You do not find your destiny, your destiny finds you.
Keagn stared blankly into his mug of Borovan, watching
the brown liquid swirl gently. The Christmas Scorchio on the couch in front
of him just stared, expressionless.
He had only woken up an hour ago, and when he
saw four strange faces looking down at him, waiting for him to wake up, he had
panicked. Two of the pets -- a Gelert and a Buzz -- had to pin him to a wall
while a Christmas Scorchio explained everything.
"Who are you, what is this? WHERE'S KITTY?!"
"Calm down, you're fine. Maybe a headache,
but otherwise in perfect health."
"No, I'm not fine, you jerk!"
"No need for name calling. Now settle down,
and let me explain."
"I found you near Frozen Falls, out cold.
This was lying next to you."
"A sedative dart?"
"Oh, Fyora. They have Kat."
"I took the liberty of bringing you to our
Neohome. My name is Flame. These morons are Bahamut, Torpedo, and WarBlade.
Now, if you don't mind, who are you?"
Keagn had told him. Not just who he was, but
everything. Now, he had just finished his story, and was waiting for a reply.
"I know… you don't believe me."
Flame, who rarely smiled, grinned amusedly.
"Kid, I've seen miracles with my own eyes. I'll
believe anything, including your story."
Keagn's face brightened.
"So you'll help me?"
"I can try."
Keagn breathed a sigh of relief.
"Thanks, man. But… we'd need some kind of Spaceship
to get there, and they don't exactly have day rentals on that sort of thing."
The Scorchio thought for a moment, and then his
face brightened with the prospect of an idea.
"Do you believe in urban legends?" he said,
grinning mysteriously. Keagn raised an eyebrow, and then nodded slowly.
"Good. Then this might not sound as crazy as
Vai was huddled in the corner of the room, near the glass wall. She hugged
her knees, and bent her head into them. She didn't know how long she had been
in the blank room, but her guess was anywhere between 6 hours and 2 days. Vai
wondered if she had been forgotten…
At that moment, the "seamless" wall adjacent
to her began to open.
Vai said nothing as the two Grundos in starched
lab coats entered the room, one holding a clipboard. They approached slowly,
as if Vai would jump and bite them if they were too confident.
Of course, she wanted to, but knew better.
"Easy now, Higgins," one whispered to the other,
"We don't want to spook her."
Spook her? Vai ground her teeth. They acted as
if she was a skittish Whinny instead of an Aisha. Vai slid back against the
wall, and was ready to kick the first one who came within range.
They smiled. "Don't try it, missy. If you do
anything we don't like, little Katanya has a fatal accident."
Vai snarled, "You wouldn't dare."
The Grundo called Higgins gave a wry smile and
said, "Oh, wouldn't we? Care to test us?"
Vai knew they might be bluffing. But it wasn't
worth the risk. She hung her head, defeated, and mumbled, "fine, no trouble".
The Grundos led her outside.
One look outside the cell, and she had no more
doubts about where she was. The hallways lined with cheap carpeting and tacky
photographs of Sloth, it was Virtupets all right. She continued her defeated
air, but in reality she was formulating a plan. Or rather, lots of plans, each
one more impossible than the next. But Vai wasn't going to give up yet; not
as long as there was hope for Katanya.
As they walked, Vai wondered where they were
taking her. And why had she been imprisoned in the first place?
They continued on to a door on the inner wall,
carved out of solid oak. A gold plaque next to it read:
Room 345, sector 558-24
Off limits unless under special orders from DFS
The Grundo called Higgins pressed his thumb
on a gel scanner near the door, and the oak portal opened on well-oiled hinges.
The two scientists ushered Vai inside, and slammed the door.
She had to blink for a minute, before her eyes
became adjusted to the darkness. The only light in the whole room came from
a fire flickering in the grate of an old and beautiful hearth. Dancing shadows
brought Vai's attention to two huge armchairs in the center of the room, and
other items that made the whole place look like something out of the house of
a reclusive millionaire. Excluding the addition of a very unfriendly-looking
mutant Grundo by the door.
The chairs were turned away from her, towards
the fire. They appeared empty, until a hand reached out from behind one, beckoning
Vai to come over.
It was green.
"Hello Anevai. Please, have a seat."
Cautiously, Vai pushed a lock of hair away from
her face, moved towards the chair and sat down. It was surprisingly comfortable.
She put her hands on the armrests, and leant back. Despite everything else,
this chair made Vai feel better, in a guilty sort of way. Then, metal cuffs
zipped from slats on the armrests, holding her to the chair. She gasped, and
tried to wriggle free, but they merely tightened their hold on her wrists.
"You like the chair? I had it specially made,
just for you."
Vai turned to face the speaker, and felt her
heart fall into her stomach.
Cruel black eyes leered at her, languishing in
victory. Mottled green skin surrounded them, set off by a vindictive slash of
Even after the Tyrannian, Space, and Lost Desert
wars, Dr. Sloth hadn't changed at all.
"You…" Vai managed to choke out, after the original
shock had worn out and been replaced by hatred. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH KATANYA?!"
Sloth shrugged, still smirking.
"Oh, you mean the little Alien Aisha? I'm not
"Not SURE? Isn't that why you've been chasing
us, hunting my family for weeks?"
Sloth laughed, a mirthless noise that sent a
shiver down Vai's spine.
"You think we've been after her all this time?
My dear Anevai, she is just a simple alien Aisha, with nothing extraordinary
about her at all."
Vai was dumbstruck.
Sloth rose, moving to stand in front of the fire.
"Is it not your birthday today? Turning 16?"
Vai stared at him for a moment, and then nodded
"Ah, then my scientists were correct. I'll have
to give them a pay raise."
Sloth grabbed a pair of tongs from next to the
grate, and stoked the flames. Using them, he picked up a white hot bit of coal
from the center of the fire, and brought it around.
"You are a very special girl, Vai. A special
girl with special abilities. These abilities must be unlocked."
He waved the coal over to Vai, near the back
of her right hand. She shrank back, feeling the dangerous heat radiating against
"Sorry, but this will hurt you a lot more than
it will hurt me."
Sloth pressed the coal onto the back of Vai's
Ex-Princess Feridiah of Meridell was looking at dresses in her favorite boutique,
her attendant Laiyai waiting patiently next to her as she shopped. Feridiah
paused to admire a particularly frilly ice blue number, when a needle of pain
shot down her arm. She yipped, and stared at the back of her hand where a bright
blue rune had appeared. A teardrop, quartered by a cross…
She noticed Laiyai giving her a funny look, and
she immediately turned back to the dresses. It probably wasn't anything,
she thought, with a little soap and water, it'll come right off…
"No, Luigi! Candles aren't for eating!"
Cerune, a gold Zafara, grabbed the candle away
from her little brother. Too many, she thought, it's too many, and too much.
Four account worth of brothers and sisters… it's not fair. Momma, please come
She dropped the candle all of a sudden when a
surge of white-hot agony exploded on her hand. She whimpered and rubbed the
tender skin. Cerune noticed a strange white mark visible on her golden fur,
and upon closer inspection discerned the shape of a five-pointed star…
The sound of heavy rock music emanated from Akaku's garage. Akaku, a Fire Shoyru,
was playing a new song with his band, Fat Tuesday. His hands slid up and down
the neck of his guitar with practiced ease, until he suddenly stopped and fell
to the floor, clutching his wrist.
"Stop playing, dude, stop!"
The drummer, a Gelert named BellaLune, rushed
over and helped him up.
"Akaku, are you okay?"
The Shoyru nodded, still wincing. Bella looked
at the back of his hand, where a red shape like a trident was visible.
"Whoa, man. Maybe you should get that checked.
I've never noticed it before."
"Yeah," Akaku mumbled, "neither have I."
Keagn rubbed the back of his hand, massaging the tender skin where the strange
violet shape had appeared only seconds before. It was shaped like a calligraphic
"h" with a horizontal slash through the stem. He tried rubbing it off on his
parka, but it wouldn't give.
"Keagn, what's the problem?"
"Nothing, nothing," he muttered, "just hurt
Flame raised an eyebrow, but went back to the
"So… that's my plan, but it'll take at least
a day to get to central by PteriiAir, if they still have tickets. And this is
only assuming they're in Virtupets."
Keagn sighed. What Flame had just told him sounded
even crazier than his own story, but it was their only chance of getting to
Katanya and his sister in time.
"We need a Faerie miracle to help us now, Flame,
if I even have a prayer of helping them. Something like a…"
Keagn shot up. Flame gave him an amused look.
"Don't tell me…"
But Keagn was already out the door.
To be continued...