Casting a Shadow: Part Four
Late that night, Asilvani lay there in the living room, wide awake and staring at the ceiling. It was 3 AM, and she hadn’t slept at all. She was wallowing in guilt after everything Jimbigy had said to her earlier.
What am I going to do? I can’t do this to her… Not after she opened her heart to me! She really does see me as a friend and a sister… but they will have my head if I don’t go through with the plan! And I don’t think I could bear to see her reaction when that day comes… she’ll be crushed. I don’t know what to do...
She turned to look at her bag. The blue pendant was shimmering in the moonlight peering through the window. I still have no idea what this thing does, but they said only to use it when her power becomes too great to fight back against. I don’t know what they meant by that, but I don’t think I’m in any position to ask. They’d probably find me if I try to run away too, unless if I run away to space, or something… but they’d probably find me even on Kreludor. How’d I even get in this mess?
She couldn’t even remember. She pulled out the ring from earlier. The symbol could be seen more clearly now in the moonlight. An “S” was clearly emblazoned on it.
I never asked to join. It just sort of happened… I was visiting Tyrannia, and when I went the wrong way at the Plateau, I ended up at the Battleground, and now I’m here.
...No. I can’t do this to her. I don’t care if they come after me. I can’t go through with this.
She got up. She grabbed the ring, went out to the swamp, and chucked the ring away. It landed in the marsh with a satisfying “splash.” Asilvani instantly felt like a burden had been lifted. She sighed in relief and looked up. The moon was still fairly high up in the sky. She needed to go to sleep. Maybe tomorrow, she’ll get rid of the reflectors and potions. Jimbigy would never know.
She went back inside the house, curled up in the sleeping bag and drifted off to sleep.---
Early in the morning, Jimbigy was getting ready to visit Edna. As she entered the living room, she noticed Asilvani sound asleep, but a blue pendant she had never seen before was hanging out of her bag. Curious, Jimbigy slowly lifted Asilvani’s bag up, making sure the Draik wouldn’t stir from her sleep, and sneaked out the door.
She noticed the bag was much heavier than she expected. She peeked inside. She was shocked to see what was inside; instead of normal exploration supplies, inside was a Turbo Flame Reflector, an Ultra Dark Reflectorb, and stores of Starlight Potions and Slippery Floor Potions.
“Wh--what… why does she have all of these things?!” she asked, bewildered. She knew exactly what these items all did - either reflect or negate Fire or Dark magic. Which is exactly what Jimbigy had.
She felt like she had just gotten run over by a herd of Tonus. Asilvani didn’t really trust her. Why else would she pack so many things that would counter her magic? She could feel anger welling up inside her. After all I said to her… why would she do this? And what does this pendant do?
She ran her claw over the gem, only for it to give her a nasty zap leaving her feeling drained. “Nnnggh.. what even is this thing?! Maybe Edna will know… I need to ask her a favor, anyway…” she growled. She stormed her way to Edna’s Tower.---
Edna was working on another spell, when Jimbigy burst in, furious.
“You’re late, child. What ever seems to be the matter? Something tells me you’re here for more than just training.” the witch said, coolly.
Jimbigy held up the pendant. “What is this thing?”
Edna looked it over for a little while. “It appears to be some sort of artifact… I think it’s used to drain something of its magic. It feels quite foreboding.”
“A magic drain item?!” Jimbigy staggered back. Asilvani didn’t just mistrust me-- she’s afraid of me! She was going to get rid of my powers… why? Why would she do this?
She could feel a tear forming. Trying to save face in front of her teacher, she blinked it back. “Edna. Teach me the most powerful spell you know.”
Edna’s eyes widened. “Well. This seems rather sudden, but very well. Bring me back a White Chocolate Jetsam, a Cherimoya and a Yellow Glittery Brush within two hours, and I’ll teach you.”
“Very well.” Jimbigy grabbed the pendant, and stormed out.---
Asilvani woke up an hour later. She stretched out her wings and got up. When she looked over to where her bag was, however, she was surprised to see that it was missing.
“What the- who would’ve taken it?” She turned to her napping Ghostkerchief. “Haunter, did you see who took my bag?”
The Ghostkerchief drowsily stretched out and shook its head.
Asilvani frowned. “It’s daytime, so Frigidness is probably asleep. I don’t want to wake him up. Who could’ve taken it, though?”
A thought struck her, and she felt a chill throughout her body. She knew exactly who took it. ...Oh no.
She bolted out the door, headed towards Edna’s Tower.---
Jimbigy went back to the Marketplace. She wouldn’t dare enter the store she went to last time. Unusually for her, she didn’t even bother trying to steal the items she needed. All she could think about was Asilvani.
Why did I trust her? I’m an absolute idiot! Of course she wouldn’t trust me! Nobody would! To think, I called her my sister! Why? I swear, when I next see her…
She grabbed the items, paid for them, and stormed out.
Asilvani was already at Edna’s Tower. “There’s my stuff!” she cried, as she went to pick up the backpack. “Ugh. So I was right… Jimbigy really did find them… She must hate me now. I need to make things right.” She grabbed the bag, went to the window and dumped out its contents. She could hear the sound of glass shattering at the bottom of the tower.
There. I really should’ve thrown these out last night, though. If I had, she wouldn’t have seen these… I’m almost afraid of how she’ll react when she next sees me…
She could see a faint purple glow in the distance. It was Jimbigy. Asilvani gulped. She hid behind a bookcase to avoid her.
Jimbigy entered the witch’s hall. “Edna, I have everything.”
“Well, that took a lot less time than usual.”
“I’m serious about this, Edna. So. What’s this next one?”
“Step outside. This would make a mess indoors.”
Asilvani heard the two make their exit. She sighed in relief. “This can’t be anything good. I could hear the anger in her voice…” she groaned. How am I going to explain this to her? I can’t leave now, in case she sees me...
The following hour was the longest hour Asilvani ever experienced in her life. She could hear the sound of explosions and fire searing the land outside, and she feared what an angry Jimbigy would do with this power. She wondered if it would be better for her to confront Jimbigy after she’s had time calm down, or if she would ever calm down. No, she thought. She’d never forgive me for this.
A while later, the noises stopped. Asilvani got concerned. Is it over? She took a peek from behind the bookcase. Nobody was there. Mustering up as much courage as she could get, she went out from behind the bookcase and looked out the window. She couldn’t see anyone. Perhaps now’s my chance… She spread her wings and lifted off…
...And that was when her shadow grabbed her by the tail, pulling her down. It gave her a fierce tug. With a shriek, Asilvani was sent tumbling back into the tower, as the shadow continued to drag her down the steps with her still screaming. She was eventually thrown outside, face in the dirt. When Asilvani staggered back up, Jimbigy was looming over her.
Asilvani gulped. “Jimbigy,” was all she could muster.
Jimbigy gave her a vicious glare. “I actually thought I could trust someone for once. Someone who wouldn’t see me as a gullible child. Someone who I thought I could live with and be happy. I keep telling myself, ‘there’s no point in trying to find a good Neopian out there. They’d all take advantage of you somehow.’ I thought you were different than that! So tell me. WHY did you have all that Defence Magic meant to take me down?!” she screamed.
“I-I-I had no choice! They wanted me to stop you!”
“I… I can’t tell.”
“Did Jewel put you up to this?!”
“No! Jewel had nothing to do with this!”
“Asilvani. Tell me the truth for once!” She blasted Asilvani with a fireball, sending her flying backwards.
“I swear, Jewel has no idea any of this is happening! A group thought if your powers grew too great, you would be a threat! They wanted me to stop you!” Asilvani explained.
“Then why didn’t you refuse!?”
“Nobody can refuse an order from that group, unless they wanted to go missing!”
“What’s ‘that group?!’”
“I told you! I can’t say, or they’ll take me away!”
Jimbigy, fed up with Asilvani’s vague answers, let out a vicious cry and charged at her. She knocked Asilvani down, and started wailing on the poor Draik. With a bit of a struggle, Asilvani kicked Jimbigy off.
She looked over to the mess she made when she dumped out the backpack. The potion bottles had shattered, and the Turbo Flame Reflector had snapped in two, but the Ultra Dark Reflectorb was still in one piece. She ran over to grab it.
“So. You’ve decided to fight. Very well. This should be fun.” Jimbigy sent a shadow to try and grab the Reflectorb before Asilvani could, but the Draik was faster. She grabbed the Reflectorb just it time to smack the shadow with it and send it flying towards Jimbigy. This seemed to have taken a bit of strained effort, though. The Reflectorb snapped off its handle and fell to the floor, inert. The shadow crashed into its master, knocking her down.
“Tch, that was a lucky shot. But it’s broken now, isn’t it?” She took out the amulet, and crushed it in her hand. She dropped the pieces to the floor. “Just like everything else you have. What would you do if I did anything else? Nothing you could do there.” She flashed a sinister grin as she got back up.
A fireball erupted in Jimbigy’s hand, which she quickly volleyed towards Asilvani. In a panic, she grabbed a piece of the broken Flame Reflector and bent the broken part upwards. The fireball crashed straight into the tube and was redirected upwards, where it exploded in midair.
This display of ingenuity frustrated Jimbigy. “You’re only armed with broken weapons, yet you’ve been deflecting my attacks with ease.” she growled. She brandished an Obsidian Dagger. “But I don’t think you can deflect this.” She said, with a wicked smile on her face. “Time to reward you as a traitor deserves.”
Jimbigy charged after Asilvani with the dagger. Asilvani dove for the other half of the Turbo Reflector, but Jimbigy was quicker. She tore the dagger through Asilvani’s wing, tattering it. Asilvani screamed in pain as she grabbed her wing. Jimbigy called up another shadow, this time to grab Asilvani by the arms and pin her to the wall.
“It’s really such a shame. I actually thought you were different from the others, Asilvani. But I guess I should’ve known better. Anything you’d like to say?”
Taken by surprise at her answer, Jimbigy was dumbstruck.
“I didn’t want to fight in the first place. You see the supplies gathered in a broken pile there? I couldn’t bring myself to fight you, and I especially couldn’t take away what you’ve worked so hard to obtain. Not after what you said to me yesterday.” Asilvani looked down, melancholy.
“Even if you hadn’t said anything yesterday, I don’t think I could’ve done it anyway. The past few weeks have been the most fun I’ve had in years. I truly do see you as a sister, Jimbigy, and these past weeks only cemented my opinion. I don’t think my duty could be a higher priority than my family, even if it cost me dearly. If I had actually gone through with it, I don’t think I would’ve been able to live with myself.” She looked back up to Jimbigy. “So. If it makes you feel any better, go ahead.”
Jimbigy lowered her head, with her eyes being concealed by her cloak.
“You really mean it?” Jimbigy asked.
Asilvani nodded. “I swear. I understand if you hate me. I probably wouldn’t have forgiven myself.”
Before she knew it, Asilvani was released by the shadow. It dissipated into mist.
Jimbigy took a deep breath, and dropped the dagger. “Get out.”
“Why are you letting me free?” Asilvani asked, confused.
“...I still trust you. I honestly did think of you as my sister, too. I want to believe what you said is the truth. You really see me as your sister?”
Asilvani nodded solemnly. “I do.”
Jimbigy looked down. “Do you think you can still fly?” she asked, peering up at the tear in the wing membrane she made in Asilvani’s wing.
“...Maybe. It would probably be faster walking, though.”
Jimbigy sighed in remorse. “I… I’m sorry. I didn’t want anyone to experience what I went through, but… I-I have to go.”
“Where are you going?”
A long pause.
“...Home. I’m going to apologize to Jewel. I… can’t stay here any longer.” Jimbigy turned around, and disappeared off into the woods.
Asilvani gathered up her bag, looking sorrowfully where Jimbigy had left. Haunter floated up, concerned about his owner. He nudged her face.
“I’m fine. Come on, Haunter. We need to move on to the next town.”
To be continued…