Spheres of Influence: Part Five
It was a cool evening for Mystery Island. The stars were bright, and a half moon gazed down from high above the jungle. Hoshi lay silently in a sandy patch behind the house where she used to play as a cub. Her chin was resting on her crossed forelegs, occasionally sighing to herself and wiping a stray tear from her eyes. As she lay there, she heard someone come over from the house. She didn’t look up, too upset to respond.
“Hey, are you alright?” Hoshi recognized the voice of the Lupess she had met on the beach earlier that day.
“I guess so,” she replied softly. Rai sat down next to her and gazed up at the night sky.
“Everyone’s going to bed, now,” she said. “I think Robin said something about setting out tomorrow morning.”
Hoshi only grunted. She lifted a paw and started drawing swirls in the sand with her claw.
A silence fell between them. Finally, Rai said, “I sometimes fight with Sarai, my sister. It can be over the stupidest things, sometimes,” she added with a smile. “But even after the fight is over, I still love her. That’s all that matters to me.”
Hoshi pushed herself to her paws and looked at Rai. “Thank you,” she said. “I needed to be reminded of that. It’s just been so frustrating since this whole thing started.” She sighed. “If we’re leaving in the morning, I should get some rest. What will you do?”
“Your parents invited me and Air to stay the night. They’ve got our addresses, so when you find Lin, you can bring her to us.”
Hoshi nodded. “I’m glad we could help.”
“So am I,” Rai said. “You don’t know how Air’s been since Lin’s disappeared.”
“Excuse me, ladies, but I was wondering if I could speak with my apprentice?”
Hoshi and Rai turned to see Illa standing behind them. Rai looked to Hoshi. “I should go to bed anyway. It’s getting late.”
“Goodnight, Rai,” Hoshi called as the Lupe padded to the house. When she was gone, Hoshi looked up to her mentor.
“Walk with me,” Illa said. Hoshi did, but she didn’t know where they were going.
“I noticed you were talking with Drake when I entered the living room this evening,” Illa said. “You wanted to know about Drake, and why he is as he is?”
“I guess so,” Hoshi said. “But how did you know?”
“You always were an inquisitive one,” Illa said. “Always eager to learn something new; like flying, for instance. Once you took to the air, there was nothing to stop you.”
“It’s the best thing in the world to me,” Hoshi admitted, thinking of how wonderful it was to dance with the clouds. Then her thoughts returned to Drake. “How come my brother left us?”
“That will take some explaining,” Illa said. “You know about the spheres of Magic in Neopia?”
“You taught me about that a long time ago,” Hoshi said. “There are six spheres of elemental magic... that balance the world...” Hoshi stopped as she tried to remember exactly what she had been taught.
Illa saved her the trouble. “There are six spheres of magic in Neopia, each influencing the world in its own way in a sort of balance,” she explained. “The sphere of fire keeps the planet warm. The sphere of earth gives us land and the plants that grow on it. The sphere of water shapes the land, and works with the sphere of air to give us life. The spheres of light and dark magic generate the life cycle, giving us day and night, light and darkness, life and death.
“Before the six of you were born, I sensed that each of you was going to have powerful control over a single sphere of magic. However, I made the mistake of trying to train Drake before I knew which sphere of magic he would dominate over. I tried to train him in light magic, but this conflicted with the dark magic he already had control over. It twisted his mind in such a way that he abandoned us entirely, even as I sought a dark Faerie whom I could trust to train him.” She sighed. “Mostly, he’s just bitter toward me, the other Faeries, and everything we do. I’m just glad it didn’t turn out worse. He could have decided to try and rule the world like some dark Faeries have done.”
“Is there anything we can do to bring him back?” Hoshi asked hopefully.
“Your love helps,” Illa replied. “But in the end, he has to forgive me for the way I treated him. He’s right. I used him as a tool. I tried to make something out of him that he could never be.”
Hoshi looked sympathetically upon her mentor. She had never seen this side of her before. “It’ll be alright,” she said. “I’ll try to help him.”
Illa smiled at Hoshi. “I’m sure you will. Now, you need to get to bed, or you’ll have a groggy start tomorrow morning.”
Hoshi shook her head. “No, I won’t,” she said. “I’m a bundle of boundless energy, remember?”
Before Illa could reply, Hoshi dashed off to the house. The Faerie smiled. “That you are, my dear. That you are.”
* * *
Everyone gathered outside to bid the six siblings farewell. Chelsea had tears in her eyes as she rubbed cheeks with each of her children. Aaron was more composed as he said goodbye to each of them. When he came to Drake, he said the same, but also asked him to take care of himself. Drake didn't respond, but Aaron knew his message had been received.
Illa had other responsibilities to attend to and had left last night. Kyran, however, volunteered to accompany the entourage in their search for the missing pets.
"I can sense a battle coming," she said. "It's been some time since I've had a good brawl."
When it came time to say goodbye to Rai and Air, Hoshi noticed that, while the white Kougra still looked as lost as her sister was missing, she seemed in lighter spirits than when she had last seen her. When Hoshi came up to say goodbye, she also said, "I promise, we'll find your sister and bring her home to you."
"Hey, Hoshi!" Drake called from the edge of the clearing. "Are you coming or not?"
"I'm coming!" Hoshi called back. Then she turned to Air. "Goodbye, Air." Padding over to Rai, she said, "Goodbye, and thanks."
"Don't mention it," the Lupess replied.
Hoshi nodded, then padded to join the others. When she entered the group, Kyran spoke. "You'll be taking a boat back to the mainland. I'll scout around the plains and see what I can find. Meet me south of Neopia Central in two days." With that, the Faerie took off, and soon vanished over the treetops. Drake growled softly as she left, but said nothing. Hoshi remembered back to where she and Naia had found him on the plains. He said he didn't want to take orders from Faeries.
"Come on, Drake," Hoshi said. "Don't think that she was trying to give you orders."
Drake glared at his sister. "How else am I supposed to take it?" he asked sharply.
Hoshi shrugged. "Well, she wants us to meet her on the plains. And as far as I can see, you're only tagging along."
Drake smiled. "I didn't know a tool could be so shrewd."
Slate grunted as he licked one of his forepaws. He glanced up when Drake looked over at him, but did nothing more.
“Alright, everyone,” Robin said. “Let’s go. We have a long journey ahead of us.”
Grumbling, Drake stood and followed the others into the jungle. Hoshi walked beside him, occasionally giving him a sidelong glance. After a while, Drake sighed and stopped. “What is it?” he asked. “For one, why are you walking next to me? I think you’d have better company with Naia.”
Hoshi shrugged. “I think you’re more interesting,” she said, smiling as she walked away. As he watched her go, a smirk appeared on Drake’s dark features.
“I would have to say the same,” he said.
* * *
Late in the evening, on the other side of the island, a young white Kyrii looked through the fronds of the jungle undergrowth at a simple thatch house. Its windows were dark, as its occupants had turned in for the night. There was something familiar about that house, as if she had been here before. She couldn't remember when, though.
She pulled at her black collar as she thought of this. It was uncomfortable, and she never liked the thing. She had tried taking it off, but it would never budge. Sighing, she looked down at her feet.
"There you are, Cara." With a gasp, the Kyrii turned around. A grey Kougra stood directly behind her. "Do you know what I've gone through to find you and your friend?"
The Kyrii shook her head. The Kougra sighed.
"Alright, let's go. The Mistress wants to speak to you both."
Cara shook her head.
"What do you mean, 'no'? Don't you know that she is the best chance we have of lifting this curse we're under?"
"No!" Cara said defiantly. "I won't go, Jack!"
The Kougra sighed. "I didn't want to do this, But I have my orders."
Jack lunged forward, grabbing the young Kyrii in his jaws. As soon as he did, Cara started screaming and struggling to get free.
"Cut it out," Jack tried to say. It was too late, though. The lights came on in the house. She woke them up!
Tightening his grip on Cara, Jack dove into the jungle, just as a human stepped out of the house in a bathrobe, followed closely by a Kougra and a Lupe.
"That sounded like Cara," he said.
To be continued...