The Adventures of Trina: The Awakening: Part Six
Before she knew it, the faint cricketing of the night came to life. The cold air seeped into her skin, but she did not shiver. Lupes, Quiggles, Kyriis, and many others in armor marched the plains, equipped with wands, swords, and terrified faces.
Trina could see the sweat dripping from Tomaru’s sticky skin. “Where should we check first?” she asked him.
“The island’s west coast is our best bet! Master Iko predicts that since it was where the battle took place three-hundred years ago, it’ll be the ideal location for the heir to launch his attack. He told me that a large number of pirates were headed there, too.”
Once they reached the point where the crowd disbanded, they broke into a run. Again, she was exhausted, but of course, stopping the pirates wouldn’t be a walk in the park. In any case, it wasn’t often that anyone would have the chance to wander during the night and explore an unknown island. She was going to try to make the best of her time.
“Are we almost there?” she breathed when they had stopped for a water break.
“We should be—”
At that instant, a pirate Mynci sprung from a shrub and shoved Tomaru face-first into the mud. He brandished a shining, unblemished scimitar and darted at Trina maliciously.
“Evrilin!” she yelled bitterly. In an instant, all of her feelings of rage resurfaced. Her instincts kicked in, and she brought her wand into a defensive pose.
“By the captain’s orders,” he lunged forward with his sword, “this is as far as you go!”
Trina didn’t feel comfortable using her wand to defend Evrilin’s mighty swings, yet it was surprisingly helpful. Not a scratch was carved on the wand’s surface. Aware she couldn’t defend herself forever, she summoned a small blast of light that forced Evrilin backwards.
“Big deal,” he spat as he raised his sword above his head. “My sword can do magic tricks, too. You don’t stand a chance against a master swordsman!”
Trina remained in her ready stance. Evrilin’s sword started to faintly glow a green color, just like Pat’s wand. Evrilin then swung the sword through the air and two dozen glowing disks were sent out, as well as green particles that encircled him for a brief number of seconds, protecting him from his own attack. Trina curled her wand around her entire body, creating a multi-layered ring of blue magic that not only protected her, but emitted large sparks every few seconds. Just as she feared, he kept blocking the sparks with his sword. Within seconds, Trina could feel Evrilin’s cold breath against her neck. Quickly, Trina dived into the mud and rolled behind him before he could react.
Evrilin continued to take wild swings at Trina, who hopped backward with each swing. “You know, you would make a horrible archeologist!” he spat in frustration.
“You make for a horrible swordfighter, yourself!” Trina shot back. “But tell me the truth! Why’d you betray me?”
“Captain’s orders! You’re nothing but a tool!”
“And you’re just one of Mevolin’s tools! It’s not too late to walk away from him!”
Trina tumbled on the ground again, and then sent a chain of thick beams at the sword. All she had to do was damage it and the battle would be in her favor.
“Get this about pirates,” the Mynci roared, now waving his scimitar so rigorously, Trina could hear the faint sound of it cutting the air. “A pirate is for life!”
With a loud splat, Trina slipped and landed on her back. Evrilin laughed, but stopped when a huge disc propelled into his sword, knocking it out of his hand. She fired round after round at the sword until she was sure it was buried deep in the mud.
Evrilin shouted incoherently and staggered over to Trina, revealing his fists.
Effortlessly, he seized hold of Trina’s wand and yanked it from her. He waved the wand just like Trina had. He grunted, and a laugh from Trina followed. Apparently, the wand only worked for her. With her arms, she shielded herself as he charged forward. Her attention now shifted to her footwork. She took a few steps back, left, right and forward every few seconds depending on where Evrilin was heading.
Somehow, Trina managed to elude seven consecutive fisticuffs from Evrilin. “How can you call yourself a swordsman without knowing the most important rule? The sharpest sword doesn’t always win!”
Gritting his teeth, Evrilin responded with a grumble and rushed toward Trina once more. Apparently, he was so distracted that he had forgotten about Trina’s wand. Surreptitiously, she retrieved it from behind him. A blue orb, about the size of a Skeith, threw Evrilin at a tree trunk many yards away. He slumped to the ground, unconscious. Defeated.
As Trina walked away to where Tomaru was resting, her skin under her fur was tingling. Before she knew what she was doing, her grip on her wand tightened and she took a step towards the tree. Her other paw curled into a fist. A cunning voice inside her head fogged up her fears…
She unwillingly held her wand out in front of her and mustered her remaining strength to turn to Tomaru, who was dashing in her direction. In an instant, he knocked Trina over and snagged her wand. She owed him big time for that.
“Don’t use your wand when you don’t need to,” Tomaru said wisely. “It’ll waste the magic.”
As she frowned over the Mynci’s betrayal, she suddenly had an idea…
“Trina!” Cassie called with her arms outstretched. “You came!”
Trina gave Cassie a friendly hug. “Of course I did.”
Linny followed closely behind Cassie. “Hello, Trina.”
“No time for small talk,” Trina said quickly. “I have a plan. I think I know how we can find a way to defeat Mevolin…”
“A plan?” the Green Chia repeated.
“Yes, a plan. It’s a risk, but if it works, Mevolin might be powerless.”
Shivering, Cassie inched closer to the Wocky. “Trina, no offence, but don’t you think your plans haven’t worked—you know, exactly as planned?”
Linny scratched her head. “What are you…?”
“I’m saying that maybe we should try to play it safe from now on. I mean, what you’re saying sounds dangerous, and as much as I hate to say it, we’re children! We have to still go after Mevolin, but we can’t just waltz right into a battlefield!”
“But many of my plans have worked!” Trina argued. “Look how far we’ve come!”
“But look at how little we know, and how little we’re safe!”
“Hate to admit it, but you’re right. I’ve been selfish. Except this time, we have to take this chance. We have to have hope!”
“So…What’s the plan?” Linny asked. “I’m willing to listen…”
“Remember that ghost Kau I told you about, the one I met in the cabin? Right before I passed out, I saw a vision, and I don’t know why…but I’m almost positive that it was a memory. In it I saw a younger Mevolin talking to the ghost, and because this ghost has the power to see memories, I don’t think it’s unbelievable to have the power show others’ memories as well.”
“So you think we can get Mevolin’s weakness from him?”
“Something along those lines. The ghost mentioned knowing a lot of the history of the island. I bet that he’ll probably know everything about the curse! If we can learn how to defeat the curse, it’s likely that we can defeat Mevolin, too.”
“That is risky,” Cassie commented, “but how in the world would we get him to give us the information peacefully? He’s on their side!”
“The ghost seemed to be friends with Mevolin, and he wasn’t pleased after he saw what Mevolin was becoming. Since tonight will be nothing less than icing on the cake on Mevolin’s corruption by the curse, if he still cares for his wellbeing he may help us.”
Cassie’s eyes grew. A good sign!
“That makes sense. We can back you up if anything goes wrong. But wait—wasn’t the cabin on the other island? There’s no way we’ll make it in time!”
“Teleportation!” Linny gasped.
“Yes,” Trina went on, “like Pat did to you guys, and what Mevolin did to me hours ago, we can teleport there. When I was teleported, I desperately wished to back at the hut, and then there I was, with Tomaru. Is that how it was with you guys?”
Cassie and Linny nodded simultaneously.
“Then that proves it!” Trina said eagerly. “Cassie, Linny, are you okay with this plan? You accept the risk that comes with it? If your heart isn’t with me, this plan will never work. Whatever you choose, I’m with you either way.”
“Count me in,” Cassie said.
“Me too,” Linny said. “We can do this!”
As long as they didn’t know of the prophecy, Trina concluded, she might be able to convince them. But that wouldn’t be right. They deserved the truth.
“But first, I have something to say,” Trina began.
With that, all of her secrets slipped from the tip of her tongue. She described her encounter with Mevolin, and everything Master Iko and Tomaru told her about the curse, and about hope. When the last words filled the chilly air, the waves of relief still weren’t enough to clean her hands and rise out her soul.
She would do that herself. Right here. Right now.
“Trina, quit staring off into space and let’s get going!” Cassie yelled. “There’s no time to lose!”
“Hold on to each other,” Tomaru said. “Teleporting is a very sophisticated skill that requires a great amount of energy, so there is a lot of room for things to go wrong. Not even I can teleport yet! And Master Iko’s teleportation radius isn’t all that impressive! But according to witnesses, Mevolin has teleported from island to island, so I believe you when you say it’s possible. The strain on the wands, though, I worry about…"
Hand in hand, the friends formed a circle and closed their eyes. They could feel energy flowing through them as they pictured the ominous cabin from earlier. Seconds later, they were spinning, flipping, and floating into the darkness. Now that Trina had her friends at her side, not being bound by gravity was truly invigorating.
The darkness was broken by a flash of white light, and the friends were returned to the barren land, their fall cushioned by the mud. The hut appeared just as they remembered it—deserted, and hidden behind a foggy mist.
“It’s empty,” Linny said as they cautiously wandered the one-room cabin.
“He’ll come,” said Trina. “I can feel it. He’s here somewhere.”
“Whhhhoooo gggooooess theerrre?” echoed a faint voice.
“It’s me,” the Wocky answered, sporting a half-smile and a lit candle. “I’m back.”
Teruku’s translucent turquoise figure floated into the room from the ceiling. His attention was immersed into Trina’s pair of blue crystals, which reflected orange specs from the flame.
“You are one foolish Wocky…”
“We need your help to stop Captain Mevolin,” Trina said, refusing to lift her eyes from his sinister gaze. “I know you have the information we need, his weaknesses. If you don’t do something, these islands are doomed.”
“Then let these islands fall to their fate!” he exploded. “Why would I ever help you pathetic mortals? You know nothing about these islands to have any valid thoughts against its downfall!”
“I see injustice taking place,” Trina growled, “and that’s all I need to know to stop its destruction!”
“Its destruction cannot be stopped. The magic was already put in place three hundred years ago…”
“Three hundred years ago…” Tomaru mumbled. “That’s all I ever hear! Three hundred years ago this, three hundred years ago that! What in Neopia happened three hundred years ago?”
“There were once two Draiks, two brothers who happened upon an uninhabited island on their voyage for new farmland,” the ghost said. “You already know their names. They realized the island had much more than fertile land; it was what you Neopians call magical. Instead of keeping all the precious resources amongst them, they recruited some of their citizens to live on this mystical land, and soon civilization prospered. But Arugamere sought more than a prospering society…
“That’s when Arugamere went too far…” the jelly Scorchio whispered.
“Too far? That is nonsense! The things magic could do for them was endless! Yet little Arugahi couldn’t stand it. Arugahi, no longer accepting of his brother, banished him from the throne and marked him as a traitor. So a period of despair followed, and Arugamere built up his strength to one day take over the island, only to be stopped by his own brother. That day was exactly three hundred years ago.”
“But tell me, why did he unleash the curse?” Trina asked.
“He wanted them to feel the despair they inflicted upon him, and the greatness of manipulating the darkness they missed out on!”
“Greatness?” repeated the Wocky. “It tore him apart! How could he possibly believe darkness was great?”
“That’s the great thing about dark magic,” whispered the ghost as he drifted above her. “It makes you forget who you are. You can be greater than you can ever imagine if you just abandon all the things that hold you back!”
“You don’t seem to think so,” Trina remarked. “You hate to hate, but you can end it, with us! I won’t leave until you agree!”
The ghost laughed. “I underestimated your will, Wocky, but most of all, I underestimated your stupidity. I’m afraid that willpower of yours cannot mend three hundred years of torment.”
“That’s for the islands to sort out,” Trina announced in a firm stance, “after the islands are saved.”
“I see, you wonder about the curse,” the ghost mused. “Like I said, this is the island’s fate. Time—it’s a funny thing, almost incomprehensible. A prodigious magician can learn to tamper with time. That is how Mevolin knew this day would come. All the cards were in his hand the moment he discovered he was the lone heir, Arugamere’s legacy. Rebellion is futile.”
“How can you say that?” Trina said. Tears tried to escape her eyes, but she held them back. “You feel regret, and hate, all because of Mevolin. If you don’t stop him, it will continue, and more and more islanders will feel the same way. I don’t know too much about magic, but if it did stop Arugamere once, I don’t see how it can’t happen again. The curse, it took my friend, and it’s my fault. I want to save this land, I really do, and I know I can do it without relying on any dark, cursed power.”
The ghost Kau’s eyes faded to match his turquoise skin color. In silence, he hung above them, lost in thought, lost in Trina’s mind. Memories of Pat resurfaced like stinging, open wounds. A cold draft poured through cracks in the walls and surrounded her, but she did not shiver.
Tomaru then stepped in front of Trina and stared directly into the ghost’s eyes. “Why should it matter what happened three hundred years ago? It was THREE HUNDRED YEARS AGO! Move on! All you have to do is help this girl, and the future can be better for everyone! The future is ours to make, not Mevolin, the island, the nature of time, that evil curse, or whatever rubbish comes out of your mouth!”
Without hesitation, Tomaru stuck his hand into his shoulder bag and sent a barrage of flasks at Teruku, but Teruku didn’t even flinch. The flasks went right through him, and shattered against the wall.
A volley of beams erupted from the Kau’s mouth and landed in Trina’s direction, missing each of them by barely an inch. Tomaru’s sweaty palms lost grip on a potion he was holding, and it smashed to pieces on the floor.
Tomaru began to stumble, backing toward Linny, Cassie, and Trina, huddling close together. “Don’t hate me, but that was my last one!”
Just then, the door was kicked off its hinges. In stepped a small shadow and a glint of sliver.
“That’s enough, Teruku!” demanded a high-pitched, annoying voice, belonging to none other than Mevin, Mevolin’s second hand.
“Who are you to tell me what to do?” Teruku spat. “You’re not in charge here!”
“If you don’t want the world to be destroyed, I’ll be calling the shots from now on.”
“Is that so?” Teruku said, looking mildly interested. “Now you’re on their side?”
“I’m on my own side! And my side says that Mevolin must be stopped at all costs!”
“Ahh, I see…so he won’t ruin the world you desperately strive to take over. The sad thing is, you couldn’t even come up with this pathetic plan yourself—had to listen to that brainwashed Shoyru of yours. Disgraceful!”
“Pat?” the camouflage Wocky exclaimed, her ears perking up at the mention of her friend. “Tell me where she is!”
“Help me take down the Captain, and it’s a deal,” Mevin snickered. “Now, Teruku, give her what she wants.”
“Very well,” the ghost sighed. “It’s clear that nothing I say or do will change your mind, Wocky. Since you insist on being stupid, you will meet a stupid demise!”
Right away, the room underwent a scenery change, just like when Trina saw Teruku’s memory. Trina’s eyes stung with the sudden outbreak of sunlight, and the grass sprouting below tickled her toes. A welcoming clear sky replaced the ceiling. When all the colors filled the landscape like a coloring book, they were in a field. Rows of miniature trees extended for miles. Two people stood harvesting fruit from a tree. At first she took them to be farmers, but upon a closer look she gasped – it was a much younger Mevolin, accompanied by a Brown Kau.
“So, you’re saying you noticed something strange about these crops?” Mevolin asked while he fidgeted with some branches.
“Yeah,” the Kau nodded. “I don’t know how to describe it. Around here I just feel—”
“Invigorated? Full of energy? A hatred, even?”
“That’s exactly it!”
“How interesting,” Mevolin murmured barely loud enough for them to hear.
The shadow Draik plucked a lemon from the tree, peeled it with his long fingernails, and took a huge bite. A horrified gasp escaped the Kau.
“Simply delicious!” Mevolin laughed. “I can feel it already! Such great power…it must be mine!”
“Lemons are the curse?” Tomaru asked, wide-eyed.
“Lemons are merely the storage vessels for the curse,” Teruku said from behind them. “In other words, they are the curse in physical form.”
Trina was flabbergasted beyond words. The way to end the curse was right in front of her nose the entire time! Hiding in plain sight!
“If we destroy all of the lemons on the island, Mevolin would be powerless, right?” Cassie asked the ghost.
“No. Weaker? Yes.”
“Weak enough for us to defeat him?” Linny asked.
“Not a chance!” Teruku yelled. “Go and see for yourself! The minute Mevolin takes control, friendships are meaningless. You’ll run to save your skins! Remember this, Trina: you are cursed. You may think you’re fine now, but your past will catch up to you. Tonight, all that is fragile will fall…”
Outside, the half-moon was shrouded by two rain clouds crossing its path, casting darkness among a group of Neopets in a clearing, all panting in unison, capturing every breath as if it could be their last…
“Trina, I think you should find Pat first,” Cassie kindly suggested. “We’ll be fine. We’ve got Tomaru on our side, and this pirate dude.”
“The name’s Mevin,” he growled, dagger in hand, “and I told you, I’m on my own side!”
“I’m beginning to think so, too, Cassie,” Trina agreed, but without enthusiasm. There were too many unknown variables. Pat could hold the essential piece of information they needed, or they might end up wasting time, spilling what may be the final seconds for the islands along the swampy soil.
“I think we might’ve been wrong,” Cassie said, then froze to draw in more air, “about Pat, I mean. I don’t think she would betray us. I don’t believe it!”
“In the meantime, we’ll take out as many lemon bushes as possible,” Tomaru said, standing with determination, fire in his eyes. “Hopefully that’ll help you stop Mevolin before he gains more power.”
“Me? Alone?” Trina shook violently at the sudden thought. A duel with the most powerful pirate in the land…
Sadness was heard in the Usul’s words, “We’ll try to catch up with you, but right now this mission is more important! If you don’t see us, just head for Mevolin. Do not come looking for us.”
“I understand,” Trina said, tightening her grip on her wand. “I won’t let you down!” She turned to Mevin, who appeared to have no interest in the conversation, absorbed in the black oblivion beyond the clearing. She tapped him on the shoulder, and he returned to life, as if brought out of a trance.
“You know, the purple Shoyru that is—used to be—with us?”
“Ah…” he said finally, “that girl. Said she didn’t see me as a threat, so she offered me a deal: the Captain’s seat, for followin’ you around.”
“Answer my question!” Trina shoved her wand in his face as he smirked. It was easy to do, being a head’s length taller than him. “Where is she?”
“Beyond the forest, behind the marketplace!” he spat, flaunting his dagger until Trina withdrew her wand.
One last look at her friends, and she sprinted into the forest, sloshing her feet over puddles, trying to navigate in near pitch-black darkness. Branches entangled her as she kept onward, and each time, she spent minutes wresting herself free. The marketplace would be lighted, so she yearned to spot a single speck of light. Exactly where this place would be was a mystery, but she had to be near. That traitorous pirate Mynci had led them there when they first set foot on Arugamere Island, not far from Teruku’s lair. The instant the flashbacks returned sent her heart racing; she had never felt the same since then…
Finally, a solitary lantern came within view, revealing a line of shops, deserted and reeking of rotten cheese. Creeping behind the buildings, she caught a glimpse of purple before she pulled both feet forward. A tapping sound echoed the damp scene, but Trina couldn’t let the sound fade away.
The Shoyru halted.
“I know you’re still in there…you told Mevin to help us, right?”
Once again, a veil of silence hung between them. Their shadows overlapped as they were frozen, face to face. “C’mon…say something…”
“I’ll listen this time…I promise…”
“It’s easier to say nothing.”
“But if you don’t let everything out now, Pat, it will be harder on you, on us…please, just tell me everything…”
“I lied to you.” Pat took in a long breath. “At the Pizzaroo, I took the potion on purpose…”
“Oh I’m sure you know the feeling. Someone offered me a chance to do something important…and I couldn’t bear to pass it up…I didn’t even think of what it would mean for you, or Cassie and Linny. I know you would’ve taken the potion, too.”
“You’re probably right about that,” Trina muttered, ashamed.
“It was not an easy choice…and when I realized that Mynci was manipulating me, I had to keep lying. I had an advantage over them, using their knowledge. Sometimes, there was a telepathic connection, and I could learn some of their secrets. They never really took control of my mind or anything like that, but I had to pretend. I got Cassie and Linny to safety, which was more than what’ve you’ve been able to do all this time.”
What was it about these islands that tore people apart? “Hey,” Trina began calmly, “you remember when we first met, right?”
“I remember,” Pat said softly. “But if you care you’ll forgive me later. We don’t have time for this! My past is not important right now!”
“Yes it is! I’m so sorry, but I know that’s not enough! I should have…I should have listened to you! What I’m trying to say is, is that I haven’t been keeping my promise to you…”
“But you will soon,” Pat said. “Sooner than you think.”
“What…?” Trina sobbed. “What are you saying? Do you really think I can defeat Mevolin by myself?”
“Of course not!” the Shoyru said, shaking her head. “For once you’ll have to rely on my help, except it’s not really me—not anymore. Technically. I might stay that way if you fail tonight. Well, anyway, take this.”
Pat reached for her green wand out from behind her, and carefully placed it into Trina’s paws. The jagged, lightning bolt-shaped shard at the tip glistened in the moonlight. Trina looked up at her friend, stunned.
Before she could find the words to say, Pat explained herself with a hopeful tone of voice. “I haven’t been myself lately. It won’t work now. At least, not for me. Trina, I can’t deny that you’re capable of making this work. The potion helped me see that lemons are responsible for this so-called curse. Since the potion wore off, the pirates don’t know that we and the Arugahians know this info, so we need to take advantage!”
“Destroying the lemons!” Trina suggested.
“No, better,” Pat continued, “absorbing them! Let’s use that nasty magic against them! Believe me, I know it will work.”
“Okay,” Trina agreed and the fire returned to her eyes. “But then, without a wand, you won’t feel powerless again?”
“How could I? I just taught you how to defeat Mevolin, with my own plan.”
The Wocky shoved her mixed feelings aside to make way for tears. Trina threw her arms around Pat and gave her a friendly hug. “Thank you!”
“Wait—how to you know it’ll work? There’s a lot that can go wrong!”
“If you trust me, it’ll work.”
“Got it!” Trina broke into a sprint, but came to a sudden stop when she didn’t hear footsteps behind her. “Aren’t you coming?”
Pat gestured for her wand, and Trina returned to her, gently placing it in the Shoyru’s battered hands. “Linny and Cassie need me more. We’ll gather the lemons for you, and once the wand has enough power we’ll hand it over to you. It must be you who has to fight Mevolin. Good luck.”* * * * *
Legions of pirates pressed forward, arranged in rows like soldiers preparing for battle, weapons of all sizes jutting out from the crowd. Their thumping steps shook the drooping trees as they marched. If they were heading anywhere, it was to Mevolin, Trina concluded, lurking after them, safe behind bundles of dried plants.
Far in the distance, where the sky was clear, a lightning bolt struck the center of a barren landscape. Right away, Trina knew it would become the battlefield; that the loud crack that rang in her ears meant Mevolin had arrived and her fears were confirmed. And once his crew and his army gathered around him, he would recite from the ancient text, and it would begin.
She would find him before that happens…
To be continued…