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Walking with the Shadows


by dana64817

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"The world is filled with shadows, yet never will those shadows envelop me." The ancient spell many Usuls uttered, arms filled with Usica Berries. They wanted protection and shelter. And I would give them it. For although the spell was working and pushing me away from the Usul gathering, I still had a bit of Blue Usul in me. The time had come to restore myself from my shadowy mind. I had to free myself, and let someone know that although evil reigned in Neopia's long, dark alleys, I had survived being one of those evils and was coming back to save those alleys. This is my story, the story of the Shadow Usul.

      My name was Stephanie, and I had the best life any Neopet could want. Marble floors, long, sweeping staircases and expensive furniture dominated our Neohome. My owner was caring, loving, and did not spoil me, albeit the mound of Neopoints she had. I was having too much fun. That's why the darkness had to extend its shadowy hand of fate and swallow me into its depths.

      The day of evil and blackness was two days away, little did I know. My owner had set up a marvelous event, being rich and important, and I was very excited about that. The event she had planned was the Usukicon Y1, and I had one of the biggest collections anyone in Neopia had ever seen. My whole collection was worth 199,000 NP, but all that happiness would soon be stolen from me.

     * * * * *

      The day came. I was setting up my huge Usuki collection at a large, pink booth, when a hunched, cloaked figure came up to me.

     "Let me see your eyes, child," she rasped.

     "Why? Who are you?" I asked.

      Instead of replying snappishly as I had expected her to do (I had met a lot of old rich ladies, my owner being famous and all that), she grabbed my chin with a hoof more like a claw and lifted my head so that I would stare into her eyes.

      I had never seen eyes like hers before. They were magenta, with swirling purple pools of wisdom. Her eyes seemed like they were living, so bright and intelligent they were.

      "OH!!" screamed the (so it seemed) magician, and slumped onto my display in a dead faint.

      "Madam! Are you all right?" I exclaimed. I accepted a cool cloth from a Neopet in the crowd that was gathering and laid it on her forehead. She pushed it away.

      "My dear... Stephanie..." she barely whispered.

      "Yes? What about me?" I asked.

      "You are in danger! Grave danger!" In spite of her faint, she got up from the display. She began to hobble away, without even saying 'Thank you' or 'Have a nice day'. I turned away from her to continue setting up, and the crowd dispersed.

      Suddenly, I heard her voice behind me.

      "Beware the Neopet whose name means trouble!"

      What can that mean? I thought. The next instant, my thoughts were jolted back to the world of normal Neopets.

      A crowd had gathered at my display, obviously knowing I was the pet of the richest Neopian around, except for Adam. All of them clamoring for autographs, I sighed.

      After signing every paper, I sat down. Who knew having a famous mom would get you this much attention.

      Suddenly, a small Baby Zafara popped up out of nowhere.

      "Hi, Stephanie!" it said in an adorable babyish voice. "I'm krypsimo_kako. Will you sign this paper?"

      I smiled sweetly at it. "Of course!" I told it happily.

      "Oh, and I have a gift for you!" Her voice had suddenly become hard with determination. I was taken aback, but accepted her gift anyway.

      It was a bottled Faerie... except it wasn't like any Faerie I'd seen before. It glowed a deep, deep indigo, with fire leaping from what seemed to be its hands to the inside of the glass. I didn't know what to say. Obviously, this gift was worth more than Fyora's Castle itself!

      I managed to find my voice. "T... Th... Thank you."

      Krypsimo_kako smiled. "You're welcome!" She hopped away to a young man who I supposed to be her owner. The owner had a dark, shady look about him... but I didn't let that bother me.

     * * * * *

     The day went by in a flash. As soon as the Usukicon was over, I rushed home.

     "Mother! Mother! Look what this Baby Zafara gave me!" I shrieked in excitement.

     "No shrieking in the house, Stephanie!" Mother reminded me. "Now, what is it you have to show me?"

     "A Faerie, Mother!" I held up the glass bottle. The indigo faerie was now sitting down, and I thought I could see her glaring at me.

     My mother took a step back. "Stephanie, discard that right now."

     "What?! Why?" I began to get angry. This was my prize. She couldn't tell me what to do with it.

     "Stephanie! Didn't you read the news today? That's the most dangerous Faerie on Neopia! It's the Darkest Faerie!"

     Her words met a ringing silence. It was I who spoke first.

     "Fine," I said coldly. "Fine. If you won't let me have my Faerie, then I won't let you have your beloved Neopet."

     I opened the door, grabbed my Faerie, and closed the door with a crash. And I heard the last thing I would ever hear from my mother. Weeping.

     * * * * *

      I ran for miles, out of the city to the edge of the Haunted Woods. At last I sat down, too tired to carry on. I stared at the bottle in my hand.

      "I ran away from all I had for you. I think I should be worthy of a gift..." I said to the pulsing light of the Faerie. Then, I pulled the cork out of the glass bottle.

      Three things happened at once. First, I was thrown backward. Second, the glass bottle shattered into twelve pieces. Third, a bright, indigo light pierced my eyes and drove into my skull. I was frightened out of my wits.

      "You want a gift, do you?" A voice said as the blinding light began to die down. "I do treat those who help me well..." The light finally disappeared, and I saw the pondering face of the Faerie who was destined to wreak chaos upon Neopia.

      "What do you want, little girl? I could make you painted... or rich... maybe even famous?"

      It was quite obvious to me that she had no idea who she was talking to. I decided to take a different route and see where it got me.

      "All I want is to be home in my comfortable bed with you in your bottle in the discard bin," I whispered.

      The Darkest Faerie's face contorted with rage.

      "Wrong answer, little girl!" she screamed, and threw arrow after arrow of burning hate at me.

     * * * * *

      My memories of the weeks after that night were... faded, as if someone had blurred my eyes and simplified my brain.

      Many months later, I woke up under the same tree. As soon as my eyes focused, I recoiled from the horrors around me.

      The Darkest Faerie had changed the Haunted Woods. No longer were there innocent trees. Now they were all blackened and mutated. I stared up at my tree, wondering if it had changed as well... and realized it was staring back at me.

      "AAAH!" I screeched, and lifted myself to my feet, ready to run away. The sweet-smelling tree I had been under now had a hideous brain, with bulbous red eyes and a gaping mouth. It had become something not even Queen Fyora could undo. But then I caught notice of my paws and my body. They were both blackened like the trees around me. I saw my reflection in one of the tree's great red eyes.

      My face was now black, with no hint of a mouth. My eyes were mere slits of white, too penetrating for comfort. The fur that warmed my neck was now Jhudora's purple, and the rest of my body was like the shadow of a real Usul. For that's what I was... The Shadow Usul.

      As I rushed away from the Woods, I heard the tree calling me back. "I need my question answered..." it moaned. I pitied it. The poor thing was cursed, like me, and could never be at peace.

      I got to Neopia Central. Desperate for food, my new shadow-like state came in handy as I stole a basket of bread from the Breadmaster's shop.

      Ever since then I was the stealing master of Neopia Central. I had also hurt many young Neopets in my rage. I was greatly ashamed of myself every time I did it. But I was cursed, and there was nothing I could do about it. Until now.

     * * * * *

      I saw a young girl with brown hair enter a shop with a happy Neopet. Not wanting to alarm the shopkeeper, I hid as a midday shadow on the corner of the doorframe. Suddenly, it opened again.

      "...and thank you again!" called the girl, and then closed the door. I whirled into Shadow Usul form and tapped her on the shoulder from behind.

      "Yes... Oh!" she cried, backing away from me.

      "Yes, I know I'm the Shadow Usul, but I have to talk to you, okay?"

      "Er... all right."

     * * * * *

All that you see above was told to me by the Shadow Usul and converted into story form by myself. I pity her and hope that you all will too when you read her story. She is a brave Neopet, and let's all hope that maybe life will be better for her someday.

The End

 
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