"Legend of the Twelve Regions"
Ora and Elios lay on a small, wispy cloud, barely large enough to support them both on its cool, cottony softness. They were high in the skies of Arderial, peering at the Moonlands laid out below them. From this elevation, it looked not so much like a world, but rather like a very detailed map. Only today, it looked like a map that had ink spilled upon it; a vast, black stain dominated Naroom, and the two sky warriors could see that it was spreading.
"That's not good," remarked Elios.
"Not at all," said Ora, "and it looks worse when you get closer."
"I was afraid of that." The two sat in silence for some time. In the quiet of their high elevation, wisps of strange sounds reached their ears, sound of horror and fear and vile delight. "So," said Elios at last, "I know you're thinking of something. What is it?"
"I'm watching Evu," said Ora. "Seeing if maybe there's some chance that we could swoop down there and snatch him out of their hands. Maybe bring him back up here and get him straightened out. Even doing that much will hamper their strength."
"You know, I kind of knew Evu," said Elios. "Real smart, very nice, rather absent-minded and totally fixated on jellybeans. No one else really seemed to think much of him except when they needed information. It seems really strange to me that he'd switch sides like that. He seemed so harmless. But then again, maybe that's the problem. 'Old Evu, he's just a doddering old fool,' they said, but now he's shown them that he has real power." He paused for a moment. "So if we do manage to snatch him, how do you expect him to give up the power he has now?"
Ora took a deep breath and released it. "I've heard that Ogar was kind of sleepwalking. I guess I sort of hope that the same is true for Evu. Especially if he's as senile as everyone makes him out to be, then maybe he doesn't know what he's doing."
"That's dangerous stuff," said Elios. "Why risk yourself like that?"
"I'm not risking myself," said Ora, "because you'll be with me."
"Oh really?" said Elios with no small amount of sarcasm. "And I'm going to agree because... oh, wait, I have no idea why I'd fly down into the very nest of the Dark Twins and all their evil."
"Elios," said Ora seriously, "It's only a matter of time. When the shadow geysers started erupting, people up here thought it was a surface problem... up until the moment one erupted in our cloud city. The same thing is going to happen again. If no one stops them down there, they will eventually reach for the clouds. If all the other regions have fallen by then, we'll fall as well."
Elios nodded grimly. "I know," he said, "I just wanted to make sure you weren't doing this for your own glory." He paused. "Well then, why us? Why do you think we can kidnap him when no one else can?"
"Two reasons," said Ora. "One, most of their dream creatures are land-bound. We can drop right into the middle of their area and grab Evu almost before they know we're coming. Our risk will be smaller than it would be for any other region."
"And two?" asked Elios.
"Two, I have you with me," smiled Ora.
"All right," said Elios heavily, "but you'd better be right about Evu. Because if you're wrong, you're going to be bringing a whole lot of hurt up here into the heart of our region!"
Ora nodded, but couldn't meet Elios' eyes.
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