The End: A Shoyru Tale - Part Two
I was dazed. The light had faded to reveal to me that I was in a purple room with a large window looking over a very green, natural garden-type area. Had Arthur intended to send me here, or was this a mistake made in the intensity of the moment? I may never know.
"What business do you have here!?" hissed the presumed owner of the home.
She was a Dark Faerie, and from her appearance, an older one. Her hair was a light purple with signs of grey, and her skin had a light purple shade like her hair, but was a bit longer. She wore a long black robe with small bits of purple around the neck and wrists. It was the first time I ever saw a faerie, but I knew by instinct – and by her appearance – that she was a Dark Faerie.
"Well?" She seemed to be becoming more and more impatient.
"I-I... my name is Mac," I began, bringing myself to my feet using my staff. "I just escaped a dangerous situation, and happened to end up here. Are... are you a faerie?"
The Dark Faerie laughed at my question. It was a kind of dry laugh which sent shivers down my spine, as well as my wings.
"Yes, Mac, I am a faerie. A Dark Faerie." She smiled at me. "My name is Victoria, the Shadow Faerie. Tell me what has happened to you. Let us talk for a while; I very rarely have any guests anymore."
I was uncomfortable, at first, talking with her, but as we spoke my nerves settled down. I told her everything: from the television broadcast to the encounter with Dusty, and all about the strange chair I had used to get there. She was surprised; she was a hermit, and had no idea that Sloth had returned at all. In turn, she told me a bit about herself: that not all Dark Faeries are necessarily evil, and that she had left Faerieland to escape other faeries bothering her about being a less traditional Dark Faerie. She also told me that she, as the Shadow Faerie, specialized in manipulating darkness itself.
We talked for over an hour, so long in fact that the Sun had gone down and Kreludor rode high in the night sky. Soon after nightfall, I grew tired and asked her if it would be okay for me to spend the night. She said it was fine, and even told me that in the morning, she would help me reach Faerieland. I thanked her sincerely, and went to sleep.
Arthur broke through the door, except, like Dusty, he wasn't quite Arthur anymore. His features were twisted, so much so that I could barely recognize my brother at all. He had become a mutant, a mindless drone of Doctor Sloth.
"Big brother?" I called out to him, trying to verify his identity. He responded with a gargled roar and jumped at me. I rose up my shield to defend myself, and it stopped him for a second, but he then grabbed it and threw it to the side.
Arthur jumped at me, and tackled me to the ground. I rose my black staff between the two of us, and he struggled against it. We both wrestled with each other, the staff separating us, until...
I awoke in a cold sweat, my wings twitching. I had fallen asleep on the floor the previous night. Was that all just a dream? I wondered. It felt so real. My staff and shield were in their proper place, unharmed. I sat up and looked out of the window. The Sun was up, but it wasn't even quite Noon yet.
"Ah, little Shoyru," Victoria greeted me from a chair. "Good morning." She was wearing a dominantly purple dress that day. It was a lot nicer, more elegant than the dress she had worn the previous day. I guessed that she wore this while going to town.
"Good morning to you as well!" I said, retrieving my staff and shield. She was paying close attention to the black staff.
"Mac, may I ask where you got your staff?"
"It's not much of a story. I found it in my brother's weapon storage. I don't know where he got it, though."
Victoria stood up and walked over to me, then put a hand on my shoulder. "That," she said, "is a very powerful weapon. It is older than most faeries, and holds great dark magic. Be careful with it."
"I will," I told her. "I promise. So, are we going soon?"
She nodded, and after a brief breakfast of berries, the two of us went from her home on our way to Faerieland.
It took us about two hours to reach Faerieland by foot, and after seeing it, I almost wished that we hadn't. While Victoria's land was untouched, Faerieland seemed to be the focus of Sloth's invasion. The entire land had a feeling of extreme dread about it.
"This is horrible," Victoria whispered, staring at a large mutant Grundo kicking down the remains of the Wheel of Excitement. A group of injured mutants were gathered at the Healing Springs, and the rest of the land was practically in ruin. The gates to the city were closed and sealed.
She pointed out to me that faeries were flying about inside of the city, and also that the Battle Faerie stood atop the gate. Apparently, the mutant forces had not yet taken the city – Sloth had not won yet.
"How do we get in?" I asked the Shadow Faerie. She looked around, and after a moment pointed towards Jhudora's Bluff.
"She may help."
"Jhudora, are you sure? I've never heard of her helping anybody!"
"Believe me," Victoria said, "She will help."
It was about noon then, a time when Victoria's magic was the weakest. Under the veil of night, she could make us invisible, and conquer mighty foes, but with the Sun at its zenith she was practically powerless. We would have to wait, but It wouldn't be too hard to hide; Grundos aren't very smart.
After the Sun went down, we went out from our hiding place. Victoria put her arms out to her side, and shadows shot out from all directions in a snakelike fashion, coming to each of us and covering our bodies. Our invisibility prevented us from being seen as we quickly made our way to Jhudora's Bluff.
It didn't take us too long to get there. Victoria's magic was powerful enough to completely hide us from the Grundos. When we entered Jhudora's home, she looked bored, resting with her hand on her child while sitting in her chair. She had her eyes shut, and one leg was crossed over the other.
"Victoria," she said without opening her eyes, "What a pleasant surprise." The veil of shadows around us disappeared as the Dark Faerie stood.
"Yes, it has been a while," Victoria responded. She seemed to be picking her words carefully. "Last time we met, this city was still in the clouds."
Even with only a few words between them, a great tension could be felt in the air, as if the energies of both faeries were clashing invisibly. It felt like a great battle of magical energy were taking place, but no energy-blasts were shot and no moves made. I knew better than to speak up.
"You brought a Shoyru."
"His name is Mac. He needs Fyora's help."
"We all need the Queen's help, but she is silent to us."
"Then help us make council with her."
"You think I can meet with the Queen at will? I am a great faerie, but not that great."
"No, Jhudora, I think we can meet with her."
"You have been gone a long time, Shadow Faerie! Times have changed."
"I've not been gone so long, Jhudora. Look to Mac's hands; you will see reason enough for us to meet with her."
Jhudora's eyes widened as she looked directly at me for the first time. I saw, strangely enough, fear in her eyes.
"Yes, Victoria, she'll want to see this."
We traveled by cloud. It was a strange experience: Jhudora used her magic to conjure a dark cloud, and we all sat atop it like some kind of magic carpet. It floated slowly over the gate, and although it was large and dark, we went unnoticed over the mutant horde. I'm pretty sure that the Battle Faerie saw us, but she didn't move to stop us. Perhaps she respected Jhudora's judgment.
The cloud moved like a dancer, each movement corresponding with Jhudora's will. It floated to the highest tower in the entire city, which was, all things considered, extremely high in the air. When we came to a stop, we were at a large window towards the top of the tower. Jhudora stepped off of the cloud and through the window first, followed by Victoria who assisted me in getting off of the cloud, which disappeared once we got in the tower.
I felt like I was in a dream. A good dream, not a nightmare, like the one I had the night before. Everything just seemed to be mystic and surreal. The room we entered was illuminated by various novas which were suspended in the air by some sort of magic. I walked in awe through the room, but never forgot my friends and my brother. They were why I was there.
The room itself was circular in design, with a round, white table in the center. On one end was our entrance, the window, and on the opposite end was a spiral staircase going both further up the tower and down. Looking up, I saw that the ceiling was expertly painted, and it looked like a bright, cloudy day. I didn't have much time to marvel at it, though, as Jhudora lead us up the spiral staircase.
This brought us into a long hallway, also lit by floating novas. At the end of the hallway was an extremely large door. It stood about fifteen times my height, and was detailed with engravings telling of the history of Neopia. I saw the story of The Betrayer, Sloth's arrival, the rise and fall of Maraqua, and many, many more events.
"Is she in there?" Victoria asked Jhudora. Without hesitation, the door creaked open.
This room was vast, but cluttered with books and scrolls. Various trinkets, as well as those made the room seem extremely claustrophobic, especially in comparison to the wide-open room from before. Also in opposition to the previous rooms, this room was lit entirely by candlelight instead of magical floating novas. At the end of the room was a chair, its inhabitant facing away from me. I couldn't see who was in it from that position.
"Welcome," a voice boomed. It was deep and male.
"Fyora?" Jhudora asked of the figure in the chair. It was obviously not who she had expected. This made me nervous, and I gripped tightly onto my staff. Who could possibly take the Queen's seat?
"You wouldn't be so lucky, Dark Faerie." A green hand moved to the side, holding a bottled faerie. It gave off a breathtaking white glow. As the chair squeaked and turned, we all saw the person in it.
There sat Sloth, holding the bottled Queen Faerie. He grinned, showing off his perfect white teeth. I stepped backwards, frightened, and fell backwards. Sloth gave off a booming laugh and said:
"The Queen is mine – Faerieland is mine! Neopia is mine!"
"Stand up, Mac!" Victoria yelled. Her command reminded me deeply of my brother, who would often command me in the same fashion. A black aura encapsulated her hands, and a purple one covered Jhudora's. Sloth put the Queen down, and reached into the sleeve of his robe. By the time I had gotten to my feet, he had produced a small white bomb from his sleeve. As Jhudora and Victoria both pushed their firsts forward, releasing the magical energy they had been storing at Sloth, he tossed the white bomb at them.
The two forces met, and there was a massive explosion. Dust flew into the air; I could barely see the two Dark Faeries, and I couldn't see Sloth at all. Jhudora was now holding her wand, which must have been called out by some powerful magic. Victoria was chanting, readying another spell. I raised my staff, and as the smoke settled, I saw Sloth coming at me. He was injured, and small sparks were coming off of his injuries. However, before he had reached me, Victoria had finished her spell. Sloth's own shadow had reached out of the ground, and was holding him in place. He and I were face to face, and I could now see that it wasn't Sloth at all, but a mechanical recreation.
"Shoyru, copy my movements!" Jhudora yelled. She moved her wand slowly, hypnotically, and I did the same, all the while the robotic Sloth stared me down. When I finished the movements, my staff began vibrating in my hands. I was tempted to drop it, but I resisted. A great dark blue energy field grew out of the staff and covered the entire room, giving it a dark blue tint. Suddenly, all of the color collapsed, with the robot at its center. After a brief moment, the glow – and the robotic Sloth – had completely disappeared.
Jhudora and Victoria had both fallen to the ground, and Jhudora was the first to stand. I went to Victoria's side and helped her up; the encounter had taken a lot out of the Shadow Faerie. There even seemed to be a bit more grey in her hair than before.
"Victoria, are you alright!?" I cried out, concerned about the Dark Faerie I had been growing to consider my friend.
"I'm fine, Mac-" she let out a cough, the dust escaping her lungs. "The Queen, Fyora, save the Queen."
I stood and went to pick up the bottle. It felt warm in my hands, comforting. After a few seconds of struggle, I opened the bottle. A bright white-pink light filled the room completely, even brighter than the light of the chair I had used to leave the shelter.
"Thank you, Mac," a calming voice called out to me. "You rescued me, and for that I am eternally grateful."
The Faerie Queen stood before me, and I was in awe. Even with the intensity of the situation, Fyora looked perfect. The first thing I saw when the light faded was her gown; it was beautiful, as would be expected of a Queen. However, even after the light faded, Fyora seemed to give off her own glow naturally.
"I will repay you somehow, Mac, but right now there are more important things to take care of."
The Queen stepped out of the room, into the hallway, and we followed.
"Victoria, dear," Fyora said, still walking.
"Organize a meeting of the council. We must plan an offensive strike. With that staff, we cannot lose."
"Of course, my Queen."
Fyora smiled at me and then continued on, leading us further into an uncertain future.
To be continued...