The Might of Light
I was flying over Qasala one day, just enjoying myself. My owner’s Neohome is near Sakhmet, so we don’t go to Qasala too often. And there are a lot of things you can see only from the air, which was one of many reasons I’m glad I’m a Royal Girl Uni.
But as I flew over one part of the desert city, I got a strange feeling that some dark creature was watching me from the ground. I’ve been blessed by the Light Faeries, and one of them is even my Faerie Guardian, so dark creatures are easy to detect. Some of my friends say I practically drip light magic, but I don’t know if I’m that strong yet. So I turned to look for this dark creature, keeping my guard up in case I had a fight on my hands.
Suddenly, a beam of black light shot right at me! I tried to dodge, but the beam was going too fast. I braced myself for impact, summoning my light powers to repel the beam. But I was only partially successful. Even though I came out of the resulting blast uninjured, my wings had been paralyzed!
I managed to somehow stay upright and land hard on my hooves in the streets below. Now I was a bit shaken up, but more than ready to fight. Whoever had shot me down was going to pay!
I heard a sinister laugh from behind me. I spun around... to find myself face-to-face with the Nightsteed. HE had shot me down! But now I couldn’t fight back; if I attacked the Nightsteed, or injured him, King Jazan could have me arrested, or worse.
“You creatures of light are so easy to find,” the Nightsteed said. “I admit, you being able to deflect most of my attack was impressive, but this actually works out better for me than defeating you outright.”
I didn’t wait around to hear him keep talking. I was already running, trying to lose him in the alleys of Qasala. But no matter where I ran, he kept heading me off. Finally, desperate to get away, I ducked behind a stack of old boxes.
“You’re so charged with the power of light that no matter where you try to hide...” I heard the Nightsteed say.
Then he knocked over the boxes I was hiding behind.
“...You cannot escape me,” he finished, looking pleased with himself.
I knew I was beaten. The only thing I could do now was surrender.
“What do you want with me?” I asked firmly, trying not to be scared.
“Legends say that my curse can be broken with the aid of another Uni,” he said. “And YOU are going to give me that aid, whether you like it or not.”
He moved behind me and assumed a dominating stance.
“Now you go where I tell you to go, and I won’t hurt you... yet,” he finished, moving towards me.
I hung my head and went where he directed. He herded me through the streets of Qasala, while I memorized the route we took. If I got even one chance to escape, I’d take it.
The Nightsteed herded me to the palace, then drove me into a small dark room on the second floor. Two palace guards arrived and took up positions next to the door.
“Keep an eye on her, and don’t let her escape,” my captor said to the guards. “I’ll return for her at nightfall.”
Once the Nightsteed had gone away, I began to think. The room I was in had no door, and I knew of a trick that could get me past the guards without hurting them. But I had to act fast.
“Do you think we should tie her up?” asked one guard.
“No, she’s no threat,” the other replied.
Now was the time to act. I stuck my head through the door, and the guards moved in front of me, blocking my way.
“Where do you think you’re going?” one of them asked.
I unleashed a blast of light magic from my horn, knocking the guards down and temporarily blinding them.
“I’m getting out of here!” I snapped, leaping over them and running down the hallway.
I had memorized the path the Nightsteed had taken me through the palace. I ran past several guards, but they didn’t try to stop me. This worried me, as I feared that I might be running right into a trap. But I had to keep going.
I finally reached the main gate of the palace. My only concern now was to get through the gate somehow. As luck would have it, the gate was just being raised to let a small merchant caravan through! I accelerated, using my light magic to supercharge my legs, and dashed through the gate. I was out of the palace!
No sooner was I clear of the palace grounds than I began to head for the main gate of Qasala. But I couldn’t help but worry that the Nightsteed would figure out what I had done, and come after me. I glanced back over my shoulder, and my heart sank. He was right behind me!
I couldn’t go any faster, but I was at least somewhat faster than he was. But then, he turned and headed in a different direction. I realized that he was going to try and cut me off, so I turned as well. I ran through the streets and alleys, turning at random, doubling back, and generally making it as hard as I could for the Nightsteed to get in front of me. Yet he never showed up.
I worked my way towards the main gate, still being as evasive as I could. Finally, I was right by the gate, and I dashed through. The Nightsteed was nowhere to be seen. Had I somehow outwitted him?
I was just about to start relaxing when the ground suddenly collapsed beneath me, dropping me into a big pit. I hit the bottom of the pit hard, and the impact partially dazed me. It was then that I realized that while I had thought that my running around Qasala had thrown the Nightsteed off my trail, it had actually given him time to set up a pitfall trap to catch me!
As I lay there, trying to recover, thoughts of my owner and younger sister flooded my head. Would I ever see them again? They’d be so heartbroken if I never made it back to them... I couldn’t let those thoughts get to me. I forced them away and struggled to my hooves, then tried to jump out of the pit. But it was just deep enough that I couldn’t make it.
I plopped down in the middle of the pit. My body ached, and I was short of breath. Then I heard the Nightsteed laughing, and looked up. Sure enough, he was standing at the edge of the pit.
“I knew you’d try to escape,” he snorted, staring down at me. “In fact, I WANTED you to. The ritual that breaks my curse must be done out in the desert, under the moon. And now I have you right where I want you.”
He grinned in a terribly evil way.
“Don’t worry, it won’t hurt you... much...” he snickered.
I saw that the sun was starting to set. It would only be another hour before the moon came up. I had only one trick left, and if it didn’t work, I was finished. I lay down and lowered my head, then pretended to be crying. But in truth, I was forcing all the light magic I could muster into my wings, hoping against hope that I could undo my paralysis.
“Your tears won’t affect me,” I heard my captor say.
For a few minutes, nothing happened. I kept forcing my light magic into my wings, but I was getting desperate. Then, I felt them begin to tingle. And soon I could feel them again! But I kept them pressed against my body, tricking the Nightsteed into thinking that they were still paralyzed.
I slowly stood up, then looked up at my captor, waiting for my chance. He started laughing again, and I made my move.
In less than a second, I was airborne and out of the pit. The Nightsteed looked shocked; I had fooled him good! Before he could react, I lowered my horn and fired a beam of light energy, aimed right in front of his hooves.
The beam hit right where I wanted it to, blowing the sand away. My opponent was knocked off-balance by the blast, and he tumbled into the pit!
“And STAY DOWN, you pawn of the darkness!” I roared, turning and flying away as he bellowed in rage.
It felt so good to be airborne again. And as the sun went down and the lights of Sakhmet came into view, I felt much better. It had been a terrifying day, but I had made it out alive. The bed in my owner’s Neohome would feel good tonight.