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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 6th day of Running, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 59 > Continuing Series > The Threat: Part Three

The Threat: Part Three

by averyangryshaylir

Zayal inhaled the crisp night air as she followed silently behind Gilro and Toyan. So many thoughts and questions pulsed through her mind. She couldn’t even see strait, let alone think. She hadn’t exactly thought about what she was doing, and now she started to feel a tinge of regret seep through her bones.

     Why did I leave my home, the only home I’ve ever known to go with two complete strangers? She asked herself, but she realised she knew the answer before she even finished the thought. The small bit of regret disappeared. Zayal needed this, she couldn’t thrive in a place she already knew so well. She needed adventure, something different, a challenge. Yes, a challenge was exactly what she needed. Amberclaw would understand. Amberclaw had to understand. Amberclaw had no need to worry, and Zayal had explained that in her letter. What if Amberclaw worried anyway? Zayal shook the notion out of her head. She didn’t need to concern herself with “What if?” questions.

     Suddenly, Zayal froze in her tracks. Somebody...something was watching her and it wasn’t the normal curious woodland creature. Toyan and Gilro took no notice as they chattered loudly about what had recently happened. Slowly, Zayal turned her head to the left. Right away she saw the offending creature, perched on a tree branch staring at her. It certainly didn’t look menacing. It was a very small Draik-like creature, his tiny talons gripping the tree branch as if his life depended on it. If it wasn’t for the wings Zayal certainly would have though that it was a subspecies to a Draik. The wings were transparent and glittered in the moonlight, they were faerie wings. She had never seen a creature like it before. What was so frightening about it? In normal circumstances Zayal would have offered the little guy a piece of food from her rucksack. This time it was different. There was something about the strange Draik-faerie that bothered her. She couldn’t put her finger on it. The creature seemed to be looking her over trying to pinpoint her weaknesses.

     What is wrong with me? Zayal demanded to herself. It is just something I haven’t seen before. No reason to be scared!

     Unfortunately, the feeling of danger lingered in Zayal’s mind. It was a feeling she couldn’t just shake off.

     “Hey! C’mon, Your falling behind. We’ve got to reach Shaylir by Sundown today!” Gilro said, his eyes flickering with annoyance. He was obviously in some sort of rush.

     “Geez, Gilro. She’s probably tired we just woke her up in the middle of he night," Toyan snapped at the Kyrii as he trotted backwards to wait for Zayal. Sometimes Toyan got rather irritated with his long time friend’s quick temper and bad attitude.

     “No, No...I’ve just been thinking. That’s all," Zayal replied not really caring whether Gilro was mad or not. She was tired, but she had much more important things on her mind.

     That was when the serpent came.

***

Summoned by his Master, one of the King’s many Bruce servants came running into the royal chambers. He quickly bowed to the King, his hands shaking nervously.

     “Yes, My Lord?” The Bruce’s body was trembling with fear, but he kept his voice even.

     “What the heck is this?” The King, who was a Skeith, snapped his eyes flashing with anger. He wore a cloak made of the finest velvet and it was adorned with jewels that were worth thousands in gold. Even at fifty the king was a large menacing figure with huge claws that could defeat many strong creatures. His eyes were small and beady and his skin seemed like tanned leather. “Darn it! You should no by now that I only drink red wine!” He spat at the cowering Bruce

     The servant sighed to himself, his eyes still wide with fear. The King could easily request for the General to exile him and that was something the servant did not want. Ryon, The Shaylirian General (he was a fiery Lupe), was just as menacing as his king.

     “Yes, your highness. I am terribly sorry for the mix-up and I will be up with your Red Wine in a moment," the servant replied quickly and with a short bow he rapidly exited the room.

     A malicious laugh filled the room as the king chucked the goblet of white wine at the wall. The King was pleased. There was nothing better then to see the face of one of his servants when, gosh forbid, they did something wrong. Of course, they hadn’t really done anything wrong. The King just happened to change his mind often. This set him off into more howls of laughter. Complete and total control. Being a King was wonderful. He watched as droplets of wine dripped off the wall which was made of sapphire and silver.

     “Whoops,” he said out loud to himself.

     Foogon flew in through the window, landing on The King’s shoulder.

     “Ahh, Good Day Foogon. Find anything that may be of interest?” The King inquired the small Draik-like creature with faerie wings. The two of them spoke telepathically. The King wasn’t a telepath but Foogon could understand all the same just by listening to his thoughts.

     “Well, Two citizens of Shaylir. A Uni-boy and a Kyrii were found with a young woman. I don’t think they could be of any harm, but it’s something to keep a watch out for. There was something familiar about the girl...” Foogon was cut off as the King rudely interrupted.

     “You think I’d fear those two hooligans and some girl? Bah! I don’t need to know about things that aren’t a Threat. Anything else?” The King’s telepathic voice was obviously astounded that Foogon thought a simple girl could threaten his plans.

     “Nothing else...but you must be wary I really do think...” Foogon was cut off yet again by the King’s raspy voice.

     “Shut up you old Lizard and go find me some useful information," the king said with a snap of his fingers. “You’re dismissed.”

     “Yes, Sire,” was Foogon’s reply, but he was sick of the King’s complaints. If he didn’t appreciate his information, somebody else would.

***

It was huge.

     Zayal took a few steps back so she could size the gigantic serpent up. It was at least three feet in diameter and there was no way to tell exactly how long it was in the darkness. It’s scaly skin was obviously very thick and it glistened menacingly in the moonlight. It’s eyes weren’t the usual yellowish in colour but a demon-like red. Just looking at the serpent’s eyes sent a shiver through Zayal’s spine.

     And it was hungry.

     Gilro was frozen in his tracks. His eyes were wide with terror and his entire body trembled with unmistakable fear. Toyan slowly backed up dragging Gilro by his shirt collar. Zayal’s first instinct was to bolt back down the path, but she knew that there was no way it would work. The serpent was hungry and there was not a chance it would let his prey get away that easily. It could easily track them down. They had no choice but to slay it. At first Zayal grabbed for her spear so she wouldn’t have to get too close to the serpent. Then she cursed. It’s point was made for catching fish, not piercing the skin of a serpent. There was no way she could defeat it with such a dull point. She had to use her dagger.

     “Toyan," she whispered hoarsely as she edged closer to the serpent. “Distract it while I get him from behind.” She knew there was no way to get close unless she had Toyan’s help.

     “What the heck? There is NO way I am going NEAR that things face!” Toyan replied sharply as he reared backwards. He was horrified of serpent’s, one had defeated his younger brother when Toyan’s parents were still alive. Toyan’s past wasn’t exactly happy.

     “Fine. If I get beat, I blame you," was Zayal’s cold response. The serpent hissed with fury as she walked even closer towards him. He curled up ready to strike at any moment, It’s eyes following the young girl’s every movement. This got Toyan moving, he wasn’t going to let another person be defeated at the mouth of a serpent whether he knew Zayal well or not.

     “Darn it...” Toyan rushed in with a large branch in his arm. The serpent reeled back, opening his mouth in surprise. The centaur took the opportunity to stick the branch into the serpent’s gaping mouth. Zayal acted quickly, thrusting her dagger deep into the serpent’s vulnerable neck. The serpent hissed with astonishment and fury as he tried to swing it’s head around to face Zayal. It screamed in agony as pain shot through it’s entire body. Zayal held on tightly to the hilt of the dagger as the serpent whipped it’s head around. That was when Toyan first realised Zayal wasn’t just an ordinary girl. He watched as the serpent’s dark scarlet eyes slowly began to dull as it became defeated. Finally it’s immense head fell to the dusty forest floor with a loud thud.

     “Wow...” was all Toyan could say, his jaw had dropped and his eyes revealed his astonishment. He was truly impressed with Zayal’s bravery, it wasn’t often you see a girl take down a serpent. Heck, It wasn’t often you see anybody take down a serpent.

     “It...was...huge," Gilro said shakily, staring at the serpent in awe. It’s eyes still seemed to be watching all three of them.

     “Let’s just hope it’s not some kind of Snake-Hydra hybrid and it doesn’t sprout three heads and....” Toyan was cut off by Zayal sharp tongue.

     “Shush. That is complete nonsense," Zayal said quietly, giving Toyan an icy glare. The serpent’s body twitched suddenly. “Natural Reflex," she said with a ghost of a grin as both Toyan and Gilro jumped in surprise.

     “Let’s just keep moving," Toyan grumbled. The experience had shaken him quite a bit and he just wanted to get to Shaylir.

***

Foogon had always been an outcast to his kind.

     Draik’esha’s, the real name for his species, were timid little creatures. Surprisingly, They lived in underground cities without any knowledge of the world above them. Foogon was an exception. He had always known that there was something more then their hidden towns. Most Draik’esha’s believed that anything above ground was a myth. Foogon knew better.

     He remembered when he was only a child, his parent’s would scold him whenever he told them about his dreams of going to the surface. For a long while he banished the thoughts from his mind, but the hunger for adventure got the best of him eventually.

     That was when he ran away from home.

     It hadn’t been hard at all to find an opening to the surface. There were many along forgotten tunnels that had lead to abandoned Draik’esha establishments. He had simply flown out into the new world, which to him, had been as amazing as he thought it would be.

     It had been fifteen years since that day, he didn’t regret it, rather he regretted trusting who he did.

     He had trusted the future king.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

The Threat: Part One

The Threat: Part Two

The Threat: Part Four

The Threat: Part Five

The Threat: Part Six

The Threat: Part Seven

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