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Snow on the Brightvale Hills: Part Two

by queen_aingeal


"I can't get over how great you look," the Starry Lupe said to her little brother. "Fyora's eyes, you're bigger than I am!"

      "I can't help that, Gemini, it's the way I am!" the newly made Shadow Lupe said. "Well... it's the way I am NOW." He smiled proudly and strutted a bit. Even though he had only been painted as camouflage for the shadows of the Haunted Woods, he couldn't help feeling a bit proud of his new look.

      "Just don't forget why we're going to the Haunted Woods... to battle WERELUPES..." Gemini reminded him. "We need to save Falanor, REMEMBER?"

      "Of course I remember," Telperion said. Just thinking about his older brother's terrible capture made Telperion feel like a pup again - helpless and alone. "I hope Tabby's okay," he said. "She lost all three of her pets within a week. I really feel bad for leaving her."

      "She'll be okay," Gemini said firmly, though her face showed her true concern for her beloved owner. "She's stronger than she looks."

      "When those Werelupes took Falanor, though, she stayed in bed for days," Telperion said. "What if she does the same now?"

      "She won't," Gemini told him. "Now shut it, or I'll shut it for you. I'm still your big sister, you know."

      "You're my OLDER sister," Telperion corrected her. "I'm bigger than you now." He then yelped as he was swatted on the muzzle by a surprisingly strong Starry paw. A few seconds later, spots of light swirled in front of them. "Whoa, Gemini, you must have hit me harder than I thought... I'm seeing spots!"

      Gemini rubbed her eyes and blinked. "I see them too," she said. The light grew brighter and brighter until the siblings had to shut their eyes tightly to avoid being blinded. When they opened them again, they found themselves in Faerieland. Standing before them was a pretty Air Faerie. She smiled and curtsied to them.

      "Welcome to Faerieland," she said. "You have been called to the castle by Queen Fyora. Please follow me." She turned and fluttered off, and the two Neopets followed in bewilderment.

      They soon arrived at a massive violet castle. Two Lenny guards, each with beautiful blue and green plumage, bowed and opened the doors onto a massive hall. Telperion and Gemini followed the Faerie into the Great Hall, where Fyora waited. "Your Majesty," the Air Faerie said, curtsying deeply. "I have brought them."

      "Thank you, Ametrine," the Queen said in a soft, sweet voice. "You may go now." The Faerie curtsied again and fluttered out through a side door and Fyora stood up from her throne. "So," she said. "I have heard that you are headed to save your brother from the Werelupes."

      "Yes, Your Majesty," Gemini said respectfully. "But if it's not too bold, where did you hear of our quest?"

      "Your owner sent a plea to me, begging for me to return you safely. She seemed rather frantic," the Queen added.

      Telperion bowed his head in shame. 'I knew we shouldn't have gone,' he thought bitterly. 'I knew this would happen.'

      Gemini spoke up. "Your Majesty, we love our brother. Falanor is the oldest and was Tabby's first pet. She loves him so much, and we know he can't have been... can't have been killed by the Werelupes," she finished, her voice breaking slightly.

      "How do you know this?" Fyora asked.

      "We're his family," Telperion spoke up. "We just know."

      Fyora turned her gentle violet eyes to him. "You just know," she repeated. Others would have sounded mocking, saying those words then, but the elegant Faerie sounded thoughtful. "Very well. You may continue on your journey - your 'quest', as you call it." Gemini and Telperion smiled at each other, but Fyora held up one slender finger. "However," she added, "I will be aiding you." She clapped her hands twice, and a terrifying-looking Halloween Uni approached. "This is Requiem," Fyora said, and the Uni bowed. "He'll be joining you."

      "N-nice to meet you," Telperion stammered. Gemini just gaped. "If you don't mind my asking, though, Your Majesty, why do we need this third member of our party to come along with us?"

      "I'll answer for myself, Fyora," Requiem said. "You need me because I fit in with the citizens of the Haunted Woods. You need me because I am the only one who can make it through the Woods without being questioned. You need me because I can get you through. Imagine if you didn't have me. The Swamp Witch asks where you're going and who you're with. If you say you're heading into the Werelupes' cave, and you're alone, she'll trick you into staying and becoming one of her experiments. You need me because you don't know the first thing about the Haunted Woods."

      Stunned silence filled the Hall. To Telperion's ears, it was deafening. At last, Gemini spoke. "Well," she said. "I suppose it couldn't hurt, could it?"

      "Good," Fyora told them. "Now, before you set off I want you to come with me. I have a few gifts for you." Telperion and Gemini grinned at each other and followed the Queen and Requiem through a doorway off to the side. They climbed a tall, winding staircase that seemed to go on forever, until they came to a nondescript wooden door. Smiling, Fyora turned the old brass handle and it creaked open.

      "Oh my..." Gemini breathed beside Telperion.

      "It's the Hidden Tower!" Telperion gasped.

      And it was. It was smaller than Telperion had previously thought. In his mind, the Hidden Tower had been a lavish hall with all manner of beautiful, shining weapons on red crushed velvet cushions. Instead, it was a small, modest room made of stone, where each item was in a glass case. Telperion and Gemini wandered around, gazing at each item in turn. The Bracelet of Kings, its gold shimmering in the sunlight... the Darigan Paint Brush, glowing with a sinister purple light... the shining Platinum Doubloon... the dazzling Faerie Queen Doll, nearly as beautiful as Fyora herself...

      "Come here," Fyora called them, and they went to join her. "I have gifts for each of you," she said, indicating a big black bag. "For you, Gemini, I have the Fire and Ice Blade." She reached into the bag and withdrew the sword; it glowed with powerful magic as Gemini took it, her eyes wide with astonishment. "It will serve you well on your journey. I also have for you the Everlasting Apple, for I have foreseen that supplies will be scarce." Gemini took the Apple and bowed low, gratitude rendering her speechless.

      Fyora turned to Requiem. "Requiem, I give you the Sword of Skardsen and the Shield of Pion Troect to aid you in battle," she told him, handing over the artifacts. Requiem bowed and thanked her, and Fyora turned to Telperion with a smile. "For you, my young friend, I have something special." She reached into her black bag again and withdrew a necklace, which she put over Telperion's head. "This is the Werelupe Claw Necklace," she told him. "It is blessed by the most powerful Werelupe hunters in all Neopia, and it will bring you luck on the long ordeal ahead of you. I also have the Faerie Tabard for you. In the darkest of times, this will bring you hope." She withdrew the embroidered blue garment and gave it to him, and the Lupe put it on immediately. The cloth was light and soft, and he was warm to the bones.

      "Finally," Fyora said to them all, "I give you these words: Stay true to each other, and to yourself. In trying times, friends and family are your dearest treasures." With that, Gemini and Telperion found themselves surrounded by motes of light again, and they were transported to the outskirts of Neopia Central. They looked around in confusion.

      "That was weird," Gemini commented. "Do we still have the artifacts?"

      They checked, and saw that they had. "Well then," Telperion said, "let's get on with it." With that, the trio set off walking towards the Woods. Conversation was sparse, but there were some words exchanged. Telperion and Gemini asked Requiem where he came from.

      "I was born in the Haunted Woods, as you may have guessed," the Uni told them. "My mother and father tried very hard to make me happy, but I just didn't fit in with the rest of the Woods. I didn't want to frighten people; I wanted to help them. I was afraid of the other children, and they rejoiced in it. Their jeers and laughter gave me nightmares. So one day I said goodbye to Mother and Father, and I set off to find my fortune.

      "No matter where I went, people were frightened by my appearance. I couldn't go home, because I was afraid of the people. I couldn't stay away, because people were afraid of me. So I hid in the shadows and became a hermit. One day, while wandering over the rocky terrain I lived on, small motes of light surrounded me. Fyora had summoned me to Faerieland. I continued hiding for a while when I was there, but I soon found that none of the Faeries cared about what I looked like. I went to visit Fyora and she gave me a job as her advisor in the Castle. I took the job, and Her Majesty and I soon became friends." He smiled as he thought of the beautiful Faerie. "When she said that you two needed a guide to the Haunted Woods, I was afraid again. But for her, I would do anything."

      Soon the three arrived at the border of the Haunted Woods. The trees were old and twisted, and the leaves hid the sun from view. "Do we really have to go in there?" Gemini asked.

      "Yes," Telperion said, his voice strong. "We have to save Falanor." Without further ado, the young Lupe strode into the darkness of the Woods. His companions followed him, and the three walked on into the next segment of their adventure.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» Snow on the Brightvale Hills: Part One
» Snow on the Brightvale Hills: Part Three

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