Not so much as a loud bang or change of the
wind. FiskMerrick was still standing there in expectation as a small wisp of
dust escaped the box and rose into the sky. He held the box upside down and
shook it. Nothing. In a split second his bushy brows furrowed and his eyes burned
The only sound that could be heard was the sound
of Angel muffling hysterical laughter under her paw. "You idiot!" she chuckled.
"There was never anything there! You did all that work for nothing, you super
villain wannabe!" Secretly, however, she was experiencing mixed feelings of
relief and disappointment. Relief that nothing had happened, of course. Who
wouldn't be? But also a strange feeling of disappointment since her family had
sacrificed themselves for … apparently nothing. Just a bit of dust and a dirty
wooden box. Regardless, she kept the air of satisfaction so as not to show FiskMerrick
she had a weakness.
The Jetsam bared his teeth and launched a verbal
attack on the Eyriess, brandishing his fin like a weapon. ~This is all your
fault, you meddling little spuggie! What did you do with the real Dragonmist?
Did you hide it? Tell me or I'll …~
FiskMerrick was cut short when an immense roaring
split through the silence, causing a few of the on looking Darkgons to shiver.
His pupils dilated in recognition as his mind was taken back to the first attack
on the Kumlaas so many years ago.
~Feeralls!~ he roared. ~How are there Feerall
Kougras still living in Denholm Valley?~ He almost choked on his own rage as
he turned to Malkus. ~Vile! Assemble all the troops and get rid of them. Spryt
and Burzwakh, stay here to guard the girl.~
Angel hardly kept her focus off FiskMerrick
whilst enormous Darkgons all around her raced to pile out of the ring of stone
and onto the battlefield. The Grarrl and Korbat stood were they were, protecting
Jen whose eyes were bulging with fright and looking to the stars. Within seconds
the ring was empty, save a tied human, a Grarrl and a Korbat, and save an Eyriess
and Jetsam, who were circling each other, ready for battle.
Clouds darkened overhead, sweeping across the
ring like a lethal fog, adding to the atmosphere as the two sized each other
up. ~No matter,~ murmured FiskMerrick. ~The destruction of the very last of
the Kumlaa Eyries will be reward enough.~ He reached into a sheath beside his
belt and brought to light a glistening sword, scarred with years of battles.
~Now say your prayers, you …~
"Stop!" yelled Angel, thinking fast. "If you
do this, you know you'll be the least reputable super villain there is at the
moment." He gave her a confused look. "I'll not fight you, FiskMerrick. Think
about it. When you're sitting there, drinking coffee with your super villain
buddies and talking about the highlights of your careers, is the fact that your
finest moment was destroying a weapon-less, defenceless young Eyriess with a
sword going to reflect well on you?"
"Mmmmph," squealed Jen through her gag from
FiskMerrick ignored her and thought about this
for a moment, and then threw his sword to the side. ~Alright then. Now we're
equal. We'll end it here and now, Angel.~
"MMMMMMPH!" she screamed again, shattering the
climatic build-up of tension.
~Oh for the love of … what do you want?~ roared
FiskMerrick, glaring at the human.
"MMMMMMMMMPH!!!!" she shrieked in a panic, nudging
her head towards the sky.
All present looked up at the same time, and
were met with a awesome sight. The clouds had descended, dancing and spinning,
twisting and turning around to create a spout of fog, which continued to swirl
in a marbled haze of grey tones and hues. The dust cloud that had escaped from
the Dragonmist seemed to have hovered in mid air and stopped, and was now draining
all the life out of everything around them. Animals had left their homes long
ago. What little plant life that remained was dead or dying. The general horizon
was just a mesh of subtle grey undertones, save what little of the scarlet sky
was peeking through the clouds. And at the centre point of this whole ordeal
- about thirty or so feet from the ground - a pair of invisible eyelids stirred
from their long sleep and sprang open, revealing blood-red eyes which looked
mercilessly upon the small assembly of Neopets below them.
For the first time, Angel realised the full
intensity of the shock her owner received when she first looked into the candle
in Retsinis and saw this very monster. "A spirit," she whispered to no one,
feeling the awesome unscrupulousness seeping from those wicked eyes. "The Dragonmist
was an evil spirit all along. No wonder my family, the Kumlaas, were willing
to sacrifice themselves for it. And I released it …" Her eyes drifted to the
Yellow Jetsam, his lower jaw jutting in triumph, and they screwed up in hatred.
"… no - he released it."
With split second timing FiskMerrick sprang
at the Eyriess, his teeth bared horribly. Angel reacted instinctively, dodging
out of the way and coming to rest a few feet away. FiskMerrick kept going and
slammed against a rock with a crunch. ~Speed won't do you much use here, child,~
he mumbled, spitting out a tooth.
"Seems to be doing fine."
~You're so naïve.~ He gave her a nasty grin.
~Where are your little friends, Angel? Abandon you, did they? Like your robot
buddy did on the mountain, Spryt tells me. You should have less faith in your
friends, Angel. They only hold you back.~
She fluffed her feathers derisively and felt
her fists clench. "My friends are the most precious things in the world to me,
FiskMerrick. They would never let me down."
The Jetsam took another swing at her. She spun
on her heel, quickly avoiding it. ~Oh but they already have. That there Kougra
brother of yours led us right to your front door.~
~What, didn't you know?~ he mocked before thrusting
his head forwards in another strike.
Outside of the ring of stones, the long-sought fight between the Feeralls
and Darkgons was well underway. Tooth versus claw, strength versus speed, the
war was waging between the good and the evil. And Rincham was proving himself
a worthy opponent on the battlefield.
The Darkgons were taken completely by surprise
when the Kougra entered, his face matted with loathing. All they usually saw
of him was a flurry of spots, a humming snarl, then the pain in their side,
and then they were knocked unconscious. The months of lab training were paying
off remarkably. Even some of the Feeralls slunk back from him when his combing
gaze met theirs.
And all the while the Dragonmist continued to
swirl above their heads, sapping all the life from Denholm Valley.
After lengthy minutes of dodging FiskMerrick's
blows, stamina had finally caught up with Angel. She had collapsed, her legs
void of strength, with the added fact that she'd had no food or sleep in days.
Not a single muscle in her body responded when she tried to lift herself from
the dirt, and FiskMerrick was getting restless.
~Get up, darnit! Don't tell me a high-and-mighty
Kumlaa can't take a few punches from little ol' me!~ He launched another stone
into the air, and it hit her side with a dull thump.
It was no use. She was out of it. Exhausted.
Beaten. Paralysed and with no alternative than to just lie there and take the
punches. Grey clouds swirled around, and the mocking red eyes of the Dragonmist
narrowed upon her still form. Her mind went back to her friends. 'Shining_Safyre,'
she thought. 'You were always good for a laugh. You'll go very far in this world
… just not with me to cheer you on. Angle8285 - you're a role model to Neopians
everywhere. You'll find someone to replace me soon enough. Rincham. My brother.
Whatever you did, I'll forgive you. I wish I could tell you that in person.
*Bleeper* - I now understand why you ran from me when we were about to come
here. I can still here your little voice …'
'wait a minute…'
Angel prised her eyes open and peered into the
shadows. A small figure with brilliant blue eyes was crouching there, staring
out at the scene in horror.
"*Bleeper*?" she whispered. And he came forward.
But it wasn't *Bleeper*. Well, it was, and wasn't. He had fused with two others
to create an Ultra Mega Bot 2000, and Angel recognised the other two as Rincham's
Neotrak 'R2' and Aren's Ultra Pinceron 'Sid'. Angel smiled weakly as she glanced
at the Petpet, skimming across *Bleeper*'s telltale gouge across his yellow
paintwork to make sure it was him.
The Jetsam hadn't seen the Ultra Mega Bot 2000.
Rather he was connecting a lightning beam together, ready to move in for the
kill. He spun round and grinned, a look of pure evil on his face.
~I forgot to thank you for leading me right
to the Dragonmist, Angel,~ he half-whispered in a voice blemished with spite.
~Now I'm just going to put you out of your misery. That way you can tell your
family that you failed personally.~
Slowly, he lifted the beam to shoulder level.
Those few seconds it took for him to do so felt
like hours, and Angel thought everything was in slow motion. The activation
of the trigger. The flicker of movement as *Bleeper* and his friends skidded
towards her. The clang of springs as they leapt into the air in front of her.
And the sudden crunch of metal as the beam hit their body. The robot froze for
a fraction of a second, hovering in mid air, and - with a sickening rasp of
twisting iron - exploded. Shattered shards of metal spun from the point of impact,
covering Angel in a haze of smoke, and when the smoke cleared all that was left
was a powdered mound of circuits and components. Angel gasped as she watched
a blue LED topple from the mound to her feet, flicker, and die.
FiskMerrick snarled and pointed the beam at
her to fire again. But nothing happened. ~Out of ammo,~ he muttered. ~Cheap
junk. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. Now who was that rude creature who
interrupted my vengeance?~
He turned round slowly, a smug grin splitting
his face horribly … and was met with a pawful of talons that whacked his face.
The force of the blow rocked him back, and after a long and meaningful glare
he put his fin to his cheek. Four red stripes glistened where she had hit.
~Now what was that for?~ he barked. ~Good riddance
to bad rubbish, that's what I say.~
Angel was fuming. Despite her paralysis and
sudden deficit of any strength, she had summoned some kind of force from somewhere
to bring herself to her feet and cuff him roughly across the cheek. Her gentle
hazel eyes were burning with awoken hatred and her stance was ready-for-action.
She held her head down and glared at him, her beak hooked and talons outstretched.
"That 'rubbish' was the best friend I ever had. That's twice he's laid down
his life for me."
FiskMerrick's eyes widened slightly, caught
off-guard by the sudden and deliberate venom that tinted her voice in a calypso
of rancour. He laughed cruelly. ~What? What did he fight against first? A snail?!~
Burzwakh shuffled his feet awkwardly.
Then Angel gave him a smile. It was a new smile.
Not one that radiated gentleness and good humour like she normally did, but
one of deliberate and intentional mischief. Like an imp. And she launched herself
The two pets fought like never before. Now the
Yellow Jetsam was lacking any weapons, and Angel never had any to begin with,
so it was down to pure strength to see which was the victor.
Slash after slash, blow after blow, they fought
intensely with amazing power that Burzwakh, Sprytar and Jen could only stand
and stare, despite the spirit looming above them, from which a pair of muscular
arms had just burst. Words cannot describe how powerfully they fought until
they came to a stalemate, when they stood several metres from each other, beaten
and bruised. FiskMerrick was a picture of malevolence - his face twisted with
pain and revulsion, his scales dulled and void of their brightness. Angel, however
bruised she looked, remained thoughtful. There was a nagging sensation in the
back of her mind that told her she was forgetting something. Something was more
important than getting her revenge on the monster that had destroyed her family.
Her eyes flickered. But what?
A fork of lightning ripped across the sky and
she looked towards the Heavens. There it was. The Dragonmist. Blinded with rage,
she couldn't see any alternative than to fight FiskMerrick. Now she could clear
her mind, and see that the only way to halt his plan was to destroy the Dragonmist!
Her breathing rate increased dramatically. It was a huge risk. She could lose
"If Aren, the Kumlaas and even *Bleeper* were
prepared to forfeit, so am I," she spoke out loud, fluffing out her main proudly
as if relishing her last moments in Neopia.
Angel smiled, tipped an invisible hat, and pounced
into the air.
Outside the circle of stone, the wind rushed
past her face, drowning out the infuriated roaring of FiskMerrick. Another ten
metres, and the thick cloud almost overwhelmed her. Twenty metres into the air
and she felt as though the feathers were being ripped from her wings with the
force of the wind, screaming at her with banshee-like howls. But she persevered.
And within seconds she could see its eyes. Those slanted, blood-red eyes caught
sight of her and glanced upwards. She had flown higher than she thought. But
no matter. The higher the better. She felt a sudden sensation as though someone
had just slipped a stone into her hand. But no matter. Her mind was playing
tricks on her again. She suddenly felt as though she wasn't alone, as though
there was someone holding her up there like a puppet. But no matter. She'd never
been on the brink of death before - maybe this was normal.
All that was left was to let go. Let go of the
single updraught that held her suspended in the evening sky and fall down to
the Dragonmist. Let go of her time. She knew in her heart it was the only thing
to do. So she folded her outspread, silver-tipped wings, narrowed her body to
be more aerodynamic, and plummeted towards the behemoth.
The sensation she felt when diving through the
thick mist was akin to the feeling she felt when swimming through water, against
the tide. Strange forces were pushing her back, forcing her to retreat, but
she only went faster. It was a surprise for her when she hit the Dragonmist
itself. Not exactly pleasant, but more unexpected. Like every inch and cell
on her body was tingling. But no pain. She thought there would be much more
pain than there was. Nonetheless she was not in control any more. She fell helplessly
and ungainly as a pigeon. Fell all the way down to the side of the mountain,
just within the circle of stone, where she landed with a thud amongst a pile
She groaned and opened one eye feebly. She was
lying on her side amidst the twisted metal shards that remained of *Bleeper*,
Sid and R2. To her right lay a dull, shattered: the box that had contained the
Dragonmist, the once-powerful evil spirit. Her eye ached. Her paw was numb and
clenched. She lifted her bleary-eyes to gaze up and witness the Dragonmist's
last moments. It just stayed their, unmoving, staring at the gaping hole in
its side with eyes that glowed with shock. Then, with a holler that pealed through
the atmosphere, it threw its head back and detonated with a flash of pure white
light that dazzled her. And as she watched, something caught her eye. Three
small licks of flame - one a dull white, one scarlet and one a brilliant green
- rose into the air and bounced along the horizon. But nothing else mattered
Although the sound of the Dragonmist's howl
was still ringing in her ears, and a bright and thin mist was clouding her vision,
Angel felt suddenly content. She'd done it. She'd destroyed the Dragonmist.
Now she could go to her family and tell them that she had fulfilled her duty.
She willingly let her eyelids droop.
This isn't so bad, she thought. Not
too bad at all. I can think of a lot worse.
And she let go.
To be continued...
Talk about a cliffhanger. Tune in next week to find out what happens.
I love to know the audience's opinions on my stories, so if you have any
compliments, criticisms, whatnot, send
'em on in!