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Shades of Darkness: Lights in the Shadows - Part Six

by jesse12_3


Earth Giant Hunting

Some Shades carried Yoco to the makeshift hospital that was in one of the tents at the Shade army's camp. Yoco some how managed to cling to life even though the arrow had struck him square in the heart.

     Yoco fell into a coma. The Shades really didn't care. They just let him sleep while they looted the treasure of Narn Castle. They had a guard watch over him, but they didn't bother to do anything more then change his bandages and give him water and food through a tube. But there was one person who did care about Yoco. Celestra.

     The Dark Faerie marched through the camp to the tent that held Yoco. She met a Shade Grarrl guard at the door.

     "Has he come out of it yet?" she said rudely.

     "No, he's been moving his arms and legs a bit though," said the guard without concern.

     Celestra pushed him aside and walked into the tent. Yoco was laying on a large stone slab. His medallion was hanging loosely around his neck.

     "Could you step outside till I leave?" asked Celestra.

     "I was given orders not to leave my post," said the guard in a bored tone.

     Celestra placed some Neopoints in his hand. "Did that change your mind?"

     The guard nodded and walked out of the tent with a grin.

     Celestra walked over to Yoco and flicked his cheek with her finger. He gave no response. So he really was in a coma. She slipped her fingers around the orb of his medallion and slipped it off his neck. No force of magic blasted her back.

     Yoco started to cough and twitch. His eyelids burst open.

     "Hey..." he said hoarsely. "Give me... that... back."

     "I knew that'd get you awake," said Celestra. Yoco shivered in pain.

     "Yes, it hurts, doesn't it?" said Celestra. "All the magic in your body is leaving you, and filtering back into this." She dangled the Darkstone in front of his face.

     "Hey, how can you touch that?" wheezed Yoco.

     "You are the stupidest pet I've ever met," exclaimed Celestra. "Do you even know what this is? It's the Darkstone of the Faeries! It's been controlling you the entire time you had it! You see, Yoco, the Darkstone exists to serve only one master. Everyone else it either possesses or destroys. That master is me."

     "How... how..." He couldn't get the words out.

     "Remember back in the forest when I told you the story of the Faerie and that medallion. About the war to bring it back to Faerieland, and how it was lost? I'm that Faerie. I was banished from Faerieland for creating the Darkstone. The Faerie Queen at the time was a fool. I made it to destroy her. But my plan backfired thanks to Jhudora. She once was my friend. We had the same opinion about the Queen. We had the assassination all planned out when Jhudora got cold feet at the last moment and told the Queen about the Darkstone. I was banished, and the Darkstone was locked up.

     "A year or so after being banished, I ran into Torono. He was just a General in the unknown Shade army at the time. He agreed to help me get the Darkstone back, if I joined his army. I wouldn't be possessed, though. I agreed. We stole the medallion back, but Faerieland retaliated. We were soon locked into a battle that seemed endless. In the end, the Faerie Queen slew the Shade Lord Zarno. Torono and I fought alongside Zarno that day. We saw him fall. Moments later a light Faerie stubbed me with a spell. I was blinded. Torono took the medallion from me and ran. Most of my power was ripped from me that day. I managed to get away, and spent the next two hundred years in the forest.

     "The very same forest that I first met you in.

     "Then after two hundred years in hiding, I managed to regain some of my old strength. I could now feel in my mind where the Darkstone was, but I was not strong enough to use it. And one day, I felt that it was in my forest. I warped to the spot and met you. I saw it on your neck. I kept my cool. I asked you a few questions and soon found out how really dim-witted you were. A plan came into my mind. I would help you gain control of the Bladack. Use you as a puppet to carry out my will, until I was strong enough to use it again. And now I am." She slipped it around her neck.

     Yoco looked dumfounded. "But... but... you were my friend, even if you weren't that nice."

     "Friend?" said Celestra. "There are no friends in war." Celestra summoned magic to her hand.

     "Goodbye, Yoco..."

   * * *

     I regretted taking Mark in the next day.

     He ate like a pig when we fed him breakfast. Clearly he didn't know what the words 'trail rations' meant.

     He didn't help pack up camp. He said his arm was injured and it hurt to use it.

     "There were hardly any scratches on both his arms when I checked him," whispered Tal as we loaded Raindash's saddlebags. "Let's draw straws. Shortest straw has to ride with him."

     I got short straw.

     Whenever Tal or I brought up the word magic, he bombarded us with a million questions.

     He treated Raindash like a pack mule instead of a pet.

     He complained that he was getting sores on his legs from riding to much after he'd only been on Raindash for an hour.

     He used up our entire ointment bottle for sores.

     If we had to climb, run, or do anything besides sit on the Unis, he complained.

     He complained about everything.

     When he stopped for lunch, Mark went and took a nap while Tal and I made lunch.

     "I'm cursing his food," whispered Tal so that only I could hear. "Not to kill him. It's just going to make him sleep for the rest of the day so he'll shut up."

     Sure enough, fifteen minutes after lunch he fell fast asleep.

     "How long will he be out?" I asked.

     "I'd say at least till dinner. I'll ride with him today," said Tal with a grin.

     "How come you get to ride with him when he's asleep?" I teased.

     "Because I'm the one who thought of the idea!"

     After we got back on the road, Tal said, "We need to get started on Druidic magic now. We're going to keep going east, as the next Keystone is that way. Druidic magic, as I said before, is about harnessing the power of nature. It's similar to Elemental magic, but Elemental magic just allows complete control of nature. You can go much more in depth with Druidic magic. For example, in Elemental magic, you have earth. Once you master that element, you can direct earth magic at anything you will, but only in its raw state. By using Druidic magic you can do things such as making plants grow and creating a rainstorm."

     "It's sounds kind of useless," I said.

     "It's far from useless," said Tal. "The only reason we're still living out here is that I can use Druidic magic to find food and water. In fact the first spell I'm going to teach you is how to find water."

     Tal gave me the words needed and sent me to work while we traveled.

     "You're going to feel a magical pull toward where the water is," explained Tal. "It'll be very feeble at first, but once you master the spell you'll be able to detect water from miles away."

     "Why can't you just use Elemental magic to create water?" I asked, still not thinking that the type of magic was worth learning.

     "It's best not to eat or drink magical stuff," said Tal. "If you need examples, Faydor, morphing potions, Chia Pops, that sort of stuff."

     I decided to just shut up after that point.

     * * *

     Pudding moved as fast as she could through the darkness. Her keen Kougra eyes could see well in the darkness, but there was still the danger or rocks that stuck out of the ground every few yards.

     The voice rang through her ears as she ran. If she went the right way, the voice grew louder. If she went the wrong way, it grew softer. Apart from getting louder or softer, the voice gave no other guidance to where she was going.

     After an hour or so of traveling through darkness she reached a dimly lit chamber. A small stone altar stood in the middle of it. A small, glowing stone lay on it. The Lightstone of the Faeries.

     Pudding walked slowly to the altar. The voice kept speaking in her head. It seemed to be coming from the stone itself. But then again the stone was a magic artifact. It was pure white, giving off a white-gold glow.

     Pudding was close enough to the altar to grab the Lightstone. She reached out and her left paw closed over it.

     A loud screech sounded behind her. She turned around to see a shadow Gelert, only it was ten times the size of a normal one. Pudding drew her sword and charged, slashing it at the shadow Gelert. The sword cut through it, but the shadow just pieced itself back together.

     Since a sword was useless in this fight Pudding sheathed it and decided to use the only other weapon she had, the Lightstone. But she had no idea how to use it. She assumed James or one of the other Zafaras would have found and used it, not her. Nobody had even mentioned how it worked.

     The Shadow Gelert swiped one of its massive paws at Pudding. She was too slow and her arm now had a giant gash across it.

     Pudding now either had to think of something or let her foe pound her into dust. She held out the stone, clenched her first around it, and concentrated on the beast out of instinct. It was either that or chuck the stone at the beast, but she really didn't think that would solve her problem.

     A beam of yellow light came shooting from the Lightstone and hit the Gelert in the leg. Where it had struck was a medium sized hole.

     Pudding this time focused on where the Gelert's heart would be if it wasn't a shadow. An orange beam came out of the stone this time and hit the Gelert square in the chest. It didn't destroy him.

     "Well then," said Pudding, "I guess there's only one place left to try."

     She aimed the Lightstone at the forehead of the monster, right between the eyes. A beam of orange light shot out and hit the exact spot that Pudding had aimed for. With a flash of light, the shadow Gelert was gone.

     * * *

     Pudding came out from the tunnels and into the small spot where the Zafaras had made camp. They were just about done packing up at the moment when James Perigen screamed, "Where have you been? We need to get a move on, now!" Everybody naturally turned around.

     "I've been back there," said Pudding, pointing to the back of the cave. "And we have no reason to continue this journey, as I've found what we've been looking for." And Pudding held up the Lightstone for everyone to see.

     "How did you get that?" said a very shocked James.

     "The cave tunnel back there," said Pudding. "It was in a chamber at the end. The stone called to me through magic, so I came."

     "Well how come we didn't hear it?" said a Zafara.

     Pudding just shrugged.

     "Well let's just finished getting packed," said James. "We'll worry about the Stone once we get back to Azlan."

     * * *

     Over the past few weeks, I had mastered Druidic magic. I could locate water, create a giant wall of thorns to stop enemies from following me, and communicate with Petpets and Petpetpets without getting a severe headache.

     Tal announced that tomorrow we would be near where the next Keystone was.

     "Is it going to be like the last challenge?" I asked.

     "No, this time we're going to an inhabited settlement," said Tal. "A Druid city. It's deep in this forest that we entered yesterday. I've got a friend called Vearum there."

     "I don't like Druids," said Mark. "Can I stay here?"

     "No," said Tal. "Because after we're done there, we're going northward out of the city. Although I wouldn't mind leaving you here."

     A little bit after ten the next day Tal announced that we were near the Druid city.

     "Vearum is blind," said Tal. "But he has the ability to see shortly into the future inside his mind. By Seeing he knows what his surroundings look like in his head. He knows we're coming and if I know him as well as I do, we should be running into him shortly."

     The forest was quiet as we walked. Birds called from above and Mark was whimpering behind me. I was just about to turn around and tell him to stop it when I hear a loud "Hello!" in front of us.

     Vearum had arrived.

     He was an old fire Kyrii. Some of the fur on his head and face was gray. His eyes were a milky white. He wore robes of black and large black boots. In his hand was a wooden staff.

     "How ya doin', Tal?" wheezed the Kyrii before embracing Tal like an old friend.

     "Fine, Vearum," said Tal. "I've brought friends. This is Mackenzie." Tal dragged me forward. I shook hands with Vearum.

     "Welcome, Guardian of Neopia," said Vearum cheerfully. "And who is the other one?"

     "That's Mark," said Tal, dragging Mark forward. Mark reluctantly shook hands with Vearum. Surprisingly, Vearum let go quickly.

     "He stinks of shadow," said Vearum. "You'd do best to find a different companion."

     "He's more annoying than anything," said Tal, which caused Mark to yell a big "Hey!" at both of them. "But he's only staying till his injuries heal."

      "He didn't look injured to me," said Vearum.

     "I'm in constant pain!" cried Mark. "And how would you know? You can't see!"

     "Smart move, wise guy," muttered Tal.

     "Do not doubt me, fool!" cried Vearum. "I have Seen more then you think! Alama kajo hio nan!"

     Several large plantlike tentacles began growing out of the ground next to Mark. They grew nearly four times his height before they wrapped around him and began to shake and swing Mark around. Then they started tossing him up and down in the air.

     "Thank you," said Tal. "Now maybe he'll shut up."

     "C'mon, I'll take you to the village," said Vearum. "Follow me."

     "But what about Mark?" I said.

     "They'll quit after a while, then I'll come back and get him or he'll find his own way into the village. Maybe now he'll learn to pay his elders some respect."

     We followed Vearum through the woods. He occasionally stopped to point something out or blast tree roots out of the way so he wouldn't trip on them. After crossing a river by using the little makeshift wooden bridge that someone had built, houses and a dirt road appeared. Most houses were made of wood, but a few were made of stone.

     The village square was a large dirt circle surrounded by shops. In the center of the square was a small pond. All the villagers wore the same black robes and boots.

     "It's the Druid custom to wear black," said Vearum to me.

     We followed Vearum out of the village square. He led us down several side roads and finally to a small stone cabin surrounded by a small patch of trees.

     The cabin had only three rooms: a kitchen, living room, and a bedroom. Vearum took a torch from the wall and lit it with magic. Once the room was well lit, Vearum sat down in a large armchair.

     "Sit down," he said. Tal and I took seats on his small couch.

     "So you need to find the Keystone," said Vearum. It wasn't a question, it was a statement.

     "How do you know about that?" I asked. "Do you know where it is?"

     "Why else would you be here? And yes I do know where it is. I have it."

     "Well, what do I have to do to earn it?" Anything would be better than fighting mutants.

     "Earth giants have been attacking this village lately, causing destruction wherever they go. Earth giants are like dirt covered trees with no leaves, twisted into a human shape. They're about twenty feet tall. Destroy ten earth giants, and then I'll give you the stone. And I will know if you destroyed them."

     Okay, maybe there are worse things than mutants.

     "Well, I better go back and get that fire painted idiot," said Vearum. He then got up from his chair and walked out the door.

     "Well, you ready to go hunting?" said Tal.

     "Let's go," I said. I placed my sword on Vearum's couch. "The last challenge wouldn't let me use it, so I doubt this one will."

     "It's not a bewitched place like the last challenge was," said Tal.

     "Yeah, but I'm sure Vearum wouldn't consider the task done if I used my sword instead of magic."

     "Good point," said Tal before leaving the cabin.

     I heard the earth giant before I saw it. It made a screeching call, so loud I knew that no wild Petpet or Neopets alive could make. As it moved, the ground shook. The giant pushed its way around some trees and came into the clearing that I was standing in. I created a wall of thorns between myself and the giant. It stopped the giant from charging at me, but the thorns did absolutely no damage at all.

     While the giant was caught in the thorns, I made two vines grow out of the ground like Vearum did, only they didn't twist themselves around the giant, they swatted it. The giant screeched in irritation. I grew two more vines. These had thorns on them the size of swords. They too began to swat at the giant. One of them struck the giant on the head. It gave one final roar before falling to the ground.

     "One down, nine to go," I said.

          It took the rest of the day to find and destroy nine more giants. After destroying the last one with a bolt of lightning from a rainstorm, I practically ran from the woods with what strength I had.

     Tal and I burst into Vearum's cabin to see Vearum cooking dinner and Mark lying on the couch sulking.

     "I hate Druids," he mumbled as we walked in.

     "Well done," said Vearum, turning to face me. He pulled dark green stone from his pocket. "You have earned this."

     I took the Keystone and placed it in my pocket.

End of Book II

Author's Note: Thanks for reading! Comments are always welcome! The story will continue in book III.

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Other Episodes

» Shades of Darkness: Lights in the Shadows - Part One
» Shades of Darkness: Lights in the Shadows - Part Two
» Shades of Darkness: Lights in the Shadows - Part Three
» Shades of Darkness: Lights in the Shadows - Part Four
» Shades of Darkness: Lights in the Shadows - Part Five

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