Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 186,904,169 Issue: 196 | 24th day of Relaxing, Y7
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A Shadow in the Light: Knowledge and Remembrance - Part Six


by rabbitofkittyhawk

--------

"Uh, Chanook?"

      The Halloween Kougra looked up from his parchments, his pools glaring upon the Wocky before him. "What is it, Daiile?" he groaned.

      "Well, sir, it's about that kid of yours. Don't you think you're bein' a little bit too gentle on 'im? With everything you're teachin' IM, but yet showing little discipline, don't you think 'e could turn on us?" The grey Wocky looked to the ground, now trying to avoid Chanook's hard stare.

      "What about you, Daiile? You've been a little hesitant lately. I trust the whelp more then I do you. Get out of here, I don't want to see your face any more." With a wave of his paw he ended the discussion without hearing Daiile's warning.

      "Aye, sir," Daille said flatly, leaving the cave. As he exited, he noticed a pair of crimson orbs watching him from the darkened underbrush. It was Manov. "What do you want?" he growled, blood shot eyes narrowing in jealousy.

      "He's right, Daiile, he can't trust you," the Zafara answered from the foliage. "You doubt his actions every step of the way and you spread your lies throughout the parties and camps."

      "Since when do you speak for Chanook?"

      "I don't, but I know more then you do and that's enough for now. You don't belong here anyway; just go home. Go home to watch over your mother."

      Daiile tensed instantly and he advanced to the undergrowth. "In Darigan's name, 'ow did you know about that!?" Manov laughed and Daiile could hear him walk away, most likely sneering at him. The past week the Zafara had become more and more confident in trying to prove he could blackmail him, but how did he know of his mother? "You are the one 'e shouldn't be trustin'," he whispered. "We'll stop your meddlin' ways soon enough. And no one will bother to care."

     

      Sovan must have dozed off, for when he awoke, the Unis were walking. Walking in a field. He smiled and looked around, spotting a rather large flaw in the horizon, which he suspected was Coursett. "Yea, we're almost there!" he cried, leaping from Swia's back. He fell into the grass, smelling the fragrant flowers carpeting the ground. "We're out! We're out and we'll tell the king about Chanook and he'll send knights and angry peasants to stop the Saave!" He plucked a flower with bright magenta petals from the carpet of wildflowers and stood before bowing formally and handing it to Dizzconnie. "For you ma'am," he said as she took it with a laugh.

      Dizzconnie shook her head. "Traveling obviously isn't good for your mental health," she said as she lifted the flower to her maw to smell it. Sweet. It was a rich smell, and if the scent had had a physical look to it, it would have been gold like the brightest of honey. "Well, thank you anyway, kind sir."

      Jinni leapt from Tiger Moon, leaving Dizzconnie with her flower, and knelt on the ground. "If these flowers make you go bonkers like Sovan, then there should be a law against growing them," she chortled. Kitty, her Angelpuss, pranced about in the wave of color, holding a certain white flower over its head like an umbrella.

      "About how long should it take us to get there?" Frauns asked as Xiakil landed with a muffled thud.

      The Lenny overlooked the city and the land between them before answering, "Maybe about thirty minutes."

     

      Daiile stormed from the clearing, several pets following him. "You two, go find Manov and bring me his pendant, the rest of you... come with me," he ordered, sending a pair of cloaked pets in the direction the Zafara had gone.

      "What exactly are we doing?" one of the remaining asked.

      "This madness Chanook is shoving down our throats is insane. We have to stop him before his propaganda spreads beyond the forest boundaries and into the kingdoms. Then there'll be no stopping the word. First we will gather the pets you have spoken to, enlighten them on what those filthy Kougras are really up to. Then, we rebel! We'll take that Summoning stone for ourselves and make our own order, without the stupid flaws that Chanook and Kax have shown me!" The Wocky grinned and turned, his plume twitching as he prowled forward.

      A certain Daene Magus walked among the pets behind Daiile, face hidden by his dusty cloak's hood. His mind was in turmoil as he tried to decide whether to tell his superiors about Daiile's plot. He decided against it. For now he would stay neutral, and wait to see which of the plans would work better. Yes, then he would decide.

      The Grey leader scowled as he thought over his plan, not being able to look over one certain thing. Would the two scouts be able to find the teen brat? He had made himself known throughout the Saave for being able to 'disappear' at times. And if they found him, would they get the necklace? It was precious to the Zafara, and he was surprised that Manov didn't shove it in their faces from time to time to show how much he really held it dear. 'No, they'll get it. We just have to figure out what it does and how to use it,' he thought mildly. 'Not a crease in our plot, not a spot on the white line.'

          

      Dizzconnie felt rather awkward entering Coursett, the large, bluish grey stoned walls towering above them. The wall stretched over the kingdom's perimeter, two large iron portcullises allowing access in and out of the city, one from this wall and the other on the side opposite of it. Since the day was near retirement, guards mingled around the gate, waiting for the time when the city would be enclosed within its own walls until dawn, keeping anyone from leaving or coming. As the group passed under the risen gate, the faerie Gelert gaped in awe at the village market place meeting them. 'One of the market places,' she corrected herself. The kingdom in fact had two places for pets to set up their stalls, one on each side of the kingdom so that they were both at the entrances. This side was obviously the market for traveling pets, and the other would hold the spaces for those who came everyday. "If only Ovalon had this much food to sell to the people," she breathed.

      Xiakil was much less comforted by the blatant, evening buzz of traders and buyers alike. He drew quite a good many stares, but he was somewhat relieved that none held their merchandise in front of him since his head went well above their arm length. He looked beyond the market happenings to the village surrounding the overly large castle. It was a quaint village, but small it was not. Not many adults were about for most were either packed in the markets or inside tending the house, but many children scampered throughout the streets.

      It took some time to get through the market, but soon the crowd began to subtly grow thinner until they finally reached the village parts. The narrow streets were darkened by the castle's shadow and the lack of strong light, and the fact that water was collected between the large cobblestones did not make traveling easier. The stones would shift when they were stepped upon, and more then twice one of the company would need support to not fall. Whenever a young Neopet was seen, the child would often run from their path or hide behind some sort of crate or barrel, and most of the time they were watching every movement of Xiakil.

      "Lively people they are, eh?" Jinni said from the side of her mouth as a young Chia scrambled away from them.

      "I just want to get away from this eerie place," Xiakil shuddered, glancing around him.

      As they neared the castle, a rather short and plump Aisha stepped in front of them. "Do you have access to the castle grounds?" he ordered more than asked. His yellow form was covered with a suit of heavy armor, and the poor pet seemed to struggle to stay upright. He was obviously one of the newer knights of the king's ranks.

      "If you call an urgent warning access, then yes," Dizzconnie said, looking to the bright cyan and cream flags of Coursett hanging on the castle's side. She studied one for a moment, trying to figure out what the figure in the middle was. It had three sections, like bold rivers flowing vertically. The end sections were a strong light blue color, and the center the softest of sandy hues, but some sort of emblem was etched in the center.

      The guard laughed. "Urgent warning? Tell me the warning and I'll notify the court, and then move along."

      "We will speak to the court directly if that isn't too much to arrange," Xiakil growled, moving ahead of the others and crooking his neck to be eye level with the Aisha.

      The Aisha leaped back and put a hand to his sword's hilt, but in his shaking state he could not lift his weapon from its sheath. "You travel with one of the winged beasts," he squeaked.

      "Beasts? That is why we are not treated as the others then? Because you think we are beasts!?" Xiakil flexed his wings in his growing fury, but then Sovan and Shanmei held him back.

      The guard turned and ran inside, but the group could hear him speaking to another. He peeked outside once more, beckoning them in meekly. "Come, the Lower Court might see you."

      They slowly entered, Xiakil bringing up the rear in his inflamed wrath of the kingdom's prejudice. The Unis were left to wait outside. The front hall was spacious and bright, the floors and walls a dusty navajo white marble. Many paintings were placed on the walls, and they winced at the fact that many held one Lenny or another shown as the villain in the paintings' lush backgrounds. Soon, the marble flooring gave way to regal robin's egg blue carpet with a plush bounce and the striking white walls dimmed to the same cream of the flags' center stripes outside. The guard led them through a large door on the right, and a massive courtroom expanded before them, the many seats circling the opposite side looming high in the overhang. He left them in the center of the room, taking his place at the door.

      Jinni seemed to be the only one who did not look nervous, her eyes aglow as she overlooked the court's balcony area. "Oh, can we go up there!?" she asked, intertwining her claws.

      The doors on each side of the balcony opened and about a dozen royal pets scurried to their seats, each smoothing their fur and straightening their clothes for the sudden meeting. Only one pet seemed slightly different then the others, a red Cybunny without the full court garb.

      A royal Ixi cleared his throat. "What 'urgent warning' business have we been hearing about?" he asked, the feather on his regal hat flopping in his face.

      Each of the members of the group looked to one another, and all eyes soon fell upon Sovan. The Lupe reluctantly stepped forward and looked up to the Lower Court members. "We're a little worried about our hometown, Ovalon. Direwood has become homage for a growing.... uprising, I guess you could say. They plan to attack the lands of Neopia and they've proven to have some sort of power that would make anyone not want to doubt them. Please, they've already kidnapped two of our friends, and we've only been able to recover one. We won't stand for having someone fall to the same fate." His face fell suddenly and his eyes stared at the multicolored tile floor. "Do you think you could send anyone to stop them before they carry out their plans?"

      Dizzconnie sniffed slightly. Sovan had finally given in. He admitted that he now believed that their friend had been forced to leave and actually hadn't carried out a foolish plan.

      The royal pets talked for several tense moments, discussing several topics among one another. The Cybunny then stood, and at once the light caught on a thin gold circlet about his forehead.

      "You," the Cybunny king bellowed. "You came to tell us this?" He nodded slowly to himself. "Yes, well, you shall stay the night here in the castle, and we shall send a small sector of the knight system to see what they can do in Direwood. Do not worry, this fear will pass over quickly and soon you will be able to return home safely."

      Dizzconnie and Jinni hugged in delight, and cheerful laughs rang throughout the room from the company, but Xiakil remained silent. He felt rather awkward in this place...

      "Your leg in this journey is finished, and now you can be shown to the guest quarters."

      Sovan looked up to the king once more, instantly realizing that he didn't know his name. He overlooked it, he would find out later. As they started leaving the room, the Lower Court exiting as well, the Lupe suddenly felt hollow. However the king and his guard would deal with the situation was up to him, but Manov troubled him. Dizzconnie still had not spoken about him in detail, and the price seemed to be adding up in his mind. It was quite hard for him to sort out that he was thinking about his friend who despised the village pickpocket, much less a band of thieves. He smiled faintly as their guide stopped, pointing to two separate doors on either side of the hall. He, Frauns, and Xiakil headed toward one, and Jinni, Dizzconnie, and Shanmei departed to the other.

      "The sooner they let us leave, the better," Xiakil muttered, setting his course to the balcony. A thread of memory came to him as he thought further, sparking the realization. The people of Coursett seemed to avoid him as if he were a plague, many throwing fiery glares of mixed emotions and he knew why. "Amazing how a grudge and major propaganda can change things," he muttered bitterly.

      "What's that?" Frauns asked, catching only a mummer of sound as the Lenny spoke.

      "Nothing." No, they didn't need to know, it wasn't important.

 

      Daiile seemed content with his group, which had grown since he had last gathered it, and soon he was fidgeting with excitement. The pets mingled around in the lightly wooded area, many talking amongst themselves or filling wooden cups with water at a waterfall to pass around. The Wocky stood at last from his makeshift chair, a large rock, and overlooked the gathering until three figures caught his gaze. He silenced the group with a swift order and, with head held high, walked to the three.

      The two hooded figures held fast to their prisoner's wrists as he struggled to be free of them. One Saave member lifted his other paw and pushed back his hood to let a yellow Kacheek face be seen, but the other did not follow his example.

      The Zafara did not show fear of being taken captive, nor did hatred flow across his face. Daiile overlooked him for several moments, the other frozen between the two. "Why did you bring me this pet?" he asked boredly.

      "You said you wanted the pendant," the Kacheek snapped. "Are you saying we did that for nothing!?"

      "Yes, I said I wanted the pendant, but I never mentioned bringin' IM with you." He laughed as the Kacheek flushed slightly and looked to his companion, but then he became serious once more. "Alright, 'and the necklace over, Manov."

      Manov did not look to the Wocky. He had no name; Daiile was speaking to no one... He glanced around as if looking for the person Daiile could possibly be talking to, letting a confused teenager's expression show on his face.

      "Look at me when I am talkin' to you!" Daiile roared, stepping forward so that they stood eye to eye. "You have five seconds to give me the necklace."

      "You have paws, get it yourself," the Zafara growled back. He also made it known that he couldn't free his paws from the two to retrieve the pendant anyway by giving a sharp tug on the Kacheek's grasp.

      Daiile blinked before grabbing the pendant and quickly veering the chain over the younger one's head. He turned the ruby over in his paws, watching it glint in its majesty. "Let IM go, 'e can't do anything to us now."

      As his wrists were released, Manov backed away, his eyes not straying from the chain that drifted in the breeze as it dangled from Daiile's paw. He turned and ran, plans forming for when he would return. Oh how he loathed that Grey pet! He would make him pay, and his goons wouldn't be able to help him then! Suddenly, he halted. His thought reminded him of someone... that Lupe? Sovan... that had been his name, hadn't it? He shook his head and started walking once more, but with a softer gaze. Such confusion.

 

      Chanook sat at the cave entrance in Meridell. Everything was moving into place, and they would be able to begin the journey for the Summoning within the week. "Once he's ready," he reminded himself. "These worthless peasants will pay, that fool of a king! King Skarl will be the first to taste the Saave's power, his kingdom will be the first to fall!" As his words faded, he looked down to the kingdom. The king had somewhat recently received the crown; it was the perfect time for the attack.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» A Shadow in the Light: Knowledge and Remembrance - Part One
» A Shadow in the Light: Knowledge and Remembrance - Part Two
» A Shadow in the Light: Knowledge and Remembrance - Part Three
» A Shadow in the Light: Knowledge and Remembrance - Part Four
» A Shadow in the Light: Knowledge and Remembrance - Part Five
» A Shadow in the Light: Knowledge and Remembrance - Part Seven



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