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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 27th day of Awakening, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 115 > Continuing Series > Dark Flame: Part Seven

Dark Flame: Part Seven

by child_dragon

Flickering

I arrived home and was greeted by a subdued Un-eairkagh.

     "He's not home yet," was all he said.

     That was all I needed to know. I headed to the kitchen and called up Sakuko. She informed me that Netsuko had indeed found Aldrai but that he had quarreled with her and left.

     "What?!" I shrieked as soon as I hung up the phone.

     "Huh?"

     "I can't believe this! This… this is unreal!"

     I staggered into the living room and collapsed on a bean bag chair.

     "Kiddo?" Un-eairkagh asked, following me, "What's going on?"

     "Aldrai fought with Netsuko."

     The striped Eyrie just stood there, stunned.

     "But… that's…. that's almost against the laws of Neopia. That doesn't happen. What's going on with my brother?"

     I sat up. Might as well be honest with him.

     "He's using too much magic. I think it's starting to affect his actions. Light magic has a very low tolerance for anything not associated with its nature. I think that intolerance is starting to bleed into Aldrai's personality. And no one is perfect. That's why he's getting so uptight with everyone."

     "So what do we do?"

     "Get him to realize what he's doing and make him stop using magic. There's not much else I can do."

     "But you're the Essence!"

     I laughed hollowly.

     "A lot of good that's going to do. The power of Neopia behind me. The Elemental Spear as my weapon. I'm completely unstoppable if I need be. But what good is all the power in this world at my beck and call if I can only use it against Aldrai? Neopia is a primal and dangerous place, Un-eairkagh. I can't force him to change his mind, the magic I can summon isn't that subtle. Besides, I wouldn't do that, not against my own pet. The only power I have at my disposal is brute force. Whether to help or hurt, it's still just brute force. I can't use it against Aldrai. I'd either hurt him or drive him even further away from us."

     The Eyrie was quiet for a few moments.

     "So we have no options," he said quietly.

     "No options except to talk to him and hope."

     We were both quiet for a long time until the door bell rang. I hurried over and opened it. Sabreur stood there with my buggy in the driveway.

     "I didn't think I'd get it done for a couple days but Drake_da_dragon helped some after you left," he explained, holding up the keys, "So, you ready to take it for a drive? Maybe we'll find Aldrai."

     I nodded and grabbed the keys. I let Sabreur in and hastened to my room to gather up my purse and license.

     "Anyone want to come with me?" I called as I dug up my wallet from underneath a couple books on the floor of my room.

     "I do!"

     "And me!"

     I met all my pets downstairs where they were eagerly peering out the window at my buggy. I escorted everyone out the front door and to the driveway where I stared at my vehicle in dismay.

     "What on Neopia did you do?" I asked of my brother.

     "Well, these here are the side guns," he explained, gesturing to the boxy things on the sides, "and here are the generators for the modified grand lightning beam on the front. The antennas on the top are for the GPS. I linked it to the Virtupets computer systems so we've got the full map of Neopia. The computer system is controlled on the dash and is all automatic."

     "But what's with the armor plating?" I asked, tapping on the reinforced sides and doors, "I thought I told you no."

     "Ah, well, that's not armor plating."

     "Sure looks like it to me," Terraile commented.

     "It's shielding."

     "Shielding for what?!"

     "I had to install a fission reactor to power all the computer systems and weaponry. It replaced the gas tank."

     "I'VE GOT A MINIATURE NUCLEAR POWER PLANT IN MY BUGGY!?" I screeched loud enough for everyone on the block to hear.

     "Well, yes, but at least you won't have to fill up for gas anymore," he said hopefully.

     "I'm going to kill you," I muttered, "If the radiation doesn't first."

     "But that's why there's shielding! No radiation. I promise."

     "Sabreur… if this thing gets into another accident we're all dead."

     "That's why we have all the weapons. They'll disable any buggy stupid enough to try to get in an accident with us."

     "Does disable mean destroy?"

     "Depends on how close they get."

     I groaned and reluctantly walked over to the driver's side door. Un-eairkagh tried to take the passenger side seat but Sabreur beat him to it. Instead he took the back with MoonFall and Terraile.

     "Cool!" he exclaimed, "There's seats in the trunk now!"

     "They fold down for when you need the space to haul non-pets," my brother explained.

     "That's a good idea," I replied absently, trying to figure out the new set of consoles on my dash.

     "Just don't worry about them," he said, "Everything works like you remember. I'll explain as we drive."

     "Alright."

     I turned the buggy on. Instead of its normal lugging engine noise I heard only a slight hum. The computer screens lit up, displaying a map of the surrounding area and status reports on all parts of the vehicle, including the weapons. I tried to ignore that and put the buggy into reverse, backing out onto the street. The map changed into a view of all four sides of my vehicle.

     "What the…?"

     "It's cause you hate backing this thing," he explained, "Figure it'll help you judge distance."

     I grinned and pulled out onto the street.

     The buggy drove exactly like I remembered it. Nothing had really changed except its acceleration was better and everyone kept the expected three buggy lengths distance from my vehicle. Some even went for four. I can't imagine why, the side mounted guns would only swivel and lock onto anyone that got too close. As we neared Neopia Central I noticed that the weapons were stubbornly targeted on a nearby black buggy and were even taking range findings of the buggy's weak spots.

     "Um, bro? They're not going to fire, are they?"

     "Not yet. They're just going through the preliminary tests for attack. That buggy's license plate came up as a known traffic."

     "I'm driving here, okay! I'm not looking!"

     Un-eairkagh was cracking up behind me.

     I absently took a right turn on a side street. The radio finished its song and went into a quick news bulletin. Un-eairkagh groaned and was about to change the station when I stopped him.

     "Wait!"

     "…no one is really sure what happened at the commercial district of Neopia Central but several people and pets have already been rushed to the hospital. A bystander reports seeing a fight between a Lupe and Gelert break out only to be stopped by what was apparently a spotted Zafara with angel wings. However, after the explosion the only Zafara seen was a Darigan one. The witness is not considered very credible at the moment as he was caught in the blast that destroyed at least five shops and injured ten."

     I pulled over to the nearest street parking spot I could find. I was too shocked to even be nervous about parallel parking.

     "A spotted Zafara! Not Aldrai!" MoonFall cried.

     "Who else do you know has angel wings?" I replied.

     "But they said a Darigan Zafara was leaving the scene. And Aldrai would never hurt anyone, right?"

     "So Aldrai tried to break up a fight and someone else, the Darigan Zafara, intervened," my brother said, "Either way, we've got to find them. Aldrai and the other Zafara. Before something else happens."

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Dark Flame: Part One

Dark Flame: Part Two

Dark Flame: Part Three

Dark Flame: Part Four

Dark Flame: Part Five

Dark Flame: Part Six

Dark Flame: Part Eight

Dark Flame: Part Nine

Dark Flame: Part Ten

Dark Flame: Part Eleven

Dark Flame: Part Twelve

Dark Flame: Part Thirteen

Dark Flame: Part Fourteen

Dark Flame: Part Fifiteen

Dark Flame: Part Sixteen

Dark Flame: Part Seventeen

Dark Flame: Part Eighteen

Dark Flame: Part Nineteen

Dark Flame: Part Twenty

Dark Flame: Part Twenty One

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