A Deal with the Daniels: Part Three
The two heroes had now come upon Shenkuu. They made their way stealthily through the trees; however, they soon realized that there was no immediate threat and approached the edge of the land.
"Look at this place," Miri sighed. "It's been ravaged; it will take years to get it back to its former glory."
"And I don't like the look around that tower," Godry added as he pointed to the Emperor's Palace.
The walls had absorbed a dark hue similar to the shadows that Miri had seen in Altador. The building itself seemed to drain from the sun.
"We'd better get a move on, before things can get any worse," Miri said. "You go first and create a distraction. But remember don't do anything too drastic, we don't to draw the sorcerer out of his palace, just keep the guards busy."
"Sir Godry won't let you down," the Gelert promised and he raced towards the city.
Godry entered and immediately came face to face with a bulky robot.
"I bet you can't catch me," he teased as he lightly bopped the robot with his sword.
The Gelert then rushed past the robot and deeper into the city. However, when he realized that he wasn't being pursued he shot a glance behind him. The robot was helplessly lying on its back.
"Wow, I don't know my own strength," the Gelert exclaimed.
He didn't have a lack of adversaries, though; soon multiple robots had come to investigate.
"You are not allowed in this area," one of them declared.
"Well then, I dare you to get rid of me," he challenged as he took off in another direction.
This time he didn't bother to use his sword and the robots came after him at a steady pace. Godry rolled his eyes. Considering how threatening the Chia had been in Altador, his robots were not all that menacing. It wasn't long before he had a trail of many robots following him. The creations used no tactics to cut him off or surround him. They simply followed ten steps behind him; this made it quite easy for Godry to keep them all busy.
Meanwhile Miri was cautiously slinking against walls and crawling through alleys. Soon she had arrived at the foot of the palace with no one spotting her. She flapped her wings and ascended to the roof. She easily found a hole in the work that had yet to be repaired. She squeezed herself in the hole and found herself in the rafters of the building. Her plan was to attack the Chia by surprise before he could use any Dark Magic.
"I can feel your power growing," came a deep voice from below. "I can see your aura of darkness expanding; consume all the light around you."
"Good," came a smaller voice. "But I think I'm done for now."
Miri deduced that the first voice was Daniels and the quieter voice was the Chia. She also noticed that the air around her seemed to have gotten a bit warmer as she heard the Chia stand up. Daniels had said something about an aura consuming light; she must have felt that too.
"Tell me, Lord Daniels," the Chia said, "how did you know Lady Sala? When I met her, she said that a hero had let her fall into the pools of Moltara. That must have been centuries ago."
"Yes, but you were not the first person she sought out after her defeat," Daniels explained.
Miri was debating on her next move. If Daniels was given the chance, he would no doubt destroy her, yet he didn't seem to be leaving any time soon. She decided to wait; perhaps she could drop in during the middle of his story and catch him off guard. Also, she was interested in learning about Lady Sala and her connection to Daniels as well.
"Much earlier than when you met Lady Sala she came to me, an inexperienced Dark Magician," Daniels continued. "She explained her story and made me her apprentice. I grew much stronger in that time; in fact I learned to forge various weapons to aid my conquest. I believe that you're familiar with the Heart of the Inferno."
"But this doesn't add up," exclaimed the Chia. "Why would Sala leave you and come to me? And what happened to your artifacts?"
"If you would just let me finish," Daniels sighed. "There came a hero known as Sir Bracken who was skilled in fighting the Dark Arts. He was able to send Sala's essence back to the pits of Moltara and without her I was powerless. I was forced to retreat and slowly, ever so slowly, I relearned all the magic that Lady Sala had taught me. To keep the artifacts from falling into Bracken's hands, I had them scattered throughout Neopia. I didn't need them anymore by the time I had regained my strength. All that remained was to wait for the right moment to strike. And then you showed up."
An eerie silence filled the room and Miri was beginning to fear that she had missed her opportunity.
Suddenly Daniels said, "Someone is spying on us."
Miri could only gasp in surprise before she found a force wrapping around her. She struggled and tried to escape through the hole, yet the force in the shadows was tightening around her.
She could only barely reach her head outside and scream, "Godry!"
Then she was sucked back down into the darkness. The rafters had gone from dim to pitch black and she found herself suffocating in the shadows. It was like a web was wrapped a thousand times around every part of her. She felt all the energy begin to deplete from her. Then suddenly she saw light and could breathe again. Immediately she shot from the rafters and into the sunlight. She saw that Godry had used his sword to widen the hole and spread light across the shadows.
"Go!" Miri commanded.
The Gelert needed no more explanation this time. The duo slid down from the roof and back to the ground before either Daniels or Jimmi could react. Rapidly they dashed through the fallen town. A blockade of robots guarded the main gate, but Godry made short work of them with his sword. After much more running they were safely away from the palace and the presence of darkness had vanished.
"What happened?" Godry asked once they had slowed their pace down.
"I didn't get a chance to attack before Daniels sent his shadows on me," Miri explained. "But I think we need to visit the library again. Lord Daniels mentioned a hero named Sir Bracken who was able to defeat him once. He also mentioned someone named Lady Sala; she may be important too."
The heroes were back in the old library and fruitlessly searching book after book.
"I can't find anything out Bracken," Miri exclaimed. "Every tale on Lord Daniels simply says that he disappeared and no one knows what happened."
"Perhaps this Bracken fellow was a more mysterious hero," Godry mused. "But what have you found about Lady Sala."
"Little, but that's better than nothing," she answered. "I only found her name in the most ancient books and even then it was very brief. Yet from the little information I found it seems like she was a strong menace to Neopia in its early days."
"It would seem that even the scholars would rather forget her existence," Godry observed.
"But both Daniels and Chumpchange referenced that she aided them at one point," Miri said. "So she's not as gone as they'd like to think."
"But why isn't she still helping them, she must be more powerful than both of them?" Godry said.
"Her powers must still be weakened," Miri suggested. "Something may have sent her back."
Another idea hit her. "The Eye of Purity; you said that it was supposed to destroy dark beings, yet Chumpchange was able to destroy it."
"It would seem as though there was not enough of the darkness in him," Godry explained. "How does this connect?"
"Would it work on Daniels?" Miri asked. "He created it. He wouldn't want it to be used against him."
"True, it must have been a failsafe," Godry replied. "But who is more powerful than Lord Daniels?"
Both answered, "Sala."
For the third time the heroes were readying for an attack on Jimmi Chumpchange. However, this time they didn't bother to be subtle. Sir Godry charged through the array of robots and sliced them to bits. The duo kicked down the door to the palace and charged inside. When they came to the doors to the throne room they saw what appeared to be breathing shadows edging around the rim.
The small Chia burst from the room and shouted, "You two are going to regret ever messing with Jimmi Chumpchange!"
The aura around him seemed much stronger than Miri had ever seen. It was like there was some horrible dark fire surrounding him, and for a split second she was petrified.
Then she regained her wits and declared, "Mr. Chumpchange, you've been had!"
"I have no time for your tricks," Jimmi exclaimed, but he wasn't proceeding on destroying them.
"The only one who has tricked you is Lord Daniels," Miri shouted. "He betrayed Lady Sala. He created the Eye of Purity with one purpose in mind, to send her back to the depths of Moltara."
"That's... that's ridiculous," Jimmi said uncertainly.
"Think about it," Miri prodded. "The Eye of Purity wouldn't work on someone with a fraction of darkness in them; it would only work on someone who was pure darkness, and who does that sound like? He banished Sala when he had no more use for her, and who's to say that he won't do it to you?"
"I... I..." Jimmi was at a loss for words.
"It's true, Jimmi," came the deep voice of Lord Daniels. "I created all the artifacts to aid myself, and that included the Eye of Purity. I needed a weapon against Lady Sala; she was simply too powerful."
The Krawk's figure formed itself out of shadows and in a blink he was standing behind the Chia.
"But why did you betray her?" demanded Jimmi.
"I had to before she did," Lord Daniels protested. "You saw her, Jimmi. Wasn't it obvious that was only interested in a body to serve her until she was strong enough? Then she would have done away with me – or you -- once her strength returned."
"I can't trust you," Jimmi declared, his anger rising. "How do I know you won't turn on me if I become a threat? Didn't you say that you'd let me be defeated if it served your purposes?"
The Chia grabbed a nearby wrench and approached the Krawk.
"That wasn't what I meant, Jimmi," said Daniels, who was showing a slight appearance of annoyance. "Lady Sala was manipulative and devious."
"And you're not?" snarled Jimmi as he swung the wrench at him. "Manipulative and devious are the first things that come to mind when I see you."
Daniels raised his staff to block the wrench but made no motion to strike back at Jimmi.
"I'm not going to fight you, Jimmi," he said passively.
"Well then, it will just be easier to beat you," said Jimmi as he swung again.
"I only want to help you," Daniels argued swiftly blocking every blow to him. "There's so much more that I could teach you. I need someone to carry on after I'm gone; I need you, Jimmi."
That caused Jimmi to pause. He considered if he really could trust Daniels. Yet he remembered when Daniels had abandoned him in battle; he remembered Daniels's ruthless Dark Spells that he used against his enemies. He knew how easy it would be for the Krawk to destroy him if it suited his needs.
"Sorry, Daniels, no deal," Jimmi cried as he dived towards the Krawk wrench in hand.
Just before he contacted the Krawk, he evaporated into smoke.
"That's such a pity, Jimmi." Daniels's voice filled the room. "But you will change your mind someday. And then I will return."
With that, the shadows sank to the floor and slipped out of the room. Miri and Godry, who had been standing transfixed during the whole confrontation, came out of their stupor and moved towards the Chia.
"Leave!" boomed the Chia as she raised his paw.
In a blast the two were shot from the palace and back to the ground. Miri's wings were able to slow their descent.
"Should we go after him again?" Godry asked.
"No, I think our work is done for now," Miri said. "Without Daniels, the Chia is going to be set back. Who knows, maybe Altador will go back to rebellion. And as for us, we've been almost beaten every time we've tried to face him. I think we need to return to our own territories and go strong. There'll come a time when he'll move on to us. We need to be ready."
The Gelert nodded and the two gladly left behind the dreadful place that Shenkuu would become.
Meanwhile Jimmi stood slightly paralyzed in his room. He had been shocked by the many revelations in only a short amount of time. He room was once again full of holes, yet the shadows weren't so prominent anymore.
"I'd better getting started on fixing those," he muttered to himself.
The Chia began to ponder what robot he should use, when he realized how easily they had been destroyed.
"They are useless," he decided.
Instead he raised his paw and recited a deep chant. Slowly the walls and ceiling reformed, blocking out all sunlight. Once his magic was done, he was back in the dark. The deep, dark shadows.