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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 19th day of Sleeping, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 71 > Short Stories > The Eye of Burning

The Eye of Burning

by scriptfox

I was in my office at MonoKeras, Private Investigations the morning that the eye fell into my possession. It was a sunny morning outside, but I was feeling definitely down in the dumps. I whacked out another sentence on my Neoterminal as the doorbell rang. I looked up to find a cloud Gelert wandering inside.

     "Oh, hi Achilles."

     Achilles81's lips quirked. "Hi? What, I don't even rank a full length hello?"

     I groaned and rubbed my hooves into my eyes. "Sorry, I'm just not feeling too good today."

     Achilles sobered quickly as he sat down in my client chair. "I suspected as much. I'm sorry to hear about your lab. I'm sure it was a nasty blow."

     I couldn't keep myself from a pained laugh. "Blow in more ways than one. Yeah, it was."

     He nodded. "Did you lose everything?"

     "No, but I'm not sure exactly what I did and didn't lose yet. I had to drain the magic out of the mess to prevent disaster, and now I'll have to go through every bit of stuff piece by piece. It's going to take ages. And in the meanwhile, it just sits in my back yard getting wet whenever it decides to rain."

     "Well at least it hasn't done that yet."

     "Yet," I retorted darkly.

     Achilles just nodded slowly. "Ummm..."

     "Yes?"

     Achilles squirmed a bit. "Well, I'm no expert, and I know I can't help fix it all, but..."

     I rolled my eyes. "Out with it, guy. You of all pets should know by now that I'm a big boy. What is it?"

     "Uh, it's... this!" He grabbed behind him and pulled out a stubby wand made from yellowed ivory.

     I stared at the wand, and the wand stared back at me. I gulped as I engaged in an impromptu staring contest with the eyeball inside the crystal ball on its tip. "Uh... interesting. What's this for?"

     Achilles got his earnest look. "It's a Uni seeing wand, and it's made especially for Unis to use in the Battledome. I came across it in a shop yesterday, and I knew that you were sort of down on your luck, and..."

     He trailed off as I stared at him. "Achilles," I replied softly. "You are without a doubt one of the most bashful pets around when it comes to making a gift to someone. What, did you think I'd tell the whole world what you were up to?"

     "Err...." Achilles ducked his head a bit as he tried to think up a response.

     I didn't give him a chance. I let out the grin that I'd been hiding. "Well, I would! You're one of the best friends I've had, and I'll tell that to anyone out there! Thanks!"

     He laughed a bit. "I just thought it might come in handy, you know how it is..."

     "Sure, sure. And don't worry, I'm certain it will come in handy somehow. Now what have you been up to lately?"

     We spent several minutes chatting as he caught me up on the latest dealings in his household. I had to feel a bit more cheerful as he left. Somehow, just knowing you have friends helps, even if they can't offer much more than sympathy.

     And speaking of offerings... I stared down at the Uni seeing wand. I didn't think it would do a whole lot of damage in the 'dome, but I might as well check. A bit of tapping into the Neonet confirmed it. Plain Jane's Guide to Battledome Weapons ranked it as two icons of air damage. My normal weapons dished out three times that amount of damage. So much for that idea. Still...

     I hadn't decided what to do with the wand by the time I got home that night. In fact, I had been so busy with work that I'd pretty much forgotten about it. It was after supper that I remembered, and then only by accident.

     We'd enjoyed the usual fine meal, and I was just sitting back at the table while blchocobo washed the dishes and Kallisari helped him dry them. I was just about to tell Kallisari about some of the day's events when blchocobo interrupted me.

     "MonoKeras, there's something out in your pile."

     "What??" I didn't bother waiting for a response. I got up and stepped outside the back door Sure enough, two small forms were climbing all over my magical artifacts.

     "HEY YOU!" I bellowed. They froze. "YES, YOU! GET OUT OF THERE BEFORE I CREAM BOTH OF YOU!"

     Twin shrieks answered my threat, and two furry balls shot across the yard, up the tall wooden fence, and over into the neighbour's yard where they belonged. I grunted in disgust as I headed back inside.

     "Aw, you scared them," Kallisari pouted.

     "Hah! If only I could. They were enjoying getting caught and escaping. Those twins are going to run into more trouble than they can handle one of these days, mark my words."

     "I thought we put up that fence to keep them out."

     "They're Myncis, Kallisari," blchocobo replied. "Keeping Mick and Mack out takes more than something they can climb."

     "I wish I really could splat them," I growled. I thrust my hooves into my coat pocket and pulled out the uni seeing wand. I waved it around as I continued my point. "I'd knock their little heads right down into their..."

     Kallisari stared over at me as I stopped and gasped. I was just standing there, blinking to get my eyes clear. "Are you okay, dear?"

     "Eh? Oh... yeah." I dropped the wand onto the table and tried to clear away the triple vision from my eyes. Seeing from three spots at once instead of two can be quite disorienting! "Um... I think I'll head upstairs to my..." I cut myself off as I remembered I didn't have a lab anymore. "...um... outside, that is."

     I retrieved my briefcase and went out back to find a level patch of ground. That wasn't too hard, and I soon had the appropriate symbols painted onto the grass. I didn't like having to use the old paints again, but when your best wands get blown to smithereens, you don't have much option. I sat the Uni Seeing Wand into the middle of the design and held my breath as I carefully fed energy into my painted mandala.

     It may not have been much in the way of Battledome use, but that uni wand had a light and responsive feel to my probes. I had to grin as I mentally felt its twists and turns, right where I would have placed them. It was almost as if... but of course, the designers had anticipated a Uni's point of view in making it.

     I was busily exploring possible surveillance uses when a paw tapped my shoulder. "Hey, whatcha doin'?"

     "Yipes!" My hooves flew up into the air, throwing the wand up and releasing a huge blast of light. I blinked the spots clear and glared at Heilley. "What's the idea of interrupting me like that? Didn't the last time cause enough damage for you?"

     Heilley bit her lip as she scrubbed at her eyes. "Ouch! What is that thing anyway?"

     "A uni seeing wand, but I..."

     "Seeing wand? More like a battle-axe! That thing stings!"

     I stopped and my eyes narrowed as a sudden suspicion came to me. "What's that mean?"

     "Mean? Don't tell me you didn't feel it too! That fireball, or whatever it was, stung like crazy! Yeeech, I still get the shivers just thinking about it.

     "Hmmm... interesting." I looked back over at the wand thoughtfully. "That gives me some ideas. Oh, and I'm experimenting to see what this thing can do, so don't interrupt me again, huh?"

     "Don't worry, I won't! But if you want to do your experimenting by daylight, you better hurry- it'll be dark in about five minutes."

     I looked up as the last of the sun disappeared below the horizon. "Yeah, guess so. Oh well, tomorrow... unless..."

     Heilley just shook her head and sauntered off, leaving me to mumble to myself as the magical equations began to come up with some interesting results in my mind. As it turned out, I wound up finishing my experiments by feel as the darkness closed in. I was so excited with the possibilities that I didn't even notice. The moon came up as I did the final setup, and it must have been after midnight by the time I carefully dropped the wand down into the middle of my stuff and left the magical net rigged and ready.

     Getting up for breakfast wasn't the easiest thing to do, but when you've got someone else up and rummaging around the room for their stuff, it's even harder to sleep than to just give up and get up yourself. I followed Kallisari into the kitchen, smothering my yawns, and sat down to breakfast. I froze with a bite of omelette halfway to my mouth as shrill screams erupted from out back. Everyone's head swivelled towards the back door, and we saw the two beams of intense ruby-red light that spread across the yard, pinning the round forms of Mick and Mack as they scrambled up the fence. They had to take a couple of tries to get over, all the time screaming even louder than the hissing roar that came from the trap they'd been caught in.

     Silence fell. I looked back to find our owner staring at me.

     "What was that?"

     "Oh... just a little something I rigged up for snoopers. I figured there's a lot of valuable things there, and they need better safekeeping than just sitting in the yard."

     "Mmhmm... and I take it no permanent damage is done?"

     I gulped a bit. "Er... no. It'll sting pretty bad, but that fades when you get out of, um, eyeshot of it."

     "I see. I think it would be a good idea if you went next door and explained that to their parents."

     There's no point in arguing with him when he gets that tone in his voice. "Yes, sir."

     After breakfast, I went over to the neighbour's house and knocked on the door. I was relieved when it was mama Mynci who answered. "Ah, good morning, mama Mynci!"

     "Yes, and good morning to you, too, MonoKeras. What's happening for you today?"

     "Oh, not much. I just came to see how Mick and Mack were."

     A frown crease appeared in the middle of her forehead. "Ach, that's a bad thing to ask today, MonoKeras. They both came running home a while ago, screaming like they'd been scalded. I'm afraid they're both hiding under the bedcovers right now, shivering and refusing to come out or even explain!"

     I gave her one of my most sympathetic looks. "I'm sorry to hear that. I'm afraid they ran afoul of the greneldon."

     "The... what?"

     "The greneldon. It's a particularly nasty inhabitant of one of the dirtier dimensions. It's managed to poke an eyestalk into my pile of magical artifacts. I'm afraid it spotted them, and well, it's look isn't pleasant at all."

     "Oh dear!" Mama Mynci looked properly horrified. "The poor dears! Will they be okay?"

     "Oh, yes, they should be. I saw it happen, and they only got a light dose. Once they calm down, they'll be able to tell you that it stung, but they should notice no permanent effects. A bit of numbness, maybe, but that'll wear off. You see, the greneldon captures its prey by paralysing them with its eyesight."

     She shuddered. "That's awful! What are you going to do to get rid of it?"

     I shrugged helplessly. "There's not much I can do right now. Getting down to where it is would require me cleaning out that whole stack of stuff, so until I do that, I'm afraid it's there to stay. Don't worry too much, though. It can't actually eat them since all that's managed to come through is an eyestalk. They may get burned, or even knocked unconscious, but it shouldn't be any worse than that unless they get a longer exposure than what I saw this morning."

     Mama Mynci began to look indignant. "Well I should hope not! That's a menace to keep in your yard, MonoKeras!"

     I nodded regretfully. "I know. Probably best to make sure they stay away from it until I can get everything cleared out."

     "I should say so! Do hurry up with that, then. I can't imagine what I'll tell them, but..."

     "Oh, don't worry too much about it. I doubt that they'll be too inclined to argue with you after meeting it the way they have. Just be sure to impress upon them the serious danger of what is out there, and you should find them willing to listen."

     "Don't worry, I will! In fact, I better go get those two rascals out of bed and let them know right now..."

     "Good idea. I'll leave you to it, then. Good day!"

     "Yes, good day." Mama Mynci was obviously thinking more about what she was going to do with her twins than about me as she shut the door.

     I went off to work that morning with a cheerful whistle lurking behind my lips. That interview had gone even better than I'd thought. Somehow, I felt that my little neighbours would manage to stay on their side of the fence for some time to come.

The End

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