Silver Flames: Part Four
I yawned and blinked open my eyes. The room was empty, and
I trudged through the door that led to the main room. Nobody was there either.
I knocked on the boys' room, and nobody answered. I opened the door and found
that Era, Kiah, and Ora were gone. That room was empty as well. I returned to
my room and stuffed the cloak under the bed to make sure that none of my family
found it. I was honestly not sure what I was expected to do with it.
I exited the lodge and went into the forest,
towards a market I had seen earlier. As I was looking for the perfect thing
to have for breakfast, I was yanked over to the side. I wished that people would
stop doing that. I noticed that it was Akiri, and she was smiling broadly. It
took me a moment to realize who she was because, for the first time since we
had met, she was not wearing her cloak or dark clothing.
"Mage! I was looking for you," she said, and
I was wondering why she looked so happy.
"Hey," I greeted, a bit suspicious of her unusually
good mood, but I smiled back either way. Her cheerfulness was a bit contagious.
"Blane and I wanted you to come and eat breakfast
with us," she informed me, taking my arm and pulling me towards wherever she
and Blane had planned to eat.
I followed, and soon we entered a bakery that
doubled as a small restaurant. A cheerful-looking yellow Peophin was working
at the counter and smiled at us as we entered. A yellow Techo waved to us from
a round table. Blane wore a blue T-shirt and faded jeans, and I found it odd
how different they looked when they weren't wearing their Silver Flame garb.
Akiri sat down in one of the chairs and began to nibble on a bagel while I bought
a doughnut from the yellow Peophin. I sat down in one of the wooden chairs.
"It was hard to get Akiri to go looking for
you. She's pretty shy," Blane said.
"Am not!" Akiri objected, but her tone showed
that they were both joking around. "I just wanted you to go and get her because
you need the exercise. You're getting fat."
I laughed at how different they both seemed.
They were both more relaxed and open around me than they had been before. Akiri
seemed especially changed since I last saw her, and I remembered what Blane
had said about her the night before. Maybe she just needed a chance to be herself
instead of having to act serious around Sylva, and maybe she needed to be prompted
by Blane to show her real self around me.
"So," Akiri said, looking to me, "what do you
think about the rest of the Flames?"
I spent the rest of the day with them, heading
back to the lodge to have dinner with my family.
This time, when everybody was discussing what
they did that day, I told them about my good time with Akiri and Blane. I was
careful to leave out information about the Silver Flames, which wasn't that
hard because my new friends just acted like themselves and we spent little time
talking and doing things that had to do with the Flames.
When we finished eating, I left my family and
headed over to room 216 wearing my cloak. After entering I sought out Akiri
and Blane, and I enjoyed the first ten minutes with them and their friends until
Sylva came. After the Ixi entered the room, the subject was switched to more
After the meeting finished, I caught Blane by
the arm as he was leaving. I still needed to ask him something.
"Look, I can tell it's an uncomfortable subject
for you, but why did you leave the coffee shop yesterday?" I asked seriously,
hanging onto his arm to make him look me in the eye instead of at the floor
like he obviously wanted to.
"Uh..." he floundered, obviously unsure of what
to tell me.
"When I mentioned my family, you just left.
Why?" I explained, stubbornly making him tell me.
"It's- I- Well..." He stumbled over his words
before taking a deep breath. "When I was younger, my family and I were on vacation
at the Virtupets Space Station when Dr. Sloth found us and took my family away.
I escaped and fled, but I've never seen my family since then. I was just thinking
about it before I saw you, and when you used 'family' and 'vacation' in the
same sentence I just... You know, it just reminded me."
I nodded sympathetically and we both exited
the room and went our separate ways.
Time passed, almost every day spent with my
two new friends Akiri and Blane. Soon I realized that I would have to leave
Kiko Lake in only three days. By that time I had already introduced them to
my family. Only Kiah spent any time with us, but we kept the Silver Flames a
secret from them. I was a bit upset at the thought of leaving such good friends,
but little did I know that there was still adventures to come.
"Today, we'll organize groups, and tomorrow
night each group will set out looking for the Shadow Usul in a different area
of Kiko Lake. We will let our stronger and more experienced members search the
likeliest places, near where the Shadow Usul has recently struck," Sylva told
us all at one of the daily nighttime meetings.
Then she read out the list of names of the people
in each group and where they would be searching. Akiri and I were in the same
group, but Blane, having been a member for a longer time, would be in a group
searching a few miles away from us. There were three or four people assigned
to each group, and mine included the Christmas Zafara I had met on my first
night with the Flames whose name I remembered to be Eevie.
The next day I was very distracted with the
thought of searching for the Shadow Usul. I was both excited and anxious about
it, and it wasn't long before Era noticed how I was feeling. I had been about
to leave our rooms after lunch when he took me aside.
"What's wrong? You've been distracted all day,"
he said, voice leaving no room for excuses.
My silver Eyrie brother came up beside Era,
and looked at me questioningly and worriedly as well. Soon Scar and Kiah came
up beside them.
I sighed and after only a few moments of resisting
their questions, I spilled out all that I had done since arriving at Kiko Lake
that had to do with the Silver Flames.
"But you have got to promise not to stop me
or to tell anybody," I added when I was finished.
All of my family, especially Ora, were very
understanding when it came to things like this, and for that I was thankful.
"Okay. I promise," said Era, Kiah, and Scar.
Ora nodded his head, his golden eyes giving
me no reason to doubt that he'd keep my secret.
It was dusk, the sun sinking over the lake and
turning it a deep red color, when my family waved good bye to me as I set out,
wearing my deep green cloak, into the forest. I met the rest of my group at
a small clearing, and we set out.
The forest surrounding Kiko Lake it much creepier
at night than one would expect. The new moon would be here in a few days, and
Kreludor was just a crescent shaped sliver of light in the sky. We set out,
Eevie carrying a horn that we would blow if we happened to see anything that
would alert the other groups.
We searched and searched, none of us saying
a word as we combed to woods in search of the Shadow Usul. I was beginning to
hope that we would not see anything at all and that I might leave Kiko Lake
without ever having the adventure I had been looking forward to when I first
met the Silver Flames. To be honest, the thought of meeting the Shadow Usul
scared me. But I knew that after having gone through so much and after having
promised that I would go through with this, I was not about to give up.
It had been hours since we had first started
our search, and we had heard no horns break the silence of the night that would
tell us that another group had seen anything.
"Look," Akiri hissed, pointing her finger towards
a shadow as it darted across our path, yellow eyes flashing at us.
Immediately, Eevie blew onto the horn, the noise
echoing through the night. It was no doubt the Shadow Usul. She had been hiding
here, in the deepest part of the woods and far, far away from the likeliest
place. Eevie dropped the horn and leaped after the Usul, and we all followed,
sprinting as fast as we could after her.
The Usul had nearly lost us in the shadows of
the trees when we came upon the lake. We saw that the Usul had untied a small
boat and was floating away. She had no way of propelling herself besides the
paddles that were in the boat. We looked after her as she paddled away, and
soon Blane's group of three appeared beside us. All six of us stared dumbly
as the Usul paddled away.
The Shadow Usul was getting too far away, and
there were no boats nearby. If somebody didn't do something quickly, she would
escape. We could hear the other groups rushing towards us, which meant that
nobody was on the other side of the lake.
As another group joined us to watch stupidly
at the Shadow Usul's escape, I made up my mind about what needed to be done.
I threw off my cloak and swallowed the knot of fear in my throat. I took a deep
breath and dove into the water. Something had to be done, and no matter what
happened I could not let the Shadow Usul escape without trying everything that
could be done. I floundered for a moment, unable to keep my head above the water.
Peophins have both a set of lungs and gills, but because I have never used anything
but my lungs, I wasn't used to the feeling. After a few embarrassing moments,
I caught my breath and began to swim towards the boat. After what seemed like
hours but in fact was only five or six minutes, I began to get the hang of swimming,
and I rocketed through the water, my powerful Peophin tail propelling me swiftly.
I vaguely remember hearing a few other Flames diving into the water after me,
but even though a few of them were skilled swimmers, by now they could not catch
When the boat was a little past the middle of
the lake, I caught up. I pulled myself onto the deck, which was no easy task
seeing as how the boat was moving and I was not a very good climber. The Shadow
Usul turned her head and gasped, seeing that I was here. I leaped at her, trying
to pin her to the floor until help arrived. I wrested with her for a while,
my muscles already aching from the swim.
Akiri pulled herself onto the boat and joined
me, and with my help she tied the Usul's hands behind her back and her feet
together so that she couldn't move. Not long after, Sylva and Blane and a few
other pets that I didn't know emerged from the water.
"Good work, Mage," Sylva praised me, and I wondered
how she had managed to remember my name. "I'll take it from here."
And so Sylva organized a group of pets to paddle
us back to shore while she planned with a few others what they were going to
do with the Shadow Usul.
The next day was the last day I would spend at
Kiko Lake, and my muscles were sore from the last night's adventure. I had been
assured by Sylva that the problem of the Shadow Usul would be taken care of.
I said good morning to my family, who were all sitting in the main room.
They immediately jumped me with questions about
what happened on the last night, and I proudly explained how I had contributed
the defeat of the Shadow Usul.
"Wow, good work, Magey," said Scar, and my brothers
added their own compliments. I received a big group hug from them and for not
the first time I felt lucky to have such a loving family.
"I'm starving," I said as my stomach growled,
changing the subject. "Let's go get some breakfast."
We traveled down the stairs and into the dining
area. I found Akiri and Blane waiting for me, and they looked a bit sad. It
was then that I realized that I had forgotten this would be the last day I would
be here and, because the Shadow Usul had been dealt with, it would be their
last day here as well.
We all ate breakfast together, and the day flew
past all too quickly. Soon it was time to say good bye and as my family approached
the boat, I found all of the Silver Flames waiting for me. I gave Akiri and
Blane a quick hug.
"Good bye, friends," I said quietly once we
had finished exchanging addresses so that we could write to each other.
"Good bye," they said in return.
I got onto the boat and waved a farewell, and
they waved as well. I felt a bit upset that I was leaving Kiko Lake behind,
but I was also full of hope that I would see my friends and all of the Silver