|Also by luvinnemiousis
If the Puzzle Fits...
"Hubrid Nox... ouch! Heaven knows how we'll interview
that creepy Chia." I sighed with relief as Luvin pulled the last splinter out
of my hide and looked over the notes I had make for finding our suspects.
"Hmm. A mansion in the Haunted Woods. Great.
Just great. You feel up to it?"
"Yeah. Plenty of light left for the flight
and the interview. Although tonight I'm scheduled for a nervous breakdown followed
by an hour or two of cowering in a brightly lit room." I shook my head.
Luvin laughed a little. I was mostly being
sarcastic about the last sentence but she knew how I felt.
A little past noon we arrived at the abandoned
construction site of Hubrid's mansion and we angled down for a landing. This
place would be absolutely beautiful when it was done. Well, beautiful in a sinister
sense. The artwork and the statues were all masterpieces... masterpieces of
freakish monsters and misshapen decorations. A winged monster statue faced us
as we walked through the front gate, claws splayed in a frozen attack position.
The front door creaked slowly open as we approached.
"Hello?" Luvin called out, "Anyone order pizza?"
I held back a laugh, "Luvin!"
"Whaaat?" she grinned and shrugged at me.
"Well I could say 'Avon calling' but Neopia doesn't have Avon..."
We walked into the foyer, calling out to Hubrid.
"Yes...yes... I hear you..." came a whispery
voice, and a Chia in a dark cloak seemed to flow into the room, "What do you
"We're here to ask you about the Wraiths."
"You waste my time," Hubrid hissed, curling
his lip in a sneer.
Gee, I thought, He's got fangs just
like von Roo.
"Time wasting or no, I think you should answer
our questions," I said firmly flaring my electric blue wings and lightly rubbing
the blue jewels in my amulet.
Hubrid looked amused, "Guardian's of Neopia?
Heh heh heh... How quaint. Well little Guardian, you've got no business here.
I have nothing to do with the Wraiths and they have nothing to do with me."
"How do we know you're not lying?" Luvin demanded.
Hubrid waved a dismissive hand, "Why would
I? I want to rule Neopia. What good would it do me to set the Wraiths loose?
They destroy and kill. Nothing more. A dead planet is no good to me."
I stared, and then nodded slowly, "Gruesome
but a good point. Much as I hate the idea, you can't be a King without subjects."
Sighing we walked out of Hubrid's mansion.
"Well another dead end," I sighed, "Who's
next? Luvin? Yo Luv... Hey what's wrong?"
"That statue..." she breathed, pointing toward
the winged monster we had seen while coming in.
"Huh? What about it?" I looked over. Yeah
it was still ugly as heck, and still as threatening as ever.... And it was facing
us as we were walking out the front door.
"That statue..." she repeated, "Wasn't it
facing the other way?"
Something dark oozed out of the statue and joined the pooling darkness in
the yard. A few seconds later, we saw something dark and formless dart like
lightning out of the yard and into the Haunted Woods.
We traded quick looks and lunged after it.
Wherever it was going, it would be a step in the right direction to finding
its master. What we didn't think of until we were in the trees, was that the
forest was awfully dark and that there were hundreds of places where untold
numbers of Wraiths could wait in ambush.
"Uh oh." The familiar vicious hiss froze us
in our tracks.
Another Wraith poured out of the underbrush
to bar our path. Several more began their hissing all around us. We were surrounded.
"Ssssstop trying to interfere." The one in
front of us hissed, forming a head like an Aisha's, "You dig your own gravessssss.
The Queen of Ssshhhhadowssss will ssssee you both frozen for your perssssissstance."
I traded a look with Luvin. Queen of Shadows?
Well, well... that certainly narrowed it down for us.
"Go back to your Master, cowering like the
fraidy cat you are," Luvin growled, placing a hand on her sword.
The Wraith hissed in fury and leaped for us,
but we were ready.
"Sun Ray!" we both yelled, and the light exploded
around us, turning night into day for a brief moment. A beam from my paw lanced
through the Wraith and it gave a hissing cry before disintegrating. The others
shrieked in fury and retreated from the light.
Instantly our wings snapped open and we clambered
up tree trunks like Myncis. As soon as we were high enough we leaped high into
the air and flew up and away, flapping hard until the brightly lit streets of
Neopia Central lay below us.
Together, we slipped into our house and turned
on every light available in the front room. I decided I felt safer in my Eyrie
form, armed with sharp claws and a beak, and curled up on the couch. I was exhausted,
but there was no sleeping for me tonight. I stared tensely at a wall, reviewing
the day's events in my mind.
Something large moved out of the kitchen.
I squalled like a parrot and shot straight up, burying my Eyrie claws into the
Luvin stood at the entrance to the kitchen,
looking amused with two cups of hot chocolate in her hand. "A little tense Alkuna?"
"Just a little bit...Luvin," I managed to
pull free of the ceiling and land without too much racket on the floor, returning
to my human form. "So..." I sighed, "Queen of Shadows. That means the Shadow
Usul or Atera."
She nodded and handed me a cup, "I've been
thinking....Atera would probably have a major grudge against us, but she still
wouldn't profit by setting the Wraith's loose. Like Hubrid, she'll prefer to
have slaves over dead bodies."
I took a big swig of my chocolate and thought
it over, "Okay, so one challenge dealt with. Next one: How in the name of Fyora
are we going to find that darn Usul and fight her?"
Luvin frowned thoughtfully, then her eyes
narrowed in concentration, "What's the darkest, deepest place that the Shadow
Usul could be? The Gallery of Evil says she's always around Neopia Central so
that narrows our search pattern."
Alkuna, my Lupe, slunk in the door front door
to the mansion just then, and for a second I panicked, fearing that something
had gotten a hold of her. She walked oddly, with her shoulders raised up and
her head carried low as though she were hunchbacked. Her walk was uneven, and
she seemed to half sway, half limp into the house. Her cloud coat was ruffled
as though scuffed up from several brutal fights. Her golden eyes glared balefully
around the room and her lip curled ever so slightly.
To be continued...