O. K., to make sure everyone gets recognized, here are the various credits:
- Plot by Lucky and Matau.
- Writing by Matau.
- Art by Lucky.
- Characters by Lucky, Eclipse, Tide, and Matau.
- Idea by Eclipse.
- Awesomeness by everyone who reads this!
This is one of the pieces for the Secret Santa thing. I hope everyone likes it. Eclipse did! 83
It was a dark and comfortable day in the Night Kingdom. Viper had recently been executed after his attempted murders were prevented, and the kingdom rejoiced. Artemis and Eclipse walked down one of the Night Kingdom’s hallways, chatting amicably.
“How do you like Precog, Eclipse?” Artemis asked casually. Her scales, flashing quickly as they were, could interfere with one’s concentration.
Eclipse shrugged. “Hard, boring, but useful. I can’t do it that well, but it’s a good skill to have. In the end, it comes down to natural talent, which I don’t have much of. I don’t mind that much, though. I’m good in Telepathy, and that’s what matters.”
Suddenly, Eclipse got an idea, a truly devious idea. She smirked, and added, “Of course, you have someone to help you on your Precog.”
Artemis nodded. “Yeah! Sharing our answers is really helpful!”
Eclipse’s smirk intensified. “Someone else. Not a someone, a someone, if you know what I mean. A special someone.”
Artemis gave her a deadpan look, and stated, “I don’t like anyone that way, and you know it. Now quit it!”
Eclipse just giggled, and, not letting up in the slightest, said, “I know who your boyfriend is, Artemis. Going to fess up? Or do I have to lay it out for you?”
Artemis groaned, “I. Do. Not. Have. A. Boyfriend.”
Eclipse shrugged, and, like a decrease in the sea’s level just before a tsunami, surrendered, “Alright.” She strained to hold in her laughter, and added, “Denial.”
Artemis facetaloned. “Who is my so-called ‘boyfriend?’”
Eclipse grinned diabolically. “Viper.”
Artemis cried, “WHAT?!? !@#$%!@#$%!@#$%!@#$%...” She continued swearing for several minutes, until she finally collapsed, oxygen-depraved.
Eclipse gave a warped grin, and inquired, “Would you like me to put that down as a request for a ‘semi-formal’ or ‘casual’ date?”
Artemis’s eyes widened, and she reiterated her previous exclamation. However, this time, she managed to yell for roughly a quarter of an hour.
Eclipse leaned down, and asked cheerfully, “So, what’ll you name your first-hatched?”
Artemis opened her mouth to scream, but before she could she passed out from shock. Eclipse, not paying her any mind, walked away.
She had a SandWing’s ghost to meet.
Viper floated silently through the Night Kingdom. Even if he could no longer influence the physical world, he still could watch it, and, with enough skill, he could persuade someone to accomplish what he wanted for him. That would be most pleasing. Especially if he could see Disco Ball’s face when she died. That would be very amusing. In the meantime, though, he’d have to wait and watch.
Or, perhaps, weaken his opponents. He still could talk, of course. Now he could keep them up… continually. With this, they would never be able to sleep again. Soon afterwards, they’d die from exhaustion. This will be very fun indeed, he thought.
Viper saw Eclipse up ahead. He floated to the ceiling, translucent enough to be undetectable. Eclipse called out, foolishly looking forward, “Viper, come out. I know you’re here somewhere. I can hear your thoughts.”
Viper was intrigued. His thoughts were still detectable as a ghost? Most useful. He flew down, landing just behind her. He breathed his poisonous fire onto the back of her head.
She turned around, and didn’t so much as blink as the ethereal flames washed over her face. She said, emotionlessly, “And a poor welcome to you too, Viper.”
Viper smiled insidiously. “’Poor’? I’m so hurt. You should really be more sensitive. You could really upset someone, Eclipse.”
Eclipse paused, and mimicked his tone. “Don’t worry, I’m just joking. I came here to ask you about your relationship.”
Viper raised an eyebrow. “Yes, what about it?”
Eclipse asked, “When are you going to ask Artemis on a date?”
Viper, not dropping his façade in the slightest, answered, “Why, tonight, of course! What suit of armor should I wear to it?”
Eclipse said, slightly disconcerted at how serious Viper was being, suggested, “Semi-formal, I think. How does that sound?”
Viper said, smiling darkly, “That sounds perfect! I’ll be there at eight-o-clock sharp. Can you tell Artemis?”
Eclipse, now actually concerned, said, “Ummmmmm… of course. Bye now.” She walked as quickly away as she could without feeling like she was running, which was what she really wanted to do.
“…NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!…”
Eclipse rolled her eyes. Artemis had been screaming since she’d told her about the “date.” Eclipse sighed. “Come one, Artemis. It’s a good idea.”
Artemis’s eye twitched. “Good idea? HE !@#$% TRIED TO KILL US!”
Eclipse rolled her eyes. “And he’s dead. Calm down. The worst that happens is he breaks your heart, which I somehow doubt is going to happen.”
Artemis cried out, “HE IS !@#$% EVIL! I WOULD RATHER GO OUT WITH A WORM THAN THAT CREEP!!!! WHY DID HE EVEN WANT TO GO ON A DATE WITH ME?!”
Eclipse looked away, and gulped, hard. “Ummm… I deny all involvement.”
Artemis’s eyes widened in shock. “WHAT?!? YOU DID IT!?”
Eclipse said, “No, of course I didn’t! Whatever makes you think that?”
Artemis yelled, “ECLIPSE!!!!!”
Eclipse adjusted herself, and summarily fled. She yelled over her shoulder, “Semi-formal, Artemis! Eight-o-clock sharp!”
Viper floated nearby, smiling. This would be fun indeed.
Artemis groaned. She couldn’t believe she’d actually been talked into this. The only good point—if it could even be called that—that Eclipse had put forward was that now that he was a ghost, Viper could constantly bother them, spy on their secrets, and even literally drive them insane, and it would be convenient to at least have him not against them.
She had put on a few jewels at Eclipse’s insistence. What did “semi-formal” even mean? She trudged to where Eclipse had apparently seen Viper. He was “sitting” (if ghosts could even do that) on a comfortable chair, with huge pillows and embroidered fabric. A table was positioned in front of his chair, and on the other side, clearly meant for her, was a very uncomfortable-looking wooden stool.
She roared, “ECLIPSE! GET OVER HERE AND SLAP THIS !@#%$ LOSER INTO THE AFTER-AFTERLIFE!”
Eclipse walked in, for some reason carrying a plate of food. She smiled, with an expression that clearly said, This is priceless. She chuckled, “Table for two, Ms. Artemis?”
Artemis stared at her, mortified. “Wh…what?” Once she had regained her power of speech, she cried out, “WHY DOES HE HAVE THE COMFY CHAIR? HE ISN’T EVEN ALIVE, HE CAN’T FEEL THE DIFFERENCE!”
She noticed a few other young NightWings peeking in to watch her. They gave her looks like she was insane. A male, about a year older than her, Atomsmasher or something, asked, “Ummmmm… who are you talking about?”
Artemis, not irritated that some other dragons had interrupted their date, but rather that they were watching her freak out, yelled, “I’M TALKING ABOUT THIS PSYCHOTIC MURDERER WHO TRIED TO KILL ME AND WAS EXECUTED RECENTLY. I’M ON A DATE WITH HIM, AND HE STOLE THE GOOD CHAIR!”
The male just shook his head in disbelief. She clearly heard him think to Eclipse, Do you know anything about what she is talking about?
Eclipse responded, Yes, but don’t worry about it. She’s just on a date with the ghost of a killer named Viper. Go do your science or whatever it is you do. This could get very ugly. She paused, and looked over at Artemis. Or, more likely, very funny. A few of the dragonets left, obviously anxious to go tell their friends.
While this telepathic conversation was going on, Viper raised a claw in outrage. Whether his outrage was fabricated or genuine was indecipherable. He said, clearly relishing the moment, “Dear Moony, I beg to differ! I can certainly feel how cozy, soft and comfortable this is! Of course, I would offer you this chair, but then you’d know that I was only offering to be nice, which would put you in a situation much more uncomfortable than being in that hard, irregular, wooden chair. As someone who has nothing but the best wishes for you, I could never do that.”
Artemis started twitching. “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME? WHY DID YOU ASK ME ON A DATE? WHY DID YOU TAKE THE GOOD CHAIR WHEN YOU CAN’T FEEL IT? WHY DID YOU GET ECLIPSE TO BE OUR WAITRESS?”
She stopped to take a breath, and when she did, it happened. Viper leaned forward, and kissed her, right on the snout. Or at least, he tried to. It didn’t work very well, as his snout went through hers, but she clearly understood his intentions. She flared her wings, screaming, “EWWWW EWWWW EWWWW EWWWW EWWWW EWWWW!!!!!!!!!!”
She could hear all across the telepathic link, from ordinary soldiers to the queen herself, Artemis just was kissed by Viper’s ghost! Still almost throwing up, Artemis flew away, completely disgusted.
Artemis landed in her room, still horrified. “He… he kissed me,” she whispered to herself. She couldn’t feel even a breath of wind when he kissed her, but she had felt a sort of mental presence, one of power and cruelty and… something else? Could it have been… love? Of course not! she cried to herself mentally. Her thought rang hollow, though. He had not tried to attack her at all, and the most he had done was annoy her. Was it possible he felt bad about what he had done?
She thought back to their date. He’d annoyed her, yes, but there were hints of something… deeper. Like his annoyingly sarcastic comments were just his way of flirting. He had called her “Moony” in a way that felt… different from when he had used it before. Like it was a pet name instead of an insult. Maybe… maybe he does like me.
Eclipse giggled. She looked over at Viper's masked expression. He was hiding his emotions like a trilunar eclipse. She thought to herself, Better go to the library. I've got to look up “high-maintenance couples” in the self-help section.