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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 22nd day of Hiding, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 45 > Continuing Series > As Told by child_dragon: Part Twenty One - Sacrifice of Love

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

by child_dragon

I faced BrightSong in triumph. He seemed to flinch away for a second from the spear.

"You know, Shi'kly didn't seem to trust you either," I mentioned.

He just ignored me. "Listen up now," he ordered. "This is extremely important. I'm going to open the way to the true realm of the Shadows, where the source is. You'll know what to strike, trust me. When you do, you can't feel anything. For the core and power of Neopia to be channeled through you and the spear, you must not be anything. I know you drift strongly towards light, and do everything through love, but you must set it aside for now. Else the Shadows will win."

I stared at the ground, thinking. "But that doesn't seem right," I said. "I mean, aren't the Shadows nothingness?"

"Yes, they are, but I'm not asking you to be like them. I'm asking you to set everything aside, so that you can strike their Heart with all the power of Neopia. It's the only way, can you?"

I looked at him, at his intent gaze.

"Terraile told me to never forget what Neopia is. And Aldrai told me to never forget love," I said suspiciously. "And I was also told the Shadows would try to possess me. Wouldn't not feeling, not being anything, be like them?"

He snarled in frustration. "No, you're not listening to me!" he said angrily. "Forget what your pets said, they don't know as much as I do, you've…"

"Be silent!" I shouted. "The Essence of Neopia is pets and owners. It's the bond of love between them. I cannot forget my pets, I cannot forget love, to do so would to deny what I am!" I said defiantly.

"Then you shall fail," he said coldly.

I stared at him, and a thought crept up on me. "You're the traitor," I said. "The Shadows can possess a person, can't they? And after you were destroyed, they took over you. Who else could take the Spear safely? And who else could use the magic of all the elements?"

He stared at me, then howled silently.

*Curse you, child_dragon* he said, but he no longer used words. *It seems we cannot use you. You would of made a powerful tool, especially with the spear, but that is no longer feasible*

I backed away, holding up my weapon. The walls melted away, and we were on an island of rock, below us, a liquid sea of Shadows, hissing and snarling at us. BrightSong's brilliant scales melted away, replaced with long been gone flesh. His eyes melted into pools of darkness, and ivory bones showed through his ancient skin. He hissed at me, no longer resembling anything alive.

"You sssshall pay, child_dragonnnn," the creature hissed.

"You are wrong there, monster!" I screamed.

He howled and rose into the air, dark power surrounding him. I followed, holding the Spear ready. A surge of pure darkness rushed towards me, but I blocked with the Spear. It exploded harmlessly. I flew towards BrightSong and swiped with my spear, but he blocked with a sword of black. I swooped back, landing on the island. He landed also.

"We finish this here," I said.

He charged for me, and I side-stepped, stabbing at his side with the Spear. He nimbly twisted aside and swung the sword in a downward arc. I rolled on my back and caught it, tilting the Spear off to the side and deflecting the blow into the dirt. I leaped to my feet and brought my spear down at him, the force jarring through my arms as he blocked with his sword. We spun apart, facing each other with weapons raised.

"You could rule all of Neopia," he said.

"Why? I already have everything I want, a family," I retorted. He swung his sword low at me, and I jumped lightly over it. I landed and just barely caught his return stroke with my spear. I felt my arms giving under his unnatural strength, and quickly slid my spear off and danced around him, swiping for his back. He spun and knocked my spear aside. Snarling, he raised his hands, and a ball of dark energy formed. It exploded out into a shockwave, and I was thrown back. I landed unsteadily near the edge of the island.

"You shall not win, child_dragon," BrightSong hissed.

I stood my ground, waiting. He ran towards me, and at the last minute I leaped. I twisted up over his head and behind him, plunging the Spear into his back as I landed. He staggered, and I grimly twisted it, and pulled it out. He gasped, and fell forwards, into the mass of Shadows. They hissed at me, then the island started to shake. It was dissolving. I leaped into the air, beating my wings furiously. The Shadows merged into one pool of inky darkness, and a serpent emerged from it. A sinuous body with clawed arms and wings of darkness. It did not have a tail, but rather rose from the pool of Shadows, growing longer as needed. I stared, not knowing what to do next. I had to stop the Heart, I knew that much. Was it the serpent? It soared towards me, not even beating its wings. I flew away, unconsciously knowing that one touch of that thing would be death, no, worse than death. I would be consumed by the Shadows, and be a slave to their power. It followed, roaring. The evil presence of the Shadows filled the air, I could feel their hatred beating on my mind, seeking a way in. I dodged past the Shadow serpent as it snapped, trying to catch me in its jaws.

*You shall never leave here alive!* the creature shrieked, and I cried in pain as its thoughts touched my mind. Its hatred was a tangible thing, and it was all directed at me. *Even if you destroy the Shadows, our Realm shall collapse, and you will be dragged down with it. You will be obliterated here, there is no way out!*

"Then so be it!" I shouted in defiance. "I gladly give my life to save Neopia from you!"

It howled, and I saw a flash of white out of the corner of my eye. I flew towards it,

and dimly saw the outline of Un-eairkagh. *Here, Kiddo* his voice echoed in my mind.

*This way!* I heard Sakuko say.

*The Heart isn't in the serpent. It is here* Terraile whispered.

*Strike, we shall be with you* MoonFall promised.

*You have always known your life was to lay down for us* Aldrai said.

*I understand if you don't come back. You were called to something greater than we* Melody reassured.

*We will see you again. Even if it is in heaven, we will see you there* Sabreur said.

*Never forget love!* they all cried, their voices drowning out the hatred of the Shadows. A crystal rose before me, a crystal filled with black nothingness. It was huge, much larger than me. The Heart of the Shadows. The Source. The serpent hissed in fury as I landed on its surface.

"I shall never back down!" I yelled, raising the Spear to strike. "For Neopia!!" And I slammed the Spear into the crystal. A current of power streamed through me, the very core of what Neopia was. Fire, earth, water, wind, light dark. All the elements united in the Spear. And Love, the bond between a pet and owner. The power streamed into the Heart of the Shadows, filling the void that they were. Then I knew why they hated us so much. They could never live, could never love. That was the source of their hatred, they wanted what we had. The stream of power radiated out from the crystal, touching everything connected to it, touching every Shadow in existence. The Shadows screamed, and the crystal cracked, then exploded with a roar. Light streamed out, brilliantly coloured and burning with power. I was thrown back from the force of the explosion, but I never lost my grip on the spear. The realm of the Shadows was collapsing, and I flew away, to a distant pinpoint of light, and my family was with me. The serpent screamed and tried to block me, but suddenly beams of light burst through its skin, destroying it from within. The place was falling in on itself, the out lash of power ripping the fabric of their realm apart. I strained my wings, feeling the collapse of the place all around me. So close… The pinpoint of light started to vanish. There was no way I could reach it. My wings slowed in despair. I'd fought so hard, and yet I was the one who would loose it all. Then Terraile's words came back to me. Never give up, no matter how tempted. I summoned all my strength to me, feeling nothing but a desire to see my family again, and with a single channeling of power, stopped the exit from vanishing. I touched it, and fell through the gate back into Neopia, the realm of the Shadows collapsing into nothingness forever behind me. I was in the air, the vortex above me vanishing with a roar. I fell, feeling myself slipping away into darkness. I tried to beat my wings, to save myself, but I was too weak. I couldn't stop my fall. Then something hit me from behind, lifting me out of the fall.

"Kiddo," Un-eairkagh said, holding me close.

I rested my head on his shoulder as he flew in the direction of our house.

"I knew you'd come back," he said. "I knew it."

"Un-eairkagh," I said weakly, crying.

"Just like old times, eh?" he said, his voice trembling as tears of joy spilled across his beak. "Didn't you know I'd pull through for you? I always do."

"Remember when we saved each other from the Snowager?" I asked. "One of us said that that's what friends are for. We were wrong. This isn't friendship. This is love."

Months had passed. I was changed, inside and out. I had seen evil, felt it's touch, and recognised it for what it was. It gave me something….a deeper understanding of this world, perhaps. On the outside, my appearance had changed slightly. I looked older, and according to Sabreur, like the dragon, eyes holding a knowledge forbidden to others. I also had a single streak of white in my hair, a brilliant snowy lock trailing through the brown, framing my face. I had been touched by power, an incredible power, coming from the very core of Neopia. However, at the current moment, darkness and power and magic were far from my mind. It was a sunny day, and me and my pets were out in the front yard, enjoying the sun. Aldrai sat on the step next to me, watching Un-eairkagh, Terraile, and MoonFall play a variant of baseball. I felt a pet approaching, and absently identified it's species. An Aisha, male, and with a very familiar aura. I leaped to my feet, summoning the Elemental Spear to my hand. My pets stopped playing and stared at me in fear.

"Get back," I ordered them, and they clustered around the steps. Deealoe appeared through the front gate, staring at us with sad and solemn eyes. He loosely held the silver dagger. He slowly walked up the path, not taking his eyes off us. I watched him in confusion. His eyes were haunted, empty, reflecting a sadness and hollowness that tore me apart. He was skinny, as if he hadn't eaten anything in months. And his white fur was dirty, smeared with mud.

"I need to speak with Aldrai," he said, his voice hoarse.

I stared for a moment, then Aldrai stepped out to stand before the Aisha The two looked at each other, then the Aisha took a deep, shuddering breath.

"Take this," he said, resolve tightening on his face. "Take it and finish it all. Bring the circle to a close, I will not fight back, strike and avenge everyone."

Aldrai stared dumbfounded as Deealoe pressed the dagger into his paw. The Aisha closed his eyes, as if in pain, and tilted his head back, giving Aldrai a clear view of his heart and neck. The spotted Zafara stared at the dagger in his paw, than at Deealoe, who was not moving an inch, prepared for the blow that would end his life. I watched in silence, fear gripping my heart. Aldrai was my pet, and I could read his emotions pretty well. But not now. I could not tell what was going through his head, could not tell what he would do. His face was expressionless, his eyes hardened in…something. I prayed it wasn't hatred. The Zafara raised the dagger high with a hiss, and I cried out slightly, turning my head away. There was a snap, and I looked again, astonished. Aldrai stood there, panting, he hadn't destroyed Deealoe, rather, slammed the dagger into the pavement, snapping it in two. The Aisha opened his eyes, looking at Aldrai in confusion. Aldrai gently handed him the ruined hilt.

"I give my forgiveness freely, take it and change your life," he said softly. Deealoe gazed at the broken hilt, and a single tear trickled down his cheek.

"The Shadows shall have no more hold on me," he whispered, and turned away to leave. I watched him go silently. His stride now held purpose, his shoulders no longer slumped. It was if a weight had been lifted off of him. Aldrai turned to me, and a fire burned in his eyes.

"The circle of hatred is broken," he proclaimed. "The last thing is done. It is over."

The End


Child_dragon still lives with her four pets, and her friends nearby. She is still the Essence of Neopia, and still has the Elemental Spear. Sure, she gets a lot of questions and comments about her looks, but she doesn't care. She has faced something no one else has, and survived. Her only physical mark of the encounter is a single streak of white hair framing her face. No one can touch evil and remain unchanged. She is changed on the inside also. She no longer takes things for granted, and knows just how precious her pets are. She has touched the true heart of Neopia, a willingness to sacrifice everything for someone else. She has touched love. Un-eairkagh is still cocky, spoiled, and troublesome. MoonFall still is a bit bossy, and rules the house like a queen. Terraile hasn't changed much from before either, but she still has NightHawk's Bow, and will threaten any pet she believes is being a bully with an arrow. It seems she's a bit more aggressive and protective of those weaker than her. Not that that's a bad thing. Aldrai has changed the most. He is no longer afraid of things, and is no longer burdened down with grief. He's moved on from that part of life, and seems much older and wiser than his age implies. Melody is her usual calm and loving self, nothing could shake her foundations. Sabreur hasn't changed much either, except his lab is now off limits to everyone except himself and Infernus. WeatherWolf and Deealoe have returned to the Haunted Forest with his pack, but this time not with a hatred of owners. Instead, they take in abandoned pets and help them understand that a vast majority of humans have good hearts, and help them find a home. So some of those caught up in these events have radically changed, and some only a little bit. But they've all learned something very important. You don't have to be powerful, a leader, or of any particular importance to be a hero. Sometimes a simple teenager will do.

***

Here ends As Told by Child_dragon. To finish this, I'd like to repeat that you can definitely Neomail me. I encourage it. And if you wish, Neomail Sabreur, horngodess (Melody), or Sakuko. Everyone else in the story is fictional. And lastly, I've got about several hundred more people to thank, but obviously, I can't do that. So here goes a big general thank you. When I wrote this series, I had no idea what I was going to do in life, etc. Not a good thing for a junior filling out college applications. Anyway, I defined myself as a bandie, due to being in marching band. However, that was soon ruined due to a person who abused her authority and a director who refused to do anything about it. I was forced to quit, and the resulting events were quite ugly. So I lost my one thing I identified myself with. Shortly after this happened, I finished my series in about two weeks. I sent it in, and the reaction was phenomenal. I began to see myself not as a bandie (which was no longer true), but as a writer. Combined with the best teacher I've ever had for Advanced Creative Writing, I soon realised that this is what I love and what I want to do. I plan to major in computers, minor in writing now. And the one thing that has given me direction and purpose is you. Yes, all the fellow Neopians who wrote telling me what you thought of my story and encouraging me to keep writing, and those who read my series. For that, I thank you.

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 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

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