Some things are better left alone. We made the mistake of disturbing that
which should not be disturbed, and tampering with something way too dangerous
for us. I still wonder if our actions will have lasting consequences, especially
once the sun goes down...
It was early morning when MiracleStar announced her latest
scheme. I was reading a book, Jaix was out practising his pitching, Skyil and
Taffin were who knows where.
"I think we should head for the Haunted Forest
tomorrow morning," she said.
"Sure," I replied, not really paying attention.
"I mean, on a trip. A thieving trip."
My head snapped up.
"And what on Neopia is worth stealing from that
"Oh, nothing much," she said innocently, "just
a small fortune. Count Von Roo."
"You're nuts. How do you know he's got a fortune?"
"Simple logic, Nianso," she said testily, "Think
about it. He's a vampire, been around for who-knows-how-long, he's got to have
treasure. And besides, as long as we're out before sundown, we'll be fine."
"I still think you're insane."
"No, I'm not. Should be simple. In and out.
We'll be fine."
And so I found myself walking into the depths
of the Haunted Forest, wrapped in my cloak and carrying my backpack and dagger.
Skyil seemed unusually jumpy as we walked through the forest, although it was
still barely morning. Taffin gave me a sly look, then teleported away. Skyil
didn't even notice. I groaned inwardly, catching a glimpse of fire fur up ahead,
in a tree. Sure enough, the Kyrii dropped from the branch, directly behind Skyil
as she passed.
"Yah!" he shouted, grabbing her tail.
She screamed and bolted.
"Wait, Skyil, it's just me!" he called, running
I trotted after them, seeing Taffin trying to
apologise to Skyil up ahead.
"Ouch! I'm really, ow!"
"IHATEYOUIHATEYOUIHATEYOU!" the Aisha was shrieking.
"OW! Skyil! Quit hitting me so I can apologise!"
I stepped forwards and grabbed Skyil's paw before
she could slap the Kyrii again.
"Now now children," I admonished.
"Don't ever do that again!" Skyil hissed.
"I'm really sorry," he whined, "didn't know
you'd startle that bad. My humblest apologies."
Skyil considered it for a moment, then lowered
"All right. You're forgiven. But don't startle
He agreed, and we rejoined MiracleStar.
"This can't be fun and games, Taffin," she said
"I know, I know," he muttered.
"It could be very dangerous. We have to concentrate
to get out of here by sunset."
"I know, quit harping on me!"
She shrugged and resumed leading the way.
We actually did find Count Von Roo's lair. For
a while, I had even doubted that MiracleStar knew where it was. I stared at
the small castle in amazement. How on earth did it manage to stay hidden in
this forest? But then again, it was the Haunted Forest.
"All right, how'd you do it?" Taffin asked.
"I have my sources. Now let's go, it's nearly
noon and we need to be out of here by sundown."
She led the way up to the castle door. Taffin
took charge from there, inspecting the door, and finally announcing with a sigh
that it was barred from the inside.
"Then we take the alternate route," MiracleStar
said calmly, pointing to a window.
I leaped into the air, soaring up to the nearest
one. I landed carefully on the windowsill, inspecting the indoors. The window
was locked, so I drew my dagger and broke the glass, reaching in to unlock it.
It swung out, and I had a little difficulty managing that without falling off.
Jaix flew a rope up to me, and I dropped inside to anchor it to something. The
room was bare. I snarled in frustration.
"Jaix. Come here. We're going to have to hold
this for MiracleStar."
Taffin and Skyil joined us, and together we held
the rope steady while MiracleStar shimmied up. She wrapped the rope up and returned
it to her backpack.
"All right, follow me."
The castle was empty of everything. Nothing moved
there, nothing at all. Yet no dust covered the floor, and what little furniture
there was was in perfect condition. It was as if the castle was outside of time.
We stayed quiet, speaking only when necessary. Even Taffin seemed affected by
the unnatural stillness of this place. I was jumpy; there was an odd feeling
of being watched. None of the others seemed to feel it though.
Skyil found the passage first. It was hidden,
almost invisible to those not looking. It was set between two pillars, very
narrow. I'd already dismissed it as a shadow and nothing more.
"Excellent work," MiracleStar murmured, "I bet
we'll find something now."
I followed, shivering uncontrollably. There seemed
to be a cold wind coming from the tunnel.
"Do you feel that?" I asked Jaix.
Our owner led the way, dagger out, her midnight
blue cloak making her almost invisible in the gloom. But none of us wanted to
risk lights. Soon we reached an area where the passageway branched out.
"Skyil, Taffin and I will take left," MiracleStar
instructed, "Jaix, you and Nianso take right. Meet back here if you don't find
"How much time do we have left?"
"A couple hours."
We nodded and started off down the tunnel. It
was long, but our persistence had finally paid off.
"Will you look at that," Jaix breathed in awe.
Before us lay the biggest pile of treasure I'd
ever seen. A vampire's lifetime of collecting magic items, Neopoints, and rare
items had been dumped haphazardly in one room. I laughed giddily and trotted
over, falling to my knees by the nearest stack.
"Will you look at this?!" I crowed, picking
up a mutant Krawk morphing potion, "We're going to be rich Jaix. Isn't this
awesome? MiracleStar was right, hey, Jaix? Jaix?"
I set down the potion and turned. The Acara was
no where to be seen.
I must admit, I panicked at that point. All thoughts
of treasure were gone. My instincts screamed danger, and I took off running
back the way I'd come, down the passageway MiracleStar had taken. I caught up
with them easily, running at full tilt. MiracleStar stared at me in bewilderment
as I jabbered out how Jaix had just suddenly vanished.
"Oh, c'mon Nianso. He's probably just playing
tricks on you, pets don't simply vanish into thin air.
"Um, MiracleStar?" Taffin interrupted, "Where's
We fell silent, looking around. The desert Aisha
was gone. It was then I heard a soft laughter echoing through the hall.
"What time is it?!" I hissed.
"Still three... sun should still be up."
"Well, something's not right here!"
Taffin squeaked and took off running back the
way we came. I followed, and our owner took up the rear. Up the stairs, back
to the room we'd entered in. I skidded to a stop in the centre of the room,
Taffin stood by the broken window in disbelief. For the window was no longer
broken, and it was dark outside. A slim sliver of a moon rested in the inky
sky. Behind us, I heard the door slam shut from an invisible hand.
"Did you really assume that one such as I would
not take precautions against such intruders as yourselves?" a sibilant voice
murmured out of the shadows.
I whirled around, drawing my dagger and dropping
into a crouch between the shadowy form and MiracleStar. I could see Taffin doing
the same, moving to stand near me.
The figure laughed and stepped into the pale
light of the moon. It was a Blumaroo, wreathed in a black cloak, and eyes glittering
with malevolence. Count Von Roo was awake.
He laughed softly, and I could see the fangs
that marked him vampire. I gulped and tried to keep from shaking.
"Where is Skyil and Jaix?"
He gestured, and I could see my two siblings
slumped in a corner, apparently asleep. At least they were alive.
"You must not take this personally," the Count
was saying, "but I cannot allow you to leave here alive. You have seen too much."
Taffin snarled and with a soft pop, teleported
over beside the Count. He raised his dagger to strike, but the Blumaroo simply
gestured, and Taffin was flung across the room to slam into the wall. He slid
to the floor, groaning. I shivered again, and fell to my knees. Something was
at work here, I could no longer hear anything around me, or even see the room.
Everything had narrowed down to just me, and the immense power bubbling out
and changing reality as I knew it. As if a fog had been lifted, I stood. Count
Von Roo was watching me in curiosity. I could see everything so clearly, even
more than before. The pale light of the moon had been magnified a thousand times,
my senses enhanced by the raw power that was at work. As if in a trance, I shoved
off the ground with one paw, extending my wings to their full length. I hovered
there in mid-air, power all around me as my talent manifested itself in a way
of unheard magnitude. The moon started to fade, and the Count backed away from
me nervously. I stared into his eyes.
"You may have power over your home that can
confuse time and the perception of it," I whispered, my words echoing across
the small room, "but I have power over so much more. No, you will not prevent
us from leaving here. For even now, the sun begins to rise..."
The Blumaroo shot a nervous glance at the window,
then gasped in surprise. For a faint golden glow could be seen over the horizon.
He shrieked and fled, down to the depths of his castle, away from the coming
sunrise. I, in turn, collapsed to the floor, the force sustaining me gone. I
lay there, overwhelmed by the power that had just been unleashed. MiracleStar
came over and gently helped me up.
"That was incredible Nianso," she said, "what
did you do?"
"I did nothing," I replied, "it was my talent,
I heard Jaix and Skyil stirring.
"Let's just get out of here," I muttered as
the two woke groggily.
MiracleStar hastily agreed.
"But the treasure..." Taffin interrupted.
"While you two were running like cowards," she
said with a smile, "I took the opportunity to grab some stuff. We have treasure,
don't you worry."
As she smashed the window out for the second
time and secured a rope to get down, I glanced over at Taffin who was staring
at her in amazement.
"I think she really needs to get her priorities
I could only nod in helpless agreement.