The Golden Globes of Light: Part Three
When I finally rejoined the waking world, I was extremely confused to see mountains. Then I remembered what had happened. I sat up with a groan. “Where are we?” I asked groggily. I wasn’t pleased with the answer.
“Fyora knows, Shriek. We must have traveled an extremely long distance back in time, because there are no mountain ranges like this that I know of in modern or medieval Neopia. Are you alright? You were out for days.”
“I guess so,” I sighed, blinking away the clouds in my vision. I was relieved to find myself looking at my sister, who seemed practically unchanged other than the fact that she looked exhausted. “Where is everybody?”
“They went scouting to make certain that Master Vex and Celestial hadn’t come back in time with us; we all were within a few yards of each other, but those two have not been seen. I don’t think they came, because none of those symbols matched what I would have made for the two of them. Still, it gave them something to do while you came to.”
I snorted and tried to stand up. The disorientation still clung to me, and I fell over. Ignoring the painful attack on my pride, I contented myself with lying sprawled on the ground. “We should fly to the north-northeast and up into the clouds. If there is one thing that can be certain, it is that Faerieland exists and that is where we are most likely to be able to find out when we are.”
“We aren’t going to Faerieland,” Ky said quietly. “You see, until about a few thousand years before Altador was founded, the Faerie Wars were in full swing. Whenever we are, we are going to find out here, on the ground.”
I waved as I saw Kassiel flying overhead, and he swooped down to greet us. He looked relieved to see me, and I began to realize I must have been out for a lot longer than I had previously thought. “I’m glad you’re awake, Shriek. I thought you would be out for quite a while.” Kassiel turned to Ky. “Well, Celestial and Vex are nowhere to be found. I guess they stayed behind,” he said with a sigh.
Over the next fifteen minutes, the rest of our little group slowly returned from their searches. When the six of us were gathered together and snacking on some cookies that Ky had stashed in her pockets, we discussed what we would do next. “The question is,” Ashiel muttered, “what do we do now? We don’t know where we are or when we are. How are we going to get back home?” he muttered as he gave Ky an accusing glance.
“Hey, I didn’t want this to happen!” Ky protested. “I think that I may have an idea of our location in regards to space and time, but I am not so certain about the last question. If I built that door at one point, the only reason I would have configured it to do something like that was if we were MEANT to travel back in time.”
“Please,” I moaned, holding my head, “I already have enough difficulty understanding how the Lisha Loop works.”
“I’m just telling you what might be going on!” she snapped. “As I was saying, I suspect that if I made that door, then we were sent here to either cause something to happen or to prevent something from happening. But it doesn’t fit in with my guess as to where and when we are.”
“It might and we aren’t aware of it, Ky,” Lilly said gently. “After all, a great deal of Neopia’s past is extremely obscure.”
Alex nodded in agreement. “In any case, we should travel to the west. I think I saw a city.”
Kassiel frowned. “I don’t know if we should go just yet. Ky is the only one armed, and we have no idea what kind of situation this area is in.”
I blinked in surprise. Ky always carried her two favorite swords, and I had completely forgotten they were there. Ky didn’t seem pleased with the analysis. “We don’t want to be seen as aggressive. Besides, what other choice do we have? I might be able to make you some swords, but I don’t happen to have a forge handy.” There were murmurs of agreement. “At any case, I think we will be just fine the way we are.”
“We’ll find out one way or another soon enough,” I muttered darkly as I glanced at my ring.
There is a very substantial advantage in the ability of flight. In addition to the amount of time it saves in travel, it also allows someone the ability to see more of where they are going. When we took off into the sky and flew to the west, I was surprised to see a rainbow in the city. It hadn’t rained recently, so I wasn’t entirely certain where the rainbow had come from. It seemed strangely familiar, like many things I had recently seen, but I still wasn’t sure why. At least, I wasn’t sure until Alex said, “This can’t possibly be Neopia Central. It isn’t in the right place.”
“Geography changes as time moves on, Alex,” Ashiel grunted. “What makes you think that this is Neopia Central?”
“It has the Rainbow Pool,” I pointed out, both with words and action. “That is the only place I know of that has a pool like that.”
“The Rainbow Fountain is similar,” Lilly countered. “For all we know, that could be Faerieland on the ground.”
“Highly unlikely,” Ky snorted. “No, I think that this could possibly be Neopia Central as it was long ago. However, I am not certain as to how a fortress like that disappeared...”
There was no more time for arguing, for we had come upon the outskirts of the city. As we entered its bustling streets, I was surprised at the atmosphere. There was constant activity everywhere, and my head whirled with all the action. Ky didn’t seem fazed. It occurred to me that in one aspect, the heart of Neopia had never changed; it was always busy and crowded. Some of the pets gave Alex some very odd looks when they saw her shield, but they didn’t bother us. As we walked through the marketplace, I could tell Ky was sorely tempted by some of the marvelous trinkets that the merchants had to offer. To distract her, I pointed out what appeared to be a library, and we all walked inside to try and discover when we were. Ky gave a shout of surprise when she saw the inhabitant. I must admit I was slightly startled as well. “Eleus Batrin?” I squawked. I couldn’t believe it. We had transported all the way back to the era of NeoQuest!
The wizened Kyrii bowed his head in acknowledgement. “Greetings, travelers. I see my reputation precedes me. May I be of any service to you?”
“But... but you must be thousands of years old!” Ashiel sputtered. I glanced at Ky to see if she had reached the same conclusion, but she seemed a bit unsure.
Eleus laughed. “Ah, youngsters these days! They forget the traditions of old. No, I am not several thousand years old. You see, my family has looked over this library and aided the city leaders for many generations. The eldest in the family takes up the name of Eleus Batrin. It has always been this way.” Ky seemed very relieved. “Where do you hail from?”
Sometimes, Ky can be quite clever. Instead of playing all her cards right then, she had an amazing idea. “Well, sir, I don’t know if the name would be quite familiar to you. Do you happen to have a map? I might be able to point to the location of my hometown.” I smiled in pride. Maps are often a good indication of the time period they came from, and Neopia Central (in any time period) wouldn’t be quite up to snuff if it didn’t have some sort of map.
Eleus stared at the ceiling and stroked his beard for a moment and then hobbled over to a shelf of scrolls. After a few seconds, he gave a grunt of satisfaction and returned to our group with a large map. Unfurling the map, Ky bit her lip as she pointed to the southernmost point on the map. I could tell she was worried, and I shared her concern. The map was identical to the one that is displayed in the NeoQuest board game. However, the hills had been completely empty of monsters. It was obvious that we were missing something here. Eleus seemed surprised. “You traveled all that way?” he said with a hint of disbelief. “You are but children...”
“We flew over the sea to make the trip faster,” Kassiel offered helpfully. This suggestion visibly relieved our host.
Ky glanced at the map and took a wild chance, but one that was certain to help us pinpoint the time. “We visited Kal Panning on our way here.”
Eleus nodded. “Ah, yes. How is Faelinn running her part of the Empire these days?”
“The Empire?” I asked blankly. Ky shot me a warning look, but I ignored it. If we were reportedly living at the edge of civilization, then there was nothing wrong if I had no idea what Eleus was talking about. “What Empire?”
Eleus chuckled softly. “Ah, youngsters these days!” he repeated. Apparently, it was a favorite saying of his. “All travel and no study. I am referring, of course, to the Great Neopian Empire.”
Ky was fuming. “Perhaps you can give my brother a refresher course in current events, sir,” she said through gritted teeth.
The grizzled Kyrii beamed. “But of course. Kal Panning is but one of the factions of the vast Neopian Empire. There are many parts to the Empire, but most of the cities have fallen into a state of decline ever since trouble began to stir in the Desert of Roo. Kal Panning and Neopia City are the farthest from the action, so we are fortunate to be untouched by the fighting. However, we are planning to send out two scholars by the end of the month to see what exactly is going on.” He stared curiously at Ky. “I am almost tempted to send the six of you with them. You obviously are very resourceful, or you would never have made it to Neopia City. Also, there are very few left nowadays that can read a map like that.” He sighed and shook his head. “But again, you are only children. I can’t bring myself to send you into danger.”
Lilly frowned. “If we were armed and obtained some armor, would you allow us to go?”
“Of course. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything your size to spare, and I doubt that the smiths would make something for you,” Eleus replied gently.
“That won’t be a problem, sir,” Ashiel said with a bow. “My friend here is a smith herself. All we would need is some raw materials.”
Eleus gave Ky a look of astonishment. “Is this true?” he said with a hint of disbelief.
Ky sighed. “Yes,” she said a bit flatly, “I can make weapons and armor. However, it might take a few days. I am more accustomed to the resources that the tundra has to offer. Given time, I will be able to work with anything you can provide me to work with.” I was about to ask how weapons and armor would help us when we were most definitely not warriors, but Ky gave me that look of hers and the question died on my beak.
Fifteen minutes later, we were in a cave to the north-northwest of Neopia City. Ky was hard at work using a brand new forge, and the rest of us were having a meeting. “It appears we are in the time that NeoQuest takes place, but none of this makes sense,” Ashiel said over Ky’s noisy work. “By the time NeoQuest takes place, the Neopian Empire has fallen apart, and so has Kal Panning.”
“Then we must be during the time of the Empires, and not in the time of NeoQuest,” Lilly countered. “That would make the most sense. However, it doesn’t explain, using Ky’s theory, why we are here.” She looked at me with a plea on her face. “Do you have any idea about what is going on?” she asked wistfully.
I shook my head. “No, and I don’t think we are going to find out a great deal of information until we get to this desert place. I think that Ky knows a lot more than she is letting on.”
Alex huffed in annoyance. “Why would Ky hide something from us? She is stuck in the same situation that we are in. Besides, I have known her for quite a while, and I know that if she knew something, she would want to tell the world what she knew.”
Lilly shook her head. “I have known her a bit longer, and this is obviously not the case,” she said dryly.
I gave a short laugh. “I have known her longer than any of you, and I can tell you why she isn’t saying what she knows.” Everyone but Ky, who was still working at the forge, turned and stared at me. I frowned at the sudden attention and hurried to explain. “Ky likes to imagine things, but she still knows that these sort of things really just don’t happen that often, and definitely not to pets like us. She feels confused, and doesn’t want to say something that makes her look like an egocentric fool. She’ll tell us when she is comfortable with the information, but not before.”
Kassiel raised an eyebrow. “That still doesn’t explain about the weapons and armor. No offense, Shriek, but you and your sister wouldn’t stand much of a chance in a battle.”
Lilly shook her head. “I disagree,” she said calmly. “Remember, this is Ancient Neopia that we are dealing with. Pets don’t fight with swords; they fight with staffs and wands.”
“That still doesn’t make sense!” I protested. “For one thing, Ky doesn’t know how to make staffs and wands. For another thing, we wouldn’t be able to use them, even if she did. We don’t have a lot of magic inside of us.”
“That is most certainly not true.” The unknown voice startled me, and I whirled around to see an exotic looking Shoyru holding a simple staff and wearing a simple brown cloak. On his left hand, he was wearing a very familiar ring, and he had a similar amulet around his neck. Looking at his ring, I realized it was identical to one of the symbols on the door we had come through. I tried to remember where the door connected to, but my thoughts were interrupted by a question. “Your sister, that is her over there? I am envious of you.”
I rolled my eyes and glanced in Ky’s direction for the first time since we had arrived in the cave. I froze at the sight that met my eyes. Rather than the small Christmas Shoyru I was acquainted with, there was a much larger Shoyru that looked vastly different. Her coat was the scene of the endless desert, and her skin was the hue of the bottomless sea. Her eyes were glowing pure white, like the frozen tundra of Terror Mountain. Her hands were glowing with the gentle blue hue of the sky, and they wielded an enormous strength that I have never before seen used by anyone. “What... what happened to her?” I managed to squeak. Everyone else was silent.
“Then you have never seen this before, and it has not happened in a similar manner to you as well?” the Shoyru said with a hint of surprise. “That is odd. Well, let me inform you that your sister has been transformed by her inner powers.”
To be continued...