I didn't flinch as the Lupe struck me hard in the chest. I was thrown backwards,
and the Lupe leaped off to one side, growling. I rolled onto my side, groaning
as my chest protested in pain. I shoved myself to my feet, and was immediately
slammed back to the ground by the enormous size of the fire Lupe He leaped back
again and waited for me to stand. He was toying with me, and I knew it. I stood
again, and again he knocked me to the ground. I could hear MoonFall crying,
and I glimpsed the horrified and desperate faces of my friends. And all around
were the leering and laughing followers of WeatherWolf. I stood again, and this
time the Lupe hit me from the back, knocking me to the dirt. A jarring pain
stabbed up my side and I gasped in pain, struggling to my knees. I had fallen
on a rock, and a sharp pain and tightness in my chest signified a broken rib.
"Stand up and fight, dragon!" the Lupe snarled from behind me.
He slashed lightly down my back with his paw, causing me to wince. I stood
once again, facing him quietly.
"Well, fight!!" he snarled, standing there in a crouch. "I'll even let you
I shook my head. "I will not fight you," I said softly.
He sprang, slamming me into the ground again. I cried out as the pain from
my ribs increased tenfold.
"Fight me!" WeatherWolf screamed, hitting me with his paws.
I curled into a ball, shielding my head with my wings. He rained down blows,
enraged at my refusal to fight. He finally slumped to the ground, panting.
"Why won't you fight?!" he moaned in frustration.
I looked him in the eyes. "Because violence begets violence. If this is going
to end, then one of us will have to back down. And I will not destroy a pet,
even to save myself."
The Lupe stared at me in astonishment, and a startled ripple ran through the
"Not even to save yourself?" a voice questioned, and a blue Pteri stepped
out into the clearing.
I managed to lift myself to my knees, meeting the Pteri's puzzled gaze. "When
I entered Neopia, I took on a responsibility to protect and cherish the NeoPets,
even those not my own," I explained.
"Bah, she lies. Weren't we all abandoned by our owners? Thrown aside and discarded
without even a backwards glance?" the white Aisha named Deealoe hissed. The
last rays of the sun vanished over the horizon. A chill wind rushed through
the clearing, whispering of things that should not be known.
"This isn't good," I whispered as the obelisk glowed darkly.
Power seemed to gather around it, and the whispering wing strengthened. WeatherWolf
seemed strangely unconcerned.
"Perhaps for you," he replied.
"Destroy the girl WeatherWolf!!" the Aisha screamed, hurling a silver dagger
with one paw.
The blue Pteri shrieked and leaped into the air. She gasped, and fell to the
ground, the dagger embedded in her shoulder.
"Jenina!" a pet among the circle shouted, shocked.
The Lupe stared in surprise at the Pteri
"You care," she said, voice twisted in pain. "That's more than any other human
There was a flash of dark power, and a howling arose. I could see shadows
forming at the base of the obelisk, hundreds and hundreds. There was a cry from
behind me, and I turned, seeing my friends and WeatherWolf's group engage. We
were outnumbered, but the arrival of the Shadows had thrown everything into
utter chaos. WeatherWolf snarled at the scene about him. I staggered to me feet
and nearly fell, the pain causing me to grow light-headed. I felt something
strong brush up against me, and I clung to rough fur for support.
"He lied," WeatherWolf said from beside me, "he said we would be safe from
I grasped his meaning in a heartbeat. The Shadows were attacking everyone,
indiscriminately. Everyone had gathered into a big bunch, my friends on the
outer ring fighting with the faerie weapons.
"Strike the gate, open the way, stop the Shadows!" a familiar voice yelled,
and I looked, seeing Terraile hovering above the battle, stringing an arrow.
I held my breath, and she took aim. Time seemed to slow, and with a hiss, the
arrow flew straight, striking the obelisk in the very centre. The Shadows screamed,
and a dark vortex appeared around Terraile's arrow. With a resounding crack,
the obelisk shattered into a million pieces, crumbling to the forest floor.
The Shadows didn't move, then sluggishly regained their bearings, turning to
face the group of pets. I gathered power into myself, and released it in a golden
shockwave, destroying the rest. I swayed, and heard a clatter of steel being
dropped. Sabreur's arms quickly kept me from falling and helped me to sit on
the ground. Everyone was silent as they watched. WeatherWolf shook his head,
dazed. He looked around as if one awakening from a dream. He wasn't the only
one. Deealoe seemed especially shaken.
"It was evil," a soft voice said, a yellow Buzz. "Andů it was influencing
our actions," he finished in an amazed whisper.
The Buzz hovered over and knelt by the Pteri's side.
"You saw it, didn't you?" he said, gently touching her wing. "You saw what
we were becoming."
The Pteri nodded and closed her eyes.
"I saw. I knew what was happening, so I spoke out." She shivered, gasping
for breath. "Citrus, it's so cold," she said weakly.
The Buzz shook his head, denying what was happening.
"No, Jenina, don't go, we'll get you to the Healing Springs, you're going
to be all right, you're going to be fine," the Buzz said desperately. He gasped,
staring around in shock.
"Jenina!" he cried, gently picking up the tiny form and cradling it to his
chest, rocking back and forth crying. I glanced up at WeatherWolf, and saw sorrow
in his eyes.
"We all have paid dearly," he said softly.
I was about to reply, when Sakuko gasped in shock. She pointed up to the sky.
The stars, the moon, they were all gone. There was a rumbling, and the ground
started to shake.
"An earthquake?" Padiglione cried in fear.
It was worse. In the sky, a black cloud started to form. Lighting streaked
across it, smashing into the ground at random intervals. The cloud started to
spin, to form a vortex into the sky. Purple light faintly outlined it, and I
could see that it wasn't a cloud at all. It was a whirling vortex of darkness
in the sky, a gate to the source of the Shadows. I stared at it grimly.
"The sun will not rise until it is gone," Terraile said grimly, "and if it
is not closed within a few days, the realm of the Shadows will merge with the
world of Neopia." She did not need to elaborate on what would happen then.
"Then this is it," Un-eairkagh said. "We've got to go in."
I shook my head. "No, only I can enter," I said. "I'm the Essence of Neopia,
andů" I paused, searching for the root of that strange feeling I had. "That's
where the Elemental Spear is," I finished. I turned to WeatherWolf. He wouldn't
look me in the eyes. "Un-eairkagh will take me to the Healing Springs. Everyone
else, see to yourselves and try to get home. There's going to be mass panic,
cause if I'm not mistaken, that vortex is right above Neopia Central."
My friends and their pets nodded, while the rest just looked lost.
"We have no home," WeatherWolf said. "We are all abandoned."
"Then come with us," Netsuko said steadily.
WeatherWolf dipped his head in thanks, then looked around. "Where's Deealoe?"
The Lupe bared his teeth in frustration, then glanced at Citrus. The Buzz
still held Jenina's lifeless form, the weapon gone. The Aisha must of reclaimed
it, I thought, worried. But one Aisha was the least of our worries right now.
"All right, let's go, Un-eairkagh," I said.
I climbed onto his back, and he leaped into the air. We quickly reached Faerieland,
the vortex sending strange currents of air about that made flying tricky. The
Healing Springs Faerie was frightened, and gave me the best healing spell she
could, along with a fervent wish that I succeeded. I stood gazing out at the
vortex, not hurting a bit now.
"This is it," I said to Un-eairkagh.
He nodded. I knelt and placed my hands on his shoulders.
"Listen, if I don't come back, there's a letter in my top drawer," I said.
"If you don't survive, it's a moot point," he said softly.
I shook my head. "Either way, I want you to remember where it is." I leaned
forward and hugged him close. "I love you," I said simply, trying not to cry.
"I love you too," he replied.
I released him, and stood. Tears trickled down his cheeks.
"Now go show them why they shouldn't mess with our Kiddo," he said, and I
leaped into the air, my white wings flashing. Higher and higher I flew, the
thunder roaring in my ears. The vortex yawned above me, a portal into a realm
of darkness. I flew into it, and was engulfed into the maelstrom.
Un-eairkagh watched as his owner became a mere speck against the sky, then
vanished into the darkness. He fell to the ground, tears spilling across his
beak. A gleam of white caught his eye. A single feather lay on the ground, shining
white. It had come from child_dragon's wing. He picked it up with one paw and
clutched it to his heart. "You will return, Kiddo. I cannot live if you don't."
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.