Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 90,555,988 Issue: 164 | 29th day of Collecting, Y6
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Reign of the Shadows: Part Two


by feriku

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Jeran woke up very early the next morning with a plan. The first thing he did was go see Lisha. Illusen arrived at the same time he did, and leaned against the wall.

He groaned. "What are you doing?"

"Leaning against the wall."

"Could you lean somewhere else? I want to talk to my sister. In private." He knew that if Illusen heard his plans, she'd kill him, even if she weren't that other Faerie's buddy.

Shrugging, she calmly moved away. Jeran went inside. As soon as the door closed, he heard her dash back to her original wall. He sighed, lit a candle, and picked up a piece of paper and a quill. He woke up Lisha.

He wrote, We can't talk. Illusen's eavesdropping.

She raised her eyebrows and wrote, And I suppose you have top-secret information, or something.

Well, you see… He quickly jotted down everything that had happened, from the trio's arrival, to his "fixed" sword, to the strange conversation he had had.

Lisha wrote, Wow. That's a lot of weird stuff. Is there anything else?

Hesitantly, Jeran wrote down everything that happened in his nightmare, making sure she understood that the creepy conversation was the important part, not the memory. He finished with: I need help, but I think I have a plan. He used the Illusen-turnip comparison.

After overcoming the urge to laugh, his sister wrote, What are you going to do?

He was about to answer, when Illusen walked in. She smiled. It wasn't a very friendly smile. "You said you were going to talk, and I just happened to walk by, when I was leaving. I got tired of leaning. I didn't hear anything, so I came in to make sure you hadn't died or anything. Why were you so quiet?" She grinned. "As the kingdom's resident Faerie, it's my job to make sure no one is doing anything illegal, and to uphold peace and the law."

Jeran quickly shoved the paper onto the candle flame.

Illusen continued, "Of course, you are the king's Champion, Jeran. You should uphold the law as much as me. So of course, you won't mind if I stick around. Continue what you were doing."

Jeran wondered if his bad luck was going to continue all day. He started pointing up, in a vain attempt to continue communicating.

Lisha guessed, "Up?"

He nodded, and Illusen cried, "Oh! We're playing charades! I love this game! Go on Jeran, do some more!"

Now that she wasn't going to think he had lost his mind, he felt like less of a fool. He still was embarrassed to have to resort to such a primitive method. He started gesturing to his surroundings.

"Room?" suggested Lisha, incorrectly.

"Ooh! Ooh! I know! Castle!" yelled Illusen, getting it.

Wondering if he could actually make Lisha understand what he was saying first, he started pretending to yell "Help!"

After they tried "yell," and "scream," and "roar," Lisha read his lips and got the answer, "help."

He pointed to himself and imitated walking, using his fingers. "Jeran walking," they got easily.

He started flapping his arms like wings, feeling like a total idiot now. They guessed a lot of words that meant "fly" and almost all of the flying Neopets (Illusen guessed herself, and almost started trying to prove to him that Faeries could fly.) before getting the answer, "Korbat."

Still feeling stupid, Jeran put them all together so they'd translate into, "Jeran walking up castle Korbat help." He finished by pointing to Illusen, pointing to himself, and pantomiming hanging himself.

That was as close as he could get to, "I'm going to the Citadel to ask Lord Darigan for help, and if Illusen finds out, she'll kill me."

Lisha figured it out. Her eyes widened slightly, and she muttered something about peace. Then she hugged him and whispered, "Good luck."

He left, while Illusen muttered, "What is an up castle? He's climbing up the castle to help a Korbat hang someone? What, on the roof?"

Feeling proud that he and Lisha had outwitted her, he hurried along. The good feeling diminished a bit when Illusen marched out after him, grumbling, "I guess I'll go ask that Faerie for help on this one."

Still, he headed outside, feeling slightly nervous, but never once wondering how he was going to get up.

For lack of a better idea, Jeran climbed a tall tree. For once, he was glad they had an Earth Faerie. Then he saw something that made all of his happy thoughts and gratitude towards Illusen disappear. The Faerie, the third regent that Illusen was so friendly with, was walking towards the tree, with a scowl on her face. She probably had figured out his message to Lisha. He was willing to bet it wasn't just an early-morning stroll.

She looked straight up, and he found it easy to imagine that she could see him through the leaves and everything. He wondered what she would do.

He didn't have long to wonder. The Faerie touched the trunk, and her hands sparkled with magic. Suddenly, the tree actually threw him out!

He yelled as he hurtled through the air. Maybe he'd be lucky, and actually land on the Citadel. Instead, he heard a frantic, "Look out!" and he collided head-on with a Darigan Eyrie.

Before he fell unconscious, he saw the Faerie down below, glaring at him and shaking with fury, but with a hopeful glint in her eyes.

* * *

He was surrounded by darkness. Total blackness. The mysterious Faerie appeared beside him. She looked slightly misty and indistinct.

"Why Jeran, hello!"

He backed up, with difficulty because he couldn't see any sort of floor.

"Jeran," she asked, "why do you keep running from us?"

"Okay," he said out loud. "Now I know this is a dream. If this were real, you'd be trying to kill me now. I don't know why you hate me."

She laughed. "Kill you? Never. It didn't work the last time, and I'm almost happy! We just want you to join us. Stop fighting us."

…or the consequences will be dire! Jeran's memory filled in that thought, and he backed away. "No! That was real, wasn't it? That conversation! Aren't we allies then? Why won't anyone tell me what you did?"

For once, she seemed genuinely confused. "Allies? Conversation?"

"We shared the same enemy, didn't we?"

A smile appeared on her face. "You mean Kass? You somehow heard that conversation? Then…yes, we are allies. Come here Jeran." She walked towards him.

"Wait!" he cried, backing away. "I-I don't trust you!" A tool. There had been more than simple enmity between the Faerie and Kass, he was sure. "Because…this is only a dream, and when I wake up, I might think it was really you. And um…"

"We understand." The other two appeared. "Now, COME HERE, Jeran!"

He drew his sword. It glowed ominously in the darkness, much like the Gelert's. "No!" He began waving his arms around. "This is just a dream!"

* * *

Jeran woke up on the Darigan Citadel. The Eyrie he had smashed into handed him his sword. He was somehow smiling and looking concerned at the same time.

"Sorry. I had to take it from you. I think you were dreaming, and you were swinging it around. You were liable to hurt yourself! Speakin' of which, was that a suicide attempt, or was the Faerie trying to kill you?"

Reluctantly taking his sword, he replied, "I think she was just trying to get me to come down to her."

"Oh, I'm glad! You see, one time I caught someone who was falling, and they didn't want to be saved, so they attacked me! But that was only a dream. Dreams are funny like that, and if this was a repeat of the dream in real life, I would've died, mainly because in the dream I was attacked, and I think I was losing! You know, your sword is really strange, the way it glows like that. That Faerie was strange too, oh and my name's Zahi! That means bright!" He talked very fast, like he was constantly thinking of new things to say, and was afraid he'd forget them.

"I'm Jeran. My sword-"

"Wow, Jeran, aren't you Meridell's champion? I'm talking to a real live champion! That's cool! Do you realize that I may have saved the life of a real live champion? I suppose you want to go home, so can I fly you down? Please, oh please, oh-"

Jeran cut him off. "No, I wanted to come up here. Thanks for catching me. You're very excitable, aren't you? By the way, my sword glows because that Faerie and her friends did something to it. Could you take me to Lord Darigan?"

"Sure!" They started walking. "You know, that weird Faerie looked like the Faerie from The Three. That must be tough. Can you imagine, looking like one of The Three?"

"…Who are The Three?"

"If you have paper and something to write with, I'll draw 'em for you!" Zahi talked while he drew. "My family says I'm good at drawing. I'm drawing you the picture from the trading card. Better yet, I'll draw the whole card! Do you collect trading cards? They make them every time something important happens. You don't? I'd give you some of mine, but they're at my house. There! I'm done, unless you want it colored."

"No, no, that's fine!" said Jeran, taking the paper.

He stared at it in disbelief. At least now he knew who was ruling Meridell. The Three. Even the Gelert's sword was in the picture. "Th-that's-" He couldn't say it.

Zahi talked some more. "See the one holding the sword? My brother, Jack, and I have an argument going on about him. He says it's a Lupe. I say it's a Gelert. My sister, Kira, says it's an Aisha."

Jeran stopped staring at The Three, and stared at him. "An…Aisha?"

"Don't you dare make fun of my sister!" yelled the Eyrie, even though he hadn't done anything. "Kira's blind-well, only in one eye, and she's farsighted in the other eye!"

"I'm sorry for your sister. I wasn't making fun of her; I was just surprised."

Zahi smiled again. "She doesn't have a bad life. She's friends with and Usul called Sally from Meridell. Do you know about her?"

When Jeran shook his head, he got to hear Zahi rattle off the whole story about Sally and "Mr. Scary." That led him into everything else about the Battle for Meridell. He too was rather vague about Kass's death, but he said that The Three had killed him, and then he ended with, "But The Three can't be gone for good, you know, and when they come back, I'm going to defeat them, and people will call me 'Zahi the Brave.'"

"Zahi…that may be sooner than you think. You see, the king's on vacation, and The Three are ruling Meridell!"

For once, his new friend was at a loss for words, but that passed. As soon as they reached Darigan's Chambers, he yelled, even faster, but nowhere near happily, "LORDDARIGANJERAN'SHEREHEWANTSTOTALKTOYOUAFAERIETHREWHIMOUTOFATREESHELOOKSLIKETHEFAERIEFROMTHETHREEINFACTITISHERTHETHREEARERULINGMERIDELL!!!" in three seconds.

Lord Darigan let them in. "Zahi, I didn't understand a word you just said. Hello Jeran!" He glanced at Zahi, who looked like he was on the verge of panic. "What's going on?"

Before the hyperactive Eyrie could start yelling again, Jeran started to explain, starting with his dream.

* * *

In a distant forest, General Remus woke up. The shadow Lupe growled, "I bet those three went to Meridell in our place!"

Sir Kenith, awaking, moaned, "My head…"

Princess Uzuri slowly rose into the air. "Ugh…I feel terrible. That sword was magic; I should have sensed it!"

"It's not your fault," said Remus.

The Aisha shook his fists. "Let's go teach those three idiots a lesson!"

"We can't," reminded the Buzz, "because somebody brought the wrong map!"

Kenith glared at her, then frowned sadly. "I-I-I'm sorry," he apologized, flustered. "I get mixed up easily. It would've still been sort of fun, if those weird guys didn't come!" Neither of his comrades smiled. "It's always my fault, isn't it? Why? Why?"

Remus raised his eyebrows. "Uh, because it usually is your fault?"

Kenith hesitated, and then admitted, "Well…you're right. I do tend to mess things up, but I do always fix things in the end. And this piece of the Lab Map looks a lot like Neopia Central if you hold it sideways! I bet I still can use it to find Meridell!"

Uzuri sighed. "I'll buy a map at the nearest town."

She and Remus pulled Kenith along with them, while he yelled things like, "I think I located the Wishing Well on here!"

They bumped into the Brain Tree. He gave Uzuri a map, assured the dumbstruck Remus that they had somehow gotten to the Haunted Woods, and told Kenith about his strong resemblance to an Aisha that had died by beheading one hundred years ago.

Remus smiled, and boomed, "To Meridell!"

"To do our duty!" cried Uzuri.

"To save the kingdom," declared Kenith, "from three weird and no doubt nefarious oddballs! Who looked just like…That's odd, I can't remember… But why can't we use my map?"

"You can use your map," said Remus, "but I'm going with Uzuri." They started to leave.

"Hey!" Kenith raced to catch up with them.

Once they had been his superior and his charge; now they were his friends. Together, they followed Uzuri's map as the sun set behind them.

To be continued…

 
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Other Episodes


» Reign of the Shadows: Part One
» Reign of the Shadows - Part Three
» Reign of the Shadows: Part Four
» Reign of the Shadows: Part Five
» Reign of the Shadows: Part Six
» Reign of the Shadows: Part Seven



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