Where there's a Weewoo, there's a way Circulation: 120,791,029 Issue: 244 | 16th day of Relaxing, Y8
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The Fall of Qasala: Part Seven


by danama

--------

I watched as Razul restlessly paced the walltops, now and then anxiously throwing a glance out at the bare sand below. I felt helpless, a feeling that I had never felt much before. But before was a forgotten, alien time now, a time when I, knowing that I was the most powerful mage in all Qasala, had had the luxury of feeling safe.

      And I did not like this new feeling. As much as I hated Jazan, I knew that Razul loved him intensely, and that his loss would prove devastating for my King. I wanted more than anything to go down onto the sand and search for Jazan and Nightsteed. I could tell Daysteed and Razul had the same thoughts as me. But I still possessed my common sense, and as I looked down I could tell that under the thick blanket of night there was no hope of finding anything.

      All I could do was wait.

     *

      "Nabile," Amira said coldly as the Ixi entered. The Jeweled Scarab was annoyed - a messenger had come simply asking for her attendance at Amira's tent without further explanation. But Nabile knew that the Princess was a sensible creature, and that she would not have called her here without reason, and good one too.

      "I'll get straight to the point here. I need information, fast, before Atro's troops are demolished, and the only way I can get it at the moment is from the Kyrii. He has not told me anything, despite how friendly I was to him. I am not willing to use other measures at the moment - one I have done so there is no going back. Perhaps I, in all my extravagance, have intimidated him."

      A sensible creature Amira may be, thought Nabile wryly, but a modest one she is not.

      "So I need someone who can be ordinary, someone who is skilled at getting out information, someone who is not foolish enough to give any information out themselves in the process. And as you probably have guessed by now, that someone is you. I know you need persuasion, and I have it. Once Atro conquers the city, I will have no use for it. I will need a ruler, someone who can properly look after it. I will be looking among those who have proved most useful to me. Understood?"

      Nabile grinned, nodded, and slipped away.

     *

      Jazan looked up as the pink Ixi approached him. He was tired, bored, and annoyed. Nightsteed had been taken away to some other place, and the young Kyrii prince wanted some friendly company.

      "What do you want?" he asked warily.

      "Not much. I was just noticing how badly the Princess has been treating you - you haven't been given a tent, you haven't been fed or anything, and she's been doing nothing but asking endless questions of you all day long! Unfair, really. I mean, even if you are the enemy, we should still give you proper treatment. Come to my tent, we can talk and feast there. You must be hungry."

      Though Jazan was still suspicious of this too-nice Ixi, he was hungry and the thought of food made him get off the sand and follow Nabile into her tent.

      "You know, that city of yours looks like a great place to live in. I'd love to have magic like that. Poof! - and all your troubles disappear! Have you heard about the faeries that live in the clouds? I've heard that they have magic too. It's supposed to be really, really powerful - even more powerful than what your city's Neopets can do... "

      "That's not true!" Jazan cried out, stung by the insult to his pride. "Qasalan magic is far stronger than faerie magic!"

      "Oh, is it? Is there a difference, really?"

      "Of course there is! Faerie magic is based on the things around them - if they don't have power, then the magic is useless. But our magic is based on the mage's strength of character, on their belief, on themselves."

      "I see," replied Nabile, jotting it down in her memory. "Do you have that magic?"

      "No." Jazan silently cursed himself for letting his guard down.

      "But you seem to have a very strong character to me. I'm sure if you just believed in yourself you'd get it." Thoughts were racing through Nabile's mind. What if, somehow, miraculously, the Kyrii managed to get his magic with her help? Then he would be eternally grateful to her, and she would be able to command him to move against his own city. He seemed stung at not having magic. She had heard it said that magic often depend on one's belief - if they believed they had it, then they would get it. If that was true, then the Kyrii would not have had had much belief in himself. Maybe she could change that. She decided to take the gamble.

      "You know," she said a little softer, leaning close to Jazan, appearing as though she was confiding in him, "your city isn't the only one with magic around here. I have magic too."

      "Really?" Inwardly, Jazan was filling with hope. If he could go back to the city, magic in paw, having bravely vanquished the enemy all by himself, Razul might forgive him for running out in the first place. And this Ixi could help him do it. She looked like she wasn't very well off, financially. If he could promise her riches, he was sure that she would help him.

      "Yes. But I have a special kind of magic. My magic helps Neopets gain magic."

      "Then why didn't you help your own troops gain magic?" A small part of Jazan was still wary; the rest was warming to his new-found friend.

      "Because," she replied even more softly, "they aren't my troops. I'm not on their side. I work for me only. I give my blade and my powers to those who know that I have them, and who have gold."

      Jazan was ecstatic. If he could bring the Ixi back to Qasala, if he could persuade her to make it so that all Qasalans had magic... they would be unstoppable.

      "And I could give you magic, if you were willing to pay the price." Nabile was beginning to think that this would work very well for her indeed. Not only would she be the ruler of a city, she would have a lot of gold into the bargain.

      "Name it," Jazan whispered.

      "Not now. My magic is erratic." Nabile wanted to be sure of just how wealthy the Kyrii was before she started making any demands. "It has a high chance of working, but it still could fail. I don't want to take your gold, spend it and have the spell not work. Besides, you don't have very much with you now - I would have to wait until we got back to your city to pay, and that would be too late - without your magic we wouldn't be able to get into your city anyway. No, what I will do is perform the spell first, and you can pay me later."

      "Very well." In his eagerness to please the King, Jazan was willing to do anything. "When can you perform the spell?"

      "Now, if you like." The Ixi grinned slyly. All she needed to do was persuade him that he had magic. "I'll go get the ingredients."

     *

      Nabile put some berries on the sand. They were just ordinary twirly fruit imported from Mystery Island, but she guessed that Qasalans, being cut off from the rest of the world, would have no idea what they were.

    "Magic berries," she added by way of explanation. Drink their juice, and it enhances your magical powers."

     She began to crush the fruit in a small bowl, chanting as she did so:

     "Magic, magic, come out here,

     Be you far or be you near,

     Enter this juice as I say,

     Magic, come here this day."

     Sakhmet not having Neoschools, Nabile had never been much of a poet, but she was pleased with her 'spell'. She poured the juice of the berries into a cup and took a spoon. She stirred the juice three times clockwise and seven times anticlockwise, then handed it to Jazan.

      Wordlessly, Jazan took it and drank. The juice was spicy and sweet, and tasted delicious.

      "Well?" Nabile asked. "You should have your magic now. I heard that your Qasalan mages were creating illusions. Try it now."

      Jazan closed his eyes and concentrated. He asked the air to rearrange itself. At first it resisted, but Jazan, made confident by the 'spell', kept pushing.

      Nabile smiled. In front of her was a two headed green Scorchio, looking fierce and angry as it exited her tent and flew out to the sky.

      Jazan grinned, elated. He had magic now - he felt more powerful and commanding than ever before.

      "Well," Nabile said, breaking the silence, "we have work to do."

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» The Fall of Qasala: Part One
» The Fall of Qasala: Part Two
» The Fall of Qasala: Part Three
» The Fall of Qasala: Part Four
» The Fall of Qasala: Part Five
» The Fall of Qasala: Part Six
» The Fall of Qasala: Part Eight



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