"So, what are we supposed to do?" questioned Nerakos impatiently.
All three pets and the Zafara (who they found
out was named Azuxah) were outside in the Neogarden. Azuxah was beginning their
training as Mages. Azuxah stood up. The Zafara held out her hand and a long
staff with a gleaming dark-red orb on top appeared in her hand. "Alright now,
the first thing you need to do is improve your abilities. Zukoni, come forward."
Zukoni the fire Wocky stood and faced Azuxah.
"Now, I want you to come at me as fast as you can and attack me. Do not fear
for my safety, for I am ready for any attack you throw at me. Now go on, attack
Zukoni took at deep breath and focused on Azuxah.
Then he balled his hand into a fist and attacked.
"What information do you have for me, Lambert?"
"Well my Lord, I have some very good news indeed!"
exclaimed the ghost Draik.
"Indeed, Lambert?" said a figure sitting in
a black onyx throne. "Tell me, then."
"I've found the location of the Mage AND the
other warriors! And they're being accompanied by a Zafara who knows a great
deal about magic."
"Yes, yes, you have done well my servant," the
figure said approvingly.
The Draik bowed. "Oh thank you my Lord, I promised
I wouldn't fail you!"
"And you've kept your promise. Now it is time
for phase two..."
Azuxah went flying through the air into a tree. She got up and dusted her
self off, and then grinned at Zukoni. "That was PERFECT Zukoni!" she exclaimed.
Zukoni stared in awe at what he'd just done.
"Did -- I do THAT?" Zukoni said awestruck.
"Dude, that was awesome!" said Nerakos as he
slapped him on the back. "I knew you three were the ones, I just knew!" Azuxah
beamed. "And now, it's time for you to try out your powers."
Nerakos stared, his eyes widening. "Did you
"Not you! I meant Star."
Nerakos frowned and took a seat on the grass
next to Zukoni.
"Right, well on with our training then!" Azuxah
declared. She then glanced at Star. "Star, come here."
Star got up and walked over to where Azuxah
was standing. Azuxah looked down at Star.
"Now, I want you to attack me with your psychic
powers. I don't care what you do -- surprise me."
Star closed her eyes and shut out everything
around her. The only thing that existed was her target. She concentrated and
imagined Azuxah flying through the air and into the ground. As she did so Azuxah's
feet were no longer touching the ground, but she was floating in mid air. She
screamed as she was flung through the air by an unseen force and into the ground.
Azuxah spat dirt and grass out of her mouth and glanced up at Star.
"Yes -- yes! That's it -- but you need to work
on your timing a bit, your attack is too slow. But we'll work on it all day
if we have to!"
All three Neopets groaned. This was going to
be a very long, grueling day.
After hours and hours of training, it was finally dusk and Zukoni, Nerakos,
and Star were all ready for sleep. Star stifled a yawn and Nerakos had a hard
time getting up and walking to his bedroom until finally Zukoni had to drag
him up the stairs. Star flopped onto her Zen Bed and immediately fell into a
The next day, Star left for Neoschool early so she could stop at Darian's
NeoHome on the way. When she walked in, Darian was still in his pajamas swirling
his spoon around in his soggy Neoflakes.
Darian suddenly realized Star was standing in
the doorway. His face turned bright crimson. "If I knew you were coming I would
of changed into something more decent."
Star giggled a bit. "I'm sorry, Darian," she
apologized. "I should've knocked first."
"Yeah, you think?" Darian snapped. Star guessed
he hadn't been awake for very long - he was still a little grumpy.
"Well I'm not coming to Neoschool today," Darian
"What? Why not?"
"I'm not feeling too well..."
Star suddenly looked concerned. "Do you want
me to stay here with you in case you need anything?" Star offered.
"No -- no thanks, Star. I'll be fine. Get all
my homework and stuff for me, okay?"
"Sure thing, Darian. See you later then..."
Star picked up her knapsack and waved back to Darian on the way out the door.
Darian smiled and waved back.
That was the last time she saw Darian.
"How could Darian just disappear like that? Seems kind of fishy to me."
Star the purple Shoyru was so upset about Darian
going missing that she didn't hear her friend Kai_Shaded the white Aisha at
first. Like Star, he had powers. He had the ability to teleport, or orb, to
wherever he wished. It was what made them different from every other Neopet
in Neopia that brought them together as friends.
Huh -- what?" she stammered, snapping out of
"I said don't you think it's kind of fishy for
Darian to disappear just like that? I know it must be really hard for you, I
know how tight you guys were."
"Can we change the subject?" Star snapped angrily.
"Oh, sorry," Shade apologized. "I didn't mean
to make you upset - "
"Yeah -- well, you did!" Star retorted.
Shade looked hurt by her sudden attitude. "I
said I was sorry."
Star frowned. "Shade, I'm sorry. It's just --
well..." Shade finished her sentence. "I know, you're worried about him." Star
"Well, let's just forget about this for a while.
He probably just ran away or something..."
"HOPEFULLY that's all it is," Star sighed.
Star didn't know how she got through the day
knowing that her best friend was missing. The Chia Police had come and gone.
They interrogated Star and they shook their heads and muttered "Just another
runaway..." and left Star in her misery. She just didn't understand it - this
wasn't like Darian to just run off when he felt like it and not tell anyone
at all where he's going...
But later that day Star saw something that almost
made her jump for joy. She was about to turn the doorknob to walk into her NeoHome
when she heard a voice call her name.
"Phsst, Star. Over here."
The voice came from a cluster of shrubs by the
side of the NeoHome. Star pushed aside the shrubs and Darian sat there staring
back at her. She was so relieved and wanted to embrace him.
"Darian! I've been so worried about you -- I
feared the worst - !"
Darian put his paw over Star's mouth. "Shhh,
not so loud!" Darian whispered signaling her to be quiet.
Star looked from side to side to see if anyone
was around and then lowered her voice. Darian removed his paw from Star's mouth.
"What's going on? Why were you gone for so long? And what the heck are you doing
hiding in our shrubs?"
"I need to show you something."
"Can't it wait? I've got tons of homework to
do and - "
"Please?" begged Darian. "It's really important
-- and it'll only take a little while..."
Darian stepped over the bushes and started walking
away. He motioned for Star to follow. "Oh, okay -- I'll come, but this better
be important." Star shrugged and followed Darian.
Star and Darian flew to Neopia Central. "What
are we doing here?" Star asked.
"You'll know soon enough," Darian responded slyly.
Star thought to herself what Darian meant by
'you'll know soon enough'. They stopped at what seemed like a dead end in an
"Now what?" Star demanded.
"Just follow me," Darian said. Darian pushed
a loose brick on the wall of the alley and revealed a secret door. Darian descended
down the staircase and looked back at Star who was standing there mouth agape.
"Come one, follow me," he coaxed.
Star followed close behind Darian. They were
in some kind of tunnel now, and everything was pitch black. That's when Star
first noticed something strange about Darian that she didn't notice before.
Although it was pitch black in the tunnel, Darian's eyes were perfectly visible
and almost phosphorescent. And they were also a reddish color instead of the
normal soft dark blue.
"Um -- Darian? Is something wrong with your
"No, why ever do you ask?" Darian said.
"Well, because they're glowing -- and they're
"Oh, it's my -- um -- new contact lenses," Darian
answered a little too quickly.
"Um -- okay, if you say so, Darian," Star said
At the end of the tunnel, a sliver of light
could be seen. It was a door to a room. Darian opened the door and motioned
Star to come in. Star looked around; she was no longer in Neopia Central, but
in some sort of old mansion. Above was a tall ceiling with a glass dome at the
top, showing the full moon hidden behind ominous black clouds. Statues of an
evil-looking Chia lined the walls and torches lit the room. To the front of
the room was a large window where a black onyx throne sat facing towards it.
And there was someone sitting in it. Star walked up to the front of the throne
and saw -- Darian? There were TWO Darians? Star heard the faint click of the
door locking behind her.
"Huh? What the..?" Star looked at the Darian
who was sitting in the throne. He looked unconscious. But that's impossible!
There's TWO of them? Then Star looked over at the other Darian who's eyes were
glowing redder than ever and a huge, malevolent grin was spreading on his face.
Star backed away as the imposter approached
her, his eyes burning into hers. "Welcome, my dear..." The voice was no longer
the voice that belonged to her best friend, but a deep, oily voice. Star backed
against the wall and stared in horror as the Shoyru's features literally melted
away, taking on a different form. Star stared in disbelief -- the Darian imposter
had taken on it's true form... it was none other than...
"Hu-Hub-Hubrid Nox!" Star finally gasped.
To be continued...