Nereid grinned impishly at Angel. "I'm not cruel enough
to send one of your mortal enemies down here. I know what Malkus knows. And I'll
tell you." Her hands glowed blue for a moment, and the Eyries' paw was prised
open by an inexplicable force. The vial of Patocol Potion that had been nestled
there for so long rose, hovered in mid-air, and stopped just between the two.
Nereid made a strange motion with her arms, and the Potion swirled around, revealing
a picture. An army. A mighty army of black-clad Skeiths, all piling into Denholm.
All seen through the terrified eyes of the Water Faerie.
"I've been to the inside of FiskMerrick's army,"
she narrated sourly. "He has everything sussed. Three times as many Skeiths
as there are Kougras on this Island. A hideout even I couldn't penetrate. And
to top, some new cohorts." The Patocol Potion shimmered, and Angel squinted
to make out a few figures, all of which were wearing the trademark black fang
on a yellow chain that seemed to lie upon every Darkgon now. FiskMerrick was
the centre of attention, as always. But around him were a few more Neopets.
Malkus Vile, the fat Yellow Skeith. She guessed as much. There was also a small,
greenish coloured birdlike creature sitting on the shoulder of a bored-looking
lump of a pet. She guessed it was a Mutant Korbat, judging by the wicked grin
and enormous black eye sockets. Then her eyes drifted to the Korbat's perch.
It was sitting on the shoulder of a sandy-coloured prehistoric pet who had his
back to her, but regardless Angel could make out a few details. Such as his
having only half a tail and only two fingers on his left hand. Her breath caught
in her throat as the Grarrl turned to face her.
"Burzwakh!" she hissed.
"Burzwakh! The Grarrl. I fought him, oh, months
and months ago now. A nasty bit of stuff."
"So the enemy has a name!" muttered Nereid.
"Thank you for that, Angel. That piece of information may serve you well." She
cleared her throat and resumed her tale. "Burzwakh the Island Grarrl is in on
FiskMerrick's inner circle and works alongside Malkus in leading the Darkgon
armies. On his shoulder is the Mutant Korbat who is his advisor and strategist.
I know not his name. Malkus Vile, of course, is responsible for the army. Together
with their leader they make a formidable team. This is what you're up against,
Angel. And they're going to attack. Some time within the next three days."
Angel's breath caught in her throat and stuck
there, frozen in fear. "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go! Time is of
the essence!" she choked, when she at last found her voice.
"Not so fast. Before you do that, you must hear
out everyone present. Only then can you make sense of your own life, and thus
The Water Faerie nudged her head towards the
Green Acara. Angel growled slightly. She had a lot of history with Ruth2185.
The reason why she left home was because of her. Because, despite however many
times Angel asked, Ruth never told her anything about her past. And one day
she found her locket in the top drawer of her dressing table. How dare she lie
to her! The Eerie gritted her teeth, but could not bear to ignore the Acara.
Her story had to be told.
"I know we haven't got on that well, Angel,"
said Ruth in soothing tones, as if trying to reach a compromise with a wild
tiger, "but you never gave me a chance to explain to you what happened. You
ran away before I could tell you.
"On the night I question, I was sitting outside
in the evening and catching up with my knitting. Your father… er… I mean your
adopted father, was chopping wood in the forest nearby. It was late evening,
and the low rumble of thunder in the distance was edging nearer and nearer to
the den. I was about to call the rest of the kits in, when … there they were.
Two Eyries - two of the most magnificent Eyries I'd ever seen, one Striped,
one Fire - but nonetheless out of place in this environment. They looked hurt,
panicked and out of breath, but they still approached us with the gentlest of
sentiments. In their arms was a tiny cub, only two or three years of age. They
asked for some place to stay, like a tavern, and we had to tell them they had
the wrong address. Suddenly there was a shot that resonated above the intense
thunder, and a sound that was unmistakably the rumble of so many people on foot.
Like an army. The female begged us to keep her cub safe for the time being,
just so they could divert the army away from Sparklestream Creek and save them.
Hesitantly I agreed, and the two Eyries parted from their precious cub with
a kiss and a few reassuring words. They ran off into the storm, and that was
the last time I ever saw the two.
"Your Wocky-father, being gallant as he is,
went after them. By now the storm was really starting to pick up, and the wind
and rain was lashing against the roof of the house. Outside a battle was raging,
and the shrill screach of one of the two Eyries send chills down my spine. Soon
the din died down, and when my husband returned, we were met with a dismal face.
He was drenched though, and had the visage of someone just attending a funeral.
Which was close enough. They were both gone. "As a mark of respect, we took
you in, Angel. What else could we do? We couldn't bear to send you to the pound,
and you did get on so well with little Twist, who was rather stand-offish at
that age. So, after weeks of unproductive searches for your poor family, we
adopted you into our family."
"But why didn't you tell me what had happened?"
Angel barked. "Why didn't you let me keep my locket?"
"What were we supposed to say to you?" Ruth
adjusted her glasses in a very similar fashion to Angel.
The Eyriess was experiencing mixed emotions.
Ten years ago she felt like she could never forgive the Acara for not telling
her about her past. Now things were different. If she were to tell her what
had really happened that day it would have ruined her fragile life for good.
And if FiskMerrick got his grubby claws on the Dragonmist, there was even a
chance that she wouldn't make it through alive. Angel had to make peace with
her adopted mother before it was too late. With eyes brimming with tears, she
walked forward and bowed her head.
"I'm sorry Ruth," she choked. "Sorry for everything
I did. You didn't deserve it…"
The tiny Acara, beaming, threw her chubby paws
around the Eyriess' neck. "Apology accepted. Now go ahead and stop that jerk
Angel smiled, but out the corner of her eye,
she noticed the Mystic calmly sharpening his nails on a Kougra fang.
"Erm… before I do, might I ask why you are here,
The Mystic looked up and put the fang away.
"Of course, Miss. It would be my pleasure. "My family and yours go way back.
They were on very good terms before the attack. One day, during a most terrible
storm, one of my ancestors had a vision. A vision of the fall of the Kumlaas.
Or, what he thought was the fall of the Kumlaas. What he saw was an Eyrie. Female
and running, and as she ran, flashes of blue whipped across his eyes. He naturally
regarded this as strange since there were no Electric Eyriesses in the Clan
at that time. Regardless, he shrugged off the vision, and it wasn't until after
he heard of the attack that he began to make something out of it. As soon as
the news reached him, the most intense expression of guilt and remorse spread
across his face. He went into the cave where he had first had the vision and
forged a document. A document made of ancient parchment and stone, which recorded
all the details of his vision, but in a … well … warped way. He couldn't very
well just tell FiskMerrick - the enemy - who would be his downfall! So instead
it was set out like a riddle, using synonyms and semantic fields to disguise
what it really meant. And then it was signed, sealed, and left that very same
dank, dismal cavern until the time came. And that time did come. A few days
ago, to be exact."
"But why did you appear at the unveiling of
the document… I mean, Kumlaa Scrolls? Why did you have to alarm people that
"I'm not a hypocrite, if that's what you're
thinking. No, by that time the signs were all too clear. I began to have dreams
myself. And my dreams were being passed to another, and visa versa, making the
vision of my ancestor crystal-clear. Something was indeed happening to the Dragonmist,
and someone, somewhere, had to solve the riddle written on the scrolls. Hopefully
someone who had connections with the Electric Eyriess in the vision. Was I right?"
Angel shuffled her feet. "Well, aye. It was
my boss and work colleagues. They contacted me a little while ago and told me
they'd solved the puzzle." She was silent for a moment as dark suspicions began
to gather in her thoughts. "You said your dreams were being passed to someone
else. Who was it? A girl? About so high, with brown hair and pointed ears and
wearing purple clothes?"
The Mystic nodded slowly, the rings along his
ears jingling as he did. "Yes. How did you guess?"
Angel felt like her heart missed more than a
few beats. All that time ago, the first time they ever came to Mystery Island,
she had known. She didn't realise it, but she knew something was up. Jen had
seen a figure in the flickering flame of candlelight, and she had ignored it.
Her owner had seen things prefigured in a reverie, and Angel had dismissed it
as a dream. All along she knew… and she had turned a blind eye to it!
The Eyriess slammed her paw against the brittle
earth. "How could I have been so stupid! Aye, I know the person who you shared
dreams with. She's my owner Jenny. Currently being held hostage by FiskMerrick
and the Darkgons. If I don't give them the Dragonmist no one will ever see her
again. And if I don't the world could come to a grinding halt. But how can I
when I don't even know where - or what - the Dragonmist is?"
With a mournful cry Angel's legs gave way, emotion
overwhelming her stubborn spirit, and she sunk to the ground. All the 'pieces
of the puzzle' rushed forward to comfort her, but Nereid stopped them. Instead,
the Water Faerie herself glided slowly forward and rested a comforting hand
on the Eyriess' shoulder.
"Do you really, Angel?" she murmured, careful
to sound not too harsh and not too sympathetic. "I think you really do know
in your heart where the Dragonmist is kept. But what's stopping you? I thought
you lived for adventure, being a part of the NSPA and all."
"But I'm just one Eyrie," she hissed back with
a little more venom than she had intended. "I'm not strong, not in the top two
hundred smartest pets… heck, I've even got numbers in my name! Why on earth
would I make any difference in the world?"
Nereid flew round to face the sobbing Eyrie.
"I know it must be hard beyond belief, and I don't think I can exactly relate
to what you're feeling. I'll give you that. You've just lost the last of your
family ties, and you're the last of your kind."
Angel's heart gave a huge lurch, but allowed
the Faerie to continue.
"But do you really think Aren would want you
to give up just for his sake? Were his last words to you 'Forget all about your
heritage and calling'? Do you want his death to be for nothing?"
"Then you cannot ignore your responsibility,
Angel. It has been your fate - your calling - to stop the Dragonmist from being
released. Generations of your kin risked their lives to protect it. Is their
sacrifice going to be in vain?"
Without saying a word, Angel turned her eyes,
alight with tears, to the twilight sky. Of the many stars shone that night,
one caught her eye to be the newest and brightest star of them all, winking
down at her, glittering its crystal trail across the blue beyond. Smiling, she
picked up her locket and ran a claw down the engraved verse - 'Our darling daughter.
We give to you all the love in our hearts, and wish for you the courage to touch
the highest zenith of your soul. Never forget your calling.' Nereid was right.
Her calling had finally come. Her fate was to complete the task that countless
others before her had fought for: to find and destroy the Dragonmist, lest it
found its way into the wrong hands. And no matter what happens, Thyora, Iagan
and Aren will always be watching her from the stars …
She rose to her feet with her new-found strength
and dried her eyes on her wrist, her gaze fixed with stubborn coldness, and
a yearning for revenge.
"You're right! Aren's loss will not be for nothing.
I am the 72nd of the 21st, and I cannot allow my family history to crash and
burn at the hands of that monster!"
Nereid beamed, but before Angel could dash off
into the unknown, she grabbed the end of her tail to stop her in her tracks
and cleared her throat.
"Erherherherm. I can't let you leave without
giving you something that will help you along the way. It's a shame I cannot
recreate Thyora's Tear for you. The magic I used on your mother overwhelmed
me, and another attempt at that could finish me off." Angel nodded knowingly.
"But I can give you the next best thing. Who do you know has risked their life
for you before? Who's an 'Angel's Best Friend', do you think?"
The Eyriess wasn't given much time to dwell
on this, for her answer came from somewhere near her leg as she sat on the ground.
Angel's heart skipped a beat. She turned her
eyes, slowly but surely, to a small spot on the ground, and was met by a pair
of shining blue eyes that were glowing with worry, almost as if to say, "Anything
wrong?" Almost like they had never been parted, and nothing had changed. He
was exactly as Angel remembered him, save the medium-sized gash across his front
that exposed a fair amount of deep grey metal under his yellow paintwork. In
a second she had scooped him in her arms and held him in a bear hug, so grateful
for his company again.
"*Bleeper*! Nereid, how did you ever find him?"
The Faerie grinned. "I have my ways. He's been
wandering around Neopia ever since the Burzwakh
incident. I figured you'll need a friend more than any hi-tech spy gadgets you
can name along this journey. You're all set. Now go and make us all proud."
And with that she turned to thank Ruth and the
Island Mystic - but most of all, Nereid - and marched back towards the cave
in preparation for her quest, with a hyperactive little Avabot named *Bleeper*
springing behind her.
The Mystic side-stepped towards Nereid and whispered,
"Do you really think she can do it?"
The Water Faerie gave him a look etched with
shrewdness. "I don't know. But I know one thing - I wouldn't want to be Darkgon
To be continued...
Author's Note: Okay, Angel's got the answers and inspiration she needs
- but just how will she use it? Find out next week.
I love to know the audience's opinions on my stories, so if you have any
compliments, criticisms, whatnot, send
'em on in!