Casting a Shadow: Part One
At the entrance to the one dreary spot in Faerieland, Jhudora's Bluff, a cloaked figure stood at the entrance. A soft, yet somehow sinister violet glow surrounded her. She looked around. “It doesn't look like anyone's spotted me... Good.” She gripped the card she was holding tightly, as she pulled out a pocket watch. “I'm still within my time limit. I was expecting worse... I almost made it out the door with this overpriced piece of cardboard, but the shopkeeper saw me at the last moment. If only I could fly, then I could've gotten out quicker...” she muttered. “But it doesn't matter now. This will all pay off...” The figure smirked.
She strolled into Jhudora's domain. As she entered the hall of the Dark Faerie, she dropped her hood, revealing herself to be a Wraith Krawk.
“Jhudora. I have your M*ynci card.”
“Hmmph! What took you so long?” the Dark Faerie demanded as the Krawk handed over the card.
“We are in Faerieland. I had to make sure none of the Faeries saw me, since they wouldn't let a Wraith Neopet in otherwise.” the Krawk growled. “Having to sneak into one of the most populated lands in Neopia without being caught isn't exactly a walk in the park.”
“That's why you use your Shade ability to slip into the shadows, fool. I thought any creature of the dark would know this.” Jhudora reprimanded. “But I'd suppose you'd want a reward for your 'efforts,' anyway. Here.”
Jhudora handed the Krawk a hairbrush. The Krawk glared at the item. “A brush? That's it? I could walk into the Grooming Parlour and buy one with the pocket change I make from Fashion Fever if that prissy little Usul didn't run away screaming the moment she sees me! You told me you would help train my magic!” she yelled.
“You're lucky I didn't blast you with my magic for wasting so much of my time!” the Faerie screeched.
“I still brought it within the time limit! I still had 2 minutes left!” the Krawk retorted. “You said you'd teach me new spells!”
“Get out of my sight, you insolent little Sludgy!” Jhudora screamed. “If you want to learn magic, go to the Haunted Woods where Wraiths like you belong!”
Stunned by her statement, the Krawk could only stare at Jhudora momentarily, before storming off in anger.---
Far outside Faerieland, the Krawk mumbled angrily under her breath. “'Wasting her time...' Stupid Faerie wasted MY time! She promised me that I could become more powerful if I did her quest! I don't see how a stupid brush can boost my powers...” she ranted.
Muttering a spell under her breath, she produced an ember that set the bristles of the hairbrush aflame. She seemed to take some satisfaction in watching the object of her ire burn, yet it felt... Lacking.
“I already know how to use a few spells, but they're all pitifully weak. If only I can find someone to train me... and keep their word.” she muttered. “But nobody trusts a Wraith Neopet, now do they...”
...Should I go back to the Haunted Woods? I mean, it's where I'm from, and I want to prove that stupid Faerie wrong... Certainly someone can teach me there, maybe Edna? I'll need to watch out while I'm there, though. It's dangerous going in the Haunted Woods alone...
A shadow buzzed around the Krawk. She looked up. A Stealthy Draik was flying around in circles above her. The Draik was dressed for adventure; she wore a flared jacket, thick gloves, rough boots and had a backpack slung over her shoulder. The Krawk recognized her instantly. “Oh, great.”
The Draik descended.
“Why are you here, Asilvani?” the Krawk snapped.
Asilvani looked at the burning pile that was left of the brush. “So I'm guessing you met Jhudora, Jimbigy?” she quipped.
Jimbigy glared at Asilvani. “You never answered my question.”
Asilvani frowned. “Are you still upset over your magic? I keep telling you, Jewel can teach you--”
“That goody-two-shoes won't teach me magic! She already disapproved of me becoming a Wraith, and she knows I'm a troublemaker. Remember how badly she freaked out when she found out I was in the Thieves' Guild? She'd turn me away the moment I ask! Besides, what can she teach me? Her spells are Light and Water based. Mine are Dark and Fire. We're polar opposites. Her trying to teach me magic would be like trying to teach a Moltenore how to swim!” Jimbigy ranted.
Asilvani flinched, then thought for a moment. “What about books? I know there's a bunch of books on magic at the Faerieland Bookshop.” she suggested.
“I know, you probably won't be let into Faerieland, much less Faerie City. That's why I can go get them for you.” Asilvani said, cutting off Jimbigy.
Jimbigy stood there, stiffly. “Why are you helping me?” she asked, after a long pause.
Asilvani went silent for a moment. “...Why wouldn't I? We're sisters, after all.” she said, somewhat hesitantly.
“Like that would make a difference. You're the only one who would help me. Jewel thinks I'm a lost cause, and Paldei's terrified of me. Even that Shoyru we kept for a while wouldn't talk to me.”
“More like you wouldn't talk to her. Ruestilla tried to make friends with you, but as soon as she zapped into a Shoyru, you wouldn't even acknowledge her.”
Jimbigy narrowed her eyes, and continued as if Asilvani hadn't said anything. “So what makes you so different? Are you really this paragon of charity, you just pity me, or is there some ulterior motive?”
“There's no... motive.” Asilvani explained, while simultaneously drifting her gaze away. “I simply want to help out a Neopet when nobody else will.”
Knowing she wouldn't get an honest answer out of the Draik, Jimbigy shook her head and walked off.
“Wait! Where are you going?” Asilvani asked.
“The Haunted Woods. I know there's at least one person who can help me better than anything you could come up with.”
“Oooh! Can I come with you? I love going to the Haunted Woods!”
Jimbigy rolled her eyes. “Of course you do.”
“What? I really do! It's where I spent my entire summer in Year 16, remember? That's when I got my Ghostkerchief!”
“Why didn't you bring him?”
“Oh, I did!”
Asilvani opened up her bag, and indeed, a Christmas Ghostkerchief was inside. It had dozed off during the trip. “Wake up, Haunter!” Asilvani called out.
The Ghostkerchief was roused by its owner's calls. It drowsily got up and floated out of the bag.
“Haunter, we're going back to the Haunted Woods to look around!” Asilvani said cheerfully to her Petpet.
It instantly perked up, and happily floated in circles around Asilvani's head.
“How adorable,” Jimbigy said, sarcastically, “but I'd like to get to the Woods before nightfall. You two done having your little moment?”
“Sorry about that! Yeah, we should probably get a move on.” Asilvani flew up to Jimbigy.---
As the three were walking to the Haunted Woods...
“So who were you planning on asking to train you?” Asilvani asked.
“Edna. I've heard that even Faeries have come to her to boost their abilities. Certainly, training a Neopet wouldn't be much trouble.”
“Wasn't there an incident where a Light Faerie went missing after she tried to get Edna's help?”
“Yeah, several years ago. She should have known better than to go to the Woods at night, though. Which reminds me, it'll be sunset once we get to the Woods. Once we arrive, we'll have to make a beeline for Neovia. We'll stay there for the night.”
After a while, they arrived at a dark, forested area. The sun was hanging low in the air.
“Here we are. We should arrive at Neovia by nightfall.” Jimbigy estimated.
Asilvani simply looked around and took in the sights. She had an oddly blank look on her face. Jimbigy took notice.
“Hey, what's wrong? I thought you'd be excited. I thought you said you loved the Haunted Woods.” she asked.
“Yeah, normally I would be, but...”
“I don't know. Something feels.... off-putting.” Asilvani looked up in the air, and shivered.
Jimbigy rolled her eyes. “You're being dramatic. I've been here before. Looks and feels the same as usual. Come on, we have to get over to Neovia before the really nasty things start showing up.” she said, as she walked towards the gypsy camp.
Asilvani's train of thought was disrupted by Haunter nudging her in the face as the Ghostkerchief chirped. “Oh, yeah, yeah. We probably should.” she said, as she flew to catch up to her sister.---
After walking for a while past the gypsy camp, they came across the misty town that was Neovia.
“It's been so long since I last came here...” Asilvani reminisced. “I'll go find a place to stay, while you could possibly go around and get something to eat.” she suggested. “And please, don't steal anything. I don't want us getting a bad rep.”
Jimbigy shrugged. “No promises.” She walked off.
As the Krawk disappeared into the town, Asilvani motioned to her Ghostkerchief. “Look after her, and make sure she doesn't get into any trouble. Don't let her see you.” she ordered. Haunter gave a nod of understanding, and floated off in the direction Jimbigy had left.
Asilvani stood there, watching as her Petpet left. She sighed in remorse, as she went off looking for a hotel.
I hate to do this to my sister, but I have a bad feeling about this entire scenario. She's gotten into trouble before - for petty crimes, granted – but... Somehow, this feels different. I need to make sure nothing bad comes from all this, and if things do go south, I have to stop it before anyone gets hurt.
She looked under her glove. A golden ring, with a certain symbol inscribed in it, could faintly be seen.
It may have been a while, but hopefully the experience I picked up at the Battleground will serve me well in my task.
To be continued…