Run Away to Knighthood: Part Three
"He's gone!" screamed Kat, lifting one corner of the covers
on Angel's old bed. Sure enough, she found not a blue Zafara but a pillow fluffed
in a way that resembles Angel's curled up body. The girl turned to her three other
pets in disappointment. "How couldn't you have noticed that he was gone??"
Sweet the striped Kacheek was the first to speak.
"Kat…we didn't know either…"
Glitter the faerie Acara, followed. "But…you
Fluffy the white Aisha just sighed. For a moment
she was silent, then she burst into tears. "I can't believe our little brother
is actually gone," she sobbed. Fluffy sat down on Angel's bed and cried onto
the pillow. Her owner and her two other pets glanced around the room - some
of the toys and other possessions had been taken, along with the Zafara's backpack.
Even Morpheus was gone, and that could only mean one thing.
"But why would he run away?" asked Kat worriedly.
"Maybe I was a little harsh on him when I grounded him? I was only doing the
right thing…right?" Her pets searched the room frantically for Angel, and even
tried the other rooms. There was no sign of any blue Zafara or even a blue Anubis.
After several minutes of crazed searching, Sweet
came up with an idea.
"Let's go and look for him…I bet he's wandering
around Neopia Central by now," said the Kacheek grimly. His sisters and owner
immediately ran to pack a couple of backpacks. "We could pass by him hiding
somewhere in the high street."
"Angel, you don't hold your sword that way. Hold
it like this, so you don't get easily tired. Yes, I think you're strong enough."
Jeran and Angel were out in the castle grounds, and the aspiring young knight
was trying to lift a sword given to him by King Skarl.
The Zafara shifted his grip on the hilt of the
shining silver weapon, and slashed at what looked like an old sack stuffed with
straw perched on a stick. Angel grinned at Jeran and asked, "Was that better?"
The great knight of Meridell gave him the thumbs-up
sign. "Even better. You're learning the basics of knighthood here, Angel," he
added proudly. "We can crush Tiberius' rebel forces in no time!"
"Tiberius?" repeated Angel, as he put down the
sword. "You mean the one who used to be Lord Kass' minion until the fall of
his leader? The scheming Darigan Moehog who still wants to take over Meridell
without Lord Darigan knowing? I heard lots about him from nearly everyone in
Jeran nodded. "The very same, Angel. We were
hoping that if you become a proper knight, you might be of help to us as we
catch the most notorious of Kass' followers. Now, it seems that it's time for
dinner. Let's go inside the castle, and maybe after that, we can go to your
room. Before you go to bed, I shall teach you the proper care of your armor
and some survival techniques." He reached out his paw, and Angel took it. Then
the two started walking towards the dining hall of Meridell Castle, where a
great feast awaited.
The Zafara felt a slight twinge of guilt from
leaving his family as he and the rest of the medieval party ate, but he didn't
mind it much. But that same twinge started coming back every several minutes.
"Come out, we know you're hiding around here!"
"Come on, no more tricks! Please?"
Kat and her three pets were still outside that
night, calling for the lost family member. The four had stopped for a quick
break and some sandwiches, and then resumed their search for Angel. Just as
they neared Meridell, suddenly a shadow appeared from behind the trees
"Look!" shouted Fluffy. "Come on, that could
be Angel, playing hide-and-seek again! Let's go!" She led her siblings and owner
on a run, chasing after the mysterious creature. It wasn't in the shape of a
Usul, so the searchers were sure that it wasn't the Shadow Usul. Just in case,
Sweet pulled out a Lost Desert Dagger, ready to fight and keep what was left
of his family away from danger.
The shadow led the group into a dense patch of
trees just outside Illusen's glade. At first Kat, Fluffy, Glitter and Sweet
thought they had finally cornered Angel, as the shadow stepped backward and
backed against a tree. But when they all took a step forward, the quad was caught
in a large net that had been hanging from a huge tree.
Several more shadows appeared next to the first
"They aren't Meridellians," whispered one of
them. "But the citizens of this pitiful kingdom are always willing to risk their
lives for anyone who gets hurt, right? So we shall hold them hostage until that
oaf Skarl decides to give me the kingdom. Then I shall rule, but not before
I overthrow that Lord Darigan as well. He used to be a great leader, till he
"Who are you?" asked Kat worriedly. Sweet and
Fluffy tried cutting the net with their weapons but it was no use. Their trap
was too firm and dense to be cut by simple daggers and swords.
"I am Tiberius, the soon-to-be ruler of Meridell
AND Darigan," said the nearest shadow, the one who spoke earlier. "I have thought
of using hostages in my plans, you know. Meridellians are better, but you little
twits will do in a pinch." He laughed a high, evil laugh that made the hair
on the prisoners' necks stand on end. "Now, if you'll excuse us, we will first
lead you into our lair in this dark forest."
The creature knocked three times on the largest
tree, and a door opened within. He and his companions stepped in, and a couple
more entered as well, clutching the net full of hostages.
Unknown to them, a couple of Meridell guards
had seen the whole thing, and were now running back to King Skarl.
That night, Angel was having a dream. The castle
was quaking! He had to run outside before the ceiling and walls collapsed on
him…but he couldn't get up. The shaking continued…until…
"Angel," whispered a rough, low voice. "Angel,
wake up. We've still got a lot to learn."
The blue Zafara opened his eyes. "Jeran…Jeran,
is that you?" he asked sleepily. Angel slowly got up from the bed and rubbed
his eyes. Morpheus was still dozing on a little petpet bed beside his own large
bed. He ran to change into his squire's clothes and followed the knight out
of the room.
As the two ventured down the stairs, the blue
Lupe started going through all of what Angel learned, and tested the aspiring
knight on the basic principles and knowledge of what it takes to be a knight.
Sure enough, the Zafara proved to have attentive ears and answered all of his
mentor's questions correctly. Lisha and Jeran even made a paper with questions
on it, and after Angel scribbled all the answers with a long, golden quill,
Jeran picked up the paper and showed it eagerly to King Skarl.
"Your Majesty," said the Lupe eagerly. "We have
a new knight…"
"Hold it!" said the king angrily. "Are you saying
that this little Zafara, who has no innate knowledge of knighthood, has actually
aced your tests? Jeran, you have to be kidding me! He's even younger than Lisha!
You'll have to train him even more…perhaps a simulated villain will do the trick,
Two Draik guards swooped down on the Skeith,
nearly making him fall out of his throne. "What in Meridell…!"
"Tiberius has struck!" gasped the nearest guard.
"He captured four innocent civilians! They weren't Meridellians, but we still
have to save them! There was an Acara with wings, an Aisha, a Kacheek wielding
"…And they actually captured a human girl!" finished
the second Draik. "Long black hair, brown eyes…"
"…In a net! Led to a secret hideout just outside
the forest next to Illusen's Glade…"
"…Disappeared in the trunk of a huge apple tree!
We think it's a secret passage…"
"Tiberius is just trying to trap us!" interrupted
Skarl. "Besides, you said they didn't even look like Meridellians! So why should
we even lift a paw to help them out? Who knows what will happen?"
While Skarl was busy bantering, Lisha looked
at Angel, who was staring at the ground. He looked deep in thought. She tapped
the Zafara on the shoulder and whispered, "Do you know the prisoners? Is that
why you suddenly fell ever so silent while the guards were telling us what they
Angel bit his lip, and a tear fell from his eyes.
"Yes…" he mumbled.
"Can you tell us who they are?" asked Jeran,
kneeling beside his sister and brushing away the tear from his trainee's eye.
"Well, the girl was my owner," replied Angel
anxiously. "She used to be my owner until I ran away from her. And the three
pets…they were my siblings. I ran away from home because I thought…I thought
they didn't love me anymore. And then they go and get captured just because
they were trying to find me…" He burst into tears, as Lisha gave him a little
hug and a pat on the shoulder.
The young squire sniffled and added, "It's only
now that I realized how much they actually care for me. I want to save them."
He wiped his tears away and pulled his sword out from under his belt. "Your
Majesty, I want to save them, no matter what it takes."
To be continued...