Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 95,556,587 Issue: 188 | 28th day of Eating, Y7
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Birth of a Shadow


by googleyelmo

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For many years, us Neopians have been terrified by the Shadow Usul. Everyone knows the evil of this dark being, but no one stops to think about how she feels, how she came to be. What if this creature of the night were once a child of the day? What if she is merely the victim of betrayed love? For a long time, I have traveled Neopia searching for answers to these questions and more. Finally, the puzzle is complete.

     This is her story.

     ~*~*~

     Lynna walked the streets of Neopia Central, silent tears flowing as she observed the laughing, happy owners talking to sleek, content pets. On the corner, a striped Aisha gazing adoringly at a smiling redhead who was petting her lovingly. This sight reminded Lynna of her beloved Taerynne, and made her heart ache.

     Lynna knew she should go see Taerynne, a beautiful usul whom she had painted shadowed. Tae was a wonderful sweetie that anyone would be proud to call their own. As it was, she was Lynna's pride and joy. She was pretty, and very innocent. Lynna had done her best to shield her from the evils of Neopia- she had never heard of Dr. Sloth, Kass, Darigan, or even Vira. She even was oblivious to Jhudora and all the dark faeries, despite the fact that she adored faeries. Her room was faerie themed, and her Doglefox, Rubysun, who never strayed far from her side, was painted faerie. She owned all the faerie dolls but Jhudora, and she collected all the non-evil faerie Usukis. All she knew was Lynna's love.

     Lynna's reflections were broken by the sight of a shadowed usul coming towards her, chatting animatedly with the tanned blonde boy walking beside her. Lynna knew this was not Taerynne; for one thing, Lynna had never before seen the boy striding alongside her. Besides, the petpet peeking out of her ruff was a Wadjet, not a Doglefox. Even still, Lynna was deeply affected by the sight, and her tears began anew. Lynna began to run. For how long she ran. Lynna didn't know. Her eyes were so blinded by tears that she never saw the lady until she had knocked into her, and was sitting on the ground with the tears cold on her cheeks from the breeze of her running. Lynna pulled herself up to address the cloaked stranger.

     "I'm so very sorry, miss. I didn't mean to run into you, I was just blinded by... by tears."

     The lady smiled, and put a hand on Lynna's shoulder. "That is quite alright, dear. Why were you crying?"

     "I can't... I can't come... This is my last time in Neopia, and my usul... see, I just can't tell her. I love her too much; I couldn't bear to tell her goodbye, to make her cry because of me. You see, I have an illness,and it is probable that I will not survive. I am very weak, and will not have the time or energy to come back."

     The cloaked lady smiled again, and said," If you want, child, I will tell the usul." Privately, she thought, this could be fun.

     "You would? Really?"

     "Yes, I shall tell her. "

     "Thank you, oh, thank you..." Lynna burst back into tears, and ran again. She left Neopia quickly, and never paused to look back. If she had, she might have seen the lady take off her cloak, revealing a pair of violet faerie wings and green and purple hair. With a malicious smirk, the dark faerie, for that is what she was, took off to look for Taerynne.

     ~*~*~

     Taerynne was getting worried. Lynna was usually home by now- it was noon, NST, and Tae was starting to get hungry. This was a new sensation for her, as Lynna always kept her well-fed, and it was not really all that pleasant a feeling. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Finally, thought Taerynne as she ran to open it.

     But it was not Lynna who greeted her at the door. Instead a strange faerie of a sort that Tae had never seen before.

     "Taerynne?" asked the faerie, giving her a sad little smile.

     "Y-yes?" Tae replied, taken aback at the sight of a faerie on her- her of all people- doorstep."Can I help you, miss faerie? Would you like to step inside?"

     "Why yes, dear, I would like to step inside," said the faerie, ignoring the Usul's star-struck face. "I'm D'arthayll, but you may call me D'arth." D'arthayll stepped regally into the house, still giving Taerynne a small smile. Taerynne skittered around, and offered the faerie a seat. Gracefully she took it, and motioned for Taerynne to sit down across from her.

     "I imagine you are wondering why I am here?" At the young Usul's nod, she continued. "I came to talk to you about Lynna."

     Taerynne gasped." Is she alright? Where is she? Did something happen?"

     "I suppose you could say that." D'arth leaned forward, reaching for the Usul's ribbons. She untied them and tucked them neatly into her cloak.

     "Why did you do that, Miss F- D'arth?" Now Taerynne was very scared, nervous of what she'd say.

     "I do this because that is the mark of an abandoned usul."

     Taerynne gasped, a million questions trying to surface at once. Instead, she uttered a high-pitched keening sound. She curled into a ball, tail wrapped around her, her shivering body wracked with sobs. Finally, she managed to pull herself together, if only long enough for a single question.

     "Why?" she asked, feeling as if her heart would break.

     "Because she did not want you anymore." D'arthayll smiled with her best try at gentleness on her face. "That is why I'm here. I will take you back to my castle, if you so wish."

     Taerynne sniffled, her thoughts confused and repetitive, bouncing around in her head. Only one word made it past the lump in her throat.

     "Yes."

     ~*~*~

     I wish that I could say that Taerynne lived happily ever after... indeed, I do. But this is the story of the Shadow Usul, so how could it end as such?

     Taerynne went with D'arthayll to her new home. This house seemed to be built out of shadow and despair to her; it was not that she was treated badly- oh no, she was treated as well as any pet would wish. Well, outwardly, that is. D'arthayll slowly fed the hate and anger brewing in her heart.

     Taerynne was no longer the innocent youngling that she had been.

     D'arth taught her of the evils of the world, teaching Taerynne to see them as good, and right. Taerynne slowly isolated herself, creating a barrier between the world she had known and loved and herself. This wall was built of pain and longing, and bitter resentment, some of the strongest materials of the world. She saw D'arthayll as someone to be worshipped, for that was what she had been taught to do. She learned to be quick and light, to remain in the shadows and so be unseen. She became cruel and merciless, and has her personality changed, so did her colour. She changed from the shadowed colour she had been to the terror she is today- deep black and dark violet, with piercing yellow eyes that made her seem to look into your soul.

~*~*~

     The one thing that cinched her fate of dark rejection was a second dose of betrayal. Eventually, D'arthayll, who was actually Jhudora, decided her creation was ready to be released. By now, Taerynne, who had started to be called the Shadow Usul by everyone, had forgotten all of her previous life but her feelings of betrayal. Jhudora knew that the only thing that would complete the transformation she had triggered was the same thing that had started it. Taerynne now loved and respected the dark faerie, so that was what Jhudora would play on.

     In the middle of the night, she disappeared.

     She found a cloud near her home, and sat down to watch. From this cloud she had a clear view of the Shadow Usul's chambers, so it was a good observation place. She was rewarded for her patience by watching the usul wake up and discover the empty, abandoned castle. When she realised she was alone, she went wild, tearing a path of destruction as she made her way out of the castle and ran into the hills toward Neopia Central, never to be seen there again.

     ~*~*~

     We all know where the Shadow Usul dwells today. She has become the fear of every young neopet, the spectre bearing down on the lives of every usul to warn them not to become as she. No one ever knew her history; now, I tell it to all. Let all know what horrors this creature has been through , and fear not her, but what has happened to her and may happen to any other. Let it be a warning to owner and pet alike.

The End

Author's Note: This is my first story in the Neopian Times if you are reading it. Be on the look out for a sequel, probably two. It may take some time, as this story took 6 months in development and writing/typing. Feedback is appreciated!

 
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