Nothing is As it Seems: Part Three
It wasn't so bad really; even if Darigan had complained
about the weight of his burden at first, he had quietened immediately when Pete
had diverted their path over the swapped area of wood, and the distinct lack of
any faerie whatsoever. He explained as they flew, Darigan's face getting darker
with each sentence.
When they touched down at the Citadel the huge
Korbat strode towards his chambers, robes rippling behind him like a dark cloud
with a face similar to Lisha's when she had stormed away from Skarl, though
Darigan wasn't blowing doors off like his student. Instead they just crashed
into walls as he made his way up.
They found the Grarrl waiting in his chambers.
"You have a report from Faerieland?"
The advisor looked surprised at his Lord's question.
"Yes sir, but how..?"
"No time, what does it say?" Darigan was pacing
across the room and back, the other pairs of eyes following him.
"It says to release Illusen, sir," he said shakily
as Darigan came to an abrupt halt.
"So they think it was us."
"Or to tell them who you were working with; if
not, they will attack."
There was a silence as the dinosaur rolled up
the scroll. No-one knew what to say, how could they give names or a prisoner
they didn't have? Lisha bowed her head and turned her wand over in her paws
as the Tuskaninny clenched his flippers, glaring at the stones like it was their
"Nothing is as it seems... " he whispered, "nothing
is as it seems... the Darigani will be in the right and the faeries in the wrong,
the neopets will follow the faeries."
"Has anyone considered telling them the truth?
Fyora will listen!" Rance said hopefully, desperately. "She has to!"
"Even if the faeries DO pull back, what of the
other Neopians? They'll be attacking us or Jhudora," Darigan snarled, gripping
the window edge as a shadow Pteri swooped by and dropped a message into the
room. Darigan caught it and opened the message.
"And here is the icing on the cake for their
accusation, an invitation to an alliance with Jhudora, who has been similarly
accused. Anyone who sees these messages will automatically assume we are in
on it. Botheration!" He hurled the message at a wall where it dissolved into
"Perfect, just prefect," he spat. "We'd best
get ready for a war."
"Wait, wait! We're being too hasty!" Pete intervened.
"What if some of us went and tried to find Illusen? That would prove it wasn't
you if you helped us!"
"Or that we were returning the prisoner we had!"
"Fine! I'll just go on my own then! Defeatists!"
Pete shouted, colour rising in his cheeks and anger clouding his vision as he
half turned to leave.
Suddenly he found a paw holding his arm and he
turned, jerking it out of Lisha's grip, meeting her eyes furiously, "Looks like
I'm not the only one with a temper," she commented. "I never thought you'd be
"I hate being helpless; there must be something
we can do, there must be, it can't just be the end of the story that the goodies
are punished! It can't end like that! The story has to be resolved! It has to
There was a silence after the Tuskaninny finished
when everyone just looked at him. After meeting their eyes defiantly he found
himself studying the floor, wondering whether it would swallow him up quick
enough to avoid being blasted first.
Instead he was surprised when he found himself
wrapped in a hug from the Aisha, "That's right, we have to do this and work
to a solution, not wallow in hopelessness." Pete started blushing hotly as Lisha
pulled away and turned to the others. "Pete and I are going to find her."
"And me!" The red Lenny came to stand with them.
"You're my brother, I can't let you go on your own."
"Touching, I'm sure," the brother in question
"Much as I'd like to join this heroic band,"
Lord Darigan said with a light sting in his voice, "I have to defend this place,
and have a mind to accept that alliance, we'll need all the help the other can
Pete nodded an acceptance, suddenly feeling equal
to this powerful neopet. "Good luck."
"Same to you."
There was a silence as the people were still.
Eventually Pete broke it.
"We'll see you later then."
None of them needed to hear the rest of the sentence.
-If we survive.-
"Theoretically all we should need to do is find
which bit of forest has been swapped in the Haunted Woods... that should lead
us to the faerie, right?" Pete asked the others as they walked towards the castle
again, aiming to go quietly to Lisha's rooms and get what they needed before
they slipped away unnoticed...
"Lisha what the HECK did you think you were doing?"
came the shout as the Aisha was lifted vertically upwards by a blue paw. The
little sister struggled to escape his grip until he was forced to drop her onto
the floor, where she landed with an "ow!"
"Serves you right, where have you been? I was
worried sick! Not to mention Skarl being in an absolutely foul mood thanks to
your door prank!" Jeran didn't seem to have noticed the other two pets, who
were doing their best not to be noticed.
"With Darigan; he actually listens to me when
I have a warning!"
"With Darigan!" His eyes were wide. "Sis, that
place has been declared an enemy for kidnapping Illusen!"
"WHAT??" The Aisha looked aghast. "Then we need
to go as soon as possible; come on, guys." She started to run with the other
three pets following her, Jeran demanding an explanation. Pete and Rance glanced
at each other and stayed quiet.
When they arrived at Lisha's room she hurriedly
threw some magical supplies into a bag at random along with a few fruits and
some chocolates. "Where do you think you're going?" Jeran demanded as he watched
"To find Illusen and prove Darigan and Jhudora's
innocence," she said calmly, not paying much attention to her brother who froze,
"You mean that?"
"So you really do believe those pets you found?
With no evidence?"
"We do, I'll give you the co-ordinates of the
piece of forest if you want; we flew over it."
"We've found a place where if we try to walk
in one side we appear about half a mile away, is that what you mean?"
"Yup, get the Unis to fly over it."
"There's fog covering it entirely."
"Bother, they must have realised when we went
over," she said hotly as she frowned, "I think that's everything, let's go."
"OH no you don't." Jeran shut the door, "You're
not going anywhere until you've explained properly." He was faced by a calm
look from his sister.
"I already have explained to Skarl what's going
on, and he didn't listen, so I'm taking things into my own paws. Now move, please,"
she asked politely, tapping one paw against the floor.
"I have orders to take you down to the King,"
Jeran said sternly, meeting his sister's gaze. Her next words were frank.
"We don't have time for that; we need to go now."
"I can't let you."
There was a silence as one pair of siblings stared
at the other. The tension once more stretched to an unbelievable level. Lisha
then broke it with a false smile and turned around to face the window and open
"I'm sorry I have to do this to you, brother,"
she said quietly, facing the window.
She then spun, wand pointed out before saying
something that sent a blanket of purple towards her brother and sank into his
skin, causing his eyes to roll up and him to fall, only being caught just in
time by the two brothers, who sagged before taking him to the bed, staring at
the resolute Aisha as they made him comfortable there. She crossed and locked
the door before turning to the window.
"If you carry me on your back, Rance then I can
levitate Pete down alongside us."
"How could you do that to your brother?"
Lisha looked at him sadly. "He would have stopped
us, you know he would, and we can't stopped; we have too many people counting
on us. All I did was send him to sleep for a day so we would be long gone by
the time he woke."
Pete looked at her with new respect. "You did
the right thing."
"I know. Now let's go."
On the way they stopped by the brothers' neohome
and picked up some more supplies, noting that their owner still wasn't there,
despite her words about being back before it was dark. "She's working overtime,
then; she'll be back tomorrow, I guess," assured Rance as he scrawled a note
to leave on the counter of the kitchen, where they always left notes for each
They then set off, walking towards the Haunted
Woods, at dusk. After a while it was full night before Rance spoke. "Are either
of you slightly worried that we're entering this place at night?" he asked nervously.
The other two glanced at each other, then at the approaching trees and nodded
"Oh good, I'm not the only one, then!" Rance
burst into laughter, but it was short-lived as the others didn't reply with
anything but shadowy smiles.
Lisha was going to light her wand when Pete shook
his head. "We need our night-sight," he said, voice dropping to a whisper almost
unconsciously, "and we don't want to attract attention."
"Right," she replied, voice also a whisper as
she lowered her wand.
The three pets wandered through the woods aimlessly,
avoiding looking at the woods around in too much detail and drawing together
as time passed, stepping over roots and avoiding the low thorny braches of trees
and the bushes that stretched up to meld with the trees to muffle sound around
them completely and eerily.
Eventually they had settled into a formation
of sorts, Pete slightly ahead in the centre with Rance behind to his left and
Lisha behind to his right, though at times it seemed more like a cluster of
pets, one or the other of the brothers gently pushing the other away, which
reminded them all not to walk so close to each other, though whether they were
doing it instinctively for warmth or safety was questionable.
Suddenly there was a crumbling noise and the
warm presence at Pete's right shoulder vanished downwards, the Tuskaninny turning
and lunging down to catch the Aisha's paw in his flipper before he realised
he had no anchor. He too felt the ledge crumble beneath his body as he slid
forwards, then sighed with relief as he felt feathers grab his tail as it slid
over the edge of the hole, bringing them to a halt with a jerk.
"Everyone ok?" Rance's voice floated down from
above, sounding lost.
However, Lisha's sounded shaky, fine, but shaky.
"Right here." They hung there for a moment before
he asked, "So what are we going to do?"
"I could try and pull you up. I don't think I
can hold on for long; your tail's slipping."
"That doesn't sound good..."
Then they heard the crumbling soil.
"That sounds worse," Pete replied as they started
sliding again, this time with Rance following and, predictably, screaming.
To be continued...