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::::::::: FILE NAME: INCIDENT8.TXT :::::::::
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So far, I had been attacked more in the past two weeks
than I had been in my entire life. Now I had been informed that the fate of
Neopia might rest in my clumsy hands. Oddly enough, I wasn't bothered by these
things. They were simply facts, pieces of information no more important than
physics equations. I could look at the facts, analyze them, ponder them - but
I didn't feel any emotion from them. The facts just were. Once again, my view
was about to change. This was about to get personal.
End of Prologue
Location: Sabreur's House
Time: 11:02 pm NST
I was tired. Absolutely, completely, achingly,
exhaustively, tired. After the meeting with Fyora, I had walked outside the
palace, hearing snatches of conversation as I passed. Faeries, Neopets, and
Humans alike knew that I had something to do with the strange events, but they
didn't know what. Some seemed to blame me, but from what I could hear most people
agreed that Fyora would have fried me to a crisp if I was somehow responsible.
The most worrying was Rycio, the dark Faerie I had seen earlier on my way in.
She couldn't seem to stop smiling.
Infernus and I had talked over all we had seen,
comparing views. I told him about the meeting with Fyora, and all the news she
had shared with me. Infernus took it with his usual calm, but seemed worried.
Very worried. Eventually we had flown home. I was so busy pondering the events
that I completely forgot to be scared, even when Infernus was hit by a downdraft
of air that nearly knocked us into the ground.
Now, I was back home, and very, very tired.
I called Child_Dragon to make sure she was alright. She was, as was Un-Eairkagh.
Thankfully, their house had been far enough from mine to avoid being attacked.
I didn't tell her about the meeting with Fyora just yet... I needed time to
think things through first.
I walked to my room and stared at my bed. Without
realizing it, I had been avoiding going to sleep for some time. Somehow, I knew
that Nightmare was waiting for me. I forced my eyelids open after they dropped
shut for the fifth time. It seemed there was no avoiding it. I had to sleep
sometime. I forced myself to relax. Placing my scratched and dented saber on
top of a dresser, I laid down and fell into sleep as if into a hole.
It was dark. I looked around, dimly aware
that I was in a cavern of some kind. Stalactites hung from the ceiling, so close
that I had to be careful not to bang my head. The walls pressed in close, and
the sense of claustrophobia was strong.
A noise! Something was behind me. I turned,
but could see nothing. The noise came closer - an oddly rhythmic scratching
noise, like a Kougra's claws clicking against a solid floor as it walked. I
peered into the darkness, noticing that I was holding my saber again. A vague
shape moved - a deeper darkness against a background of lesser dark. Two points
of red flared into existence, burning like coals. Eyes. Nightmare's eyes.
Terror filled me. I could not fight that - thing!
I turned, running through the cave, vaulting rock formations and scraping against
walls in my haste to escape. Dust filled the air from my passing, caking against
my pants and shirt. The noise behind me grew louder.
Abruptly the cavern came to an end. A wall,
a simple solid wall of stone blocked my path. I could run no more. I turned
Nightmare stood calmly, as if he had been waiting
for me all along instead of chasing me like some kind of predator. Unlike everything
else in this dreamworld, he was sharp edged and distinct, lacking the vague,
unreal quality of the rest of my dream. He was huge, easily larger than a full
grown Skeith. His low slung body rested on 6 legs, 3 on each side. Those powerfully
muscled limbs were clawed like a Kougra's, explaining the odd clicking noise
I had heard as he walked. A thin tail lashed back and forth slowly, and I noticed
a barbed stinger on its tip. It was the face that drew the most attention, however.
It was a simple rounded shape, almost lizard-like. Two red eyes blazed at me,
flickering with what appeared to be amusement. A mouth stretched in a permanent
grin, fangs of varying shapes and sizes gleaming. That horrible mouth opened.
"A pleasure to finally meet you in person,
Sabreur," Nightmare hissed, smiling, ignoring my sword completely.
"You can talk?" I stammered, trying
to comprehend this latest development. Nightmare smiled again.
"But of course! And I have always wanted
to talk to you, my good friend."
"I'm no friend of yours!" I yelled,
summoning up some reserve of courage. Nightmare twitched his tail and spoke
again, and my courage fled.
"Oh, but you are... You are the one who will
let me into Neopia. You are the one who will help me achieve my dreams. You
are the one who will make my dreams real. OUR dreams real."
"Th.. that's crazy. I'll never let you in -
I don't even know how! Besides, haven't you heard? If you do break into Neopia,
the Shadows will break through, too. Neopia would be destroyed, and you with
Nightmare laughed and waved a clawed limb, making
me shudder. "As you say, Neopia will surely perish. But as for me..."
He stopped smiling, and looked directly at me. "Fear is my meat. Pain is
my drink. The Shadows will cause fear and suffering to all. And I will take
that fear and grow ever stronger. The Shadows do not worry me at all. We are
simply two sides of the same coin. Indeed, the Shadows and I will be allies
when all is said and done. And together, this world will be ours." Nightmare
flicked his barbed tail.
"As for letting me into your world, it is
easy. All you have to do is join me, and the gate will open. The beauty of it
is that even if you don't join me, I will soon be able to force my way through
with or without your help. By making things easier on me, you could share in
the dominion of this world. All Neopia could belong to you, me, and the Shadows."
I didn't know how to respond to that. So instead, I asked the question that
had been bothering me from the very beginning.
"Why me? Out of all the Pets and Owners
in Neopia, why did you pick me?" Nightmare growled, and turned his head.
I flinched. After a moment, he looked back up at me.
"It is simple, really. I tried to use a Neopet
once, and failed miserably. The dreams of the faeries are untouchable to me,
so I was unable to use one of them. As for humans... Every human dreams differently
than others. It is difficult to describe, but suffice to say that I need a human
who dreams the same way that I dream." He started stalking towards me, and
I raised my saber to ward him away.
"Out of all the humans in Neopia, you alone
are the one who dreams as I do. It is your destiny to open the way for me. Now
drop your blade and side with me." I backed away, franticly waving my saber
back and forth. Still Nightmare advanced. Finally, I felt the cavern wall behind
me and could back away no further.
With speed I could scarcely imagine, Nightmare
lashed out with a claw and smashed my saber to the rocky floor of the cavern.
A sharp crack echoed throughout the cave. He raised his foot, revealing the
broken shards of my sword, and looked up at me.
"Do you really think that a little thing
such as you can withstand me, you little fool? Join me and you will live. Forget
those you love, forget all that you care about. This is all that is important
I awoke with a start, my alarm clock buzzing
in my ears. Rubbing my eyes, I fumbled with my hand and finally turned it off.
I struggled out of bed, desperate to get breakfast in the hopes that such a
normal activity could somehow remove the awful memory of the past night out
of my head. A glimmer of light caught my eye. I turned, almost against my will.
My saber lay on the dresser where I had left
before I went to bed. It was shattered beyond repair.
"So it was real," I muttered to myself, picking
up the hilt and the two inches of blade still attached to it. The saber had
been nothing special really... Just a Sword of Domar that I'd modified a little.
But it had been almost a part of me, something that I could rely on. Like seemly
everything else in my world, it was shattered.
A sound interrupted my thoughts. A soft thump,
muffled but still audible. My heart leapt into my throat. Unsure what to expect,
I slowly moved into the hallway and crept towards the sound. Another noise,
also muffled. It was coming from my lab. I crept towards the door. It was steel,
solidly built to contain my various accidents. The two halves of the door interlocked
in the middle, and a red button to the side was marked, "Open/Close". I cautiously
placed my ear against it, letting the cold steel transmit the sounds of the
Furtive shuffling noises reached me. Someone
was sneaking around inside my lab. I briefly considered going for the police,
but the risk of some criminal escaping with one of my Improved Firebombs seemed
too great. I looked down at myself, armed with a broken saber and still dressed
in pajamas. "Here goes nothing," I whispered and punched the "Open/Close" button.
The two halves of the door slid aside with a thump and I leapt into the room.
"SURPRISE!!!!" a roar of sound greeted
me. Banners reading "Happy Birthday Sabreur" hung from the ceiling. Colored
streamers hung from the benches and tables, and confetti filled the air. Child_Dragon,
Un-Eairkagh, Infernus, and a horde of Kiddo's friends (who I can never quite
keep track of) stood in front of me. I stood in my pajamas, broken sword in
hand, mouth open in shock.
Un-Eairkagh was dancing for joy, his wings flapping
excitedly. "Did we surprise you!? Huh!? Did we!?" he yapped, barely able to
contain yourself. Kiddo walked up to me, a colorfully package in hand.
"Don't tell me you forgot your own birthday,"
she scolded lightly, handing me a long thin box wrapped in green paper with
a yellow ribbon.
"The cake is in the kitchen. We would have brought
it in here, but I didn't think it was safe with all the chemicals and stuff
we've used in here," Infernus commented, handing me what appeared to be a gift
certificate to a hardware store.
I looked around, overwhelmed. A thought came
This is what I'm fighting for. This is what
Nightmare wants to destroy.
I looked at Kiddo, then at Infernus, then at
Un-Eairkagh. A grim resolve came over me.
Nightmare is messing with my family. That
is not acceptable.
I looked up at all of them, and spoke. "All
of you, thank you. It's sometimes easy to forget what friends we have, and what
love we can find from our family. There is something I haven't told you all."
Haltingly, I related to them the story of the past few days - my odd dreams,
the meeting with Fyora, and finally, Nightmare's dark intentions. I didn't tell
them about the Shadows, as I didn't know enough about them to be useful. Throughout
all of it, they listened, not once doubting a word I said. When I had finished,
I looked over all of them, a sense of pride coming over me.
"I can't do this on my own. Thanks to all of
you, I don't have to. I don't know how, but Nightmare is going down." I smiled,
and looked down at my pajamas.
"Now let me go get dressed, so we can have a
party." Cheers erupted all around.
"Join me and you will live," Nightmare
had said. "Forget those you love, forget all that you care about."
He had really believed that I would give in, I thought, as I helped serve the
cake Infernus had made. But he made a mistake. One little mistake that I was
going to use to bring him down.
Nightmare had messed with family. Nobody messes
::::::::: END OF FILE: INCIDENT8.TXT :::::::::
To be continued...