Neofaerie waited until his little sister had
finished licking her Chocolate Éclair Paste tube clean before asking Neoangel,
"restored enough energy yet?"
The Zafara nodded and made to stand up, but suddenly
she stiffened. She gripped the edge of her stool grimly.
"What is it?" asked Neofaerie.
"I sense dark magic again," she murmured, "but
I don't understand… unless…"
As if a light had flickered on in her mind, Neoangel
dashed to the side of the space station. A large, glass window ring circled
the entire spacecraft. She peered through, and she could just make out a figure
in a black cloak flying along, with a small human dangling from its clawed hands.
Neoangel recognized the human figure to be NSQ
at once. She raised her paw to cast a spell that would allow her to slip through
the glass window, but Neofaerie had reached the window as well.
"That's NSQ, right?" said the Kougra casually,
before Neoangel could open her mouth. "Okay. I'm coming with you."
"You're not. I don't want you to get in danger,
Neofaerie. Stay here and look after Happiness."
"The more time you spend trying to stop me from
coming, the further NSQ gets away from us."
"So will you please stop arguing with me and
stay behind?" said Neoangel. "I know you want to come, Neofaerie, and you're
strong, but this isn't your average Defenders of Neopia challenger who stole
someone's bike. Please… look after Happiness. There's a high chance that Sloth
will be looking for us, and I don't want to lose you too. Please, Neofaerie…"
she looked out the window again, "I can hardly see her now…"
The Kougra fidgeted a bit, and then let out a
muffled groan and sat down on the floor. Neoangel smiled sadly at him, and melted
through the window pane. Neofaerie waited until she was out of sight before
bolting back to the table, throwing Happiness swiftly onto his back and running
through the open doors to the spacecraft parking dock.
"Where are we going?" asked Happiness comfortably,
as if older brothers regularly grabbed her without notice and dragged her off
somewhere (which, in fact, they did).
"We're gonna 'borrow' some sort of spaceship
thing," he responded, as they reached the parking lot. His eyes searched the
place, looking for a suitable spacecraft as he continued, "we'd better hurry
if we're going to catch up to Neoangel!"
Denriada soared through the clouds, her giant wings flapping noisily. I
should be in Tyrannia now, she thought to herself. She paused and hovered
for a moment, and without warning, plunged downwards. She heard the human girl
yelp, and grinned with pleasure. The Draik shot down like an arrow, right through
the open mouth of a huge volcano. The human screamed. It must be the heat,
Denriada realized, I suppose the girl isn't used to it. Well, she'll
learn to love it very soon…
Denriada came to a sudden stop right above the
scorching volcano floor; her wings gave one huge, furious flap and she plunked
onto the ground brusquely, dropping the human as she did. The girl yelled and
began dancing around on the burned crust of earth, her feet unaccustomed to
the hot ground. Denriada snarled impatiently and shot a jet of smoke out of
her finger at the girl, who suddenly fell silent and stopped jumping.
"It will only be a matter of time…" Denriada
hissed to herself softly, "and then… we will see who is the better of us two,
Alithiora…" she turned to the human girl and growled, "if you move, you'll be
burnt." Then, she tugged her great cloak around her and flew off through one
of the tunnels in the volcano.
NSQ gaped at the Draik blankly as she flew away.
She had no idea who the Draik was, what she wanted, or who Alithiora was. She
shifted her weight nervously from foot to foot. Her throat felt horribly parched,
and she wished she still had her Punchbag Bob Back Pack with the bottles of
water inside. She wished she could go home.
"Where are my pets?" she asked aloud. Of course,
there was no answer. NSQ sighed and looked around to see if she could get any
information about her location from her surroundings. She appeared to be in
the middle of the volcano, seeing as how all the different tunnels seemed to
lead away from it. She moved forward to go through one of the tunnels and see
where it would lead her, but the moment she lifted her foot, sparks flew from
the ground, grazing her soles. "Yii!" she cried, quickly regaining her old position.
"That Draik wasn't kidding when she said not to move."
NSQ craned her neck and squinted upwards. She
could just barely perceive the top of the volcano hole, showing only a patch
of the brilliant blue sky. NSQ gazed at it, and waited for Neoangel to come
Neoangel followed the Draik, close enough so that she wouldn't lose sight of
her if she put on a sudden burst of speed, but far enough so that she could
hide if needed. The Draik was flying downwards, losing altitude as she headed
back for Neopia. Neoangel descended after her at a safe distance. They entered
Tyrannia, and Neoangel watched as the Draik flew down to one of the volcanoes.
The Zafara lingered in the air until the Draik had disappeared through the tip
of the volcano. Neoangel prepared to dive in as well, but out of nowhere, she
heard loud, clunking noises behind her, and then someone roared, "DUCK!"
On impulse, the Zafara flew off to the side,
just as a large metal thing hurled out of the clouds and plummeted towards the
ground. From the glimpse Neoangel caught of it, she guessed that it was some
sort of spaceship.
The thing smashed into the ground, breaking at
once and sending bits of metal flying everywhere. Neoangel dodged a scrap of
steel and gasped when she saw a green Kougra crawl out, followed by a rainbow
Cybunny. Her siblings.
"Neofaerie," she said, landing softly on the
ground, "I told you not to come…"
Neofaerie checked to make sure that Happiness
wasn't hurt before answering defiantly, "NSQ is our owner too, Neoangel; she's
our friend. We're going wherever you go, whether you like it or not." He softened,
and added more gently, "come on Neoangel, we're all in this together now. I'm
an adventurer, after all. I know you don't think I understand what I'm getting
in to, but I do. And I still want to come. If either Happiness or I get in your
way, we'll go home without question."
Happiness wriggled out of a heap of broken metal
bars, and adopting a voice that sounded almost like Neoangel's, she said mischievously,
"we don't want you to get in danger, Neoangel."
Neofaerie grinned. "Now, why does that sound
A small smile formed on Neoangels mouth. "Thank
you for coming, Neofaerie," she said quietly.
"No sweat," replied the Kougra. "So do you know
where NSQ is?"
The Zafara raised her arm and pointed to an isolated
volcano in the distance. "The Draik took her in there."
"Yeah, I've been meaning to ask you that," said
Neofaerie hastily, "who is the Draik? Do you know him?"
"Her," corrected Neoangel. "The Draik is female.
And I do not know who she is…" Neoangel sighed and positioned her wings to take
flight. "I think we will find out. How are you going to get to the volcano,
Neofaerie suddenly looked guilty. "I was hoping
you could fly us there," he said sheepishly.
The Zafara smiled. "You're getting in my way
already," she teased, which Neofaerie saw as a sign of hope. His older sister
almost never joked. "Happiness, climb on Neofaeries back," she instructed. Happiness
Neoangel waved a hand over Neofaeries head, and
he felt himself slowly being lifted into the air. Almost immediately, he regretted
asking Neoangel to help transport them. He could hear Happiness tittering, "Whee!"
They floated higher and higher, until they were
higher off the ground than a two-story Neohome. They hovered for a moment, before
suddenly beginning to fly in the direction of the volcano. Neofaerie choked
and squeezed his eyes shut, gritting his teeth.
"Aaare yooouuu scaaared of heeeiiights?" Happiness
yelled in his ear, over the noise of the wind. She sounded as if she was having
the time of her life. Neofaerie didn't answer, not trusting himself to open
Away they flew, until finally, thought Neofaerie,
they dropped slowly out of the air and landed at one side of the volcano. Happiness
wrapped her arms tight around Neofaerie's neck in a bear hug, and he quickly
clamped his paw over his mouth. "Gedoff," he muttered, his voice muffled by
his paw. The Cybunny slid off his back and asked Neoangel, "What's next?"
The Zafara pointed at the small entrance in the
side of the volcano. "We go in and find NSQ," she said. "I saw them fly through
the center of the volcano, but I doubt the Draik would keep her in the center.
It's much too obvious, that's the first place we'd check. Unless she wants us
to think that…" the Zafara frowned. "Neofaerie, you know the volcanoes better
than I do. Do you want to lead the way?"
"Sure," muttered Neofaerie, removing his paw.
He skulked to the entrance, in front of Neoangel.
"Is something wrong?" asked Neoangel with concern,
noticing Neofaeries reluctance.
"Nope," said Neofaerie, pretty sure that if he
wasn't green in the first place, his face would've turned green by then. "I'm
fine. C'mon, let's go." He entered the volcano slowly, paw after paw. Happiness
smiled blankly and hopped onto his back, and Neoangel brought up the rear, casting
an apprehensive look over her shoulder.
NSQ was starting to get a bit less scared and a bit more bored. She was sitting
down on the rocky floor (which didn't seem as hot anymore) cross-legged, and
scratching pictures in the dirt with her finger. "Dee dee dee," she hummed to
herself jadedly. She checked the watch she'd bought a year ago from the Virtupets
Space Station, and noted that it had been 40 minutes since the Draik had brought
her there. NSQ wished something would happen. It was nerve-racking, sitting
there and wondering what the Draik might do with her.
"Who is Alithiora?" she asked the picture of
Neofaerie that she'd drawn in the dirt. It stayed silent, smiling up at her
vaguely. NSQ grumbled and rubbed it out, settling herself down to draw a new
"NSQ!" Someone shouted her name. NSQ's head shot
up, and she looked around wildly. "Who called me?"
She caught a fleeting look of Happiness rushing
her way, before all she could see was rainbow fur. "Hi NSQ!" gushed Happiness,
"we were looking alllll over for you!"
Neofaerie bounded up to her as well, a grin on
his face. "Hey there, NSQ," he said. "Ready to get out of here?"
NSQ blinked in happy surprise. "But how did you
guys find me here?"
NSQ felt a warm wind blow over her face as Neoangel
flew down in front of her. Happiness hopped off NSQs lap. The girl smiled. "Ahh.
I thought you'd found them, Neoangel. Care to fill me in on the details?"
"We managed to escape from Sloth. I saw the Draik
take you, so I followed you. Of course, Neofaerie and Happiness tailed me. We
entered the volcano through a side entrance. I'm a bit confused… she could have
stopped us easily, but we met nothing along the way. The tunnel was clear. There
were hardly even any forks. And hiding you in the middle of the volcano, it's
as if she wanted us to find you…"
The Zafara paused and said, "Now, NSQ, I was
wondering if you could clear something up for me. Who is the Draik?"
To Neoangels disappointment, NSQ shrugged. "I
know as much as you do, nothing. Well… she did mention the name Alithiora. Do
you know anyone by that name?"
NSQ saw a brief light flicker in Neoangels eyes,
and she opened her mouth quickly as if she needed to say something that she'd
wanted to say forever. But the light disappeared as fast as it came, and she
said, "no, I don't recognize it. I suppose we should just go, then."
NSQ looked at the Zafara curiously, wondering
what she had been about to say. But she stood up and dusted off her pants. "Wait,"
she said, "I can't move, there's some sort of spell…"
Neoangel gestured with a paw, and NSQ stepped
forward without getting burned. "Alright," said NSQ excitedly, "let's get outta
"Now you're talking," said Neofaerie. Happiness
hung onto the fur around his neck. The group moved forward, and led by Neofaerie,
the pets and human flew, ran and rode out of the center of the volcano.
Far away, Denriada chuckled darkly. Just as she
had suspected, they had fallen for her trap.
To be continued...