Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 110,015,858 Issue: 181 | 10th day of Running, Y7
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A Shadow in the Light: It has Begun - Part Two


by rabbitofkittyhawk

--------

The forest of Direwood was dark and daunting, the perfect place for the dark clad thieves. Their cloaks were long with hoods large enough to cover their entire face whether they were hiding scales or fur. A large gnarled white tree served as their meeting place, its roots curved in such a way that a large cave had formed under its large trunk. The leader of the silent band was a large Halloween Kougra, his wings flexing as his ranks of hooded pets arrived at the small clearing.

      "You, the Saave, have been called here to meet our current prisoner, a peasant from the nearby village. I have also gathered you to tell you of good news," he said hollowly, his voice deep and grisly. "Kax, bring out the blacksmith," he snarled over his shoulder to the cave.

      A Darigan Kougra then padded out of the eerie darkness, tugging on a chain. Her form shook with effort as she finally pulled the large brown Ixi from his hiding. She furiously thrust the chain forward, knocking Frauns to his knees. "Here he is, Chanook," she hissed, clearly exhausted.

      Chanook smiled wickedly. "This is the bait for luring the Summoner from his village. This is the pet that will bring the one from safety and into our claws. And when that day comes, we shall see the darkness live as it should have!" His voice rose above the treetops as the hooded pets cheered manically, and Petpets flew from their perches, escaping the fearful sight. "And then Neopia shall belong to us, and no other!"

      Frauns snickered as the cheers subsided. "Summoner? Wow, what a superstitious bunch you are," he said with a smirk.

      Chanook turned and growled. "When the Summoner comes, we shall see who is laughing."

          

      Sovan finished eating Manov's abandoned potato wedges and then stood to go and pay. When he reached the bar, he received angry scowls and the 'What on Neopia did you do?' face by the pets sitting there. He handed Dizzconnie the Neopoints and trudged out the door. He hopefully looked around, searching for Manov, but the Zafara simply wasn't there. He sighed and walked halfheartedly through the square and down a small road lined with tiny village huts. When he came to his, he looked next door at Manov's. Not one candle was lit. 'Manov, I'm sorry,' he thought sadly before stepping inside his own home.

      He was suddenly struck at how quaint it really looked. He had his bed settled by the back wall and the bathroom door next to it, a small lazy chair near his bed and a bookshelf next to it, a dinner table that could serve two people, and near the door was his small kitchen.

      He looked in his icebox under the freestanding sink and found a frozen Weewoo. He felt his mouth water as he lifted the small season stuffed bird from the icebox and set it in a large pot. After he had it over the tiny fire in his 'dining room' he sat in his lazy chair and picked out a book. He grumbled as he saw which one it was. It was Manov's favorite, but Sovan really couldn't see why. He opened it and was soon deep in the book's enticing story.

      About an hour later, Sovan placed the book onto of the bookshelf, its pages down flat so he could keep his spot and checked on his Weewoo. It was nice and brown, so he took the pot off the fire and set it on a flat metal block on the table so that it wouldn't burn the table. "Now to eat," he said hungrily. He trotted into the kitchen and fished around in the cupboard for a plate. He found two metal plates and two sets of utensils before returning to his table. He quickly cut the small bird in half and set one on his plate and one on the other. He put away the pot and metal block and then sat down before seeing his mistake. He grumbled and then peered out his small window above his lazy chair. He was somewhat glad to see a candle lit. The Lupe stood and scampered to the door.

      Sovan walked outside and crossed over to Manov's yard, nervousness seeping into his mind. He knocked on the heavy wooden door and placed his ear on its cold face, listening for any sound of movement. He thought he heard a muffled 'Come in', so he opened the door without hesitation. He looked around. The layout was like his own house, but instead of a lazy chair, Manov had all kinds of equipment for outdoor activities. He stepped inside and closed the door behind him, curiosity suddenly growing. "Hello. Manov?" he called. Nothing stirred except for a tiny Feepit on Manov's bed. "Chico, come here, boy!" Sovan called. The Feepit didn't wake.

      "What are you doing in my house?" came a stiff voice from the window.

      Sovan looked out the kitchen window and saw Manov's tense face. "I was looking for you," Sovan said awkwardly. "Look, back in the pub... I didn't mean to offend you, it's just that a teenager isn't up to something that could be possibly dangerous."

      Manov disappeared from the window and then opened the front door. "Get out, Sovan," he said, his tone his quite stiff. Sovan was about to protest, but Manov wouldn't hear it. "Get out of my house, Sovan!" he shouted, fists clenched.

      The Lupe dropped his jaw. He had come to apologize, and now he was being told to leave. "Fine," he said, straightening his back. "But I still expect you to know that your place in respect is not above mine, kid." He said it harshly and to the point before leaving.

      Manov slammed the door behind his friend and breathed out in relief. "Thank Jeran he's gone!"

          

      That night, the white tree's clearing was empty yet again, and it was silent.

      "Chanook, I spotted the Summoner today," Kax said from the cave's mouth. Her wings twitched slightly as she watched Chanook toil over pieces of faded parchment. "I think the plan won't be needing the bait, most likely he will be passing through the forest anyway."

      The Halloween Kougra glanced at Kax. "Sister, if we don't need bait for one thing, we can always use it later. Don't correct me again."

      Kax rolled her eyes. "I didn't correct you," she mumbled lowly. "He seems strong, how will you know we would be able to control him," she questioned.

      A smile played at Chanook's lips. "I have my ways, sister."

          

      Sovan angrily put the other half of the Weewoo in the icebox and plopped down on his lazy chair, forgetting about his own dinner. He picked up his book, but he couldn't concentrate on the words so he threw the book onto his bed. From under the bed, a small Mallard waddled out and cocked its head at Sovan. "Come here, Pepito," Sovan crooned to his Petpet. It ran to him and leaped into the chair beside him. "We don't need Manov, do we?" he asked the Mallard. He sighed, knowing it couldn't answer him.

      After a few minutes of playing with his Petpet, Sovan stood and stretched. "Come on Pepito, time to get some shut eye." He set Pepito on the ground, changed into a white sleeping shirt, and climbed into bed, feeling awkward. Never had he ended a day on a bad note with Manov, how could he just let that happen? He thought of going back and giving Manov the Weewoo as a sorry gift, but then his stubborn pride would keep him from getting up. He soon fell asleep, but yet his slumber was fitful.

      After several hours of restless sleep, a muffled shout awoke him. He shot up, untangling his tassel from the sheets. He quickly replaced the sleeping garment with his yellowish medieval style shirt and bolted from his hut-like Neohome before glancing to Manov's home. He could see flames licking the inside of his friend's home. "No," he breathed before running to the front door. He turned the doorknob to the Zafara's hut, but the door wouldn't budge. "Jeran help me!" he cried ravenously, slamming into the door. "Manov! Manov, are you in there?!"

      What he didn't know was that several cloaked pets were climbing out the bathroom window with an unconscious Manov. Then they swiftly sprinted into the valleys and toward the massive base of Dire's Hill.

      Sovan finally rammed the door open, and he looked frantically around. He found Chico scampering away from the flames, and he scooped the Petpet in his arms as he peeked in the bathroom. Manov wasn't there. He whimpered slightly and then lunged out the door, landing hard on the ground. Several other Ovalon residents helped him up and started bringing water to the house. Sovan watched in disbelief for about thirty minutes, until the fire was completely out. The generous Ovalon citizens then groggily trudged back home without a word to Sovan.

      "He- he wasn't there," he said flatly. The Lupe's eyes then narrowed dangerously.

      "Sovan!"

      The Lupe turned his head slightly to see Dizzconnie running toward him.

      "Are you alright, Sovan?" Dizzconnie took the Feepit in his paws and put it on her shoulder. Seeing that Sovan wasn't going to answer, she shook his shoulders. "Sovan! Are you alright? Is Manov?"

      "I don't know! I'm fine but-" he cut himself off. "He probably went to Coursett," he growled. "That little snake wants to get a taste of glory." He shook his head in fury. "I told him that he couldn't go!"

      Dizzconnie lifted an eyebrow. "And why is it that he wouldn't be able to go and you would? I don't think he would have gone without you, anyway, so cool down. He's probably somewhere in the square, you'll see."

      "No, I know Manov. He's not here," Sovan said, letting some of his anger seep away. "I have to go find him. Are you coming?"

      The Gelert recoiled. "Me? I, uhh... Yeah, I'll come," she said slowly.

      Sovan nodded. "Ok, go home and get some food and another change of clothes, I'll meet you back here."

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» A Shadow in the Light: It has Begun - Part One
» A Shadow in the Light: It has Begun - Part Two
» A Shadow in the Light: It has Begun - Part Four



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