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The Return of Destiny


by venused

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Chapter 7: "From afar, eyes turn black"

     ”So, all we have to do is walk, Eskein?"

     – Yes. You can get anywhere by walking, my friend.

     – Well, that depends on where you want to go...

     – Don't contradict my brother, Ixi.

     Elaidus, as usual, stayed very close to his older brother, defending him as a personal attorney.

     The four Neopets were in a gloomy ocher–coloured room, miserably lit, the walls of which were lined with signs and representations in unknown languages. In front of them, there was a black opening that led into the deepest darkness.

     "The path will light up as you cross it." Eskein whispered. "So, fear not. In the later stages, you will begin to feel a bone-chilling cold that threatens to freeze your bodies and spirits. But don't hesitate, wrap yourself up, "he added, pointing to the huge backpacks he had given Fawse and Os." And keep walking. You will reach the Mountain in a couple of hours.

     – There is no time to lose. "Let's go," Fawse muttered. "Thank you very much for everything, Guardian of Gold. Your help has been valuable to us."

     – Yes, thank you, partner. – Os contributed.

     – My intentions may not be as noble as you think, but I accept your thanks.

     Slightly puzzled by that last comment, Fawse and Osorium shrugged their shoulders and headed through the long tunnel, which grew dimly lit with each step they took.

     "What did you mean?" Eli asked, once the corridor was blackened again, due to the distance that Fawse and Os were already at.

     – My brother, it's simple: my only intention in all this is to have fun. And maybe we meet our other siblings at the show.

     "The Silver Guardian and the Bronze Guardian..." the Draik murmured, closing his eyes benignly.

     ***

     Without a doubt, the least benign place of all at that time, was the Mystery Island. Turned into the epicentre of chaos, the soft sunlight illuminated a still land (yes, the shaking had ended). But what trembled instead, was the hearts of the Neopians who had a meagre spectacle before them.

     In the sky, neither too close nor too far away, floated a throne. A rather large bench, of cloudy black wood, on which Kadriya, Merlin, and Sheyn sat. Before leaving to the Desert, the faerie had entrusted her two knights with the purchase of a dress: the most funereal and splendid they could find. Obviously, the Forest is the ideal place to find clothing of this type, so there were not too many complications. As for NPs, well... your lifetime savings were gone right away, right? (Hah, I got a rhyme!).

     The attire in question consisted of a very long blackish and flowing dress, overflowing with ribbons, ornaments, diamonds, fabrics and embroidery. Two long, silky blackened gloves concealed the faerie's arms, while her feet, hidden by the cloth, were decked out in a magnificent pair of dark shoes. Finally, on the faerie's pale neck, the time-stained gold necklace and its cursed green stone cast sinister gleams on the dark faerie's beautiful face.

     As for his two knights, they were dressed in simple black robes, similar to those worn by messengers from Darigan Citadel. And speaking of the Citadel...

     – Friends of the Mystery Island... the attack on my domain will begin shortly, so please try to protect yourself. You know, there is no point running a city without inhabitants.

     Kadriya's amplified voice made the islanders cry out in fear, and they ran for cover.

     "I must protect my belongings, my gentlemen," Kadriya said, rising from her seat, in her normal voice.

     "If you need us, we'll be here," Merlin said.

     "Bah, they don't know who they're up against." Sheyn teased almost to himself.

     The faerie gave the two of them a mute smile, and flew to Techo Volcano. Behind him, he could feel the menacing heat of the fire and the lava contained in the rock. The young woman smiled wickedly, knowing that defeat was not a possible option.

     ***

     Ten minutes later, the winged troops of Brightvale and Meridell would fall on the Island. A set of Buzz; Draiks; Eyries; Hissis; Kikos; Korbats; Lennys; Scorchios; Shoyrus; Unis, and other flying Neopets, protected with blue and red or green and yellow armour as appropriate. Mounted on the Unis were brave heroes such as Jeran the Lupe warrior, Kayla the potions master, and Roberta the scroll connoisseur.

     A minute later, the troops from Darigan Citadel landed on the Island. A swarthy melee of Darigan Neopets, shielded in terrifying spiked armour and thick swords sharper than the fangs of a Reptillior.

     After another minute, all the faeries trained in the art of fighting appeared. A swarm of slender and shiny armour, carrying enchanted bows and arrows, as well as slings whose shots never missed, and fine and elegant swords, but never despicable. But the true nature of the faeries was exhibited in the serious and courageous countenances of those young ladies, ready to abandon everything to win. Some, with spell books and magic powders in their hands, practised their spells for battle.

     Finally, and after another minute, the four leaders of this war would demonstrate: Fyora, queen of the faeries; Hagan, king of the wise; Lord Darigan, ruler of the dark; and Skarl, king of the workers.

     Kadriya from on high gave a smile to the entire crowd, who had fallen silent to hear what the oppressive creature had to say.

     – Welcome to my Island, people from so many places. Who would have said that I would face such a colourful army... blue, red, green, yellow, pink, purple and black...? But it is a rainbow of destruction!

     Kadriya could not continue without a high–pitched laugh. The truth is that the expression "rainbow of destruction" sounded ridiculous, and Fyora couldn't help but blush. Skarl chose to make an even more bitter face than usual, while his brother whispered, "I already knew this was not going to work." Even the slightest pink colour appeared on Lord Darigan's face, to be immediately supplanted by a deathly paleness. As for Kadriya, she pulled herself together and went on saying:

     – I'm afraid I will ask you to leave my territory as soon as possible. In a matter of days, I will reach your lands to establish my dominion over them as well, but until then... I would rather you leave. Thank you so much for taking this enormous trouble, kings and queen, but... GET OUT OF HERE!

     Kadriya's unexpected exclamation echoed terrifyingly in the ears of all Neopians.

     "ATTACK HER!" Darigan cried out with all his might.

     And so, the war began.

     ***

     What no one knew was that in the Darigan Citadel, in a gloomy and unknown cave, a shadow Draik named Oridel was installed, who had just woken up from a lazy nap. The memory had returned, who knows why, to the consciousness of the young woman. The Neopet blinked sweetly, muttering:

     – I wish you all the luck in the world, my friend.

     ***

     – Hey, Fawse...

     – What do you want?

     – We have been walking for quite some time... and something occurred to me.

     – What?

     – When we lived in the Enchanted Forest, we had a neighbour named Eskein, and he happened to be a desert Hissi.

     – It was no coincidence. Many Hissi are named after the Guardian of Gold.

     – Oh, I see... By the way, since we are talking about those old times, how do you think Nisha is?

     Fawse's face was panicky for so brief a moment that his brother didn't have time to notice (and even less in the dim light of the hieroglyphic–strewn hallway).

     "I don't know... she moved," Fawse replied evasively.

     – Yes, but it is strange what happened to her, right? She never responded to any letters or wrote us anything. And every time I've visited Mystery Island in recent years and asked about it, no one could tell me anything.

     –...

     – By the way, is it cold, or am I a n00b?

     No, Os was not a n00b. Actually, the temperature had dropped a lot in the last few minutes.

     "We must be close!" Fawse exclaimed, happy to change the subject. "Let's go faster!"

     "Okay," Os replied, putting on the thick black coat that Eskein had given him.

     The Ixi watched his brother fondly as he put on his own coat.

     – What's wrong? – Fawse inquired beginning to worry.

     Osorium continued to look at him with a tender smile (which was very traumatizing on his Darigan face).

     – Nothing, it's just that... I just realized that you haven't changed at all since we were children. You're the same old Fawse, grumpy and stormy.

     – Stormy? Ha! You haven't changed anything either. You are the yellow duckling Lupe that you were at birth. And you always will be.

     Osorium's face was decidedly impressive. So many emotions shouldn't be reflected in such a dark face.

     Fortunately, this beautiful fraternal moment was interrupted before I am afraid to continue the story. A light snowflake landed delicately on the Ixi's shoulder. Both Neopets looked up, and oh, surprise! The Techo had disappeared. Instead, there was a blue–black sky, dotted with tattered greyish clouds. But what was truly surprising was that when Fawse and Os looked to the sides and behind them, they found that the entire corridor had completely vanished.

     The Mountain Terror was where they were. Although the truth is that there was not much to see. To begin with, the darkness was almost total, and in the distance, only the lonely silhouette of a mountain could be seen, at whose peak you could distinguish...

     – A red light...– whispered Osorium– Could it be...?

     – The Heart of the Mountain... – Fawse answered – Yes, I think so. But I don't understand, the stone was supposed to be totally inactive, why is it glowing like this?

     – Because your sister activated it. Said a small voice behind him.

     The two Neopets turned around, fearful of what they would find. Luckily, they were relieved to see a small white Kougra in a huge light–coloured coat. Her big grey eyes gleamed in the gloom like two strange lanterns, and her thick hair, also grey, was tied in a very long braid.

     – My name is Aska, and I am one of the collaborators of the Guardian of Gold. My duty is to accompany you to your destination, so please follow me.

     The girl started to walk; her voice too high to give seriousness to what she had just said. Without saying a word, Fawse and Osorium were forced to follow her.

     – As I was saying, the Heart of the Mountain is a stone that a sister possesses, so to speak. The necklace that the faerie Kadriya has is a fragment of that sister. The only one currently left in all of Neopia.

     – Wait, how do you know...? – Os began to ask.

     "Silence, I know everything." Aska cut him off quickly and without changing his tone. "Eskein has already explained it to you, but I will still tell you that all the lands of Neopia are connected." So, it is not at all strange that the sister of the Heart is in the Lung, right?

     – HUH??? – the Ixi exclaimed, widening his eyes– I don't understand anything!

     – Your role is not to understand, mine is to explain. – Aska stopped him again – The Heart is in the Mountain Terror. And the Lung is the Enchanted Forest. You know, the forests are Neopia's lungs, providing oxygen and purifying the air.

     – Ah...

     – The fact is that the sister stone of the Mountain was in the Forest, guarded by the Bronze Guardian, who watches over the charms, curses and dreams. What united these two pieces of mineral so far apart was a very ancient charm, existing since the beginning of Neopians times. But when Neopia fell immersed in the spell of the Spirit of Sleep, the greenstone died.

     "Since when can a stone die?" Whispered Os.

     – Since I said so. – Aska declared – Before the Lung of the Forest died, a fragment was torn from its surface. A mysterious and golden-eyed Krawk appeared one night before the Bronze Guardian, and in exchange for a duel, demanded a piece of the stone. Surprisingly, the Krawk defeated the Guardian, then, he had to give him the piece of stone that they demanded.

     Incredibly, it is thanks to that that the gem continues to live. Most of the power was gone when most of the stone expired. But... thanks to that fragment that was separated just in time, a part of the power is still preserved. And when Kadriya activated it, the Heart of the Mountain began to glow, like a salute to its glaucous sister.

     "And, to destroy Kadriya, then..." Fawse said, opening his mouth for the first time.

     – The most effective method is to pulverize the green stone, using the energy of the red stone. The Lung of the Forest will cease to exist, but the Heart of the Mountain will not take any damage.

     "And what about the faerie?" Fawse grew impatient.

     - She will probably lose all her powers, due to the devastating impact of the destroyed magic. It will be... like a rebound effect. That is all.

     With nothing more to say, the three Neopets continued walking, surrounded by cold and darkness. The whiteness of the snow contrasted with the immense blackness of the sky, and in turn, Aska's small figure seemed little compared to the towering Fawse and Osorium.

     – Of course...– Aska began to say suddenly– the way to handle the Heart of the Mountain is different for everyone. The results... can be unexpected. In addition, it is one of the oldest forces in Neopia, a mineral born from ice and another from the earth, a scarlet glow and another emerald. You may not be able to bear it.

     "We have no choice," Fawse sputtered. "We can't wait to get stronger." Kadriya is now, and...

     – We are brothers. – Osorium jumped– And that makes us the strongest beings in the world.

     The Xweetok looked at the Ixi without knowing what to reply. As for Aska, she gave the Neopet a soft smile.

     – You finally say something smart.

     The two brothers stared at the Kougra's face. From afar, her eyes were turning black.

     To be continued...

     

 
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