A figure, hidden by a purple cloak, ran through the rain soaked alleyways of Neopia Central. The falling rain pounded her, as she carried a bundle in her arms, protecting it from both the rain and what was following her. She glanced back, and saw that the shadowy figures, who looked like different neopet species, were still pursuing her. They were intent on catching her and what she was carrying.
She turned a corner in order to buy some time, and stopped in front of a house. Setting the bundle down on the doorstep, making sure it would stay dry, she parted the top to reveal a Yellow Acara, sleeping like the baby she was. The figure pulled back her hood to reveal herself as a green Acara.
The green Acara glanced back the way she came, then pulled a necklace out of her pocket. The necklace was a thin silver chain, with a small yellow crystal at the end. After putting it around the baby Acara’s neck, the crystal gave a quick flash of yellow light.
“I may not make it through tonight, but maybe you will,” the green Acara told her. “I love you, my daughter.”
The green Acara rang the doorbell before running and finding a place to hide. She watched a sleepy-eyed Shadow Mynci open the door. Noticing the bundle, he picked her up and carried her inside. Figuring the child would be safe there, she tried sneaking off.
But one of the shadows noticed her, and called to the others. The mother tried to run, but wasn’t fast enough. Nobody was around to hear the sounds of the mother falling under the attacks of the shadowy neopets.
About ten years later, the sun started rising, shining on the same home in Neopia Central. The light filtered through the open curtains and shone on the pink carpet of a young girl’s room. The light kept moving across the floor before reaching the sleeping body of a young yellow Acara. She involuntarily closed her eyes tighter against the growing light, before slowly opening them.
She slipped out from between the sheets of her Fyora print bed and did some stretches to get her muscles loose for the day. Then she searched her Purple Camouflage Dresser for something to wear. As she was choosing, she heard a knock on her door.
“Wakanda, are you up?” a voice asked.
“Yes, Mom. Just looking for something to wear,” Wakanda answered.
She slipped into a red shirt and a Smart School Girl Skirt, before topping it off with a necklace she had owned all her life. It was a small silver chain, with a yellow crystal on the end of it. The crystal seemed to glow slightly whenever the light shone on it, and her friends joked that it was blessed with Light Faerie power.
She usually laughed about it with them, since it never did anything else strange or magical. But when she put it around her neck today, it started to grow brightly with a golden light, so bright that Wakanda had to shield her eyes. When it faded, she glanced down to see that it returned to normal.
“Strange,” she thought, as she walked downstairs.
Wakanda picked at her Faerie Pancakes, yet to take a single bite. Her mind was still on the necklace, and the glow that it gave earlier. This didn’t go unnoticed by her mother, a red Usul, who started to worry. Wakanda was usually wild about Faerie pancakes.
“Is something wrong, Wakanda?” she asked. “You haven’t taken a bite.”
“N... nothing’s wrong. I guess I’m just not hungry,” she said, pushing the plate away. “I’m going to go out for a while.”
She stood up and walked for the door, passing her father, a Shadow Mynci. He was sitting on the couch, reading the Neopian Times. He glanced up to see Wakanda walk out the door without saying good-bye. He glanced at the Usul, who simply shrugged. They both looked slightly worried, as they glanced towards the door Wakanda had just walked out of.
Wakanda leaned against a building, just staring at the necklace she held in her hand. The sunlight caught the crystal, and it shone slightly, like it always did. A few pets glanced her way as she examined the crystal, but she ignored them.
“What secrets do you hold?” she whispered, as if she expected the crystal to answer. “Where did I get you, and why did you glow?”
As she stared, the crystal started to give flashes of light, on and off, as if to warn her. She glanced around, but saw nothing. But she could sense something was approaching her. She walked off, keeping her eyes open and alert.
As she turned into an alley, she felt that whatever was following her was still after her. She sped up, and felt that it increased its pace to match her speed. Then a shadow rose up in front of her, making her stop short, as it took the form of a Xweetok. The Xweetok opened her eyes, revealing that she had no pupils, and glowed with an evil purple light.
Wakanda stepped back, and bumped into something behind her. She whirled around and saw another shadow, this one taking the shape of a Blumaroo, and his eyes had the same purple glow. She looked back and forth as the two of them converged on her.
“Wh-What do you want?” she stammered out, her eyes going everywhere, looking for a way to escape.
“We want you, and the crystal you wear,” the Blumaroo told her.
Wakanda couldn’t find an escape, except for going through one of them. Before she could try, rays of yellow energy were fired from a rooftop, hitting the ground in front of both the figures. As they backed up a couple of steps, all three looked up to see a Gold Wocky standing on a rooftop.
“Back off from her, agents of darkness!” he yelled.
Wakanda saw her chance, and bolted while they were distracted. The Blumaroo tried grabbing her as she ran past, but just missed. Silently grateful that Acaras don’t have tails, she kept going, and stopped only when she ran out of breath.
“You know, you run fast for someone so young,” a voice said behind her.
She whirled around and found herself facing the Gold Wocky that had saved her earlier. But even though he had helped her, Wakanda didn’t totally trust him. She backed up a few steps, keeping her eyes square on him, regarding him with suspicion. The Gold Wocky sensed her distrust, and didn’t advance towards her.
“Who are you?“ Wakanda asked.
“I’m Commander Taikai, part of the Light Crystal army, in the Neopia Central division. We work to hold back the shadows that you saw earlier from taking over Neopia,” he explained. “I also know about the crystal we both wear.”
“The one we both wear?” she asked, as she saw the crystal that was hanging around his neck. It was identical to the one she currently had.
“Come on, let’s take a walk. I’ll explain everything,” he said.
As they walked, Wakanda learned that it all had started with a war between the light and dark faeries a long time ago. Their powers cancelled each other out, making anything but a draw impossible, so they recruited Neopians for their battles. Fyora was eventually able to stop the fighting and promoted unity between the warring armies.
“However, the dark powers that were fed in the dark faerie’s armies consumed some of the Neopians on her side, turning them into the shadows you saw earlier. They now call themselves the Shadow Warriors. They operate behind the scenes, playing a chess game. Their ultimate goal is to control Neopia,” he continued. “The people on my side are descendants of some of the troops on the light faerie’s side, and we also inherited the same light powers they had. The crystal we wear is bonded to a person who has the light faerie energy, and activates when they turn ten.”
“But wait... my parents aren’t part of this, at least as far as I know,” Wakanda protested.
“The Neopians you know as your parents found you on their doorstep. Our base was raided the night before, and some of them were told to get the children to safety. One of them was your mother, and she disappeared that same night. We can only assume the worst,” Taikai explained, some sadness in his voice.
“And my father?” Wakanda asked.
“He fell trying to defend the base,” Taikai revealed. “I was able to find you by tracking the crystal your mother gave you. I wanted to take you to our new base, but I figured the young couple would raise you better than we could. I told them that I would return to tell you everything when you were old enough.”
Wakanda was shocked by all this. In the space of a couple of hours, her whole world and everything she thought she knew about herself was totally turned upside down. She just wasn’t sure how she was going to handle all of this, or why she was the one that had this thrown on her.
“I-I have to get back home. My parents...” she started, then scolded herself for her poor choice of words.
“I can understand you’re confused by all this,” Taikai mentioned. “We’ll go over there together, and we can talk more about this there.”
In silence, Wakanda and Taikai walked towards Wakanda’s home. Even though Taikai revealed that her parents were totally different than she thought all her life, she had trouble thinking of he Usul and Mynci as anyone but her parents.
Before they were able to reach the front stairs, the Usul ran out and hugged Wakanda tightly, a few tears dropping down her cheeks, telling her how worried she was. She then looked over at Taikai, and recognized him almost instantly.
“Commander, it’s nice to see you again,” she said.
“Same here, Cynthia. I told Wakanda all about her powers and everything,” Taikai replied. “But now that they are activated, some of the Shadow Warriors came after her. I believe she’ll be much safer with us, and she’ll also be able to receive training on how to use her powers.”
Cynthia nodded, as Wakanda took her head off the Usul’s shoulder and pushed back a little to look directly at her. Fear, confusion, and sadness filled Wakanda’s eyes, as she caught the last thing that Taikai said.
“Mom, I don’t want to leave,” she told her. “I want... I want things to go back the way they were.”
“I would too, but those things that came after you... they could come after you again, and they may harm one of us in their attempt to capture you,” Cynthia explained. “Sometimes, fate hands us a hand that we don’t like, and all we can do is play it as best we can.”
“Will I... will I ever see you again?” Wakanda asked.
“After you get training, Wakanda, you can return if you wish,” Taikai explained. “I won’t force you to come with me if you don’t want to. But if the Shadow Warriors come, and you didn’t have proper training, you wouldn’t be able to defend yourself or your family.”
Wakanda saw the wisdom in their words. She spent a few minutes turning her face between her two choices, before deciding what to do. She jumped out of Cynthia’s arms and stepped next to Taikai, before turning back to the Usul.
“No matter where I go, or what happens to me, you will always be my mother,” Wakanda told her, tears starting to fall freely down her cheeks.
“And you’ll always be my daughter,” Cynthia replied, as Taikai and Wakanda walked off towards the secret location of the base.
Cynthia kept her eyes on the spot until she could no longer see them, then walked back towards the front door. She took one last look at the direction they left, a few tears in her eyes, before opening the door and stepping inside.