Guardian: Part Five
Part Five: Guardian Revealed
It wasn’t long before they appeared in an icy cave, getting there by the Creature using the magic of the coins. Upon arriving there, the Creature dumped Rionex and Draco on the floor. “Darkstar,” he growled, “you will stand guard over this traitor and pest until I call for you. Do you understand?” Darkstar nodded with a fearsome growl.
Then, the Creature picked up Rionex and pulled the bands off her arms. “Hey!” Rionex said, struggling.
The Creature smirked and tossed Rionex back on the ground. Then, he fired the magic of the coins at both her and Draco, trapping them in a magical prison. “Darkstar, make sure they don’t try anything,” he said, tossing the Lupe both coins. With that, the Creature walked down an icy hall. Everyone watched him until he was out of sight.
Rionex sighed and put her head in her hands. “What are we going to do?” she asked pitifully.
“Don’t... give up... Rionex,” Draco said, struggling to get the words out.
Rionex looked over at Draco, who was once again clutching his head. “The Creature has the bands,” Rionex said. “How are we going to defeat him if he has those?”
“You... don’t... understand,” Draco muttered. “The power... does not come... from the bands. It... comes... from within you.” At that moment, Draco’s eyes swirled from brown back to yellow. He cried out in pain, still clutching his head.
“Draco!” Rionex cried, her voice echoing throughout the cavern. Draco shook his head and roared. “Draco, snap out of it!” At that moment, a small light shone in Draco’s eyes. His eyes swirled with both the eerie yellow and soft brown. His blue scales changed to a green-brown, then back to blue. In one flash of light and a mighty roar, Draco was changed from a monstrous blue Draik to a mutant one.
Draco rose and shook his head. “What... happened?” he asked quietly.
“Draco?” Rionex asked, curious.
“Yes,” Draco said. He sighed. “This... this is the real me. Somehow, I was set free from the curse.”
Rionex blinked in surprise. “But how?” she asked. “The bands are with the Creature, and I don’t think Darkstar would free you.” However, she still shot a curious glance at Darkstar.
Draco shook his head. “No,” he said, “you set me free.”
“You see, Rionex, this is what I was trying to tell you before. The bands may be powerful, but their power really comes from the Guardian. And that Guardian is YOU.”
“I don’t understand. I’m just a normal Shoyru. How can I be the Guardian you’re talking about?”
Draco shook his head. “It’s because of what’s inside you, here,” he said, pointing to his heart. “That’s what makes you the Guardian.”
“What’s... in my heart?” she said quietly.
“Yes,” Draco said, nodding. “Now, are you willing to help me defeat the Creature?”
Rionex looked up, smiling. “Of course I am. Can’t let you have all the fun.”
Draco smiled and nodded. “Now, we’ve got to figure out how to get out of these cages.” He had no sooner said this than the magical cages that held them captive dropped. When the two looked around for who had done this, they noticed Darkstar, clutching her head. They also noticed that both coins were lying on the ground, shimmering lightly.
Just then, a mighty shout came from down the icy hall. “Darkstar, come to me!” the Creature called. “Bring the coins!”
Darkstar’s eyes changed from blue to a glowing green. She swooped up the coins and bounded down the hall.
Rionex and Draco looked at each other. “Do you think Darkstar set us free?” she asked.
Draco nodded. Then, he said, “Come on, we have to stop whatever the Creature has planned.” With that, the two bounded down the hall after Darkstar.
The Creature stood at the far end of another icy cavern at the end of the hall. He smiled evilly as Darkstar came into the room. “Good, Darkstar. Now, come over here.” Darkstar calmly walked over to the Creature. The Creature slipped both bands over one of his fingers. “Now, Darkstar, I want you to charge the power of the coins. When they’re charged, fire them at me, so that the bands will become a part of me forever! Then, no one will be able to stop me!”
Rionex and Draco, who had been listening in secret the whole time, gasped. “We can’t let that happen!” Rionex cried.
“I think there will be a little time to retrieve the bands, or even the coins, before the spell can be initiated.”
“Right,” Rionex said, nodding, "but we can’t just go in and try to take them. We need a strategy.” Rionex watched Darkstar for a moment, and then looked at the Creature. Neither of them had any clue they were being spied upon. “How about one of us tries to get the coins from Darkstar, while at the same time distracting the Creature. Then, the other will sneak up behind the Creature and take the bands off his finger.”
“Good plan,” Draco said. “My only question is, who’s going to do what?”
“I’ll get the bands,” Rionex replied.
Draco nodded. “Okay, but don’t get yourself hurt.” With that, Draco crept out into the room.
Rionex waited a while after he left, then crept out of her hiding place, staying close to the wall. She heard Draco and the Creature fighting, and saw the Creature start to attack Draco. Rionex knew this was the time to go. She sprang into flight and headed for the Creature. As she flew around the Creature, his head turned her way. She gasped in surprise. The Creature frowned and roared angrily. “You!” he cried. “You little pest!” He tried to grab Rionex, but she dove away from his claw. However, she hadn’t anticipated his tentacles. They whipped out to try and catch her. She flew higher, only to run into the Creature's claws again.
On one claw, she noticed the gold bands shining. Without hesitation, she swooped in towards the claw. At the same time, the Creature called, “Darkstar, fire the magical energy of the coins at me!”
However, Rionex made it to the bands first. Before the Creature knew what was happening, Rionex had pulled the bands off his finger. “Rionex, look out!” Draco called from bellow. As Rionex turned to see what was going on, she was hit with the coins’ powerful blast. She cried in pain as she plummeted towards the ground. As she fell, the bands slipped onto her tail. A golden light flashed, and the bands started to form to fit her tail.
Draco flew up to catch Rionex. “Rionex,” he said quietly. “Rionex, wake up.”
The Creature shook his head, recovering from the flash. He roared his anger, and then turned to Draco. He whipped one of his tentacles out, knocking Draco to the floor. He cried his anger. “You treacherous snake!” he hissed, grabbing Draco in his claw.
Rionex slowly opened her eyes and shook her head. She began to push herself up. That’s when she noticed the Creature clutching Draco in his claws. “Draco, no!” she cried. The golden bands on her tail flashed with a golden light.
“What?” the Creature cried. He dropped Draco, who flew to the ground. The whole cavern was filled with a golden light. It washed over Darkstar, who turned back into a normal blue Lupe. It also fell over the two Maraquan Gelerts, the Maraquan Draik, and Sage, who were set free from their stony prison.
As it fell over the Creature, he cried in anger and pain. “No!” he screamed. It enveloped him, turning him to stone.
As soon as the Creature was turned to stone, and everyone set free from their curse, the light vanished. Rionex fell to her knees. That had drained a lot of energy from her. “Rionex?” came a voice. Rionex lifted her head to see her mother and a Gelert with a blue bandana tied around his neck. Rionex thought it interesting that her mother and the Gelert both had the same color of bandana tied around their necks.
“Mom?” she asked, attempting to stand.
Sage embraced her in a hug. “I was so worried about you!” she said. “Please, don’t ever do that again!”
At that moment, the Gelert spoke up. “Rionex,” he said. She lifted her head to look at him. “You’ve grown a lot since I saw you last.”
“Ry,” Sage said quietly, “this is Samari, your father.”
“My... father?” she asked, amazed. Sam smiled and nodded. Rionex, tears forming in her eyes, ran up and embraced her father.
Draco and Darkstar came over at that moment. “Thanks for setting us free from the curse,” Darkstar said. “By the way, my real name’s Nicole.”
Rionex smiled. Just then, she heard another voice from behind her. “These coins have caused too much trouble,” it said. Everyone turned around to look at the Gelert and the Draik. “While we won’t have to worry about evil hands getting the bands anymore,” the Draik said, nodding towards Rionex’s tail, “someone could still get their hands on the coins.”
“Why won’t we have to worry about anyone getting the bands?” asked Rionex.
“When the coins’ magic hit you,” the Draik explained, “the bands fell on your tail. Thus, the magic made the coins a part of you.”
“Now,” the Gelert said, “we need to destroy the coins, so that no one will be able to use them for evil again.”
“How?” Rionex asked.
The Draik set the coins down on the ice. “Rionex, use the power of the bands to destroy the coins.”
“But, I don’t know how!”
“Yes, you do,” the Draik replied. “Just will the bands to do it.”
Rionex sighed, but stood to face the coins. The bands started to glow with a golden light. Suddenly, they set off a powerful golden beam. It launched itself towards the coins. On contact with them, the coins were instantly destroyed. Rionex smiled. The coins were gone, so no one evil could get their hands on the coins.
Draco turned around and spread his wings for flight. Rionex saw him and asked, “Where are you going?”
Draco turned to look at her. “I’m going to fix some things with my family,” he said.
Rionex sighed. “Do you have to leave?” she asked.
Draco sighed and said, “I have my own path I have to travel.” Rionex dropped her head. “But, remember how I told you that your power came from your heart? Well, your friends are always with you there, as well.” Rionex looked up at him, and he smiled down at her. “So, until we meet again, Guardian.” With that, he took off, flying off into the horizon.
“So,” Sage said quietly, “I guess this means we can go back to Krawk Island, right?”
“You can,” Rionex replied, “but I’m leaving.”
There were gasps of surprise, before Sam finally said, “Rionex, why? The Creature has just been permanently defeated, and your mother and I were just released from our curse. Why do you want to leave?”
“I have my own path to follow, too,” she replied. “Though I’ll miss all of you, I’d like to explore Neopia, and learn more things about it, to meet new people, and make new friends. So, Mom, Dad, if it’s okay, may I try to explore Neopia?”
Sage sighed and walked up to her. “Is this what you really want?” she asked. Rionex nodded. “Well, I’m sure you’ll be safe. Stay out of trouble, and come and visit us often. Finally, though I still don’t really trust humans, I’d feel better if you stayed with one.”
Rionex nodded, and smiled. Then, she stepped back away from everyone. “Good-bye,” she said quietly. Together, all of them left the icy cave. As soon as they were out, Rionex sprang into the air. Everyone watched her go, the two bands on her tail shining in the sun.
Everyone has their own path to follow, and their own journey to fulfill, though one creature’s journey may be different from the next. And, as Rionex flew through the sky, she knew hers was far from over. And, as the day faded to night, the Guardian flew, as a tiny glimmer of light in the darkness.