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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 23rd day of Relaxing, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 116 > Continuing Series > All The Colours: Part Eight

All The Colours: Part Eight

by hot_pink_lizard

Chapter eight - Star Light, Star Bright

Evening fell, and Elenna was panicking.

     Immacolata had got her out on the ranges, practicing against a few common Unis and Ixi that had picked up some skill in jousting, even a few smaller pets with lances, mounted on Skeiths and Eyries, all honoured to have a go against a real lady. After a few initial tumbles that were thankfully quite soft, given that they were using old armour instead of the shiny toys that would be in use the following day, she had begun to remember her old lessons. Two hours later, half the field was nursing serious bruises from her jousting tricks and the other half were trying to avoid the Uni's challenging gaze. Every time she was hit and knocked to the floor, Immacolata stormed down to her side, hauled her to her feet, asked her what she had done wrong and made her go back and correct it. With a meal of complex carbohydrates, potatoes and turnips in Meridell language, and a healing potion inside her, she was all set for the competition tomorrow morning. All she needed was her armour, and they'd have The Fallen Star in no time. Supposedly.

     Immacolata was fast asleep, curled up in her usual Aisha way. She'd worked so hard to get Elenna ready. Hina and Chrissy were getting their hands on her armour now, though the fact that they hadn't reached her yet was slightly discouraging. And Waterlily… Waterlily depended on her! She had to win.

     She knew she wasn't going to. The Fallen Star's influence on her father was too strong.

* * * * *

I dumped a large bag on Illusen's table, suitably annoyed. We'd been searching all night for her items, and now dawn, and Elenna's tournament, was fast approaching.

     "Sweet mother of Wombats, nice list of things to make us get, Illusen. I mean, you could have asked us for anything… Faeries, books, food… but you had to send us for Turmaculus blood, giant Whinny fur and the skin of a Silver Draik. You're really lucky they shed those, you know, otherwise there would be a Draik wandering around with no skin. And, PLEASE, what were you thinking when you asked us for a Demonic Babaa SPLEEN? I mean, come on, it's a SPLEEN. What does a spleen do, anyway? Do you have any idea how much damage a Demonic Babaa's horns can do?"

     "I know Draiks shed their skins, otherwise I wouldn't have asked you." Illusen began to sort through the items, casually ignoring the spleen oriented questions. "Now, this will take me a while. Make me a cup of tea, why don't you?"

     "Your, like, really lucky Elenna's life depends on this." Hina grumbled, putting a kettle full of water on the fire. "Otherwise I would, like, SO not be doing this."

     An hour later, she handed me a deceptively small bundle. I eyed it suspiciously.

     "It's enchanted barding made from Draik skin. Take it or leave it."

     "I'll take it," I replied quickly, putting the parcel into my backpack. As an afterthought, Illusen handed me a small wooden box. "And this is for Elenna. She's going to need it later, and I suppose I do rather owe you for getting rid of Anuina."

     I blinked, nonplussed, but accepted it anyway. Hina gave Illusen a double thumbs-up. "Like, thanks tons, Illusen. I've said it once, I'll say it again, you ROCK!"

     I looked at the sky. "It's almost dawn! We'll never make it!"

     "Oh, am I going to have to help you AGAIN?" Illusen sighed, then clicked her fingers. Two huge, shadowed Ixi appeared. "This is Jaskil and Daskil, they belong to a friend of mine. They may not look like much, but they're fast. Jump on!"

     I rolled my eyes, then vaulted onto Jaskil's back. Hina did the same with considerably less grace, Daskil snorting in disgust. Within seconds, we were speeding over the ground, faster than I had believed possible. We were going to make it. We had to make it.

* * * * *

The tournament was in full swing. Hawkers were selling turnips and potatoes by the dozen as commoners flocked to see the greatest tournament of their time, and shadowy pickpockets preyed on the unwary crowd. Elenna sat in her tent, composing herself. Which, in reality, meant hiding under the table curled into a little ball and shaking slightly.

     "I'm gonna lose I'm gonna lose I'm gonna lose I'm gonna lose I'm gonna lose I'm gonna…"

     "Elenna. You are going to win. You have to win. Waterlily is depending on you!"

     "I know! I can't do it! I can't win! I'm not good enough… oh, cheesecookies, I've failed my sister, I've failed you, I've failed my FAMILY…"

     "Elenna! If I can be thrust into an ancient maze, confront mummies, Sphinx and the three-headed-fourteen-eyed-monster of Ee and come out grinning, with a new look and a spear, then you can win a jousting tournament! I know you can, you…" They were rudely interrupted by a loud voice outside.

     "AND THE TOURNAMENT BEGINS, WITH THE FIRST CONTEST BEING BETWEEN THE NOBLE KNIGHT, ILANIN OF TURNIP GLADE AND THE CONTENDER FOR THE GREAT PRIZE, THE WEAPON KNOWN AS THE FALLEN STAR, THE RETURNING LADY, EEEELLEEEENNNNNAAAAAA LLLLAAAANNNTTTTAAAAAAAA!"

     "Is it time for my dramatic entrance?" I peered around the tent flap, looking sleepy and considerably windblown. Elenna almost fainted there and then.

     "I can't do it! Chrissy, I can't! I'm serious, I'll lose and end up killed…"

     "Elenna! Dudette!" Hina grabbed her mane and pulled her head down to his level. "You, like, can so do this! I know you can! Do you know why? Because I have seen you try to lynch a freaking UBER FAERIE to get your big sis back! There isn't a dude alive that can stop you when you're fighting for your sister." He held out the armour. "And YOU are gonna go out there, you're gonna put these threads on, keep your cool and win us a funky Glaze. You can, because YOU'RE my big sis and you can do anything!"

     Elenna gulped, slightly shocked, but then tossed her head defiantly. She shrugged into her new armour and trotted out, head held high. I gave Hina a thumbs-up; we grabbed some healing potions, some towels and a bucket of water and ran out to watch.

     The opponent was a brown Ixi. Although Ixi didn't have the reach of a Uni's horn, their two smaller weapons allowed for a clever two-pronged assault. Elenna faced him down, the look on her face enough to shake any would-be knight in his greaves.

     Elenna could hear her own breathing, light and measured despite her near panic. She could hear the Knight's breathing, hoarse as it echoed in his metal armour, as they bowed, barely a foot away from each other. The world had suddenly become acutely detailed. Every leaf was etched in verdant green, every blade of grass casting a shadow like a sword. A vague, slightly amusing thought drifted across her still mind. There isn't a Role Playing Game in existence that is this good, she thought.

     Though 'The Gilded Throne' came close. The sequel was tacky, though. I suppose that one in Feudal Japan, uh, 'Song of the Jade Dragon', had some pretty cool Kung Fu, but that's not really the right genre. For medieval fantasy, I'd have to say 'Dragonspawned' or that one that Chrissie ran with The Fellowship of the Wombat and me, uh, the one with the reawakened fiendish paragon Dragon, the lost dwarfish city of Dundiggin', the crashed spaceship and the Admantium Tulips. Though that had ray guns, so it's not technically medieval fantasy either.

     Why am I thinking about fantasy games when I'm about to die at the hands, well, hooves, well, horns of a small brown Ixi? Though, he is a terribly small brown Ixi. I COULD beat him. But what are the odds?

     The horn sounded. They charged.

     A few, brief seconds later, Sir Ilanin was flat on his back with a sizeable dent in his armour, a light concussion and breathing difficulties. Elenna's horn had caught him between helmet and back plate, smashing his windpipe and probably chipping the base of his skull. She skidded to a halt, turned and trotted back to his side, looking down in concern.

     "Sorry about that. A healing potion should fix you up fine… no hard feelings?"

     The Ixi wheezed an affirmative. He wasn't about to argue with a Uni that had almost killed him.

     Knight after Knight fell under Elenna's charge. Although a shadowed Draik mounted on a Mutant Lupe made us groan, and Hina couldn't bear to watch Elenna facing off against a huge Skeith, greatest jouster in the land despite his lack of a true horn, she won every round. Finally, a silver Uni in pure green armour trotted up to the other end of the range. I didn't need telling who it was.

     Maybe it was the three-foot staff of mystical wood slung across my back. Maybe it was woman's intuition. Maybe I'm just plain crazy. But the moment he stepped into my line of view, I knew that this was Elenna's father. This was the current wielder of The Fallen Star, no half forgotten spirit but a fully powerful Neopet. He glowed, surrounded by a dazzling emerald aura, when I looked at him just out of the corner of my eye. He looked up…

     In retrospect, I think it must have been a kind of telepathy. I knew then that The Fallen Star had a stronger hold on his mind than I had thought. It was so tightly bound into his head, that he would do anything, even kill his own daughter, to keep hold of it. I've never been more scared in my life. Partly because Elenna's life was at stake, but partly because I feared my part of The Spear of the Ankh was doing exactly the same thing to me.

     //I wouldn't do that. Trust me, I wouldn't do that.//

     I had the feeling I should say something profound and meaningful about the fact that there were now voices in my head and Elenna's father had been taken over by an ancient weapon. However, there was only one thing that came to mind.

     "Sweet mother of all Wombats. We're doomed."

     As Elenna met the eyes of her father, she found something entirely different staring back.

     Vibrant emeralds replaced those familiar, deep brown eyes. A presence, like a cold claw, reached out to her mind, digging into places she'd rather have kept secret.

<>

Shut up, you. This is for my sister. No stupid voice in my head, no mad spirit taking over my father, NOTHING, is going to stop me from saving my sister from the clutches of that Faerie, Elenna thought back with as much venom as she could muster, So shut up, stand aside and watch. ME. WIN.

     I watched with hawk-like intensity as they charged each other, hooves drumming the ground, the stadium deathly silent. There was a brief scuffle, a flash of dusty silver and fresh green, and then a loud squeal. The dust cleared, and it was Lord Silver Fall flat on his back.

     The stadium erupted. We were yelling the loudest as we ran toward Elenna, hugged her, thumped her shoulders, our throats raw with screaming, "You did it! You won! I knew you could do it!" Elenna grinned and blushed for a few moments, then trotted free to where her father was scrambling, rather ungraciously, to his feet. The two Unis looked at each other for a few minutes, in silence. Then, slowly, as though he was battling some other thought, the Lord spoke.

     "Today, I am proud to call you my daughter. The Fallen Star is yours. Use it wisely."

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

All The Colours: Part One

All The Colours: Part Two

All The Colours: Part Three

All The Colours: Part Four

All The Colours: Part Five

All The Colours: Part Six

All The Colours: Part Seven

All The Colours: Part Nine

All The Colours: Part Ten

All The Colours: Part Eleven

All The Colours: Part Twelve

All The Colours: Part Thirteen

All The Colours: Part Fourteen

All The Colours: Part Fifteen

All The Colours: Part Sixteen

All The Colours: Part Seventeen

All The Colours: Part Eighteen


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