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A Shadow in the Light: Knowledge and Remembrance - Part Seven


by rabbitofkittyhawk

--------

Dawn soon came, but not soon enough for Dizzconnie. She had to tell Sovan about Manov, to get everything straight for the moment. She waited until the castle's mighty portcullises were raised and the small sector of knights began their march toward Direwood. She quickly filled her leather bag with food on the table and awoke Jinni before heading across the hall. She rapped on the white painted door, twirling a lock of her bright orange curls with her nervous fingers.

      "What is it?" Sovan grumbled as he opened the door, clearly surprised to see Dizzconnie. "Dizz-"

      "There's no time to talk, pack up and get Xiakil. It will be best if Frauns and Shanmei stay here," she barked, hearing Jinni emerge from their own quarters.

      Jinni clearly wanted answers for being waken at the daybreak hour, so she asked, "Why aren't Shan and Fauns coming?" She held Kitty, the Angelpuss dozing in her crimson clad arms.

      Sovan reclosed the door, and Dizzconnie uneasily glanced to Jinni. "We're going back to Direwood, and we can't bring too many people. Frauns is afraid of heights and I've heard of Shanmei's fear of the dark, so it's best if we leave them behind for now."

      "Go back? But the knights are going, it's not like they need back-up," Jinni grumbled, yawning slightly as she spoke.

      Xiakil was clearly thankful to be able to leave early. "These people can't forget the past. They dwell on what cannot be undone."

      "Why is it that you are a beast to them, Xiakil?" Sovan asked softly, writing on a small parchment a letter for Frauns to read when he awoke.

      The Lenny sighed and said, "It was after the time of the empire... the Neopians in this area had no one to blame their problems on, and it's natural for them to not look at themselves. My race must have seemed the most vulnerable, I suppose, for many of us were warriors at the time. Once one of the prejudiced pets led an army through Direwood, killing many Lennies. Of course no one would admit that it was they who struck first, but they said that we caused only trouble from then on even though most of my kind moved on to other kingdoms where there was no hatred shown toward us." He heaved another sigh, but shook off the silence. "It's no matter, I hold nothing against them even if they cannot overlook their own economic troubles."

      Sovan folded the letter and placed one corner under the fruit bowl on the table before slinging his own sack over his shoulder. "Come on, then, let's see what Dizz wants." He opened the door once more, and the Faerie pet grabbed his paw. "What? Did I do something wrong again?"

      "No, but we have to get to the Saave before those knights do. We have to get Manov," she answered.

      The Fire pet jerked his paw away and crossed his arms. "Why? He can stay with them; he deserves their punishment as much as they do. Do you not understand that he now has accepted their ways as his?"

      "No, he hasn't! Just listen to me for once!" Dizzconnie hissed, the other two drawing up beside them. "When we were separated I found the clearing and I saw Manov. He was fine then, but that necklace... Ugh, I don't know exactly what happened, but that chain has something to do with his condition!"

      "That was why you tried to take it when we saw him..." Sovan finished, voice low and somewhat hesitant. "What happened when he received the necklace? Did he take it willingly or did they force it on him?"

      Dizzconnie shifted her weight. "Willingly, but he's a kid, he doesn't know any better! I tried to stop him, but Daene stopped me and-"

      "What pendant?" Xiakil questioned, pools narrowing.

      The two described the ruby and chain, and Jinni seemed to get more confused by the moment. "I don't know who Manov is, but I think we had better get going now if we are to get to him before the sector."

      "She's right, you can explain everything else on the way."

     

     Kax watched as Manov paced the length of the clearing, her mind searching for what seemed wrong. "Stop pacing, you're making me crazy," she muttered, standing and stretching her stiff back. "Only several more days and we'll be able to get the Summoning over with." And with those words, she became more uncomfortable. She had sent a scouting party back to Ovalon to search for the real Summoner, but again and again they would return and say that had seen no one with the right aura. 'But we have seen it! This Zafara was the Summoner! How could we have been wrong?' she thought further, and suddenly a possibility came to her. "Get Daiile, I need to speak with him," she spat at once, sending the Zafara into the foliage.

      Manov seemed unsure as he made his way to the clearing he had been taken to the day before, but before he reached the area, a form began to follow him. He swiveled around, eyes widening as he saw Daene with the pendant. "Why do you have that?" he snapped, taking a step forward and pointing to the necklace.

      "I picked it up from Daiile. I'm still pondering whether to give it to you."

      The Zafara kept back a growl. 'Stupid creature! What did Chanook see in this crazy fellow?' He calmed himself and pressed further, "Why think about it? I didn't know you knew how to use your brain."

      The Krawk emitted a snarl and drew an older, curved short blade. "You can continue to think that when I'm finished with you."

      "And I still stand correct." Manov ducked as the blade whistled over his crania, the metallic song becoming silent as Deane began to twirl the pendant's chain on one of his clawed fingers. "You'd give it to me if you held life dear."

      Daene soon began to lose interest, which he usually did, and flicked the necklace toward the Zafara, who caught it. "I have no use for jewelry," he snorted, sheathing his short blade. He lifted his hood over his face once more and veered around Manov, heading back to Chanook's clearing.

      Swiftly Manov put the chain back over his neck, but then he reconsidered and placed it in his ebonite cloak's pocket. The rest of the way was uneventful, as it should have been anyway, and he instantly spotted Daiile within the crowd of cloaked pets since he rarely covered his face. "Daiile," he shouted, causing heads to turn across the area. No one moved; however, Daiile did come forward. "Kax seeks you," he hissed, eyes not leaving the others, whose faces filled with distaste.

      "Alright then, I'll see the ugly banshee..." Daiile rolled his eyes for some unknown reason and followed Manov, who led him back to the alabaster tree. "Aye, m'lady?" the Wocky asked, hiding his dislike for her.

      Kax growled and leapt from the cave's mouth, staring him down. "About that Lupe! What were you going to say about him? You said that you had seen him somewhere, but where? He knew the Zafara, but who cares? Many probably knew him, the Lupe most likely had no time for the youth." Her voice was a roar, her patience dissipating with every second that passed with Daiile's silence.

      "You assume too much, Lady Kax, for the two were close by my many observations. Every day they were together, and that time you saw the brat, the day you went to Ovalon with us, you only saw an aura in his 'ome. But there were indeed two pets inside that 'ome, and if this kid is not who you think 'e is, then it is the canine you seek!" His face was red in a fury by the time his voice rose to a shout, and his fists were clenched. Yes, now she knew that he had been listening to her when she would sneak off and think aloud. How she had told him without knowing that she had made a mistake that she could not fix... until he told her...

      The Kougra was dazed, and, for the first time since the Saave had gained its first follower, her auds drooped to the sides in submission. If he knew that, he might know other things. She was on the chopping block for blackmail. "Indeed... it is he whom I must find." She glanced to the rim of trees, seeing Daene emerge. "Magus, fetch the Lupe from the dungeons!"

      Daene jumped at the command, but bowed his head before stampeding into the cave. The three outside could hear him give a yelp of pain as he tripped on the last stair and tumbled to the ground.

      Kax sighed. "Is there anyone in this wretched forest who can do anything without making themselves look like a fool!?"

      Manov was quiet. What were they talking about? He was not the Summoner? No, that wasn't right. Mistress was just misdirected. Chanook would never have let a flaw such as that occur in his days of glory. His breath caught as Daene tore from the cave again.

      "He isn't there!"

     

     "Must stop," Sovan whimpered, burying his face in Swia's mane.

      Dizzconnie said firmly, "We're nearly there, stop whining."

      Swia flexed her wings, overlooking the area. "So, we're close, correct? All day and night of running surely drew us to the clearing much faster then you walking on foot would have."

      "Of course, Swia, that's why we're along with them! Oh, but I do wish we could stop for a good grooming..." Ti's weary voice trailed off as Dizzconnie nudged him to slow his smooth canter to a walk.

      "Stick in this area, but stay out of sight," Dizzconnie said as she and Jinni slid from Tiger Moon's back. "Xiakil, did you see the tree from up there?" she called as the Lenny descended into the canopy and perched on one of the lower branches of a nearby tree.

      "No, not the tree itself, but there's a faint dome of shadow over where it should be. You'd be surprised how close we are to it."

      "How on Neopia did we get here so fast? It took us weeks to get out of here!" Jinni exclaimed as they began walking. Kitty was left behind in Ti's saddlebag.

      Xiakil laughed. "Sioxet only keeps the swiftest of Unis, anyway, this time I flew the whole time and we didn't veer off course like we probably did before." He released the branch and landed next to the group, looking to the east. "This way."

      They split up and slinked between the trees, each as quiet as possible. Soon, the familiar voice of Kax reached them, though her words were distorted by her shouting. The nervousness they each held seemed to grow as they neared, the overhanging branches of the white tree slithering into the canopy above.

      "I want him found!"

      "M'lady, Daene's already gone. You told 'im to leave nearly an entire twenty-four hours ago, and 'e left! You cannot tell IM to find the pet if 'e's already gone!" Daiile snapped back, clearly annoyed by her ranting.

      "If it were not for you telling me of this, I would make sure the rest of your life was spent eating Slorgs," Kax said flatly, glancing to Manov as she was starting to do more often. He had given up on trying to ask her what was happening, so he had returned to his tree 'bed' and lay awake.

      Sovan shifted his course and began to make his way around the clearing, to where Manov was settled. Dizzconnie had given him the dagger for use, and he held it calmly. He hoped that his friend wouldn't mistake him as his enemy. He saw Jinni's bright aqua wings from where she and Dizzconnie hid in the foliage, and he held his breath, hoping they would not be discovered. He was nearing Manov... 'Only a little further... nearly there... no!' The Zafara instantly shot up, gaze landing on Sovan, who still held the dagger. 'Perfect...'

      Manov watched Sovan advance slowly, but he made no attempt to move. The chain was once more around his neck, but only the pendant was visible as it was not covered by the cloak like the chain.

      "Don't speak..." Sovan warned softly, stopping near the tree, though the Zafara was only a couple feet above him now. He replaced the dagger to its sheath, which he had kept, and held up his paws in surrender. "We're only here to help you."

          

      "The Summoner and the fraud cannot help one another," Manov said bitterly, not identifying who was the real Summoner.

      Kax instantly looked to Daiile and they both slowly crept to the tree, revealing the Lupe. 'Get him, kid, don't let him get away...'

      Sovan started again, "I only-"

      He wasn't able to finish for Manov leapt to the ground beside him, sweeping his foot towards Sovan's ankles, which buckled at the sudden impact. He grabbed the Lupe's blade and stood triumphantly above his captive.

      "Bravo!" Kax praised, motioning with her eyes for Daiile to aid Manov in binding the Lupe. "Now everything will not fall on me... it will be Daene's burden for bringing the kid to me in the first place."

      Manov glared at Kax, suddenly losing interest in watching Sovan. What had she said? 'She is no longer my mistress if that is how she will speak of me... When will Chanook return?'

      Sovan saw his chance of escape since Daiile had refused to come forward; he repeated Manov's own attack, bringing the shadow pet to his back. He leapt to his feet, gathered the dagger from the ground, and ran as quickly as his four paws would allow him. The other three reacted just as quickly, loping to the Unis with haste. 'There is nothing we can do for him. If the knights kill him... so be it,' he thought, sadness gleaming in his orbs as he spotted Swia ahead.

      'Keep running...' Manov willed himself, catching sight of two other running figures, and another taking flight. Then Kax's words came back to him, and he pulled to a stop. No, her Summoner could go free. 'If I am no Summoner, then Chanook will not find out from me.' The three made it to the Unis, and they sprinted from his sight, but no emotion was present on the Zafara's face. The Summoning was but two days away by what Kax had told him... he would perform his task and whether the outcome was what Chanook wanted would determine the Kougress's fate.

The End

 
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Other Episodes


» A Shadow in the Light: Knowledge and Remembrance - Part One
» A Shadow in the Light: Knowledge and Remembrance - Part Two
» A Shadow in the Light: Knowledge and Remembrance - Part Three
» A Shadow in the Light: Knowledge and Remembrance - Part Four
» A Shadow in the Light: Knowledge and Remembrance - Part Five
» A Shadow in the Light: Knowledge and Remembrance - Part Six



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