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12 hours until sunset. That was all the time I had. Despite my efforts, Nightmare
was loose, and the Shadows (whatever the heck they were) were within hours of
escaping and destroying everything. All told, this was looking to be a very
bad day. Still, my task remained. Dream world or reality, Nightmare was going
down. Simple really.
End of Prologue
Location: Sabreur's House
Time: 6:57 am NST
With Nightmare's mocking laugh filling my ears, I awoke.
In an instant, I had leapt out of bed and snatched my
saber off the dresser. I flung open the door to my room and ran to the front
door, yelling at the top of my lungs. "Everybody up! We've got an emergency!"
Infernus came out of his room, rubbing sleep
from his eyes and holding his longsword. Child Dragon and Un-Eairkagh had been
in the guest room, and they came out looking worried.
"Everybody into the living room! We've got problems!"
I yelled, turning on the television and flipping to the news. My heart went
cold as the broadcast hit the screen. A Gelert newscaster was speaking, but
I didn't hear a word. My attention was focused on the thing that dominated the
middle of the screen. An island, floating in the sky like a cloud.
The detail on the picture wasn't very good,
but I could make out plains, hills, mountains... All the features I had witnessed
when I dreamed up the same island.
"What is that?" Kiddo said from behind me. I
turned, and found that Kiddo, Infernus, and Un-Eairkagh had joined me in staring
at the newscast.
"Nightmare is loose. I wasn't able to stop him
in time," I said, feeling horrible. "We've still got one shot left. Before he
broke into this world, he told me that he'll be at full power by sundown. I
think he was trying to discourage me." A thought occurred to me. "But he made
a mistake," I continued, gaining confidence as a new idea took hold. "He said
he would reach full power at sunset... So we nail him NOW!" Infernus hefted
his sword and grinned, obviously thinking the same thing. I looked at Kiddo,
who smiled and displayed a heavy walking stick that she had been keeping handy
for the past few days.
"That's my brother," she said, shaking her head
in amusement. "I know I haven't practiced as much as you have," she continued,
swinging her staff experimentally, "but anybody who messes with my brother is
just asking for a smack in the head." Un-Eairkagh was practically dancing
"Does this mean I get to carry you!? Huh!? Does
it!? Pleeeeease!?" he grinned, looking up at Kiddo. She groaned.
"Can't we just take a plane or something?" she
muttered as we all headed for the front door. Just before we reached it, there
was a knock. We stopped, puzzled. I motioned for everyone else to stay back,
and crept to the door. Cautiously, I swung it open.
Dark Night stood there, trench coat hanging
loosely, Cobrall dagger in his right hand. In his left hand was an official
looking document. Two policemen, a human and a Lupe, flanked him on either side.
Dark was grinning uncontrollably.
"Guess what?" he said, still grinning. "See
that thing back there?" He gestured with a free hand at the sinister island
floating only a mile away, near Neopia Central. "It appeared directly over your
house. Now one or two little incidents might be coincidence, but this is just
too much." He chuckled. "You have been officially declared a danger to the peace.
This," he said, waving the document, "is a warrant for your arrest. Now if you'll..."
I slammed the door in his face before he could
finish, and pressed the lock into place. Angry shouts came from the other side.
"Change in plans!" I yelled, as Infernus, Kiddo,
and Un-Eairkagh stood stunned.
"Infernus, you're with me! Out the back door,
"What about us?" Kiddo spoke, obviously trying
to stay calm.
"Grab the table," I gestured towards the kitchen,
"and barricade the door! You've got to hold them off! Delay them as long as
you can! If I get arrested now, I'll never make it to Nightmare before sundown!"
Kiddo nodded, and ran to the kitchen, Un-Eairkagh following close behind. The
door shuddered as Dark and the police tried to force it open.
I bolted into the lab, Infernus close behind
me. Grabbing two Improved Firebombs from where they were plugged into wall outlets,
I threw them into a backpack, slung it on, and dashed back out of the lab. In
my haste, I knocked over a stool and some fragile glass tubing that fell to
shatter on the floor. Infernus grabbed the medical kit from the bathroom and
tossed it to me in the hallway. I stuffed it into the pack, and together we
pelted towards the back door, my heart hammering in my chest. We pulled to a
stop just before we reached it, and listened. No noise came from the other side.
Quickly, but silently, we opened the door and snuck into the back yard. Closing
and locking the door behind us to give Kiddo more time, we crept over the fence
that separated our yard from our neighbors.
After a few minutes of panicked flight through
several backyards, we halted in a deserted side street. I looked up at the island
in the sky, the first thing I had ever seen in the Dream-world. Dark clouds
covered the sky, and thunder boomed in the distance. "Infernus," I said softly,
"I think we need to do a bit of hang-gliding."
Location: Approximately 1200 meters up
Time: 7:14 am NST
We were about half a mile form the island when
disaster struck. Pteris in police uniforms were circling the island in the sky.
One of them had a megaphone, and was blaring out a warning to anyone who came
"THIS AREA IS OFF LIMITS. PLEASE LEAVE IMMEDIATELY,"
the Pteri called out as we approached. I was slightly relieved to notice that
the Pteri didn't recognize me as someone who was supposed to be under arrest.
But how to get past them...
A breeze tugged at my shirt, pulling me slightly
to my right. I looked in that direction and saw a blue Shoyru, drifting upwards
effortlessly, its wings barely moving.
"A thermal current," I whispered. "Infernus!
Turn right! Away from the island!" Infernus obeyed, and the Pteri turned away
from us as we drifted away. I gestured at the Shoyru, and Infernus nodded in
We hit the thermal current and slowly drifted
upwards. My heart hammered in my chest, every second seeming like an hour. We
didn't have time for this! Soon, we were far above the Pteri patrol around the
island. Infernus swung out of the thermal current, and I hung on tighter as
we drifted directly above the island.
"Ready!?" Infernus called out.
"No, but go ahead anyway," I said, gritting
Infernus folded his wings, and we fell with
all the aerodynamics of a brick, leaving my stomach behind. The Pteri patrol
never even saw us as we plummeted past, wind whipping in my ears.
I will not throw up, I thought frantically.
I will NOT throw up.
When it seemed that we were surely going to
splatter ourselves on the grassy turf beneath us, Infernus threw his wings wide
and slowed our descent. We still hit the ground fairly hard, landing in a tangled
heap. I got up and surveyed the area. Lightning rippled across the sky.
To the north a series of foothills rose and
became mountains. Dimly, I felt something pull me in that direction. Nightmare
is there, I thought, unsure how I knew.
"This way," I said, motioning towards those
ominous peaks. Together, Infernus and I marched into the distance.
Location: Island in the sky
Time: 10:44 am NST
The plain gave way to hills, then mountains,
rising forebodingly into the sky. As I looked around, I realized with some discomfort
that the ground simply disappeared a short distance away. I walked over to that
ending and looked down.
Far below, the ground moved past, as if the
hills I stood on were the gondola of some giant zeppelin. Screeching noises
interrupted me. Without knowing why, I was scared. I drew my saber, feeling
its comfortable weight. I turned to face the sound. Flying creatures wheeled
back and forth in the sky, coming closer.
For a moment, I was terrified. My instincts
screamed at me to run, to leave, to get off this island and let someone else
take care of Nightmare. The moment passed.
The creatures dove at us, screeching and waving
their claws. They were the same as I remembered them - two bat-like wings, spindly
clawed arms and legs, a thin, whip-like tail, and a fang filled mouth. Infernus
lifted a clawed hand.
"Grand Lightning Beam!" he yelled, and a bolt
of electricity blasted a creature out of the sky. Absently, I mentally charted
the courses of the remaining creatures. Most of them were scattering to avoid
Infernus' Grand Lightning Beam, but one of them was heading straight for me.
I raised the Advanced Fire Saber and pointed it at the oncoming thing.
"Activate Saber!" I shouted. A rush of flame
shot forth with tremendous force, catching the creature head-on.
"Deactivate!" I said, panicking slightly as
the force of the blade's flame nearly knocked me backwards. The flame dissipated
as quickly as it had come. Infernus turned slowly beside me, tracking one of
the creatures as it circled before catching it neatly with another beam of lightning.
The remaining creatures landed and paused, uncertain.
"Come on!" I yelled, waving my free left hand.
"We're not scared of you!" The creatures screeched in unison, and began creeping
forward. I dropped into an on-guard stance, saber pointed at the closest one.
With my left hand, I reached into my backpack.
The creatures gathered into a group, watching
us warily. One dodged neatly aside as Infernus blasted the patch of ground where
it had been with his Grand Lightning Beam. They crept closer, getting ready
"Sabreur," Infernus whispered next to me, "we
can't take on that many at once."
"I don't intend to," I whispered back, as my
left hand gripped what I had been searching for in my pack. The creatures tensed
their muscles, about to spring.
The Improved Firebomb landed directly in their
Location: Island in the sky
Time: 11:21 am NST
I was on my back, looking at the sky above.
What happened, I thought groggily.
"What the heck was that!?" came a yell from
my right. I sat up and looked. Infernus was getting to his feet, looking dazed.
He glared at set of skid marks leading from a scorched crater to our location.
The creatures were nowhere in sight. Infernus shook his head, rubbing his eyes
with the back of his scaled hand. He glared at me.
"Next time, warn me before you use those
things!" he roared. He stood glowering at me, scorched and annoyed, the
very image of noble suffering. I couldn't contain myself. Without really meaning
to, I burst out laughing. He tried to glare at me harder, but soon a smile,
then a toothy grin drifted across his face.
Still choking down fits of laughter, we continued
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