Magic and Mayhem: Part Five
"I demand an audience with the princess!" An indignant Eyrie squirms with two stone-faced guards escorting him, green feathers flying everywhere. "I have done nothing, yet you insist on throwing me in prison!"
"We caught him snooping around your chambers, Lord Razul." The tall, orange Draik stands at attention. "He had this bag."
The shadow Kyrii gingerly takes the small brown sack and after opening it, exclaims, "The amulet!"
Before anyone can react, he pounces forward and pins the Eyrie to the wall with a white-hot orb of fire.
Shocked, the Lupe yelps, "Enough! Both of you explain yourselves! I expected such unsophisticated behavior from a coward like you." Her lip peels back in loathing as the Eyrie begs pitifully making no effort to be dignified- no longer arrogantly talking over others- and resumes, "But you.... You, Razul, should know to act befitting your title."
"You are correct, Princess." A glacial, unnerving calm washes over the Kyrii as he straightens sluggishly. "A thousand apologies for disgracing you; however, I could hardly control myself when I discovered he had stolen the amulet of the dark sun. Princess, I believe he is your attacker."
"No, no! I didn't do it... I-I mean I did, but I didn't... I didn't really! You've got t- Something was control-" the Eyrie stutters until an amber pair of eyes silence him.
"I will take care of this." He glowers down at the accused, which can't quite control his jerking wings. "I shall make certain he will never endanger you again."
"Not yet." The Lupe's posture is rigid on the chair. "I should hear what he has to say."
"So," Ruby says, listening to the conversation. "That guy was being.... Mind controlled?"
"That is what he claimed," Sand replies, pondering why the ghost expects her to help him when he had a part in her curse.
"Claimed? You didn't- er don't believe him?" Violet doesn't sound incredulous, just curious. "Something about his story just... feels wrong."
"I told you." Green wings flap desperately, stirring up a breeze and an unnatural amount of sweat beads up on his brow. "That's not my bag! An old Mynci, who wanted to talk all about carrots for some reason, hung around my table all night. It's his... I even asked him. He must have slipped it in my pocket."
"It's almost- no, that's ridiculous," Violet snorts, but then observes, "Is it just me or is he trying way too hard to seem nervous?"
"Guards, lock him in a cell and keep someone on watch at all times," the princess orders. "We will see him later. Make sure that-"
The Lupe's high squeal of pain astonishes all present and rushing to her side, the Kyrii pleads, "What is it? What's wrong, Sandra?"
Foam bubbling around her mouth, the desert Lupe looks more like a feral neopet than a princess and she chokes out a few words, "They are.... trying... to steal my magic. I-I will not let them."
Turning to the remaining guard- the other having run off to get help-, he grabs the thrashing princess's wrists then with undeniable worry and rage (and a flicker of another unreadable emotion-regret?) commands him to help. A healer rushes in the room trailed by numerous soldiers.
Unexpectedly, the vision gradually dims to darkness. While it progresses steadily, Sand thinks her senses are tricking her; however, Ruby and Violet notice it too. Then, they are plunged in darkness.
Why must it always be this dramatic? thinks Sand and she is reminded of her friend, who she never gave an explanation to before disappearing into the desert.
Qasala: Not so very long ago (The Rein of Emperor Razul the Fiery)
The palace appears almost deserted. Few servants and advisors occupy the chairs and hallways. The ones that do are either constantly looking over their shoulders or miserably wait, resigned to their time in the dungeon- for over half the staff are inhabiting it so far. Very few hover in the emperor's presence hoping to be included in whatever will be profitable for them. Qasala's not-so-beloved ruler is rumored to be insane and paranoid- more so now due to whispers of removing him from the throne.
"Traitors! Traitors all of them!" The shadow Kyrii fumes as he stalks in front of several quaking advisors, who had not yet been thrown in prison. "I should turn then all into cobralls..." His raving abruptly turns to composed speech. "I need to return to my research. This meeting is dismissed."
After the last neopet exits the room, he moves toward the door, but a blue Uni and a young orange Kyrii block his path. Both are startled and step out of the way. Razul paws clench as he glances over his son. His fur- although a different shade of orange- reminds him of another. Pushing away the tormenting memory, he brushes past them and travels to his secret underground study. (Naturally every dark-hearted rogue needs a lair.)
You should get rid of those two, a voice whispers intently. I sense a strong will in your son.
Yes! snickers another greedily. Use his essence for a spell.
Quiet! snaps a third voice. He needs to focus. Look! He is drifting off in a daydream again. How are we going to get anything done? Pay attention!
Dejectedly, the emperor is hauled from his thoughts by the voices. Swirling together in his mind, he wants to detest them- force them to quit pestering him, but he'd feel lost without them. They had appeared to him long ago, but for several years had gone quiet. He still hadn't decided if he was better off with or without them.
Keep at it! urges the final voice. When you find the spell, your army will be practically indestructible.
Skimming through piles of scrolls, the shadow Kyrii winces as laughter echoes in his head, but finds himself invigorated. "Then can we break the curse?"
Yes, yes, assures all three at once. And you will have your revenge on all who made you suffer.
"Where are we now?" Ruby asks in the thick darkness. It is an odd sensation none of them had ever felt before- like someone had trapped them in a stuffy room and draped heavy blankets over them.
"I don't know. I've never been here.... where ever here is," Sand replies warily.
"You sure did faint a lot," grumbles Violet, irritated at the fear making her voice shake. I am not claustrophobic. I am NOT claustrophobic.
"Hey!" snaps Sand back, waving her paws for emphasis uselessly. "I was being zapped by magic constantly."
"Look! The... uh," Ruby struggles with the wording for a moment and his tone makes his next statement more of a question. "The vision is turning back on."
It's as if someone threw on a light switch. The white brilliance makes them all gasp in pain-the burning against their eye lids- and it takes a while for the sight to be more than colorful dots.
Healers crowd around the unconscious princess and many officials and advisors argue boisterously. The shadow Kyrii shouts at neopets in robes beside him as they examine dense scrolls. Darting around in the assembly are terrified servants tentatively handing out refreshments. Near the back of the room the Faerie Queen is conversing with a high raking advisor to convince him to let the faeries help.
"I respect your privacy in internal matters concerning your people and of course your wizards and mages are able to take care of this unpleasant business, however..." The Faerie Queen speaks diplomatically, caressing her glossy blue staff causing her white diamond at the top to glow gently. "I feel obliged to aid my friend the princess in any way I possibly can."
The desert Acara grimaces at his tough situation. He can't rudely deny the kingdom's ally's simple, gracious offer, but Razul, the princess's right hand, is known to have a great distrust for faeries (The Acara wonders if he even said anything else other than "I told you those faeries shouldn't have come!" or "I knew they were trouble, especially that pink and purple one!" in the past few hours. He wanted to reply, "What did they ever do to you that got your tail in a twist?", but he valued having his head attached to his neck.)
"The princess would humbly accept," the Acara bows and hastily withdraws knowing although he spoke what would likely have been the princess's answer, the shadow Kyrii would be far from pleased.
"My queen," the smaller of the two faeries who had been at her side all evening adjusts her snowy-white armor with pink and purple symbols. "Do you think she could be-"
"No," Valeane, in matching snowy-white armor with green and cerise symbols, tosses her purple hair from her shoulder. "We defeated her.... even if she escaped, she wouldn't have been strong enough."
"Come, ladies. We can start by-" the queen begins, but a deafening, unnatural howl astounds everyone in the room.
The princess, eyes glowing white, lunges out of her bed and clamps on to an unfortunate servant. "You think you can steal my power so easily?" The Lupe bares her teeth not addressing the victim squirming under her iron grip, but the room in general. "You have seen nothing of my true power!"
Panic erupts as the princess (semi-conscious, possessed, majorly sleep-deprived.... no one is quite sure) initiates a potent spell. Many dive onto the floor unsure where it is aimed. Others try to protect themselves with a quickly created spell or a shield or even an ornate flower pot. Razul mutters something and then focuses on casting.
Sand recalls this night vaguely, but she cannot appreciate the destruction she caused because she has been closely watching Razul. Her ears strain to catch his last comment.
"Did he just say, 'I sully a win fest' ?" Ruby frowns. "Or 'I'm so sorry, princess'?"
Sand is grateful someone heard, but she is not in the mood for complete and utter ridiculousness so she is satisfied when Violet swats at her clueless brother.
"What?" he protests.
A bolt of cobalt blue magic zips toward the raving princess; she ducks and it stuns a nearby healer. The desert Lupe flings the servant she had been holding aside carelessly and between her paws a swirling blue-green light pulses. One last bolt of blue lightning attempts to upset her concentration, but it is smoothly redirected to its origin. Valeane and Fyora bravely throw themselves forward. The blast knocks the heroines off their feet and they crash into the queen.
"I feel it!" roars the princess. "I feel the one draining my magic! "The orb crackles with the frenzy fueling it. "Listen well, listen carefully. I have warned you long enough. You did not listen then.... You do not want to listen now. Perhaps this will teach you a valuable lesson: This curse shall follow you to the ends of the earth until you right what you have wronged against my house.... if you can. Your greatest ambition shall consume you like a ravenous fire. You will betray your friends and they shall return it tenfold. Your own son will defeat you."
The orb blazes brighter and brighter. Finally, she releases it and it hits its target
Sand does not look to see who it hit. She already knows. But what has her jaw slack is a glowing portal that appeared unnoticed by the mass of frightened neopets. Portals to jump across Neopia are not incredibly impressive- Sand has created them before. What makes Violet and Ruby gasp is not so much the portal either.
"Is that...?" Violet swallows, unable to complete her thought.
"Is that... us?" Ruby finishes for her.
To be continued...