"Fuzzles are gonna eat me Fuzzles are gonna eat me Fuzzles
are gonna eat me…"
Keeragh dropped the edge of the space blanket
with a sigh. He had just about given up on trying to get the Kougra out from
under the bed. Ramei flicked his tail with a bored expression, leaping off the
top bunk. "Come on, we ought to go see Chrissy."
"Typical." The Island Eyrie padded at
his side as they headed for the Bridge. "All this way and it turns out Kunila
is scared of Evil Fuzzles."
Frend leapt onto Keeragh's shoulder with
a 'Meep'. The Eyrie stroked the unusual Gallion's head gently. "Been terrorising
Elenna's Neca again, have you?"
"Oh, that reminds me!" Ramei jumped. "Elenna
wanted me to help her make a list of the spaceship's inventory!" He darted down
a nearby corridor, then skidded to a halt and ran back. "Oh, and by the way,
tell Frend to leave off that Snowbunny, will you? Elenna gets angrier than a
hibernating Usul every time she finds it hiding in the cupboard, quivering,
and we might need you to help us do a map later. We're working on a new RPG!"
Keeragh watched the Black Eyrie sprint
off back down the corridor with a mystified expression, and then continued walking
towards the bridge with Frend chasing his tail.
The Starborne was another of HQ's spaceships.
It was a lot smaller than the Archangel, conveniently big enough for a crew
of sixteen, and only Scout-Class. The cabins were small, the bunks were uncomfortable
and you could only get recycled water that tasted like there had been half a
dozen Cubett swimming in it (And depending on what was in the fish tank, that
was sometimes true). It was, however, the fastest vehicle available. The Bridge
was probably the second biggest room in the entire ship. The doors swooshed
open with the obligatory noise and Keeragh trotted up next to me. "How long
I frowned. "Only a few hours. How are Immacolata
and the Kougra Twins doing with the X-Scrub 4000?"
"They say that when they're finished,
it's gonna purr, but I don't see why it should." The X-Scrub 4000 was a Walkerbot,
and the best we could get on short notice. Our technically minded crewmembers
had stripped it down and started upgrading it the moment our two-day journey
The bridge was much emptier that it should
have been. Usually, the Captain, Pilot, Navigator, Transmissions Officer and
Bridge Engineer would have been here 24-7, but now there was only me, White,
Shift and Midnight. Midnight was the leader of the HQ Space Corps and Admiral
of our Starfleet. Currently, our Starfleet numbered two. Midnight was a Shadowed
Gelert with mirror-like eyes. He was an excellent pilot, but solemnly quiet
and never got the joke. We'd got along by mutually disliking each other.
"We better go down there." I patted Frend
when he affectionately tried to chew my leg off. White and Shift nodded and
followed us, but Midnight remained fixed on the controls of the Starborne.
* * * * *
Immacolata swept a spare strand of hair behind one ear with a sigh,
dropping her screwdriver into a toolbox. The Walkerbot looked considerably more
battered than it had done. "We're done. Admittedly, it doesn't look the best,
but it has a larger shield and smartbomb capacity, better weaponry, more effective
radar and two advanced repair droids. There's only one slight problem."
The rest of the crew had gravitated to
the Hold, all except Midnight and Kunila, who was still quivering. Shadow had
accompanied us as Weapons Officer, and had just finished loading plasma packs
into the Walkerbot's weapons system. Luna gave the paintwork a last, pointless
polish, and then padded up to me with a grim expression. "We're gonna have a
bit of trouble finding a pilot."
"These bots were designed for Grundos,"
Solar appeared from underneath the Walkerbot, with a smudge of oil on her nose.
Her sister finished the sentence.
"They average around forty two centimetres
"But we've upgraded…"
"All that extra capacity had to go somewhere."
"So, FYI, we need a pilot who's got a
"And is about thirty centimetres tall."
Glancing around the room, I sighed hopelessly.
"There isn't anybody! Perilo's got hooves, she can't operate the controls…"
"What about me?" Shift frowned. I just
raised my eyebrows. "Toss me that screwdriver, then."
It landed about four feet short and six
feet to the left, narrowly missing giving White a concussion.
"Okay, I've got the aim of a herring.
"You see? We're doomed."
"Oi! When someone clears their throat
repeatedly, right, it means they got something to say!"
Elenna turned around, and grinned suddenly.
"LU! Of course!"
The Kyrii shrugged. "Whatever. How does
this thing work?"
Luna helped her into the Walkerbot. "Very
easily. Aim and fire."
"Good luck." Solar added, closing the
glass canopy. "You're going to need it…"
* * * * *
"Right. Remind me why I'm doing this."
Luaunoau adjusted the earpiece nervously.
Lucky for us, when the Kyrii got nervous, she also got angry. Very angry. And
it only seemed to improve her aim.
"We're all depending on you. So no pressure."
Ramei grinned at her through the view screen. She smiled back grimly, checking
her status display for the fifteenth time. Midnight flickered up on the second
"We're going to drop you as near as we
can to entry hatch B17. That's the closest we can get without risking serious
damage." The Gelert's voice was his typical growl, but on this occasion there
was a touch of concern. "The Fuzzles have eaten right through the space station,
so don't try and take them on in the tunnels. Stay on the surface and head towards
the Archangel, the nearest entry hatch is E22."
"We've plugged your Walkerbot with all
the right codes." Luna flared into life on screen three. "So just get inside
the Archangel's docking bay and you'll be alright." "She's got a titanium and
admantium alloy hull." Solar added, shoving her sister to one side. "The Fuzzles
can't get in, but they're all over her. We'll tell you what to do when you get
Midnight took over yet again. "I'll be
operating the drop mechanism, so at least THAT will be on target. It does mean
we have to suffer with Chrissy's flying."
"Oi." I activated screen four from my
position on the bridge. "You just hang on to your ears, Old Dog, you won't know
what's hit you."
"Knowing you, probably a mine."
"WILL YOU ALL JUST SHUT UP AND LET ME
PILOT THIS THING?"
There was a long pause. "Sure thing, Lu."
Ramei gave her a thumbs-up as the screens faded to black. "Good luck! Shoot
a couple of Fuzzles for me, won't you?"
The Kyrii didn't reply. She was staring
ahead blankly, fingers drawn tight around the controls. This was going to be
a rough ride.
Immacolata peered over my shoulder as I
brought the Starborne down in a wide swoop that would take us within feet of
the space station's Fuzzle-ridden surface. They rose up to meet us like a cloud
of red and black, constantly shifting as the individual Fuzzles moved. I hit
the comm. button a little harder than I intended to. "Midnight! Lu! GO!"
The hatches opened, and I caught sight
of Lu's Walkerbot touching down gently onto the torn metal in one of my rear
cameras. Meanwhile, we had Fuzzle problems. I hauled the controls back, slamming
most of the crew to the floor with G-force at my sudden turn, and hit the Fuel
Dump switch. Generally, emptying one of the fuel tanks while the engines were
running was not a good idea, but in this situation the after-burn neatly incinerated
the large swarm of Fuzzles attempting to follow us. Lu was on her own.
And surprisingly enough, panicking.
Luaunoau shot a smartbomb into the centre
of a particularly dense patch of Fuzzle activity and revved the throttle a LOT
more that was necessary. Anything that was unlucky enough to get in her way
was very quickly blasted into oblivion. For those who didn't know, a panicking
Kyrii is a vicious Kyrii, and Lu had a mean streak as wide as Faerieland.
She thundered along the curved metal shell
of the station, raising clouds of angry Fuzzles from the tunnels behind her.
The distance meter was clicking over with disturbing speed. Six hundred… five
hundred… four hundred…
Three hundred feet from the Archangel,
Lu slammed the brakes on. An impenetrable wall of Fuzzles rose up in front of
her. There was no way through, except…
'Don't try and take them on in the tunnels'.
That was what Midnight had told her. Of course, he also hadn't told her what
to do when there were over thirty thousand animated balls of fluff intent on
destroying her Walkerbot surrounding her completely.
Dropping the aim of her gun, Lu revolved
quickly, sinking charges into the metal that formed a burnt and blistered circle
around her. Unfortunately, thanks to the lack of gravity, it lacked the classic
comic book effect. Still, it moved enough for her to worm the Walkerbot into
the tunnels and start off thundering along the metal passageways.
The corridors didn't run strait, and she
was taking a lot of damage from Fuzzles that floated in at the edges, where
she couldn't shoot them. Abruptly, Luaunoau hit a dead end. No way through.
She was doomed.
Then, suddenly, she sat bolt upright and
her eyes crossed. With a flash of inspiration, she KNEW.
"Heh heh heh," the Kyrii cackled. Then,
with feeling, she added. "Oh, Krawps."
Wheeling around, she blasted the access
panel open and sent every smartbomb she had left howling down the narrow service
tunnel to whatever was at the end. Even though the inside of the Walkerbot was
horribly cramped, Lu ducked. It was instinctive.
Luckily, or perhaps not so luckily, what
was at the end of the service tunnel was the main fuel reserves.
Rumour has it the afterglow took three
days to fade. I don't know. I was more concerned with the fact that Midnight
had me cleaning crispy fried Fuzzle dust off the Starborne for weeks afterwards.
The blast knocked Lu back to the surface,
sheets of flame roaring around the tiny metal capsule. The tongues of fire burned
away the shields as fast as she could load them, until she finally settled on
slamming her fist onto the 'Shield' button and keeping it there. When the explosion
subsided, the Walkerbot was able to limp its way towards the Archangel, with
not a Fuzzle in sight.
Inside the ship at last, Luaunoau wriggled
out of the Walkerbot, took two steps… and collapsed.
"Come on, Lu, almost there." Luna buzzed
in her ear. Solar finished the instruction. "Find the Bridge. It should be four
floors up from where you are, there's probably a service lift."
Somehow, the Kyrii managed to drag herself
into the lift, and then slither back out again when it reached the bride. Plonking
herself down in the pilot's chair, she watched three small, bedraggled Fuzzles
creeping away from the ship as quickly as possible.
"Right, what do I do now?" She mumbled.
Luna replied encouragingly.
"Just press the little flashing button.
I'm already trying to remote pilot her."
"This little button?" When Solar gave
an affirmative, Lu hit it.
"Wait! NO! NOOOO! Don't press that button!
Don't press that button!"
There was a long silence. Finally, with
the air of the eternally exhausted, Lu sighed. "Luna?"
There was another long silence. Finally,
the Kougra's voice mumbled out of her earpiece. "I was only having a joke. Lighten
the tension a little."
"Right." Luaunoau watched as the ship
began to draw away. "Is that it? All you want me to do?"
"Good, because I'm gonna faint now." And,
just to prove her point, she did.
"Immacolata, I sure hope you know what you're doing."
We stared blankly at the tangle of wires
that resembled nothing more than a plate of spaghetti. Almost every control
panel in Engineering had been opened, and the thick ropes of multicoloured wires
unravelled, snipped and joined together again in a huge Spyder's web that filled
the entire room. At what could, given the circumstances, PROBABLY be called
the centre sat Immacolata's battered laptop, quietly leaking a mixture of sand
and seawater. The Blue Aisha to which it belonged was darting between one nodule
of electronics and the next, making constant adjustments that no one understood
Luna and Solar trotted through the doors.
"Right, you lot follow us." Solar grinned. Luna also bared her sparkling white
"Time for a briefing."
"And you lot have got to get kitted out."
"You can't storm a Faerie's castle unarmed,
The Archangel boasted a large and impressive
armoury, which Shadow and White had been pouring over for several hours. We
managed, after a few minutes, to pry Immacolata away from her circuitry, and
joined them there for a few last minute instructions.
"Okay, first off, we want you all in constant
communication." White selected a small capsule and slid a pair of tiny metal
discs out. "One picks up, one receives. They're magnetic… just put one on either
side of your ear and they'll snap together."
"Hey, I have a pair of these at home."
I added, "After about an hour, they really kill your lobes."
Luna produced a small device on Velcro
straps. "We took a leaf out of Immacolata's book."
"It's a tracker." Solar explained, strapping
it to my arm. "Slightly more sophisticated that shampoo"
"Should pick up any Neopets within the
area. Members of your team show up green, hostiles red, plus Waterlily will
be a little blinky blue dot. Cute, huh?"
"Wow," I replied. "You can't get the candy
machine at HQ to work, but you can make an Ixi blink blue. Amazing."
"We also want to monitor your vital statistics."
Shadow stared at the ceiling. "Just in case, you know, something happens…" He
produced a large sheet of acetate, covered with what looked suspiciously like
micro-circuitry. The strips peeled off, like stickers.
"You stick them across the side of your
neck." White explained. "We can monitor your blood pressure, brainwaves, oxygen
levels, even how much caffeine you've had."
"Now, the moment you've all been waiting
for!" Shadow flexed his paws. "Armaments!"
"I thought that we should stick with what
we know." The Lupe helped Elenna into her Draik Skin armour, and Shift buckled
the rapier around her neck. "There's also a pair of Silver Uni Boots for you,
Elenna. As well armour and weaponry, we've got Bronze Scorchstones for all of
you, and a couple dozen assorted snowballs, potions, etceteras."
The only thing I'll say against Shadow
is that once he starts lecturing, he doesn't stop. "Now, Hina, mobility seems
to be your thing, so we're not going to weigh you down. You've got your dagger,
but here's a Silver Scorchstone and a Faerie Kougra Totem too. Immacolata, since
you're fighting with a spear, you can afford to layer your defences… I think
a Golden Aisha Helmet and Shield combo will do perfectly. Now, as for you lot…"
He turned to the other pets.
"Firstly, Ramei. You seem to do best with
a trident, so I think an Attack Fork will do the trick. Again, you're fighting
with a reach weapon, so here's an Ultra Eyrie Eye Mask and an Ancient Eyrie
Crest Shield. Keeragh, same for you plus a nice Ancient Eyrie Longsword. Kunila,
I don't know how you do it, but two swords seems to be your niche… A Kougra
Power Sword and a Faerie Kougra Sword gives you a nice arsenal, plus a Silver
Scorchstone like Hina's. Perilo, I've got just the thing. Mighty Peophin Shield,
Helmet and Blade, I think it'll be just up your street. Lu, you've got a touch
for the rapier, and there just isn't a Kyrii weapon to match that… A Super Ice
Sword will have to do, even though it's a bit heavier than you're used to. Since
you're also an excellent shot, I think a Rainbow Gun should do the trick… and
a Silver Scorchstone for you too. Finally, Chrissy." He paused, looking me up
and down. "This is going to be tricky. I think a Silver Scorchstone… and… an
Improved Lightning Beam?"
"Make it two," I replied. "And I've got
the Spectrum, after all."
There was an uneasy shiver all round. Luna
scraped pink spikes out of her eyes. "Well, I think that's it, apart from your
usual bag of tricks." She handed out surprisingly small pouches.
"They're a design we've been working on,"
Solar added eagerly. Luna chipped in again. "Based around the good old fashioned
Bag of Holding…"
"They've got EVERYTHING in them."
"Lock picks. Anti-magic frequency emitters…"
"Demolitions kits. Exo-datology units…"
"Piloting override units. Holographic
"Scanners of many kinds… basically, everything
you could ever want." Solar concluded.
"Including one shot morphing potions?"
I chipped in excitedly. Luna grinned.
"Including one shot morphing potions,
though I don't think you'll get a chance to use them." The Kougra ignored the
fact that I looked crestfallen. White took centre stage again.
"Well, Immacolata, I believe you're almost
finished?" When the Aisha nodded, he cleared his throat nervously. "Well, then…
* * * * *
Nightwing padded despondently into the half demolished throne room.
Anuina had finally burnt her anger out, slumped in her rather battered throne
with a sour expression.
"Well? WHERE ARE THEY?"
"They are currently orbiting Neopia in
a spaceship." The Shoyru replied. The Faerie slammed both fists down on the
arms of her chair with a snarl.
"What about the Fuzzles?"
"They are, somehow, immune."
"WHY WON'T THESE PEOPLE DIE?!?!?!?" She
shrieked, leaping to her feet. "I've tried Dark Sharks, I've tried Imps, and
they've fought off EVERYTHING!!!!!"
Taking several deep breaths, Anuina began
to pace the room. "Tell me, Nightwing, since you're obviously so GOOD at this…
what have we got that is more powerful than Sharks and Imps."
The Shoyru narrowed his grey eyes. "We…
could try… Golems."
"Yes! Of course…" The Faerie began to
cackle. "Darkfire Golems! Shadow Golems! Blackstone Golems! We must begin at
once. THEY will come to US. We will fight them on our own ground and DESTROY
THEM! Come, quickly, Nightwing…"
"There is a slight problem." The Shoyru
took a few steps back, anticipating Anuina's response to the news. Her face
turned utterly sour.
"PROBLEM? WHAT PROBLEM?"
"I am convinced that they have found a
way to enter our Limbo Castle. We do not have much time."
"WELL THEN WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?????
In a dark corner of the hall, hidden behind
a pillar, Fabialla stifled a snigger until both the Faerie and the Shoyru had
left. "Not long now." She whispered. "Not long now, Waterlily."
* * * * *
"Right. When we get there, we split into three groups. Keeragh,
you take Hina and Kunila. Perilo, you go with Lu and Elenna. Ramei, Immacolata,
you're with me."
There were a smattering of nods, but most
pets were too nervous to do much. Immacolata made the last few adjustments.
"Are we ready?" she asked, claws hovering
over the keyboard. I nodded grimly, unwrapping the Spectrum.
"We're ready. Flip the switch."
She rolled her eyes. "It is a little more
complicated that 'flip the switch'." Even though she sounded confident, her
fingers shook slightly as they tapped out the command and the Aisha hit the
enter button so hard it broke in two. "On the count of five. One."
"Good luck!" Solar yelled. "Come back
soon!" Luna added.
"Good on you, Chrissy, come back in one
piece." Shift hit my shoulder. I barely felt it.
"It's been a pleasure working with you
all." Shadow was chewing his claws. White shuffled his paws uncomfortably.
"I concur. If, I mean, when you come back,
if any of you fancy a further career in HQ, I'd be happy to have you."
I held one hand over the Spectrum. I could
feel the spirits, like an evil presence, just under my fingertips.
"Lets go," I whispered, and closed my
hand around the shaft.
It's a little hard to describe what using Platform +/- Infinity feels like.
It looked like the inside of your eyelids
when you've just been smacked round the head with a fluorescent purple strobe
light. It smelt like stepping out of a pleasantly air-conditioned building into
muggy, damp heat so thick you could cut the air with a knife. It tasted like
the last fifteen seconds before the biggest roller coaster in the amusement
park started, when you knew, with absolute certainty, that you never should
have eaten those four bags of candyfloss beforehand. It sounded like having
every single noise being made in Neopia at that second played backwards, at
full volume, and through a distortion box. It felt most unpleasantly like being
swallowed by a marshmallow full of nails, put through a printing press and then
having every cell in your body carefully examined, tagged and put in a little
box on some dusty shelves in the back of a small museum. Coupled with all this
was the uncomfortable not-quite-experience that your conscious thought was a
funny pattern, like oil on the surface of a puddle, dancing just behind your
Falling two feet and hitting the ground
very hard afterwards was, by comparison, quite a relief.
The mind-numbing trip through Platform
+/- Infinity must have stunned the spirits as much as it had stunned me, because
they were silent for several seconds. Long enough for me to pull myself to my
feet, sling the Spectrum over my shoulders and tack stock of my surroundings.
I like Gothic stuff. I wear black velvet
and long gloves all the time. My favourite T-shirt has a skull on it, albeit
a very cartoony one. I'm even prone to reading Edgar Allen Poe on occasion.
But this castle was just plain tacky.
It was a rather shabby black. What wasn't
black was purple, or dark red. Gargoyles clustered round the top of every pillar
like there had been a world wide mass gargoyle eviction and they'd all decided
to roost here. The windows were all gothic arches. With gargoyles. And Spyder
webs. And black velvet curtains. Black lace had been sewn onto black velvet
that had been overstuffed and used as pillows. There were black lace doilies
on every surface, supporting black vases full of dead flowers. It resembled
nothing less than what would happen if Vira the Acara took over the Coffee Shop.
The other pets disentangled themselves
and got to their feet, paws, fins or hooves. Perilo took one look an overstuffed
black leather chaise lounge with black velvet pillows and a black lace headrest
and snorted loudly.
"Right. Now we've got to stop her, she's
not just a pain in the tail fins, she's a crime against fashion."
"We concur." A shiver went down
my spine as I heard my own voice. I switched my gaze to the tracker quickly.
"It appears there are many floors. Black Waterlily is on the lowest floor.
And there are many enemies. We would assume that the Faerie is where they are
densest, in this large room. "
"Great," Elenna muttered. Besides me,
she was the oldest there, and since I wasn't in a fit state to give orders she
took over. "Right. Immacolata, Ramei, get Chrissy to that Faerie. I'll take
my group left, Keeragh, go right. We'll work our way down to get to Waterlily.
Keep in contact." Then, almost as an afterthought. "Ladies and gentlemen, it's
been a pleasure." She held out her hoof.
"Likewise." Ramei put his paw over it.
The other's followed suit.
"Was nice while it lasted."
"See ya around, dudes and dudettes."
"The best of luck to you all."
"I kinda wish I'd got to know you lot
"It's been fun, everybody."
"Why are you all sounding so miserable?
You aren't miserable, are you? Are you?"
The spirits were kind enough to give me
a few minutes leeway, in which to be myself. I put my hand over the collection
of paws. "I'm sorry I dragged you lot into this."
Elenna just smiled weakly and let me hug
her tight. Immacolata and Hina did the same. I held out my hand and Perilo shook
it. So did Ramei, Luaunoau and Keeragh. Kunila just dove for my stomach and
"Whatever you do," I begged, swinging
the Spectrum into a two handed grip. "Get Waterlily out of here. Don't worry
With that last, slightly morbid note, we
* * * * *
Kunila bounded along the corridor at full tilt. He was totally unprepared
for the huge, lumbering creature that rounded the corner.
Unluckily for the little Kougra, it was
at least twice his size, made entirely of some dark, razor edged crystal. It
was roughly humanoid, with a short sword and a broad shield made out of the
same stone, engraved with vicious looking runes. The whole thing glittered unnervingly
and made a groaning sound, like stone on stone, as it moved. Seeing, or perhaps
sensing, the small creature in front of it, the huge statue raised its sword…
Unluckily for the Golem, Kunila didn't
slow at all. He ran strait up its carved front, leapt off its chest, turned
a double forwards flip, drew his two swords in the same movement and neatly
sliced its head off. He actually hit the ground before the lump of crystal did.
Hina took one look, gulped and ran around
the huge sculpture that was now no more than an inanimate lump of silicate.
"Like, Kunila, dude, slow up! There's probably more of these dudes around!"
Keeragh, panting slightly, padded up in
the rear. "I agree! SLOW. DOWN."
A few seconds later, the Eyrie ran strait
into the two Kougras. "About time! I thought you were never going to sto-…"
he trailed off. The sudden sight of six huge, sword-wielding monoliths surrounding
you can do that to you.
"Aw, come on, we can take 'em!" Kunila
was practically bouncing. Hina just drew his dagger with an expression that
said very, very clearly 'I REALLY don't wanna be here'. Keeragh just shouted.
"Go for the neck!"
* * * * *
Elenna ignored the yell and continued galloping
down the tasteless passage. Lu dug both paws deep into the Uni's mane and shut
her eyes. Perilo, however, wasn't quite so complacent.
"ELENNA! IF YOU DON'T SLOW DOWN I'M GONNA
Of course, you should never say something
like that. For it just so happened that at about that moment, someone chose
to stick his or her foot out.
Luaunoau flew ten feet through the air,
hit the chamber wall and slid slowly, head first, down to the floor. Perilo
simply skittered ungraciously across the floor, struggling to draw her sword.
Elenna, of course, smashed her nose severely on the solid stone floor.
"Maybe it's just because I'm upside down,
right, but it looks to me like those shadows are moving."
"You're right, Lu," Elenna replied, backing
up against the wall and drawing her rapier. "They are moving. They are MOST
"Ah." The Kyrii scrambled into an upright
position, drawing her sword and gun as quickly as she could. Then, quite passionately,
she added. "Oh, Krawps. This had to happen to me."
"There are some stairs over there," Perilo
offered. Elenna narrowed her eyes, squinting through the Shadow Golems.
"Get on my back," she replied, a grim
set to her mouth. "And I'll show you what in Merridell, we call JOUSTING."
* * * * *
Another set of doors was blasted off their hinges with a sudden
explosion of wind and fire. When the dust cleared slightly, a small, darkly
clad figure holding a staff of pure light could be seen.
That was me.
Emphasis on the word 'WAS'.
A sheet of fire roared up in front of us,
with darkness at its centre. The Darkfire Golems rushed to meet us, the hopelessly
inanimate teenager and two small pets wielding pole arms.
What had been me raised one hand and calmly
blasted them into oblivion with a well-placed water spell. Immacolata and Ramei,
guarding my flanks and back, took out the remainder the more traditional way.
She was sitting there, quite calmly, at
the centre of a holocaust. Laughing. A small, detached part of my brain that
was still totally myself noted that if evil Faeries have one weakness, it's
a tendency to sit back and laugh manically when they think they've won.
The Golems just kept on coming. Every few
seconds another Golem, whether Darkfire, Blackstone or Shadow, pulled out from
the maelstrom of magic and either joined the fray or moved away, down the corridors.
I had barely enough of myself left to feel worried about what would happen when
they met my pets.
Even Anuina was surprised with the quite,
unfeeling efficiency with which the spirits kept destroying the Golems. Within
seconds there was nothing between my body and the Faerie except the floor, but
a ring of flame and shadow around us. Immacolata and Ramei, back to back, were
faring much worse.
"You're dead, Anuina," they hissed,
through my body. She just sneered, raising both hands and summoning a blade
of pure energy.
"Actually…" Despite the situation, her
voice was perfectly calm. "I do believe you are. Or at least, you will be. You
see, I do believe you've forgotten something…"
Fire, water, earth, air, light and…
* * * * *
Fabialla was running so fast she could barely see the ground under
"Got. To warn. Waterlily," she panted,
forcing her screaming muscles to carry her a little bit further. "Friends. Here.
Got. To help. Owner."
There was a loud thud. It was a few seconds
before the Uni actually wondered why she wasn't moving anymore.
A few seconds later, she decided it was
because of the huge stone hand pinning her to the floor.
"Well, well, well. I think, sister dear,
that you've been lying to me."
Uh oh, Fabialla thought in an oddly distracted
way, this is not a good thing. You weren't supposed to run into Nightwing yet.
And not being able to feel your back legs isn't going to help. Oh dear.
"Are you listening?" The Shoyru leaned
down so he could look in her eyes. She just blinked sleepily.
"You are listening." He began pacing back
and forth in front of her, carelessly tossing a razor sharp dagger in one paw.
"I don't like being lied to, Deathstrike."
"Meeble." Then, almost automatically,
wriggling under the Golem's grip, she added. "Fabialla."
"What?" Nightwing's voice was pure ice,
but he signalled for the Golem to raise its hand slightly.
"Fabialla. My name's Fabialla, not Deathstrike."
Wow, and my head's actually starting to clear. And I can feel my legs. They
hurt a lot. Wow. I don't think that's supposed to happen when you have a broken
"Your name is Deathstrike. Fabialla is
no more. You left her behind when you came here."
Fabialla shook her head from side to side.
It was like she'd never been hit. Slowly, she raised her head to stare Nightwing
in the eyes, and then shifted her gaze to something behind him.
"I am not going to fall for that old trick,"
the Shoyru sneered.
Something vaguely resembling a rainbow
coloured cannonball shot over his head and buried a dagger in the Blackstone
Golem's neck. Fabialla barely managed to wriggle free in time to avoid being
crushed by a huge lump of stone. Flaring her wings, she wheeled to face her
"What trick?" The Uni quipped, as innocently
as she could manage. Nightwing swung his dagger to point at her throat, suddenly
"I am going to kill you."
"No you aren't," Fabialla replied, looking
over his head again. "BENJY."
To be continued...