Stand behind yer sheriff Circulation: 186,904,169 Issue: 196 | 24th day of Relaxing, Y7
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EndingArrow: Part One

by sara_mossflower



Author's Note: EndingArrow is the third series in a continuous storyline about the Windstorm's conflict with Frey KeenBlade. In order to understand this series better, I strongly recommend that you first read Windstorm (Part One in issue 150) followed by Firejewel (Part One in issue 162) if you haven't already.

I lay on my bed, still wearing my ragged shirt and tunic, still dusty, still bloodstained, and still ready to pass out.

      It had been a day since the destruction of Frey KeenBlade's Firejewel. We - my friends Aly, Terzin, Dayne, and I - had set out to discover the secrets of a hidden organization in order to free Dayne from being possessed, and by a stroke of pure luck we'd escaped with our lives. I'd just come back from Aly's house, where I'd even refused a change of clothes and a bath; I'd just wanted to get home.

      And now here I was, back in the apartment Dayne and I shared. My sword, the Windscythe, was back where it belonged, sheathed and leaning against the wall of my room. I knew that within that scabbard was a blade laden with lines of dried blood, and I hated myself for it. I'd killed other pets back there - something I'd never done before - all so I could survive. It was a noble cause, preventing Frey from returning, but somehow the loss of even one life didn't seem worth it. I'd have to clean the sword later, and I silently vowed to remove every last trace of carnage from it.

      I needed to rest, and I closed my eyes.


      Dayne Riversong sat on her bed clad in a pink bathrobe, since she'd recently showered, and a damp towel lay across her head like a tent over her wet, untidy, tuft of tan hair. She flipped the pages of an old fashion magazine, but for some reason it wasn't as enjoyable a pastime as it had been before. So what if autumn scarves were in season? So what if it was cool to wear a short-sleeved shirt over a long-sleeved one?

      She sighed and closed the magazine. Returning home didn't feel as good as she'd expected. Sure, the softness of her bed and the familiar surroundings of her room were comforting, but that didn't take away from the feeling that things had changed. She'd sensed during the whole journey back that Sisslio wasn't quite relieved that the whole thing was over. And then she had realized that it would never be over. Not until Frey was put to rest for good.

      The Island Zafara leaped off her bed and shook her head to clear her mind of the worries unfolding within it. "I need to go shop," she muttered. She reached for her purse, but her hand wavered. Truthfully, her heart wasn't in splurging at the moment. "No…I need to burn off some energy…" Then Dayne had an idea.



      Dayne charged, flinging a Mud Mixture at her opponent. Meuka dodged, baring his disgusting teeth in a victorious grin. "You're not cut out for battling, little girl," he hissed.

      "OH, YEAH?" Dayne cried, flourishing a Stone Snowflake in one hand and a Fire Muffin in the other. Combining her weapons with a Zafara Strike, Dayne unleashed her energy at the mucous-composed Meerca. Meuka staggered from the impact, but was still standing. "Give it up!" he gurgled, "You're no match for me!" With that, he attacked.

      The crowd watching gasped as the Zafara was hit with the Meerca's strength, leaving her with a single hit point. Meuka sniggered, filling the arena with raucous laughter. "What do you do in your spare time, missy? Practice your moves on a plushie?"

      "No," answered Dayne raggedly, standing up again. Reaching for her remaining weapons, she selected a Platinum Tech Bow, pulling the string past her cheek. "I shop. And this is something I picked up on the way here." She released the bowstring, and the three deadly shafts sped toward her foe, piercing the green mucus that was his body. Dayne had won the match.

      Cheers rang through the stadium once more. "Yes, thank you, thank you!" cried Dayne, a little full of herself. Behind her, Meuka had regenerated from the scattered snot, and was snarling in frustration. "LOSER!" Dayne taunted, then strolled out of the arena.

      Walking up to a nearby kiosk selling battle accessories, Dayne brushed the sweat from her brow, and then purchased a healing potion, which she chugged down in seconds. Leaving the glass bottle with the Neopet running the kiosk, Dayne made her way back to the apartment. Who would have thought that I'd ever go to the Battledome, Dayne thought to herself. But I admit, fighting is one heck of a stress-reliever.


      That made Dayne think of recent events - when Sisslio had fought Frey to save her from being possessed by the Firejewel. In order to get out alive, Aly, Terzin, and Sisslio had had to fight members of the League of Purity, and she, Dayne, had been unable to help.

      Well then again, I was practically unconscious, she reflected. But even if I'd been totally fine, I wouldn't have been able to do anything.

      Terzin was a Lupe - he had teeth and claws, and could tear an enemy apart any day. But then there was Aly. She, like Dayne, was nothing more than a Zafara girl. But she could fight at Sisslio's side - Dayne couldn't. She remembered when she and Sisslio had first been taken prisoner by a League patrol - then she had vowed that she would try her best to help him, but she hadn't. Dayne knew that if she brought it up now, Sisslio would only tell her that it wasn't her fault, like he always did.

      The Island Zafara's eyes narrowed in determination. I'm gonna do it - I'll learn to fight. Then I can help him! she silently vowed. She didn't know why, but she knew that this had something to do with her lack of enthusiasm regarding shopping today. Grabbing her purse from her shoulder, Dayne sorted through it. Good - it was enough to buy a Codestone.


      I pulled a clean shirt over my head after I'd dried my fur from the shower I'd taken. Grabbing my grimy tunic and shirt, I filled a plastic basin with water - I was going to wash it myself; who knew what someone would think if they found this in our apartment's laundry? With all the blood on it, they'd think I was a murderer or something. I sighed, realizing that I sort of was.

      I shook my head, striving to clear the morbid thoughts from my mind. "Snap out of it!" I hissed to myself. "It's over and done with!"

      But I knew this wasn't true, either. Frey had sworn to me that she'd see my death at her hands, and I could never stop living in fear of her and hating her. That is, not until one of us died.

      She didn't even want to kill me because of her own prophecy anymore - she simply despised me for altering the destiny she had given me. She had come so close to killing Dayne, and had she succeeded, she would have exchanged her life for another's, just as she had wished to do with me. But Dayne didn't satisfy her. Before her complete rebirth, she had told me that once she was truly alive once more, she would end my life. She loathed me, and her one goal was to have my blood as rust on Sirocco, her blade.

     I sighed, knowing that it wouldn't be long for our next conflict to occur. Striving to forget about it for the time being, I snatched up my clothes and started to scrub.


     Away, on the other side of the WindRoads, Frey KeenBlade's field shivered with a mage's power. Waves of the Zafara's invisible forces twined with the air and pierced the wind as it prowled towards its destination.

     In the Eastern village, a Neopet's slumber was harshly interrupted. Whereas pleasant dreams had been circling in the creature's mind, a chilling cold began to creep over their fantasies.

     Snow fell like a pale wall in front of them, and as the pet squinted, they could make out the field that was located not far from their village home. Suddenly, a hissing, yet melodious voice filled its ears.

     Come and find me. You know me.

     The voice was quiet, but was filled with subtle fury and reserved authority. "Who are you?" ventured the dream's victim. "I don't know you!"

     Oh, but you do. I was once the glorified hero of your homeland. I am the KeenBlade.

     "F-Frey? But…the rumours said that you'd been defeated by the Windstorm. Th-that's what the mages said - SkyGaze and HowlSoul."

     The mages are fools! The voice spat, its tones laced with malice. They betrayed both their ancestors and me - it was their fault that I could not return! They turned the Windstorm against me!

     "Th-they did?"

     Yes. And you, my friend, shall help me to bring justice to these traitors, and then I shall finally fulfill the prophecy I left behind. The Windstorm must die in order for me to be truly alive.

     "I-I am loyal to the tales of your deeds. I must help you."

     Good. You are wise. For if you had refused my plea, your eyes would never have opened to see the sunrise. Await me.

     And she was gone.

     Below the field, where the East and West had waged their final battle, the earth trembled with anticipation.

To be continued...

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