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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 17th day of Sleeping, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 118 > Continuing Series > All The Colours: Part Ten

All The Colours: Part Ten

by hot_pink_lizard

Wyrm's Turn

"YOU ARE HERE ABOUT THE PIECE."

     "Sweet mother of Wombats, err…" I summoned all my courage. "Yes. We are. And you better let my Kougra go, you fiend, other wise I'll stick this here weapon so far down your throat you…"

     "I CANNOT LET YOU HAVE IT. YOU HAVE WON TWO PIECES BY THE STRENGTH OF YOUR SOULS, BUT EVEN NOW THOSE PIECES ARE WEARING AWAY AT THAT STRENGTH. ARE YOU WILLING TO PAY THE ULTIMATE PRICE TO SAVE YOUR IXI?"

     I shivered, unnerved. "You know. About everything. Don't you?"

     "I KNOW ENOUGH," it hissed, uncoiling to produce an unharmed Hina. "GO. I CANNOT LET YOU HAVE THE PIECE. I HAVE SEEN IT WORK TOO MUCH DESTRUCTION…"

     Hina rolled to the bottom of the pile, sat up, scratched his head and then jumped strait into Negotiator mode.

     "Listen, Snowager, dude. Just because, like, other dudes have used the Spectra-thingy for bad mojo, it doesn't mean we all will! All we're going to do is use it to save my big sis; we're not even, like, necessarily going to kill the bad Faerie-lady who stole her. Chrissy can't even, like; kill Mootix when the petpets get infested. But we might have to. We don't want to, but we might have to. And if we aren't, like, prepared for anything, we'll fail!"

     "OH?" The Snowager looked mildly amused, if giant snow-snakes can look amused, turning to face Hina. "AND WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU HAVE SUCCEEDED? IF THE FAERIE DIES, WHAT THEN? WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH THE WEAPON?"

     "What should have, like, been done in the first place! We're gonna get those spirit-thingies out of that thing and get them to pass over or whatever it is they do."

     I blinked and opened my mouth, as shocked as the Snowager at that statement. Hina shot me a look that clearly said 'Stay out of this'. How on earth could he know? Of course. Hina had the best hearing of any Kougra I had ever met, and that was saying something.

     There was a long pause. The Snowager's expression was unreadable.

     "NO," it replied, finally. "NO, I CANNOT. I MADE A PROMISE. PROMISES LIKE THIS ONE CANNOT BE BROKEN… EVEN IF YOU WERE TO PUT THE SPIRITS TO REST, THE PRICE IT WOULD INFLICT ON THE ONE WIELDING IT… IF CERTAIN CONDITIONS WERE NOT MET… I COULD NOT ALLOW IT TO WREAK THAT KIND OF DESTRUCTION ON A PET, AN OWNER…" It looked at me. So did Hina, who was grasping at straws.

     "Dude, Snowager, we don't even really want to use it. We probably aren't going to kill this Faerie…"

     "THEN WHY DO YOU WANT THE SPECTRUM?"

     Hina gaped, looked at me, then shrugged and stepped back. I gulped, realising that I was still holding the Spectrum and didn't know why.

     "Listen…" I walked up to just under the Snowager's head, gulped twice, then began talking again with no particular rhyme or reason. "I'm not a hero. I don't do heroics. And in truth, that thing about the Mootix is an exaggeration… I'm not really even that nice. But this isn't just my Ixi. If Anuina has stolen my pet, it means she's done it before… and might do it again. I don't want anyone going through what we have. It wouldn't be fair if we left her running loose, where she could hurt more and more people. So, we are going to have to kill her, or at least stop her from hurting anyone. And if that means I have to pay the price, well…" I gulped, tilted my chin upright defiantly and finished in a rush. "I'll do it. I'll do it for Neopia, I'll do it for all of Neopet kind, and I'll do it for my pets!"

     There was a suitably stunned silence. Finally, the Snowager sighed a great, snowy sigh.

     "YOU HAVE A BRAVE HEART, LITTLE ONE. THIS IS TRUE. I WILL FEAR FOR YOU, BUT YOU MAY HAVE THE PIECE. IT IS, HOWEVER, NOT QUITE THAT SIMPLE."

     "Oh." Hina scratched his ear, dislodging a chunk of snow. "Is it, like, hidden in a deep and scary dungeon, 'cus it certainly isn't in your hoard."

     "ALLOW ME TO PUT IT THIS WAY. HOW GOOD ARE YOU AT DENTISTRY?"

     "Dentistry?" I slapped my forehead, realisation dawning on me. "Sweet mother of Wombats… of course… the only way you'd be able to kill a Faerie is with your mouth, and that means…"

     "IT WILL BE QUITE A RELIEF TO FINALLY GET THAT PIECE OF METAL OUT OF MY GUM. IT DOES HURT QUITE A LOT."

     Hina began scraping snow off his claws. "Right, dudettes, I'm gonna need Chrissy's toolkit, a candle and a load of ice…"

* * * * *

Waterlily idly flung an eyeball off the table. Magic she could handle. Limbo she could handle. Anuina and an evil Shoyru she could handle. Dissecting petpets under the gaze of Deathstrike, who was attempting to pull off 'steely' but had been left with 'rubbery', she certainly could not handle.

     "Listen." The Ixi wasn't even thinking properly about escaping any more. "You don't know how to escape the Limbo, do you?"

     "No." Deathstrike shivered a little, then added, "It doesn't matter, does it? This way, I'm not going to let you out no matter how much you try, and Nightwing can always take me anywhere I want to go."

     "Yeah. Sharp one, that Shoyru of yours. Think about it, though, have you ever asked him to take you somewhere?"

     "Well, no, but…"

     "Try it. I bet he says no. Go on, I bet you."

     "Shut up."

* * * * *

"Now, remember, dude. Just relax, and it won't hurt too much."

     "YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY."

     "And you're going to tell us everything you know about the Spectrum afterwards, aren't you?" I tapped the blade against my boot in what I suspected wasn't a very threatening manner.

     "OF COURSE. IT IS THE LEAST I CAN DO."

     Hina peered into the cavernous depths of the Snowager's mouth, stifled a scream, and began examining the many rows of teeth. After about a minute, he struck gold.

     "Dude, found it! But, like, this looks terrible… you should have, like, had this yanked out ages ago. I don't think I'm gonna be able to pull the piece out without taking some of your gnashers with it…"

     "OH DEAR."

     Selecting a small screwdriver, Hina held it in the candle flame for a few moments and then pressed it against the icy where the piece was embedded.

     "OOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!"

     "Sweet mother of Wombats!"

     "I told you to, like, hold still, dude!"

     I can't remember how long it took, except that it took a long time. The Snowager was very patient, but having a large chunk of metal burned out of your mouth must have hurt an awful lot. Immacolata took on the role of nurse, handing Hina the tools he needed in his precarious position, deep inside the Snowager's mouth, while Elenna was on hand with blocks of ice to heal up the wounds afterwards. There wasn't much I could do except sit, and watch, and wait.

     Finally, Hina glanced out at me with a worried expression, and then up at the Snowager. Or rather, the roof of his mouth.

     "Dude, we have a leeeeeetle problem. This bit of metal here is stuck to one of your teeth… we're gonna have to take them both out. This is gonna hurt a lot, so Immacolata, like, hand me the pliers and then you three, like, hold onto my feet and pull!"

     "OH NO."

     "On the count of, like, three!"

     "OH NOOO…"

     "One"

     "OHHHH NOOOO…"

     "Two"

     "OOOOHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOO…"

     "Three!"

     "RRRRAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!"

     After the four of us impacted with the wall and the Snowager stopped screaming, and, admittedly, after everyone had checked they had the same number of limbs as they did before, Hina held up the piece triumphantly. There was a vague, sleepy sort of sensation in his head that could be concussion, or could be something else.

     **Concussion? Moi? Hah, you Kougra couldn't tell a Mortog from a Faerie…**

     "CAN I HAVE MY TOOTH BACK, PLEASE?"

     Hina looked a little embarrassed, handing me the chunk of icy metal with barely disguised haste. "Err, sorry, dude. You can't, like, stick them back in again after you've pulled them."

     "OH." The Snowager digested the information, allowing Elenna to rush up and put a very large ice cube on the wound. "WELL, I DO SUPPOSE I OWE YOU. IT'S VERY SHARP. KEEP IT."

     After a few practice swipes that almost disembowelled the rest of us, Hina started grinning. It was true that the tooth made a very effective dagger.

     "Now." I hopped up onto one of the Snowager's coils, examining the Piece of Air. It had an elegant; showy design etched on it. "This'll fit on the other end of the other piece of shaft, if you understood that?"

     "CORRECT."

     "Good…" I placed the two pieces in my lap. "Now, you have a story to tell."

Legend Lore

Once upon a time, more than seven thousand years ago, there was a great and powerful Light Faerie known as Lulia. Through her goodness and magic, she was appointed the position of Uber Light Faerie upon the death of her predecessor. Soon, however, Lulia became dissatisfied with her place in the Faerie courts. She thought that the Faeries should rule over all of Neopia, not just offer help and wisdom. Through her machinations, the Faerie Queen known as Kissiame was assassinated. Quickly, the other Uber Faeries gathered to decide which among the Faerie kind should take Kissiame's place.

     Eventually, the decision was made to pass the crown on to a young Fire Faerie, a Battle Faerie in training that showed an uncanny sense of compassion and justice. Although Hileomne was far younger than any of the Uber Faeries, she listened well to advice and was set to become one of the greatest Queens of all time.

     The ceremony that would transform the young Faerie into a fully-fledged Faerie Queen was disrupted, however. Lulia was unsatisfied by this choice, and finally put into action a plot that she had been formulating for many, many years. By an ancient ritual not recorded, forgotten by the passage of time, Lulia transformed herself into a Light Queen. THE Light Queen. The only one ever known to have existed, able to challenge a Faerie Queen in power. Since there currently was no Faerie Queen, her attempted conquest of Neopia was almost unhindered.

     "Wait a moment." I scratched my head, slightly confused. "If she was a Light Queen, doesn't that mean she would have been good? Surely, if she was evil, she'd have transformed into a Dark Queen."

     "EVER STOOD TOO CLOSE TO A SUPERNOVA?"

     "Not personally, but I think I get your meaning."

     "BESIDES, LULIA BELIEVED SHE WAS ACTING FOR THE GREATER GOOD. THERE IS ALSO A LOT OF RIVALRY BETWEEN THE ELEMENTS; LULIA COULD NOT, AND WOULD NOT, GIVE UP THE POWER OF HER OWN ELEMENT FOR THAT OF ONE THAT SHE DESPISED. NOT YET, ANYWAY."

     "Right. So, in other words, this Lulia was a bit like Anuina. Totally crazy. Continue."

     The ceremony to turn Hileomne into the Faerie Queen could not be completed until the circumstances were perfect, which would take many, many days. However, there was another hope. Hileomne had a young friend, a powerful Faerie well advanced in her Battle Faerie studies that had not yet made the final transformation. She was brash, selfish, ineloquent, close-minded and totally incapable of subtlety, and yet she had an essentially good heart. She offered to help Neopia in the only way she knew how. By creating a weapon capable of destroying the Light Queen. Her name was Junadila.

     "I don't quite get this transformations and ceremonies thing. Are you telling me Faeries are essentially the same as butterflies?"

     "A LITTLE CRUDE, BUT THE COMPARISON IS ADEQUATE. FAERIES CAN ONLY BE BORN INTO ONE OF THE SIX ELEMENTS. THE OTHER FAERIES ARE ACHIEVABLE BY HARD WORK, POWER, MAGIC AND CERTAIN RITUALS."

     Junadila had four pets. Together, the five of them poured their essences into a weapon the likes of which had never been seen. Firefly, a Scorchio of unparalleled intelligence, etched her piece with ancient secrets of fire magic, to protect her beloved owner. Greenleaf, a powerful Ixi, imbued a blade with all his strength and determination. Windwalker, an elegant and beautiful Shoyru, gave her piece the grace and dexterity of the air itself. Deepwater, a Peophin with a dark side, wrought into the weapon every scrap of stealth and cunning he possessed. Junadila herself bound her life-force into the gem at the centre of the Spectrum, giving it all of her courage and tenacity. The Spectrum was constructed for one purpose alone; to kill the Light Queen.

     "Wait a minute. There's only five of them, and they couldn't use Light if they were trying to destroy it, so that means that Junadila was…"

     "A DARK FAERIE, YES."

     "Well, I'll be a Wombat. They ARE good for something, after all."

     However, there was a slight snag.

     Lulia became aware of the weapon minutes before Junadila attacked. She knew, in almost an instant, all of its powers and its one weakness… it had been built to destroy a Light Faerie. That was the only element missing from its makeup, and when all six elements were united the results would be catastrophic for the weakest element. In this case, Light. Even with magic, five on one is not good odds.

     So, Lulia embarked upon the only course of action she could see to take. She willingly transformed herself into a Grey Faerie.

     "Sweet mother of Wombats!"

     Junadila interrupted the process just before it could be completed. There was still a shred of Light in Lulia's soul, and so the Spectrum performed it's function and destroyed her. However, because of the absence of the overwhelming light they had been expecting, the remaining time for Junadila and her pets was limited. They knew, instantly, what they had done. Their last act was to break the weapon into its five component pieces and scatter them. In doing so, each piece claimed their souls separately. Now, as the pieces unite, so too do their spirits. They believe the only way to set themselves free is to complete the process properly… to kill a true Light Queen.

     There was a long silence while I digested this information. Finally, I spoke, a little nervous as I watched my pets fencing with their new weapons.

     "So that's how this weapon lasted so long, because most magic weapons, you get maybe ten years, twenty-five years tops before they start failing on you. But, do you mean… do you mean, if I don't want to kill Anuina, they're going to force me?"

     "YES."

     "Oh." I paused, then added, "Cheesecookies."

     "YOU CANNOT CONTROL THEM. AS I SAID BEFORE, WHEN IT IS FIVE ON ONE, THE FIVE WILL NEARLY ALWAYS SUCCEED."

     "Hmm. Yes." I scratched my head; avoiding the accusing glare the Spectrum was giving me. Wait, what was I saying? It was a weapon, for goodness sake.

     A weapon with seven thousand year old spirits bound into it.

     Cheesecookies.

     "Okay." I looked up at the Snowager. "I want your opinion… do YOU think that if I kill Anuina, they'll be set free?"

     At first, it didn't want to answer. Finally, in a small voice, it replied. "I THINK THAT SEVEN THOUSAND YEARS OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT WOULD BE MORE THAN MOST PETS COULD BEAR. I BELIEVE THAT IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, PEOPLE MAY MAKE MISTAKES."

     "Hmmm. Okay, do you think I should kill the Faerie? Or should I find some other way to set the spirits free?"

     It looked at me, with large, cold eyes. For a moment, I wondered why its eyelids didn't freeze shut, but quickly squashed the thought. I think of some pretty stupid stuff when I'm nervous.

     "I THINK THAT IF YOU ARE ABLE TO, YOU SHOULD MAKE YOUR OWN DECISION."

     There was a long silence. Finally, I slid off the coils. "One last thing… what happens if, if, if the spirits get too strong… and, just maybe, this whole kill-the-Faerie-and-set-us-free thing doesn't work out the way they hope… and they stay stuck in the weapon… what happens to me?"

     With a great, drawn out sigh, avoiding my gaze, the Snowager replied. "THEY WILL TAKE OVER YOUR MIND, WIPE IT AS BLANK AS A SNOWDRIFT AND FORCE YOU TO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO SET THEM FREE."

     A river of cold ran down my back, and it had nothing to do with the current ambient temperature. Whatever it takes…

     "My pets," I croaked. "What happens to my pets then? What about Elenna, Immacolata, Hina, Waterlily… I don't really have any friends that could take them in, though HQ… I never thought that I might be gone one day…"

     "IF IT IS ANY COMFORT… I WOULD HELP. ILLUSEN WOULD HELP. EVEN THE CURRENT FAERIE QUEEN WOULD HELP… YOU WOULD BE SURPRISED HOW MANY PETS ARE ORPHANED BY THE MACHINATIONS OF EVIL. WE NEVER LET THEM STARVE."

     "But I'd be gone. I might even kill them, if the spirits decide that's what they have to do… even if they finally got themselves free and I was alright, which I doubt I would be, I wouldn't be able to live with myself…"

     "THAT IS YOUR DECISION. YOU MAY ABANDON THIS QUEST AT ANY POINT. AT EVERY STEP, YOU HAVE THE CHOICE TO TURN AROUND, HAND THE PIECES BACK AND SAY 'I CAN'T DO THIS. THE RISK IS TOO GREAT.'"

     "But?"

     "BUT, I AM AFRAID, THE WORLD IS NOT SAVED BY THOSE WHO TURN ASIDE FROM THE PATH OF THE RIGHT. IT IS LOST."

     "Cheesecookies." I stared at the snow, feeling insignificant and downtrodden. Finally, I looked up again. "I'm gonna do it, may the mother of all Wombats help me. But, if I don't come back… I want a promise that someone will look after my pets when I'm gone."

     "DONE. I SWEAR BY EVERY FAERIE THAT STILL DRAWS BREATH THAT I, PERSONALLY, WILL MAKE SURE THE FOUR OF THEM ARE CARED FOR AND NOT SPLIT UP."

     "Thank you. I needed that." I sighed, strapping the Spectrum across my shoulders again and slinging my rucksack on. "Oh, and one last thing… do you have a pen and paper?"

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

All The Colours: Part One

All The Colours: Part Two

All The Colours: Part Three

All The Colours: Part Four

All The Colours: Part Five

All The Colours: Part Six

All The Colours: Part Seven

All The Colours: Part Eight

All The Colours: Part Nine

All The Colours: Part Eleven

All The Colours: Part Twelve

All The Colours: Part Thirteen

All The Colours: Part Fourteen

All The Colours: Part Fifteen

All The Colours: Part Sixteen

All The Colours: Part Seventeen

All The Colours: Part Eighteen

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