Neopia, Year 200: The Beginning - Part Six
Chapter Six: Keeper of the Tear
“I told you, I don’t know anything about Tempura’s Tear!” cried Naia as Scylla glared at her.
“It’s Thyora’s Tear. And don’t lie to me, you weepy little Flotsam. I know you’re Naia, and Naia was the guardian of Thyora’s Tear. So, you must have it somewhere.”
The Valkaeum member rose, visions of glory in her dark blue eyes. “I thought that I’d only get power from those Water Faeries, but once I have Thyora’s Tear...”
She looked down at the sobbing Flotsam. “Well, I won’t bore you with the details. I have a truth spell to work on.”
“Alright then,” said Kayna as the siblings reached Tiki Beach, “how are we going to do this thing?” Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Cillo nervously looking down at the water.
“Cil,” she said seriously, “now is not the best time for your fear of water to resurface.”
“Very funny,” the Techo snapped. “I think I’ll stay right here on the beach, thank you very much.”
Kayna sighed. “Okay, then. Layla, could you stay with Cil while Yorick and I go rescue Layla? You’re young, and I don’t want you to get hurt. You’re my younger sister, after all.”
Layla looked furious at this, but did as she was told and sat down beside Cillo on the beach while Kayna looked at Yorick.
“Ready when you are.”
The two siblings dove into the turquoise waters of Mystery Island.
“There!” Scylla’s triumphant voice filled the cavern. Naia looked up as the Water Faerie poured a vial of bright green liquid into a coral-encrusted goblet.
“Now, Naia,” she said sweetly, “just drink this and everything will be fine.” The Flotsam’s response, however, was to take the goblet and dump its contents on the ground around her pool.
Scylla gritted her teeth. The storm was only an hour away, and if she didn’t get Thyora’s Tear before then she really would be in trouble.
“Okay, Scylla,” she muttered to herself. “I guess I’ll just need to capture more Water Faeries. That should do the trick.”
She began to close her eyes and summon a whirlpool.
Kayna gasped as she felt the whirlpool beginning to draw her in. Yorick spotted his sister and grabbed her before the whirlpool drew both of them in. As the two Neopets vanished beneath the turbulent waters of the ocean that were now regaining their former calm, all Yorick and Kayna could hope for was that wherever this whirlpool was going, it would lead to Naia.
To both their astonishment, the two resurfaced in a small cavern. Kayna looked about. “What is this place?” she whispered.
Yorick shrugged. “I don’t know, but I think this is where all the Water Faeries went.” Before either Neopet could ask another question, the conversation was interrupted by a cacophony of sobs from further into the cavern, which prompted the two siblings to investigate.
As the adventurers waded through the water, Yorick’s scales obscured by the slightly murky properties of the water they were in and Kayna’s fur nearly deep black in colour, they came nearer and nearer to the source of the cries. What was emitting the loud sobs was the oddest sight either sibling had ever seen.
A coral-encrusted cage that dwarfed both Neopets sat before them on a pedestal of rock like a hideous piece of artwork that someone had the bad taste and/or cruel sense of humour to leave out in the open. Filling this steel canvas were at least fifty or sixty weeping Grey Faeries, their sad eyes emanating feelings of pain and despair.
“Wow,” said Kayna as she took a sharp intake of breath and stared at the Faerie prisoners. “This is... terrible.”
“My sentiments exactly,” cackled someone from behind the two siblings. Whirling around, the Draik and Zafara found themselves face-to-face with Scylla.
Kayna was still shocked by what she had just seen in the cage, but Yorick quickly put two and two together. “You’re Scylla, aren’t you?”
The Water Faerie nodded, cackling again. “That’s right, Draik. Got any other questions you want to ask, before you join Naia in the prison?”
“Yeah, I do.” Kayna seemed to have regained her confidence. “What do you want with all these Grey Faeries? They’re powerless, aren’t they? At least, I learned that in school.”
Scylla grinned. “Very good, little girl, though you’re not as good as me. Those Grey Faeries are actually Water Faeries- or, at least, were Water Faeries. They’ve had their power drained as part of a little gizmo I’ve been working on.”
Before they had time to react to what Scylla had just revealed, they were being wrapped in thick seaweed. “But I digress. You two can join that teary Flotsam in her captivity pool. Perhaps some company will improve her mood.”
The last thing the two Neopets saw was the dark green of seaweed wrapping tightly around their eyes.
Naia looked up in shock as two very familiar Neopets landed in her pool. “Yorick! Kayna! How did you get here?”
“The same could be asked of you,” replied Kayna as she rubbed her back from the push Scylla had given her. “Did that woman really have to push us into the pool that hard?”
Deciding to ignore this, Yorick turned to Naia. “Tell us everything you know,” he said quickly. “Cillo and Layla are safe, but as far as I see we’re in very real danger. What’s going on?”
“Well,” began the albino Flotsam, “It turns out I’m actually a Water Faerie named Naia who guarded some item called—”
“We know all this,” snapped Kayna. “Tell us something about Scylla. What’s this ‘gizmo’ she mentioned?”
“You’re about to find out!” called the sorceress from above where the three Neopets resided. In her hand were two crystals- one red and one blue- and behind her was a tall structure draped in cloth. Then, without warning, Scylla snapped her fingers and the cloth fell off. At the same time, all the Neopets involuntarily gasped.
Revealed as being under the cloth was a tall tower made of Faerie metals and more organic supplies such as coral and seashells, two of which had large holes in the top and were attached to the side of the machine. The whole thing looked very haphazardly put together.
“Like it?” said Scylla proudly. “This is my Atmospheric Excitation Amplifier and Conductor. With this, I can channel the countless water energies within the storm that’s approaching Mystery Island to increase my powers by tenfold! With that, and all the power I absorbed from those Water Faeries, I’ll be unstoppable! I can finally have my revenge on that Uber-Water Faerie for cheating in the contest!”
“She cheated?” asked Yorick with confusion.
Scylla bit her lip. “Well, of course she cheated! How else could she have won against Scylla, the greatest Water Faerie that ever lived?” She began to adopt a dreamy look in her eyes.
“Naia,” said Yorick, taking advantage of their foe’s vision of glory, “do you know what those crystals she’s holding are for?”
The Flotsam shook her head. “Sorry. However, I think that they might just be put in those two seashells on the side of the conductor.” As Naia spoke, Scylla did just that.
“There!” Scylla cried as the conductor began to hum. “Now my revenge will, at long last, be complete!”
The Tribe of Chak began crowding around a fire in the middle of Geraptiku, having seen the storm and the bolts of lightning which shot out from it. As thunder rumbled in the sky, the Tribe began to chant loudly. The Festival of Chak had begun...
Meanwhile, back in Scylla’s cavern, the sorceress was celebrating with a fizzy glass of what appeared to be seaweed juice. While she was dancing to the sounds of thunder from above the roof of the cavern, however, Yorick, Kayna and Naia were developing a plan.
“So I go and distract her?” asked Naia in hushed whispers. Yorick nodded. “Yes, but make sure to get her really engaged, otherwise this plan will fail. Kayna and I will take care of the rest.”
Naia nodded and swam off to the shore. “Um, Scylla?”
“What is it?”
“Um, you never really told me how your conductor thing actually works.”
“I’m glad you asked!”
“Do you think they’re okay?” Layla asked Cillo as the two sat in their hut, along with Brianne.
“Well,” the Techo replied nervously as he looked at the window at the oncoming storm, “I’m not sure, but I think they are. Yorick and Kayna can take care of themselves.” His face darkened. “If we were to lose them, though... I don’t think I could handle that.”
Layla nodded and moved closer to the small fire Brianne had conjured in the firepit to keep them warm. If any of the three had noticed that the storm was looking less and less fierce by the minute, they might have had an inkling of what was going on.
“So, in order to activate the atmospheric excitation crystal- in other words, the blue one- you have to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow?” Naia was having a difficult time understanding some of the lingo Scylla was throwing at her, but knew she had to keep asking questions until Kayna and Yorick were finished with their plan.
Scylla nodded, which caused Naia to ask yet another question. “And what does the red crystal do again?”
“It acts as the storage crystal for all the energy I’ll get from the storm. Think of it as a bottle. When I need the energy, I just put my hands on the crystal and breathe deeply, and it surges through my veins.”
Naia considered this for a moment. “So what happens if someone breaks the crystals?”
Scylla snorted. “Don’t be ridiculous! The only way one of those crystals could be broken is if an object of greater power than it is used to break it. As the only objects like that on the Island are Codestones, I dealt with those silly rocks many years ago.”
The Flotsam smiled and nodded, then looked at Yorick out of the corner of her eye. The Draik winked to signal that he had heard the entire conversation, which led Naia to stall further.
“Why are some apples green, and others red?”
“Are you sure this will work?” Kayna asked nervously as one of the Codestones from the Techo Master’s bag was loaded onto the makeshift slingshot Yorick had invented from some nearby driftwood and a strong ribbon of seaweed.
“Positive,” replied the yellow Draik as he pulled back the seaweed to fire. Meanwhile, Scylla was becoming increasing frustrated with Naia’s increasingly annoying questions.
“For the last time,” she hissed at the Flotsam, “I do not know why some apples fall down and some stay up. I do not know the longest word in Neopia, nor can I name many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse. And don’t even start on the croaking chorus to the Greebles of Aristophanes!”
Naia shrugged and stopped asking questions, because at this time Scylla was distracted by an abnormally loud hum from the conductor.
“Excellent!” she cried as she rushed over to her machine. “My invention’s almost finished draining the energy from the storm! Soon, I will be the most powerful Water Faerie in Neopia!”
It was then that a well-aimed Codestone hit the red crystal, causing the top to crack. Scylla’s eyes widened.
But it was too late. The crystal cracked open, causing a brilliant blue flash to envelop the entire chamber which Yorick, Kayna and Naia quickly shielded their eyes from. When the flash faded, the three Neopets opened their eyes to see Scylla standing there.
“You no-good Neopets!” the Water Faerie roared. “You destroyed my machine!”
“Calm down,” said Kayna quickly. “At least you have this lovely cavern!”
“Kayna,” hissed Yorick as he waded over to her, “what on Neopia do you think you’re doing? We should be running away from Scylla, not making her feel better!”
“Don’t you remember what Fyora told us about capturing the Valkaeum?” replied the Zafara. “Scylla’s always been thirsty for revenge, so I’m trying to whet her appetite. This cavern’s really nice, by the way,” Kayna added. “The giant smoking hole in the roof really gives it a unique style!”
“I guess you’re right,” admitted Scylla.
“So,” said Kayna with a grin, “how about holding off destroying those that made that hole for a while?”
“Not a chance.” The coldness in Scylla’s voice surprised Kayna, who began to look nervous as the sorceress began conjuring up a large sphere of roiling waves. Just as Scylla was about to fire, a different, authoritative yet calm voice came from behind Yorick and Kayna.
“Hold that right there, Scylla,” the voice said. Yorick and Kayna turned around to see a tall, beautiful Water Faerie with Thyora’s Tear around her neck in front of a group of at least fifty other Water Faeries, all in shock at their transformation.
Scylla was shocked for a moment, but then narrowed her eyes. “Naia,” she spat with much venom.
Naia held her head high and fixed Scylla with her clear blue gaze. “That’s right, Scylla. When all that energy was released, it was enough to transform myself and these Faeries you imprisoned back to our normal states. However, that’s not what I wanted to say.”
The keeper of Thyora’s Tear looked deep into her fellow Faerie’s dark blue eyes. “I’m sorry that you lost, Scylla. I really am. And I’m sorry I lost my temper with you. Can you forgive me?”
Naia’s words caused Scylla to be silent for a moment, and then she spoke.
“Y-Yes.” The minute she uttered those words, Scylla began to change.
The wicked sorceress from only minutes earlier started to glow with a golden light, and soon transformed into a Water Faerie doll that fell to the floor of where Scylla had stood moments ago.
“A Faerie doll?” asked Kayna, raising an eyebrow.
“Fyora’s little joke,” replied Naia, smiling. “Fyora wanted the Valkaeum, when they were captured, to be inconspicuous and easy to store. Not to mention able to look good on a shelf.”
Yorick was immersed in deeper thoughts than Kayna, however, and piped up. “Hold on,” he said. “How do you know about the Valkaeum? And why did your forgiving Scylla cause all that?”
“Because,” said Naia with a hint of a smile, “not only am I the keeper of Thyora’s Tear, but I am also the Uber-Water Faerie.”
Kayna blinked. “Uber-Water Faerie? But... but that’s impossible! How could Fyora operate with only five Uber-Faeries on her council? At least, I read in my textbooks that she needs six to really run Faerieland smoothly.”
Naia smiled. “You know, for someone who lives in a society where Faeries are hated, you youngsters sure learn a lot about them. Anyways, Fyora knew that if I was captured, I would have to surrender the Tear- which I’m sure you know already. So, she and I devised a little plan in which I would take the guise of a Flotsam, also named Naia. That would allow me to keep an eye on the Island’s residents, and also be able to report of the happenings going on with Neopia in general.”
“I see,” responded Kayna, for whom things were starting to make more sense. “But will you go back to Faerieland? I mean, now that you’re not a Flotsam anymore?”
Naia shrugged. “Who knows? I think I just might stay down here by the Island. They need me, after all; plus, I’ve always had a fondness for Neopets.”
“That’s all very nice and dandy,” Yorick said, crossing his arms, “but how Kayna and I going to get out of here? I don’t think that whirlpool we arrived by will be there any more.”
The Uber-Water Faerie nodded sagely. “Oh, don’t worry. The other Faeries here and I will take care of that.”
Then, with a great flash of light, the cavern became empty.
“Look! Look!” The many cries of alarmed Neopets filled the air as Cillo and Layla rushed out of their hut to see what the matter was.
The turquoise seas of Tiki Beach were filled with Water Faeries, their light blue tails glimmering in the afternoon sun. At the front of them was Naia.
“What’s all the commotion?” two voices said simultaneously. “Honestly, we just start making supper and everyone’s screaming—” Naia’s mother and father stared in shock at the sheer number of Faeries in front of them.
However, that shock was not to last for long. Almost immediately, everyone on the beach began grabbing coconuts and other items they could use to drive away the Faeries.
“STOP!” shouted two more voices that emerged from the water. “You don’t know what you’re doing!”
One resident, a Kougra, sneered. “You’re just a Draik and Zafara. What do you know about Faeries?”
“More than your prejudiced mind could ever know!” retorted Kayna. “Faeries aren’t bad creatures! That’s just nonsense! Why else would they have given us a lift from, er, somewhere to Tiki Beach?”
“Oh, yeah?” The Kougra crossed his arms. “Well then, if they’re not bad creatures, how come they kidnapped Naia?”
“Kidnapped?” mouthed Yorick to Kayna. She rolled her eyes. “The thing is,” the Zafara explained, “Naia’s disappearance was the work of one seriously messed up person, but that’s all water under the bridge.”
“Wait a second,” said Naia’s mother slowly. “If this person’s been found now, where’s Naia?” The red Flotsam looked demandingly at the two siblings.
Yorick walked over to the Uber-Water Faerie. “Right here.”
There was a collective gasp from everyone on the beach, excluding one person.
“That’s... that’s... impossible!” shrieked Naia’s mother, which caused Naia to look at her consolingly. “Oh, don’t worry, Cora. It’s a long story. You too, Varro,” she quickly added, nodding towards the green Flotsam that was her adoptive father.
“So, any more questions?” asked Kayna to the beach as a whole. Cora raised her hand.
“I want to know exactly why my daughter became a Faerie!” she snapped. “And how long has she been keeping this from me?”
“The truth is, Naia never knew,” said Yorick softly, “but perhaps if you’d stood up for her when she was bullied and believed that she had actually seen a Faerie, her life as a Flotsam could be something to look back on fondly, instead of with regret.”
Cora bit her lip. “Well... er...” The normally outspoken red Flotsam was lost for words. “I... er...”
She moved closer to Naia, her eyes full of tears. “I’m sorry for not being a better adoptive mother, Naia. And my husband feels the same as well. Can... can you.... can you ever forgive us?”
“I forgive,” said Naia softly. Cora let out something that was a cross between a sob and a shout of joy and embraced Naia along with Varro.
“Keep in touch, okay?” the green Flotsam asked of his former daughter.
Naia nodded. “I will,” she promised, and then she dove beneath the waves along with all the other Water Faeries, leaving the residents of Tiki Beach filled with wonder and confusion.
Yorick turned to Cora and Varro. “So,” he said with a smile, “you wouldn’t happen to have any boats my siblings and I could use, would you?”
To be continued...