuko whispered, "must be following Pad and Un-eairkagh's trail."

Sakuko nodded. The pair was moving much faster than they were, used to difficult terrain. She bit her lip and thought. The trio couldn't get ahead of them, but they couldn't just return home and let the Lupe reach the others.

"It's up to the rest to get the jewel," Sakuko said, decided on a course of action. "They need time though, and it's up to us to keep those pets off they're backs. So, we use diversionary tactics. Hit and run. Are you two up to it?"

The two pets nodded, and started making plans.

***

We slipped into the cave, single file, staying against the wall. I could hear breathing, deep and rhythmic. The dragon must be asleep, I thought. Padiglione went first, then me, Un-eairkagh, and Sabreur taking up the rear. The tunnel suddenly opened up into a huge cavern, filled with light from an unknown source. A massive pile of gold, jewels, and other wondrous items filled the room. The dragon lay on top the pile, a green scaled beast of enormous size. The smell of sulphur filled the room. I scanned the piles of treasure, looking for the star burst crystal. Sabreur tapped Padiglione's shoulder and pointed. There, near the dragons snout, was the crystal. The Kougra nodded and started off across the room. We had agreed that she should be the thief, being the most sure-footed of all us. She stealthily made her way across the room, paw by paw. Now she was on top the treasure pile, mere feet away from the dragon's snout. Slowly, she eased the crystal from the pile. A single coin rolled away, and landed on the stone floor with a tink. I gasped as the dragon twitched. No one moved, no one breathed. The dragon didn't wake, and after what seemed an eternity, Padiglione turned and started off towards the entrance. Too late, I saw the dragon's eye open. With a roar, it slammed a clawed hand over Padiglione, trapping her underneath. Its dreadful gaze fell on us, and we cowered against the wall. Its eyes were deep wells, ancient and full of knowledge, of things that should not be known. It held my gaze, and slowly, lifted its hand off of the Kougra She didn't move, only sat there, shaking.

*Child of the Dragon* it said, needing no words. We heard it directly in our minds. I stepped forwards to stand in front of the massive creature, its will tangible in my mind. *You are your name* it said, only to me. *Fierce, like a dragon, but still a child. Innocent, and unaware of what you are. I do not tolerate trespassers, thieves even less. But you merely come to claim your birthright, and my time as Guardian has passed. Take what is rightfully yours.*

It gestured to Padiglione, and in a daze, she lifted the crystal from the floor and returned to the entryway. Frightened, and confused, I started to skitter back, wanting nothing to be gone.

*Remember, Child of the Dragon, the crystal is yours. Do not let any take it from you*

***

LanceHunter followed tiredly in WeatherWolf's wake. It was rough going in the snow, especially at the pace the Lupe demanded. The purple Acara paused a moment to catch his breath, and saw a glimpse of colour against the blinding snow. Turning his head ever so slightly, he saw that it was the rainbow Zafara, just standing there. He absently walked up to the fire Lupe, not paying any special attention to the Zafara

"Over there," he muttered.

"Already saw it," WeatherWolf replied softly. "Fall behind and circle around. Don't be seen."

LanceHunter dropped low to the ground, hidden in the snow. WeatherWolf kept on walking. Slowly, the Acara crept around to the side of the rainbow Zafara She didn't take her eyes of WeatherWolf, who was pretending to survey the terrain up ahead. The Acara smiled. This was too easy. A sudden hiss of air was the only warning he had. There was a dull thunk, and a blinding pain spread over his chest. He glanced down in shock--he had been hit. With a gasp, he fell to the side, the pristine snow stained red. He glanced up at the Zafara in desperation, and was met with her cold, pitiless stare.

"Infernus," was all she said. He closed his eyes and slid away into eternal darkness.

The Zafara was running, along with a human and a Shoyru. He stopped by LanceHunter's still form and snarled. With one paw, he closed the Acara's eyes, and glanced back at the fleeing trio. He might just catch them. With a howl he bounded off through the snow.

***

Melody sat in the living room with Aldrai. The house was empty except for them, MoonFall had gone with her pets while Melody stayed at child_dragon's house. It was night, her friends had been gone for two days now. She was worried, to say the least. Aldrai sat in her lap, asleep. She stared at the wall, thoughts whirling through her head. There was a soft noise, and Aldrai woke up. He peered around sleepily, yawning.

"They home yet?" he asked.

"No, still gone."

He sighed and lay his head back down on his tail. There was another sound, and Melody snapped to alertness, feeling an icy shiver down her spine. It sounded like someone was in the house. Aldrai slipped off her lap and she stood. Something hard hit her in the back of the head, and she fell, sinking into darkness. Aldrai gasped and nudged Melody's unconscious form. A white Aisha leaped over the couch to stand in front of the Zafara

"WeatherWolf was right, you are the son," he said, smiling at Aldrai.

"What, who…..?" he stammered, shocked.

"My name doesn't really matter. What does is that several years ago, I defeated your mother. I thought I'd destroyed you too, but apparently, this miserable human saved you. I'm going to remedy that."

Aldrai stared at the Aisha, then turned to flee. In a split second, the Aisha tackled Aldrai, sending him crashing into the ground. The Zafara tried to get up, but he Aisha was stronger, keeping him down with punches and kicks. Aldrai lay there on the floor, panting and too weak to stand.

"That's it?!" the Aisha exclaimed. "You're weaker than I thought. Pathetic. Just pathetic!"

The Aisha sighed and kicked Aldrai again for good measure. He leaned down and grasped the Zafara's ear, raising his head to stare him in the eyes.

"See this?" he asked, showing Aldrai a silver dagger. "I destroyed my owner with it, I fought and defeated your mother with it, and now I'm going to wipe you out. But first, watch this." He turned and flipped the dagger to hold it throwing style.

"Bet I can hit her from here," he said gleefully, "Funny, I don't even know who she is, oh well."

And he threw. A black figure seemed to appear from no where, snatching the dagger out of the air.

"Her name is Melody," Infernus growled, throwing the dagger back at the Aisha He let out a startled squeak and ducked, the dagger imbedding itself in the wall behind him.

"A fighter then," the Aisha muttered, and snarled. Infernus inhaled deeply, and the Aisha started to circle around. With a roar, Infernus spat out a ball of flame, catching the surprised Aisha head on. He howled and broke through the window, disappearing into the night.

"Won't have much trouble from him anymore… he'll have a fun time growing back his fur," Infernus said sleepily, then collapsed to the floor. Aldrai managed to stagger to his feet and stared. If Infernus was hurt this badly… then what about the others?

"Child_dragon!!" he howled in grief.

***

Sabreur and I couldn't believe what had just happened. He just kept turning the jewel over and over in his hands, shaking his head. Padiglione's eyes still hadn't returned to normal size, and even Un-eairkagh looked shaken.

"What'd the dragon say to you?" Sabreur asked.

"Not to give the crystal up," I said uncomfortably, unsure of what the dragon had meant. My birthright? I stared at the crystal. It seemed to pull at me, to demand something. I shuddered and turned away, but it was still there, whispering just outside my mind.

The way back down the mountain was strangely uneventful. We traveled in silence, casting nervous glances over our shoulders. We expected an ambush at any moment. Only when we reached the familiar confines of Neopia Central did we relax. We arrived home only to find a hastily scribbled note in Sakuko's handwriting to come to the hospital. Once there, we discovered Melody, Aldrai, and Sabreur, along with the rest of the gang waiting anxiously. Sabreur broke down with relief at seeing his pet alive, though badly hurt. I nearly had a fit too, after Melody and Aldrai related what had happened. I related my story, and there was general silence all around.

"So we can't let Rycio get her hands on this," Melody said thoughtfully.

"Do you know why?" Sakuko asked.

I shook my head. For some reason, I didn't want to mention what the dragon had said to me.

"I've got an idea," MoonFall said quietly.

I sat on the front step of my porch, alone except for Aldrai. The crystal was in my house, Padiglione had set it there. Soon enough, Rycio appeared, hovering in mid-air.

"Do you have it?" she demanded.

"I do. But first things first," I said calmly.

She glared at me, then abruptly nodded.

"You deserve something out of this," she grudgingly conceded.

"First, remove the curse. That was the original agreement. Second, swear to never harm me, my pets, my friends, or their pets ever again. And third, we were attacked by a band of ownerless pets. Lay a spell on my house preventing any with evil intentions from entering."

She thought for a moment. "Very well, you deserve that much," she murmured, and gestured. Arcane symbols appeared from her hand, and she whispered. A dark glow surrounded Aldrai, then slid off like fog. She continued to chant, and I felt rather than saw the spell take hold over my home.

"You are safe now. And I swear upon the Faerie Queen and the Darkness to never harm you, your pets, your friends, and their pets ever."

She was bound by her oath, for as MoonFall had said, a faerie could never break an oath.

"The crystals inside," I said, turning quickly to hide my smile of triumph. I opened the door and Aldrai hurried inside, I followed. There was a shriek from behind us.

"Why, I do believe you can't get in," I said lazily, gazing at the furious Rycio with slitted eyes.

She sputtered, then howled in fury, and disappeared in black smoke. The victory was mine, and life would return to normal, for a while, at least.

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.
Previous Episodes

As Told by child_dragon: Part One - Pals

As Told by child_dragon: Part Two - A Strange Tail

As Told by child_dragon: Part Three - First Fight

As Told by child_dragon: Part Four - The Arrival of Aldrai

As Told by child_dragon: Part Five - Netsuko

As Told by child_dragon: Part Six - Royal Runaways

As Told by child_dragon: Part Seven - What Really Happened

As Told by child_dragon: Part Eight - Fireflies

As Told by child_dragon: Part Nine - Faerie Quest

As Told by child_dragon: Part Eleven - Legends Alive

As Told by child_dragon: Part Twelve - The Essence of Neopia

As Told by child_dragon: Part Thirteen - Shadows

As Told by child_dragon: Part Fourteen - Redemption

As Told by child_dragon: Part Fifteen - Trial by Fire

As Told by child_dragon: Part Sixteen - Water Quest

As Told by child_dragon: Part Seventeen - Earthen Boundaries

As Told by child_dragon: Part Eighteen - Tempest Wind

As Told by child_dragon: Part Nineteen - Song of Darkness

As Told by child_dragon: Part Twenty - Inner Light

As Told by child_dragon: Part Twenty One - Sacrifice of Love

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