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Shades of Darkness: Lights in the Shadows - Part One


by jesse12_3

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Author's Note: This story is continuing the story started in "Shades of Darkness: Shadow is Arising." You should probably read that part to understand this part, or you can read the synopsis of book one below.

Synopsis of Book I

While I was out on an average Neopian shopping trip with my red Kougra, Pudding_is_cute_12_3, more commonly known as Pudding, and my friend Bananagirl, an exploding sound erupted and the sky went black. Not knowing what happened, we ended the shopping trip early and my Kougra and I went home.

     A few days later I was over at my friend Nfc40's house when Nfc's magic experiment went haywire and turned his green Uni, Nevony, into a Slorg. I was then sent to Neopia Central to get the ingredients to make a green Uni morphing potion. During the trip, we were attacked by a band of unnatural pets with glaring red eyes. We fought them off and took the ingredients back to Nfc, where he turned the Slorg back into Nevony. While Nfc was in the process of doing this, I pulled a book off of his shelf and learned that the weird pets we had met were called Shades; evil pet-shadows that live by possessing the minds and bodies of other pets. I also learned that the Shades were behind the blackening of the sky in Neopia Central the other day. It was a sign that the magical barrier that protected Neopia from the Shades was beginning to break, and Neopia would be doomed if we didn't stop it.

     In order to find out what the Shades were up to, we sent my friend Dykred's red Shoyru, Leader, to spy on the Shades. Leader snuck into the Shade's fortress, a large tower that Nfc found about, and discovered that the Shades were planning to begin their conquest with Terror Mountain. He also learned that if the barrier broke, the Shades would be able to use their magic.

     On our way back from the Rainbow Pool after painting Pudding electric blue, we found a hurt Eyrie on the side of the road. We took him to the hospital and learned that he had no family or owner to stay with and his name was Dark_Intrepid. We then allowed him to stay with us as my second Neopet. A few days later, Dark_Intrepid was attacked by a Shade bounty hunter and brainwashed into joining their cause: total Neopia domination. His mind was later taken over by Torono_Darkshadow, leader of the Shades.

     Meanwhile, my band of friends and I were recruited into joining the resistance of the Shades by a light faerie named Antelia. She devised a magical test and told me that I was destined to be the Guardian of Neopia and destroy the Shades, along with the help of my friends and pet. My friends, their pets, Pudding, and I, were then sent on a journey to a small land in Meridell called Azlan, which is surrounded on all sides by thick trees and its pets are mostly Zafaras. On the way we found an injured Azlan warrior called James Perigen and were ambushed by things called Bladack, overlarge black Darigan-like things.

     After reaching the safety of Azlan, we were sent to a council of wise Zafaras and the ruler of Azlan, Raphel. They granted permission for me to train in art of magic in order to save Neopia from the Shades. They also granted permission for to search for the Lightstone of the Faeries, a powerful weapon.

     That evening, an orange Zafara called Tal explained that we would be teaching me magic and showed me the only weapon that could defeat the Shades entirely: the Sword of Neopia. However, the Sword of Neopia was broken and could only be remade if it was infused with the true welder's magic. While he was explaining this, the Shades managed to break the barrier and the sky went completely back. Tal said that we must flee Azlan immediately.

     After grabbing supplies from the guest room that I had stayed in, I ran to the stables to meet Tal. We met a pair of Unis, Raindash and Shadowlance, who would be journeying with us. We left Azlan and journeyed through the Grarrl's Teeth, a large group of sharp pointy rocks, and finally stopped somewhere outside of a large forest. Our journey had begun.

     Meanwhile, while we were doing all this, the villains of this story were busy planning their invasion. Torono_Darkshadow, ruler of the Shades, recruited Yoco Tanzin, a Tyrannian Techo, and Celestra, a dark faerie, to his cause. Yoco had the power over the Darkstone of the Faeries, which controlled the Bladack. Torono also abandoned his old starry Shoyru host for a new stronger one. He picked out Dark_Intrepid the blue Eyrie. After switching hosts, the Shade became even more powerful. He was now better suited then ever to take over Neopia.

End of synopsis

     ***

Capture

     I awoke to Tal the orange Zafara shaking me rapidly on the shoulder.

     "Whatsthematter?" I said sleepily.

     "Something's coming."

     I pulled myself off the ground and pulled out my dagger. I still had a hard time seeing due to my slight dizziness.

     The next thing I heard was an "Oomph!" beside me. I looked over at Tal. He was on the ground. Pinning him to the earth was a shadow Zafara who was as black as night.

     "Well, I can't believe you fell for that old trick again, Tal," taunted the Zafara. "Maybe that's why you were always worthless."

     I pushed my dagger up against the black Zafara's throat. "Let him go," I said, trying to sound mean.

     "I don't think so." The Zafara snapped his fingers and the two disappeared in a flash of black mist.

     I kicked the ground. "Now what do we do?"

     "Rescue Tal, of course," said Shadowlance the Shadow Uni.

     "How? We don't even know who that guy was!"

     "I do," said Shadowlance. "He's Jak, the living Shadow. He's an assassin and dark mage, and I'm assuming he works for Torono. Torono's the only pet around here that has need for an assassin, but Tal and Jak have had a history together way back so I'm assuming Jak wants to get even for something. Destroying Tal would have been an easy assignment for Jak."

     My mind flashed back to Darkclaw, the Darigan Shoyru who had attacked us back in Azlan, and what he said about 'The Living Shadow.' So he wasn't lying.

     "Okay, so how are we going to rescue Tal? We can't just barge into Darkshadow's fortress and expect them to just let us by."

     "We're going in by stealth. We're going to need to find a passage into the tower that isn't the front door. Next, we need to find the dungeons, which should be easy as dungeons are always the lowest level of the castle. Then we need to figure out how to navigate the dungeons. I have that covered." Shadowlance took a piece of paper out of one of his saddlebags.

     "Tal somehow managed to grab this from Azlan records before we left... in case one of us did get captured," said Shadowlance. "Don't know why they'd have it, though."

     I looked down at the paper. It was a map... a map of Torono's dungeons to be exact.

     "The high security cells will surely be in the back." Shadowlance pointed to three cells behind the rest. "And we can just use the magically enchanted night vision goggles if it's dark. All we need now is to find a way in."

     "I can solve that," I said. "Back when a couple of friends and I were trying to find out info about the Shades, one of us snuck in by using the plumbing. There should be an open tube outside the tower that apparently is no longer in use."

     "Well let's get going then!" said Shadowlance. "But let's hide our stuff somewhere around here. Speed and stealth are going to be our most powerful weapons, and we don't need our camping supplies to slow us down. Let's just take a few cans of food; this trip should only be about a day."

     "I'll stay here," said Raindash, the rainbow Uni that was nice enough to let me ride her across Meridell. "It'll be easier to sneak by all the guards with just two."

     "Okay," said Shadowlance. We transferred all our supplies to Raindash.

     "Let's go then," I said.

     ************

Azlan

     "I'm bored," said Pudding, an electric Kougra, who was sitting in an armchair. It was just her and Nfc in the guest tree at the time.

     "I'm bored," she repeated.

     "So? Go outside," said Nfc, one of Mackenzie's friends, who was reading a book on the couch.

     "Cheese," said Pudding.

     Nfc dropped his book. "You hang around Mackenzie way too much."

     "I'm bored," said Pudding.

     Nfc had had enough. He put down his book and burst out of the tree house.

     "That got him up," said Pudding, who then went to lie down on the couch.

          There was a knock on the door a little while later. Pudding pulled the door open to see James Perigen reading a little piece of paper.

     "Hi," the green Zafara said. "Are Pudding_is_cute_12_3, Nfc40, and Dykred here?" Dykred was another one of Mackenzie's friends who got caught in all of this.

     "I'm Pudding," she said. "Nfc just stormed out the door and I have no clue where Dykred is."

     "Can I come in just for a minute?" asked Perigen. "It's important."

     Pudding led him in and he sat down in the armchair. Pudding took her seat on the couch.

     "I've come here to make you an offer," said Perigen. "Azlan is trying to set up a group who will go in search of the Lightstone of the Faeries. But nobody will go. They all think it's too dangerous. It only passed by one vote when the Council debated on it. We got some pets to join, but we still have three empty spots. So we thought that you, Nfc, and Dykred might like to come along. It's dangerous, but we will supply you with weapons and armor. And you will be helping out a good cause."

     "Quest?" said Pudding. "I'm coming!"

     ************

     "Well, here we are," I said as I looked up at the Shade tower. Shadowlance and I were concealed in a bush.

     "How are we going to get in?" whispered Shadowlance. "There are guards everywhere!"

     He was right. All of the Guards were Shade Skeiths or Grarrls.

     "Wait! I've got an idea!" said Shadowlance. "I could distract the guards while you sneak in! I couldn't climb the pipe anyway."

     "Are you sure? They could do worse things than capturing or destroying you."

     "It's the only way," he said. "And once you get inside, open the gates for me."

     "Okay, c'mon, let's go," I said, clutching the hilt of my sword.

     Shadowlance emerged from the bushes and ran right by a Grarrl guard, who gave chase.

     But Shadowlance was much faster than the Grarrl and soon ran far ahead of him.

     As soon as Shadowlance distracted the first guard, I began to make my way towards the pipe. I ran as fast as I could, hoping that Shadowlance would keep the guards busy.

     As I approached the pipe, Shadowlance had fifteen or so guards chasing after him. But they were so far behind him that they would never catch him. He kept throwing his head back and laughing. I let out a snigger before beginning my climb.

     "I hope I don't have to come out that way," I mumbled as I pulled myself out of the pipe. "Now, I have to go downstairs and open the gates without being noticed."

     ************

     Tal woke in an eerie darkness. His hands were bound. He tried to summon magic but he soon discovered that he couldn't. He felt dizzy. How did he get here? Soon, Tal saw a light coming towards him. A blue Techo's face appeared, then a Shadow Zafara's. Jak's face. Tal could see bars. So he was in prison. But why? Tal's mind rushed back. Jak captured him in the field!

     "You can leave, Basil. I can see in the dark just fine," said Jak to the Techo, who then bowed and walked away.

     "Well, if it isn't Tal?" sneered Jak. "I see you are on the losing side this time."

     "Are you really that troubled by an old grudge, Jak?" said Tal coolly. "I mean, for Neopia's sake I was only sixteen."

     "You had a chance at power and you threw it away. You took my chance with you!" yelled Jak.

     "You're just mad because a sixteen year old destroyed your plans," sniggered Tal. "You know, Jak, you really were a nice guy until you went into the Dark Arts."

     "I never liked your smart-alec attitude ether."

     "Duh, you didn't," said Tal. "You never liked anything about me, except my talent for magic. And even then, you were disappointed that I was not an Innate user, unlike yourself."

     "If I had any sense at all I would have destroyed you!"

     "You still don't have any sense."

     Jak tried to rush at Tal, but couldn't. The one good thing about cells in this situation is that they keep everything out that doesn't have a key.

     This includes angry assassins by the name of Jak.

     "I'll be back!" said Jak. "And when I am, you can kiss your life good-bye." Jak then disappeared into the darkness.

     ************

     Getting down to the gate was harder than I expected. I couldn't use the main staircase, as that would be the most often used. So, I had to use all the little side staircases that only went down one floor. As I crept through the halls, I had to constantly duck quickly into empty rooms to avoid being seen. After finally getting through the maze of treachery, I was on the first floor.

     "Now to get the gate open without being seen... " I peered around the corner. Guards everywhere. But then I had an idea.

     I pressed myself against the wall and screamed "PRISONER ESCAPE! SEVENTH FLOOR! WE NEED EVERYBODY!"

    Instantly all the guards abandoned their positions and ran towards the seventh floor. I waited a bit then ran towards the gate controls.

     "Let's see here," I mumbled. A giant latch secured the gates. I heaved it up with all my power. It came free. I pushed open the gates to see Shadowlance still frolicking around with a large amount of guards chasing. But the guards were so tired that they were barely even walking. Shadowlance saw what I had done and galloped over to me.

     "Took you long enough," he said.

     "Oh, shut up," I said. "Now c'mon, we need to rescue Tal."

           ************

     "FOR THE LAST TIME, GRENADES ARE BETTER THAN ARROWS!" yelled Dykred at Nfc.

     "Guys, do we really have to start this?" asked Pudding.

     Dykred and Nfc decided to go along on the quest for the Lightstone, too. They were all in the passageway getting ready to leave and James Perigen was passing out weapons. Pudding had her sword, Nfc a bow, and Dykred a bag of grenades.

     "YES!" they both snapped.

     "Guys, guys, can we please calm down?" asked James, who had just finished passing out weapons and was heading for the tack room.

     "Only if Nfc gets the pink Uni," said Dykred.

     "Her name is Rosebud," said James. "And she'll be glad to carry you, Dykred."

     Nfc and Pudding sniggered. They were then led to the stables where ten Unis were being saddled. One was pink. Nfc and Pudding quickly ran for a striped and glowing.

     Dykred got stuck with Rosebud.

     "Okay," said James, who mounted Suncloud. "Let's go."

     ************

      "Hey, Dykred." said Nfc. "I can shoot my arrow farther than you can throw your grenade."

     "So? My grenade is more destructive."

     "Will you guys give it up!" said Perigen. "If you're going to be like this the whole trip then you might as well turn back."

     Nfc and Dykred shut up.

     As they approached evening, a Skunk Zafara spotted a mass of brown pets moving towards us.

     "Oh no," said James. "It's that roaming band of nomadic Lupes."

     "What's so bad about it?" asked Pudding.

     "They attack anybody they see and take them hostage. Azlan has trouble with them. They like to take children hostages who are out learning to ride to force us to pay them high ransoms. So Raphel told some of our troops to attack them and we wiped out half their population. They quit kidnapping children since then, but they will attack travelers, Azlan or not."

     "What should we do?" asked Nfc.

     "They've already seen us; there are no trees on this plain. I think they're trying to pretend they haven't, so we should veer right and ride as fast as we can east, then we can cut back north after we've passed them."

     "Okay," said Pudding. "Let's ride!"

     ************

     "Wake up!" screamed a voice. Tal lazily opened an eye to see Jak and two large Grarrls.

     "Guess where we're going?"

     "The white fuzzy Snowbunny store?" said Tal in a sleepy sarcastic voice.

     Jak hid his anger. "No," he said with an evil grin. "We're going to the arena."

     The two Grarrls unlocked Tal's cell and grabbed him.

     "Don't even think about resisting. They'll hurt you so bad that I won't even think it's funny."

     The Grarrls led Tal up to the arena where either he or Jak would probably meet their doom.

     ************

     The arena was huge. A large stone floor was surrounded by hundreds of seats. None of them were taken.

     "It's a private duel," said Jak. "Just me and you."

     The Grarrls put Tal down. One removed Tal's sword from his belt and gave it back to Tal. Jak also had a sword at his side. The Grarrls then left the arena, leaving Tal and Jak by themselves.

     "Just swords and magic Tal, swords and magic." Jak drew his sword. "Scared?"

     Tal drew his sword. "You wish."

     Jak slashed his sword at Tal, who blocked and slashed at Jak. The Living Shadow back flipped away from Tal's blade and sent a ball of dark magic towards his orange opponent. Tal was too slow and the magic hit him in the chest, throwing him backwards against the wall.

     "Didn't those fools in Azlan teach you anything?" sneered Jak. "That was just a taster."

     Tal pulled himself up and began summoning a lot of air magic. "Yeah, they DID!" He released the magic at Jak, who was blown backwards.

     Jak pulled himself up and charged at Tal, but Tal was too smart for that. He was already forming his next spell. He released the ball of golden light from his hand. In front of Tal stood a light Faerie.

     Jak wondered what was going on. He slashed his sword at the Faerie who disappeared in a whiff of smoke.

     "You always did fall for my illusions, Jak," said Tal, who was now on the other side of the room.

     Steel clashed against steel as Jak and Tal were locked in battle. Tal slashed at Jak, who sidestepped.

     "You're not going to win this, Tal," said Jak, whose sword just cut Tal's shoulder.

     Tal shot a large ball of light magic at Jak. It hit him right on and blasted him back.

     "I hate all light magic users," mumbled Jak as he slouched against the wall.

     "I know you do," said Tal fiercely. "You killed my family. Raphel told me back when I ran from you and your wicked ways. My father was one of the best light mages. I have more than one reason now to destroy you."

     "Tal," said Jak with an evil grin. He stood up. "You've got it all wrong."

To be continued...

 
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