The Wise Whoot: Guardian of the Elements - Part Seven
Blaze wasn’t sure what to think of Star’s story. “But why would he want revenge on me?”
“He still seeks the power that I gave to Zihark,” Star explained. “So he’ll want the power Zihark gave to you, too.”
The night grew longer, and the three of them had supper together. Both Blaze and his sister were exhausted, so Star showed them a place to rest, a hidden cavern among the cave wall. Star had gone off to sleep in his own cavern, so the two were left alone.
Blaze sighed as he spread out a blanket for them to rest on. “I can’t believe any of this is happening... not more than a few days ago I thought Zihark was perfectly okay. And then... all this happens.”
Rivulet took her place beside him on the blanket. “What are you going to do?” Her question was sudden, and she wasn’t looking at him as she said it.
Blaze turned to face her, but he failed at catching her gaze. “I don’t know,” he said honestly. “I really don’t know.”
There was an uneasy quietness in the atmosphere as the two prepared for sleep. As Blaze’s eyes drifted shut, he heard his sister whisper, “Please, Blaze... do what your heart believes in.”
“Blaze, wake up!”
He grumbled. “Zihark... five more minutes... .”
“Blaze! I’m not Zihark! Wake up! Now!”
Blaze’s eyes shot open in fear. It took him a moment to remember where he was, and that Zihark wasn’t with him. “Rivulet, what’s wrong?” he asked, finally realizing the mystery voice was his sister’s.
The Blue Doglefox waited a moment until Blaze sat up and looked at her. “It’s about Zihark,” she mumbled. “He spoke to me in my dream again.”
Blaze stared at her. “Why hasn’t he contacted me? It seems all he’s done so far is contacted you and Lethe, and maybe even Star!” He felt anger rising inside. Did he even matter to Zihark anymore?
Rivulet gave him a sad smile. “He’s protecting you, Blaze. He told me he fears that Kaleb will be able to find you if Zihark has the littlest conversation with you.”
Blaze was in shock. “But isn’t he putting you in danger, then?”
Rivulet looked down. “That’s not important. He told me-”
“What do you mean that’s not important?” Blaze growled in frustration. “If he’s so worried about me, why does he risk talking to my sister?”
Rivulet thrashed her tail in impatience. “Zihark says that I’m a nobody to Kaleb, that he would be able to feel if I had the same power as Zihark,” she snapped. “Why do you doubt your master like that?”
Blaze flinched. He hadn’t thought about that. The reason he had gotten so angry was because he thought his old mentor might be risking his own sister’s life. He sighed. “I’m sorry, Riv. Wh-what else did he say?”
Rivulet smiled at her brother, for finally calming down. “These are Zihark’s exact words: ‘Tell Blaze that in order for us to defeat this threat, he must remember everything I’ve taught him. He must remember many things in order for this darkness to lift.’ That’s what he said.”
Blaze thought for a moment, and was pleased that Zihark had used the word, ‘us’, because that meant that Zihark needed his help. “Come on, I think we’ll need Star’s help in order to defeat this threat that Zihark’s talking about.”
“Zihark wants you to fight?” Star asked. He thought in silence for a moment. The two Doglefoxes stood in front of him, expecting some kind of advice. Star was quiet for a long time; finally he spoke. “Come, there’s something that happened last night that I want to show you.”
Both siblings followed him in silence, as he led them back to the cave that was home to the Heart of Neopia. The Starry Lupe stopped and pointed up to the small opening above, which shot down some type of light into the pond below. “Look up there.”
They followed his gaze, confusion showing in their faces. What was Star trying to tell them? But then they both realized something was wrong. That was supposed to be sunlight appearing from the opening, and they should’ve been able to see a blue sky with white puffy clouds, too. All the two of them saw was darkness... were those rainclouds? Or was it something else?
“I want you two to go outside for one moment,” Star said. “One moment, then come right back,” he ordered sternly.
The Doglefoxes didn’t feel like talking at all as they made their way toward the entrance that they had found the day before. It was an instinct that all Neopets, Petpets, even Petpetpets, had, that they knew what moment of day it was. Maybe not the exact time of the day, but they knew when it was time to wake up, when the sun was just above the horizon. Both Petpets stopped when they reached the entrance. What should have been a blue sky with the sun just creeping above the trees, they saw complete darkness. There weren’t even any stars glittering up in the sky. Kreludor was just barely visible, shedding the only little light left visible.
Feeling uneasy, both siblings ran back to where Star was waiting. No words could describe how they felt, and Star could see that in their eyes. “Our time has been delayed,” the old Lupe explained. “The darkness has already enslaved the light, and it will do so with the other elements.”
“Where did the darkness come from?” Blaze asked. “Wait... is this what you were trying to prevent? The darkness from Kaleb?”
Star looked at them and nodded. “Yes, this is the darkness that was able to break through Kaleb’s mind. Now Kaleb has become a slave to the evil inside, and the darkness will start to take over Neopia’s creatures, as well.”
“We need to do something!” Rivulet cried. “We need to find Zihark and help him!”
“Remember everything... remember many things in order for this darkness to lift... ” Blaze whispered. He had a look of determination as he said, “We need to go to the Endless Plains. That’s where I first met Zihark. The beginning of my apprenticeship began there,” he explained. “I have a feeling Zihark’s there, but we need more help than just the three of us.”
“Are you thinking about Lethe?” Star asked as Blaze nodded. “Ah, well, I know a way of reaching your Petpet Village from here. Remember how I told you the Heart of Neopia can be anywhere, anytime? Lethe is at the Heart of Neopia that resides near your hometown, so we can use the Guardian to get us there.” He turned and placed a paw on the tree. He mumbled something, then suddenly a bright light filled their vision. Blaze and Rivulet closed their eyes instinctively, but as quickly as it had appeared, the light began to fade.
Both of them opened their eyes slowly. In astonishment they were back at their Hideout, with an open field and the tree and pond in the middle. It wasn’t sunny, though, and it seemed like the tree had already withered away. Its leaves were already diminishing in size, and the majority of the branches were bare.
They found the Faerie Whoot leaning against the tree. She stared at the three newcomers in awe, especially when she spotted the old Lupe. “Star... ?”
The Starry Lupe bowed, like how he had done the first time he met Blaze and Rivulet. “Hello, Lethe. I hope you have been doing well.” He stood up straight. “But we can talk later. We need to head to the Endless Plains. That’s where we think Zihark and Kaleb are.”
Lethe gave both Blaze and Rivulet a hard stare, but she nodded. “Okay, are we all ready for this?”
“Wait,” Blaze interrupted. “I’d like to bring a few more members along.”
“Who?” Rivulet looked at him quizzically.
“I want to bring my family, if that’s alright with you guys,” Blaze said. There was a strange passion in his voice.
“But it might endanger them!” Lethe argued, eyeing him.
“No, listen to me,” Blaze pleaded. “Zihark taught me something long ago, and I want to finally try it out.” He paused. “Plus, I think it might be the only way to defeat Kaleb’s darkness.”
Blaze stood at the head of the hill, looking down into the Endless Plains. He hoped everything would work... they needed to save Zihark, Kaleb, and Neopia! Even the Guardian of Magic was in danger!
The Doglefox glanced behind him. His family had agreed to come with him, and Rivulet had been sharing their story with his other sisters. They all had become slightly jealous of their younger sister having this adventure, but their jealously faded away when they realized their world was in danger.
His mother and father were discussing things with Star and Lethe, trying to understand what had happened to their son’s mentor. Blaze had been happy that his family had come, even though this might risk their lives. He needed their support for what was to come.
Zihark, he thought, I won’t let you down, I promise.
To be continued...