The Trial of Her Mind: Part Four
I sank down to my knees and sighed. When she says to survive, I thought, that must mean that there are some dangers here. Anger caused heat to rise to my cheeks. This is completely unfair! What is she even going to do with me when I get out, IF I get out? What happens if – WHEN – I don't escape? I'll probably be eaten by some shadow wraith or something. Now what am I supposed to do?
Almost on cue, the sky went dark and cloudy. I felt something cold and wet drip on my neck and roll down the back of my dress. Rain. Great. Just what I need. The raindrops began to pour down in big globs of frigid water. I took shelter in a clump of closely grouped pine trees, and even though it was still damp, at least I wasn't being drowned in rainwater.
It was freezing. I wrapped my arms around myself in an effort to keep warm, yet even then my breath came out in visible wisps. Imagine Terror Mountain mixed with a hurricane, and you get the idea of how miserable it was. Shivering, I tucked my knees into the skirt of my dress and ignored the droplets of rain that were clinging to the wet strands of my hair.
Then I did something surprising. I began to sing. I don't know why, I just did; and let me tell you, I have the voice of a Tuskaninny that is sick with Chickaroo and just ate a Poisonous Lollipop. But I sang.
There is nothing I can't do.
There is nothing I can't see.
There is nothing I can't hear.
And nothing I can't breathe.
There is nothing I can't feel,
With my heart or with my hands.
There is nowhere I can't travel,
Be it near or distant lands.
There is nothing I can't save,
A life or house or tree.
You'd better remember all this,
Before you mess with me!
I know it's a cheesy and dumb song, but I recall the day at Faeriewings Academy when my roommate, a witty air faerie named Somei, noticed I was bored and taught me the song. I smiled at the memory, when Somei kept laughing when I replaced the words, such as 'There is nothing I can't fail, be it tests or exams or homework'.
I kept singing this until the rain stopped and the sun peeked out from behind the storm clouds again. I cautiously stepped out from my pine tree haven and peered up at the sky, as if it would start to rain any second. It didn't, so I sighed and began to walk out of the clearing. I had no clue as to where I was going, nor did I really want one. My flip flops made no sound on the soft, cushiony grass as I entered the wild forest.
It was actually quite lovely, as there were flowers and little mushrooms and, of course, the-not-so-occasional-but-rather-everywhere-I-see trees. I made a mental note not to touch anything, since it's my own mind, after all, and we both know that I shouldn't trust whatever I think up.
I clasped my hands in front of me to avoid hitting the moss or low branches on the trees. The air was humid and earthy, and the smell of wet flowers added to the forest effect. I didn't understand how there could be a whole woods in my mind that I never knew about, but I hesitantly decided not to question that and instead find out how I was supposed to survive.
The answer came fairly quickly. Still puzzled, I was walking past the numerous amount of trees and plants when I got a sudden itch on my ankle. I bent down to scratch it furiously and came face to... whatever with letters in the dirt. It looked as if something had etched them there, but I didn't want to know what, so I read the message aloud.
"Go through the trial of your mind," I whispered, cocking my head. I had no idea what that could mean, so I mumbled it repeatedly until I had memorized it, then continued on my trek to nowhere in particular.
It was beginning to get dark, and some survival instinct that I had never known I had told me to find shelter before the sky became completely black. Not wanting to use my own clothes to make a tent, I hastily searched for a way not to do anything from scratch. Conveniently, I found a small cave that was just big enough for me to crawl into and lay there. Of course, my primary concern was to not get eaten by whatever could have been lurking in the forest, and I wanted to cover up the entrance once I was in there; I hesitantly resorted to gathering branches, moss, and sticky sap from the trees to create a crude, makeshift door that would serve as good enough protection.
Once I had made that, I was still faced with the problem of food. I had heard the burbling laughter of a small stream when I was running around earlier, so I didn't have to worry about water. Still, I had seen no nuts, fruits, or basically anything that seemed to be edible. Finally, something in my brain clicked, and my thoughts went back to the Survival Training at Faeriewings. "If you're lucky and patient," my teacher, Ms. Lightheart, said, "you may be able to find a Grondik Root hidden in any place rich with vegetation. They are usually found in groups, and grow in patches of bare soil; you will never see them in grass."
I regretted the fact that I had hardly really listened in that class, because I realized that there was probably some pretty useful information that I could use. Still, there were some small spaces of dirt with puffy green leaves sticking out of them, so I figured that there was no harm in looking. For once, luck was on my side, for as soon as I pulled up the first plant, I saw a gnarled green root hanging in my palms. I almost fainted with relief, and I ate until my stomach felt like it was about to burst. For being stuck in my own mind with no clue about what to do, I had a pretty good meal. I wasn't too thirsty, having swallowed quite a bit of rainwater when I was trying to find a refuge in the previous storm. Everything done, I wearily scooted into the tiny cave, shut the 'door', and fell into a fitful sleep.
I didn't have any dreams, which I wasn't surprised at, since I wasn't exactly myself, but apparently I was my soul at the moment. Hopefully you understood that, because I didn't. ANYWAY, I woke up when it was still dark, and I estimated it to be around four in the morning. I waited for a few minutes to listen for any suspicious sounds, but I heard nothing and crept out of the shelter, noticing that my mouth was parched beyond belief. Let me tell you, if there is one benefit of being locked inside your mind, it would be the night sky. If you think that the stars in Neopia are beautiful, you've never seen anything similar to what I saw. Large swirls of stars and glitter hung in the heavens like a colourful garland. It was if a rainbow had shattered into prismatic glass pieces and scattered itself across the sky. Shooting stars dashed across the colours like arrows of light, and some unknown, blue moon shone brightly enough for me to see as if I had night vision. And you people marveled at the constellations (Pshaw!).
I eventually tore my eyes away from the sight and peeked around at my surroundings. Nothing seemed to have changed, and I set myself to find the stream. I cautiously walked through the forest in one direction only, flinching at every noise I heard, even though practically all of them came from me. That same survival instinct was telling me to be alert for anything that was moving, and I intended to follow that advice.
After what seemed like twenty minutes or so, my effort to find water was rewarded by the tranquil sound of a running river. With a small cry of victory, I crashed through the trees and looked at the creek. It didn't look too powerful, but it was probably twelve feet deep; it was crystal clear, and I didn't see a single thing under the surface. I drank for a long time, enjoying the rush of cool liquid flowing into my mouth and down my dry throat. Finally, I was quenched, and I decided to luxuriously wash my face and feet before I continued on. The second I realized how torn and gross my feet were was the second I dipped them into the river. I looked at the heels and grimaced at how horrible it was, and from the intense pain at other areas in my foot, I estimated the base was even worse. Luckily, my face was fine, just a little dirty.
I had cleaned my flip flops off and slipped them back on when I finally began to notice something strange:
The river was surging upstream.
Curious, I made up my mind to follow it to where it was going. I thought about flying, but I wasn't sure if anything was in the air, so I dismissed that idea and began to walk. At one point, I tripped over a rock and fell into it, plunging all the way to the bottom. With a desperate push off of the riverbed, I managed to bring myself to the surface, gasping for air. I couldn't reach the shore because I had no control and was being bashed and scraped against boulders. The river had become a series of dangerous rapids, and I was in the middle of it all.
It took five minutes to wrap my arms around a rock, drag the rest of my body onto it, and then leap back on dry land. I was dripping wet, and I didn't need to look to know that I had numerous gashes all over my body. With a groan, I rubbed the water out of my eyes and searched for something – anything – that I could use as a raft. Then I got an absurd idea.
"This is her game," I gasped to myself, "But this is my mind. I can do anything, can't I?" I closed my eyes and put all the energy I had into my next words. "I want to go home!"
Nothing happened. Disappointed, I opened my eyes and sighed, looking back at the river. This time, a message was carved on the nearest boulder. It read, "THINK SMALL".
I rolled my eyes, but followed the advice and wished for something a little simpler. "Give me a vehicle, then!" I felt some of my magic drain when I had said that, but knew it would replenish itself anyway. In front of me was a red kayak, complete with a paddle. I grinned. We air faeries are known for flying, and not much for water sports, but as I've said before, I'm not like most air faeries.
I dragged the kayak to the edge of the water and jumped in, using the paddle to push myself off of land and into the raging rapids. It was a very bumpy ride, but quite fun; after all, there's nothing better than getting soaked beyond the help of a towel, having your brain jolted around every time you hit a rock, and most importantly, frantically swerving large boulders for fear you'd crash and drown. I had only one word to say during the whole time I was doing this: WOOHOO!
Silently, of course.
The rapids finally calmed down to the river it was before, and I serenely paddled through it. An orange light was beginning to flood the valley as the sun rose. I was very tired from kayaking, quiet screaming, and searching, so I paddled a bit faster to reach my destination before I passed out from exhaustion. I now could see that there was nothing in the sky, so I figured it was safe to fly the rest of the way. My wings were cramped and I really needed to stretch them, anyway. I jumped from the kayak and took to the air, soaring gracefully (if you can call anything I do 'graceful') above the river and the treetops. As an air faerie, I'm quite fast at flying, and I was satisfied knowing that I was gaining much more ground in the sky than in the boat.
The beautiful night sky dissolved into morning, the sun warming my back. I was still worn out, but I didn't dare stop; I wanted to get out of here as soon as possible. Who knows what kind of havoc the Darkest Faerie is making in Faerieland, I thought nervously, I don't think there's any worse feeling than knowing you aren't able to help. It was true; I was on the verge of going nuts from being so helpless. How do I get out of here?
Suddenly, the sky started to darken again, and I deemed it wise to travel by walking. I flew down to the earth and landed lightly on my feet, glancing upward to see if it was going to rain again. Of course, you know how horrible my luck is, so it didn't rain. No, instead, it hailed chunks of ice the size of my fist.
"Ugh!" I yelped, throwing my hands up in the air. "Seriously?!" Instead of finding another shelter, I created a shield around me and continued to walk, ignoring the humongous hailstones that were pouring from the sky. I made a mental note to thank Cora for teaching me that shield spell, maybe even give her a hug. She deserved it for saving me from a major headache.
Even though the spell kept the large ice bits from hitting me, I was still soaking wet from kayaking and therefore extremely cold. With every step I took, I was constantly rubbing my hands on my shoulders to keep them warm, and even then I was still feeling like a popsicle. The only thing that kept me going was the thought of Terri's smile, Cora's laugh, Fyora's elegance, my mother's voice. I had to save them from whatever was going to happen, and the only way to do that was to get out of here as soon as possible.
A soft 'Ow' made me turn around as my hand flew to where my wand was – or, more accurately, where my wand would be, since I forgot that I wasn't in the real world and my magical rod was probably with my actual body. With a slight groan of disappointment, I instead held my hands in front of me, ready to blast a spell. "Who's there?" I demanded. When nothing happened, I ordered, more assertively, "You'd better show your face, or I'll unleash all the spells I know on you."
As if scared, the intruder stepped sheepishly out from the thick cover of the trees. Her curly, burnt orange locks cascaded down her back. Smug but nervous ginger eyes stared at me from a pale, freckled face. A stunning set of lovely flame-patterned wings upon her back twitched slightly in anxiety.
Silence stretched for moments.
"What are you doing here?" I hissed, getting over my shock. I didn't really like her, as you would understand if you could remember, due to the fact that she HELPED JHUDORA PLAN MY TOTAL AND UTTER DESTRUCTION. "Tell me now."
The fire faerie gulped. "I'm here to help you. Calm down, Desiree."
"My name is Dira," I snapped. "And since when did you decide to start helping people? Last time I checked, you just got out of the Faerieland Dungeons."
She glowered at me. "Well, I didn't have a choice. That friend of yours, the blonde, told me about that vision you guys had. Unless you want Neopia to be ruled by the Darkest Faerie, let me try to get you out of here." She took a step forward, but I reached my hands a little farther towards her and a little more threateningly.
"Not so fast. How'd you get in here? My own mind?"
"I read a few spell books."
"You read? That's a shock."
"Whatever. Anyway, are you going to let me walk with you without the fear of being killed? Put your hands down. I'm not going to hurt you."
I glared at her with distaste. "How can I trust you?"
"Just do it."
If I said 'Something in her eyes made me return my palms to my sides', it would be a lie. No, in fact, her eyes made me want to hex her and then run away at full speed. Weariness forced me to let my hands drop down to my hips and mutter, "Okay, but the first chance I get, you're leaving." I had no desire to put up with her, and the little Devilpuss on my shoulder was screaming "BLAST HER TO SMITHEREENS! BLAST HER TO SMITHEREENS!" I brushed the thought from my mind and grudgingly beckoned for her to tag along.
The only noise I heard for another hour or so was the calm burble of the river to my left as we walked uphill to wherever the creek led. It was quickly followed by a sharp, "Watch out!"
"What?" I barked, turning around to give Beck the evil eye. Before I could, though, something crashed through the woods and roared ferociously. Suddenly panicking, I whirled to face the danger that was now sprinting at me. It was all black except for its messy maroon mane and crooked beak. It had the tail of a Noil, but much thicker and larger. Claws protruded from huge paws, which enabled it to gain ground much more quickly than I could register. The beast was the same height as I was, so it easily was able to hold my gaze to its glinting, abysmal black eyes. It was also easily able to make a wild leap at me and swipe at my arm, despite the quick dodge I attempted.
Just what I need, I thought, yelping in pain and falling back to Beck, More cuts. I looked at the new wound on my shoulder, which happened to be three slash marks, all slowly leaking red. I quickly splashed a bit of water on it to wash it off, and I heard the fire faerie beside me mutter, "Sweet Fyora... "
The creature made a U-turn and growled, the sound similar to an earthquake. It walked steadily towards us, its beady eyes fixed on us hungrily.
"It doesn't have wings," Beck said under her breath, only looking at the monster. "We do. We can attack it from the air."
"I can't do as many spells with my wand," I responded, already moving backwards (don't question this; I can never take flight standing still) and spreading out my wings. "But I'll try." Whispering a quick healing spell to myself, I cured the cuts I had on my arm. "On the count of three, alright? You start." I glanced over at her for approval. She nodded.
"One... " The creature sprang and began to charge at us, its beak twisted menacingly into a snarl.
"Two... " It roared again, increasing its speed as if knowing that we were about to escape.
"THREE!" We immediately lifted ourselves into the air, the ground shrinking beneath us as we watched the beast howl in anger. I didn't even wait for Beck to tell me when to strike. Instead, I began to fire spells from my fingertips like a madwoman.
Then something amazing happened. I was performing elemental spells of all kinds; light, dark, earth, you name it, I did it. Adrenaline kept me from looking at my palms in both shock and horror and I continued to fight. I grew vines to encase the creature and then shot fireballs at it, and afterwards, blasting so many orbs of light I was sure I would become blinded any second.
Now, I know what you're thinking: Crazy lady, you're a maniac!
Yes, I am.
But at this moment, I couldn't control it; in fact, I was trying to stop. Yet somehow, spells were rapidly being discharged from my shaking palms, and no matter how much willpower I used, I couldn't bring an end to them.
I peeked over at Beck, who was releasing bursts of flames at the creature. When she looked at me, her jaw dropped so much I was surprised it didn't reach the ground, and she froze with her eyes locked on my hands. I could see her lips mouthing something to herself and it looked suspiciously like 'What in the name of Neopia... ?'
I shot a pleading glance at her as if trying to tell her that it wasn't really something I had power over, then went back to my magic. The beast was pacing back and forth, brushing the hits away lazily. It screeched in fury that it couldn't reach us, clawing at the air like it would do to our faces.
"It's not working!" I called to Beck. "Can't we do anything else?"
She turned her head towards me, her eyes shut tight in intense thought. "Um... let me think... hmm... " She was considering the situation so hard I was afraid she would explode.
An idea struck me like lightning, and if it were a cartoon, there would be a little light bulb blinking over my dark blue hair. I quickly flew over to her and touched her, a spell going on in my mind. As soon as my fingers brushed her shoulder, she disappeared.
To be continued...