The Puppet Master
"Pweeze don't go!" pleaded Leah. "I pwomise to be good if you stay!"
Xandra sighed and shook her head. "Lee-Lee, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I told you and Laxara that."
"I know that." Laxara scowled from the doorway. The Red Xweetok shook her head. "It's still not fair. You're our big sister. Mom is always busy. I don't know how I can look after Lee-Lee by myself."
"Laxara, you'll be fine," Xandra responded. She finished packing up the rest of her things.
Still, Laxara felt uneasy. She saw terrible things in her dreams. "I don't see why I can't go. I'm a mage too."
"But your way of seeing the future is strange. You see things when you're awake. That isn't normal, even for a mage." the Speckled Xweetok replied. She stumbled when Leah clung to her leg. "It has to remain a secret, for your own safety."
"Pweeze!" the Baby Xweetok cried.
Xandra sighed and pulled her baby sister off of her leg. "Lee-Lee, I have to go. Laxara will look after you. I'll visit whenever I can."
Leah sniffed. "Okay."
Laxara looked at her older sister with worried eyes. A terrible fate would befall her one year older sister if she went to train with the Faeries. She could feel it. But no matter how much she tried to see exactly what would happen, she just couldn't.
"I've got to go." Xandra hugged her eleven year old sister. "Bye, Laxara."
Laxara felt tears in her eyes. "Bye, Xandra."
Leah hugged her. "Bye, Sissy," she whimpered.
Xandra picked up her suitcase, and left.
Laxara picked up her crying sister and held her close.
"I miss her already," Laxara murmured.
Leah sniffed and nodded.
A feeling of dread washed over Laxara and she slipped away from this sad scene.
She saw Xandra on a ruined battlefield, looking angrier than Laxara had ever seen her. Her hair flew wildly behind her like living Cobralls as she faced a Kougra and an Ixi. Laxara strained to hear what they were saying, but she heard nothing. Then, out of nowhere, a huge monster of darkness rose up and flew at the Kougra. The Ixi dodged the attacks from Xandra. A few minutes later, he stabbed a sort of artifact with a knife. There was a flash of light, and when Laxara could see again, Xandra and the Ixi were stone.
"Sissy," Leah asked, patting her sister's face. "Wake up."
Laxara blinked. She was back in the present and lying on the bed. Leah knelt by her head.
"What happened?" Laxara asked.
Laxara recalled her vision. "I have to warn Xandra!" she gasped. She needed to head out to Faerieland immediately.
"Huh?" Leah asked.
Laxara conked herself in the head. What was she supposed to do with her little sister? She had an idea.
"Lee-Lee, how would you like to go to Faerieland?"
The baby's face brightened. "To see Sissy?"
"Um... yes." She mostly told the truth. Laxara knew her part in her vision. She had to find that Ixi.
"So, you're saying that her house has magical artifacts in it?" Hanso, the Blue Ixi from Laxara's vision, asked curiously.
Laxara nodded. "They're worth quite a bit in the Marketplace," she added persuasively.
Hanso grinned. "Then just tell me where she is."
Laxara grinned too. "Excellent. Xandra lives in the house closest to the Faerie Palace. She has roses all about. But be careful. She's a mage, and will try to catch you if you steal her stuff. If you do get caught-"
Hanso waved it off. "Get caught? Lax, love, you have no faith in me. We've known each other for years. I never get caught."
Laxara rolled her eyes. "You keep thinking that, Hanso. As I was saying, if you do get caught, don't tell anyone my name. And I want you to steal one artifact in particular."
"What's it look like?"
"I'm not exactly sure. I know it has a big purple gem in the center, though."
The Ixi rolled his eyes. "Well, that certainly clears it up."
"Oh, hush. Just take it, all right?"
"Good. Now, don't forget it."
A few days later...
"King Hagan!" Laxara cried, rushing into the throne room.
The Green Skeith looked up, alarmed. "What is it, Laxara?"
"I've seen something terrible!" she cried, playing the role to perfection.
"What is it?" asked Brynn, a Kougra guard that Laxara had made friends with.
"The Faeries. They've been turned to stone. I've seen Faerieland falling to the ground."
A gasp went around the room.
"How is this possible?" Brynn asked, the first one to speak.
"I'm not sure." The Xweetok shook her head. "But the Faeries have most certainly been turned to stone. You ought to send someone to investigate." Laxara added, turning to King Hagan.
The Skarl stroked his beard. "You are right. But who shall I send?"
Laxara looked at Bynn and winked. "What about Brynn, sire?"
"Yes, sire. She is extremely intelligent for her age, you must admit."
"True," King Hagan replied. "But what about you? Why should I not send you, a mage?"
Laxara shook her head. "I have seen the future in my dreams. I have no role to play. I say you should send Brynn."
Brynn looked up at King Hagan.
"All right. I suppose it would be a good experience. Especially if she can remove the Faerie's curse," the Skarl said. "Laxara, will you escort her there?"
"Yes sir." Laxara created a swirling portal. "Come on, Brynn."
The Kougra followed the Xweetok through the portal and came out in Faerieland.
"Wow," she gasped at the sight of the Faeries. "They've been turned to stone."
Laxara nodded. "I'm going to look around. Good luck."
"Same to you," Brynn replied as Laxara left.
After that, Laxara made her way to the heart of Faerieland,, looking for a familiar rose covered house. She sought out her sister, and soon found it. Before banging on the door, she made herself look distraught.
"Xandra!" she cried.
The door was flung open and the Speckled Xweetok stood there. "Laxara?" she asked. "What are you doing here?"
"The Faeries have been turned to stone! It's terrible!" she cried, hugging her sister. She could practically feel Xandra's guilt... and euphoria.
"Do you know who did it?" Xandra asked cautiously, breaking away from her sister's grasp.
Laxara shook her head. "No. My vision only showed them being stone."
"What do we do?"
"Maybe there's something in the library," Laxara suggested. "I passed it on my way here. I saw the Ogrin master too. Can you fix them? The Faeries?"
"I can try." Xandra pulled away from her sister. "You go home. I'll see what I can do."
"Go home? How can I? With all that has happened?"
"You'll be of better use there than here. Go home." Xandra walked away.
Laxara smiled sadly at her back. Why had her sister become such a terrible person? What had the Faeries ever done to her?
She would never know.
Laxara walked through Faerieland, watching everyone rebuild. All of this chaos, destruction, needless violence... it had been caused by her sister.
Laxara approached the Faerie Queen. It was time.
Fyora nodded wordlessly and led her to the palace, to a room outside of her chambers. She closed the door behind them.
Laxara faced the statue of Xandra. "Now."
Fyora sprinkled some dust onto the statue. There was a pop and the real Xandra came from the statue, tumbling onto the ground.
"Hanso!" she shrieked. "I'll kill you for that!"
"He isn't here," Laxara said.
Xandra spun around. "Laxara? Why... how... what's going on?"
"Calm yourself, Xandra," Queen Fyora ordered.
Xandra hissed. "You!" she tried to shoot out lightning, but nothing happened. "What? My powers..."
"Turned off for the moment." Laxara observed the Speckled Xweetok. "I've come to tell you a few things."
"What are you talking about?"
"I have to tell you what part I played in all of this."
"You're not making any sense."
"The day you left to go train with the Faeries I had a vision. You were facing Hanso and Brynn on a ruined battlefield, with debris raining down around you. You summoned a huge monster of darkness."
"Yes. I realized what part I had to play, the role of the puppet master."
Laxara smiled sadly. "Who do you think told Hanso about your home, full of magical artifacts to sell in the market?"
"You betrayed me?!"
"You left me with no choice."
Xandra scowled. "And I suppose you sent Brynn to Faerieland as well?"
"As a matter of fact, I did."
Xandra stared in disbelief.
"I also know about why you didn't want me to train with the Faeries." Laxara crossed her arms. "Did you think I wouldn't find out about your plans for me? To keep me in the darkest darkness while you used me as your personal seer?"
"Whatever you're going to say, don't. The Xandra I once knew was nothing like you. She was my sister. You..." the Xweetok shook her head. "You're nothing but a stranger to me now."
Xandra rose up in a rage, reaching for Laxara. With a whisper from Fyora, she was back to being a statue.
Laxara stared for a moment, then turned away.
"I am sorry," Queen Fyora said gently.
"As am I, your highness." The Xweetok shook her head sadly. "The sister I once knew is long gone."
"Will you stay with us?"
"No. I must find my own path. I'll visit from time to time, but I must find out why I bear the gift of Future Sight."
The Faerie nodded. "As you wish. And rest assured, both of your sister will remain her. Leah has yet to finish her training."
Laxara nodded, then left the room. Leah would be safe here. And Fyora would contact her if there was a change of heart in Xandra.
And with that, she left Faerieland. The Xweetok wandered Neopia, in search of answers. Who was she? What was she here for?
One day, the answer came to her. She was Laxara, the one with Future Sight. The Puppet Master.
If you're reading this, this is my first story in the Neopian Times! Also, more stories about Laxara to be coming soon!