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Shad and Saura: The Story of Elversti - Part Seven


by ssjelitegirl

--------

Shad didn't disappoint him. As soon as the door closed behind them again, the shadow Lupe sat down in the middle of the carpet and announced: "I think I know what at least six of the Seven are."

     "I was hoping that," Saura grinned. "Talk."

     "The clans," Shad stated and waved his paw to shush Saura, seeing that he wanted to say something. "Yeah, that part is obvious. Six clans. But it goes deeper than that. Think what we have - Fire, Water, Metal, Wood, Soil and Stone, right? Now think of that chamber."

     Saura thought. Torches in iron holders. The stream running over the stones and feeding the tough twigs. All rely on one another. Like the warriors in the hall.

     Light burning on wood, in the iron holder...

     Water feeding the plants...

     Soil growing the plants, while the plants also feed the soil...

     Stone supporting the water...

     Fire giving light to the plants... and so much more. An eternal circle and connection of nature.

     "That explains the first line," he said quietly. "So these are the six. Simple, yet hard to see."

     "But they all rely on one," Shad said with a frown. "Should be six, but there is Seven as it is in all of them. What could be inside both stone and fire? It makes no sense."

     "Indeed," his brother grumbled. "Eh, let's just go to sleep and think about it in the morning, eh? A clear head can help a lot and besides, it's getting late."

     They both curled up in their beds, trying to forget the complicated task they had gotten so unexpectedly... completely unaware of two pairs of small eyes watching them from a corner of the room...

     The next day was as cloudy yet windless as the day before had been, and the brothers learned another rule about the Fortress: only dinners were in the great hall. Otherwise everyone had to go to the kitchen themselves and get food whenever they desired. The cooks were constantly working and there was always something to eat. As a Scorchio by the oven explained, the guards came from their shifts each on their own time and one can't work with an empty stomach.

     The kitchen was, just like the library, partly under the ground - the staircase from the courtyard led down for a few dozen feet before it reached the floor. Shad and Saura found a nice peaceful spot by an oven and ate their breakfast there, looking around curiously. The kitchen was huge, yet crowded and always filled with voices and sounds of cooking. Saura, being his family's cook and generally preferring the kitchen to any other room of a house, found the place really relaxing.

     "Hey, did you hear? Melor finished his plans," a voice emerged from the general chit-chat. The brothers looked up at once. "About time too, took him a while... but they say that the plans are very thorough now."

     "Well, good!" It was a Techo talking to a blue Ixi as they now saw. "Now we can finally root these monsters out from the forest."

     The Ixi nodded and sipped from his mug. "Yeah, as soon as the council finally decides upon that troop question."

     "Didn't you hear?" The Techo grinned widely, throwing a bone into the fireplace. "They decided upon that last night. No idea why they were in such hurry but apparently they're done now and this afternoon we'll all start intense training. Three more days and we'll attack."

     Shad and Saura exchanged quick glances. Nobody seemed to be paying attention to them, unless you counted those usual curious looks due to their painted fur.

     "Not good," the Lupe hissed. "Not. Good. We gotta work fast now. And find out as much as possible about those plans... you didn't pay much attention to them at the library, didya?"

     "I'll go talk to Melor again as soon as I can," Saura replied quietly, then stood up and put his mug of juice down. "Hey guys," he called out to the two soldiers, "what exactly is that plan then? Melor said that the council couldn't decide how to form those troops of seven."

     The Techo nodded. "Yeah, but now they decided that the troops would all form battalions, with seven troops in a battalion so that a different clan is doubled in every troop."

     "Took them long enough to come up with that," his buddy added with a scowl. "Then again, it gave us more time to practice and get to know the woods. Three more days and we'll finally get rid of those evil creatures, leave this old dump and get to see our families again."

     "You're planning to move east then?" Saura asked, reaching for a cupcake. "That Acara, Melet, said something about that." The two guards nodded in agreement.

     "I don't like all this sneaking around," Shad muttered as they left the vast kitchen. "Nobody to trust, nobody to rely on and nobody's the bad guy either. And according to the Faeries these castle people here are not supposed to move east, remember?"

     His brother nodded, frowning in concern. "Listen... you go back to the room, okay? Stay there and wait. I'll go to the library." He trotted off, leaving Shad in the middle of the courtyard with a scowl on his face. The shadow Lupe looked around, then glanced up at the northwestern tower where their room was. You could see the Haunted Woods from the window, the tower was the nearest to the woods. And it was old, practically ancient. So at the very top...

     Shad galloped off.

     ------

     Melor the Uni was glad to see Saura again. "I don't get many visitors these days." He grinned, putting an old tome back into a shelf. "They all think that I'm doing important work and shouldn't be interrupted. Okay, true. But that still doesn't mean that I can't talk to anyone."

     "Shouldn't your work be over now?" the Zafara asked, sitting down on a more or less stable stack of books as there weren't any other things to sit on.

     The yellow Uni nodded. "Yeah, but I'm still working on every possible backup plan. You see," he opened the map with the attack plans again and pointed at the colorful arrows, "first we're going to surround this area so that whatever they do, they can't near the Fortress. Then we'll surround the whole Elversti territory. Though yes, first the tactics need to be tested... so the council is sending out one seven-trooped battalion this evening as I remember."

     Saura was buried in thoughts all the way up to their room. "Hey Shad," he started, pushing the door open, "this is not good. They're planning to test the tactics this evening and when it's successful... hey?"

     The room was empty. Saura's nose wasn't comparable to Shad's so he wasn't sure whether the Lupe had been there after they split up or not.

     "I swear, one of these days..." the spotted Zafara grumbled, marching down the stairs and back to the courtyard where he spoke to the nearest Neopet he saw: "Excuse me, have you seen my brother? That black Lupe? No? Thanks anyway." He pondered for a moment, then headed for the kitchen again.

     And he had luck. One of the guards having breakfast there remembered Shad talking to a red Techo and asking for the way to the top of the northwestern guard tower. After getting directions for finding that same way himself, Saura ran off and up the stairs.

     The stairs got narrower as he climbed higher, and so did the small windows. The Zafara could see the Haunted Woods descend and turn into a dark green carpet under the grayish blue sky. The wind whizzed through the windows, getting fiercer as Saura got higher, and for the last few hundred yards there were no doors in the walls any more, just a simple narrow staircase that eventually ended with a small wooden door. He pushed it open.

     The cone-shaped iron roof on top of the tower was built directly on the tower's cylinder, supported only by several oaken logs that formed a carcass for the roof. The cylindrical part was as high as the door, the rest of the wannabe-attic was formed of the space under the heavy roof. It wasn't dark as there were a few embrasures even though the tower was so tall that Saura doubted these were ever used. Otherwise the place was empty, not even used as an attic - but then again, there is no old junk in fortresses, everything gets burned or used till turning into shreds and pieces. Shad was sitting by one of the embrasures, looking up at the ceiling.

     "Whatcha doing here?" Saura asked, closing the door.

     "Negotiating," Shad replied, bending his neck that was obviously getting stiff. "Look."

     Saura looked. Several pairs of tiny eyes looked back from the ceiling beams. When he squinted, he could see the purplish bodies behind the eyes in the dimness. "Barbats?"

     Shad nodded, his yellow eyes gleaming eagerly. "Barbats are Faerie petpets, you know. And according to the legends they were once evil Korbats turned into petpets with a curse. I thought that we should let the Faeries know what the castle people are planning... and these Barbats should be their allies, don't you think?"

     Saura frowned. "This is an extremely blind shot..." He looked up at the petpets who looked back rather curiously. "Then again, I doubt anyone else but Faeries would be able to understand them anyway. Did you tell them the story already?"

     "Yeah." Shad stretched himself, trying to get his joints flexible again. "Did you find out anything additional about the attack plans?"

     "They're sending a battalion out tonight." Now Saura's neck was getting stiff as well. "If that's a success then they'll surround the whole Elversti in three days. That's all we know so far. Can you take the message to the Faeries?"

     The attic was quiet for a while. Then, just when the two pets began to feel a little bit stupid, one Barbat stretched its wings, slid down from the log and whizzed out.

     "Pretty much everything we could do for them now," Saura said when they went down the stairs together.

     "Except for that mystery of the Seven, or the seventh in our case," the Lupe replied. "I think I'll go down there for a while, to look around. Maybe I can come up with something."

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Shad and Saura: The Story of Elversti - Part One
» Shad and Saura: The Story of Elversti - Part Two
» Shad and Saura: The Story of Elversti - Part Three
» Shad and Saura: The Story of Elversti - Part Four
» Shad and Saura: The Story of Elversti - Part Five
» Shad and Saura: The Story of Elversti - Part Six
» Shad and Saura: The story of Elversti - Part Eight



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