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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 24th day of Eating, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 42 > Continuing Series > The Fine Line: Dreamer's End (Vol. 2): Part Four

The Fine Line: Dreamer's End (Vol. 2): Part Four

by gundamblaze

Episode IXX: Battle of Time
"Brad, wake up?" is what I awoke to as I opened my eyes to see Laura tugging on my arm. "BRAD!" she screamed as hugged me.

"Get off me, will ya! My muscles still hurt..." She promptly stopped squeezing the life out of me. "Ugh... how's my neck doing?"

"It's kinda strange," said Elci. "There's no wound... just some weird scar that says "IX" on it. But I swear it had just an "X" on it before..." As my eyes regained focus, I noticed a brick sticking a little more out of the wall than the others, right behind where the fake pendulum was. I pushed it, and sure enough, it went in. The wall in front of me started to move like liquid. Another warp. I ran right through without waiting for the others. When I passed through, I found myself on the top floor, with clear glass walls and a glass ceiling encasing us. Letting the light from the sky pour in. The sun was setting. The others quickly appeared behind me, but I paid no attention to them. I walked over to the pendulum swinging in the air.

"This must be the real one," I said as I reached out to it. As I was about to touch it, it moved away, in a fashion as if it was playing. The pendulum started glowing, and shot an enormous blast of light onto the ground, and it formed into an armour clad dragon. The Grand Chrono.

"HOW DARE YOU!?" it roared. "How dare you try to distort the time flow of my world!? You will pay!" I don't think he was going to let us explain that we just wanted the gem. I then saw the most diabolical action yet. The energy he was emitting was making the sun set faster! We were running out of time!

"If it's a fight you want, it's a fight you'll get!" I yelled as I drew the dagger. The two brave Shoyrus appeared next to me, with the girls backing them up. We were ready to beat him into the ground!

"Kisaki, Laura, use the NeoWeapons on the dagger!" I yelled as I threw it up into the air. They performed the actions, and had their NeoPets attack the dagger. When it fell back into my hands, I threw it at the Grand Chrono, seriously inflicting some damage. And with it stuck in him, it would keep damaging him. But without the dagger, I had done all I could. Or so I thought.

"Brad, get back here!" Laura yelled. But I had better plans.

"Not this time, Laura. I'm going to get one step closer to fulfilling my Destiny... even if I don't have one." Laura looked at me, puzzled, but I ignored her and ran over to the glass wall. I pulled my leg back, and shot it forward full force. The only thing louder than the smashing of the glass was the clashing of titans.

"Why don't you back off?" said Dracosis as she pounded away. "Us girls will beat you!"

"Don't get your hopes up... he's pretty str-" Elci's sentence was cut off as she was smacked hard with the metal claw. Laura had run over to me as I was holding my leg.

"Brad, are you okay!?" Laura screamed, even though she was right next to me.

"Not anymore," I said as I held my ears. "Actually, it's just a small cut. I'll be fine." I carefully picked up the largest shard of glass, holding it so the edge wouldn't touch me. I then looked out the window to see the sun disappearing into the horizon. "There's not much time!"

Shinsei Tokkan and Shinjitsu Benda were being used relentlessly, and the Grand Chrono's fatigue was becoming apparent. I knew we could beat him, but beating him was not the problem here; It was beating him in time.

"Take THIS!" I yelled as I threw the massive shard at him. It struck him between the neck and the shoulder, and black liquid started coming out of the cut. He let out a massive growl before charging at me.

"AH!" Laura screamed, still paralysed next to me. I pushed her out of the way just as he hit me with a blow that almost knocked me through the hole in the wall. The thin wall was holding me up, but just barely.

As I moved my foot back, I hit another shard. A ha... devilishly clever, Brad, I thought to myself. I used my sole to push it forward to the tip of my foot, and knocked the end up onto the top of my shoe, the Grand Chrono still inches away from me.

"BAKA!" I yelled, startling him. I then kicked the shard up, striking him right through the chest. "I'll be taking this back," I said, removing the dagger from him. I then held it up and struck him all over. Just as the sun set, the pendulum shattered, along with the Grand Chrono. And then I saw it... the gem that was on his claw. Laying on the floor. I slowly walked over to it and picked it up.

"This can't be it... it's much too small," I muttered, depressed, as the tiny shard emitted a faint radiance. As I pulled it closer, it started to glow brighter.

"Brad... what's up with that thing?" Dracosis asked.

"I don't have the faintest idea..." I muttered. I then noticed a glowing coming from under my shirt. I hauled out the amulet, and noticed the gem on it was glowing. As I turned the amulet around, I noticed a small crack in it. "No... it couldn't be..." I put the shard in the crack. I had to cover my eyes from the immense light, but when I opened them, the gem had formed into one. I used my index finger and thumb to pop them gem out of the amulet.

"So... it's been with us all along... what irony!" After those words escaped from my mouth, the tower started to rumble.

"Ack! What's happening!?" Elci yelled.

"That pendulum must've been the force of the tower!" Kisaki exclaimed. "Without it, it won't be supported! It's gonna collapse!"

"And we won't be able to float you guys down..." Dracosis muttered. "You weigh too much, and our wings are worn out from battle!" I was looking through the hole in the window, and Kisaki came next to me and looked down to, solemnly.

"We must be a hundred feet above ground!" she exclaimed. "We wouldn't survive the fall!"

"Uhh, Brad," Laura muttered. "I don't want to alarm you, but that scar on your neck is glowing." I started to feel a warm feeling in the back of my neck. I could see the light being emitted from the back of my neck. When it had stopped, I felt stronger.

"Eek!" Kisaki screamed. "Now it says "VIII" on your neck!" Okay, this was starting to freak me out. But the feeling I had was indescribable.

How does it feel to have this power? a voice in my head whispered. Release the hidden light... At that moment, I released a white wave of light, smashing all the glass walls and making the others float.

"Brad, what IS this!?" Elci exclaimed.

"Not a clue," I simply replied. But I knew how to control this, so I floated out of the shattered walls and onto the ground. We reached the ground just in time to see the tower fall.

"Well, that's all of them," Laura said. "I think we know what to do know..."

"That's right! We sleep know!" They all gave me a puzzled face. "I know, I know... onto The Horror Shell!"

Episode XX: The Horror Injection
Kage was soundly sleeping... well, as soundly as he could in his condition. The others were starting to drift off, and Ryo just lay a distance away from them, depressed.

"It's probably best I can't get to sleep," he muttered. "I'd only be ridden with nightmares if I did..." But, even with all the things going on, he couldn't hold off his weariness... his eyes slid closed as he drifted off into his own little world...


What's happened to me?
I feel like my body isn't by itself anymore...
Darkness... darkness, everywhere!
Wait... now it's coming back to me...
Apokari, injection... needle...
... Malum...
So is it him that made me feel like this?
He will pay... AGH!
Or maybe I will just destroy the others...


Ryo just shot up in a cold sweat. "That was nothing," he convinced himself. "It's just anxiety mixed with the darkness of this realm." All the others were sleeping. He took out his NeoP0rt to check the time. "I was asleep for six hours? Whoa.. short dream." He then started to scroll through the menu. "We always just assumed we wouldn't be able to mail to Neopia in this dimension, but maybe..." Ryo's NeoP0rt set off a loud beep. "... Maybe we were right." Just as he was about to lay back down, he heard a loud bang. He turned around to see a dimensional warp opening, and the new Apokari coming from it. All the others had already awoken.

"So, come back for more, eh? MITSUKAI!" Sakari transformed herself into her Mitsukai form.

"Actually, I've come here for you, Sakari," Apokari evilly replied. "Come quietly or come as a bloody pulp, your decision."

"Bloody pulp, please. And I'm talking about you."

"Ha! I'm sorry, but I'm more than a hundred times stronger than that little toy you played with earlier. Shock Claw!" Apokari's arm extended and shot at Sakari. But, Ryo, being the valiant one he is, took the blow for her. Well, that was the claw part. Then came the shock...

"AGH!" Ryo yelled out as the shock of power was sent through his body.

"You'll have to do!" Apokari yelled. "This gate is too unstable to stay any longer!" And with that, the gate closed, with Apokari and Ryo enveloped in it.


Ugh... where am I?
Am I dreaming again?
No, I'm not...
My wounds are stinging...
Why can't I open my eyes?
Is it because of the pain flowing through me?
Or is it because I'm afraid of what I'll open them to?
I can't move any limb on my body...
What happened to me?
Ah yes, I remember now...
I took the blow for Sakari...
Well, at least she doesn't have to feel this pain...

"Get up, boy!" Malum yelled to him.

"Hmm...?" Ryo wearily opened his eyes to find himself in Apocaly Pandemonium. He also found out why he couldn't move; he was tied up at the legs and arms. "Oh great," he said, looking at Malum.

"Come on, boy, we have to get you prepared," Malum said, looking angry.

"Pre... pared? Prepared for what?" Ryo was quite worried now.

"Let's just say I have a plan... and it involves you." Malum snickered. "Come on. Hop into the cart." Malum pointed to a cart that was suspended a meter above the ground on a wire. The cable went into a tunnel about a hundred feet above the ground they were on. Ryo assumed that tunnel led to wherever they were going.

"It's kind of hard to move tied up like this, can you help me up?" Malum brought Ryo to his feet in led him into the cart. Malum then got in, and the cart started moving.

"Brave move back there," commented Malum. "But also stupid. We'll get the others anyway... or rather, you will."

"What do you mean?" Ryo asked.

"You'll see, boy, you'll see..." Malum took out his NeoP0rt and had an instant view of what was outside the Tree of Desolation. Ryo peeked over to see Kisaki, Laura, Dracosis, Elci, and I resting peacefully at Valens' campsite.

"How did you-" Ryo was cut off.

"Cameras in the tree's rough. It's simple, really. Come on boy, we're here." Malum undid Ryo's ropes, and handed him a cloth. "Clean yourself up, boy. You're cut all over." Ryo was caught quite off guard by Malum's compassion, but took advantage of it, and wiped over all of the cuts. Malum escorted Ryo into a dining hall with two very delicious looking plates of food spread across a table.

"This is a joke, right? You're just teasing me, aren't you?" Ryo asked.

"No I'm not. Take a seat and enjoy yourself. You look very worn out, and will be even more after the procedure, so I figured you should have something to eat. Take a seat, boy."

"Why do you keep calling me "boy"?"

"Because, I never took the time to learn your name."

"It's Ryo."

"Strange name you have."

"Ha, this, coming from a boy named Malum." Malum made a face, and sat down. Ryo was already stuffing his face, especially after he noticed he hadn't eaten for almost three days. Once he had swallowed about ten mouthfuls, he spoke up.

"This has been driving me insane... what do you plan to do to Neopia? And how did you get here?"

Malum seemed reluctant to give away answers, but did anyway. "Those two kind of go together. You see... I was invited to stay in Neopia by some strange force. He didn't even have a body! In exchange for giving him a body, he let me stay in Neopia and gave me this device. The body I gave him was the second Apokari form, the one made up of multiple cells. Then, for staying here longer, I had to try and bring the NeoPets into other worlds. I'm not the leader of this, Apokari is."

Ryo was still shovelling food down while listening. His plate was now wiped clean. "That's... really something. Are you sure it's worth it?"

"Of course it's worth it. It's Neopia! The real thing!" Ryo had a look of disappointment on his face.

"I guess turning you into another Kage is out of the question..."

Malum passed Ryo a glass of water, not paying attention to his last remark. "Here, take a drink. Eating all of that must've made you thirsty." Ryo quickly chugged the glass down. His eyes began to feel heavy.

"No... you didn't... you monster..."

"You knew this was coming... I'm sorry, Ryo."


Not again...
Why do I keep finding myself in this state?
This state between being awake and being asleep?

Ryo slowly slid his eyes open to find himself in a room of horrific machines.

"Welcome back to the real world, Ryo," said Malum. "Wondering what all these machines are? Well, the one to your left was used to clone Apokari bodies. And the one to your right was used to insert the soul into the greater Apokari body. And the one your hooked up to right now... is used to merge genetics... yours and Apokari's, this time."

"NO! I won't!" Ryo tried to break free, until he realised that the wires pierced to his skin sent blazing shocks through. He then remembered back to his dream the night before, and it made sense.

"Apokari cell loading is complete, sir," Atrox hissed, using his long tongue to roll his words. Ryo then heard some grinding from behind him... and saw the needle attached to a stiff cable slowly approaching him from behind.

"No... it can't be like this," Ryo said as tears began to well up in his eyes. And he then felt the needle pierce his left elbow that was restrained behind his back...

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

The Fine Line: Dreamer's End (Vol. 2): Part One

The Fine Line: Dreamer's End (Vol. 2): Part Two

The Fine Line: Dreamer's End (Vol. 2): Part Three

The Fine Line: Dreamer's End (Vol. 2): Part Five

The Fine Line: Dreamer's End (Vol. 2): Part Six

The Fine Line: Dreamer's End (Vol. 2): Part Seven

The Fine Line: Dreamer's End (Vol. 2): Part Eight

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