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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 20th day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 116 > Continuing Series > Dark Flame: Part Eight

Dark Flame: Part Eight

by child_dragon

Too Far?

A large crowd of emergency vehicles and people blocked the way to the scene of the devastation. We managed to get through the people just fine, thanks to Sabreur's modifications of my buggy. However, we were forced to abandon the vehicle once we hit the police line.

      The area was already blocked off by a line of police and their vehicles. I walked up to the nearest officer, a tall man with brown hair and a Christmas Gelert by his side.

      "Excuse me officer," I said, "we need to get through."

      "No one is allowed past this point," he replied calmly.

      "Yes, but I'm child_dragon. The Essence of Neopia. Haven't you heard…?"

      "I don't care if you're Fyora hers-"

      He was abruptly cut off by the arrival of none other than a Faerie. A light Faerie.

      "Hello Heya," I said with a smile.

      "Hello child_dragon. Officer, let her through."

      The policeman shot me an odd glance and then stepped aside.

      "Thank you," the Faerie replied, "Be glad she's here. She'll find out what happened. And then give Fyora a full report, right?"

      Heya cast me a stern glance.

      "Of course," I replied with a smile.

      I led the five of us into the blocked off area. All unhurt bystanders had been ushered off to the side and were being questioned by policemen. All the injured had already been whisked away by ambulances. The buildings though… small privately owned shops. Nearly all within eyeshot bore some sign of damage, blast marks, broken windows, holes from flying debris. And at the center was a spot of nothing but flat earth. The buildings had been blasted to the ground, exploding outwards from a central spot in the middle of the street.

      "The ground's hot," Un-eairkagh whined.

      "Stay here then, I've got hooves," I replied.

      MoonFall followed me into the center of the chaos. There were no telltale clues of what had happened for anything not stone or rock had been obliterated. The trees nearby were nothing but blackened trunks and the grass was gone. The sidewalk was scorching hot when I bent down to touch it. Only the foundations of the buildings remained. I switched my vision over to my magical sight and was nearly blinded. Hot raw light magic was everywhere. It coated the area, volatile and seething with untamed energy.

      "What happened?" my Uni asked nervously.

      "Someone lost control…" I said softly, "… not sure who though. It's too hot for me to pick up a signature. Could have been either Zafara."

      "Could it have been Aldrai defending himself?"

      "That's a possibility."

      I surveyed the area some more. There was nothing else I could learn from this. The magic was too strong, too wild. Still dangerous too. I gathered the power of Neopia around me and summoned the darkness. The area around me seemed to dim, as if I was sucking all the light to myself. I lay a network of threads of dark magic across the devastation. The two forces negated each other. Soon the worst of the standing light magic was gone. The rest would dissipate with time but at least the area was safe again.

      I nodded to MoonFall and we rejoined Sabreur, Terraile, and Un-eairkagh.

      "So what happened?"

      "I don't know. It was too hot to pick up a trace. I've only seen magic that raw and in that quantity twice before."

      "When was that?" Sabreur asked.

      "When I unleashed the tidal wave to wipe out the Shadows across all of Neopia and when I destroyed the source of the Shadows."

      Sabreur fell into a shocked silence and followed me mutely back to the police line.

      "Well?" Heya demanded.

      "Nothing. Can't pick up a signature, trace, nothing. It's just light magic. Tons of it."

      "We've had reports of a Darigan Zafara flying towards the Haunted Forest," the police officer offered helpfully.

      "Any reports of a spotted one anywhere?"

      He shook his head.

      "Not yet. But we're looking. Gotta follow all leads."

      "Right. We'll go check out the forest."

      "Okay. Good luck to you… child_dragon, was it?"

      "Yes."

      He looked at me oddly.

      "Heya explained what you are."

      "That's nice."

      I turned and walked away before he could ask any more questions.

      I sped all the way to the Haunted Forest. The other buggies avoided mine so I didn't have to worry about traffic that much. And I figured that since Heya had cleared me for working with the police no one would pull me over. Plus, I was worried. Scared and confused. What had happened to Aldrai? If this other Zafara had hurt him… there would be some kind of payback. I silently repeated the vow I and everyone else in my family lived by: 'no one messes with family.'

      The buggy couldn't go into the actual forest. I brought it as far as possible and then parked off-road. Sabreur and my three pets followed me into the forest. I stretched out my senses, searching for something. I felt power from the center of the forest but I couldn't tell what or who it was.

      "The center of the forest," I said, "Where… where we fought WeatherWolf. The remnants of the Shadow obelisk is messing with my perception… I can tell something is there but I can't tell what."

      I summoned my spear to my hand and Terraile did the same with her bow.

      "Everyone be ready."

      Sabreur nodded and loosened his sword in it's sheath. Un-eairkagh gave his dark battle duck a quick squeeze. And we started into the forest.

      Some people found the Haunted Woods frightening. I used to. Now I don't: I've braved it's depths, I've seen what evils it holds and I've lived to see the daylight again. We walked confidently through it's shadowy depths, keeping a sharp eye out for anything nearby. But not all things are visible to the naked eye.

      "Leave now… you don't belong here… children of light…" a voice hissed from the depths.

      "I'm surprised at you, Von Roo," I replied, "I thought you ambushed travelers instead of warning them off."

      My pets and brother whirled around to form a circle, our backs protected against by each other. I faced straight ahead and waited. They couldn't see what I could. And I knew Count Von Roo, vampire or no, would not attack us. He hadn't lived this long by being stupid.

      Sure enough, the shadowy form materialized before me, a good distance out of spear range.

      "I don't vant you," he said in disgust, "but that other one vould be nice…"

      The vampire Blumaroo's eyes flickered to my brother.

      "Don't even dream of it," my brother replied sternly.

      "Vhat are you doing here?" Von Roo demanded, changing the subject.

      "Hunting down whatever caused the chaos in Neopia Central."

      "Ah yes. That thing," the Blumaroo said in disgust.

      "You've seen it?"

      "Felt it, more likely. It's very presence is an affront to the forest. It's messing everything up. The currents of power are being thrown into disarray. Vill you get rid of it? I'm assuming that's vhy you are here."

      "If that's what needs to be done, then yes."

      "Very vell. I vill lead you to it."

      He turned and started to glide off into the forest.

      "Oh? We can find our own way, thank you very much," I snapped.

      "Can you? Even vith the currents of power as they are? You do not know the forest vithout the threads. The threads are confused, tangled. Nothing is as it vas. I'm your only guide. I vould not have sought you out othervise."

      I hesitated and stretched my sense again. The threads… had changed. In the short time I was standing there talking with Count Von Roo they'd shifted a bit.

      "This thing… must be light magic," I whispered, "Von Roo is right. It's thrown the forest into disarray. Warring elements. Geez…"

      "You coming?"

      I thought. Count Von Roo obviously knew who and what I was. It seemed ludicrous that he'd offer to help us, but then again… he wouldn't want anything associated with light staying in the forest where he hunted. Apparently we had a common goal.

      Of course," I replied reluctantly and shouldered my spear, "But if you lead us astray, Von Roo…"

      His sinister chuckle was my only reply.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Dark Flame: Part One

Dark Flame: Part Two

Dark Flame: Part Three

Dark Flame: Part Four

Dark Flame: Part Five

Dark Flame: Part Six

Dark Flame: Part Seven

Dark Flame: Part Nine

Dark Flame: Part Ten

Dark Flame: Part Eleven

Dark Flame: Part Twelve

Dark Flame: Part Thirteen

Dark Flame: Part Fourteen

Dark Flame: Part Fifiteen

Dark Flame: Part Sixteen

Dark Flame: Part Seventeen

Dark Flame: Part Eighteen

Dark Flame: Part Nineteen

Dark Flame: Part Twenty

Dark Flame: Part Twenty One

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