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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 6th day of Running, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 60 > Continuing Series > The Threat: Part Four

The Threat: Part Four

by averyangryshaylir

Amberclaw thrashed around uncomfortably in her sleep, her talons striking out at invisible invaders.

     “We’re taking her. She may be dangerous," a soldier from the Shayliarian army commanded in her dream, his eyes were stern and his voice steady. His commands were to be listened to.

     “No! No! How can a little girl be threatening to your Kingdom? We’re not even citizens! You can not take her!” Amberclaw protested with a loud screech She was not going to give Zayal up without a fight. She slashed at the soldier’s stomach with a talon, but for some reason she couldn’t move. She was frozen in place, and her eyes were wide with terror as they put Zayal in shackles, not unlike the ones that were used on Xaania, and pulled her out of their small cabin.

     “I’m okay Amberclaw. Everything is going to be okay. It was meant to be," Zayal said in her own calm, dignified manner. The young woman stood up strait her chin pointed upwards in honour as she followed the Lupe soldier. As soon as Zayal walked out the door Amberclaw could move again, but when she ran outside to try to stop them they were both gone.

     Then Amberclaw was awake, she didn’t even need to open her eyes to know that Zayal was gone.

***

The day had gone by slowly.

     They had trudged on doggedly without disturbance the rest of the way through the woods. Zayal guessed that the commotion caused by the serpent had sent all of the creatures into hiding. It had been a tiring walk, especially without a full nights sleep but she didn’t mind. In fact, she rather enjoyed it as mundane as the rest of the walk had been. She had quite a bit of time to reflect on everything that was going on, and plenty of time to consider who could possibly want to see her. She had searched her mind for anybody that she used to know that might be from the kingdom, but she didn’t find a thing. The only people she had known all of her life were Amberclaw, Silverwind, and now Toyan and Gilro. She furrowed her eyebrows in quiet frustration and bit her lip. There was not one thing that she could make sense of in this situation.

     It was already evening and the sun was slowly beginning to drop in the sky. The sky itself seemed like a canvas that was painted with splashes of beautiful shades of orange and purple. Zayal wished they could pause for just a moment and admire the gorgeous site above them, but she knew that there was no time unless they wanted to spend the night in the forest. That was something she did not wish to do.

     “We’re almost out of the forest. After that it should only be a few minutes before we reach Shaylir," Toyan said suddenly, his eyes drawn with exhaustion but still glistening with optimism. His gait was slowing quite a bit, but he still had that slight spring to his step.

     “Finally...” Gilro murmured, he was obviously just as tired as the other two, but he didn’t try to conceal it as Zayal and Toyan had. His shoulders drooped and he seemed to be having a war against his eyelids. Trying to keep them up didn’t look like an easy task.

     Zayal only nodded, which Toyan was starting to get used to. At first her silence bothered him, being a quite the talker himself, but he soon shrugged it off. It was none of his business whether she spoke or not, his mission was to bring her to that prisoner. The word mission sent a chill of excitement through his spine, he was on a real quest and he was enjoying it however dull his company may be. He quickly took that back in his mind, Zayal had just beat a serpent, that certainly wasn’t dull.

     Zayal froze, her eyes widened with excitement and uncomprehending shock as they reached the end of the forest. Toyan blinked, puzzled as he turned around to see what was wrong.

     “It’s...huge," she sounded just like Gilro. Amusing.

     “Oh, the castle," Toyan replied with an absent-minded shrug as he trotted back to his position as leader of the group. He had grown up with the site of the castle, it was nothing new to him and he couldn’t understand why Zayal would be so excited over it. Besides, it held that nasty bit of filth that called himself King.

     “It’s amazing!” Zayal exclaimed throwing her hands into the air. “Look at the architecture... it’s so well built. I can see why they would put the entrance to the South to avoid foreign invaders and that wall surrounding it! My goodness! It must be thirty feet high!”

     “Well, I guess. Who cares?” Gilro replied, his eyebrows raising in a truly confused fashion. It was a castle, the centre of power for a kingdom, nothing else.

     “I most certainly do! I’ve studied the politics of Shaylir, It’s buildings, the castle, everything, but I’ve never actually seen it! This is fantastic!” Zayal wouldn’t shut up after that. She continued to ramble as they made their way to the front gate. Toyan shrugged, at least she was talking now. If the site of the castle set Zayal off, her reaction to the front gate was just as ecstatic.

     “This gate has to be just as tall, if not taller then the wall around the castle itself and it‘s made of Silverwood!” she said with exasperation letting her hand drag against the smooth silverwood surface. Silverwood was, hence its name, Silver and it was the strongest sort of wood there was. It came from the fabled Silver Oak Tree and it was very difficult to come by.

     “Yeah well, it’s not as full proof as it looks. Usually we’d just be able to waltz right in without being noticed... but... the guards kind of got their eye out on us. Imagine, them calling Gilro and I mischievous!” Toyan said with a slight chuckle and a wink in Gilro's direction. Gilro only laughed as he patted the pack at his side carefully.

     “What are you saying... we have to sneak in?” Zayal asked dumbfounded. There was no possible way in her mind that they’d be able to get past the guards, obviously she didn’t know Shaylir as well as she thought. Experience just wasn’t the same as learning it from a book.

     “No, I’m saying we’re going to climb it," Toyan replied with a wicked grin on his face.

***

“You can’t be serious!” Zayal exclaimed, her voice shrill with protest. She crinkled her nose with disgust at Toyan, wondering how on earth he expected to scale a wall that was at least 30 feet tall. Climb the wall, Indeed! The mischievous Uni-boy only chuckled good naturedly at Zayal’s goofy expression.

     “Calm down, it’s not exactly what you think," he replied with a feigned coolness, his lips twitching slightly as if he was about to burst into laughter. Fortunately for Toyan, he kept a straight face. As he carefully pushed a bit of hair out of his face, he looked upward and made a... well... odd noise. Zayal only blinked in astonishment. She didn’t know humans were capable of making that kind of sound. Then again, Toyan wasn’t exactly human.

     “Well, we’re not necessarily climbing it. He is.” Toyan still used every ounce of effort he had to keep from falling into hysterics. He had expected Zayal to scream and demand what the thing crawling over the wall was, but as soon as he saw her eyes widen excitedly his jaw dropped. He should have realised by now that Zayal wasn’t like any of the village girls that were scared of anything that crawled.

     “It’s a Spydren!” she whispered, her voice shaking with excitement. The name of the creature crawling over the wall definitely suited it, because it resembled a very very large spider. She couldn’t help but wonder how a Spydren (Spydren’s were the late relatives of the spider you’ve seen crawling across your page on Neopets!) could live in a kingdom filled with people and not be noticed. The thing was as huge as a Draik hatchling. As it crept off the wall and onto the ground, Zayal got a better view of it. The first thing that caught her attention was it’s eyes, there were three of them and they were each a different shade of purple. The three eyes were focused on her and they seemed to be sizing her up. She blinked, and the large gray spider took a few scattered steps back, almost tripping over it’s own mammoth feet.

     “New. Human. Nice, Yes? No eat Triken?” the creature said in a high shrill voice, it’s eyes darting back and forth between the three of them. Zayal winced as the sound of the spydren’s voice echoed through her head.

     “You big cowardly lout! How on earth could Zayal eat you?” Gilro replied, exasperated. “She probably wouldn’t even be able to fit one of your eyes in her mouth," he added pointedly.

     “Why would I want to?” Zayal replied candidly, putting her hand out to stroke the arachnid’s head. It looked apprehensive and shied away. “Of course I won’t eat you.”

     “No? Good. Triken no taste good," the spydren replied firmly, shaking the top part of his body. He then let Zayal give him an affectionate scratch on it’s head and made a low gurgling sound. She smiled warmly then stood up, facing Toyan.

     “So?” she asked briskly, dusting off her hands, then placing them on her hips. “What now?”

     “Well, hop on," Toyan replied with a slight shrug, leaping effortlessly upon Triken. He didn’t even wince but only chattered cheerfully as Toyan wrapped the thick rope around Triken’s belly. A Uni-boy, riding an oversized spider, Zayal never thought she’d see the day.

     “But... aren’t all three of us a bit heavy?” Zayal said quietly, looking at Triken’s eyes, trying to see if there was any sign of pain in them. There was none. Either he was too dumb too notice the pain, or he honestly didn’t care.

     “Bah, see the size of him? He could probably hold a full-grown Eyrie if he put his mind to it," Toyan replied, his voice was full of deep admiration for the creature’s strength. The blue-haired Uni-boy had saved Triken from the broom of a stuffy old woman. He had been small, about the size of one of Toyan’s hooves then, and hadn’t known what to do. Toyan chuckled to himself as he remembered the loud screeching noises Triken had made and how aghast the old decrepit woman had been. Toyan had come in, grabbed the spydren in his left hand and promised the screaming woman he’d get rid of it. That had been a lie. Toyan had even spent an entire summer building a shack for Triken to hide in during the day and at night he taught him how to walk about silently. In return, Triken had hastily offered Toyan whatever he needed, and Toyan had needed transportation.

     By then, Gilro was clambering onto Triken behind Zayal. Toyan sat on his haunches and tightly clutched the rope he had just tied about the spydren’s stomach. Being part Uni, he couldn’t hold onto the spider with his legs like Gilro could so he need something to hold onto.

     “Hold on to him with your legs, or else you’ll fall off backwards," Gilro told Zayal as Triken started the long ascent up the wall made of Silverwood.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

The Threat: Part One

The Threat: Part Two

The Threat: Part Three

The Threat: Part Five

The Threat: Part Six

The Threat: Part Seven

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