Caylis's Necklace: Part Four
How could she have been so utterly stupid?!
Schala couldn't believe herself. Acting all high and mighty in front of a king, and yelling at him. She should have known. If she had been the ruler of Maraqua she wouldn't have tolerated such nonsense either.
Then again, she wouldn't have put a curse on Caylis in the first place.
Of course he would deny it. He didn't want his people to know about his treachery. If he had confirmed it, anyone would have believed anything Schala or anyone else said about what he did. Now, it looked to the whole kingdom as if she was a lunatic talking nonsense.
She had been told by Saeryena and by Mima not to be anything but polite and formal with King Altador, should she ever meet him, and any complaint she had should be a request, not a demand. The Cybunny sighed. Why had she done such a foolish thing? She was supposed to know better. And now, because of her, the Drenched would probably take over Maraqua. And who knew where they would go from there? More of those ocean storms might be stirred up. Sae and Mima might not make it back to Altador!
She had done it. She had brought the whole thing crashing down. It was no use.
With a tiny tear in the corner of her eye, which the ocean promptly whisked away, Schala floated off into the city, utterly defeated.
"Schala!" Caylis began to call. She stopped herself. The poor girl didn't need any of her scolding. She looked ashamed enough as it was.
Well, while she was at it, she still wanted to know what the king had done to her and her sister. She swam up to the palace gates and leaned in close, hoping to hear anything King Kelpbeard might be saying.
Nothing. There was only one thing left to do.
Caylis gingerly opened a window near the top floor of the palace. Being very careful to make sure none of the guards saw her, she took a peek in and swam through.
Perfect. The guards seemed to be concentrated on the floor area rather than the ceiling. She'd need to move quickly before they did.
From around the corner, she heard Kelpbeard's voice. It sounded angry. Abruptly she swam around the corner and nearly bumped into the back of a guard patrolling the upper area of the corridor. She gasped, causing the guard to turn and face her – but she was already gone. She heard him call for the other guards as she landed outside a door.
"Nereid," the king was scolding, "what sort of prophecy –"
Caylis didn't catch another word of it. One of the guards, a Yellow Jetsam, grabbed her by the back of her dress.
"What are YOU doing here?!" he yelled, looking right into her eyes. "No one invited YOU! GET OUT!"
He tossed her out the window as she caught the unmistakable sound of King Kelpbeard's trusted court Faerie, Nereid, weeping.
Flustered, Caylis decided she had to tell her sister what she knew. If she had heard correctly, Nereid had something to do with this.
Where was Schala supposed to go now? To Isca? Maybe... but she didn't know where Isca lived, and it was probably somewhere in the palace, where she most certainly wouldn't be allowed after her outburst. Should she try to go back to Caylis's cave? No, she had no idea where it was. Mima had often told her how bad her sense of direction was.
She began to swim up toward the surface. Maybe, just maybe, she could find the ship or get to some land nearby. She knew Mystery Island and Meridell were near. It would be great if she could find Meridell, because Sae and Mima might be there right now...
She saw something in the distance. It had a fishtail. Was it Caylis? No, there were two. It must be Caylis and Isca.
Then a third one joined the group.
Schala didn't really know who or what they were at first, but as they came closer she saw they were Faeries, not Neopets. The realization didn't hit her until they came nearer.
It was the dreaded trio, the Drenched. Schala screamed.
From nearer to the palace, Caylis heard her. As fast as she could she swam like a torpedo toward the sound, but it was too late. The Cybunny had vanished.
"Unnh... where am I?"
Schala opened her eyes. She was in an underwater cave, again, but not on any kind of bed. And there was none of the safe feeling that came from Caylis's.
"Good, she's awake," said an unfamiliar voice. "Well done, sisters."
She stared up into the eyes of a grey-skinned Water Faerie.
"Here's the deal, girl," Reisna snapped. "You tell us what that fool of a king Kelpbeard is planning to defend Maraqua against our invasion. If you do, we let you go free. If you don't... that pretty little necklace of yours comes off.
"Now," she continued, staring directly at Schala. "What are his plans?!"
"I-I don't know," Schala said in a soft voice, shaking.
"You LIAR!" Alira screeched. She made a grab for Schala's necklace.
"Now, now, sister," Reisna said. "You don't want to make any rash decisions. This little Cybunny is actually a very valuable part of our plot. She seems to be friends with Caylis, who has great powers. Maraqua might actually stand a chance with her on their side. So we need to make sure she doesn't fight for them. And what better and more cruel way to do it then to use her dear little friend as bait?"
Alira's eyes gleamed maliciously as she and Reisna chucked.
"Let's find Caylis!" Reisna cried out. She swept a quick look at Lirita that said You can't go. You're too incompetent. Lirita crossed her arms and pouted as Alira and Reisna left the cave, hot on Caylis's trail.
With a sigh, the youngest sister plucked herself onto a ledge that stuck out of the cave's inner wall.
"Come to think of it," she said to herself, "our potions were hoax-ish scam type thingies. I mean, like, who wouldn't want a pretty singing voice? That's reasonable enough. It's not fair to make the one who desires it deaf also. And what is it about that poor Peophin who became as big as a Krawken after wishing for super strength? That's just wrong." She giggled softly, so softly that Schala didn't hear.
"Er... what's your name?" Schala asked.
"Oh, me? I'm, like, Lirita! Not Reisna, not Alira, I'm Lirita!"
Perhaps this sister wasn't as bad as the other two.
"Could you... um... untie me then?"
Lirita swam over to where Schala was tied to a stalagmite. She fired a spark at the ropes, breaking them.
"Oh, thank you!" the Cybunny said. She swam toward the entrance.
"Oh," said Lirita, "don't get lost! Hee hee..."
The evil Faerie waved her hand and muttered something. The poor Cybunny now wouldn't be able to see as well underwater. She was definitely going to get lost.
Finally, she was free.
But... what was this? Was it just her, or had the surrounding area become... blurrier? It was almost impossible to see anything. Had overexposure to water done this?
Schala turned her head. She saw the same thing – blurry formations of what she guessed were rocks amongst a bluish background.
Feeling helpless, she swam around, trying her best to avoid anything that didn't look blue. But wait – what was this? Glitter?
No, not glitter. The city of Maraqua. She had no idea it was so close to the Drenched's cave. She turned so that she was facing the glittering thing directly and swam toward it.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING BACK HERE?!"
It was unmistakably the voice of a Maraquan warrior. She couldn't quite make out what kind of Neopet he was, all she knew was that he was bright yellow. A Flotsam or Jetsam, she guessed.
He grabbed her arm and tossed her away from the city, yelling "DON'T EVER, EVER COME BACK!"
"Oh no," smirked Reisna. "You don't want to use that on us. We won't be able to tell you where your little friend is."
Caylis gasped. Her magic flickered and died.
"We got her!" shouted Alira with excitement. "She's at our cave!"
"Shut up, you," Reisna scolded. Turning back to Caylis, she added, "You have twenty minutes to rescue her... or else." She winked with a glint of malice in her eye.
Caylis just floated there, frozen, as the two Drenched sisters swam away. They were planning an attack on Maraqua, and the king and his warriors were completely unprepared! She had to defend her sister, especially. But Schala... she was trapped, too. Caylis had no idea what to do.
If only Schala had been smarter and not yelled at the king. If only she herself had been smarter, not demanding out of nowhere how Kelpbeard had "charmed" Isca. If only she hadn't even known about the "charming" of her sister. If only the guards hadn't seen her when she'd tried to catch a conversation. If only the ship carrying Schala hadn't made a sharp turn. If only she hadn't done whatever foolish thing she did to get herself knocked off the ship.
"You let her go?!"
Lirita looked up at Reisna, frightened.
"Y-yes, but – "
"I DON'T BELIEVE YOU!" hollered Alira. "YOU ARE THE MOST STUPID LITTLE SISTER A GIRL COULD HAVE! YOU ARE A DISGRACE TO OUR FAMILY! YOU –"
"Please, please stop!" begged Lirita through tears. "Icastaspellonhersoshecouldntseeanyting!"
"Speak more slowly, idiot," Reisna snapped.
"I cast a spell on her so she couldn't see anything," Lirita repeated.
Reisna's lips curled into an evil smile. Alira cheered.
"Well done, sister!" Reisna said with triumph. "When Caylis arrives here, there will be no one, and she will have wasted all her efforts! Ah-ha-ha! And she'll probably scour the seas for her little friend. And in that time we will be taking over the kingdom! His feeble warriors don't stand a chance against us!"
Reisna threw her head back and laughed maliciously. Lirita giggled. That Cybunny was such a fool. Of course she was evil! Alira joined in.
Their plan was working. The Cybunny was lost for good, and without their best warrior, Maraqua would surely fall.
To be continued...