No End in Sight
"Look here, Henry. It says that some believe that at the end of a rainbow lies a pot of gold. Whoever gets there first gets the gold," Dragao read from the book that she had.
As always, Henry looked skeptical. "I don't believe in that. There is no end to a rainbow. It's a variation of light, that is all, Dragao."
"I didn't mean that we had to go and look for the end of the rainbow, Henry! I was just sharing. Don't you think it's interesting? I mean, there is truth to every belief. I wonder where this one came from."
"As long as you only wonder and don't drag me off on some mad scheme."
Dragao continued reading the book. A few moments later, she looked back up at her best friend.
"Now look at this! It says that leprechauns are little faeries that dress in red or green. What do you think of that?" Dragao said, tapping the book with one finger, her blue gaze challenging Henry to dispute the book.
"Faeries are real. Though, leprechauns is a funny name for them, don't you think so, Dragao? I mean, aren't faeries dressed in green just earth faeries?" Henry said with a shrug and a frown.
"It's too bad that this book only has a small section on the subject."
"You know who would know more about leprechauns? Illusen!"
"Yeah! I bet she knows lots of leprechauns!"
Dragao hurriedly shut the book and put it away. Even when she longed to hasty, she still had great respect for books and always treated them well. Though, after that, she and Henry flew out of the Meridell library where they had been perusing the selection and headed straight for Illusen's glade.
The smiling earth faerie greeted them warmly. "Welcome to my home..."
"Greetings, Illusen! We haven't come to do a quest but we've come for information," Dragao said.
"Information, you say? Well, let's see if I can help you, then."
"I was reading a book and it talked about leprechauns. Do leprechauns exist, Illusen?"
"Well, if you continued reading the book, it should have told you that leprechauns live in moors, forests, caves and gardens."
"You didn't answer the question... Do you know any leprechauns, Illusen?" Henry asked the earth faerie directly, green eyes narrowed slightly in suspicion.
The young brown Pteri was quite astute and didn't miss much. He did not like being given the runaround and much preferred direct answers whenever possible. Otherwise, why ask the question? Illusen wasn't the type to anger easily and recognized the frustration that Henry felt.
"Perhaps the two of you should find the answer out for yourselves. Easy answers aren't nearly as satisfying, young Pteri," Illusen said in her wise way.
Dragao and Henry exchanged a glance. Dragao smiled. Of course, the Desert Eyrie was always up for an adventure. Where she went, he was sure to follow.
"Alright-," Henry began before being cut off by his best friend.
"Yeah, thanks, Illusen! Come on, Henry," Dragao said, pulling at the strap of Henry's bag to hurry him along.
Illusen watched them go, smiling to herself. She didn't for long, though before another pet came to her for a quest.
"Now, you heard what Illusen said. She told us where leprechauns live but where should we look first," Dragao pondered out loud.
"That's if leprechauns exist. I would much prefer the easy answer, satisfying or no. How about looking in a garden, since it's probably the easiest place to search," Henry said, unable to keep the doubt from his voice.
"A garden it is!"
The two friends entered the first garden they could find, a large birch tree with pink leaves at the entrance to the fine garden with its white picket fence. They traversed the well-worn dirt paths, poking under every leaf and bush trying to find a leprechaun. They searched thoroughly but didn't find any green or red dressed faeries anywhere. They were just exiting the first garden, Dragao hardly discouraged by failure right off the bat. That's when they heard something.
"What was that," Dragao asked, pausing to listen.
"It was just the wind, Dragao. Come on, I know you're not giving up, yet," Henry said.
"There it is, again," Dragao exclaimed, turning to look.
"Hey, kids! Up here," a tiny voice beckoned.
Furrowing their brows, Dragao and Henry both looked up. At the crook of the birch tree, a little faerie Chia dressed in red and green waved to them.
"Hiya, kiddos. Looking for something," the leprechaun asked.
"Yeah, a leprechaun," Dragao breathed, blue eyes wide with awe.
Dragao hadn't been sure on the existence of leprechauns and she was amazed to find out that they did exist! Henry started to lose the doubt that he felt but he was ever the cautious one.
"Well, you two are in luck. I'm a leprechaun," the leprechaun said.
"This is great! Do you really have a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow," Dragao exclaimed, fluttering her wings.
The little faerie Chia nodded his head in affirmation. Dragao beamed.
"But, you have to do something for me first. I can't just lead you to the pot of gold without any reward for myself," the leprechaun said solemnly.
"OK! What do you want us to do," Dragao asked.
"Dragao, what-," Henry hissed, before the leprechaun interrupted what he was about to say.
"If you don't want to do it, I understand but think about what you'll be missing out on...," the leprechaun trailed off suggestively.
"Henry, I'm sure whatever it is won't be a problem. We're willing, sir," Dragao said.
"Good! I need you two get a wraith Korbat by the name of Lure for me. He can always be found at Meridell Castle. There are some things I need to ask him," the leprechaun said.
"Why don't you go get him yourself," Henry asked.
"What, little old me? I can't travel that far, sonny."
"Not a problem, Mr. Leprechaun. Let's go, Henry," Dragao said with a smile.
"Hurry back now!"
The leprechaun called after the two young pets as they flew off towards the castle.
"I hate the feeling that I'm flying in circles. We were just at the castle," Henry huffed.
Dragao only smiled at him as they landed in front of the large white living quarters of King Skarl. They entered the main courtyard, after the guards nodded them in. The Desert Eyrie and brown Pteri were a familiar sight to them.
"If we're always at the castle, then why have we never heard of this Lure character?" Henry pondered.
"We haven't been here that long. We haven't met everyone in Meridell. It's small but it's not that small," Dragao responded.
Henry didn't always find his friend's confident and easy answers reassuring because he wasn't always sure she was right. Not sure where to find the wraith Korbat, they approached Kayla for directions.
"Hey, Kayla, do you know of any wraith Korbats named Lure," Dragao asked the red Zafara.
"Lure? Yes, I know him. Why do you ask?" Kayla asked, the curiosity clear in her voice.
"Oh, we wanted to ask him some questions about something we found in a book we were reading."
"Well... OK, I don't think Lure will mind your questions. Though, he isn't the best pet to pester. If he-Well, just go and see him, then."
Kayla's speech was halting and hesitant, as if she was unsure. Dragao took no notice but Henry certainly did. However, the red Zafara had already given Dragao directions on how to find Lure and she was already dashing off to do just that. Henry had no choice but to follow. He just hoped that his doubts could be ignored, just this once (yeah, right).
"This is it, Henry. Lure's laboratory," Dragao said, knocking on the door.
There was no reply. Dragao had knocked once, firmly and the door was pushed ajar. Dragao glanced at Henry before entering. Henry felt uneasy about trespassing but he couldn't argue with his best friend. He followed her inside the lab.
The room was an absolute mess! Broken glass and bits of potion were everywhere. Supplies had been knocked off shelves and were in puddles and piles all over the place. The table had been knocked over and a few of the shelves were hanging by a hinge. Worst of all, pages and pages of what looked like research were torn, shredded, filled with holes and lying amidst the rest of the destruction.
"What happened here? This place is a complete wreck," Dragao exclaimed, looking around but careful not to touch anything.
"We should report this. It doesn't look like anything can be salvaged. I can't believe someone would do this," Henry said, brow furrowed.
The two young pets were about to leave when they heard:
"WHAT DID YOU DO?!"
A roar of rage made them whirl, eyes wide with fear. An absolutely enraged wraith Korbat flew at the Eyrie and Pteri, purple eyes glinting with malice. The two friends fled from the apparition. They hadn't found Lure, Lure had found them and he was ANGRY! Dragao and Henry took flight as soon as they possibly could, absolutely blind with terror as their pursuer howled his wrath after them.
They flew as fast as their wings could take them. They didn't know where they were going, they were just GOING! At their pace, they couldn't keep it up for long and they fell from the sky, completely exhausted. They lay panting in... Illusen's Glade. They huddled together behind the tall, calm earth faerie as Lure flew directly into the glade.
Dragao and Henry would have screamed in fright if they had breath to scream. Lure didn't immediately attack but he glowered daggers at the two young friends as they cowered behind Illusen. If looks could kill...
"What is the meaning of this, Lure?" Illusen said sternly, her normally calm green gaze holding the wraith's own easily.
"Those two little... little... menaces, completely destroyed my lab," Lure spluttered for words.
Illusen half turned to face the two 'culprits'. She studied Dragao and Henry for a long moment before returning her gaze to Lure.
"That can't possibly be true. I know Dragao and Henry quite well. They would never destroy someone else's property, especially not on purpose as you are implying, Lure. They have great respect for others. You are mistaken," Illusen said.
"Then why were you in my lab and it looked like... like... that," Lure exclaimed, waving one hand wildly in the air.
"Dragao, Henry, I saw you not even an hour ago. Explain, please. Let's hear them out, Lure before you accuse them."
Recovered from their mad flight, the two friends slowly sat up and took a seat at a table with Illusen and Lure. She served Bamboo Tea, which Dragao and Henry gratefully accepted but Lure declined. Taking calming sips of tea, the two friends took turns telling of their time spent searching in the garden, happening upon the leprechaun and then their erroneous errand.
"Wait, did you say leprechaun?" Illusen questioned, her eyes widening at Dragao's affirmative nod.
The earth faerie rose to her feet, her face quite serious. Dragao and Henry exchanged a glance and rose, too. Lure stood, still simmering over the destruction of his lab.
"Let's get to the bottom of this, shall we? Dragao, Henry, please show me where you saw this 'leprechaun," Illusen said, waving a hand for the two friends to take the lead.
Dragao and Henry did so and showed the tall faerie the birch tree, complete with little faerie Chia. The leprechaun got quite a surprise as he had been caught napping. Illusen grabbed him by his red coat collar, easily holding him by her forefinger and thumb. She frowned sternly at the little Chia as he wriggled fiercely, trying to get free. He wriggled even more when he saw Lure.
"Be still and don't give us any trouble. We aren't as easily duped as these dimwits," Lure hissed.
The entire party now traipsed back to Illusen's glade. Illusen placed the faerie Chia on the table, surrounded by the three cups of Bamboo Tea. He would have tried to escape, even then, if it hadn't been for the Captive Shadow Wraith that separated herself from Lure's belly to crouch aggressively at the edge of the table, snarling at him. Not expecting this, Dragao and Henry both jumped, startled but the faerie Chia looked about ready to faint. Seeing this, Illusen felt it best to get Dragao and Henry off the scene as soon as she possibly could.
"What is your name?" Illusen asked the Chia, the true culprit.
The faerie Chia looked up at Illusen, trying to look as innocent as anything, "My name is Ailill Brogan, m'lady."
"Brogan? Are you related to the Brogans of Brogan Kau Farm?"
Ailill nodded his affirmation.
"You should be ashamed of yourself! Coming from good stock and causing these poor pets so much mischief. Your father will be hearing about this young'un."
Dragao furrowed her brow in confusion. "He has white hair! How can he be young?"
Ailill tuned to Dragao, looking sheepish. "Actually, I'm a Christmas Chia. My hair is naturally white but the mustache is fake, as are my wings."
With that, the Chia pulled off the dark purple wings and removed the mustache, grimacing since it seemed to have been attached with tape.
"Ailill, apologize at once to Dragao and Henry," Illusen said in a no-nonsense tone of voice.
Ailill readily complied, "My deepest, sincerest apologies to the both of ya. I never meant to cause you... no, I never meant to drag you so far into my deception. I was only havin' a spot of fun with ya."
Illusen's lips quirked. Little Ailill certainly was laying it on thick in his apology. Though, if he thought his punishment was going to be easy because of it, he had another think coming.
"We accept your apology," Dragao grudgingly got out, knowing it was the polite thing to say.
"Yeah, but that sure was a mean thing to pull," Henry exclaimed.
Ailill could only shrug his shoulders in reply. They were right to be angry with him. Illusen turned away from the Chia, beckoning to Dragao and Henry as she did so.
"Come, I think it is time for you to head back to your living quarters. Where do the two of you reside?" Illusen asked.
"We are originally from Tyrannia but we are now traveling Neopia for research purposes," Dragao explained.
"We currently call home the Curdled Milk Inn," Henry said.
Illusen blinked her eyes in surprise. "Curdled Milk? Well, I do believe it is high time for you two to call the rest of your day a quiet one after everything you've been through today."
"Yes, Illusen," Dragao and Henry chorused.
"Wait, Illusen. What's going to happen to Ailill," Henry asked.
"He is going to be severely chastised," Illusen said.
Illusen was about to turn away to see to just that when a thought struck her. She turned back to the two pets.
"One last thing, do you know how all of this could have been avoided?" Illusen asked.
"By you just giving us the easy answer," Henry replied cheekily.
"Yes, but you should have known that leprechauns don't exist. If you had known, Ailill would not have mislead you so terribly."
"How, exactly, Illusen?" Dragao asked.
"Leprechauns are one of the earliest faerie tales. Its common knowledge that there are no male faeries."
At this reply, both Dragao and Henry groaned but they had learned their lesson, to be sure. While it was hoped that Dragao would never again leap into an adventure half-cocked, she was still learning and would always be almost too enthusiastic for caution to have its day. Illusen smiled as she watched them go, waiting for them to be safely out of sight before returning to the matter at hand. Ailill was sitting dejectedly in the center of the table. Illusen wrinkled her nose, still having plenty of questions and hoping to get some answers.
"Now, Ailill, I expect you to apologize to Lure. He is the one who has suffered the most today due to your antics," Illusen said.
Ailill looked startled but did as he was bid. "I-I ap-pologize for what I did, Lure. I never meant to cause such destruction... I just never meant to get caught."
The Chia had muttered that last part and Lure lost control then, leaping for the little figure on the table. Thankfully, Illusen made a grab for the Korbat and he immediately relaxed, prompting the faerie to release him. He was shaking with fury and rightly so. Ailill was quit the cheeky little upstart!
"I know you weren't born that small. How is it that you came to be so minute?" Illusen asked, sitting down before the Chia.
"I can answer that. The wretch trespassed in my lab, destroyed it and this is his consequence," Lure hissed.
"It wasn't my fault! Please, let me explain," Ailill wailed before Lure's righteous anger.
Illusen held up a hand. "No one is going to hurt you, Ailill. I will see to that. Just tell us what happened."
"Well, I was bored at the farm and after my chores were done, I decided to head to the castle. I thought it would be fun to explore the castle and I saw Lure exiting while I was coming in. I didn't know that it was a lab when I entered and I accidently knocked over what I thought was an empty jar. Suddenly, things started to happen all around me and when it was all over it turned into what you must have seen when you caught Dragao and Henry."
"You had to have knocked over my Essence of Blumaroo, you buffoon," Lure snapped.
"Essence of Blumaroo? I've never heard of that!"
"No wonder you haven't. It's one of my own creations. It's still in the experimental stages. Basically its contained energy and I'm hoping it can be used for those who need a boost. It involves a complicated process that I won't bother to divulge to you."
"You mean like an energy drink?"
"Basically, yes, but my Essence of Blumaroo will be used differently."
Ailill frowned and shrugged his shoulders, as if to say he wasn't sure how that would happen. Lure was still heated and would have throttled the Chia if Illusen hadn't been there.
"Ailill, please continue. I don't believe you're quite finished," Illusen said with a wave of her hand.
"Right. So, the next thing I know, I'm shrunk to this size," Ailill said.
"The mixing of my potions and supplies did that. Thankfully, I have the antidote... but I don't feel inclined to give it to you," Lure said.
"After that," Illusen prompted Ailill, prudently ignoring Lure.
"OK, so I tried to fly home but I was absolutely exhausted. I fell asleep in the birch tree and I woke up to Dragao and Henry talking about leprechauns. I thought I could solve my problem by involving them...," Ailill trailed off at the poisonous look Lure was giving him.
"How is that, Ailill?"
"Well, I guess I was hoping that if Lure came back to find his lab all messed up he would automatically know who did it. So, I thought that if Dragao and Henry talked to him first he wouldn't be so upset."
Lure snorted. "What do you think?"
Illusen quirked her chestnut brows. "So you though that putting two innocent pets in the line of fire would ease Lure's anger?"
"Yeah, I know my plan backfired! I panicked! So, now that you know the whole story... what are you going to do to me now?"
Ailill looked at his hands as he tapped his fingertips nervously together. He took a big gulp as he waited for his verdict.
"First, I'm going to ask Lure to turn you back into your normal size. Second, I'm going to have you, Ailill, help Lure repair his lab completely and then he may call on you whenever he sees fit to use you. Third, I'm going to escort you to your father and have him deal with you then," Illusen said.
Ailill looked panicked as he heard each new term. He was quaking in his red boots. Illusen scooped him up and they all headed back to Lure's lab. The wraith Korbat was able to scrounge for a potion to return Ailill to normal size. After that, it was time for Ailill to face the music when he got home.
As Illusen expected, Ailill's father agreed with everything that the earth faerie had meted out to his son. Also as expected, the pea Chia was not highly disappointed with his son. He shut the door firmly as Illusen and Lure took their leave.
"I don't envy the boy," Illusen said wryly.
"He deserves everything he gets," Lure growled.
"Are you satisfied with how things went?"
"Enough. I wish I could have dealt with him as I would have liked but I know full well that that is impossible. It's just too bad that I didn't get to him first."
Illusen pursed her lips, knowing full well that Lure meant what he said. She was grateful that things hadn't turned out that way. The pair parted ways then, just as the sun was setting on the adventure of the day.
Believe it or not, this story started out as a Guild activity. *looks up* Clearly, I got carried away.