Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 99,279,380 Issue: 195 | 17th day of Relaxing, Y7
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Avalon and the Emerald Noil Gem: Part Two

by cpmtiger


Maybe they were looking for him? Avalon ran to the kitchen, and peered into the sink. His heart sank, and his anger rose. Dirty plates were in the metal basin. His parents had heated something up, eaten, and then gotten to work. Without a single worry about where their son was. With an angry growl, Avalon pushed himself away from the sink, and went over to the oak kitchen table, and more specifically, the message pad.

     Avalon's family had a message pad, where they wrote down addresses, grocery reminders, and special dates. Avalon's parents also wrote where they were if they weren't at home. Avalon picked up the yellow notebook, scanning the top page. There was a small list of items they would need to buy soon, including milk and bread. His mother's small, squiggly cursive spelled out an address of a Tyrannian business associate, who she would be contacting soon. His father had written something about a meeting at seven AM, but other than a game of tic-tac-toe Avalon had played against himself, there was nothing else on the pad. Frowning, Avalon picked up the pad and flipped through all of its pages. They were all blank. Avalon was sure that if the pages had voices, they would have been laughing.

     The starry Kougra slammed the pad back on the oak table. Avalon stood shaking angrily for a moment, his eyes narrow slits. After a few minutes of angry silence, Avalon's thoughts turned to what he should do.

     "Well," Avalon said slowly, "They're not home, there's no note…sounds like a missing pets report to me." In one way, Avalon felt like this would be an interesting problem for his parents when they came back from wherever they'd gone. But in the back of Avalon's brain, a small voice reminded him that they really were missing, and there was no evidence they'd been home at all, except a warm chair and dirty dishes. And Avalon knew that his parents never left work voluntarily.

     So Avalon scrawled a message on the notepad, telling his parents he'd gone to the police station, then headed out into the night. His fur bristled as he locked the door behind him. Avalon was afraid the Gelerts might still be in the woods. He stuck to the main streets, but was still worried that he would be attacked. And with that fear came another one; fear of what had happened to his parents. By the time Avalon entered the large, brick building of the Neopia Central Police Department, he no longer felt like the missing pet report was revenge.

     At the desk was a large orange Nimmo, almost asleep at his desk. He blinked when Avalon came in, and narrowed his eyes skeptically. "What brings you here, kid? Shouldn't you be at home with your parents?"

     Feeling a prickle of annoyance, Avalon went up to the desk, hoping that the Noil Gem wouldn't look suspicious. "Sorry, sir, but my parents aren't home."

     The Nimmo looked exasperated. "So? Wait 'til they come back!"

     Puzzled, Avalon blinked before realizing the Nimmo didn't understand. "No, they didn't leave on an errand! That's not what I meant." Avalon explained what he'd found, along with his parent's desire to get work done, no matter what.

     By the time he'd finished, the Nimmo was looking concerned. "Alright, you're right, I think this calls for a missing pet report." The Nimmo pulled out a few sheets of paper. "Can you give me their names and a description?"

     Avalon nodded. "My father, Robert, he's a silver Kougra, he's usually wearing a pair of reading glasses. My mom's name's Isabella, she's an electric Kougra, bright blue eyes."

     The Nimmo scribbled on the paper, and flipped it over. He asked for Avalon's parent's workplaces, as well as how they got home. After copying it down, the Nimmo had Avalon sign it, then stood and went to give it to another officer. He told Avalon that they would contact him when they found something.

     So Avalon headed home on foot. Complete darkness had fallen now, and he was afraid one of the huge Gelerts might attack him. With a shudder, Avalon remembered their sudden appearance earlier. He began running, and didn't stop until he'd locked the large white door behind him. With no other real option, Avalon went into the family's living room.

      Like the rest of the house, the living room was almost immaculate, and looked as though it hadn't been used. A fancy red sofa took up most of the far wall, the lacy crimson pillows placed in strategic, eye-catching places. A bright blood colored bowl filled with some sort of expensive, mint chocolate candies, which Avalon wasn't allowed to touch, sat in the center of the table, along with a copy of the Neopian Encyclopedia, A-D. Avalon gazed distastefully at the silk curtains, the large regal portraits, the red chintz armchairs in every corner.

     With a sigh, Avalon flopped down onto the sofa, pushing a pillow to the floor. He stared through the candy bowl, angry and worried all at once. He didn't know what to do now. The police had said they'd contact him when the found something. But what was he supposed to do in the meantime? He wasn't going to eat, not with the pot of worry boiling away like Edna's cauldron in his stomach. He defiantly wanted to stay inside. Even reading didn't sound good at the moment.

     Avalon lay down on his back, staring at the ceiling. The clock in the next-door kitchen ticked softly as Avalon's thoughts returned to the events earlier.

     What was with this Noil Gem? What was it? How was it so powerful? And why, why, WHY was he now the Guardian of it? Examining the Gem, Avalon decided that it must be valuable. Why would all those Gelerts attack him and the Faerie for something worthless?

     Avalon suddenly remembered the Gelert he'd lead to the canyon. He closed his eyes so hard that it hurt. Avalon knew it wasn't really his fault, that he'd really had no choice, but still… couldn't he have lost him in the forest?

     "No," he thought suddenly. "They were after the Gem, nothing would've kept that one off me." All the same, Avalon had never wanted to kill someone. He rolled onto his stomach, pulling off the Noil Gem. It was warm now, but with little jolts of intense heat. Avalon frowned at it. What was this thing? It was like a petpet, like something alive.

     "It's trying to warn me," Avalon muttered, surprised that he knew this. "It knows something's wrong, but it doesn't know what. And it's trying to warn me."

     A chill crept like a Spyder down Avalon's spine. With a growl, he shook himself. "It's a Gem," he reminded himself sternly as he put it back around his neck. "It can't warn you, it's a piece of jewelry!"

     Avalon sat silently for a moment. The clock in the kitchen ticked softly. The light in the living room was low. A soft night breeze blew through the window, rustling the curtains. Avalon's eyes grew heavy, and before he knew it, he was asleep, one starry paw covering the Gem next to him.

     Avalon saw a flash of dancing yellow light. Something nearby sizzled and burned like a strip of bacon. The air smelled strongly of smoke… Avalon's eyes darted open. He leapt to his paws, teeth barred, tail bristled. The air hissed with the sound of burning wood. Avalon sweated beneath his fur. The house was on fire!

     The closest door was in the next room, the kitchen. Seizing the Noil Gem and throwing in around his neck, Avalon leapt from the couch. He ran toward the kitchen, paws thumping on the carpet. Just as he reached the kitchen entrance, a plank of burning wood fell from the floor above, causing Avalon to stop in his tracks. He quickly backed up, heading for the window in the living room. But when he turned, he saw that another piece of the burning upper story had fallen on the couch. The fabrics exploded in bright pillars of blisteringly hot flames. The window was not an option. Turning back to the kitchen, Avalon crouched, then pushed off of the ground, clearing the burning wood in one leap. Avalon had just reached the door when he saw something white. Avalon whirled around. From the kitchen, he could see the front door. A white sheet of paper had been put through the mail slot, and Avalon recognized the stationary of the police.

     So the police had delivered information! Avalon hesitated. How would he know what had happened to his parents unless he read that note? On the other paw, the burning upper floor was crumbling like a stale cookie, except that this cookie was on fire, and some were ones Avalon couldn't clear in a single jump.

     "You're no use to them dead Avalon," the Kougra thought, turning from the hallway and opening the door. As it slammed shut behind him, yet another piece of burning upper floor fell next to the thick note. Greedily, the fire crept toward the piece of paper, then devoured it in a small burst of fire.

     Looking back from the trees across the road, Avalon saw the last bits of his home flare up, as f it was one massive firework. Avalon's anger flared up as fast and as deadly as the fire itself. What kind of Neopian would burn down an innocent pet's house?

     Avalon blinked. By the light of the dying fire, he thought he saw the shape of a Kougra's face, as black as a dead ember, and eyes as red and hot as a live one. Something about those eyes made Avalon turn and run, heading for the forest.

     Avalon had never been in the Kougra Lily Forest more than a few hours. He's never been in at night, period. But still he ran, faster and faster, trying to ignoring the cries and growls of the night creatures. Avalon felt as if he wasn't just running from the Kougra and the fire, but from the time after he'd left Neopia Central Park. But it was hard to abandon those events, with the Gem thumping against his chest with every step.

     He tripped on a log, and tumbled face first into the dirt. He felt a gash open up on his right paw. He felt the blood begin oozing from the cut. A Whoot nearby screeched angrily as it flew away. Avalon waited until he'd caught his breath, then tried to stand. He got up just fine, but his right paw shook violently with his leg's weight.

     Avalon sat back down. His head was pounding, probably from his face plant when he'd tripped. His lungs burned, screaming for oxygen, as did his legs. Avalon lay down on the forest floor, curled up, and fell asleep.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» Avalon and the Emerald Noil Gem: Part One
» Avalon and the Emerald Noil Gem: Part Three
» Avalon and the Emerald Noil Gem: Part Four
» Avalon and the Emerald Noil Gem

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