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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 12th day of Eating, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 37 > Continuing Series > As Told by child_dragon: Part Thirteen - Shadows

As Told by child_dragon: Part Thirteen - Shadows

by child_dragon

Shadows By child_dragon Sleep came easy for the first time in weeks that night. There were no nightmares, nothing haunted my dreams. But I was soon shaken awake by a frantic Un-eairkagh.

"What…." I muttered, staggering out of bed.

"Padiglione's hysterical!" Un-eairkagh gasped. "Come quick!"

Not the kind of thing you want to wake up to. I followed him into the living room, where Padiglione was sitting on the floor, gasping. She held one of her daggers ,the other was missing. My other three pets were nearby, comforting her.

"They're loose," she gasped, eyes wild, "we…we… were ambushed. They're everywhere. Melody, ohhh, Melody…. The others stayed to fight, I, I went to get help…."

"It's okay," I said, desperate, "I'll go, c'mon Un-eairkagh, Terraile." The two grabbed their weapons and followed me out the door. We took to the air, watching down below. Terraile drifted a bit closer to speak to me.

"It's the Shadows, isn't it?"

I nodded, I could feel the malevolence and evil in the air, like a thick fog.

"Many are going to be destroyed tonight," Terraile said softly.

I had no reply to that. I could only hope that Melody wouldn't be the first. With the shadows loose, unchecked, and a civilisation used to being out after dark…

Un-eairkagh spotted them first. Melody's blond haired form lying motionless, with her two pets back to back by her, and a ring of hissing darkness surrounding them. I dove, landing before the shadows. They screeched and drew back, and my Eyrie smashed into their side, swinging the glowing sword in an arc. A hiss, and a shaft of black sped past me, piercing the chest of one of the Shadows. I stepped forward, tense, and feeling a power stirring within my heart. The Shadows hissed and leaped for me as one. I fell underneath them, gasping as the breath was stolen from my lungs from the blinding cold of their touch. Icy claws ripped at my arm, so cold it was like liquid fire. I pushed out, providing an outlet for the power I held. There was a roar in my ears, and a blaze of light shot out in a circle around us. There was a last despairing cry as the Shadows were vaporised. I stared around me in surprise. I had no idea I could do that. Hearing FireDarkWolfX behind me, I turned and knelt by Melody. She seemed to be asleep, her breathing deep and even.

"Melody," I said softly, touching her shoulder.

"Let's get her to Faerieland," Un-eairkagh said softly.

I nodded, the faeries would know what to do. "SwiftRiversRunning," I said, "go see to Padiglione, Un-eairkagh, you take Melody to Faerieland FireDarkWolfX, you stay with me." I grabbed the Gelert in my arms, leaping into the air, beating my wings to gain altitude. We flew to the centre of Neopia Central, landing in the street. "Keep an eye on me after this," I muttered.

The Gelert looked at me in curiosity, wondering what I was up to. I knew just what to do. It'd be hard, but better that than the Shadows running loose. As Terraile said, people would be destroyed tonight. I took a shuddering breath and closed my eyes. I felt the power grow and swell, currents of it coalescing in me. I drew it to myself, formed it, into a knot of pure power. It continued to increase, until all I could see and hear and feel was raw magic. It threatened to overwhelm me, to engulf my mind. Then I released it, with a roar a tidal wave of raw magic rolled out across Neopia, destroying every Shadow it touched. It was impossible to miss it, every Neopian that night saw and heard the tempest I had released. But the sheer volume of power I wielded was too much, and I collapsed to the ground, unconscious. And FireDarkWolfX understood why I had wanted him to stay with me.

I was dreaming, of Shadows again. I kept seeing pieces of coloured crystal, deep within a pool of darkness. And a cloaked figure watched me, red eyes glittering. "You may of won once," it hissed, "but the Shadows are infinite in number. They shall return tonight, and the next night. You cannot continue like this forever, we shall rule once again."

I spread my Eyrie wings to their full extent. "We shall win," I simply said. "Because I will not back down.

I woke to daylight on my face. I struggled to sit up in the bed, looking around. I was in my own room, Aldrai asleep at my feet and Un-eairkagh sitting on a nearby chair. He looked solemnly at me for a moment, then sighed. "So what's up?" I asked softly.

"Melody's in Faerieland The Shadows have some kind of influence, curse, lingering bit of whatever they do to drain life, still in her. That's why she won't wake."

"How do we cure her?" I asked, scared to hear the answer.

"We destroy the Shadows."

I nodded and slipped out of bed, waking Aldrai. He yawned and stretched, blinking around blearily.

"Just what did you do last night?" Un-eairkagh asked. "Not quite sure. Apparently I can use magic, like faeries. So I released a tidal wave of it and mangled the Shadows."

I walked from the room, my hooves echoing on the wooden floor. I found Sakuko asleep on the couch in the living room, and Sabreur outside with Infernus, practising with their swords. I rummaged up some cereal for breakfast and considered what to do next. Heya soon appeared perched on the nearby chair.

"Hello," she said softly.

"M'ello," I said around a mouthful of food.

"Do you know where the spear is?"

I swallowed before replying.

"What's the prophecy say?"

"Something about being buried deep within the darkness."

I thought on that quietly. "I had a dream last night," I said slowly, "about different coloured shards in a pool of darkness. Does it mean anything?"

Heya shrugged and shook her head.

"You'd know better than me."

I finished the rest of my cereal and headed back into the living room. Sakuko was blearily looking around, Terraile standing nearby with NightHawk's Bow.

"We're gonna have to practice if we're gonna take on the Shadows tonight," the Shoyru said simply, heading for the back door.

"Tonight?" I asked.

"Yeah, the gates only open at night," she said matter-of-factly over her shoulder. I merely shook my head and followed her out.

Sabreur quickly informed me that SwiftRiversRunning was with Melody, and would not participate in the upcoming battle. I didn't mind, someone had to stay with her. All the other pets where there though, and we practised literally all day, perfecting our aim and technique, with a lot of help from Infernus. A couple hours before sunset, and after we ate, it was time to head for the Haunted Forest, or, the Cursed Woods.

We walked in silence, the leaves crunching underfoot sounding eerily loud in the semi-darkness. A tingling on my arms caused me to shudder, and a chill went up my back.

"I think we're close to the source," Terraile said softly. The forest darkened, and through the trees I could see the brilliant colours of the vanishing sun. We didn't have much time left. Then, the trees around us suddenly vanished, and we were standing in the middle of a clearing. No brush, nothing was growing there, and a black mist covered the ground. The waning light seemed to despair of brightening this place, and the twilight was even deeper within the ring of midnight black trees. Terraile's eyes shone, remembering events performed by Neopians long gone. A single obelisk of ebony stone reared in the middle of the clearing, runes carved along its service that seemed to twist and move along the stones surface. A fire Lupe emerged from behind this massive shard of evil.

"Greetings child_dragon" he said calmly. "I am WeatherWolf, and we've been waiting." I glanced around in panic, and saw a huge group of pets, all kinds, emerging from the trees. We were outnumbered nearly two to one. A white Aisha moved to stand next to the Lupe Aldrai and the Aisha snarled at each other.

"Ah, so you remember Deealoe, good," WeatherWolf said. "Well, it's been an interesting time, but I'm afraid that this is it. None of you will leave this clearing alive." He laughed, and the ring of pets laughed too. We drew back to back, weapons ready.

"Get out of here first opportunity," Sabreur muttered in my ear.

"Can't leave you," I whispered back. The Lupe held up a paw and the menacing ring went still.

"I wish to fight you, child_dragon. Just me and you. No one else will interfere," he said.

"Kiddo, you can't!" Un-eairkagh said desperately.

I shook my head at him and stepped forward. "I accept," I said calmly. Anything to buy my pets time.

He laughed, and leaped for me, eyes blazing and claws ready.

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 Ten - Dragon's Hoard

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 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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