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Vanity's Tale


by sarlizkat114

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Also by shrimpdevil6443

Falania was cold.

     Not physically cold, but mentally, internally. There was no light shining on her life anymore, but, when she thought of it, there never really had been. She had, inevitably, always been a dark faerie, and that being what it was, light was not allowed to have anything to do with her.

     She shivered and stared into nothing. Her memories flashed back to her; she hadn’t thought about them in years: her older sister taking power, her mother urging her to do terrible things. This was the life she had, and she couldn’t change it. Her own secret torture would burn within her forever, because she couldn't be herself. She couldn't live in that world she coveted so terribly, that world full of a certain glowing something... was that something happiness? She couldn't quite place a finger on that anymore. But she knew that that all came with the warmth that Falania missed painfully. Falania would hold onto that feeling until it was long past a memory. Drifting back to reality, Falania sighed. She wasn’t happy living in an evil place.

     The place where she lived was a sacred place, but to Falania it was terrible. The long, never ending stairs, the bleak and depressing walls... It was what misery would be if it was tangible. She sucked in a harsh, shallow breath and hugged herself.

     “Is there anyone who can... help?” she muttered weakly into the nothingness. "Please..." But no reply ever came. And she knew it never would. She had lost hope long ago, so long she could barely remember the time when there had ever been even the slightest glimmer of it.

     An evil cackle split the air and Falania jumped at the unexpected noise. Turning around, she saw that it was just a mutant Draik, whizzing above her head. Falania wanted to be alone. She turned again and walked across the room sending up little dust clouds with her feet. She crossed the room and stood at the top of a staircase, where the bottom of it was obscured by blackness.

     But upon looking herself up and down, she noticed something awkward and strange, though it was hard to muster the will to care at all. Her skin was tinged with grey, and her once heavy wings felt lighter. Somehow, she had turned into a Grey Faerie... But how?

     "Cordelia," she cried, her voice only just above a whisper. "Sister... please help!" Knowing nothing would happen made Falania even more miserable. But for some reason when she was thinking about who she was now, she felt almost... happy. Falania was curious on why she was a Grey Faerie, was it because she was well, grey? But no, that couldn't be it. A faerie turned grey when she did a deed that was against faerie nature... but what exactly could Falania had done?

     "What, Falania?" came the welcome voice of her sister, out of the blackness. "I heard you call."

     Falania began to tremble violently, and tears began to form on the edges of her once violet eyes. She couldn't effortlessly hold the tears back, and she desisted, letting them drip down her nose. "Why... why am I grey, Cordelia?" I was once beautiful...

     “You must find that out,” came the reply Falania was dreading to hear. “If you don’t know what you have done, I cannot tell you.”

     Falania’s tears fell harder now; she was unable to control them.

     “Don’t cry,” Cordelia said soothingly. “The answer is there, and you will find it.”

     “How?” Falania sobbed. She didn’t understand.

     Images flashed in her mind, a place where there was once happiness, but now was a desolate place. Suddenly she was standing in front of a palace; she started to walk along a path for what seemed like months, but only moments until she saw the desolate place again.

     “You have seen where you must go...” Cordelia’s voice echoed inside Falania’s head, and she was at the palace again lying on the floor breathing hard.

     Falania was curled mournfully beneath a tree, the rain mixing with tears flowing freely down her pale face. "It was a lie..." she murmured, growing listless. No such place as now spiteful Cordelia had mentioned existed. Her sister was a true dark faerie now, what with the fact that she had joined her other sister, Malice. Falania's last confidante was gone, and once again she was cold and alone, shunned and unwanted. That silly little thing called hope wasn't real... as a matter of fact, nothing was real anymore, just the gloom that emanated Falania's person. Darkness seemed to be closing in on her and it threatened to overwhelm her.

     “No!” she cried. She couldn’t drown in her own misery!

     “There is happiness somewhere.” Falania surprised herself; she didn’t know that she would be able to think like that, like a happy person. But as Falania thought about it, it started to make sense; not everything was terrible and gloomy. As Falania ran this over in her head, a feeling started to warm her up, a feeling like joy or excitement, but it was happiness. When Falania realized this, she got up and skipped down the old cobble path to her house.

***

     Falania sat quietly in her room pondering the thought that had occurred to her earlier that day. It all made sense; happiness really did exist! She wasn’t sure how she knew this, but she knew she was right.

     A scratching noise interrupted her thoughts, looking around she saw nothing, but then the sound came again, but softer as if it was moving away from her. Getting up, Falania summoned her vision and looked about her house. There it was! It was a sick, grey Shoyru.

     The Shoyru sniffled a little pathetically, and hugged herself tight, like she was cold and couldn't get warm. Falania felt an instant rush of heartfelt emotion towards the creature.

     "Who are you?" she tried to call, her voice hoarse from disuse. The neopet heard her nonetheless, and turned around slowly, like it cost her effort just to move a little.

     "I'm... I'm..." she stuttered. "I'm Ruby."

     Falania looked down at the creature and picked her up. Instantly Ruby quit whimpering and stopped shaking. After a few minutes, Ruby turned to face Falania and fixed her big grey eyes on her. A sort of understanding passed between them in that split second; something Falania couldn’t describe, but in that small feeling there was gratitude and warmth. That’s when Falania did something she had not done in a while: she smiled.

     "I'm Falania," she said gently. "Where's your owner, dear one?"

     An endearment; Falania had never been so sympathetic before. She gasped and put down the little Shoyru, turning her head away dramatically. "Forget I just asked that," she said quickly. "It's not like it matters." And her listlessness returned. Falania half regretted saying that, seeing the hurt in Ruby’s eyes. But then she remembered what she used to be and pushed that feeling away. Looking down at the little Shoyru, Falania realized that she was a dark faerie, she could use the company of Ruby and the help on figuring out how to become a dark faerie again.

     “Yes,” she said out loud. “I’ll be nice.”

     Ruby heard her and turned around with a questioning look in her eye. Ignoring it, Falania scooped her up and, cooing softly, and carried Ruby off to go find her some food.

***

     There was dead silence as Falania and Ruby sat next to each other in the rain-sodden grass before an ancient, deserted library. Ruby's eyes were closed, and she lay back, like she was asleep. Falania imitated her. And just then, a light rain began to fall.

     The grey faerie felt a sudden glow in her chest. The rain, falling in a gentle mist upon her tearstained face, seemed to wash away all the heaviness of heart that she kept inside of her. She smiled. It was a good feeling and it made her feel like she could do anything. Suddenly inspired, she sat up; this would be the perfect time to find out why she was a grey faerie.

***

     Falania stood outside of an old wooden door that hadn’t been opened in centuries. That feeling that had made her come here had vanished, washed away by nervousness.

     What would she find in there? The thought of not knowing scared her. What if she didn’t like the answers she found?

     Pushing her fears aside, Falania grasped the cold brass door handle and opened the library door.

     Falania flipped through different books for ages, while Ruby still sat outside in the growing dawn. Every so often a tiny voice in the faerie's head told her, "There’s no point. Just leave it." And her entire body would go limp with heaviest depression. But as always, she somehow found a small bit of strength to carry on.

     However, hours into her search, she had finally found what she had been looking for: the Neopedia. A small article about grey faeries told her all she needed to know. She brushed hair hand along the page, and read the words again:

     “The shadow laughed again and walked away. ‘A Faerie with clipped wings!’ it said to its fellow shadows. ‘Lost all her powers, lost all her beauty...’ the shadow paused for a moment, looking back at the cage. "Lost all hope.’”

     Falania frowned slightly. So another dark faerie had clipped her wings, and the only way to become herself again... was for someone else to say her name?

     But who would be so cruel to, almost literally, deprive her of her being? Names flitted through her head, driving her nearly insane that none of them seemed halfway as evil as to take away her powers. But then...

     Malice.

     It was like a voice had whispered her sister’s title in her ear. Shock and realization hit her. And then, the library began to waver in her eyes, shifting and becoming smaller, more dark, and more sinister.

     As quick as a sudden bolt of lightning, everything took its form sharply, and Falania was standing before her two sisters.

     Cordelia, or rather, Spite, had twisted her hair up into two pigtails, and applied makeup so dark that it was rather startling. She was pretty, yes, but not nearly as much as the tall faerie that seemed to radiate with beauty beside her.

     Malice’s hair was shiny, sleek, and much more refined than it had been when Falania had last seen her. She wore a black dress that the grey faerie envied with all her heart, and her mouth was twisted into a smile that was elegant, but so evil at the same time.

     And, noticing the look she received from her sister, Malice said, “I can make you look like us, you know.”

     Falania looked up, a new, hungry gleam in her grey eyes.

     “I can make you lovely, just like me. But I have a question,” she added. “Are you worthy? Or would you rather hang around with pathetic, homeless neopets?”

     Falania felt a twinge of slightest regret. Ruby had been good to her, but the fact remained... she cared nothing anymore for that Shoyru. All she wanted, all she craved, was the looks that her sister offered her. And so she replied, “I know I’m worthy, Malice. But...” There her voice faltered, and Spite tilted her head to the side a little. “Was it you who turned me grey...?”

     Malice’s smile faded a little. “Someone had to bring you to your senses, what with you trying to ‘change’ and be a good light faerie. Falania,” she added softly. “You’re not a light faerie; you’re a dark faerie, and therefore destined to have powers far beyond anyone else. Do you understand?”

     The hungry glow illuminated her eyes again, and she said commandingly to her sister, “Change me back.”

     At last Malice seemed to be satisfied. “Vanity,” she whispered dramatically, and in a hazy swirl of light, Falania was dark again, and strangely, she was glad of it.

The End

 
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