Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 135,120,765 Issue: 267 | 22nd day of Storing, Y8
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Ailemea vs. Jenna: Part Seven


by rainbow_lover852

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Also by jeanaet

When Jenna finally awoke, she saw the anxious face of Ailemea bending over her. "Did we make it?" she asked faintly. "Where are we?"

     "We're safe," Aile confirmed. "Right now, if I'm correct - we just passed the famed Lutari Island. I got a glimpse of it for a second. Grundos and faeries everywhere. You should have seen those owners though with their Lutaris." Ailemea shook her head pityingly. "You'll never see one of those in the pound."

     Jenna sat up slowly, her head pounding. "What happened to that faerie and Oreh?" she asked, beginning to massage her forehead. Ailemea frowned and turned away.

     "Far behind us."

     Jenna also frowned. If they had already passed Lutari Island... "Aile," she said slowly, "how long have I been out?"

     Her fellow Xweetok was silent for a moment. "About three days," she answered. "That faerie must have really hit you hard."

     Jenna shuddered. "When did we make it out of the canyons?"

     At this, Ailemea turned to face her. "Those weren't canyons, Jenna. It was the Mountain pass, fathoms down."

     Jenna's heart leaped. "So when we entered the caves we actually went..."

     Ailemea nodded. "We passed that entire wilderness underground. Most of it's underwater."

     Ailemea didn't tell Jenna that she'd spent pretty much the whole dark frightening journey worrying about Jenna, and desperately doing her best to revive her friend. Instead, she calmly pointed ahead, causing Jenna to stand up and look in the indicated direction.

     To the striped Xweetok's immense relief, there in the distance, lay the waiting harbor of Altador.

     When the two Xweetoks reached shore, they saw that the city was in chaos.

     "Shenkuu! Shenkuu's been taken! Sloth is coming!" people shrieked all around. Homes were being emptied, and the harbor was crowded with fugitives.

     Jenna grabbed a small Shoyru by the wing as it zoomed by. With a yelp it swung around to face her. "What!?" the pet cried, her voice squeaky with fright.

     "Is the portal to Faerieland still open?" Jenna asked urgently.

     "No! Haven't you heard? King Altador has blocked it for the past few days. They say he can't hold it much longer!" And with a hard tug of her wing, the Shoyru flapped off in a scurry.

     The two Xweetoks stared after her for a moment, then looked at each other. They silently agreed to press on.

     It took them the whole day to get through the bustling, evacuating city. The portal was up in Altador's highest mountain, in a heavily guarded cave. At the end of their long trek, Jenna and Ailemea found King Altador and more than a dozen armed pets guarding the portal.

     The king was certainly surprised to see them. "My ladies!" he exclaimed. "Why aren't - "

     "We need to get to Faerieland," Jenna explained firmly. Ailemea nodded in agreement, her face solemn.

     The king frowned. "Now why would anyone want to go to Faerieland in a time like this?" he asked. The soldiers around him tightened their grips on their weapons.

     "We plan on saving Fyora," Ailemea said simply.

     The king almost smiled. "YOU plan on saving Fyora?" he asked with a slight chuckle. "You with your primped fur?"

     Ailemea blushed, for in fact, she had spent the last few hours of the hike rinsing the salt out of her fur and coloring it with blue eye shadow. Jenna could not help but smirk.

     The king turned to her. "And you? With that little smirk on your face and that sword strapped across your back - you think you will beat Sloth with vanity, my Lady?"

     Jenna was speechless. Me? Vain?

     The king shook his head with a sigh. "If anyone defeats Sloth - it will not be you, girls. Now I think it would be best if you find somewhere to hide like everyone else."

     This comment confused Ailemea. "What about Maraqua?" she asked.

     The king stared in surprise at her. "Didn't you hear? It was taken only yesterday."

     Jenna gasped. Maraqua, Rain, everyone gone!

     Ailemea had gone completely pale; tears were shining in her eyes. Jenna shook her head, telling herself that it wasn't true. They can't be gone. I'm NOT the only one left!

     She swayed on the spot. "No!" she whispered.

     The king's expression softened. "You had family there?" he guessed.

     Jenna looked up into the king's face, and spoke.

     "Look, WE have come from Mystery Island, to Maraqua, to Neopia Central, to Roo Island and now to here! We escaped raiding parties in Neopia Central, played cat and mouse with a giant squid, saw Sloth himself and lived, navigated through Neopia's underground caves, and all the time we've had these space faerie minions to deal with! Do you really think, after ALL that, we won't go through that portal?"

     By the end of this speech, Jenna's eyes were flashing and her fur bristled.

     Ailemea nodded fiercely in agreement and stepped forward. The two Xweetoks exchanged a look and then smiled. It was not a pleasant smile. The king and his soldiers shivered.

     "We've lost our homes; we've lost our families," Ailemea said quietly, dangerously. She stood right in front of the king. "We are NOT going to lose our lives because some old King decided he didn't want two pretty little Xweetoks to get past him."

     The king's expression hardened. "Now see here - " he began.

     But Aile and Jenna had had enough.

     A blinding Flash filled the cave, and Altador's guards scattered in confusion.

     When the king had finally calmed things down again, he just caught a glimpse of two Xweetok tails, one striped, one blue, disappearing through the portal.

     "See ya!" a voice called, and they were gone.

     ~*~

     The two Xweetoks stumbled into a lovely spacious corridor.

     Ailemea ran to the end and peeked around the corner. She pulled her head back instantly and dashed back to Jenna who was still getting her head clear.

     "Six Grundos and two Faeries right around the corner," Ailemea told her, her voice quiet. Jenna frowned and the two Xweetoks looked contemplatively around. All there was other than the portal was a few windows down one side of the corridor.

     "Do you think you could fly us down to where we can ask where Fyora is being kept?" Aile asked.

     Jenna resisted a snort. "Aile, if Grundos and faeries are patrolling Fyora's castle, what do you think will be down in the city?

     Before Ailemea could retort, Jenna took her paw and they both went to the nearest window. "The only way we'll figure out where Fyora is, is by a bit of eavesdropping," the striped Xweetok confirmed, remembering with a small smile how she'd found out about the method in a few of the many books she'd read.

     The striped Xweetok then wrapped her paws around her companion, glanced out the window for a split-second, and then soared out. She faced the rose-colored castle towers, shifted their upward course till they apparently seemed to be flying around them. But instead, Jenna skilfully landed -- on thin air.

     "Welcome to the Hidden Tower," she said softly, opening an invisible window.

     The two slipped in to find a deserted, empty-shelved shop.

     Ailemea smirked. "Great job, oh mighty one," she said with a mock bow. "I wonder if a particle of dust can tell us where the queen is being held."

     Jenna glared. "I didn't bring us here to find that out," she said coldly, "I brought us here to hide and figure out what to do. Know any safer place?"

     Aile made no retort, but with a flick of her mane began meandering around the shelves, leaving the exasperated Jenna behind to fume.

     The shop obviously hadn't been visited in a long time. Either it'd been raided the first day of the invasion and thought no more of, or Fyora had confiscated everything before the enemy moved in. Either way, Ailemea knew, there was the end of her idea to perhaps obtain weapons from the tower.

     Jenna, meanwhile, had taken the opportunity to view the city below.

     She immediately wished she hadn't.

     It was worse than Roo Island. Instead of being completely deserted, the city was swarming with Grundos, all marching in organized ranks around the town center. Practically consuming the entire city, (several known shops had disappeared,) was a HUGE building, not unlike a warehouse. Jenna could see pets being herded into it.

     And looming above the entire cloud kingdom, was an ENORMOUS spaceship. From the sight of space faeries zooming in an out of it, it was apparent that the ship was the great Empress Demonica's headquarters.

     "Aile," Jenna said, numb with shock, "I think you'd better come see this."

     Ailemea padded over and looked out the window. "Oh my goodness... Jenna... I don't think all of these people were in Faerieland when they took over," Ailemea whispered. "Maybe Demonica is bringing them all here to- oh no. Jenna. Look." A paw pointed out the window at one specific group of Neopets and owners.

     "Rain... no!" Jenna moaned at the sight of the wailing Kiara and Nexy and the frightened Lailani and Lindsey along with Isaerios who appeared to be in shock. Jeanie and Rain, however, looked angry. A Grundo nudged them with a gun to get them moving and Jeanie actually turned and yelled at him. The Grundo backed away, his blank eyes misunderstanding.

     Then the two Xweetoks saw a space faerie significantly cloaked in red approach Jeanie and the baffled Grundo. The faerie stared at the teenage captive for a moment before wrenching the Grundo's gun away from him, cocking it, and then aiming it directly at Jeanie's chest.

     Ailemea screamed, "JEANIE!"

     Instinctively, Jenna clapped a paw over her friend's mouth. "Quiet!" she hissed.

     Ailemea stiffened with fear as she watched.

     Down below, Rain stepped to Jeanie's side and took the girl's hand, trying to get them out of the faerie's way. The space faerie, obviously satisfied, turned with a swish of her scarlet cloak, shoving Grundos out of her path.

     The two owners and their families soon disappeared into the huge prison.

     Jenna turned from the window and sank weakly down against the wall. "We need to find Fyora," she said tiredly.

     Ailemea nodded and without a word headed for the far-off door, remembering how Queen Fyora had surprised her and Jeanie with a free picture-taking last year, when the two had gone on their memorable vacation.

     Now the doorway was vacant and open as she approached. "Come on," the blue Xweetok said determinedly. "Let's do a bit of snooping."

     Jenna stood to join her. "We're never gonna make it," she muttered, though she eagerly followed Ailemea out the door.

     Ailemea paused and glanced around the corner. She whipped back around and pressed herself against the wall, taking out her dagger as she did so. In turn, Jenna drew Faith, ready for anything.

     Right on cue, three Grundos walked by.

     The two companions were upon them immediately. The Xweetok Swish slammed the leading Grundo to the ground, sending his gun flying. The blunt side of Jenna's sword cleanly knocked the Grundo cold.

     The other two had barely flipped the switch on their guns to 'stun' when each Xweetok took down their own Grundo. A few moments later the Grundos were contained and locked away in the Fyora's empty shop.

     "Let's go," Aile said, finishing gagging the last Grundo and dragging him into the room.

     Jenna breathed hard. "Let's try and avoid that as much as we can," she advised, indicating the knocked-out Grundos.

     The two darted out into the hall again, and seeing it vacant, padded down it as quickly as they could. Almost as soon as they turned the next corner, Ailemea grabbed Jenna and dragged them into a closet. They waited breathlessly as marching boots came by. When all was silent again, they rushed on.

     And so it went for the next view hallways. Jenna was getting rather dizzy by the time they'd taken refuge behind a regal faerie statue, and were waiting for the patrol to pass. But this time, they heard voices as well as marching.

     "I assume that Fyora has finally given in? Since you found need to take my time?" The voice was feminine and so cold that it sent a shiver up Jenna's spine.

     "Err, ah... no she still won't talk. The reason I called you was to discuss a certain problem that's come up."

     "This had better be worth my talking to you, Sloth."

     Jenna froze, and together, she and Ailemea turned slightly to see Sloth standing before... someone. The other speaker was blocked from view by the statue.

     Sloth and his companion continued on their march, and Jenna suddenly pulled Ailemea out into the soon vacant hall. "We've got to follow them," the striped Xweetok mouthed.

     "How do you know they'll lead us to Fyora?" Ailemea mouthed in return.

     Jenna shrugged. As far as she was concerned, the conversation just heard was enough for them to take risks.

     Ailemea bit her lip. "Maybe we should split up?" she suggested.

     The striped Xweetok shook her head fiercely. "Absolutely not! Come on - what could happen if we just follow them?" she insisted. Ailemea was about to reply when-

     "INTRUDERS! IN THE NORTH CORRIDOR!" While the two Xweetoks had been speaking, a faerie leading eight Grundos had come around the corner.

     "RUN!" the two Xweetoks yelled in unison.

     The two Xweetoks dashed away down the hall, both air and bubble shields protecting them from the oncoming blows.

     Around one corner, and past the next, footsteps pounding after them, countless streaks of light pummeling the shields, through random rooms and around obstacles.

     Jenna had no idea where she was within the next panic-filled minutes.

     Finally she yelled, "We've got to stand and fight!" She drew Faith.

     Ailemea screeched to a halt and pulled out her dagger. She whirled around to face - where did all those faeries come from?

     Jenna tried her best to shoot back at the enemy as they closed in. Numerous abilities shot from her paws. Ailemea had flooded the corridor, and ranks of Grundos slipped and slid across the polished marble floor as streams of water trickled around them.

     But nothing could stop the faeries. With every surge of energy that burst from their palms, Jenna felt her power dwindle, until her Air shield was shivering with stressed concentration.

     Then a voice called, "Merge your power, you fools! Bring them down! Bring them down!"

     Oh no, was all Jenna could think as the beams of faerie magic suddenly flowed into one shining crimson streak of light. There was a blinding red flash!

     And then there was darkness.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Ailemea vs. Jenna: Part One
» Ailemea vs. Jenna: Part Two
» Ailemea vs. Jenna: Part Three
» Ailemea vs. Jenna: Part Four
» Ailemea vs. Jenna: Part Five
» Ailemea vs. Jenna: Part Six
» Ailemea vs. Jenna: Part Eight
» Ailemea vs. Jenna: Part Nine
» Ailemea vs. Jenna: Part Ten



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