Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 90,556,237 Issue: 160 | 1st day of Collecting, Y6
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Of Lights from Within: Part Seven


by blubblub317

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Also by chocolateisamust

Maddi heaved a troublesome sigh. "Well," he began, "I guess we'd better get going. C'mon Kylan."

     Kylan bowed gracefully to Fyora, and walked out of the grand castle alongside of his companion. "Are you sure you're ready for this?" Kylan asked, worried.

     Maddi nodded slightly. "I'm sure of it," he asserted. The Kougra quickly hopped on to Kylan's back, taking a deep breath and clearing his distressed mind. "Okay," he abruptly whispered, "I admit it, I'm scared."

     "I was certain about that," Kylan said, sighing. "But please, Maddi, don't be. Nagria will most likely be waiting for us at Hubrid's fortress. She'll help us. It really will be simple destroying the box."

     Maddi let a warm smile form on his features. "Thanks for the support, Kylan. It means a lot to me," he said blissfully.

     Kylan tilted his head. "No problem, Maddi."

     But unfortunately, deep inside Kylan's heart, the Gelert knew this quest was going to be exceedingly perilous. And somehow, he knew that someone was going to get hurt.

     Let's just hope it's not Maddi, he thought.

     After a few moments of thinking, Kylan began flapping his wings in a quick motion, and finally pushed himself off the ground and into the sky, making his way towards the shadowy skies that were the Haunted Woods.

     The ride seemed considerably longer to Maddi. Maybe it was because he was aware of how the dangers had deepened. Perhaps the reason was that it was silent; there was no conversation between him and Kylan to pass the time. But all in all, whatever the explanation happened to be, the ride seemed to drag on for way longer than it truly was.

     A little after the ride was around halfway done, Maddi was so bored that he rested his head atop of one of his paws (which was placed on Kylan's left shoulder), and closed his eyes. He really wasn't tired, but yet, he fell asleep.

     ****

     "Wake up! We're here!" Kylan yelled.

     Maddi groaned and lifted up his head. "Already?" he asked.

     Kylan nodded keenly and pushed the Kougra off of his back, sending him sharply to the muddy and wet ground of the Haunted Woods. Maddi was confused at the Gelert's abrupt and uncalled-for motion, but he did not say anything. Maybe he was excited, or hadn't looked at how dirty the ground was.

     However, when Maddi saw a figure of a pet walking briskly toward them, he panicked.

     "Oh Kylan, I see you've brought Maddi back! Good job, good job!" the pet exclaimed.

     It didn't take the Kougra more than one millisecond to recognize the voice. It was Hubrid Nox. "Kylan!" Maddi yelped; attempting to climb back onto the Gelert's back. "We must go!"

     Kylan turned around in a robotic manner, and stared at the approaching Chia. "Yes, I have brought him, Master Nox. Maddi here is so gullible."

     "You FIEND!" Maddi screamed, pounding Kylan's back with his fists. "YOU FIEND!" Panting, he tried to bolt off, but Kylan grabbed his scruff into his paw.

     "You may take him, Master Nox. He is all yours."

     "WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME, KYLAN!? WHY!?"

     ****

     "Maddi," Kylan said quietly, "are you okay?"

     Shivering, Maddi turned to look at the Gelert. "You took me to Hubrid," he hissed. "You took me to Hubrid. We're there now, aren't we? We're at his fortress. I'm lying on that old hay mattress, right? You're guarding me."

     Kylan looked confused, and perhaps even hurt. "We're at a kind fellow's house in the Lost Desert, Maddi. You started shaking and screaming during the flight, and I thought it was unsafe to continue. I landed a little while ago here, and the owner of this home said we could stay here for a while."

     Maddi balled his paws into fists. "You betrayed me," he slithered. "You gave me to Hubrid."

     "It was a dream, Maddi. All a dream. Everything's alright." Kylan placed a gentle paw onto Maddi's forehead and forced a weak smile.

     Maddi sighed. "I don't know if I can trust you, Kylan. My dreams are growing so much worse."

     Kylan bit his lip, as if he were pondering on something. "Tell you what," he began, "let's make a code that'll show you if you're in the real world or the dream world."

     "What do you mean?" Maddi asked nervously.

     "Well, for example, let's say I bit my lip every time you woke up into the real word. That's how you would know for sure that this is reality."

     "And in my dreams, you wouldn't bite your lip?" Maddi inquired, quickly catching on to Kylan's idea.

     Kylan nodded. "Exactly! What do you think?"

     Maddi smiled. "Sounds pretty good," he said softly.

     Kylan gave him two thumbs up, and then stood up from Maddi's little bed. "Now let's get going," he stated. "We need to get to Hubrid's fortress quickly."

     Maddi bobbed his head up and down, and released himself from the warm covers that were burrowed on his body. He walked to a mirror that was hanging from a wall, and peered at his reflection.

     It was not the prettiest sight, to say the least. Maddi's eyes seemed exceedingly bloodshot, and his lips were pale and chipped. His fur was shaggy, and it seemed as if the Kougra hadn't taken a shower in weeks.

     "I'm a mess," Maddi said to himself, scratching the top of his head.

     "Come on, Maddi!" Kylan exclaimed, cutting the Kougra's chain of thoughts. "We don't have time to look at mirrors."

     The Kougra peeled his eyes away from the mirror, and made his way towards the entrance of the room, where Kylan was now standing. Kylan grabbed his paw, and held onto it tightly as the pair walked out of the bedroom. They were immediately presented with the view of an aged Wocky, who was sitting in a rocking chair.

     "Thank you so much for letting the two of us stay in your home, Ms. Skita," Kylan proclaimed gracefully.

     Ms. Skita nodded, a warm smile glued onto her face. "It was no trouble, young lad," she croaked. "Good luck on your trip."

     Kylan grinned and began strolling away from the small home, with Maddi following alongside of him.

     The two of them simply walked, no flying taking place. It was a nice day, sunny and warm… quite peaceful really. The sky was cloudless, a shade of vibrant blue, and as Kylan and Maddi ambled upon the velvety soft sand, they admired this all.

     This was the first part of their mission. Getting to the Haunted Woods. But with every step, every time they set their foot down, they were making a mistake. Wasting time. Ever so precious time, one of the very few things they could never get back. Why didn't they fly? Maybe they wanted to waste the time. They wanted to be slow… wanted to stay out of deadly danger for so little longer. Or perhaps they were enjoying the foreign sites of the Lost Desert; afterall, Maddi had lived in Neopia Central most of his life, and Kylan… well Kylan had mostly been in the Haunted Woods. Whatever the reasoning, they walked instead of flew, and they arrived to their destination two hours before sunrise the subsequent day.

     ***

     Maddi was tired, oh so tired. Every pace he took felt like one hundred.

     "Kylan," he moaned, "I'm exhausted."

     "Don't fret, Maddi," Kylan whispered, his tone sounding incredibly fatigued as well. "We're here."

     Maddi groaned, rubbing his aching muscles. "Can we please sit for a while?" he asked his companion.

     Kylan halted to a stop, and then nodded. "Yes," he said, "we can rest for a bit."

     The two laid their painful bodies on the ground, and simultaneously sighed in relief. "Oh, that feels so much better," Maddi remarked, massaging his own feet.

     "But we can't rest for too long, I'm afraid, "Kylan added. "We must get to Hubrid Nox's castle very quickly."

     Maddi slowly gulped and nodded. "I'm so fed up with this," he softly muttered under his breath. He didn't even notice how Kylan had said 'castle' instead of 'fortress.'

     The Kougra hadn't expected Kylan to perceive such a quiet comment, but the Gelert had. "I am too," Kylan stated, rubbing his eyes with his balled-up fists.

     Maddi's expression seemed surprised for a moment, but then relaxed. The realization that he needed sleep badly suddenly drifted into his mind. His maw let out a lazy yawn, and the Kougra stretched out his arms.

     "I guess it wouldn't hurt to sleep for a bit," he said, his eyes beginning to droop.

     Kylan nodded in agreement, licking off the dry saliva from his lips. "Yeah, I guess you're right," he agreed. "We can rest for about thirty minutes."

     The pair laid their entire bodies down on the muddy soil; they're eyes now closing all the way. "Wake me up soon, Kylan," Maddi whispered.

     "Don't worry, I will."

     A few seconds swiftly flew by, and Maddi and Kylan were finally submerged into deep slumbers.

     ***************

     Suddenly, a sharp gasp could be heard. Such painful anxiety in the tone. Who was it coming from? More importantly, why did the creature sound so afraid?

     "Where am I?" Maddi mumbled, as he awoke from his restful sleep.

     "Maddi, get up now!" the voice hissed urgently. The creature roughly shook Maddi, causing the Kougra to fully open his eyes.

     As Maddi opened his eyes, his mouth broadened as he began realizing where he was. He was lying on a straw-filled mattress in a familiar-looking room, entirely enclosed in the inky darkness that was deliberately kept inside. No light whatsoever. Only depression.

     "Hubrid," was all Maddi whispered, tears welling up in his eyes.

     Hubrid. The horrifying name wrathfully boomed in the young Kougra's mind. How could a simple name shatter all of the happiness that was once kept inside the pet? The Kougra did not know. All Maddi could feel at this moment was fear. Fear that smelled like a rotten stench.

     Maddi tilted his head towards his right side. Sitting there was Kylan, who was panting fearfully. "What's going on, Kylan?" Maddi inquired nervously, even though he already knew the answer. "Why aren't we in the woods anymore?"

     Kylan opened his mouth to reply, but then closed it, leaving nothing but a deathly quietness to linger in the air. No bite of the lip. However, Maddi did not take the time to realize this, and he gulped, and stood up from the cot.

     "WHAT DO YOU WANT, HUBRID?!" he suddenly shrieked to his currently absent enemy. He clenched his fists tightly together. "WHY CAN'T YOU LEAVE ME AND MY FAMILY ALONE?! WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE ME? WHY?! TELL ME YOU AWFUL CHIA!"

     The Kougra's body stood still for a moment, and then collapsed on the ground. Maddi began wailing hysterically, rocking himself back and forth in a slow motion. He cried and cried, and unleashed all of the anger and sadness that had bundled up inside of him. He didn't want to talk nor see anybody during this woeful moment that he was so painfully experiencing.

     "Maddi…" Kylan whispered ever-so softly.

     A sob released itself from Maddi's mouth. "What is it?" Maddi gulped, shivering in fear.

     "I'm sorry…"

     To Maddi's surprise, the old, wooden door that was placed at the end of the room suddenly swung open, revealing the creature that had locked them in.

     "Hello Maddi…"

To Be Continued…

 
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Other Episodes


» Of Lights from Within: Part Five
» Of Lights from Within: Part Six
» Of Lights from Within: Part Eight
» Of Lights from Within: Part Nine
» Of Lights from Within: Part Ten



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