"Shoyru Inferno!" yelled Kargupi, effort pulling his face
into a deep frown.
The fire Shoyru standing opposite Kargupi met
his opponent's fireball with an attack of his own; a dark, glistening bubble
pulsed from his right palm into the fireball, and as it popped against the flame
a thick dark fog burst from the bubble into the air, clouding Kargupi's vision
for a few seconds, enough the fire Shoyru to swerve behind him, fisting him
in the neck -- or so he thought. His hand passed through Kargupi and he had
a moment to realise the trap he'd fallen into before he felt a sword burn into
Infinity fell backwards into the light of the
crystal sword, and suddenly the world around him seemed to be getting further
away, but as it did, he grabbed out at the one holding the sword. Kargupi gasped
and tried to pull his wrist free of the fire Shoyru's hand, who's legs and waist
had been sucked into the sword's crystal blade. The hand held tight, Infinity's
face gleamed with vengeance and hate.
"Do not try to break the sword!" Kargupi gasped
in his final breaths.
"For my sacrifice, a million lives will be saved!"
The last words bubbled like cooling glass as
the sword stopped glowing and lay on the grass. Kargupi's legend had come to
A shadow Shoyru called Noctumi, looking not
unlike the one who 14 years ago was locked into his own sword, sat impatiently
on the lookout platform of a large Neozoom lines airship, which was moving over
an island. Other passengers babbled about excitedly to anyone who cared to listen,
or if they couldn't find anyone, sat talking to the pilot, a stressed looking
Techo, and his co-pilot, a Grarrl. A small Kacheek child was continually attempting
to get at the flight controls, while the Grarrl kept pushing the child back.
"Do something Hachof!" cried the Grarrl.
"Sshuttup Rankir. Just.... sshuttup!" hissed
the Techo under his breath, whilst a group of teenage Usuls were tapping on
the walls around him, attempting to make some kind of rap. One of them started
tapping Hachof's head.
"Hey! It's a pretty good beat there!" he exclaimed,
and they started rapping to the sounds of the Techo's skull.
Hachof began trembling with rage, as his head
tapped up and down hollowly.
"GET OUT!" he yelled, jumping up and turning
round at the group of shocked Usuls. "ALL OF YOU! OUT! NOW! GO! HISSSSSS!"
The Grarrl had meanwhile broken down into tears
watching the small Kacheek pressing buttons on the flight controls.
"What did we do to deserve this, Hachof? This
is the worst job ever!"
Noctumi sat on the deck, unable to think with
the people babbling around him. He didn't know what to expect when he reached
the island. His mother had told him small things about the island, as much as
she knew. It was a mountainous area all around, the only way into the forests
in the middle were to fly, or scale those treacherous mountains, after getting
to the island on boat. It was across the sea, far from Noctumi's home in Neopia
central. Inside were lush forests and peaceful glades, hot tropical climates
and cold, desolate places nearer the mountains.
Inside the middle was the widely unknown of
village of Shoyelien, where his grandmother and grandfather lived. He had never
seen them before, and had dreamed his whole life of visiting the place. He often
dreamt about it, and sometimes saw his father in the dreams, someone he would
never be able to see. His mother would never tell him the circumstances of his
death, and he had always assumed that she was too upset at the loss of him to
talk about it. But two months ago when his father's brother Rakugi visited,
he had not said either, even though Noctumi begged him to know.
That was why he was so pleased when his mother
told him about this trip. Maybe, just maybe, he would learn something from his
The loudspeaker crackled to life, and a voice
spoke out of it, "Three hours until sssetdown, please remain in your ssseats
until we reach the sssetdown, and the coach to Sshoyelien."
The airport was on the far side of the island,
and the trees were so densely spread across the middle of the island it was
the only place an airship could land. Then it was a long ride on the coach to
the village from the airport, when right now, the village was actually very
near. The Shoyelien flag was visible, a fluttering shape visible in the trees,
where the village must be.
He pondered for a second, his concentration
disturbed by the babbling. He knew a much faster way there, and he wouldn't
have to endure these idiots. He looked over the side and spread his wings, and
let the wind lift him away from the ship. He heard exclamations behind him,
and grinned with joy. It was rarely that he got this opportunity to fly. He
was a terrible flier, but could stay up in the wind's updraft, and this was
a good opportunity to learn. Back home he was the worst flier he knew, and he
wanted to learn, but it was hard to find a place to learn to fly in the bustling
city of Neopia Central, and every time he had to, he couldn't fly.
He glided, gently descending from the airship.
He would get there before the airship even set down!
The wind stopped for a second, and he panicked.
His wings flapped against the wind, futilely, and he twisted in midair, his
heart beating in the empty air. He plummeted downwards, and the wind caught
him again, slowing him down and regaining some control. He had seen from the
airship where the village was, it's flag beating in the wind, but in his panic
had lost his sense of direction, and could no longer see the flag as a result
of his descent.
As he neared the trees the wind got weaker,
and he tried to no avail to slow down as he fell into the forest. As branches
and leaves scratched his face, arms and wings he tucked his wings in and grabbed
a nearby branch. He hung from the branch one-handed and looked around. This
wasn't Shoyelien. This was the bad part of the forest, and he had no idea where
to go. He let himself drop to the floor, and sighed unhappily. He tried to remember
where he saw the flag, and walked through the trees. He heard a low continuous
rumbling sound, and stopped. He turned right and walked forward, the sound getting
louder. It sounded like crashing water, a waterfall.
Suddenly, the trees opened up and in front of
his eyes lay a sparkling natural river, the crashing froth of the waterfall
leading it downstream. He kneeled next to it and cupped his hands in the water,
drinking gratefully. He looked at his face in the water, and washed the scratches
and cuts from his landing.
Then he heard a huge roar. The waterfall rumbled
louder, and something black and red flew spinning out of it, stopping in mid
air and uncurling. A fire Krawk. The water rose under him and he stood in the
air on a pillar of water, staring at Noctumi.
He had seen Krawks in Neopia Central, but this
one looked different. His features were deeply etched, and his limbs slender
but muscled. His Curving eyes were yellow, and their surface glistened and sparkled
like the river. The expression on his face was hard and aggressive. Long, blood
red spikes ran from between his eyes to the tip of his tail. His whole body
was built for battle.
"Why have you come to me, villager?" he asked,
standing atop the pillar of water like it was carpet.
Noctumi looked puzzled for a second, and then
realised what the Krawk meant.
"I'm not from the village! I've come looking
for the village!" he answered, then hopefully, "Do you know where it is?"
The Krawk's eyebrows arched downwards. His arms
uncurled from his chest, claws appeared from his hands.
"I may not live at the village, but I will not
let strangers again enter," he said solemnly. He leapt forward from the pillar
of water towards Noctumi, the pillar collapsing with a huge splash into the
river behind him. He came down and Noctumi jumped left, dodging his claws. The
Krawk ran towards Noctumi, leant backwards and skidded on his left foot, kicking
Noctumi with his right, hitting him backwards into a tree.
"I know you've got fight in you," said the Krawk.
"You are familiar to me, I have fought you before."
At that, the Krawk cupped his hands, his eyes
glowed red, and a group of tiny fireballs appeared over his head. His hand motioned
towards Noctumi, and they flew towards him. Noctumi thrust his right arm up
so that the back of his hand was at his head and his elbow was at his head's
right, and yelled out "Angel's Wing!" the way his uncle Rakugi had taught him.
A feathery light flashed in front of him and
acted as a barrier between him and the fireballs for a second before disappearing.
"Ha! So you are a shadow warrior, I knew it!"
grinned the Krawk triumphantly.
Noctumi had no idea what the Krawk was talking
about, but his only chance was to beat this fighter, although he doubted his
strength against someone like this. He picked up a sturdy looking branch with
no leaves on it which had broken off when he hit the tree, and ran towards the
Krawk, who ran towards him, claws brandished. They met with a crash, barely
staying up, and the Krawk's claws grasped the stick, trying to push his opponent
over with the stick like Noctumi was doing.
"Who are you?" Noctumi demanded.
"To the villagers I'm AquaSnap, the water demon,"
he said. "To friends, I'm Scorch! And who are you, trying to get to the village?"
He put all his strength into his arms and legs, pushing Noctumi backwards sprawled
on the ground.
"I'm Noctumi, and I'm trying to get to the village
to visit my grandparents!" Noctumi yelled, and threw the stick full force at
Scorch paused, and let go his battle stance.
The stick flew into his head, catching him by surprise and knocking him to the
"Sorry!" shouted Noctumi, forgetting the battle
and running over to Scorch.
The Krawk got up and laughed aloud. "So you
are from the village."
"I'm not," said Noctumi. "I've never been to
the village, but my grandparents live there and my father used to."
"Well why didn't you say so? Then I wouldn't
have tried to stop you, grievously injuring you whilst I was at it!" The Krawk
Noctumi blinked in silence at Scorch's strange
humour. It contrasted from what he'd seen a minute ago. Then he remembered what
he was doing. "So, can you take me to the village?"
Scorch jumped up and span around on his tail.
"Alrighty! To the village! I can get you there faster than fungus grows! I guess
you're a friend if you're a shadow fighter, so call me Scorch!" The Krawk looked
pensive for a few seconds and stared at the river in thought, then looked up
triumphantly. "Tell me Noctumi, can you swim?"
As Noctumi opened his mouth to answer, Scorch
whipped his huge tail around, and hit Noctumi into the river. He shut his eyes
as the Krawk held him under, then pulled his head above water.
Noctumi gave a gasp, half of surprise, half
of needing air. He looked around him. It was a place of dreams. A grassy area
of round houses and lush green gardens, with patches of bright flowers and small
hills and big trees. Young Shoyrus like him were climbing trees and flying through
the air, some were practicing swordplay or lying in flowers, reading books.
But they weren't all Shoyrus. In the small lake where they had appeared there
were Koi playing with more Shoyrus and Peophins, having races and splashing
each other. It was just like he had dreamed, except it was real, and he could
feel it around him.
To be continued...