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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 29th day of Hunting, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 120 > New Series > Pure Darkness: Part One

Pure Darkness: Part One

by superixionffx

Note: This story is is like a sequel to one of my previously written Neopian Times stories, "So You Want to be a Faerie." If you haven't read it yet, that's okay, because I've changed a lot anyway. First of all, in this series I'm not a Faerie, but an all-elemental Mage, meaning that I can cast spells of every element except for Darkness, and use a staff rather than a wand. And I can fly, due to a certain spell I am able to cast, but have no wings. My pets are all Protectors, meaning they each have control of a certain element. They all have wings. And also, Ixi is my nickname. That's just about all the explaining needed, so... Enjoy!
*******

Another pillar crashed to the ground. There were screams of terror, yells of horror, and, through it all, there was a cackling laughter, as if someone were enjoying it all.

     "Fyora!" I yelled, dodging another falling pillar as I scrambled to Fyora's throne.

     This had been going on for weeks now. Thera, a powerful Dark Faerie, had learned to harness all the Dark Magic in Neopia. And now she was using it to create havoc and peril.

     Finally reaching the throne, trying to be heard above the chaos, I yelled, "Fyora, this has got to stop! Can't you do something about this?"

     The Faerie Queen shook her head sadly, her long, amethyst hair swirling like a whirlpool around her face. "I am not as powerful as Thera," she said solemnly. "This is magic beyond my understanding..."

     "Listen here, Fyora," I told her sternly, shaking a finger at her. "We've got to do something. This Thera... she's got the power to take the throne from you. Come with me. We have to figure something out."

     And so I cast a spell with my staff which would enable me to fly for a short amount of time. Fyora spread her wings and followed me out of a broken window. I could not see Thera, but that wasn't exactly a bad thing, right? I wanted to be as far away from her as I could.

     After a few moments we reached a dark forest. The trees were gnarled and twisted, but it seemed pretty quiet in there. A great place to discuss our situation.

     Upon landing, I looked around the forest. The trees were all barren, and it was very dark. There were a few brownish leaves on the ground, but they were rotting. I could only see a few feet ahead of where I was standing. A shiver went down my spine.

     "Fyora," I asked, scared, hoping that knowing where we were would comfort me, or at least make me feel a bit better, "Where are we?"

     "The Haunted Woods."

     So I didn't feel any better.

     We sat down on the forest floor. I saw a few Spyders scurry away from me as I sat down on the cold, hard ground. Ugh, I thought, shivering. I hate Spyders.

     "So, Superixionffx, what shall we do?"

     "We need... someone who can cast Dark magic," I said, trying to think of a good plan. "Someone like..."

     "Someone like me."

     I looked around, trying to find the source of the voice.

     And then I saw it.

     It was a shadow, black as night. The shadow sat at the edge of the clearing Fyora and I were sitting in, swishing its tail. Blood-red eyes glowed brightly through the shadow.

     The shadow stepped forward, revealing a dark blue coat, matted and tangled. His fur was shaggy and uneven, hanging long at some places and cut almost to his skin at others.

     Large metal claws stuck out from his legs, and two glinting metal horns protruded from his forehead, curved slightly forward.

     And beneath all his matted fur and metal claws, the creature was somewhat... majestic. Noble. Hauntingly handsome.

     He was a mutant Lupe, though it was hard to tell because of his matted fur, which made his form look odd, and creepy.

     "My name is Armades," said the Lupe, head held high as he addressed us. "I have knowledge of Dark Magic, knowledge of things that even Thera would not understand."

     "How..." I looked at him in bewilderment. "But... that's impossible! Thera's more powerful than anyone, you ought to know that! There isn't a more powerful Dark creature than Thera! There isn't! ... Right?" I turned to Fyora, who gave me the "It-won't-hurt-to-see-what-he-can-do" look.

     "I used to be Thera's apprentice," said Armades, sitting down and scratching his ear with a back paw. "But I escaped. She fed me nearly nothing. Only a single Meepit, usually one not well fed and skinny. When there were no Meepits to be seen, I ate nothing."

     "You poor thing," I said pitifully, looking into the Lupe's eyes. They were filled with pain and sorrow, but also with pride and determination. And then, for a split second, they burned with a dark flame, full of magic. Wild magic. But I could have imagined it, as it was gone as soon as I blinked.

     "Ah, but I learned magic while I was there," said Armades, a bit of the fire heating up his voice. "And now, I have the power to defeat her."

     Just to demonstrate, Armades calmly lifted his head and drew a circle in the dirt with one of his claws. He got up and walked away, slowly and casually, just in time before the tree nearest to us fell down, missing Fyora by a mere inch, and became Darkness, a great big black blob. It slid along the ground to the circle, and there it burned away in purple flames.

     Fyora gasped. My eyes widened.

     "Fyora, I think Armades is suitable for this job," I said calmly, grinning at the mutant Lupe.

     He grinned back, showing sharp silver teeth. They shone brightly, like his red eyes.

***

"Armades, I can't let you go alone."

     Fyora was trying to convince the Lupe to let me come along.

     "She'll just get in the way," Armades growled in his deep, rumbling voice. "I can do it myself."

     "Oh no you can't," said Fyora, and, without warning, drew her wand and turned me into a tiny black Alkenore.

     "Ark!" I protested. "Ark! Grrr... ROAR!!!"

     But no one took heed to my protests. It could possibly have been because I could not speak English any more, which was quite annoying, since I could not say what was on my mind.

***

It was a long trip to Thera's castle. Armades kept grumbling to himself, which was quite annoying. I told him to stop several times, but it came out as, "Arf Arf Ark!", which was nothing Armades could make sense of, smart as he was. So I shut my mouth and sat quietly on Armades' shoulder as he walked.

     At sunset we traveled through a dark forest. Fog curled around Armades' paws, and quite a few times I felt the sharp talons of an Airax tearing at my delicate wings as it swooped by.

     All was fine, apart from my wings, until I heard a strange cackling noise.

     Armades' ears pricked forward warily. We listened in silence for a moment. Then the cackling came closer, louder.

     "No, not now!" I heard Armades say under his breath. "I'm not ready..."

     Thera.

     And it was Thera. She laughed mercilessly as she set Dark to things (which was like setting fire, only a river of Darkness would flow out of her wand and completely devour its victim, leaving nothing left).

     Armades plunged into the nearest bush. My heart pounded as I clung helplessly to his shoulder.

     "Meep! Ark! Grrrr..." In my clearest voice I gave Armades the exact instructions.

     And of course he did not listen. A meep, an ark, and a grrrr did not matter to him.

     Turn me back, I thought frantically, a cry of help in my mind. I need to help Armades.

     I thought of my Mage self, how I was not suited to this tiny PetPet body. I thought of how Thera would crush my friends, and my NeoPets, like Grakle Bugs. And I thought of Fyora. I couldn't let her down. Not her. Not anyone. Neopia's fate was all on my shoulders. There was no turning back.

     So I thought of my regular language, and tried to speak it.

     "Arkades, Arf! Listen grrr..." The first sentence came out as a tangle of words, odd and horribly out of place. But that didn't stop me from trying again.

     "Ar... Armades," I said, getting the name right. "L-l-listen t-to me. I... have an idea."

     "You're talking now?" Armades asked in a low whisper, raising an eyebrow. "I thought you were an Alkenore."

     "Y-yes," I said, slowly, "B-but I think I can talk n-now. A little. Now Thera will be passing through here any minute. You can be stealthy, right?"

     Armades nodded, a grin beginning to form on his muzzle.

     "Good," I said. "When Thera turns her back, she will lower her wand to ready for an attack. Then you grab her wand. Bring it to me. I'll fly away."

     Armades raised his other eyebrow. "And then?"

     "Right when she's lifting herself from the ground to go after me, cast the most powerful Darkness spell you know. Normally I would use light, but she's too strong for that. We have to use her own power against her."

     "And since when do you know all this?"

     I chuckled. "I am an all-elemental Mage. I know these things."

     And so we waited. Thera trampled the other bushes, and ran toward ours.

     Halfway there, she stopped. A movement had caught her eye.

     She spun around and raised her wand at a black Kougra. The Kougra's fur was matted and untidy, yet something was familiar about her...

     Thera lowered her wand to gather energy.

     Armades slunk away from the bush and silently crept toward Thera. He had his mouth around the wand when Thera raised it, ready.

     She was not happy to find a Lupe clinging to her wand.

     The Dark Faerie's dark green eyes glittered menacingly. Her greasy purple hair whipped around her face and her cloak swirled around her legs.

     I jumped out of the bushes and galloped toward the Dark Faerie. She laughed when she saw me.

     "And your little friend has come to save you, has she?"

     I growled angrily just before biting Thera on the leg.

     She screamed in agony, purple blood oozing down her leg. One of my fangs had come out of my mouth and was stuck in her skin.

     "Alkenore fangs?!?" yelled Thera angrily. "Those are poisonous..."

     She tore the fang right out of her leg and stabbed at me.

     I dodged the blow, but now Thera was in a sort of mad craze, howling as she plunged the fang into the forest floor again and again, each time missing me by less than an inch.

     And then Thera got up. Storm clouds raged around her, lightning flashing like her eyes.

     Thera flung the fang back in disgust. I did not bother to follow it with my eyes until I heard a strangled scream.

     I had no idea what would happen next. Neither did Thera, I suppose. And when it did happen, everyone was surprised.

     We all turned to look. There was the black Kougra, lying on the ground, eyes rolled back into her head. Blood dripped from her mouth, and from her throat. I screamed and ran over to her.

     I applied a quick freezing spell to the Kougra's throat, then yanked the fang right out. I then healed it with a very powerful water spell that should have drained the poison straight from her body.

     And as I sat there, stroking the Kougra, some of the black on her coat began to come off.

     Beneath it was white fur, with silver stripes. My Kougra, Laser, she was white, she had silver stripes...

     "Laser?" I asked, weakly. "Laser, why are you here?"

     "Who...?" The Kougra looked at me in confusion, and I realized I was still a black Alkenore.

     "It's Ixi," I said. "Just in a different... form..."

     "Ixi... I thought you'd need my help..." said Laser, staggering a bit before getting up.

     She fell to the ground, trembling.

     "It's no use," spat Thera, quite happy now. "Alkenore fangs have no cure. Your beloved pet will die, and it's all your fault."

     She then slumped to the ground, never to move again.

     "Laser..." Tears streamed down my face. Laser was going to die, and there was nothing I could do about it. So I just sat there, brushing the heavy coating of dirt from her fur.

     Armades sat by my side, red eyes filling with pain and sorrow, more than they had held before; more than any creature could ever hold, it seemed. He placed a paw on Laser's, and stroked it gently.

     "We did it, Laser. We beat Thera."

     But her eyes were clouding over, and with a final sigh, all her muscles relaxed.

     "Laser!" I screamed, clutching her paw. "Why did it have to be you?"

     And, just as I said those few words, a strange light began to surround Laser. She seemed to fade away, like a photograph under the sun, until she was gone completely.

     Then Laser's Snowbunny, Save the Queen, appeared where Laser had faded away. She gave a small, sad cry before she, too, faded away.

     Armades howled forlornly and laid his head on his paw. A tear trickled down his snout, clear and pure.

     "I'm not going to let her go," I said angrily.

     "But she's gone already," Armades said pointedly.

     "Then we'll have to go and get her."

     "But where...?"

     "Up there, most likely." I pointed upwards, and Armades looked where I was pointing.

     Forming in the dark sky, or at least in the part of it that was visible through the dense canopy of trees, was a huge, red cloud. It burned like fire, and soon I realized that that's exactly what it was - a cloud of fire.

     At first it was shapeless, but as I watched it took shape, the shape of a Kougra. At its side was a fiery red Snowbunny -- Save the Queen, Laser's petpet. The Kougra cloud -- Laser's cloud -- opened its mouth and let out a deafening roar, then, clawing at the sky, vanished.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Pure Darkness: Part Two

Pure Darkness: Part Three

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