Neo scurried off into the dark of
the alley. But Neo wasn't safe in the dark. He knew that they would find
him again. Silently he cursed under his breath. "Blasted!" His
mind, yelling at him for giving in to his weakness, was working overtime
to remember the city map. Did he have to go left at the end of the alley?
Neo stood and looked in both directions. The faint roaring of angry voices
behind him got closer and closer, like the tell-tale heartbeat under the
floor in one of his favourite horror stories. The rush of adrenaline made
it hard to remember which author had gifted the world a work of that
splendor, and really it didn't matter much if Neo knew the name of the
writer and not which direction to chose. Because if he waited five
more minutes, his head would be smacked uncomfortably into a wall, causing
him to forget all about this meaningless trifle.
His eyes focused and his mind returned to the situation that was at hand.
There seemed to be a bit more light to the right. Light meant savior, it
meant people to disappear in, and if he was lucky, neon lights to mask his
rather peculiar appearance.
"Right it is." Neo whispered and dashed off, hoping no-one had
seen him yet. The longer he could stay ahead of the thugs behind him, the
better would his chances be to leave this God-forsaken planet and leave
for greener pastures.
Just as he turned a second corner, Neo heard a scream: "He's over
Neo looked up for a moment, too dazed to grasp who had called out to the
people chasing him, but then he saw the shadows on the rooftops and
realised that from that high vantage point he could just as well have been
giant in a world of midgets. Neo had come to a full stop and knew that his
suvival had just become more dire. One part of his mind -let's face it,
the least reasonable part- started to get excited and told him that if the
odds dropped slightly it would be a glorious bet. The more sensible part
of his soul told him to shut up and keep running.
'It would have been a great bet too...' the part of his mind that
had a slight gambling problem couldn't resist to let out. And of course it
was, the idea appealed to him even as he was fleeing for his life. After
all, he had nothing to lose, his life was already on the line.
However Neo doubted the lone sharks and creditors would agree to a manhunt
when the likely victim owed them over a million credits. It had always
been Neo's credo to go out in style, and though he was always short on
cash he usually had a bit of luck on his side, backed up by a quick mind
and deft fingers. No-one minded his fingers when they could look at his
"He's heading East! To the harbour!"
The harbour? That wasn't right. Neo wanted to go into town, deeper into
the neon-lighted filty streets of Kalhar where he wouldn't be noticed, not
out into some dark space control centrum where the lights would be dimmed
to a minimum. More than once he wondered why he had been cursed with his
faintly luminent skin. It was almost invisible during the day and in
lighted rooms, but Neo shone brighter than a flashlight when he was out in
the night. His mother had called him her nightlight. A silly nickname that
he had allowed only her to use.
Suddenly Neo slipped and fell into a puddle of mud.
"Just my luck." he grumbled before he figured it was worth a
try. Kalhar mud has some special qualities. The whole planet is an
oversized sandbox and the few grains that do touch water seem to want to
make the whole as unappealing as possible to make sure no-one can use the
moisture again. Come to think of it, most people on Kalhar were
cheapskates. Maybe it was something in the atmosphere. Neo started to
frantically rub the pungeont smelling drab onto his arms and face,
reducing his glow slightly and hopefully enough to delude his chasers.
His tactic worked for about a minute. Large blacklights were switched on
over the city.
"They got to be kidding!" Neo called out indisgust. "How
did they ever mobilise this all so fast?"
It was one thing to have searchlights and helicopters, but finding time to
also have a basket of blacklight bulbs to replace when necessary was
Neo turned another corner and suddenly saw a pale blue light in the
distance. Neo stretched his hands and was disgusted to see his hands
shining through the layers of mud. But he knew that though it could mean
his dead if he stayed here, the light could also be his salvation.
Running and jumping from street to street, the light seemed to ever move
in front of him, luring him somewhere. Neo wasn't superstitious, but this
night hadn't been one of his best. Maybe he was pushing the odds.
"You there!" he heard, froze and then unlocked his muscles to
In front of him the blue light appeared out of nowhere.
"I found him Saranna!"
A loud snort sounded, followed by the first young voice again: "Ok,
Mysth found him."
"Good work, Wes!" a woman said from closeby.
"So, Mr Glo. We finally meet."
"Who are you? Why do you know my name?" Neo asked.
"We've been following you for the past days." the woman replied,
"My name is Saranna."
Neo finally pinpointed the voice coming from above his head, almost like
she was sitting on a large horse. Two points of light appeared slightly
above him and a yawning gap of darkness in front of him.
"I'm tired of being called horse."
"Sorry, Eklith, he doesn't know better." the woman answered,
"My bond wants to inform you that he is in fact a dragon. A blue
finder dragon and his eye has fallen on you."
Neo took a quick step back. Dragons, voices coming from nowhere, glowing
blue lights, it was all too crazy for words. Neo knew he had a lot of bad
habits, gambling being only one of them, drinking being another, but when
he gambled, he usually stayed sober. He hadn't touched a rop of alcohol
-partly because Kalhar alcohol is viler than the little polluted water Neo
had been able to get to.
"Since you're in trouble we'll be brief."
"Can I tell him Saranna?" the boy asked again.
"Oh, allrught, but be fast."
"We're going to give you an offer you can't refuse." the boy
said, his voice suddenly sounding hoarse. Then he caughed, "You can
come with us, but then you have to do something for us, or we can leave
and let you get killed."
"Wes!" the woman called out.
"What? It's the truth!"
"He's supposed to have a choice. But Wes is giving you the harsh
"I know truth when I see it." Neo answered.
"Oh really?" Saranna asked, "How ironic, that's not what we
"I'm in no mood to take bs from anyone!" Neo eplied angrily,
while trying to keep his voice down.
Footsteps interrupted the surreal conversation and Neo looked up and back,
past the glowing blue light of the second 'dragon' that stood in the
"Neo Glo! Come out and show your lowly self." he heard yell from
the end of the dead end street.
Neo stared back at the waiting woman with her oddly mount and wondered
what he should do. Clearly this woman had something in store for him,
albeit he had no clue what that was.
"It's a bet." he whispered.
"What?" Saranna asked.
"Do I chose the unknown over certain death?"
"That seems an easy choice to me." Saranna remarked dryly.
"To you maybe, but not to me. I could still escape." Neo
"And pigs can fly." the blue
dragon, Mysth remarked.
"ha-ha." Neo replied.
"No, really, I have seen them do it." the young boy on the
glowing blue replied, "It's really weird. I think Mysth means
anything is possible. He's always telling me stuff like that."
Neo didn't know if he should believe anything these two strangers told
them. The best tactic would be to just turn around and take his chances
with the mangunters than take his chances with this weird duo. But then,
he was still a gambler at heart and the stakes were about to get
"Come out!" Neo heard again and finally saw a group of 5
silhouettes lurking at the other end of the street. The first two had
already taken a few steps into the alley, but had stopped after seeing the
weirdly luminous dragon and his normal companion. Neo remembered his own
reactions from only a few minutes earlier, but he also remembered how fast
he had put himself over the whole 'mythical creatures shouldn't exist'
thing. People seemed to be amazingly capable of thinking outside the box.
"Ok, I'll come, just let me do one thing."
He took a few steps toward the group of thugs and made a mock reverence.
"I hope your evening was as pleasant as was mine. But I'm afraid I'll
have to leave you now. Don't worry about your money. I don't have it and
most likely I'll never will."
Two or three thugs recovered when Neo's mockery hit them and started
moving forward again.
"Toodles!" Neo said, waving, then turning and racing toward the
two dragons. Saranna shook her head in wonder as she saw Neo leap onto
Mysth, almost immediately changing colour to match the dragon's glow,
fading away into his hide.
A detached voice reached her: "So where are we going?"
"Dragon willow." Saranna said, giving Eklith and Mysth the sign
that they were clear for take off.
It was a cold night on Pern, one with a wind raging over the land,
sneaking up on you when you least expected it. And yet many people were
outside in DragonWillow Weyr, in stead of inside enjoying a night of
drinks and laughs as they should be this winter eve.
The glitter frenzy eggs were hatching.
Neo still couldn't believe much of it. He had seen dragons, he had seen
the eggs and he knew what the dragons might look like as he had seen their
parents as well, like you should always do when getting a new puppy.
Though this was slightly different. For one thing, the puppy apparently
chose you. Apparently people liked to bet on the colour to come out of an
egg and which candidates would bond which dragons. Now here was a crowd he
As he walked over to the hatching sands his thoughts became a bit more
serious. It was weird to think that he had always imagined him being a
freak of nature, someone who couldn't dream of finding anyone like him.
And now he was on a planet, in a place where they had actually tried to
breed creatures to look a bit like him.
Neo entered the sands and waited, what else could he do? One by one eggs
hatched and a brilliant show of light, sparkles and glitter passed by him,
making him forget for a while that he could also bet on the outcomes of
As he tried to convince his poor mind that his odds of impressing were
actually getting bigger with each dragon that impressed -since the dragons
seemed to choose randomly and for each dragon that moved away, one less
human was there to pick for the next on to hatch, hence augmenting his
chances- he decided that if his luck ran out tonight, like it should, he
had been on a good luck streak for months now, well not including the
chase around Kalhar, but that had turned out ok, that he would ask one of
these nice dragonriders to drop him of on the nearest planet with a
gamblers anonymous program. After all, nothing was as relaxing as being
with your own kind of people.
me." a brown dragon with
rainbow wings told him matter-of-factly. "I am
your good luck charm if you will."
"And how will I call you? Lucky?" Neo asked.
The dragon gagged and said: "Nothing
My name is
"Has a nice ring to it." Neo answered, "Care to place a bet
seeing as you are my good luck charm..."
I can eat
a whole sheep tonight."
"Hmm, I bet you can eat half one before you fall asleep."
"It's a deal.
keep up with
me." Keligicu grinned as he headed for the food stands.
Neo grinned at the hatchling and followed him
toward the feeding area.
Neo looked down and wondered why he'd never met another person with
luminescent skin like his. Considering the large amount of humanoids out
there, the odds of a random mutation and even the odds for a freak
accident should be high enough for him to have met another like him.
me." Keligicu, Neo's Neoprism Brown dragon said.
"I meant humanoids, really." Neo grinned, "But I met a lot of interesting
people and dragons at your hatching. that's true. Too bad none of them had
glowing skin. Though would I really like to meet someone else like me? I'm
rather unique as I am now."
skin too." Keligicu remarked, "So do certain
"Very funny. Maybe I should stake my life on those odds and dive into the
"My mind itches at times." Neo shrugged, "And life's too boring without
of a way
to solve our problems." Keligicu smiled.
"A flight! It's exciting,
you get to know
a whole lot of
new people and
it's a great experience for both you and me.
I've been checking out some of the boards and I have a female in mind
"And I bet I can make a bet on the outcome!" Neo said, getting excited
despite his objections to the idea.
bet for me right?"
Neo Glo impressed at the Glitter
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