Shadowchild: Part Four
It was past noon when Dayne awoke. Rubbing her eyes
after her nap, the Island Zafara got to her feet and slurped up the dregs of
her abandoned smoothie. She let the sun beam down on her tan coloured fur and
felt comforted by its friendly warmth, but the sight of the clear sky seemed
to cause her mind to become clear as well. Her short slumber had banished humour,
unrest, and any kind of morning grogginess from her being. She looked down on
the forest below with a slightly lethargic air, her mind sharp yet her body
She wondered what would happen now, what her
role would be in the new danger that awaited Sisslio. Why did everyone always
come after him? Dayne decided that she was glad that she wasn't the one who
possessed such a coveted magic as the Storm - in stories, books, or legends,
owning unique magic was seemingly a blessing, but she now realized that in truth
it was a curse in disguise. Could Aly and Terzin possibly have the same problems?
She didn't think so, but neither of them had what one would call extraordinary
powers. Terzin had received the gift of future sight shortly after Frey's defeat,
but he'd never talked about it much. For that matter, Dayne didn't even know
if he'd even predicted anything yet, or at least tried to.
She decided to take her smoothie glass back
into the kitchen, but as she turned around, unbidden instinct stopped her. She
had seen something out of the corner of her eye: movement in the woods below.
She gripped the glass tightly and turned back around to look over the balcony
once more. Peering down at the trees, Dayne couldn't see any sign of trouble,
but didn't move. Her green eyes narrowed with a seriousness that was alien to
her friendly face. There was something down there.
The Zafara scanned the foliage below her as
well as the visible areas of grass in gaps between the treetops. Just when she
was about to turn around once more, a gleam of light slashed through the atmosphere.
At first Dayne's heart lurched in fear, thinking it might have been a blast
of magic, but as an afterthought, she realized it was mere sunlight.
But it had reflected off of something - how
else could it have been projected into the sky just now?
Suddenly, as she searched among the trees' shadows,
she realized something: one of the very shadows she peered at was more than
just a patch of shade… It was a form, the shape of a Neopet.
A Neopet that carried a glimmering silver length
across its shoulders.
"Ohmigosh," Dayne mumbled, dropping down onto
the floor again, her back pressed against the balcony, which now served as a
barrier to keep her out of sight. What was she going to do? What if he saw her
and started attacking her? "Gah," she squealed, "I don't wanna be attacked!"
Her mind spun with ideas - she could stay here and hide, get up and go report
the dude's presence to everyone else, hide now and report later, or…
Technically, she could be reckless and
go down there to have a word with the psycho child. Aly had said that he was
young, right? And that he appeared to not be informed of Frey or the League…
Maybe he won't know that I messed with the Firejewel, then, thought
Dayne. Yup. There was a time for everything, and in Dayne's mind it was time
to be crazy. If she went back whining that there was a scary kid under her balcony,
Aly would no doubt sneer at her and would no doubt accompany Sisslio and Terzin
to come plodding over to rescue her, the irrational, annoying, overly-bouncy
The worst he could do would be to kill her after
all… but not if she met him in broad daylight. Yeah, I'll lure him out to
the shops, and then he won't be able to try anything smart! Dayne smiled
to herself - it was a stupid idea without a scrap of reason behind it, but she
wanted to go through with it. She barely ever got to do anything fun, like interrogating
Looking around, she decided to take something
with her just in case she needed to defend herself. In the end, she took a large,
colourful messenger bag and stuck a household flowerpot inside it, a number
of daisies sprouting from the soil. If she swung this at him, he'd be feeling
it the next morning, and everyone around would probably come and save her, since
she'd look like some damsel in distress or something. Hah, she thought,
It's so going to work!
A while later she was exiting the building,
bag slung over her shoulder. Darting along the sidewalk, Dayne followed the
edge of the trees, eyes searching for the Shadow Zafara in their midst. Taking
a bit of a risk, Dayne stepped into the forest, continuing to search.
There was the glimpse of silver again, out of
the corner of her eye.
Struggling to discern his form from the shadows
of the trees, Dayne took a deep breath and called out. "HEY, YOU!" It was a
stupid idea, of course, yelling at a crazed kid with a humongous sword, but
hey, it was fun.
There was a nervous trace of movement ahead
of her, and suddenly Tyrin was visible. "Who's there?" he called out warily.
"ME! Come over here - you're uh, trespassing
on private property, y'know!"
He took a few paces forward and looked at her
curiously. "What do you mean? And…who are you to tell me what to do?"
Dayne struggled to babble out a reply. "I'm
just a concerned citizen of Neopia Central and I thought I'd tell you that people
aren't gonna be too happy about seeing some guy with a massive sword walking
around in the woods." She paused, wondering if her next statement would be a
little awkward. "They'll think you're out to kill someone or something."
The younger Zafara stared at her, mystified.
"But that's exactly what I'm doing… how did you know?"
Dayne's mouth hung open for a second in disbelief;
was this kid stupid? You didn't just come out and tell people you were
planning a murder! The Island Zafara tried to examine the face of her friend's
new enemy, and was amazed at what she saw there: pure, perfect innocence. This
Tyrin appeared to know as much about the world as a newborn infant. He didn't
know what was appropriate to say, and he didn't know of his surroundings, or
the meaning of the word "trespass". But how come he had acted so sure of himself
when fighting with Aly? That's what it had sounded like when the Striped Zafara
had given her report. It seemed as though the only thing he knew anything about
was Sisslio and the Storm.
Dayne had no idea as to how she would answer
him. This young Shadow Zafara was here for one reason: to kill her best friend,
but here he was, a blameless child. Taking a deep breath in through her nose,
the Island Zafara decided to do the thing that was the most dangerous, but it
was also the one thing that felt right: be honest with him, tell him the truth.
"I know what you're doing here because I'm…"
she paused, knowing that her next words could cause him to view her as a threat,
but she continued, "…a friend of the Windstorm."
His eyes widened with mild shock, and Dayne noticed
in the morning sunlight that his right eye was a vivid blue, while the left
was a purple, indigo-like shade. He then narrowed his gaze suspiciously, clenching
his sword hilt tighter. "Are you one of the mages?"
"No, I'm the farthest thing from being magic,"
she explained with a nervous smile. "But listen up - the issue here isn't what
you don't know about me, it's what I don't know about you! How can you just
show up one day and threaten people's lives so you can go slice my buddy up?
I mean, what's he ever done to you, and where did you even come from?"
Tyrin opened his mouth as though he was about
to answer her, but then abruptly closed it. Taking a step backwards, he sat
down and leaned his back against the nearest tree. "I…I can't tell you."
His interrogator's shoulders slumped with disappointment.
If he was going to keep secrets, she'd never find out anything about him! But
to her surprise, he hadn't finished speaking.
"I can't tell you because… I don't know myself."
He looked slightly agitated in response to her
insensitive response, but struggled to explain himself. "I was standing on a
field, in front of a sword… and it wanted me to wield it. I knew why, I knew
who I had to slay, I knew who the Windstorm was, and I knew that…" Tyrin's face
contorted into a hateful sneer and the skin on his knuckles showed white through
his dark fur as his grip on Sirocco became tighter still. "I hated him, more
than anything. I'll always hate him."
"Yeah… but why?"
"Because he's got the Storm!" The Shadow Zafara
snapped this answer as though it was the most obvious thing in the world, and
it was clear that he was losing patience with Dayne.
The female Zafara rested one hand on the strap
of her bag and the other on her free hip. This guy seemed so confused - he barely
had a reason for anything! It was beginning to lead the conversation in circles,
but Dayne still strove to probe for any kind of information he might have. "Look,
do you even know what the Storm is? Cuz I barely do, but I've seen it in action."
Dayne then crouched down to the boy's level and fixed her gaze with his. "Look
kid, didn't your teachers ever give you the sappy speech about how everyone
has special talents and stuff? Well Sisslio's got his special little Storm,
and being jealous of him is mean." She flashed a brief, cheesy grin at him,
resisting the urge to pinch his cheek like he was a toddler - such an action
would probably only give him more reason to lop her head off.
He merely continued to look baffled. "What's
a teacher?" he questioned dumbly.
Dayne slapped a hand to her forehead in disbelief.
"TEACHERS, KID! THEY TEACH YOU STUFF! Y'KNOW, IN SCHOOL??? WHAT IS THE DEAL
WITH YOU - YOU THINK YOU CAN GO KILL SOME SUPER MAGIC GUY AND YOU DON'T EVEN
KNOW THE MEANING OF EVERYDAY WORDS!!!"
Her charge almost looked hurt, uncertainty welling
up in his bicoloured eyes. "You think I can help that? In case you were wondering,
I have no memory of where I was before claiming this sword! I don't know where
it came from, or why I need to end your friend's life, but I don't care - I
must, and I want to! So why don't you just shut up and stop questioning me,
or I'll add you to my list of who I need to kill." He stood up, hoping to look
more serious and intimidating, glaring viciously at Dayne Riversong, who responded
to him yet again.
"And what would you say if I told you that I
knew exactly what that sword's history is: who owned it, and what they wanted
Tyrin looked doubtful of her knowledge. Turning
on his heal, he took a few slow steps away, then stopped. "I wouldn't care,
because I don't need to know that in order to carry out my task."
He's so ignorant! Dayne inwardly fumed.
"Then you don't know anything! You're wandering around without a clue who you
are or what you're doing. How much do you seriously think that's going to accomplish?"
He glanced over his shoulder. "But I do know
something. I know what I must do, and I know some of my origins, if not all
of them." He whirled around, surprising Dayne with his sudden conviction. "The
Windstorm is my enemy, but I know that it was his emotion from which I was born.
His and a second mage's."
"So who's the other person?" asked Dayne, although
in the back of her mind, she suspected that she secretly knew, thinking back
to her outspoken ideas on the balcony.
"Frankly, I think I've told you enough," Tyrin
answered snappishly, striding away.
Dayne suddenly felt so fed up, all the frustration
of dealing with this guy building up in her chest. Why couldn't he just tell
her what she should know? And why did he have to be so innocent and yet so malicious
at once? If it came to a final confrontation, which it always would, Dayne knew
that Sisslio would never find the brutality needed to end the life of a child
such as this new foe. Frey's death was supposed to make everything all right
again, but it hadn't! And it was all this brat's fault!
Taking the messenger bag from her shoulder, Dayne
hurled it after the retreating Zafara, the flowerpot within it propelling it
with savage momentum. "WHY CAN'T YOU JUST LEAVE HIM ALONE?" Not bothering to
see the bag either hit him or miss, the Island-pelted Zafara sped away from
the scene, out onto the sidewalk, wanting nothing more than to be back at home.
Tyrin turned to see Dayne's bag collide with
the earth, a smashing sound emanating from it. Curious, he approached it and
delicately opened it, peering inside to behold a pile of terracotta shards,
a mess of soil, and a number of daisies, spindly roots poking through the remains
of their destroyed sanctuary. Gently removing one of the flowers, he fingered
its petals, soft, white, and pure.
To be continued...