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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 26th day of Awakening, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 110 > Short Stories > No Longer Silver, but Grey...

No Longer Silver, but Grey...

by emerald_butterfly

Within the marble halls of her NeoHome, Emerald lounged languidly on her new Kauvara sofa absorbing the heat from a freshly made fire. With thick snow on the ground and dark clouds on the horizon, it seemed this would be a good day for staying indoors. She yawned and glanced at the book on her coffee table. "Illusen's Ixi," it read along with a picture of the Earth Faerie's bright white smile. Emerald sighed internally and shifted her gaze to the flames. She was so hypnotized by their dancing that she didn't notice her companion padding up behind her. He looked past her impish body and into the flames as well.

     "Beautiful. Aren't they? How they sway and swirl…" Legend whispered.

     Emerald started a little then smiled lovingly. She turned to face him and ruffled the fur between his ears with her long fingers.

     "You'd think that I had the hearing of a JubJub," she said. Legend smiled wolfishly.

     "What were you thinking about?" he asked.

     "The… duality." She paused. "You know -- how it can be beautiful and beneficial, or it can be dreadful and destructive."

     "…Like a darkness Faerie," Legend quipped -- expecting a reproachful glance, knowing Emerald respected all faeries. Her mother, in fact, was one.

     But Emerald turned slowly back to the fire, her eyes intense, and murmured, "Yes… I suppose so."

     Legend walked around the table and lay on the velvety rug by the fireplace. He stretched, and his thick fur ruffled. Its silver sheen reflected light from the fire onto the walls and high ceiling, making it appear as though the Lupe himself were a source of light and warmth. The sight reminded Emerald of the day not long ago that he returned home. When he had left (adventure seeking, of course), his coat was flame colored; a gift from a Fire Faerie he had rescued from Balthazar; but that cool, wet autumn night he returned, his fur was a glorious silver; with the rain running off of it heedlessly and the dim nightly lights making him seem to almost glow. Emerald smiled slightly in her reverie, pondering how glad she was that he had come home and how proud she was of all his courageous deeds. Legend yawned then furrowed his brow as a thought struck him.

     "Emerald… have you noticed a difference in the moon lately?" Emerald's smile faded slightly.

     "The moon…" she whispered mournfully.

     "Yes. Doesn't it seem a tad… duller than usual? Lacking a certain luster I suppose." Legend searched his friend's face for the secret of her true reflections. He knew he had hit upon something troubling, but what that was remained an enigma. He glanced down at the Lupe Moon Charm that hung loosely about his neck and now rested on the floor. The craftsmanship was wondrous. Gold and silver metals entwined with veins of a white, shimmery ore all molded into the shape of a crescent moon. In the center, printed in the Faerie language, the symbol for purity was engraved. He gazed at it longingly. This charm represented the moon as it should be-- a goddess among the heavens; not a shadow of its former glory as it had appeared more recently. Legend would wait no longer while his best friend kept secrets from him. He frowned and sat up, his charm swinging with his motions and glinting in the ever-dimming firelight.

     "Emerald, why has the moon changed? I know that you know; at least more than I." Emerald raised herself and sat with her arms about her knees, looking downward at her auburn braids that had slipped forward and were now tickling her raised feet. She rocked forward and backward a couple of times before brushing her hair aside and turning to face her Lupe friend.

     "There is a story," she began, "about a Faerie that has lost her wings. She now lacks magic and all there is that makes her a Faerie I suppose, barring lineage. My mother spoke of her to me not long ago. Her name is Baelia. She is known in the common tongue as the grey Faerie" Emerald paused, obviously pained. She sighed and continued.

     "Baelia was a legend among the faeries. She was secretive and quiet, so seldom seen that some thought she did not exist. Though when approached, she was not at all cold- just… solitary. She went about her daily duties unfailingly. What those duties were, no one but she and Fyora can truly tell. It is rumored that she was the Faerie of the night- tirelessly keeping the moon constant in its cycles, in order to control the seas and the creatures of dusk; the orb shining ever brighter every eventide due to her magic. You see- the Space Faerie is much too busy in the far reaches of Neopia to deal with matters such as this." A wistful expression passed Emerald's eyes. Legend stood then walked slowly closer and nuzzled his nose against her thigh. He rested his silvery head in her lap and looked up into her eyes questioningly.

     "Tell me about her," he pleaded. The halfling smiled sadly.

     "It is said that her beauty was breathtaking -- cloaked in a silver shift with a choker of moonstone and gauntlets of steel. Her hair shone white, as if spun from rays of moonlight itself and her eyes were bright sapphire, glinting with intelligence, kindness, and power." Legend envisioned this Moon Faerie and was immediately awestruck.

     The fire, quickly dying, sputtered and sparked in a final effort to emit light. The flash once again reflected off of Legend's fur, causing Emerald to frown. She put her arms around his neck all of a sudden and hugged him tightly. Her eyes began to tear and she snuggled her face in his fur.

     "I was so worried about you… the day you left I was confident you would be okay, but the day the moon faded, I feared something horrible had happened…" She sobbed lightly and Legend put his paw on her back.

     "I was afraid something bad had happened too. That is why I came home. Yet you still will not tell me what DID happen," he whispered. Emerald sniffled and looked up into his dark eyes.

     "Neither will you… your fur -- it has changed, and I cannot fathom how. The moon has lost its brightness, yet you have gained it tenfold." Legend looked away almost sheepishly.

     "It is a secret. I cannot tell you. I'm sorry." Emerald looked sullen and, unnatural to her character, she pouted a little. She leaned back on the sofa and breathed deeply. Staring at the ceiling and feeling a bit defeated, she continued her story.

     "My mother said that she had met Baelia once. One night, just before she went to sleep, something strange happened. She lay in the curve of a large leaf, the sky a shimmering blanket of small lights above her. It almost seemed the moon and stars were brighter than usual. As she was about to drift into slumber, a glittering of faint light caught her eye. It was nearby, slowly floating towards a clearing full of fragrant wildflowers. Curiosity struck my mother, for she had never seen such a pale, glowing figure. Light faeries seldom wandered into her realm, and they were always much brighter. She raised herself and followed it." Emerald paused and stretched.

     "I'm not boring you am I?" she asked her friend, for he had been staring into space.

     "No… I am only wondering what could have caused such a glorious Faerie to fall."

     "I am getting to that. My mother is lucky enough to know more than most faeries about Baelia, the grey one." Legend nodded and turned his attention back to the halfling.

     "When my mother reached the field, the glow had almost disappeared, hidden under the leaves and petals of the flora. She lowered herself to the ground and walked amongst the stems and thin blades of grass, ever following the pale light. Soon she had to run to keep up with it, for it was moving faster than she could walk or even fly around the many obstacles ahead of her. But all of a sudden, the figure stopped, and my mother slowed, creeping closer, quietly, unnoticed. When she reached the pale Faerie, she knew that it was unlike any kind she had seen before. In wonder, my mother whispered, 'She is special… Like Fyora or Taelia…' The shining figure sat down on her knees. She bent over, digging at the dirt. Finally, she unearthed a shimmering orb. It was tiny in a Neopets' eyes, a perfect size for a Faerie necklace or charm. Baelia looked at it lovingly and held it with both hands, clasping them against her chest. My mother was confused, not only at the sight of this strange Faerie, but also at what was happening before her. As she walked slowly forward to get a closer look, she stumbled on a pebble and kicked it forward, all the way to Baelia's feet. The silver Faerie turned, startled, and whispered, 'Who is there?!' Mother walked towards her, embarrassed. 'I'm sorry I was spying… I am Solara. I have never seen a Faerie as beautiful as you, except for our Queen. What is your name?'

     'Baelia. Faerie of the Silver Shadows,' she muttered. There then was a chilly silence before Baelia once more held tight the shimmering orb in her hands. Small rays of light escaped through the cracks between her fingers. As the silver Faerie looked downward, Mother walked towards Baelia slowly. She tilted her head slightly and asked with a faint smile, 'Was that a present?' Baelia was startled at my mother's stealthy advance and took a step back. 'Yes. The most special of all presents,' she stuttered, with a slight melancholy tone. Obviously the stone was quite precious to her, and my mother pressed the issue no farther. She bowed deeply and took a few paces backwards. 'I am pleased to have met you Baelia. Whatever secret you are afraid of being revealed, it is safe with me and these woods that surround you. I now bid you farewell. May we meet again someday.' Baelia let her hands drop to her sides as a sign of trust and understanding. She bowed back and held up her empty hand in parting.

     Mother then went home but could not sleep. She worried constantly about the stone that Baelia kept hidden there. Days passed- then months, then years, but mother never forgot. She frequently visited the spot where they had met, and sometimes kept a silent watch over the wildflower field. Not long ago, Mother told me that dark faeries had been slinking about her woods. She was suspicious but could prove no wrongdoing on their part, so she let them go without argument. Then the moon faded, and soon after, word among the faeries was that Baelia had been abducted." Emerald paused and rolled onto her side, her left cheek pressed against a plush blue pillow. Legend's dark eyes searched her green ones for what she might say next. So many thoughts were on his mind that he could not focus. He felt a knot of tension in his chest, causing his breathing to become more rapid. He knew Emerald sensed his anxiety, he was only hoping she could not figure out why.

     "You know what I think? I think it's pretty obvious those faeries were searching for her stone. It must be incredibly powerful… I wonder what it does…" Emerald closed her eyes for a moment, daydreaming of white light and secret powers. Then she looked at Legend. Her eyes were serious -- dark and brooding. Legend's heart raced.

     "What do you think, friend?" she asked him. The silver Lupe looked away.

     "I don't know."

     "Surely you have an opinion or a thought. Don't keep everything secret from me." Her last statement was almost a demand, her words gruff and hurtful. Legend searched his mind for an escape route.

     "So no one really knows how Baelia lost her magic?" Emerald sighed.

     "No. Well… no one but her and her captor I suppose." Legend stretched and yawned. He glanced out the window, finding it to be devoid of any light. Night had come since the beginning of Emerald's story. Snow was falling again and collecting thickly on the windowsill. The Lupe yawned again and stood.

     "This dreary weather is making me sleepy. Thank you for the story Emerald. Goodnight." He nuzzled her shoulder and padded down the hall to his bedroom. Emerald knew something was up but was determined not to arouse his suspicions any further. If he would not tell her openly, then it was important and perhaps dangerous. She wondered what connection Legend could have with any part of her story. Her mind raced as she thought over and over about what she should do. She finally determined that if something were going to happen, Legend would have to make a move, so that she could follow suit.

     In his bedroom, Legend paced, his glittering moon charm swaying with each step. He walked to the armoire beside his bed and stared at it. He closed his eyes as he opened the doors to the top shelf. As he pulled the doors apart, light spilled from the chest. The brightness nearly filled the cozy room and Legend was temporarily blinded as he reached in and grabbed the small, spherical stone, placing it in a fold of velvet fabric and then into a drawstring pouch, which he slung over one shoulder. His mind was set on his quest though his heart ached to leave again. His expression grim- he slid open the window in his room. Snow blew in unhindered and started to collect at his clawed feet. Legend shivered a bit in the cold breeze and sighed.

     "I have to find Baelia. If this is truly hers, then she must have it back!"

     Emerald watched him from outside, behind a withered heart fruit tree. She felt furious and betrayed. As Legend stepped into the deep snow outside his window, his laden pouch gently fell from his shoulder. He immediately pounced on it and looked side to side, suspiciously eying the shadows around him. As he swung it back into place, Emerald saw a ray of light escape the small leather bag, and in an instant, she was stricken with the answer to her many questions as of late. She shook her head in disbelief and stood completely erect. To herself and the shadows she said, "I will not stop you on your mission -- but you will not go alone this time."

The End

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