Of Scars and Sunbeams
Another scrap of shadow flew upwards and hit the ceiling.
A few seconds later it fell again, coming unstuck like a badly tossed pancake.
Elenna speared another on her horn, flinging
it out of her way as she thundered down the third set of stairs.
Perilo swung her sword at a passing Golem, Lu
clinging to her middle. "This isn't working! We've got to find Waterlily fast
or we're going to have casualties on our hands!"
"Yeah, us! We're dead meat if we don't…" Luaunoau
trailed off, then grabbed Elenna's mane and hauled back hard. "Stop! Stop! Go
that way! The shadowy way!"
Skidding to a dead halt, hooves slipping on the
polished floor, the Uni back peddled and shot for the darker passage. A Shadow
Golem reared from the darkness quicker than she could react to, slashing her
side as she passed. The deep cut quickly turned a poisonous shade of green and
Elenna stumbled suddenly, stars exploding behind her eyes. It was only the momentum
of her charge that carried all three of them crashing through an ironbound door
and tumbling down the stairs behind it.
There was a moment of quiet darkness. Then, in
the patient tone of someone who had been singing for a long, long time and was
going to keep on going all day if she had to, a voice rang out.
"And if ONE green bottle, should accidentally
fall, there'd be six green bottles, hanging on the wall."
Elenna tried to focus in the darkness, and failed
"Hey, you're here already? I've still got a
six-pack! Never mind, just get me down, will you?" The Ixi twisted her body
to see her sister better. "You know, Elenna, you don't look so good."
"Understatement of the century," Perilo quipped,
glancing up the stairs. "Why aren't there Golems tearing us apart right about
"They won't come in here. They're afraid of
me. Will you let me down, please; I've got back pain from hanging up here so
long. Plus I think Elenna might appreciate me healing her."
"Sure." Lu drew her gun and blasted the chains,
causing Waterlily to fall several feet and land with a depressingly loud thud.
There was a long and painful silence before she managed to force out a rather
Waterlily finally managed to drag herself across
the floor and examine Elenna a few seconds later. "Yep, thought so, Shadow Essence.
Typical of Anuina, really, poisoning her Golems. She has no regard for longevity.
This won't take a second." Placing both hooves on the Uni's damaged side, Waterlily
closed her eyes for a few moments. Just when Perilo was about to ask what on
Neopia she was doing, Elenna GLITTERED.
"Where am I?"
"That's a good sign." The Ixi pulled her hooves
back and looked at her handiwork. The wound had gone. "Hey, sis, good to see
Elenna sat up, blinked twice, and flung her hooves
around Waterlily in a bone-crushing hug.
"YOU," she barked. "Are the single MOST stupid,
MOST reckless, MOST annoying, LUCKIEST little Ixi in the whole of Neopia. Thank
sky you're my sister!"
"That's nice." Perilo raised her eyebrows. "But
can we please get GOING now?"
"Sure thing." Waterlily leapt to her feet. A
globe of pure sunlight sparked into life between her hooves and she carefully
balanced it on top of her head. "This should deal with the Golems." She explained,
creating three more and passing them around. "It's a little something I picked
up when I should have been studying."
* * * * *
Nightwing wheeled and flung the dagger randomly into the darkness.
There was a loud clang of metal on metal, and then three swords surrounded the
Shoyru in a web of steel.
"You SO should not have done that."
Kunila didn't look quite so cute with two blades
practically wrapped around Nightwing's neck. Fabialla almost fell backwards
when Hina's dagger swung under her chin.
"Hold it, dude and dudette, or you're like,
gonna be missing a head."
Keeragh pulled the knife out of his shield and
casually flung it at the remains of the Blackstone Golem, where it stuck and
quivered ominously. Nightwing hissed loudly.
"Fools," he spat. "You think you can harm me
with mere steel?" flinging up both paws suddenly, he yelled a word that was,
perhaps thankfully, lost in the sudden roar. A wave of darkness shot out from
him in all directions, flattening all four pets and the remains of the Golem.
With the sound of a whip crack and a small, melodramatic puff of purple smoke,
the Shoyru vanished.
"Hmm." Fabialla was the first to sit up. Several
months of living with a Faerie and two powerful sorcerers had given her a surprising
resistance to magic. "Wave of darkness. Three hundred and sixty degree coverage.
He's better than I thought."
Hina dragged himself to his paws, wavering slightly,
and swung his dagger to face a point several feet to the left of the Uni.
"Erm, I'm over here. Are you ok?"
"Fine, dudette," he mumbled, as she helped the
other two to their feet. Keeragh squinted at her through the green lenses of
"Hang on a minute, you're that Uni who was with
the Sharks that killed Malania!" Fabialla reared back again as the Eyrie swung
his sword back. "Give me one reason why I shouldn't kill you."
"Because I'm on your side," she replied. "I
know where the last piece of the Spectrum is, I know where Waterlily is, and
I have this." She held up a small amulet. "Which I palmed off Benjy when he
made the mistake of leaning over. It controls the Blackstone Golems," she explained.
"I dropped the Orb of Storms so your Peophin friend could smash it, I tried
to stop the Sharks, I really did… and I can bring Malania back."
"That," Hina replied. "Is one darn good list
"You can bring Malania BACK?" Keeragh lowered
his sword, looking incredulous. Fabialla nodded quickly, pulling out a string
of what looked like spherical silver beads.
"These are souls. Benjy has been hoarding them.
Malania is here, and so is a Shoyru Chrissy used to know, and…" she stared at
the floor. "And my sister and owner."
"I thought you were hurt," Kunila frowned. "You
were hurt, weren't you? Weren't you? You went all still and funny. You weren't
"I…" Fabialla was briefly thrown by this sudden
change in the subject, but frowned when she realised what he was talking about.
"I thought I broke my back. I must have been wrong."
"Ah, no, you did… sort of…" Keeragh shuffled
his paws nervously. Hina raised one eyebrow.
"It's my Faerie gift, alright!" the Eyrie exploded.
"I didn't know who she was, I just knew that she was hurt and… OK, I CAN HEAL
PEOPLE. Tell everyone, why don't you."
"That's cool!" Hina grinned. "Why don't you
"It's humiliating to explain that you've got
some sappy do-gooder's gift. Are we going to go help the others or what?" Keeragh
turned on the Fire Uni, breathing hard through his beak.
"You're right." Fabialla leapt to her feet.
"We've got to get Chrissy the last piece of the Spectrum. Follow me!"
* * * * *
"Face it, spirits." Anuina began circling with an evil grin. "You're
all going to die. This little wretch you've enslaved is going to die. Her little
friends are going to die. I think I might actually enjoy this, after all the
trouble they've caused me."
Immacolata, fighting back to back with Ramei,
took a chance and lunged for Anuina. She merely cackled, flinging out one hand.
The ground underneath them both leapt suddenly and the two pets were flung back
into a wall of Darkfire Golems.
You've really messed this up, haven't you? I
pointed out quietly, inside my own head. The reply was, quite predictably: Shut.
"You know," Ramei pointed out calmly, as he
grabbed Immacolata by the ears and somersaulted over the heads of the Golems.
"Who'da thought that all those tricks I learnt fighting Sharks might come in
handy one day when my life actually was at stake."
"Right now, I'm rather more concerned about
the state of my ears," Immacolata replied, skewering one particularly aggressive
Golem. "I think you almost pulled them off my head."
Anuina lunged sharply. The thing that had once
been me raised the Spectrum, fending off her attack in a swirl of blades that
barely missed decapitating her. They were holding back. If they killed Anuina,
they would be destroyed. If they didn't kill Anuina, they wouldn't be destroyed.
It's kinda what I would call a lose-lose draw.
The Faerie closed again, and this time they couldn't
defend what had been my body well enough. The sword slipped through, only a
little, but it slashed a line of fire across what had been my forehead.
Ooh, that's gonna scar. It's gonna look real
strange if my eyebrow doesn't grow back over it.
Shut. Up. They replied, raising what had been
my eyes to a sudden flurry of movement near the ceiling.
Something, a stone, maybe, skittered across the
floor. Every muscle was shoved into overdrive as the spirits flung my body across
the stone with a sound like a dozen bruises being formed. One hand shot out,
reaching for the small purple gem with desperation…
I am SO going to have to buy a new pair of gloves
after this, I thought.
What had been my fingers closed around it. Twisting
sharply, the stone was pressed into the slight indent at the centre of the Spectrum.
There was nothing so melodramatic as a flash
of light, but all of a sudden, there were five voices where there had once been
"Well well, Anuina. I suppose this means
you are going to die anyway. What a pity."
Her face turned ugly and she flung back her head
to shriek at the Fire Uni hovering near the ceiling. "YOU! WHY? YOU STUPID UNI,
I SHOULD HAVE KILLED YOU WHEN I…"
The spirits forced what had been my body to its
feet, flinging it at her in a frenzied attack. The sword was sent spinning across
the floor; the shaft of the Spectrum hit the back of her knees with an ugly
noise. On her hands and knees, the blade was swung under Anuina's chin, tilting
her head back so the spirits could see into her eyes.
"Finally, after so long… we owe you a great
deal, Anuina, though we doubt you meant to help us in this way… we will finally
In my minds voice, I said something that can't
be repeated here and dug my metaphorical heels in.
They were going to kill her anyway. I was doomed.
If Anuina died and the spirits were freed, I'd be destroyed in the after burn.
I knew it with absolute certainty.
There was a sudden burst of light, like a sunbeam,
that obliterated the Darkfire Golems like light obliterates shadow. Black Waterlily,
precious Black Waterlily, thundered into the hall at full speed.
"WAIT! NO! CHRISSY, DON'T!"
The sight of her, my first pet, which I had raised
and protected through everything life had flung at us for a year, gave me strength.
I flung myself back in control of my body with every ounce of self-control I
The blade of the Spectrum lowered. I looked around,
myself again, and saw Neopets. Not just Neopets. Waterlily, Immacolata, Elenna,
Hina, Ramei, Perilo, Lu, Keeragh, Kunila, and even the Fire Uni whom I didn't
know at all. My friends, my family. People who had put themselves on the line
to save me.
~*>What are you doing? KILL HER! FREE US!
Almost a plea. They were as helpless as I was.
They had been alone and lost for so long…
Leave. Leave now, and never come back. Get out
of my head and leave us alone.
~*>Just like that?<*~/>
Just like that.
And then they were gone. No drama. No flashes
of light. No special effects. They were just gone.
I dropped the Spectrum to the floor, turning
to look at Anuina again. "Goodbye, Anuina. I hope I never see you again." Then,
after a pause. "Try getting a pet of your own. It helps, believe me."
Then I just walked away. Walked away, scooping
up Waterlily into my arms when she dissolved into happy tears, and looked at
the pets clustered around me.
"Immacolata, take us home."
To be continued...