The Jewel of Souls
Neovia was covered in a dense fog. The yellow lights of the lanterns along the streets did little to alleviate the impenetrable darkness that covered the town. All was quiet except for light footsteps along the cobblestones.
A small figure was walking along the streets. It was a Blue Chia, sporting a mustache and slicked back hair. The thick mist seemed to part for him, opening up a path that led through the winding streets. He walked through, the fog closing in behind him as he went. The Chia walked up to the graveyard at the edge of town. The iron gate that guarded the cemetery swung open of its own accord to let the Chia pass.
This was, by coincidence, the same graveyard that Neopians had dug up during the search for the mortal remains of the Spirit of Slumber. Shovels and mounds of dirt still littered the area. But the Chia cared nothing for them. His eyes were set on a large, ornate gravestone near the back.
The debonair figure stared at the stone. He reached out and felt it, closing his eyes as he did. He stood there like that for a silent minute or two. Suddenly, he drew in a deep breath and his eyes snapped open. He flung his arms out to either side and the gravestone exploded, sending chunks of rubble flying through the air. Dust lingered in the air, then swirled and cleared. The Chia stood, unfazed, and it seemed remarkable that not a single greasy hair on his head was out of place; the blast seemed to have not even touched him. He moved aside a slab of rubble to reveal something truly incredible.
It was a green, spherical jewel that seemed to glow in the Neovian moonlight. The Chia’s lips drew upwards as he picked it up, rolling it around in his hands. He chuckled softly to himself.
Suddenly a bolt of green energy flew from nowhere. The Chia spun around and waved his hand. A Tombstone flew in front of him and was obliterated, shielding the Chia from harm. The Chia laughed loudly, still playing with the orb. “Ah, Magax,” he said calmly, his voice deep and charming. “How long has it been, my old servant?”
He twirled his finger around and the mist lifted to reveal a Blue Wocky with a scar over one eye. A glowing battle-axe appeared in Magax’s hands; his Darklight Axe. “I’m no slave of yours any more, Hubrid Nox!” he said, pointing at the Chia. “Now hand over that thing in your hands. I don’t know what evil you’ve planned with it, but you’re not going to use it to hurt Neopia!”
“What, this thing?” the Chia teased, looking at it as if he had just noticed it. “I’m afraid I can’t give it to you. You see, this is the Jewel of Souls, and it’s what I plan to use to take over the world. I’ve been searching for it for years now, from the ancient pyramids of the Lost Desert to the secret caverns of Geraptiku, and I finally traced it to my own home; the Haunted Woods themselves! Imagine that. Wouldn’t you say, my friend?”
Magax lunged suddenly and ran towards Hubrid Nox. Nox just laughed and stepped aside, swinging his arms up. A large rock slab rose out of the ground and the Wocky ran straight into it and fell to the ground, the axe vanishing in green smoke. The Wocky recovered and shot up into the air, launching a devastating series of energy bolts at Nox. The Chia swung his cape, disappeared and reformed high above. “Hahahaha!” Hubrid cackled at Magax, looking down on the Wocky as he floated in midair. “Is this the apprentice trying to match the master? Arrogant fool! I will show you TRUE power!”
Nox launched a red power orb at Magax. The Wocky shot up and around the ball of energy, launching himself at Nox. His fist collided with Hubrid’s jaw and the Chia reeled back before facing Magax, a scowl on his face. The Wocky floated in the air some distance away. The hero smiled at Hubrid Nox and summoned his Darklight Axe once more.
Nox tucked the Jewel of Souls into his pocket. “You truly believe that you can change?” the malevolent Chia said. “You were Neopia’s greatest villain. It was said that the Shadow Usul herself feared you. And now you wish for redemption? Even after all you’ve done to fight me, the Faeries still have a 2,000,000-neopoint bounty on you. In their minds you’re just as bad as I am!”
A shadow crossed Magax’s face and he lowered his axe an inch. That was all Hubrid Nox needed. The sinister Chia clapped his hands together and a red ball of energy enveloped Magax before he could react. Magax pounded at the walls furiously, but to no avail, and shattered his Darklight Axe against the sides of his cage. Hubrid Nox laughed and took out the Jewel. He held it up to the sky.
“This ball will give me the power to raise an army of a million ghosts and more!” he cried. “The potency of my already staggering power will be increased a hundred fold! Even the Faerie Queen will bow at my feet in service! Nobody will be able to stand in my way! And all I need is a simple incantation.” With that the Chia began the spell, Magax watched in horror as the clouds above them turned black and began to swirl violently. Hubrid finished the spell and breathed in. Suddenly the orb expelled a green light that flew up and struck Nox in the chest. The Chia gasped and threw back his head. His mouth opened and a green pillar of light shot into the air. Slowly it thinned out and disappeared. Hubrid slumped over, and for a second Magax thought something had gone wrong and the sinister villain would fall to his doom.
However, Hubrid Nox raised his head slowly, and Magax recoiled. Hubrid Nox had a malevolent smile stretched across his face. But that was not what horrified Magax. Nox’s eyes were glowing bright green, and he seemed to have more of a sinister aura that usual.
Hubrid laughed, the sound echoing from nowhere. “SEE? SEE, MAGAX?” he cried. “I HAVE BECOME EVEN MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE!” The Chia merely waved his hand and spirits began to rise from the ground below. “MUAHAHAHA! SEE MY SLAVES RISE TO GREET ME?” Hubrid Nox stared Magax dead in the eye as the red energy ball holding the Wocky disappeared.
“What have you done?” Magax called.
“There’s a new dawn on the horizon, Magax!” the Chia said, raising his hands above him. “But you will never see the sunrise!” The Chia dropped his arms to his side and a bolt of red lightning shot from the sky and hit Magax, then went THROUGH Magax. The Wocky’s eyes widened as the lightning bolt passed through him and vanished. Magax felt extremely weak. Horrified, he began to fall. He looked at Hubrid Nox, who merely smiled and turned, flying away into the clouds, his ghostly servants following behind.
Magax fell through the air. He was to weak to fly. He scrunched his eyes shut and concentrated with all his might. A faint green light enveloped him, and he concentrated even harder, his energy draining away. He screamed and the green light grew brighter and larger, forming a protective cocoon around Magax. The ground swelled up to meet him and the protective casing slammed into the ground. Dirt flew into the air and fell like rain. Magax lay in one of the holes left from the digging up of the graveyard. He still lived. He tried to sit up, but fell down again, and slipped into unconsciousness.
Magax woke up some time later. He groggily stood up and massaged his forehead. How long have I been out? he thought as he climbed out of the grave. He looked up and gasped; a huge spire rose up out of the forest.
“Way too long,” he murmured. Hubrid Nox, it seems, had finally built that mansion he wanted. Magax rose into the air and flew towards the Mansion. As he skimmed above the treetops, he saw Hubrid’s Mansion. It was an enormous rectangular building with a spire going up, up, and into the clouds. Thousands of ghosts spiraled the area. Magax stared in awe and failed to notice the two specters breaking away from the rest of their brethren. They swooped towards the Wocky, who continued to stare at the mansion’s horrible beauty.
Magax realized the danger just in time. He did a barrel roll just as the horrible spirits swooped past, and fired beams of energy at them. They were both hit in the heart and disappeared to be at peace once more. More spirits broke away from the group and swarmed towards Magax, who began fighting, firing blasts of energy at Nox’s slaves.
Hubrid Nox sat in his study, admiring his new home, when he heard noises outside. He walked to the window and looked out into the woods. Perhaps some Werelupes had gotten in a fight?
He gasped as a green ball of energy slammed into the ground, shattering the window. Nox shielded himself with his cape as glass rained down. He waited for a second before looking up and stepping through the hole. His eyes widened; could it be? He looked over his shoulder and saw that the house was repairing itself. Looking back at the sky, he smiled to himself and began floating up.
Magax heard Nox before he saw him. The evil villain was cackling as he flew towards his nemesis. The Wocky spun around to see Nox flying towards him and unleashed a volley of energy blasts, which Nox just dodged with the utmost ease. Hubrid shot a single red beam of energy that hit Magax in the face and sent him reeling back.
“SEIZE HIM!” called Hubrid Nox. The ghosts grabbed Magax and held him. “Now take him to my study!” Nox led the way as they floated down and towards the window that he had come out of. This time, however, he just passed right through, and Magax and the ghosts did the same. Hubrid walked over to a chair and sat down, looking at the Wocky.
“To tell you the truth,” he said, his green eyes looking at Magax, “I’m very surprised to see you alive, my friend. When I saw you fall from the sky a week ago, I was sure you had perished.”
“A week?” Magax said, taken aback. “You built this mansion in a week?”
Hubrid laughed mockingly. “Indeed! Construction went smoothly with so much free help.” He gestured to the ghosts. “And all it took was this.” The Jewel of Souls appeared on a pedestal between Hubrid and Magax. The Wocky seized his chance. He fired a single shot from his finger and hit the ghosts that were holding him. Then he fired a bolt of energy at the stone. Instead of shattering, however, the energy bounced off and hit the wall. A small flame started, but this went overlooked.
Nox laughed. “Foolish little hero! You think you have enough power to destroy the Jewel? Only the power granted to me by the stone can harm it!” The specters began to float towards Magax, but Hubrid Nox waved them off. “I will defeat him personally,” he said. “It’s time I taught him a lesson.”
Magax twirled his fingers and summoned his Darklight Axe. “Bring it on,” he said.
Nox began firing energy blasts and hit Magax in the chest. The Wocky flew back and smashed into the wall. He looked up with shock to see that it was burning. The flame from before had spread, and now half the room was on fire. Magax turned back to Hubrid, who scowled.
“My minions will create a better mansion for me!” he cried. “This is only a minor setback. Rest assured, you will share my home’s fate!”
Hubrid launched a devastating attack at Magax, but the Wocky dodged it this time and launched his own volley of energy at the villain. Nox merely shielded himself with a bubble and continued launching attacks. Whatever Magax did, Nox would block and retaliate with a blast twice as strong. The Wocky knew he couldn’t defeat the Chia.
“Fool!” cried Nox while throwing deadly blasts of red energy at Magax as the room burned. “It is useless to fight me! The Jewel gives me my strength! While it feeds me energy you cannot match my strength, and only the power invested in me can destroy it! Surrender now and your destruction will be swift!”
Suddenly Magax had a wild idea. It was a long shot, and if he failed, Nox would take over the world, but it was his only chance; he had to try. But first, he’d have to goad Nox into doing what he wanted.
“You’re the fool, Nox!” he said loudly, preparing his Darklight Axe. “You know that the lightning you produced last time could easily take me down, and yet you haven’t used it yet!”
Nox paused, and then a wicked grin spread across his face. “Not a bad idea, puny hero!” he cackled, raising his arms to the air. “You’ve sealed your doom, Magax! Prepare yourself!” With that, he fired a stream of red lighting from his hands.
Magax thrust out the Darklight Axe out a split second before the lightning would have fried him. The bolt hit the axe and Magax gritted his teeth; the energy was enormous. It took all his concentration to keep his Darklight Axe from exploding. Hubrid Nox’s smile wavered and he doubled the energy output. Magax yelled and shut his eyes as the Darklight Axe glowed brighter and brighter. Suddenly, Magax could take it no longer. With one hand he fired a bolt of energy and caught Nox off guard; the villain was forced to break off the lightning to shield himself. Magax tightened his grip on the glowing Darklight Axe.
“Your arrogance has become your undoing, Nox!” Magax shouted.
‘What are you talking about?” snarled Hubrid Nox. “I’m still more powerful than you! Or did you think that the lightning would drain my power?”
“No, Nox! You infused the power of the Jewel of Souls into my Darklight Axe! Now that my Axe is infused with the power of the Jewel, the energy is powerful enough to destroy it.” With that, Magax ran towards the Jewel on the other side of the room. Nox had realized too late what Magax’s plan was. Nox made one desperate, futile lunge at Magax, but the Wocky was already swinging the Darklight Axe. The blade hit the Jewel and the stone cracked, and then shattered.
Nox’s former slaves, who had been watching the fight from above, stopped. They shivered and disappeared into smoke. Hubrid Nox himself was forced to his knees as the power of the Jewel of Souls rushed out of him. As the last bits of energy left him, Nox gasped and doubled over. He raised his head and looked at Magax with hatred in his eyes.
“So you’ve beaten all odds once again, my old slave,” he spat. “Foiled me once again. But this isn’t the last you’ll see of me. In the meantime, you can spend your time running from the Faeries!” He turned around and flew out the window at a blinding speed, the glass shattering and falling to the ground outside. Magax quickly ran out the window as well, but Nox was already out of sight. Magax looked back at Hubrid’s burning mansion, and then at the sky. The clouds had gone, and the moon and stars were shining through. As he stared at them, Magax thought about what Nox had said about the Faeries and shook his head.
“I may never earn forgiveness for my crimes,” he said quietly. “But for the sake of Neopia, I have to try.”