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Midnight over Meridell - Chapter II: Part Six


by ratling_guardian

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Part VI: Sweet Dreams

Luun bent down over Opessenc, running her hand over his darkening fur and almost singing a simple incantation over and over. As she did it, the fur's colour change began to slow. She repeated the process of the other various parts of my Ixi's body, and soon the mutation had slowed down to a crawl. He gave a small, rattling gasp, and lay still.

      "No," I whispered, falling down next to my beloved pet. "What have I done? What have I done?!"

      "What do you mean, what have you done, Daddy?" Eralta asked timidly, blinking back tears. "It wasn't your fault!"

      "Yes, it was, it is, it's mine!" I cried, stroking Opessenc's fur, "It's my fault you all got dragged into this, I should have left you with Illusen or something…"

      "Don't worry, he's alive," BUREUNIKONE said soothingly, tapping Opessenc with his horn several times.

      "He… he is?" I choked, placing my fingers to his throat. There was definitely a pulse. I almost jumped for joy.

      "But we have to get him to Illusen," my Uni continued seriously, "if this mutation continues, he won't be an Ixi for much longer."

      I turned to the Draik siblings.

      "Any ideas?" I asked, hoping against hope that Luun would be able to procure some wonderful answer to the problem.

      "Yes…" she said slowly. "It'll be difficult, complicated and tricky, but it's possible…"

      "What?" I urged, "Tell me! This is Opessenc's neck on the line, I don't care how insanely impossible it is, as long as I can save my Ixi!"

      Luun fixed me with an straight eye, probably to talk me out of my foolish beliefs, but something in my eyes - probably a fierce determination blazing in them that said I would go to any lengths to save my pets - made her think better of it.

      "Very well," she said, "I'm going to open a Mana Rift to Meridell; unfortunately, only four of us will be able to go through."

      "Why?" I asked curiously.

      "Because a Mana Rift requires three people to hold it open - the caster, and two highly magical others. So, in case you can't do math-"

      "Well, I am failing the subject," I muttered.

      "-that only allows four of us to go through to Rift," she concluded.

      "So, which ones of us are going to hold it open?" I asked, looking at the assortment of pets before me.

      "Well, I'm going to cast it," she said, pulling out her wand, "and you and BUREUNIKONE are going to hold it open."

      "Me?" I yelped. "But I can't do magic! How can I…?"

      But I realized that out of all of the remaining, I was definitely the only one with enough determination to complete the task.

      "Very well," I said. "Cast the Rift."

      She lifted her wand at shoulder height and began saying various incantations, chants and mantras under her breath. Finally, after about forty seconds of various spell casting, a single, thin beam of light protruded from the gem at the end of her wand. A second later, it split into five differently coloured beams, one red, one blue, one green, one yellow and one white, and they formed the five points of an even pentagon. This pentagon somehow stretched into a circle, and then massive energies began to pour into the Rift, forming a maelstrom of complete disruption inside.

      "Are you sure this is safe?" I asked apprehensively.

      "Of course it is!" Luun said, "Now hold it open!"

      "How?" I asked, frowning slightly.

      "Just hold your hand towards it - DON'T TOUCH IT - and just think about the destination, which is Meridell. Don't allow your thoughts to stray until you are sure that they are in Meridell."

      "How will I know?" I asked.

      "The Rift will close as soon as they arrive," she said. "Now, start holding!"

      I stretched my hand out, taking care not to touch the vicious energies, and began thinking only about Meridell. BUREUNIKONE followed suit, his horn glowing once more. Triy bent down next to Opessenc and carefully picked him up. The mutation had hardly changed so far, but I wasn't willing to take a chance.

      "Don't wait for us," I said, still trying to focus on Meridell, "just get him to Illusen as soon as you arrive. We'll meet you there."

      "What if she can't stop it?" Triy asked, getting ready to enter the Rift.

      "She will," I said confidently, but my face betrayed my true beliefs. Triy shrugged, and stepped into the Rift. Eralta and Alkarasydes hesitated, and then followed him through. A few seconds later and the Rift dissipated.

      "Now we have to find a way back," I said, "but how will we get there quickly? The boat is too slow…"

      "Oh, I reckon I can make it move a bit faster," Luun said, picking up the Gemstone and giving her wand a flick. A huge gust of air rushed out and nearly blew me off the Volcano. Despite the situation, I grinned - Trav was right, Luun would be very useful to have around the house.

     ~ * ~

     "You failed," Drow said, staring at Ingibong with blank eyes. "You had two mutant Eyries with you, four Imps, a horde of corrupted Coconuts and you failed. You couldn't get either the Gemstone nor destroy them."

      He took a deep breath and Ingibong prepared himself for the worst.

      "HOW CAN YOU BE SUCH A FAILURE?! HOW CAN YOU HAVE SO MUCH POWER AND NOT USE IT PROPERLY?! HOW CAN YOU, WITH ALL THE ODDS AGAINST YOUR OPPONENTS, BE COMPLETELY OBLITERATED BY THEM AND BRUSHED ASIDE LIKE NOTHING?!"

      He continued in this vein for several minutes while Ingibong merely tried to ignore the bellowing, raging, shrieking demon in front of him. Behind him, Snickedy slid quietly into the hall to see the source of the commotion. Finally, Drow took several deep breaths and collapsed in his throne.

      "I'm going to give you another chance," he breathed, pointing a threatening finger at the Shoyru, "only because of all the effort I've put into you. You're very lucky you're my personal minion or you'd be a pile of ash on the floor at this moment.

      "So, we may not have the Gemstone of Fire, but they cannot complete the Sword without the other three. Incidentally," he added, "do you know the sort of power those Gemstones contain?"

      "Well, immense power probably sums it up," Ingibong said to the floor.

      "Yes, Dhestar showed you what the Gemstone of Fire can do, I see," said Drow, breaking into his thoughts, "the Firestorm. A very powerful spell I admit… The other three have their own powers as well. The Gemstone of Air uses the Hurricane, which is rather self-explanatory - you know, violent windstorm with lightning. The Gemstone of Water uses the Tidal Wave; I'm sure you can figure that one out for yourself, and the Gemstone of Earth casts Earthen Tremor, which causes both an earthquake and landslide at the same time."

      "Impressive," said Ingibong.

      "Yes, and together they are quite unstoppable," Drow said, getting up and beginning to pace, "which is why if they Bind the Gemstones and the Sword together, we will be in plenty of trouble.

      "Now if I am correct, you mutated one of their pets?" continued Drow, staring out of a window.

      "Yes," Ingibong said uncertainly, wondering whether another bellowed reprimand was being aimed at him.

      "Excellent," said Drow, clapping his taloned hands together. Ingibong blinked.

      "Uh, why?" he asked.

      "Use your brains, fool!" Drow snapped impatiently, "Undoubtedly they are going to try and stop his mutation, which will stall them! That gives us a chance to get another Gemstone!"

      "So which Gemstone are we going to go for this time?" Ingibong asked the floor.

      "We shall be aiming for the Gemstone of Water this time," Drow said lazily, returning to his throne. "And be warned, Ingibong… if you fail this time, a head will roll… his!" he snarled viciously, pointing at Snickedy, who cowered. Ingibong registered dimly that Drow had used his real name, and scooped his Wadjet up and left the hall.

     ~ * ~

     "This is wild!" I shouted gleefully; despite everything that had happened - broken ribs and teeth, Opessenc mutating, having the retrieve the Gemstones - I couldn't help feeling ecstatic as we hijacked someone's yacht and summoned a concentrated windstorm to blow us back to Meridell.

      "Yes, isn't it?" Luun called over the howling of the wind. She was pointing her wand at the sails, and the gusts were therefore aimed at them, propelling the yacht at a tremendous speed towards the forests and mountains ahead. It had only been five minutes and we were already halfway there.

      "Hmmm… this is a bit too slow for my liking," BUREUNIKONE said, frowning at the sails.

      "'Too slow?!'" I repeated incredulously, "How can it be 'too slow' for you? In case you haven't noticed, we're hurtling across the ocean at about five hundred miles an hour!"

      "I can go faster," BUREUNIKONE shrugged.

      "Oh yeah? Prove it," I said. He grinned.

      "I'll wait until we're back in Meridell, for greater effect," he said. I watched him incredulously, but didn't believe that even he could travel faster than our current speed.

      "Okay, any way we can get a light source?" Luun asked, as night began to settle around us and the sun was replaced by the moon.

      "I'm on it," said BUREUNIKONE, pointing his horn at the tip of the mast. A second later, a powerful lamp was lighting our path to Meridell.

      "Whoa!" yelped Luun a second later, directing her wand sideways. I fell flat on the deck and grabbed the mast to prevent being flung off the ship as it hurtled towards the starboard.

      "What happened?!" I called out over the gale.

      "Sorry about that, some rocks were ahead - good thing your Uni got that lamp up or they'd have ripped this vessel apart!" she shouted, "Now hold tight! There are quite a few rocks here, it's gonna take some tough manoeuvring to get around them…"

      She began directing her wand in complicated swerves around the rocks while BUREUNIKONE and I gripped the mast for dear life.

      "You'll kill us all!" I yelled as a huge rock came within centimetre the port.

      "I thought you were having fun?" she shouted back, waving her wand so sharply that the yacht actually almost capsized as the sail was ripped sideways.

      "'Were' being the keyword there!" I yelped, ducking as a huge wave splashed over the side of the boat. Unfortunately, it still hit me, showering me with freezing cold water.

      "Sorry about that!" she said, but I could hear her laughing. "Don't worry, we'll be there soon…"

      A few seconds later and we smashed into the Meridell port. After a few more seconds we managed to disentangle ourselves from the pile of wreckage that was previously a stolen yacht.

      "You guys still in one piece?" I asked, surveying the demolished vessel.

      "I think so," they replied, emerging from the pile of wood, metal and several sails.

      "Wonderful," I muttered, looking up into the sky; the moon was still holding its position above Drow's castle. "Well, we'd better get to Illusen's Glade, see if anything bad has happened…"

      "Right," Luun said, beckoning to BUREUNIKONE, who gave his wings a quick flutter to make sure they were still in working order, and then hovered after us. I pondered a question I was dying to ask, but I wasn't sure if I wanted the answer. I chose to ask anyway.

      "Do you reckon Illusen will be able to help Opessenc?" I asked Luun. She slowed her pace slightly and started thinking.

      "I think so…" she said after a few seconds, but her hesitation and uncertainty did nothing to make me feel better.

      "What do you mean, 'you think so'?" I asked urgently.

      "Well, you see, when Illusen stopped my mutation," she said, indicating her shrivelled arm again (BUREUNIKONE dashed over to a bush and threw up), "it was much easier cause it was just an arm, and of course, I found it easier to slow mine down because I had much less to stop, rather than an entire pet… But don't worry, my magic has grown stronger since then!" she added hastily as I moaned, "So that should counter the size… I hope…"

      "Hope is an illusion, projected by false beliefs," said BUREUNIKONE wisely, appearing behind us again.

      "Where'd you get that?" I asked, "Some ancient tome written by some long dead Archmage?"

      "No, I made it up myself," he replied, looking slightly pleased with himself.

      "Kick me, you did not," I said sceptically, "and speaking of unbelievable stuff, show me how you can move faster than a yacht being propelled along by a gale."

      "Okay," he said. His horn glowed brightly for a fraction of a second, then he disappeared with a tiny chime! A moment later, he appeared several metres ahead of us.

      "How'd you do that?!" I cried, running up to him.

      "It's called teleporting," he replied, teleporting behind me and then up a tree, and then in front of me again.

      "Teleporting…" I repeated slowly, "I swear I've heard that somewhere before…"

      "Yeah, you probably have," he said airily, turning and continuing up the hill.

      "But that's very advanced magic!" Luun interrupted, catching up to him. "Where'd you learn it? Even I-"

      "I picked it up somewhere," he said, but something in his shifty look told me he had something of hers that she didn't know about. However, she didn't notice, and we finally made it to Illusen's Glade around ten minutes later. Eralta was waiting for us outside with a grim look on her face.

      "How is he?" I asked immediately, but she shook her head and led me inside. As if in a trance, I left BUREUNIKONE outside with Luun and followed her in.

      "She says she managed to stop the transformation, and he'll still have his old personality," she said bracingly, although it sounded like she had a cold as she did so, "but she also says that he… he won't look the same anymore. Ever."

      She took me to a door where Triy and Alkarasydes were standing; at least, Triy was, Alkarasydes was curled up on the floor and sniffing.

      "We'll let you go in first," said Triy, nodding towards me.

      "Have you seen him yet?" I asked.

      "No, but… We sort of figured what he'd look like," he admitted, shaking his head sadly. I took a breath and pushed the door open. Inside was Illusen, bending over a bed and looking worried, and inside it was Opessenc. But he didn't look like Opessenc anymore.

      His fur was twisted and matted, a dark and ugly green, and his horns were no longer short and Ixi-like; they were now long and twisted. His hooves, which were once straight and well kept, now resembled two-fingered claws, and although his eyes were closed, I could tell they would be red - evil.

      He was Mutant.

      "Opessenc," I said softly, falling to my knees and wrapping my arms around him, "oh, Opessenc…"

      "He'll be fine," Illusen said, looking away, "as Eralta has probably told you, and I suppose she'll have also said…"

      "He won't look the same, either," I finished, wiping a tear from my eye.

      "Here," she said, handing me a potion, "this will revive him. I'll leave you to it… just say when the others can come in…"

      She nodded with a grim look like Eralta's, and left the room. I uncorked it and opened his mouth.

      "Drink up," I said softly, pouring it slowly down his throat so that he wouldn't drown. A few seconds of nothing passed, and then he slowly opened his eyes - sure enough, the pupils were a blood red, yet they showed no trace of evil - only pain and fear.

      "Dad?" he said quietly, "is that you?"

      "Yes," I said, managing a small smile.

      "But… what happened?" he asked, obviously confused. "Where am I? What happened… that Shoyru…?"

      I didn't answer, but unfortunately he seemed to notice something was wrong. He lifted a hoof to his face.

      "No…" he said, his eyes sparkling.

      "I'm so sorry," I whispered, putting my arms around him again, "it's my fault…"

      However long we stayed there for, whoever's tears were sliding down our cheeks, I did not know. Finally, I laid him down and pulled the blankets up.

      "Rest up," I said quietly, "we have another three quests to finish before we can see the end of this…"

      "And then," he yawned, rubbing his eyes, "can we try and get my old colour back again?"

      I gave him a watery smile as I gave his pillows a quick fluff and smoothed out the blankets.

      "We'll see," I said finally. "Sweet dreams."

The End

w00t! The second story is now complete! And published, by the looks of it! And in answer to your possibly unasked question, yes, Opessenc is now Mutant, and yes, I do intend to keep him like that forever! Any other questions/comments/ideas can be sent to my Inbox, where they will hopefully be answered! In the meantime, check Opessenc's page for more info. - Crimpy

 
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Other Episodes


» Midnight over Meridell - Chapter II: Part One
» Midnight over Meridell - Chapter II: Part Two
» Midnight over Meridell - Chapter II: Part Three
» Midnight over Meridell - Chapter II: Part Four
» Midnight over Meridell - Chapter II: Part Five



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