Tridon_Sabrek and Arahna_Silvra finally stopped near
the morning. They were still in King Righ's territory, but any longer and it
would be easy for the guards to spot them in the air. They stopped in a small
tavern the two had visited before. It was then that Lady MoonFall got her first
look at Tridon since the rescue.
He was a starry Shoyru.
"I don't understand," she said.
"I'm a labbie," he growled in response, "I use
my magic to keep my normal form, but if I overload the spell by using another
one, as was the case with blowing up your castle wall, then the spell dies.
And I revert back to whatever the lab ray has currently turned me into."
He sounded very bitter. MoonFall gave him a consoling
pat on the shoulder, which was rewarded with a glare. She then turned to Arahna.
"What now? Why have we stopped?"
"Sun's coming up," she replied grimly. "We'll
be easy to pick out by the guards that are chasing us."
"So why are we here?"
Arahna didn't reply, but merely went to have
a word with the keeper of the tavern. Tridon kept an eye out at the windows.
"Follow me!" Arahna called.
MoonFall timidly followed into a private backroom
the tavern owner, a blue Kacheek, had loaned them temporarily. Arahna quickly
produced a paint brush, and Island one.
"What? A paint brush?"
"A disguise," Arahna replied smoothly.
MoonFall stared at it for a long time, then her
ears perked up when she heard a whistle from the main room.
"That's Tridon's warning. You have no choice
The Uni nodded and allowed Arahna to run the
brush down her back, her stripes merging into a tannish brown, her mane deepening
to green and blue flowers entwining themselves into her fur. She had only a
few moments to reflect on her new appearance before Arahna dragged her back
out into the main room and to a table where Tridon was settled in a chair looking
"Let us do the talking," the Eyrie directed,
steering MoonFall to a chair and sitting down.
The door to the tavern burst open and five Unis
marched in, each carrying a spear and the coat of arms of King Righ's guards.
The looked around the tavern carefully. Soon the captain marched over to their
table, as they were the only ones in the room.
"We are looking for a striped Uni," the captain
"None here," Arahna replied airily, waving a
hand towards MoonFall.
"Yep. This is just Irys, visiting from Mystery
Island with us. As you can see, no stripes."
The captain studied the group carefully, then
"All right, we'll try elsewhere."
The group marched out and slammed the door behind
"Irys?" MoonFall asked after they left.
"Yep. Syri spelled backwards. By the time they
figure it out, we'll be long gone."
"So we leave now?"
"Nah," Tridon drawled, "that'll be too suspicious.
We'll wait for nightfall. And besides, I could go for a Elderberry Achyfi."
"They don't serve those here Tridon," Ahrana
"So what do they serve Moon, er, Irys?"
The Uni didn't reply, but merely signaled for
the tavern owner to come over.
"We'd like three cups of water and a plate of
bread," she said.
He nodded and vanished into the back. Tridon
let out a groan and slumped in his chair.
"Bread and water? No wonder you ran away."
We had no sign of MoonFall for the entire day. As the sky deepened into red
and then purple, I reluctantly turned towards home. My shoulders and back ached
with exhaustion with each slow wing beat, and I mustered a bit more effort to
soar higher and catch the currents and glide. Below me, Neopia was stretched
out in patched greens and the occasion blue of water. The ground deepened into
a purple colour, then to black as night fell. Somewhere amid the splendour of
the Neopian sunset was MoonFall. I just couldn't find her.
I landed in my yard, folding my weary wings close
and trudging inside. Almost everyone had already gathered. They were dirty,
tired, and downcast.
"No sign of her?" I asked, already knowing the
No one replied and I sighed, sliding down to
sit on the floor with my back against the wall. Melody walked over and put a
hand on my shoulder.
"She'll turn up."
"I know, I know. But until she does I'll worry,"
I replied hollowly.
"C'mon. Let's get you some food and rest. We'll
find her tomorrow."
I let her pull me to my feet and dutifully followed
her into the next room. It was then I realised who we were missing.
"He'll be here," Melody reassured, rummaging
in the fridge.
"No, no, I've got to go back," I said, not even
sure why, only feeling the need.
"What? He's not in danger, is he? I'm sure he
can take care of himself."
"I don't know. But I've got to go, I know I do."
I slipped out the back door before anyone could
voice a protest.
"I'm going alone, don't bother to follow!" I
called over my shoulder as the door banged shut.
From there, I leaped into the air, forcing my
white Eyrie wings to once again carry me into the sky.
MoonFall, Tridon, and Arahna left the tavern as soon as the sky started to
dim. They took flight amidst the red and golds and kept on until the colours
dimmed to blues and purples. They had almost reached the border into Neopia
Central when a group of Uni's came from above out of the clouds.
"Under order of the king, land!" one commanded,
The three reluctantly folded their wings and
glided in a slow spiral to the ground. Once they reached the ground, the Unis
landed around them in a circle. Nearby was a river cutting through the ground
in a small ravine. Spanning it was a bridge, and on the other side of that bridge,
safety. For even King Righ's guards would not violate the borders.
The captain stalked up to the group, staring
at each intently. He was not the one they'd met earlier, and with a sinking
heart, MoonFall recognised him. He had been captain of the guards for a long
time, way back before she ran away. Hopefully her new colour would hold through.
"You are?" he demanded of Arahna.
"Arahna, and my companions are Tridon and Ir..."
"I don't care, your companions can tell me their
Tridon reluctantly gave his name, then the captain
turned to MoonFall.
"I... Irys," MoonFall stammered.
"Irys. Syri. Right then."
She gulped and took a few steps back.
"You can change your colour, but you cannot change
your voice. You are to come with me, MoonFall. Tridon and Arahna, you are under
arrest for aiding the princess."
The two pets dropped into fighting stances, back
to back. The captain took hold of MoonFall and started to drag her away.
"No! Let them go!" MoonFall hollered, struggling
to help her new friends.
"MoonFall! Calm yourself!"
"No, they are my friends!"
"They are criminals!"
The Eyrie and Shoyru were vastly outmatched,
and MoonFall was helpless as the guards closed in.
"Think this is it, Tridon?"
"Never. I'm not giving up without a fight," he
said in response.
The fight never had a chance to start. A brilliant
light flooded the area; blinding the would-be combatants. A Zafara dove into
the midst of them, flaring his wings and scattering the Uni's. MoonFall held
up a hoof to the light, gazing in awe. It looked like Aldrai… but the colour…
The light faded, and the Zafara's wings and halo
vanished, replaced by brownish-orange fur with black spots.
"Yes. Come MoonFall. It is time to go home."
She bowed to Ahrana and Tridon, who solemnly
returned the gesture.
"Come to my house sometime," she said, "my owner
will be eager to meet you."
"We will," Ahrana promised, "best of luck to
No one moved as the two pets flew off. Aldrai
cast one last glance around, then started for the bridge the led to safety.
MoonFall followed, amazed at Aldrai's change. Just as MoonFall's hooves touched
the wooden planking, the captain came out his stupor.
"No! Lady Syri!"
"I have a home. It is with child_dragon," she
replied, crossing over to Neopia Central.
I had watched the whole thing from the air. Aldrai's magnificent descent, his
out lash of magic that nullified a potentially dangerous situation. Seems my
presence was unnecessary. Either that, or I simply had to be here to see. To
see that Aldrai was now a force to be reckoned with, and however his past may
have affected this magic of his, it was now gone. The knowledge was what I was
here for. However, I felt compelled to make some kind of appearance. I dove,
straight for the bridge, power growing around my spear. I flared my wings at
the last moment, slamming the spear point into the direct centre of the bridge.
The structure exploded, sending debris everywhere. Everyone dove for cover.
I flapped once, pulling myself higher and landing next to Aldrai and MoonFall.
I glared at the Unis who were picking themselves off the ground.
"MoonFall is my pet," I announced, "and those
who tangle with my pets often find more than they expected."
I turned and walked away, followed by Aldrai
"More than they expected indeed," my Uni said
with a sly smile towards Aldrai.
He returned the smile.
"Now, MoonFall. About your new colour."
"Leave it!" she said airily, "I've grown rather
fond of it, really. What a family we make! The Essence of Neopia, the Heir of
NightHawk, an ex-princess, a magic-wielding Zafara, and an incorrigible Eyrie!"
"And that," I replied, "is what makes us ourselves.
Welcome home, MoonFall."
Authors note: Thank you _shoyru_luva_ for the Island paint brush. You are
a wonderful friend and I am very lucky to know you.