Cylara's Journey: Part Two
Also by denimsweetheart
Cylara remained rooted to the spot for several moments longer. ‘S’. ‘S’ had her brother. Tuari was gone; someone had taken him. And they wanted a honey potion for him. Her precious little brother was being held for ransom!
An increasing number of large crystal blue tears slid down her face, leaving dark channels in her cream and golden spotted fur. Alone in the darkness, Cylara cried for her little brother. Why oh why had she ever left him alone? And what kind of person would take her little brother?! Despairing, Cylara racked her brain. What in Neopia was she supposed to do?
Sobbing into the cold night air, she realised that she had to go home. Yes, that would be the best thing. Her owner... her owner would know what to do. Cylara would have to admit to losing her brother. It was all her fault, and now she might never be able to take it back. At that moment, Cylara wanted to do nothing more but remain exactly where she was, crying. Crying for a long, long time.
But she knew that was not the answer. There was still hope; she couldn’t give up just yet. For Tuari’s sake, she had to pick up the shattered pieces of herself and continue her search. She knew in that moment that she would get that honey potion, and she would find her brother, no matter what it took.
Newly determined, but still with tears rolling down her face, Cylara trotted briskly away from Brightvale – she would never be able to think of the place in quite the same light again – and started on her journey home. It was pitch black, and the little country lanes would have been difficult to navigate had Cylara not known the terrain so well.
Cylara was surprised at the short time it took her to reach the familiar little cottage on the hill. Usually the journey was much longer, although it must be said that Cylara usually detoured so as to avoid the chance of meeting others on the road which added time onto the journey.
As she crested the hill, Cylara’s heart was pounding in her chest, and she felt utterly exhausted. Ready to collapse into her owner’s arms, she didn't notice until the last moment that the house was dark and empty. Surely her owner would have waited up for her? Apparently not... That was strange.
The house was quieter still as she entered. And cold, too. As Cylara fumbled to light a candle in the dark, she shivered. Once the candle was sufficiently lit, Cylara caught sight of a note on the table. Her heart was in her throat as she picked it up.
Cy and Tuar,
Sorry I’m not here to fix you something good to eat after your shopping expedition, but I won’t be around for the next few days. You know how it is; I can’t help it even though I wish I could. I promise I’ll be back as soon as I can, though! Cy, darling, look after Tuar for me.
Much love xxx
‘Look after Tuar for me’... Cylara burst into fresh tears at that sentence. Just when she needed her owner most, she was away. Cylara knew that she couldn’t help it, that that was just how things had to be, but she still wished it did not have to be that way. Especially not right now.
Cylara sat down to rest for just a moment, but as it turned out, she fell fast asleep.
She awoke with a jolt the next morning, and everything flew back with a rush. Tuari. S. Honey Potion. How was she going to get a Honey Potion? They were so expensive... Cylara racked her brains. There was no way she could get that much money. It just couldn’t happen.
Her heart wrenched. She couldn’t do it, could she? She just... couldn’t. It wouldn’t work, surely. But, for Tuari, she would do anything. Slowly, Cylara began to round up every book in the house. Each faithful, loved and loyal friend, stories of romance and adventure, epics and histories. Even that brand new book she had bought that very morning.
It took several trips to get them all down to the market at Meridell, but Cylara persisted, knowing that it was for Tuari. She was shocked at just how quickly they sold, but Cylara didn’t quite realise that books sold for much higher prices outside of the bookshop. She had always chosen the quiet regularity of her bookshop over the hustle and bustle of the market, the known and friendly bookshop shopkeeper over the intimidating strangers at the market.
Before the day was even half gone, Cylara had sold all of her books, and had many bags of neopoints to prove it. Counting carefully, Cylara saw that she had just enough for a honey potion. Tuari and her owner had quested for Illusen once upon a time, and so Illusen knew of Cylara. Whilst she couldn’t mention anything to Illusen for fear of Illusen trying to take over and putting Tuari in more danger, Cylara was sure that the kind faerie would sell her a Honey Potion for such a generous price. And after that, well, it wouldn’t be too far a walk to the Haunted Woods.
It was dark and the trees threw sinister shapes across the Haunted Forest. The wind rattled through the hollow trunks, howling wildly. A hunched figure, shivering with cold, was slowly making her way through the forest, avoiding the lower, brittle branches. Cylara squinted, her eyes watering from the icy breeze.
She couldn’t see why it was kept in this condition. If they chopped all the trees down and replanted new, colourful plants, built some more pleasant places, it would be a major tourist point. But perhaps they liked it this way. Pulling her blue fur lined cloak tighter around her, she hurried on, only stopping when there was a rustle somewhere behind her. Stopping dead, heart pounding, she swivelled around, terrified to see what was behind her.
Nothing. Sighing in relief, she tried to stop her mind playing tricks on her. She let out a sigh of relief and turned, pulling her cloak around her tightly. She felt the weight of the potion as it clinked against her in the inside pocket, sewed shut to make sure it couldn’t be lost. It hadn’t been easy persuading Illusen to sell it to her... But she’d done it, for Tuari.
She squinted into the darkness. Should she have come? Should she have instead waited for her mother to be home? Or even notify the Chia Police? All these thoughts flowed through her mind, regrets and reasons, making her more nervous by the second. She was just a normal neopet! Things like this didn’t happen to pets like her!
But Cylara knew she was wrong. Here she was, standing, on her own, in the Haunted Woods, searching for her kidnapped brother, who was being held for ransom. She shook her head. It was almost too much to take in. She had only gone out to buy a few things, and now look where she was. Cylara breathed out heavily, tears swimming in her eyes again.
Cylara swung round. Nothing. She squinted, her eyes searching through the darkness.
She turned back, and saw something dart across. Her breath was shallow, her eyes bulging. Why had she come alone? She should have found someone, anyone, to come with her.
Again she turned, but this time, her eyes met a horrible sight. It was a figure, only inches taller than Cylara herself, with eyes like amber, an evil smile played across her lips. The Shadow Usul. Cylara gasped, and turned to run, but she stumbled on the roots of an old oak and fell. Her knee hit the trunk, and she winced in pain. Gasping for breath, she tried to struggle to her feet. But she was not quick enough. The Shadow Usul was there, an angry expression filling her eyes, the smile no longer there.
“P... please, let me go!” Cylara cried out, her voice echoing through the dense trees. Her forehead crinkled into a frown as she fought for calm in her mind.
The Usul let out a giggle that hardly sounded real, a high pitched screech of glee. Her long eyelashes flicked up and down as she took in the pathetic pet that was cowering in front of her. “Nobody escapes the Shadow Usul,” she whispered sinisterly.
The was a clink, and both Cylara and the Shadow Usul looked down, puzzled. Cylaras’ eyes widened, horrified. The Honey Potion! It had fallen from her pocket! The Shadow Usul stared for a moment, before a self-satisfied smile crept upon her lips. She flexed her fingers and reached down. Cylara was too frightened to dare stop her. Tears streaming in terror, she watched as her last hope of retrieving her brother was snatched away from her in a single motion.
Kreludor gleamed down, mocking the situation at hand. The Usul turned, and within a second, the darkness had swallowed her up. Cylara put her head in her hands, and began to sob quietly.
Bang! Crack-crunch... Crunch-crunch...
Cylara’s head shot up, thinking that the Usul had decided to come back for her. But no. It wasn’t the Usul. It was a Skeith. Evidently female, she was painted Split and was splattered in mud.
“S’cuse me, little Uni, but did you happen to drop this?” she said sweetly, brandishing something that looked exactly like the honey potion that had just been stolen. Cylara frowned, but reached out and took it anyway.
“It is...” she said gingerly. “Thank you... Thank you ever so much!” Cylara exclaimed, and got up to hug the Skeith, but she backed away.
“That’s... um... no problem!” said the Skeith uneasily. “I’m Keija, by the way. What’s your name?”
“Cylara,” she told the Skeith brightly, feeling more confident. “Could you help me?”
“Depends what it is. If you want me to trek up to Terror Mountain in a day and bring you a brick of snow, it’s a no. But I’m sure it’s something more reasonable!” she joked. Cylara didn’t laugh. “So, hit me!”
“My brother’s been kidnapped. The Honey Potion is a ransom. Please... help me get there?” Cylara begged, her eyes pleading. She needed someone to help, if there were to be more encounters of evil.
The Skeith thought for a moment, then smiled. “I suppose it’s a needy cause, so of course I’ll help!”
Cylara looked at the Skeith suspiciously. She had decided very quickly, and seemed like she knew what she was getting herself into. Cylara then turned her attention to the Honey Potion. How had she retrieved it? Cylara shook her head. No time for questions! If Cylara didn’t want Keija’s help, then why had she bothered to ask?
The Uni smiled at her new friend, and shifted her tangled cloak to fit properly. Without another word, Cylara reached out and took Keija’s hand, and the two headed off into the dangerous darkness of the woods.
To be continued...