Night Walker: Part Seven
The cool night air whipped through my fur and I felt a small
bubble of joy rise within me. I always loved flying, Kara flapped along next me
her face ecstatic. Darren soared a little way ahead of us, he'd discarded his
armor and remained clad in his Meridell tunic.
We were flying steadily along the coast, the
half moon at our backs. Slowly Cyan_DarkBane's fortress loomed into view. It
was black and ominous, perched atop of a bluff overlooking the sea. Something
pricked at my consciousness. Frowning I looked up and saw a pale shape gliding
I lurched to halt in mid-air and stared at the
newcomer. He grinned at me. "Well we meet again Night Walker." I mouthed openly
at the Eyrie of Salus. "I've been following you since you left the city."
Kara looked puzzled. "What city?" I proceeded
to give a hurried explanation.
Darren looked shocked "Salus actually exists?"
he sounded stunned at the very idea. "I've heard the legends of Salus since
I was a child. But I never imagined that it might be real."
The Eyrie nodded hovering back and forth, then
turned to me. "I've come to help you. I grew up in this castle, when I was grown
I was called away to Salus, such was tradition. So I've come to help you navigate
your way to your goal."
"Thank you, you deserve a name for your troubles,"
I said raising and eyebrow at him.
He laughed and said jubilantly. "But I have
a name! My encounter with you caused me to remember. My name is Novarus, call
me Nova though if it pleases." With that settled we were on our way again.
Nova and Darren circled the fortress a few times
before Darren found a window we could open. The four of us found ourselves in
a library filled with almost every book I could think of. Most of them were
moldy and eaten by cooties, torn pages littered the dusty floor. A pained expression
crossed Nova's face but he continued without saying anything.
To my surprise sneaking about the castle was
extremely easy. There were no sentries, all the guards were snoring in their
beds, and there was no way to communicate an emergency to anywhere else in the
castle. I shook my head, "DarkBane must be pretty arrogant to be this lax in
"Perhaps he doesn't care about making the fortress
secure." Darren suggested, eying a couple of Myncis who'd fallen asleep over
their food. He turned to Nova, "Where would the best place to keep prisoners
be do you think?"
Nova thought for a moment, obviously trying
to sort through the memories of his childhood. The widow's tower I would expect"
he said thoughtfully, and shrugged when Kara gave him a horrified look. "This
is also a home of the DarkBane line, the mothers of that family have a tendency
to go mad and get locked up in the Tower for the rest of their lives."
Kara shuddered. "That's awful" I nodded in agreement,
it was quite creepy. Nova led us expertly through the fortress. The entrance
to the Widow's Tower was huge black door, it was locked so Nova and I slid through
"Let's see if they're here first before I go
to all the trouble of unlocking it. It's a double way lock, I hate those! I
could pick it, but they're really hard to open."
Nova nodded. "You go on and look I'll wait back
with the others." We parted and I crept up the stair case that spiraled upward
from the base of the tower. When I reached the top I found a door that led onto
a long hallway. That puzzled me, there was no room for a hallway the tower.
It couldn't just extend into the open air, and no such hallway had been visible
from the outside. My nerves jangling, I went to the first door along the hall
and pushed it open.
"Attack!" six or seven Neopets leapt on top
of me. Pummeling every inch of my body they could reach. The many dazzling colors
they were all painted made my head spin. Suddenly the same voice who'd shouted
the attack cried out. "Wait! Get off him, he's not one of the guards!" Instantly
the onslaught ceased, and I felt the pets get off me. I just sat in a crumpled
heap on the floor, and groaned.
Strong, black, clawed paws grasped my arms and
helped me up. I rubbed my throbbing head and heard my aching body creak. Blearily
I looked up into the eyes of the pet who held me. She was a skunk Draik and
was looking at me with concerned golden eyes. Eyes that by now I knew well.
Lifting myself out of her grasp I asked, "You
wouldn't be Syealla of Everpeak by any chance, would you?"
She looked startled. "Why yes I am, who are
"My name's Shade," I grunted. "I'm a friend
of your father's. I'm here to get all you pets out of here. Are there any more
"Yes," piped a faerie Krawk, "I think there
are about five other rooms full of pets." I nodded and strode out the door,
in my haste I felt my pains vanish.
It astounded me that thirty-eight pets could
go down the stairs without making so much as peep. Even their footsteps seemed
to be muted as the pets moved as quietly as they could. A few looked furious
at being led by an unpainted Zafara. But to my surprise most were happy to let
me lead the way.
Syealla walked quietly at my side, her eyes
were blazing with anticipation. When we reached the door I slid out my lock
picks and began working away. The tumblers were so clogged with dust and grime
that it was a wonder the lock opened at all. I gnashed my teeth in frustration
the lock would not budge.
I threw my picks down and glared at the lock.
I heard of few mutterings behind me, but ignored it. On a whim I summoned Salus
to my paw. The silver blade glowed faintly and I inserted into the keyhole.
A spark shot out of the hole, a shiver ran up my arm, and the tumblers clicked
into place. Slowly the door creaked open to reveal Darren, Kara, and Nova waiting
patiently for us.
Syealla rushed forward and embraced her father,
Kara was looking with shock at the number of pets behind me, and Nova was grinning
smugly. "I told you that blade would come in handy," he said with a grin. I
grinned back then walked up to Darren and Syealla.
"Darren, can you get the rest of these pets
out of here?"
The green Draik nodded, "Yes, but may I ask
what you're planning to do?"
I shifted and sighed. "Kara and I are going
to find DarkBane and try to stop him."
"I'm coming with you," Nova chimed in.
"I know exactly where he'll be." Darren watched me for a moment then nodded.
He beckoned to the pets and they bustled off.
Nova shook his wings. "Well," he said turning
to Kara and me, "it's this way, follow me."
"Where exactly are we going?" Kara asked trotting
to keep up with the ghost Eyrie.
Nova didn't answer for a moment, but then replied.
"There is a chamber beneath this place that holds the power that is unknown
to me. When I found it before I didn't know what it was, only that there was
something evil within it." He paused, "I believe it's a place where the border
between the realms of life and border where ghosts reside have worn thin. The
perfect dwelling for a creature such as Cyan_DarkBane."
Neither Kara or I asked what Nova meant by that,
but it chilled me to the bone to think about it. I noticed the air get colder
and colder as descended deeper into the bowels of the castle. Soon Kara and
I were both shivering and our breath floated around us in icy mists. Nova, of
course was unaffected by temperature and didn't seem to notice our discomfort.
The ghost Eyrie stopped at a door which appeared
to be no different than any of the other cell doors in the dungeon. "Here" he
said waving a paw at the door. "I will not continue, I can't." He drew a deep
breath. "I wish you luck, Night Walker," he nodded to me,"and to you Phantom."
Kara opened her mouth then closed it with a thoughtful expression on her face.
Nova glided upward through the ceiling, leaving us horribly alone.
I turned to Kara. "Listen I have no idea what
we're about to face here. You don't have to come." She glared at me.
"Of course I have to come! It was my idea!"
She marched past me and threw the door open. We were blasted with a wave of
heat that nearly knocked us flat. I scrambled in and Kara was right behind me
as the door slammed shut once again.
I looked up and my mouth fell open. It wasn't
a room, it was great stone hall. In the center was huge pit, within which roared
a great fire. Cyan_DarkBane sat in front of it. The firelight dancing on his
dark fur. The Kougra smiled showing a fair number of teeth. "Well met Night
Walker, I did not think you would reach me here." He laughed, it was a dead
sound. "What a fool I am to have underestimated you. But here you are, should
I be afraid Leoht_ShadowLight? Should I fear the greatest thief in Neopia?"
I felt the bottom of my stomach drop out. So
he knew who I was, he could trace me back to my family. Suddenly I hated and
loathed every part of myself. I had put my family into such danger in involving
myself in this scheme. Angry tears welled up in my eyes as I called myself seven
kinds of idiot. If my family suffered from this, it would be my fault and my
Something whizzed past my ear, I whirled and
found myself looking at Kara. She had gone pale and her eyes glazed over. She
made a small noise then fell over. I leapt toward her and pulled a dart out
of the side of her neck. I looked it over, I didn't know what sort of concoction
had been smeared on it. I turned and saw DarkBane leering at me, his eyes glittering
with amusement. If whatever chemical that was on the dart was fatal to Kara,
I would kill him.
Something deep within my core snapped. A strange
and alien part of my being broke open and fueled my strength. I didn't know
what it was, I didn't care. At that moment all my hatred and anger was centered
on the shadow Kougra in front of me. I charged.
I fought with a raging ferocity I hadn't known
I'd had. DarkBane tried in vain to fend me off. But I'd gone berserk, nothing
would stop me except death. And being ghost blooded I was ever so close to death.
Suddenly DarkBane's paw clenched around my throat.
"I have had enough of this," he hissed lifting
me from the ground. I continued to fight and writhe with all my might. "ShadowLight,
your end is here!" And he threw me, into the pit of flames. I landed hard on
blazing embers, I felt my cloak melt and the fibers fused to my fur. The fire
licked my body burning, scorching, it was eating me alive. My heart felt as
though it had exploded. And despite all, a feeble, dying power within me resisted
the call of death. I twitched and the obliterating heat faded to a warm sensation.
I smiled and laid my head down in my bed of embers and ashes. Still smiling
I drifted off, for the last time into darkness. "Cyan_DarkBane," whispered a
voice, my voice, "you cannot run forever."
Kara stirred slightly, she blinked, desperately
trying to banish the fog that shackled her mind. She saw the DarkBane had hooked
her up to some kind of machine. With a thrill of horror she realized it was
the device for making pets live in a world made of their most terrifying nightmares.
She didn't struggle not wanting to alert the
Kougra to the fact that she'd regained consciousness. Kara looked feverishly
for Leoht, but couldn't see him anywhere. She doubted that he'd ran but the
only other place he could be in this room was. Kara's heart sank, in the fire.
The idea that he might be in the pit tormented her, she wouldn't believe it.
Despite telling herself that, tears welled up in her eyes and streamed down
"Ah you're awake little one." DarkBane had noticed
her. He reached up and wiped a tear from her fur. "Now why would you be crying?
You shouldn't be, there will be plenty of time to do that once this machine
is fully operational."
"Where's Leo?" Kara demanded. Bringing anger
and loathing into her shaking voice.
"The Night Walker?" DarkBane raised and eyebrow.
"Why he has deserted you. Left you to my claws and the clutches of my machine."
The Kougra seemed disappointed when Kara didn't react with distress. She was
staring blankly at the fire. DarkBane went about fiddling with the controls
of the machine.
Kara's insides were roiling with so many different
emotions that she couldn't discern one from the other. Suddenly her whole being
went cold as she saw a dark navy colored paw extend over the lip of the fire.
An arm quickly followed and Leoht hauled himself
over the side. He stood crouched on the edge of the fire his tail thrashing.
His eyes were simmering with heat and his teeth were bared.
DarkBane seemed to sense something because he
turned around. "ShadowLight!" The Kougra sucked in his breath and stared at
the Zafara as Leoht straightened.
"I'm like you in more ways than you realize
Cyan," Leoht said quietly, "because I am ghost blooded, as well. So we are equal
now. You have your gift," a shining silver dagger appeared in Leoht's paw, "and
I have mine. So fight me," he snarled, "if you dare!"
DarkBane paused a moment then whirled around
and flipped a switch on the machine. Sparks shot everywhere as gears groaned
to life. The machine began humming and Kara cried struggling to free herself.
Leoht started toward her but DarkBane barred the Zafara's way. The last thing
Kara saw before a veil of darkness was pulled over her eyes was Leoht, eyes
flashing with rage, raise the dagger to take on the ghost blooded Cyan_DarkBane.
To be continued...