Shad and Saura: The Story of Elversti - Part Two
"You're good at sensing stuff," Shad muttered, looking around
as they strode on. "Anything creepy or ominous lurking around here?"
Saura looked up, then around. "Not really. Should
that make us worry?"
Shad's ears drooped again. "Seeing that this
is the Haunted Woods?"
The two stopped, looking at each other. Shad
was right. The Haunted Woods were always crawling with something ominous and
creepy. The fact that this part of the woods had nothing was a lot creepier.
"Let's just go and keep our ears and eyes and
everything else open," the Lupe mumbled, carrying on. Some branches turned as
they passed, whether to observe them or simply because their motion caused some
wind, there was no telling.
The path went on and on, though luckily turning
south, or at least south-west. It also got darker as the thick crowns of the
trees covered most of the light - but that was no surprise in the Haunted Woods,
inside or outside that strange land. Shad's good nose guided him better than
his eyes and Saura used mainly his ears though his nose, even if not comparable
to Shad's, was still good enough to smell the Lupe a few feet away, thus helping
to follow him.
"I sense something," the Zafara suddenly stated.
He could barely see his brother's yellow eyes when Shad turned to glance at
him: "What exactly?"
"I think they're Faeries," Saura said, squinting
into the darkness. "No idea if evil or good ones, though. Maybe they can help
Shad's left ear pricked up. The other one spun
around for a few times. "Say... do you feel that too?"
Now they both really felt it... the cold, grim
hand of pure flaming fear reaching for their hearts, freezing their blood, making
their brains turn into huddling little pieces of sponge unable to think rationally.
The forest was still the same but the feeling crept all around them like an
unseen thief in the middle of a starless night.
"They're coming," Shad pressed out from between
his fangs, surprised to find out that they were chattering. He couldn't figure
out why he was so afraid. It was as if the fear was attacking them from the
Saura had lowered against the ground as much
as it's possible for a generally upright Neopet. "They're almost here... I don't
think we can escape."
And then they saw them. Nothing but figures between
the trees, darker than the shadows behind them, but still most definitely Faeries.
It wasn't easy to tell their element. But they were causing the fear, and suddenly
the two just knew, without really using any brain cells for that cause, that
if they wanted to get out alive, they had to leave. Now.
Shad's legs, getting directions straight from
the muscles, turned around and whizzed over a bush by the path. Saura followed
him in a second. As the two hurried off through the bushes, not really seeing
where they were going, they could hear quiet chanting behind them.
"Elversti... strangers cannot come to Elversti..."
The two stopped a good two miles after the chanting
had faded, panting frantically by the trunk of a humongous oak. The fear had
disappeared there and the forest felt just as un-haunted-woods-ishly calm.
"I think we found our Alveree-whatever place,"
Saura gasped, throwing himself on the ground. "Enough sightseeing for me in
"Maybe they were just planning to finish the
sentence with "... without buying a souvenir"?" Shad asked as sarcastically
as his current state allowed him to. "Drat, what happened to us back there?
I couldn't think clearly - and don'tcha try to comment on that. It was like
one of those nightmares where you want to run but can't."
"Our feet could think clearly, luckily," the
Zafara muttered. "Apparently this place really is dangerous. And that Elversti
doesn't seem to have any landmarks, didn't notice any on the way, I wonder if
we're out of it yet?"
"I don't think I would've noticed a Werelupe
on the way," Shad admitted. Suddenly his ears pricked up, the fur on his back
raised and his eyes narrowed. His senses had spent the last few minutes slamming
against the side of his skull and now he started noticing them again.
"Dude, I think we just ran from the frying pan...
oooohboy." Shad blinked, his ears twitched and he looked around in a rather
pathetic way. "Oops."
Once again, they were surrounded, this time by
Neopets. It looked like a small troop, perhaps a patrol of some sort as they
were armed and wearing strong leather clothes, strong enough to serve as weak
armor. The leader was a green Zafara - the two could tell a once that he was
the leader. Some are just born with leadership flowing all around them, even
if they work as jesters in King Roo's court. He stepped closer. The brothers
thought that he was trying to look threatening but succeeded only partially
as he was obviously very curious.
"Who are you, strangers?" he asked.
Shad and Saura exchanged quick glances. "Eh...
strangers," they then said in unison, unable to find a better word to describe
A yellow Uni stepped closer, examining them as
well. "Strangers rarely venture to the lands of the Fortress, but we've still
seen Neopets from the lands far north and also west. Yet... you don't look like
Shad and Saura exchanged quick glances again.
The leader was a Zafara and there were also two Lupes in the troop. "Yeah, but..." Shad began.
One of the two Lupes stepped forth, solving that
question. "You look like a Lupe, yes. But you're black. Nobody has ever heard
of black Lupes, have you?" The rest of the troop shook heads.
"And you," the leader faced Saura, "seem yellow
but yet have those spots all over you. What illness is this?"
Quick glances, volume three. "It's not an illness,"
Shad stated. "It's paintbrush magic."
When the soldiers all stepped back at once, Saura
quickly added: "It's good magic. White magic."
That seemed to calm them down a little, though
not completely. "Not forest magic?" the Lupe asked distrustfully.
"No, not forest magic," the two quickly assured
him. The troop loosened up and some swords that had quietly found a better position
in the meantime were lowered again.
"Come along then," the Zafara said. "You're definitely
very good mages when you're able to change your color like that but nevertheless,
the creatures of Elversti are powerful and dangerous as well, so it's not wise
to lurk around here."
"We're no mages," Saura said when they left down
the path that led east, out of the woods. "That magic was just used on us. It's...
well, like a curse, but only affects our fur, it's not like we're possessed
The troop seemed fine with that. "Then you're
both born under a lucky star indeed," the yellow Uni stated. "Your presence
will bring luck to the Fortress as well."
The path suddenly seemed a lot friendlier and
lighter when the two were going down it in the company of new friends. The leader
introduced himself as Renor of Fire.
"That means that I belong to the clan of Fire,"
he explained. "If you come from so far, then you don't know about the clans,
do you?" The brothers shook their heads. "Thought so. We have six clans, all
deeply connected to each other. If a group going out of the Fortress doesn't
have one of each clan, they never return. The signs of the clans are the only
things that protect us from forest magic." He showed a small brownish drawing
on his leather shirt. It indeed had the shape of a flame.
"What are these forest creatures?" Shad asked.
"They looked like Fae..." Saura quickly smacked him and the Lupe corrected:
"... didn't look like Neopets."
"We don't know much about them," Renor said.
"They're powerful magical creatures. Whoever ventures into their land, Elversti,
is gone for good. If they get lucky, they manage to escape, like you two, but
even then they can't talk much as the creatures don't show themselves. Only
the Seven protect the Fortress from them; otherwise they would've taken it down
"Whoa, they sure are good at making simple words
sound all powerful and mysterious and capitalized, eh?" Shad muttered to his
brother who shrugged with a grin of agreement and hesitated a bit before asking:
Renor just smiled and the yellow Uni, Melor of
Wood, explained: "We don't know what the Seven are. Nobody remembers that, the
Fortress is so old that its protection was formed years and years ago. We just
know that there's a chamber in the Fortress that bears the Seven, whatever they
are. So we keep away from it, so that we wouldn't accidentally destroy anything
"Not very smart of you to tell that to complete
strangers, Melor," the other Lupe of the two snarled. He was called Drent of
Metal, "the grumpiest clan of all", as Renor had half-jokingly said.
"Heh, many have tried to destroy the Seven throughout
the years," one Acara from the clan of Water remarked. "Nobody succeeded. Once
half of the chamber was blown up, some diversion as they said, and the forest
creatures still didn't get in. Perhaps it's a good thing nobody remembers what
the Seven are about."
"Perhaps, you say?" Drent grinned, loosening
a little. "There's the Fortress now, guess we'll see if our guests manage to
blow it up or not."
To be continued...