Un-eairkagh knew that child_dragon would not approve
of what he was doing. So he slipped out shortly before dawn, taking no weapons,
telling no one. He and Aldrai had always been close and all the Eyrie wanted
was his brother back.
"He called me traitor," Un-eairkagh said outloud
as he neared the ruined castle, "Please Aldrai… just listen to me."
The crumbling stone building sported only one
sound structure in the entire heap: a single tower. At the top of the derelict
roof crouched a red shape with huge bat wings. Aldrai. Power flickered around
him, lighting up the tower like some great candle. Un-eairkagh flew closer and
saw many pets, humans, and faeries gathered near the castle. Even as he watched
one swayed and collapsed. No one seemed to be taking any action, just milling
about in confusion. A couple pets tried to cross a certain stretch of ground
only the be thrown violently back with a burst of light. Aldrai's barrier.
"Not gonna stop me," Un-eairkagh growled and
The air currents carried him up above the castle.
Aldrai and his tower was directly below him.
"Brother!" he cried, and folded his wings.
He fell, straight down onto the barrier. It
flashed with power but Un-eairkagh did not open his wings to get away. The magic
coursed through him and he screeched in pain. Then it was gone and he fell,
smashing onto the tower roof and sliding to the edge. At the last minute Un-eairkagh
managed to regain his senses and claw a hold on the tower roof. His hind legs
dangled over the edge and he slipped further to falling. He dug his claws in
and looked up to meet Aldrai's vague eyes.
"What are you doing here?" Aldrai asked in a
"I came to talk to you," the Eyrie gasped.
"Why? What more is there to talk about?"
"Terraile has fallen into that coma. What are
you doing to her?"
"She'll wake once the evil is gone."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm getting rid of all darkness. Those that
have fallen in a coma will wake once it's all gone."
The Eyrie felt his grip slipping even further.
He dug his claws in deeper, straining his muscles to support his weight. Now
only his chest was on the roof.
"Aldrai… a little help…?"
But Aldrai wasn't paying attention anymore.
His gaze was fixed out onto the sky and his eyes had faded to white.
"Aldrai! Please. Don't you remember… when Terraile
smashed the obelisk? Not all darkness is evil! And… what about Deealoe? You
forgave him even though he'd done so much wrong! Please… Aldrai. Ah - I'm about
to fall off here."
"Darkness leads to evil," the Darigan Zafara
said absently, "It's best to just get rid of all of it. When I'm done there
will be no more pain and suffering."
"You're hurting others though!"
This time Un-eairkagh saw something. Aldrai
shuddered and the light around him faltered. Then it coursed through the Zafara
anew and Aldrai's back straightened.
"I knew you wouldn't understand. Just go. Brother."
Aldrai gestured and Un-eairkagh lost his grip
on the roof entirely. He fell and managed to twist in midair. His wings snapped
out and he flared them desperately, but not soon enough. He hit the ground with
a horrible snap and fell on his side as his right front leg gave out under his
weight. He lay there, faint and gasping as pain throbbed up his leg and into
his chest. After a few minutes he reluctantly staggered to his three good paws
and examined the damage. Probably broken. With a moan he tucked his paw up close
to his ruff and limped towards the group of pets just outside the barrier.
"You got through!" one cried as he exited the
protected area, "Why didn't you attack that thing?"
"Because… violence begets violence…"
"That's stupid," the pet replied scornfully.
"Leave him alone," a new voice snapped, a water
The crowd reluctantly moved away to leave him
and the Faerie. alone.
"Here. Give me your paw," she instructed.
Un-eairkagh held it out to her and she gently
placed one hand on it. Warmth spread through his injured leg and the pain vanished.
He gingerly put it down and tested his weight on it. Fine. Perfectly healed.
"Thank you," he muttered.
"What did you find out?" she demanded.
"Nothing that concerns you."
"It does concern us! If child_dragon wasn't-"
"Be quiet!" the Eyrie snapped.
The Faerie. stiffened.
"Fine. But we're going to try to break through
that barrier ourselves. If she won't stop him, we will."
And the Faerie. turned and flew off. Un-eairkagh
growled deep in his throat at her back and then leaped into the air, heading
back towards Neopia Central. Child_dragon would be so angry that he went alone.
But perhaps what he learned would make up for it.
Un-eairkagh returned shortly after our second clan meeting had begun. I was
about to yell at him but the look on his face stopped me. I had never seen my
Eyrie so serious.
We sat and listened in silence as Un-eairkagh
relayed everything that he'd seen and heard.
"How on Neopia could he get rid of all darkness?"
Melody asked once he was done.
"It doesn't seem possible. Darkness is a part
of Neopia; it's one of the central elements. You can't get rid of it, can you?"
I bowed my head and thought. The fabric… what
had Von Roo meant? Then it came to me.
"My goodness… he can't - that's insane," I gasped
"What? What is it?"
"He's reworking the fabric of Neopia. That's
what this spell is. He's going to remove the dark element from existence."
Stunned silence greeted me.
"But... that's not possible. The laws of physics…"
"He's rewriting them," I snapped, "But it won't
work. The elements are all joined in me. As long as I'm the Essence he won't
be able to undo that one last thread that keeps darkness in existence."
"So this spell will fail. And what then?"
"It'll rebound on him. All that power he's unleashed
so far - and is yet to unleash - will backlash right onto him. It'll destroy
him. And it… might even spill over onto everyone that's connected to him through
this spell. It could destroy everyone on Neopia."
"Surely he knows this!" MoonFall cried.
"I don't think he counted on me," I said grimly.
"So what do we do?" Sakuko asked.
I glanced around the room. Un-eairkagh was slumped
in the corner of the couch, apparently asleep. I knew with a sinking heart that
he wouldn't wake. Aldrai's spell finally got to him also.
I took a deep breath. They couldn't do anything.
Once again, this was my fight. And I knew what had to be done. I would not kill
my own pet. The others… they couldn't know.
"You all do nothing. I'm going to confront Aldrai.
My friends and family protested quite loudly at this announcement. I didn't
listen to their arguments, just summoned my spear to hand and started to the
door. Sabreur made it there first and blocked it from me.
"Get out of my way," I growled.
He didn't move. His eyes were set and for a
long time we just stared at each other. When we were younger, my brother and
I would have terrific fights that would last for hours. Neither of us would
give an inch to the other. And it was on the verge of happening again.
"I said 'move'."
"No. You're not going after Aldrai alone."
"I have to! I'm the only one that stands a chance.
I'm the only one that can-"
I cut off abruptly before I gave away my plan.
They'd never let me go if they knew.
"So if we interfere it'll mess you saving Aldrai
"Yes. And… you may get hurt. There's gonna be
a lot of magic being thrown around…"
"At least wait until night falls. He'll be weakest
I nodded slowly, seeing the logic in his argument.
It didn't really matter though, but at least it'd make them feel better. I reluctantly
put my spear aside and moved away from the door. Sabreur nodded and followed
me back into the living room.
"I'll wait until night," I muttered, and tried
to pick up the unconscious Un-eairkagh.
He was too heavy. Melody came and lifted him
by his back paws and I took the front. Together we were able to stagger over
to his room and drop him unceremoniously on his bed. I gently smoothed out his
feathers and followed Melody out of the room.
It was an uneasy and tense silence that pervaded
the room. Netsuko finally opened the newspaper. There was a report from the
castle Aldrai had holed up in. According to the report, the faeries had gathered
and were going to try one last ditch attempt to break through to the Zafara
that was causing all this trouble.
"No way," Sakuko said, standing, "They can't."
"They can and will, apparently," I said dully.
"But -- you've already decided to do something!"
"I doubt it's what they have in mind."
"We can't just let them go through with this!
"Their necks on the line; not mine."
"Kiddo! Stop this. Whatever happened to your
duty as Guardian of Neopia, huh?"
"Now, these faeries are about to get their pretty
little behinds firmly planted into the dirt cause we all know that Aldrai is
drawing more power than any sane creature would dare. And you're just going
to sit there and let this happen?"
I studied the carpet, trying to pretend everyone's
eyes weren't on me. It wouldn't matter what the faeries did after tonight. Nothing
would matter after tonight. But perhaps Sabreur was right. I was still the Essence
of Neopia and I still had a responsibility to uphold.
I stood and summoned my spear to hand.
"Alright. Let's go join the fight of the century.
Which side shall we be on?" I asked.
"Our own," Melody said grimly, "Right in the
middle. As usual."
We took my buggy to get to the castle. The massive
amount of weaponry bristling off it ensured that I could drive 90+ mph all the
way there without anyone stopping or getting in my way.
"I thought you added all this to make sure she
doesn't get in any more accidents," Infernus said tersely from the back seat.
"Yep. And do you see any buggies getting remotely
"That's cause we're going too fast for them
to keep up."
I ignored the two and concentrated on my driving.
We reached the staging grounds right as the
faeries were falling into line.
"Fools," I snarled, leaping out of the vehicle
and slamming the door behind me.
A vast amount of pets and humans blocked my
way to the faeries.
"Move it!" I cried, summoning my spear, "I said:
A couple people looked over and then quickly
dropped aside, startled at that sight of me and my family bristling with weapons.
I ran across the field to the very barrier edge of Aldrai's shield. Right in
between the faeries and him.
Fyora was there. She glared at me from the forefront
of the faeries. Not a dark Faerie. was present.
"I told you no one messes with family," I said
My brother and Infernus moved to stand on either
side of me. Soon Netsuko and Sakuko were also there, along with MoonFall and
Melody with her two pets. Padiglione was missing and I could dimly see the baby
Kougra slumped over near the buggy.
"We've got to stop him," she said, glancing
up at the tower roof.
"I know what he's doing and I'm going to stop
him myself," I retorted sharply.
"You've already made it quite clear that you're
not going to harm your pet!"
"There are other ways!" I cried, "This need
not end in violence!"
"I think it's way past the time for talking,"
she retorted, "You should know that better than anyone."
I held my ground. Time to play the trump card.
"You kill Aldrai," I said slowly, "And his spell
rebounds. I think you can figure out what happens then."
The faeries shifted uncomfortably behind Fyora.
"Which makes me glad you're here then, child_dragon,"
the Faerie. Queen said, unperturbed, "You can catch the spell and keep it from
rebounding onto everyone else."
"You're just using her?!" Sakuko cried.
"If she won't act, we will."
"I told you 'I will stop him myself!'"
But they weren't listening anymore. Fyora rose
into the air and started chanting. The faeries followed suit. I bit my lip and
watched. Then a crackling like lightning flashed across the barrier. The magic
vanished. The faeries had done nothing.
I turned towards the castle. Aldrai was hovering
in mid-air, power glowing about him. He had disabled the barrier himself. My
Zafara was to join the battle.
"No!" I cried, leaping into the air.
I felt hands grab me and I stumbled and fell
back, my takeoff interrupted.
"No, Kiddo, stay back," Sabreur grunted.
"Let me go!"
"No, he's got a point," Melody said worriedly,
"You don't want to be caught in this."
"He's gone nova," my brother said.
I paused and felt the currents of magic. Fyora
and her faeries had something going on. A spell of all the elements except for
darkness, directed at Aldrai. And Aldrai just hovered there, gathering more
and more strands of light to him. I could not tell what he was doing but the
more I watched the more I realized Melody had a point. Something very bad was
about to happen and I did not want to be caught up in it.
The faeries released their spell. The sky exploded
in brilliant colors, a conflagration of magic centered on my Zafara But before
the spell hit him Aldrai pulled. The threads of light in the Faerie's spell
were torn out and gathered around Aldrai, joining his already amassed power.
The Faerie's spell fell apart then, missing the strands of light holding it
together. And it rebounded right back onto the casters.
The faeries were violently thrown back. Over
half simply fell from the air and did not move. Fyora herself collapsed and
for a moment did not move. But then she shakily stood, her wings visibly trembling.
"What… what happened?" MoonFall asked in a tiny
"He ripped the fabric of their spell apart.
Just like that," I said in an awed voice, "He really is rewriting the laws of
magic and physics."
"Are they okay?" Melody asked, watching the
"They should be. Unconscious, hurt, and beaten,
but they'll recover," I replied.
Fyora gave me one last glance before tending
to her fallen subjects. I saw nothing but defeat in her eyes. She had no hope
in me. I didn't blame her.
To be continued...