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"Your Hands Glow Blue For A Moment...": Part Two

by silvormoon


The next morning, the two friends awoke to a gentle light - not the sun, which rose on the other side of the building - but the blue glow of Tylla's paws, because her gloves had fallen off as she tossed and turned in her sleep. It was now impossible to deny that they were glowing more brightly than before. They were almost too bright to look at.

      "This feels weird," Tylla complained, wiggling her fingers uncomfortably. "They're all tingly."

      "This is getting serious," Jenipur replied. "I hope this Shandon can help you, because I'm beginning to get worried."

      "You think you're worried? What about me?" asked Tylla.

      Fortunately, it was early enough that the lower level was nearly empty when Tylla and Jenipur went downstairs, because now even with the gloves on, it was impossible to completely hide the mysterious lights. The only Neopets in sight were the Kyrii who ran the inn and Shandon himself, who was busily going over his supplies.

      "Ah, there you are!" he said cheerfully. "I thought you would be here soon. I wasn't sure, of course. I took the liberty of ordering some breakfast for you, on the assumption that it was possible you might be a bit hungry, but I won't be offended if I find I was mistaken. It wouldn't be the first time, you know. Or do you?"

      "Er... thanks for getting us breakfast," said Tylla, deciding not to try to muddle through the rest of what he'd said.

      "Hmm," said Shandon, looking down at Tylla's paws. "This could be just my eyes playing tricks on me, but I get the impression that your condition has intensified somewhat."

      "It's not just you," said Tylla. "It kept us awake last night. Do you really think there's something you can do to help?"

      "I won't know that until I have more information to go on," Shandon replied. "However, I am an expert on the magic used in the Lost Desert, so if anyone can do it, I am the one! Most likely, anyway. Suppose you tell me how this came about, hm? That stands a good chance of helping me understand your situation. At least, that seems like a reasonable supposition."

      So while they ate breakfast, Tylla told Shandon all about her desire to see Coltzan's shrine, and the strange after-effects of her visit. Shandon listened attentively, his eyes bright with interest.

      "Fascinating!" he said. "I've never heard of such a thing - at least, I don't remember hearing of it. I must think deeply about this. However, I don't think it will be impossible to fix. No, nothing is impossible if you think about it long enough. That's my opinion, of course, but that line of thought has always served me well in the past, as far as I know."

      "So you'll help me?" asked Tylla eagerly.

      "Of course I will," Shandon replied, "but you agreed to help me first, you know. That's how I remember it, anyway, but my memory is not always perfect."

      "We did," said Jenipur, "but could you please try to make it quick?"

      Shandon nodded. "We'll leave at once! If that's what you want, of course."

      Tylla agreed she was ready to get to work right away. She was willing to do whatever Shandon needed as long as it got her some help!

      Still, a few hours and a long walk later, her enthusiasm waned a little when it became evident what it was he wanted done.

      "This is undignified," she complained. She was walking through a dark passageway that cut through a cluster of rocks outside the borders of Sakhmet - or at least, it would have been dark, if she hadn't been holding her paws high in the air. Behind her, Jenipur was carrying a bag filled with their supply of food and water, along with various other odds and ends that Shandon had asked her to carry. Shandon himself was burdened only with a notebook, a pencil, and a magnifying lens.

      "No, but it's very convenient," said Shandon. "Every time I try to explore down here, my lamp burns out, or else I wind up dropping it. It seems to me that that's a dangerous way of going about my explorations, not to mention uncomfortable and unproductive. Now you can light my way and help me carry things, too. I can't imagine a better helper... though I'm sure there could be one out there somewhere. Now, lean a little more this direction, could you? It seems to me I could see this better if I had a bit more light, but we won't know until we try."

      Tylla nodded and held her paws closer to Shandon. He was looking closely at a series of strange markings carved into the wall. They didn't make any sense to Tylla, so she just let her mind wander as Shandon muttered to himself. At least it was nice and cool inside this cave, especially compared to how it felt outside. It would actually be quite pleasant if only her paws would stop tingling. It was beginning to pass beyond just feeling weird and on up to being uncomfortable. She rubbed her paws together, trying to ease the sensation a bit.

      "Stop that," said Shandon. "You're making the light flicker."

      "Sorry," Tylla replied, "but they hurt!"

      "Hurt? You never told me they were hurting," Shandon replied, looking concerned.

      "They weren't hurting before," said Tylla. "It started just a little while ago."

      "I don't like the sound of that. Nothing is certain in the world, but things that hurt are usually bad," said Shandon. "I think you'll agree with me when I say we should hurry this along. Just let me finish translating this line of text, and then we'll go back to the city and start looking for a way to cure your paws."

      "Both of you be quiet!" said Jenipur, her ears pricked up straight. "I thought I heard something!"

      Tylla pricked her ears as well. "What? I don't hear anything."

      "It stopped," said Jenipur.

      "Shh!" Shandon hissed. "I'm trying to work, here. Now, let me see, this inscription says... 'Take heed, explorer, for this place is guarded by the... toast?' No, that can't be right! There's no toast down here. At least, I've never seen any..."

      "Listen, there it is again!" Jenipur hissed.

      Tylla listened, and this time she could hear it too: a soft shuffling sound, as of feet being dragged across the floor. It seemed to be coming closer.

      "Hmm, I really don't think that's right," Shandon murmured. "Maybe it says 'host'. That would make more sense. Yes, I think that is what it says. Or... wait, no, there's another letter there. It's nearly rubbed out, but I can almost see it. Yes, it looks like it says..."

      "Ghost!" Jenipur yelped.

      "Yes, that's exactly what it says!" said Shandon triumphantly. "How did you know?"

      "No, ghost!" Tylla exclaimed urgently. "Behind you!"

      Shandon turned around, and his beak dropped open in surprise. A Ghost Techo stared back at him, its eyes glowing red.

      "My stars! It is a ghost!" Shandon yelped. "Run away! Run away!"

      He took off in a flurry of feathers and long scrambling legs. Tylla and Jenipur ran after him, doing their best to keep up. The ghost shuffled quietly along behind them, seeming to move slowly, but no matter how fast the other Neopets ran, they never seemed to get any further ahead of it.

      "This way, this way!" Shandon called, ducking into a small chamber. "Maybe he won't find us here if we can douse the lights!"

      "But we can't!" Jenipur complained. "Nothing covers it up!"

      "I don't feel so great," said Tylla uncomfortably. The weird feeling in her paws was building, creeping up her arms. It tingled insistently, sending a sharp prickling sensation through her fur.

      It feels just like static electricity, she thought. She rubbed her paws together faster and saw sparks of light fly upwards. Hmm... I wonder...

      "I just got an idea!" she said. She began bounding back towards the passageway again.

      "Wait, what are you doing?" Jenipur called. "Come back here! That thing is going to eat you!"

      Tylla didn't listen. She stood in the middle of the hall and stared at the ghost, holding her paws out in front of her. The blue glow was almost blinding as they threw off more and yet more sparks. She rubbed them together as fast as she could.

      "Take this, ghost!" she said.

      "Huh?" said the ghost.

      With a sudden sizzling noise, a bolt of bright blue electricity shot from Tylla's paws and struck the ghost. It gave a groan as it was surrounded by dazzling light. Then everything went dark. Tylla blinked away the afterimages in her eyes, listening to the ghost shuffling back to the safety of the darkness - apparently it wanted nothing to do with Lupes who threw lightning! Tylla smiled as she realized that the odd feeling in her paws had faded at last. So had the annoying blue light.

      "Tylla?" Jenipur called. "Is everything okay out there?"

      "Everything is fine!" Tylla called back.

      "No, it is not fine!" Shandon said. "It's black as the inside of a Skeith's stomach, now! How are we going to find our way back? I can't think of a single way to get out of here without being able to see where we're going!"

      "It's all right," said Tylla. "My nose is as good as my eyes. If you hold on to Jenipur's tail and she holds on to mine, I'll follow our scent back to the entrance."

      "Oh," said Shandon. "Well, there, you see? That's why I'm always telling you - I could be wrong!"

      A short while later, Tylla had led both her friends to safety. The three of them sat comfortably in the shadow of a large rock, enjoying their lunch. Tylla was explaining to the eagerly listening Shandon how she had dealt with the ghost.

      "Electricity, you say? Interesting - very interesting! Clearly I have much more research to do before this phenomena can be fully explained." He rubbed his wings together, apparently eager to begin a whole new line of research to not be sure about. "I'll have to go back to Sakhmet at once to continue my studies! At least, I feel like that's the right thing to do, anyway. What about you two? Will you be returning to the city as well?"

      "No, we're going to be moving along," said Jenipur. "We have a lot more ground we want to cover before our vacation is over!"

      "That's right. We're going to Qasala next," Tylla replied. "But I hope we see you again someday, Shandon. You can tell us all about how your research is going."

      "I'll have to try to do that," Shandon replied. "I think - no, I am absolutely sure I would like to see you again! One hundred percent sure!"

      Jenipur and Tylla smiled. That, coming from Shandon the Lenny, was high praise indeed.

      When they had finished their lunch, Shandon packed up his things again, and the three of them went their separate ways: he back towards Sakhmet, and the girls in the direction of Qasala.

      "Goodbye, Shandon!" they called.

      "Goodbye, Tylla! Goodbye Jenipur! Come see me any time you're in Sakhmet! I'll be here... at least I think I will. I can never be sure..."

      Even as Jenipur and Tylla lost sight of him, they could still hear his voice carrying on the desert wind as he talked to himself.

      "So, onward to Qasala?" Jenipur asked.

      "Sure," Tylla agreed, "but let's make a little detour on the way there. There's something I want to do."

      Jenipur listened to Tylla's idea and agreed that it was a good thing to do. That was why, as they made their way across the Lost Desert, they traveled in a slight curve, so that soon they were once again looking up at Coltzan's Shrine. Tylla walked slowly up to it, but instead of putting her paws to it, she just looked up and smiled.

      "Well, Coltzan," she said, "you didn't give me any rare items or Neopoints, but I did get to have an adventure, and I made a new friend, and that's worth more than all the Neopoints and items in Neopia. So... thank you, Coltzan."

      And with that, Tylla the Electric Lupe rejoined her friend, and the two of them continued their journey.

The End

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