Hubrid's Attempted Hero Heist: Part Ten
Also by schefflera
"I have a suggestion," Gilly said, "that may solve your
problem -- and I won't pretend I can help and then say I won't. Does Lisha have
any dark-sphere abilities? Drain Life, for instance?"
Jeran turned to her in confusion. "I don't believe
she has any. She generally prefers light magic. But she's hardly in any shape
to fight right now."
"I wasn't thinking of a fight."
"...That's a battle ability," Jeran pointed out,
"and for that matter, it's listed as evil."
"Well, yes," Gilly admitted, "but that's largely
because it is dark-sphere rather than for anything it actually requires of the
user. And if you think evil is the province of dark magic, look up the Amulet
of Thilg in the Neopedia sometime. Used on a willing target -- though I don't
know for certain whether this holds if the target was tricked or manipulated
-- Drain Life has an even stronger beneficial effect on the user than in the
middle of a fight." She smiled a little. "Specifically, it will cure diseases."
"So, all I have to do to cure Lisha is let her
use that ability on me?" Jeran asked, rather suspiciously. "Convenient... even
if it does cure Lisha, and doesn't have any adverse effects besides draining
my power, it would still weaken me for a time... and isn't that what Nox wants?"
"The power of the Sunblade is what Nox fears
more than anything else," Gilly reminded him. "You wouldn't need to be in top
form to wield it against them... but, if you still feel nervous about risking
it, you could face the undead army before healing your sister. You may have
"What do you mean by that?" the Lupe knight asked.
"If Nox already sent off his attack force, your
group would probably meet with them before reaching the castle. And if you sent
them all off, your temporary weakness would not even be a problem."
"Having Lisha able to fight as well would also
be useful, though," the Yellow Knight pointed out, "unless we can really expect
the Sunblade to rout Hubrid's army essentially as soon as Jeran draws it."
"That," Gilly said, "probably is a bit much to
expect. The first effect, though, will be to break Hubrid's hold over them --
and I doubt they'll have much interest in attacking you, without his urging.
They'll be much more inclined to flee back to the shadows and their rest."
The Chia regarded the rest of them thoughtfully.
"Well," he said, "should we plan to visit Balthazar again to buy Bottled Dark
Faeries, or pursue some other solution?"
"Actually," said Gilly, "I know a Dark Faerie
whom I might persuade to go with you."
Kass was not thrilled with the idea of taking
a faerie back to Meridell with them -- he'd had quite a few bad experiences
with them, and couldn't imagine a Dark Faerie to be any better than the rest
of them. "Do you... ah... work with Dark Faeries often?" he asked the Usul sorceress,
wary of anyone who dealt with Faeries in any way that didn't involve bottling
"It depends on the Dark Faerie." Gilly shrugged.
"This Faerie has reason enough to help you on my behalf: I saved her from becoming
as a Grey Faerie after her wings were torn. And that is the greatest service
one can ever do for a Faerie."
"So this Faerie could give Lisha the Drain Life
ability?" Jeran asked.
"That is the whole idea."
"Very well, then. There's only one more problem,"
Jeran said. "What do we do about Illusen?"
Kass blinked. "I don't like the sound of having
to do something about Illusen." Granted, he'd rather expected to at one point,
though it had turned out she'd chosen to spend her energy limiting the effect
of curses on Meridell's land rather than fighting. "Anyway, I thought she liked
"She likes Meridell, yes. She doesn't like Dark
"You want to send me into Illusen's land, Gilly?"
said a rather peevish voice from midair. They could see a mosquito-sized dark
blur for a moment before the faerie changed size and plopped into a chair (which
hadn't been there before) next to the Yellow Knight. "You'll all want to remember
this when you owe her a favor," she added, sounding slightly winded. "This is
the sort of thing she comes up with. Might be fun to annoy Illusen, though.
But I can't fly all the way to Meridell yet." She spread her wings; there were
odd streaks and dapplings of subtly different color -- hints of dull red or
black -- on the dark purple, and when Kass imagined them as wounds, he could
see that the wings must not have been merely torn, but nearly ripped off. "Do
I get any soup?" She grinned; her teeth looked very sharp.
"This is Rennah," Gilly said, passing the Faerie
a bowl as if this were all perfectly normal. "And I'm sure someone could carry
"I would be willing to carry you," Jeran said.
While he was still nervous about the idea of accepting the assistance of a Dark
Faerie, he would do almost anything for his sister, even if it meant that he
had to carry the Faerie himself.
"I don't know..." Rennah replied, looking to
the sword at Jeran's belt. "It might be better for both of us if your Eyrie
friend would take me. He has the right kind of aura."
"Kass?" Jeran asked. The Eyrie looked up with
a start. "Would you take our Faerie friend?"
"I might," Kass said. He was reluctant to deny
the request, when Jeran had been willing, but he was wary of agreeing. "But
what do you mean about 'the right kind of aura'?"
"I'm not sure I care to ride quite so close to
a sword with quite that much light magic in it," Rennah explained.
"You've been sunburned, I think."
That was certainly not what he'd been expecting.
Moreover, as far as Kass could tell, it made no sense. "I've... what?"
"You've been burned by light magic gone wrong."
"So then, she was a Light Faerie..." Kass said
softly. Then, to Rennah, he added, "You're entirely correct... though, my most
serious troubles with Ambition did not come from her element of magic."
"Ambition was a Light Faerie?" Jeran asked, astounded.
"So, then, not only are there good Dark Faeries, but there are corrupted Light
Faeries, as well. I guess a Faerie cannot be judged by her element, then..."
"It seems to take something drastic for people
to realize that," Rennah said sadly. "There are certainly tendencies, mind you,
but Light Magic, when used for the wrong purposes, can be the most dangerous
of all -- it seems all too easy to think that it's good by nature, and not something
to worry about. Just like ambitions... and I'm sure your Faerie played on that."
"In my case, she really didn't have to," Kass
"She was still able to manipulate you in other
ways... so, you remain wary of Light Magic. And that shows up in your aura --
it's a bit darker than your Lupe friend's. Not that that makes you any worse,
just more comfortable for someone like me to be around."
"Dark magic is more commonly used for ill or
mischief than some of the other spheres," Gilly said wryly, "but I've found
that if you can handle the associated temperament, it has some intriguing applications
to more benign purposes."
"Then it's settled, I think," Kass said. "And
if we mean to catch up with Hubrid's army, we had best start soon."
"We can take the teleporter back," Jeran said.
"From here to the main one in Neopia Central, and I saw that they do have a
one-way one to Meridell established."
Kass blinked. "One-way? And then why do they
come across on the boat instead?"
"I think the boat is just part of the tourist
experience," Jeran said wryly. "As for only going one way... I'm not really
sure. But I understand it took a while to get Tyrannia's set up properly, so
I suspect it has something to do with the time difference." He rose and bowed
to their hostess, then began helping to clear the table. "Gilly... I thank you
for your help."
"Oh, it was nothing," the Usul said. "Though,
I would hope that you would help, if I were to need your assistance in the future...."
"See? She might seem to give free help, but there's
always a catch. Don't be surprised if she asks you for some dangerous errand
later on!" Rennah sighed. "Not that I particularly mind this one..." she added.
"I wouldn't mind helping her, if she needed it.
After all, I do owe her quite a bit. Thank you again, Gilly," Jeran said, taking
the last plates off of the table. "You have been most kind."
"Thank you, and goodbye. You should be off to
Meridell now... If you ever want to come back, though, I'd be glad to have you."
"If I ever return to the Haunted Woods," Jeran
said, "I will remember you."
And they set out for Meridell again, with a tiny
Dark Faerie on Kass's shoulder.
They only hoped they were right to trust the
To be continued...