Baby Adventures: The Secret Note - Part Six
They were very close to Faerie City. Treaphie knew they had arrived when she heard a gasp from the Toupahz behind her and felt herself falling rapidly as the Uni she was on abruptly sunk down in the sky in shock. The purple spreading had gotten much worse. Now the puddles of Darkness had expanded into lakes, flowing rapidly to all of the white clouds lying untouched. There were far more faeries than before flying around, worried expressions on their faces, and though they put forward their best efforts, the Darkness was not stopping.
As they neared the fancy pink gates to the palace, Treaphie saw two large Skeith guards completely blocking it off and glaring down at a few faeries.
"We demand to see Fyora!" said a Water Faerie angrily. "It's an emergency!"
"Be more specific," a guard grunted.
"What else do you call this?" the Earth Faerie beside her challenged the guard, gesturing at the chaos taking place at the scene.
"You must have an appointment if you wish to see her," one of the guards said in a voice like an automaton.
"If you need an appointment, please find the Main Secretary for scheduling," the other spoke in a monotone. "She is over there. We estimate you will be able to see her in three months."
"Three months?!" the faeries cried. "But this can't even wait three hours! It's... it's..." The Earth Faerie gestured again, but to no avail. The guards were silent.
Both of the faeries looked at each other. They nodded, and in unison they raised both hands and muttered something under their breath. Jets of water and streams of vines shot out at the guards, but the magic stopped just before hitting the guards' faces. Confused, the faeries looked at each other.
"How did you..." one of the faeries asked helplessly.
"Fyora has blessed us with the ability to defend ourselves from elemental magic," stated one of the guards. "Now please let us do our jobs."
Fuming, the faeries left.
The Uni trotted up to the guards as if nothing had happened. Treaphie climbed off her back, as did Kolyae and Kasthie, and thanked her. The Uni beamed and took off. Toupahz flew next to the babies and gave a warm smile to the guards. "Excuse me," she told them, her voice airy and light. "I was wondering if you had seen King Roo yet. He is coming here for a meeting," she added wisely.
"King Roo has already been admitted inside the castle," spoke one of the guards.
"What?!" cried Treaphie in dismay. "But can't you... bring him outside?"
"We do not go on errands for others," said the guard.
"Then let ME in," said Treaphie fiercely.
"We do not permit others inside who do not have an appointment with Fyora," the second guard said in a dull tone.
Treaphie growled. She spoke very slowly, "We... need... entrance..." She unlatched her backpack and removed the White Faellie, who blinked at Treaphie with a bored expression. Treaphie whispered to her, "Do something... anything that will get us entrance... you need to help us get past the guards..."
"They can withstand elemental magic, Treaphie," Kolyae said, rolling his eyes.
The Faellie glanced over at the guards. Then something happened that not a single one of them had expected. The guards were enveloped in snowy ropes, which criss-crossed together to form a kind of net and hooked onto a canopy above them. The guards dangled there helplessly, perplexed.
Treaphie looked at the Faellie in shock. "You... you can... what?"
"Snow power," said Kasthie in awe. "But I thought the Faellie only had elemental magic!"
"Elemental magic won't work on those guards. Remember what they said to those faeries?" Kolyae pointed out. "I suppose they're not prepared for snow magic. There's only one faerie in Neopia, Taelia, with that kind of power - besides Fyora, maybe. So I guess they aren't protected from that."
"Well, let's not wait for the strands to melt," Toupahz said swiftly. "Come on!" She advanced forward. Treaphie, Kasthie, and Kolyae followed her. Soon they were in the main hall of the palace. If there was one thing Treaphie could recount about it, it would be that it was nothing like Roo Island's palace.
Faeries were everywhere. They stood in long lines behind desks, where yet more faeries were telling them directions, information, and dates and times. The walls were a delicate pink. They were ornate and had graceful purple carvings on top of them. More doors than they could count led off from the richly decorated main room, all with signs above them. Toupahz scanned them frantically.
"Where would Fyora be?" she asked them, racing along. She peered into several doorways while Kasthie read the signs.
"'Expert Sewers', 'Expert Shoe-Makers', 'Expert Furniture-Polishers'... how many experts does Fyora need?!" Kasthie moaned. "We'll never make it in time."
Toupahz was still searching, evidently hoping against hope that they would find Fyora before she had disappeared into one of the many rooms of the palace.
Treaphie hopped away. "Where are you going?" Toupahz shouted after her, but there was no stopping her. She was so small that she was able to crawl on the well-polished floor without a single person in the crowded hall giving her notice. She made her way to one of the lines of faeries and pets and stayed on the floor behind the first person in line.
"... right down the hall," a faerie behind the desk was saying enthusiastically. She was waving her hands in all directions. The faerie was a bespectacled girl with long brown hair that fell to her waist. She had lilac wings shaped like flowers attached to her back and a grin that seemed to never fade from her face.
"Thank you," said the gruff voice of a Gelert in front of Treaphie. He strode away. Treaphie straightened up and sidled close to the desk. The person behind her looked clearly surprised, but obviously assumed Treaphie had been crawling on the floor this whole time.
"I'd like to know where the meeting room is, please," said Treaphie, quite calmly.
"It is right there," said the faerie, pointing directly behind her. There was a large doorway with at least five guards planted in front of it, looking every which way for possible danger. In elegant lettering were the words 'The Meeting Rooms' above the doorway. Treaphie gulped. Before she could say any more, there was a loud shout from the doorway, and all heads turned towards it.
"Intruders!" one Skeith sputtered. Treaphie's heart sank; it seemed that the snow net holding the two Skeiths had melted.
Sure enough, the other Skeith guard came running forward, panting for breath, bellowing at the top of his lungs, "Look out for the intruders! Three babies and a Faerie Meerca!"
"Thanks," squeaked Treaphie to the faerie at the desk, who looked utterly bewildered and whose pupils were darting from the tiny baby in front of her to the two guards at the door.
Treaphie raced back to Toupahz and panted to them, "Guys, we've got to get out of here."
"Can't we just trap them in snow again?" whined Kolyae.
"No," said Treaphie firmly. "Then the others would see who did it and try to stop us, too. And besides, we don't have much time."
"All right," sighed Toupahz. "Come on, let's go, let's go!"
A scene of chaos was starting to build around them. People were craning their necks to look for the intruders. Treaphie gulped and tried to hide herself while whispering to Toupahz, "Look, you guys are leaving. I'm gonna stay and try to accomplish what we've been working on-"
"What?!" cried Kolyae, Kasthie, and Toupahz simultaneously.
"No way!" Kasthie babbled, looking Treaphie straight in the eye. "We've come this far. We're not bailing out now! We need to help you - and Neopia!"
Treaphie couldn't help but be moved by those words. Finally she nodded and said, "Okay, what's our plan?" She knew they would be found soon, however dense the crowd was.
Toupahz looked around. "First," she said, "we need to find the Meeting Room-"
"Already covered," said Treaphie proudly. "It's the door guarded by those five guards over there. The room is directly behind that help desk."
The Faerie Meerca saw it and then groaned. "All right," she said. "Time to go into Plan B."
"What's Plan B?" Kolyae inquired. "And when was it made?"
"Plan B is to improvise," said Toupahz knowledgeably. "And it was made just now."
Treaphie frowned. "Maybe we could trap those guards, too. But that would draw attention to ourselves."
"It could work," Kolyae pointed out.
"I don't know..." Treaphie mumbled uncertainly.
Kasthie put a hand on Treaphie's shoulder. "It's the best plan we've got," she said solemnly.
Treaphie nodded. She reached her paw to her backpack when suddenly her arm was grabbed by an angry-looking Dark Faerie.
"I've caught them!" she declared. "Here's a Faerie Meerca standing beside three babies!"
Now all heads were turned toward the group. Treaphie shrank under their reproachful looks, her arm still grasped tightly by the fuming Dark Faerie. Suddenly, many surrounding faeries started to advance, their brows furrowed.
"You have disgraced us by intruding into the castle without permission," one nearby Fire Faerie told them. She was ablaze and looked ready to set anything that provoked her on fire.
"Now, Riss," a nearby Water Faerie chided her, "They're only babies... I assume this older one," she jerked her thumb toward Toupahz, "is the one responsible. She'll be punished. Don't be angry with the little ones..."
"Don't talk that way about Toupahz!" shrieked Kolyae. All eyes turned to him. The poor little Baby Chomby was breathing deeply, shaking in anger. He was not prepared to let them lay a hand on Toupahz without putting up a fight! Kolyae reached into his Commander Garoo Backpack and retrieved his Simple Wooden Fighting Staff. The faeries looked at each other.
"They will all have to go," one of them spoke seriously. The others nodded.
"They are all endangering us," another said.
Riss smiled. "Haven't they told you?" she asked Kolyae slowly, advancing forward. "When fire meets wood, fire always wins."
Kolyae trembled. He raised his staff. The faerie raised her hand. She smirked.
"Well, now, looks like there will be a winner very soon, and we all know who-"
Suddenly, like lightning, Kolyae swung the staff around. It hit the Fire Faerie's ankles and, with a cry of pain, she fell to the floor. Everyone's eyes were on her in the complete silence. Finally, she sat up. There was a scowl plain on her face.
"I suppose I'll just have to finish you quickly, young one." Riss said. Treaphie watched her with growing distaste. She wished she could help, but she was still being held tightly by the Dark Faerie and couldn't break free. The Fire Faerie suddenly pushed her hands forward, and a huge flame whipped through the air towards the Baby Chomby. He couldn't fight this with a staff.
Kasthie screamed. The next thing she knew, she was soaring toward Kolyae, her instincts taking over. She had already taken out her Basic Dryer from her Pink Kadoatie Backpack and was now pushing the button to activate it. The spell from the Fire Faerie was sucked into it and shot back out toward the sender. Before Riss knew what was happening, she was hit with a blast of fire. She screamed in rage and jumped to her feet, wincing at the pain that was still in her ankles.
"Well?" she barked at the surrounding crowd of faeries. "Finish them!"
Now all of the faeries were in action. Air, Water, Earth, Fire, Light, and Dark spells were flying across the great hall, destroying much of the beauteous architecture. The Dark Faerie who was holding Treaphie was looking at her with a malicious smile dancing on her face. Before she could send a spell hurtling toward the young Baby Usul she had caught, however, she was hit over the head with a long, thin wooden staff. Toupahz! The grip on the captive Usul slackened, and Treaphie hurtled forward in an effort to get as far away as possible. The Dark Faerie regained her senses quickly and reached forward, but only managed to get Treaphie's backpack. Treaphie jumped around, dodging spell after spell that was sent by the huge amount of faeries around her.
She glanced around at the others. Toupahz was flying towards her, the staff in her hand. "I got this from Kasthie," she said quietly. "I won't let you guys down!" Soon she was fighting faerie after faerie, and Treaphie couldn't help but admire her skills. Kasthie was trying to send the spells people attacked her with back to them with her Basic Dryer and was doing a pretty good job at it. The Fire Faerie was still trying to get Kolyae, who had now drawn his Small Metal Shield and was holding it in his left hand while wielding the staff in his right.
A Water Faerie was rolling toward Kasthie in her bubble of water. "I do not hurt young ones," she said wisely. "It is not right. I will simply encase you. You have nothing to fear."
Kasthie frowned. "You guys don't understand! We're trying to help you!" She jumped out of the way as a Water spell flew toward her and hit the spot where she had just been standing. She tried to regain her balance, but another Water Faerie in a bubble shot another spell at her before she could. Soon, Kasthie was trapped within a small watery cage that was surprisingly solid.
"One has been taken care of!" the Water Faerie shouted in a shrill voice. "Three to go!"
Treaphie gaped as she saw her sister struggling to break the cage, and got angry as she saw the Water Faeries continuously reinforcing her prison, but soon she had her own problems. A crowd of three or four Earth Faeries were hot on her tail. Treaphie ran around the room, dodging the many spells coming toward her and trying hard not to be cornered. Then she got an idea.
Treaphie raced right next to the cage Kasthie was encased in.
"Where's your Faellie?" Kasthie asked nervously.
"In my backpack," Treaphie panted. "But a Dark Faerie has my bag. I don't know where she is."
Kasthie moaned, "We have to do something! We have to get out! We... Treaphie, look out!"
An Earth spell was coming right toward Treaphie from one of the faeries. Treaphie leaped to the right, and the Earth spell hit Kasthie's cage. Soon a large tree was growing on top of the water cage, using the water to increase in size and strength. The Water Faeries could not keep up the reinforcements as fast as the tree was taking away water, for Earth spells had become stronger than before recently. Kasthie understood what was happening at once. As the cage weakened, she slipped away. She got out just before the tree crashed down over the now-liquified cage.
"Thanks," she breathed.
"No problem," Treaphie said. "Now let's get Kolyae!"
Kolyae was locked in combat with the Fire Faerie. Whenever another tried to come help Riss, she would shout, "No! I will finish the one who disgraced me!"
Kolyae began tumbling in a series of somersaults as fire rained down upon him. Meanwhile, Kasthie and Treaphie were having their own problems. The faeries were all using their combined efforts in an attempt to stop them. Air was flowing toward them, whipping their cheeks with full force and pushing them backwards. Vines began entangling them. The vines flew to the wall, trapping Kasthie and Treaphie in a big mess of tangled plant life. As they struggled against their bonds, the faeries turned their attention to Toupahz. The Meerca was putting up a good fight, but the faeries were becoming more determined now.
"Run, Toupahz!" Kasthie screamed. Treaphie knew it was good advice. Toupahz didn't stand a chance against the power of all the faeries in this room. Even as Kasthie spoke, spells came flying at the Meerca with such force that she was thrown backward and crashed on top of a table.
"Toupahz!" Treaphie gasped. She couldn't bear to watch her sister in this losing battle, so she turned her attention over to her brother, Kolyae. He was still battling Riss intently. He gave her a sharp jab in the arm with his staff and her spell faltered. Riss used her other hand to send a bolt of fire toward Kolyae. It hit his Small Metal Shield, and Kolyae cried out in pain.
Riss laughed viciously. "Don't you understand?" she snarled. "Your weapon is of wood, which never lasts to fire. Your shield is metal, one of the best conductors of heat!"
The shield must have been burning hot, for Kolyae dropped it. It hit the floor with a bang. Kolyae studied his hand, which looked lightly burned. Riss took advantage of the moment and hit his entire arm with a roaring flame.
"Aaaaaahhh!" Kolyae screamed. A nearby Water Faerie gasped, "No!" She quickly doused the Baby Chomby with water. Kolyae's cries did not cease as he sank to the floor, shaking. Riss turned angrily to the Water Faerie and began bickering with her about sparing the Baby Chomby.
"What's the matter with you?" Riss shouted impatiently. "He was so close to being defeated!"
"He's just a Baby!" the wise Water Faerie protested.
Kasthie was sobbing silently next to Treaphie. Treaphie, too, felt tremendous sorrow at Kolyae's pain, but she knew she needed to formulate a plan. It was just like those games she used to play with Kasthie and Kolyae back home. The goal: To escape. The complications: A room full of highly-trained faeries, and the fact that they were trapped.
Treaphie saw that Toupahz was still lying on the table, barely conscious. It was only a matter of time before the faeries remembered her and sent her off to prison. But the Baby Usul wouldn't let that happen.
She looked at the tangle of vines imprisoning her. "Kasthie," she whispered. "Your backpack. Can I have it?"
Kasthie blinked tears out of her eyes as she turned her gaze from Kolyae. "Sure," she said quietly. She took it off of her shoulders and handed it to Treaphie.
Treaphie began to put her plan into action. She gnawed at the nearest vines until they snapped. The arguing of the faeries covered up the sound of her little teeth chomping away and the breaking of the vines. It didn't take long for a decent-sized hole to form. She slipped through it, and Kasthie quietly followed suit. Treaphie handed her sister the Basic Dryer she had by now become very skilled with. Then the Baby Usul removed the Trumpet of Blasting. She scanned the crowd anxiously for Dark Faeries and finally spotted a nearby one with her backpack. Treaphie crept quietly toward the Dark Faerie, who was looking excitedly at the large argument arising among the faeries. Dark Faeries loved chaos. Treaphie grabbed her backpack in one swift motion from the faerie.
"Hey!" the Dark Faerie yelled, whipping her head around, but Treaphie gave her a hard, quick bop on the head with her Trumpet of Blasting and the faerie lost her balance, falling to the floor.
Treaphie used the few seconds' time to remove her Faellie from the backpack. She whispered to her, "Get Toupahz to safety back in our Neolodge room, and then come back. Trap these faeries. Stop them. Protect us."
Already the faeries were beginning to take notice of the two small babies who had rejoined them. Treaphie tossed Kasthie her backpack, readjusted her own on her shoulders, and took off running. She heard tiny footsteps behind her that were certainly Kasthie's and was proud that her sister was beginning to learn how to follow unspoken plans in times of danger. Soon Treaphie came to Kolyae, who was still on the floor. She knew the Faellie had already made it to Toupahz and could see her easily battling the faeries by simply looking at them. She saw the white petpet fly out the door, pulling Toupahz alongside her on a large, fluffy cloud that appeared out of thin air. Treaphie tried to lift Kolyae, but he was older and bigger than her. She struggled, but could not even raise him two inches. The faeries were drawing closer, including Riss, who considered it to be her own personal duty to win in battle against Kolyae.
They were running out of time. Spells were already flying toward the small group of three. Treaphie was starting to give up hope as she looked at her brother lying motionless on the ground. How was she supposed to get out of this situation? She sat down on the floor, tears forming in her eyes.
She heard some grunting and turned around. There was Kasthie, even smaller and weaker than Treaphie was, trying to lift her big brother. Treaphie swelled with pride. If her sister, the one who looked up to her more than anyone else, could remain hopeful, then so could she.
"What next, Treaphie?" she asked, her eyes gleaming with hope. She trusted the Usul. Treaphie couldn't let her down. Faster than she thought possible, the gears of her mind began turning, and she thought of a plan. It happened so quickly that she wasn't sure how she had done it. Why couldn't she do that so easily before?
"Take this, and blow it as hard as you can toward them!" Treaphie called, passing Kasthie the Trumpet of Blasting. Kasthie didn't hesitate in the slightest. She drew a deep breath and blew into the trumpet.
All of the faeries were knocked off their feet and soon were lying on the ground. Treaphie didn't waste a second. As soon as the trumpet had left her fingertips, she had withdrawn a Healing Potion from her backpack. Now she began pouring its contents into Kolyae's mouth. Kolyae began to stir and his eyelids slowly opened as the potion worked its magic. He winced at the pain he still felt from his burns, and Treaphie took out a Healing Potion from Kasthie's pack, which was easily within reach. She put it carefully onto Kolyae's various burns and heard her brother sigh in relief.
The faeries had already gotten back up. Kasthie tried to make the sound from her trumpet again, but the faeries were ready this time. A Light Faerie flashed a bright light at Kasthie, momentarily blinding her, while an Air Faerie sent a wind to blow the trumpet from her hands. It clattered to the floor.
Kolyae shakily stood up. He breathed deeply. Treaphie helped to steady him while Kasthie backed up slowly towards them. The trumpet still lay on the ground.
"Got any more of those?" she asked.
Treaphie knew they had two more, but she wasn't ready to show the faeries that. The faeries were advancing slowly, intently, towards them. They were murmuring to each other about what measures to take to trap them.
Then Riss flew up to the front and smiled cruelly. "Let me deal with them."
"Riss," a Light Faerie said uncertainly, "I don't think that's the best idea..."
Before she could continue, Riss thrust her hand forward, and a jet of fire soared straight at Kolyae. Treaphie gasped and jumped onto him, pushing him back toward the floor. The fire just missed the tip of Treaphie's fuzzy left ear and sailed into the wall of the palace. A burning hole began to form.
Treaphie seized their chance. "Run!" she cried. She took off toward the hole in the wall, Kasthie and Kolyae following her as fast as their little legs could carry them. Treaphie saw a streak of white flash by and assumed it was a spell, so she ducked. When she straightened back up, she saw something hovering right in front of her. It was white, with tiny feathery wings and an innocent face. Treaphie knew the Faellie anywhere. She hugged her while continuing on her way. Finally, she, the Faellie, Kasthie, and Kolyae toppled through the hole. Unfortunately, the faeries were almost there, too.
The babies, now inside the wall, ran to the parts where the wall could act as a shield. They watched uncountable spells go through the hole, slamming beside them. Treaphie looked down at her White Faellie and nodded.
The Faellie seemed to remember Treaphie's requests from earlier, because she began sending spell after spell toward each faerie at a remarkable speed. Treaphie peeked out of the hole and saw the door that led to the Meeting Rooms. It was only one doorway away, but somehow the guards in front of the door hadn't moved at all throughout this entire episode. Treaphie sighed.
"Come on!" she called to her Faellie. By now, nearly every faerie was trapped in a complex combination of different types of magic and each was desperately trying to free the others. The Faellie bounded towards Treaphie and licked her paw. Treaphie smiled and looked at the guards again.
The guards were, of course, blessed to have defense against elemental magic. "Make them trapped in snow," Treaphie whispered to the Faellie. The Faellie did so, but in almost no time four jets of fire made their way to the guards, melting the snow into large puddles. Treaphie glanced around and saw that the faeries, though trapped, were still trying to stop them.
"How do we get in?" Kasthie wailed.
Treaphie looked to her left, then to her right. It seemed that the walls were passageways. She thought about the position of the doorway. Then she smiled.
"Let's go!" she called.
"Treaphie, what are you doing?" Kolyae asked, but Treaphie had already taken off running. The others followed, still uncertain. They went down the dark corridors in silence, which made their hurried footsteps sound even louder as they slapped the floor.
Treaphie whispered to the Faellie, "Propel us forward. Give us a wind."
The Faellie lazily looked up at her. A strong wind suddenly pushed the group forward. Treaphie felt the breeze carry her and immediately her teeth began to chatter. It was almost unbearably cold, but it was fast. They kept going until Treaphie told them to make a turn. She mentally calculated the route they would need to take to get to the corridor with the Meeting Rooms according to the room's position from the main hall. As she directed them, the others did not argue. They trusted her. Treaphie was overwhelmed with a feeling of content.
At last, she realized they were nearing their destination. "Shh, stop the winds now," she commanded. The Faellie obliged. The group slowly walked forward. Treaphie knew the other faeries were not a problem anymore; the faeries needed more time to loosen themselves from the traps, and they would likely get lost in the labyrinth of the wall system.
Kasthie stopped walking suddenly. She listened intently. There was a low sound coming from just a little farther off. Quietly, the three babies scooted forward. The sound grew distinctly louder. Treaphie put her ear to the wall on her right and heard unmistakable voices.
"... the obvious course of action," an elegant voice said. Treaphie noticed the other babies putting their ears to the wall as well. She looked down at the Faellie in her arms and soundlessly put a finger to her lips. The Faellie got the hint and stayed quiet. Treaphie stroked her kindly and put her gently into her backpack.
"As if she would reveal her plan to us!" another spat.
"My point exactly, Sabre-X," spoke the unmistakably calm voice of Fyora.
"Maybe if we threatened her she would. After all, Queen Fyora, you are quite powerful..." a voice started.
Fyora then spoke, "Ah, Princess Roberta, Jhudora is not one to be threatened. Even if she were able to be forced to tell us, she is quite a convincing liar. I am determined that this is not the action we should take. Any other suggestions?"
"Fyora," said another impatiently, "You may be the host of this meeting, but I think all of our opinions should be of equal importance."
"Indeed," said Fyora with a hint of amusement in her voice. "I never said your points were of unimportance, Kyruggi. I know you are the Grand Elder of Tyrannia and that your opinions matter. I am simply warning that this plan is likely to fail, and failure is something we cannot afford."
"How do we even know that Jhudora is involved in... whatever's going on, Fyora?" asked a bold voice.
"Ah, good inquiry, Princess Amira," Fyora said politely. "Jhudora has been having numerous meetings with a cloaked figure. Since the very first day of these suspicious meetings, we, the faeries, have been feeling a disturbance. It is clear that danger is arising."
"I see," said the proud voice that Treaphie could now identify as Princess Amira. "Perhaps, knowing this, we could review the plan again?"
"That is an excellent suggestion, yes. Thank you." Fyora paused. "This plan that we have thought up is to simply walk up to Jhudora and demand she tell us what she's doing."
There was a silence.
"So..." someone said slowly, "If... if we knew what this danger was... our problems would be solved?"
"Not quite, Princess Lunara. It's a bit more complicated than that. If we are able to feel something wrong already, and we are unable to identify the danger, that means it is quite complex magic."
"How else could we find it out?" someone asked loudly.
"Actually, Princess Terrana, there is another way," said Fyora nonchalantly. "We could send over spies, though it would be difficult for them to remain unseen by Jhudora. She can see them in spots of brightness, and has ways to sense if someone is there in the dark. But if the spies are lucky, they might be able to eavesdrop on Jhudora's conversation with the cloaked figure."
"Well, that's a bright idea!" cried a jolly voice. It sounded a lot like King Roo.
"Who will be the spies?" another asked. "I am quite talented at hiding. I would be honored to volunteer..."
"Queen Nabile, please, I know of your past perfectly well," chuckled Fyora. "I thank you for volunteering, but the mission has already been completed."
No one spoke for several moments. Then an outburst of cries of shock soared through the room.
One raised his voice above the others to be heard. "Why didn't you tell us this earlier?" he shouted.
"I wish for silence before I explain," said Fyora in her usual strong, yet peaceful voice. The noise gradually settled down.
"Now then, King Hagan," said Queen Fyora, "I haven't told you until now because I thought it would be best if they were here when I mentioned it --"
"'They'?" a voice interrupted. "Who's 'they'?"
"'They' are the ones who discovered more about this danger, King Jazan," said Fyora coolly. "Even I do not know what they found out, but I did see them leaving Jhudora's Cloud. Jhudora's face is so easy to read when she is in a rage. It was clear a huge secret had been discovered. I am certain they will be willing to help us."
"Well, we better get working on finding them!" someone said enthusiastically. "Where shall we look first?"
"I think this will not be as hard as finding those worms in your land of Moltara, Mayor," said Fyora, and her tone of voice gave away that she was smiling as she spoke. "They're right here."
Suddenly, Treaphie, Kasthie, and Kolyae were all surrounded by a light purple glow. It was an odd sensation. Treaphie felt as though she were in a warm blanket, and the blanket seemed to be tickling her. They were carried all the way through the wall and landed softly on the ground. The glow faded away.
Treaphie looked up immediately. She saw a large table in front of her, seated at which were the royal families of each of the major lands of Neopia. There was regal Princess Amira, her two long ear stalks adorned with gold. Princess Terrana was beside her, a grappling hook over her shoulder and a fierce expression on her face. King Jazan was seated opposite the Gnorbu, his usual thick black guyliner all around his eyes. Beside him was Queen Nabile, her silky black hair gathered up in a ponytail and her eyes shining with eagerness. There were so many royal families that the room seemed to be radiating power, and all of the regal men and women were staring at the three small babies on the floor. Treaphie gave a timid wave. Kolyae hid behind Treaphie. Kasthie shrunk back and tried to climb through the wall again, but it was solid, and so was she.
"Greetings," said Queen Fyora to the group of babies. Treaphie gasped. Fyora was absolutely beautiful. Her long purple dress seemed to be embroidered out of pure magical wisps, and her light blue tiara sparkled brilliantly. The purple orb placed on the top of her crown seemed to be creating a glow that lit the whole room. The most stunning thing about her were her eyes - lilac eyes, the same shade as Treaphie's.
"Your Majesty," Treaphie said, bowing before her. Then she turned to the others seated around the long, rectangular table and bowed to them as one. "My Kings; my Queens."
Fyora nodded her approval. "Please, tell us what you know."
"I would be honored," said Treaphie, her large purple eyes sparkling. "Jhudora was talking to somebody. The one she was speaking to seemed to be trying to persuade her of something..." Treaphie trailed off. She didn't quite know how to say what she wished to.
Kasthie stepped in, much to Treaphie's surprise. "There were two objects. They were both large purple rings. According to the speaker, they are the sources of magic for Earth magic and Dark magic. They discovered this by strengthening both. That means that right now, Earth and Dark magic are stronger than all other elemental magic. If they were to be destroyed, all the dark faeries and earth faeries wouldn't be able to use their magic anymore."
Then Kolyae spoke in a clear voice. "Both Jhudora and the one talking share the same goal: to eliminate all elemental magic except for the Dark magic. They want to do this by destroying the Earth source that they have, but they do not know which is Earth magic and which is Dark magic. The one who visited wants to destroy one of the rings at random and hope it is the Earth magic. Jhudora was more hesitant. She refused to do it, but the one who visited said that another would do it if she didn't. They seemed willing to take the fifty-fifty chance of getting rid of the Earth element."
Treaphie then took her turn. "The one who visited Jhudora also trapped the Space Faerie, Mira. She is the one who contacted us."
The royal families seated around the table were listening with so much focus that they could repeat word-for-word what the babies had said. After they had finished, they turned towards Fyora for further instructions.
Fyora spoke regally, though her voice had an edge of worry, "Thank you, young Neopets. This is... far worse than I imagined."
"What does it mean, Fyora?" King Altador asked quietly.
"It means that all of Neopia may soon be overrun with Dark magic," Fyora said sadly. "It means that all other elemental magic may cease to exist."
There was a collective gasp around the table.
"How can we stop it?" Princess Lunara cried. She brushed some of her dark hair out of her face and looked at Fyora with worry. Her Cybunny ears drooped a little as she spoke. "Queen Fyora, please tell me it can be stopped!"
"It can be," said Queen Fyora. "All we need to do is retrieve the sources of magic before it's too late."
"But we don't know when they'll be destroyed or who's going to try to destroy them!" Queen Nabile complained.
"Actually, we do," said Treaphie, and all heads turned to her again. "The sources of magic are going to be destroyed tomorrow because Jhudora wants to use her Dark magic to achieve some tasks before she risks losing her magic. As for the one behind it, that would be Vira."
"Then we must find out where Vira is-" another began.
"Vira was at the Neolodge 'Faerie Castle' about three hours ago," Kolyae interrupted.
Another moment passed where no one spoke. Treaphie wished they wouldn't take so long to process everything she and her siblings said.
"Then let's get moving!" Princess Terrana shouted. The other royal families agreed and hastily began getting out of their chairs.
"Stop," said Fyora in her calm voice. Everyone stopped their movements at once. "Thank you," the Queen of the Faeries told them gratefully. "Now, then, we will divide into groups. Some of us will need to focus on locating Vira, while some will retrieve the sources of magic, others will think of the best way for protecting the sources of magic after we retrieve them, a few will rescue Mira, and more will warn Neopia what is going on. We have much work to do. Tonight may be bleak, and tomorrow, things will go dreadfully wrong if we do not retrieve the rings."
"Or everything could be fixed," said Princess Amira. "What if they destroy the source of Dark magic?"
There was an interested murmuring around the table at this.
"That would not be good either," Fyora told them. "You may not know it, but Neopia is perfectly balanced. We must have all the elements present or things will get out of hand. Without Dark, Light will be blinding and painful. Without Light, Dark will be somber and terrifying. We need a balance of these in order to have our world as perfect as it is."
Treaphie bowed before Fyora. "If there is any way I can help, please let me know, Queen Fyora."
Fyora looked at Treaphie. "All right, then," she said, a smile growing on her face. "We could use your help."
"All right!" Treaphie ran up to the table, followed by her siblings. Fyora looked at her again, amused.
The babies sat next to each other on Princess Lunara's lap. The Cybunny looked delighted and made remarks to the pet beside her about how cute they were. "So, our quest is almost over?" Kolyae asked Treaphie hopefully in a whisper.
"Actually," Treaphie replied, "I'm pretty sure this is where the adventure begins."
To be continued...