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The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Seven


by fierwym

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Part Seven

The Assassin

The day that Blake of the Citadel had sent the Techo assassin Zev to murder Raatri, he had also sent another assassin that no one knew of. Angry at the fact that Raatri had overheard the conversation between Zamir the Lenny and Blake himself, Blake had made sure that no one else knew of his secret plans. No one, of course, but the Techo.

     Hyja was second best when compared to the black Zev. She was quick and clever, and her bite was as lethal as the Viper's. But she did not have the black skin of the other, and though she was swift and sly, Zev was swifter and slyer.

     That didn't matter. Hyja was the best that he had at the moment, with Zev off to destroy Raatri. Besides, even one of the lowliest assassins could do the task that she would do.

     He had gone down to the Lair, the place that none but he and a select few others knew about. In the Lair was where he kept his arsenal of trained Techo assassins. For years, ever since the adopting of Zev, he had been collecting Techo hatchlings with poison glands in their mouths, training them not merely to become a spy and assassin, but to be loyal only to him. His entire personal arsenal answered only to him. All were deadly. All were the best of the best, hand-trained by the deadliest Eyrie.

     The Lair was just a cavern filled with rows and rows of cages where he kept the many Techos loyal to him. When the Darigan Techos had begun to lose favor with the other demons, they had not only developed poison glands, but had seemed to fall back in intelligence. Not that they weren't smart, but that they didn't seem to care if they had freedom or not. At least, Blake's Techos didn't. They served only the master, and did the master's biddings.

     He had gone straight to Hyja. He had opened the bars of her cage, and she had slipped out and peered at him with her crimson eyes. "Yes, master," she had hissed. "Who is it that I now kill?"

     "Skarl," the Eyrie had told her with a grin. "King Skarl VI of the Meridellians."

     The Skeith king woke up quickly and peered around. Nothing. He had sensed eyes upon him, but as he calmed down his heavy breathing he realized that it had been just a dream.

     A dream. Whenever he thought of that word he thought of the one with the greatest dream of all: the female Lupe that wanted to become a knight. He was only slightly interested in the girl, though few things interested him these days. He was interested in food, and making laws, and being lazy. He had chosen Vladimir as his heir for he knew that the young Skeith would turn things around once Skarl himself was gone: not that he cared.

     He shifted around in his bed, peering at the window. Hadn't he closed it when he went to sleep? Sighing in confusion, he rose to close it. His movements were slow, for he was fat and exercised too little. Not that he cared.

     Avari, that was her name, wasn't it? She seemed like a true knight. He knew little about her, except for the fact that she had come from one of the villages years ago, when the village and her parents had been destroyed. She wanted to be a knight. Aleron and Tamal had taken her as a squire, though both had assured him that she would never become a knight.

     He looked out the window to the land below, then to the Citadel looming in the distance. Tamal had brought plans from there, plans that wouldn't come true. Tamal had said that Avari had been killed by the demon that had brought those plans.

     Avari was the one that wanted to be a knight. She actually had the heart of one. But no female could become a knight, and now none would.

     If she had, she might have turned Meridell around. She might have set it right. Well, now that would be Vladimir's duty, when Aleron brought him back. Vladimir would set things right, not that Skarl cared.

     He closed the window, then turned around and headed back to bed. "Nothing," he muttered to himself, still slightly shaken from his nightmare. "Nothing at all."

     "Wrong, my friend," hissed something from the darkness. He gasped and peered up into the darkness. On the ceiling he could just make out the form of some long slender creature with crimson eyes.

     "Who are you?" the fat king called. "What do you want?"

     "Your life," said the creature. "As my master has demanded it." She fell to the ground and looked at him with her red eyes, teeth baring in a sinister grin. Now that he could see what she was, he was terrified.

     "Guards!" he cried out, trying to back away as fast as his massive form would allow. "Guards! Assassin!" By the time they entered, it would be too late.

     "Oh, terrible day this is!" cried out a yellow Lenny as he stood above the grim crowds listening below. "Woe has fallen upon us! King Skarl is dead! The heir is captured! The Citadel must be preparing our fall! Woe has fallen! The king is dead!"

    "The other side of the world," whispered Avari. "I never thought I would go there when I agreed to help you. I never thought I'd go there at all."

     "You don't have to come with me," said the other. "Now that I know where to go, you can leave."

     "Leave?" she responded. "Why? I am your friend, Raatri. Friends don't betray friends. Besides, remember the prophecy? His enemy will become his closest friend, his kind his foe. If they said that, then its probably important. Perhaps I'm to come with you."

     "It will be dangerous."

     "A knight is sworn to valor," she replied, smiling at him. "Come on. Let's go."

     And so the pair of Lupes had hastened south-west to a place that no Meridellian or Darigan had visited in the past few hundred years: the lands beyond the peninsula that Meridell rested on. For the first time since Meridell's collapse, the lands beyond would meet some from the hidden worlds.

     "And to think," said Avari. "We're not only going where no Meridellian or Darigan has gone for as long as anyone can remember, but we're going somewhere that few of the known Neopia has gone: the dark side of the world. I wonder what's there."

     "We'll just have to see."

          It took them two weeks to reach the edge of the Lost Desert. On the way they met few people, though all had watched the strange pair with narrowed, curious eyes. None before had seen a blue Lupe with black paws, tail, and face, or a Shadow Lupe with wings, as they thought the minion was. If any guessed that they were from Meridell and the Citadel, a place that had disappeared many years before, none said anything.

     They walked most of the time, though to quicken the pace they would frequently run or trot. Both knew the urgency of their task, but both also understood that a trek across the Desert would wane on them far worse that a run.

     And so, when they reached the edge, they first went to the small village of the Lost Desert. There they were able to persuade an ancient Acara to give them each a water sack-they did not have any money. Filling up the sacks with water, they wrapped the straps around their necks and walked out into the Desert itself.

     Tall mountains jutted upward from the earth to their right, and later in the day they might provide shade. The pair of Lupes kept a steady, easy pace, knowing that at least a hundred miles stretched between them and the Edge of the World, and then unknown miles into the dark side of the world. How far in was Darigan kept? Where was the army that Blake's plan's had promised?

     Three days later the weary pair thought that they were seeing a mirage. On the horizon was a line of black that steadily grew. As they walked it seemed to grow larger, and began to span the entire horizon. Suddenly Avari's eyes widened, and she stopped dead in her tracks.

     Her companion halted as well and looked to her. "What is it?" he asked, voice raw from lack of water.

     "The army," she whispered, voice equally dry. "Blake's army. We have to avoid that line."

     He looked to the black mass that seemed to be growing even as they stood. "You're probably right." His eyes then narrowed as he looked to the line. His dusty fur rose. "They're getting faster," he said. "Did they spot us?"

     "How?" she asked. "We're too small."

     "They're from the other side of the world," he replied. "Who knows what they can do."

     "What should we do?"

     He looked at the line, then backed up. It was definitely moving faster. "I say that we run."

     And that's just what they did, though not the way they had come. They ran towards the mountains that had been visible on the horizon to their right for the entire journey. As they ran, Avari watched the army out of the corner of her eye.

     She gasped softly, strides lengthening trying to quicken her pace. Her throat was raw from the dust that flew into her breath as they charged.

     We'll never make it!

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part One
» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Two
» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Three
» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Four
» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Five
» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Six



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