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


by rabbitofkittyhawk

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Sovan paced impatiently on his neighbor's lawn, peering down the street to see if Dizzconnie was coming. Finally, he saw the Gelert, and he sighed in relief. "I was getting worried there, Dizz," he said, trying to sound amused. His ebony auds twitched violently, searching to pick up any movement in the valleys behind the house that could possibly be Manov. He heard no such thing.

      Dizzconnie glared at him, keeping back an angry remark. She slung her leather pack over her shoulder, walking past Sovan towards the large hill. "Hurry up, Direwood is beyond Dire's Hill, and we want to find him before sun up don't we?"

      The fire Lupe shrugged and followed Dizzconnie. "I told him not to go," he said flatly.

      "I'm not going over that again, Sovan," Dizzconnia snapped, not looking back at the canine. Her eyes burned with fury and worry, the emotions mixing for Sovan and Manov. "Poor Manov, all alone in Direwood," she whimpered. "Aw, come on, show some sympathy!" she said, peeking over her shoulder.

      Sovan was crouching on the ground, studying a paw print. "It's fresh Dizz, but it's not Manov's. Anyway, the print has large claws. Too large for a Zafara. Either he's with a friend and learned how to not leave footprints, or one of his new friends is carrying him to Coursett," he said, noting the several other footprints in the soft earth.

      "What if those cloaked people got him? What if he's been kidnapped like Frauns? Oh, Sovan, is he alright?" Dizzconnie asked, fear gripping her stomach and tying it in knots. "This is all so horrid!"

      "Nah, I bet he's alright, just trying to worry us. Let's get going, he's a quick traveler, so we best hurry if we want to catch up with him any time soon."

     ________________________________________

           Fear. It was all the young Zafara could muster from his weary, aching body as he awoke. It was dark, and the vague veil over the stars was barely a comfort in such a place. He rubbed his head and looked around. He was in a meadow with lavender flowers. Manov batted at one of the large flowers like a child, trying desperately to find amusement in something, anything. Soon, he noticed shadows in the corner of his eye, and he quickly stood. Fatigue suddenly washed over him, and the Zafara's knees buckled, causing him sway violently before crashing back to the verdant carpet of grass. Then faint voices reached his ears.

      "He's awake, should we go ahead and take him on to Chanook?"

      "Yes, might as well. The fire would have attracted several pets, so it's best that we reach the wood before dawn," the largest shadow responded. "Go ahead and get him, he's not armed!" His commands made it obvious that he thought he was the leader of the small party.

      Hesitantly, four of the shadows drew closer, making Manov struggle to his feet again. He felt his knees feel weak once more, but this time he was able to keep his balance. Save for the sudden feebleness, he wasn't indifferent from when he was at home. No injuries or signs of illness, and for that he was quite relieved. The advancing figures made him recoil a few paces, only to have them quicken to match his stride until he stopped. He dared not speak to these strange forms, fearing that one would lash out at him. He finally decided that running was the best plan he had, so he swiveled on one foot and bolted away from the shadows. He smirked at seeing the figures stop, but then he collided with a cold, scaly form. He crumpled to the ground in a heap, letting the dizziness clear.

      The form was cloaked as well, but his hood was hidden upon his back, face revealed. It was a large shadow Krawk, maw curled in a menacing snarl. "Now, now, you try and run from us again and I'll fry you into a Snorkle snout!"

      Manov rose an eyebrow at the threat. "A Snorkel snout?"

      "Magus, just get on with it and chain him up!" the large shadow from behind shouted. The voice had a slight squawk at the end of the words, so it was then known to Manov that a Lenny was the obvious leader from before.

      The Krawk cocked his dial slightly before grabbing Manov's wrist as he stood. With effort, he soon had shackles on the squirming Zafara, chains linked to them. "Would ya hold still?"

     ________________________________________

           Sovan yawned, noticing how long they had been walking through the fields and meadows. "Dizz, better forget about getting home in time to get to the pub early," he said sleepily. "When I get that little worm, I'm going to glue him to the wall so he doesn't do this again."

      Dizzconnie rolled her eyes. "Aren't you the least bit worried that he might have been kidnapped?" she asked bluntly.

      "No, I believe that he made a stupid mistake and we're having to pay for it," he retorted.

      They walked in silence until finally they reached the base of Dire's Hill. "Now to get up it," they chorused. The climb was reasonably shorter than the walk to it, but still the upward climb was indeed more tiring. It was clear that neither wanted to be the one to say so though.

      Sovan was stony faced, his pools not showing the least bit of worry or fear, so Dizzconnie was soon envious. "He could be hurt you know," she said, hoping to find an edge in his voice when and if he responded.

      The Lupe gave another short yawn. "Then we'll get him to the hospital," he said smoothly. He shifted the weight of his burlap bag several times, soon making his form bend over in fatigue. 'I shouldn't have packed those extra loaves of bread,' he scolded to himself.

      Dizzconnie sighed and looked to the jade carpet of grass. Its hue was dark from its recent birth, and it made her orbs twinkle with delight. If only she could get Sovan's mood to brighten like the emerald blades. "You know how to make a grumpy Lupe laugh?"

      Sovan rolled his eyes but reluctantly shook his dial, but as he did so, Dizzconnie shoved him onto a large bush. His body hit a small tree next to the bush, and a tiny petpet nest landed atop his crania, several strips of yarn from the nest streaming down like ribbons.

      The Gelert laughed and fell to the ground, rolling on her back in sheer amusement. Her stomach soon became sore, but the laughter would not cease.

      "Quit messing around," Sovan snapped, standing and brushing the nest from his head. He scowled and continued walking up the slope.

      Dizzconnie stopped laughing and stood slowly. "Aw, come on Sovan! It was funny!"

      Sovan ignored her.

     The tension gradually began to melt away, and soon they were speaking to one another again. And, happily, they neared the top of Dire's Hill. As they crested the hill, a large forest stretched in front of them. Direwood.

      "Know where the name came from, Dizz?" Sovan asked curiously. "Dire's Hill and Direwood?"

      The Gelert shrugged. "I don't know, but obviously it had to do with someone named Dire." She was starting to get tired of his quite obvious questions. "Hey, I'll race you!" she shouted, sprinting down the large hill.

      Sovan, at first, didn't move, but then he bolted forward, running on all four pillars. The crimson, orange, and yellow flames on his pillars and tassel rippled over his ebon peltage like moonlight on a lake, and his bright pools gleamed with the joy of the wind caressing his face as he continued running for a few brief moments. As his mitts came upon level ground, he slowed to a stop and watched as Dizzconnie drew up beside him. He stretched and shook his pelt, yawning as he did so. "Thanks, Dizz. I needed that," he said, voice sounding heavily content.

      Dizzconnie nodded. "Uh huh." She stood still for a moment, face distorted in deep thought. "Why didn't we see him throughout the valley area if he wasn't that far ahead of us? Did we come all this way for nothing?"

      The Lupe sighed. "Dizz, he's a shadow Zafara. SHADOW! That means that it would have been hard to spot him." But he knew what was happening, or at least he thought he did. Manov couldn't keep something like this so secretive, and Dizzconnie's scared predictions started becoming Sovan's fears. "No, you're right, we would have been able to see him, and he's a bumbling one mind you. He had to have help somehow, but by something we're overlooking."

      "I told you! He was kidnapped by those cloaked pets, I knew it!"

      "That's not what I'm saying Dizz," he quickly responded, catching the uneasy edge in her voice. "Are you armed?"

      Dizzconnie's eyes grew wide. "No, of coarse not. You're not thinking of giving me a sword or anything or you?" She swallowed deeply, uneasiness rising to an uncomfortable level. She was a pet who treasured harmony, and here was one of her best friends asking if she had a fatale contraption in her keeping.

      Sovan unsheathed a small, simple dagger. "Here, it's only a last resort," he said, pressing it into her paw.

     The Gelert felt sick to her stomach as she held the blade, staring at her reflection. She nodded stiffly and placed it in her belt, letting it become covered by her light blue silk cloak. As she watched Sovan walk slowly towards the tree line, she noted the pale rays of light blooming behind her. Dawn was coming.

      "Come on Dizz," Sovan said softly, seeing bent undergrowth and snapped twigs littered in the light foliage. He stepped onto the makeshift path and slowly walked forward, listening for any signs of life in the lush wood.

      Dizzconnie bit her lip but then leaped into the vegetation, not wanting to be left behind. "We're going to find Manov, aren't we?" she asked meekly.

      "Sure Dizz. It'll be easier than finding a Feepit in a sea of Meepits."

      "Sovan, that's not funny."

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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