The Faerie of Ars Arcanium: Part Three
The spiralling portal opened before Alyss just like it did yesterday. Diakumablo noted to himself that it was still as surprising and as impressive as it was the first time.
"Are you all sure you'll be fine on your own?" Queen Fyora asked them, clearly concerned.
"We're all sure." Alyss replied. She seemed a bit more confident now, but Diakuamblo saw the uncertainty and fear in her eyes that she was trying not to show.
"Don't worry about us, Your Majesty. We'll all protect each other." Sinisal said.
"That's right! Also, if Alyss is to be the next Guardian and we're part of that, I'm sure we'll succeed." Zyerii added.
"Very well. I wish you all luck." Queen Fyora said. The four entered the portal and in a flash of rainbow colours, they no longer found themselves in the Faerie Queen's Castle. They were now in a clearing of a dense forest filled with wild flowers and before them stood a gigantic tower made of white marble bricks that almost reached the clouds. This was Ars Arcanium.
The clearing that Ars Arcanium should have been beautiful, but something seemed to diminish the beauty and replace it with an eerie dreariness.
"I... I think I've felt this before." Zyerii said. "This was the way it was in Neopia, when the wraiths came after the Faeries were turned to stone..."
Alyss whimpered a little, beginning to shake. Then suddenly with a eerie wail, a wraith came running towards them with its claws outstretched. Sinisal quickly dispatched with a burst of flame from her mouth. That burst of flame illuminated some of the dense forest around them and showing more wraiths hiding within it.
"Well, that explains a lot." Sinisal said.
"But, I don't understand! The power of the Guardian Faerie should have kept the wraiths away from here! Why are they here now?!" Alyss said, panicked.
"Well, obviously it's got something to do with what's going on with the Ars Arcania." Diakumablo stated in a note.
"He's right. Also, the Faeries' magic is failing because of the problems. This must have been planned, for if the Faeries lose their magic, the wraiths could come back in full force!" Zyerii said.
"Anyway, I think we'll be able to handle the wraiths. They seem unwilling to come near us. Probably because of Alyss." Sinisal said. Alyss looked at Sinisal with shock.
"They're scared of me? But I'm scared of them!" Alyss said. Diakumablo sighed and headed for the entrance of Ars Arcanium, obviously thinking that was enough chit-chat. The others hurriedly followed him as he opened the door to the inside. The inside was a long flight of white stairs and on the walls were beautiful and detailed painted murals of Faeries and Neopets using magic to perform great feats. It too, should have been beautiful, but the wraith's influence even reached the inside of Ars Arcanium.
"The Ars Arcania should be at the top of Ars Arcanium." Alyss said.
"Well, it seems we have to walk, my wings fell all heavy and weighted down. Also I just tried to get airborne and I couldn't." Sinisal said. Diakumablo noticed his wings felt the same way and wondered if it was a form of defence for Ars Arcanium.
"Mine feel the same way." Alyss sighed.
"And I feel grounded and can't float like I should be able to. Oh well, let's get to climbing." Zyerii said.~x~
As they climbed, they quickly found that wraiths had occupied the inside of Ars Arcanium too, which raised concerns for the Guardian. Her own magic should have kept the wraiths out of Ars Arcanium too, but it seemed that her power didn't exist with the number of wraiths that surprised them and had to quickly dispatch to move forward.
"So many wraiths in this place!" Zyerii exclaimed. "They can't be acting on their own!"
"What makes you say that?" Sinisal asked him.
"Haven't you noticed? They've hidden in strategic places and surprising us each time. Wraiths on their own aren't quite that smart." Zyerii said.
"So you're saying someone is controlling them." Diakumablo signed.
"Exactly, this was orchestrated by someone." Zyerii confirmed.
"So someone wanted Ars Arcanium to be overrun by wraiths, which is surely causing the problem?" Alyss asked.
"That's right. We'll probably have to stop them when we get to the top. Hope we're all ready." Sinisal replied. Diakumablo looked to Alyss, whose eyes had been fearful all the way up, to see a flash of panic in them. It was quite obvious that she wasn't ready for any combat, not that he blamed her as typeless Faeries had nothing in the way of battle-effective magic. But he soon, also got a little fearful as they approached the very door of the top floor. Not one of them knew what laid beyond it. Then the door opemed seemingly by itself and a big group of wraiths came up behind them.
"Surround and bring our guests to me nice and easy minions. We shan't be rude to them as that's improper." Said a voice beyond the door.
The four found themselves being surrounded by the group of wraiths and manoeuvred into the top floor and in front of what looked like a throne. Behind them was the orb that was the source of all magic called Ars Arcania, although it shimmered with many colours, it looked dull and lifeless like the glade outside because of the group of wraiths in the room and who was sitting in the throne-like chair. It was a wraith Kougra, wearing a big grin on his face and a crystal ball lay on a pillow on his lap.
"Welcome, dear guests." He said in a sophisticated voice. "My name is Niran and as you see, I and my army of wraiths have invaded Ars Arcanium. I've been expecting you as my crystal ball showed me your arrival today."
"So you're the brains behind the operation!" Zyerii said vehemently.
"Why yes. I guess you could call me that. Especially since my army does need a strong mind like mine to guide it." Niran said smoothly. Sinisal's mouth began to glow with flame. "Ah! I wouldn't do that if I were you, love. You have a group of wraiths surrounding you that I'll ask to rip you and your friends to shreds if you so much as breathe an ember, so be a nice guest. That goes for the rest of you too. Don't try anything or you all pay the price and not able to witness my triumph." Niran said. The glow died down in Sinisal's mouth as she swallowed her flames back down.
"Why take over Ars Arcanium? What do you and your army have to gain?" Sinisal asked him.
"Why I am so glad you asked, my dear. Turn around and observe the Ars Arcania if you will." Niran said. The group turned around to look at the Ars Arcania and noticed it was dimmer than it was before. "The Ars Arcania is losing power, which is why it is dimming. Partly it is loosing power because we wraiths are draining its power, becoming more powerful as it grows weaker and partly because the faerie guardian... Well, she's met with a most unfortunate fate." Niran explained smugly.
"What do you mean, unfortunate fate?!" Alyss said in alarm as they all turned to face Niran again.
"You, bring Suki forth would you?" Niran said, point at a wraith. The wraith seemed to chuckle then went to a shadowy part of the room and brought out a grey faerie. "This is Suki, she was once the Guardian Faerie of Ars Arcanium, at least until I used this little artefact around my neck to drain her of her power, causing her to lose them." Niran said, tapping a bottle-shaped pendant around his neck. Suki's head was hung and she refused to look at anything except the floor. "She's merely my plaything now. As will all the Faeries be once Ars Arcania is completely drained. There will be no faerie magic to stop us from overrunning Neopia and all Neopia's creatures will become things for our food and our amusement!" Niran gloated. He began to stroke Suki's face and even though she flinched, she didn't try to stop him. She seemed utterly defeated.
"You won't get away with this. We came here specifically to stop what's going on here!" Zyerii growled.
"Oh, but I already am getting away with it. And you won't stop me, I'll make sure of it. Minions! Take them to the side room and keep them there until I say otherwise!" Niran said. The wraiths began to manoeuvre them to a door that lead to a side room when Diakumablo suddenly lashed out at the wraiths nearest to him. "Oh, bad choice! Rip them apart!" Niran said.
But as the wraith drew their claws, Diakumablo erected a magical shield around them and began to use it to topple the wraiths as they scratched ineffectually at it.
"Oh, Diak. You're a star! But how did you get the shield to work?" Sinisal said. Diakumablo shrugged.
"It must be because we're so close to the Ars Arcania." Alyss said.
"Go." Diakumablo signed to them. "Find out how to fix the Ars Arcania. I'll hold off the wraiths."
"Diak, are you sure?" Sinisal asked him. Diakumablo nodded firmly, then he noticed Alyss looking worriedly at him and he knew that she had gotten the gist of what he had said. He smiled gently at her and nudged her gently towards his friends and mouthed "go" before turning his attention to the recovering wraiths.
"Come on!" Zyerii said as he jumped over the recovering wraiths with Sinisal and Alyss following him. They made it to the side of Ars Arcania before Niran growled and made a great leap from his throne to in front of the three.
"Where do you think you are all going?!" He growled menacingly, drawing his claws. Some of the wraiths that had escaped from Diakumablo's wrath gathered behind them. Now they were all trapped.
Suddenly, Suki raised her head and looked straight at Alyss. Alyss, noticing the movement looked back at her.
"You came, my successor." Suki said quietly. Somehow, Alyss was able to hear her voice over the din. "Touch the Ars Arcania to restore it." She said.
"But what will happen to me when I touch it?" Alyss asked her.
"You will succeed me as the Guardian Faerie of Ars Arcanium." Suki replied.
"But what if I'm not ready to be your successor?"
"Alyss, you would not have come if you were not ready."
Alyss took a deep breath and then, touched the Ars Arcania.
The room became filled with rainbow light. Niran screamed in pain as the light shone on him and he hastily ordered the retreat to his panicking wraiths as they felt the same pain. They all streamed out of the room, but Niran stood at the door for a single moment to give them all a hate-filled look before fleeing. When the light died down, the Ars Arcania was amazingly vibrant, while both Suki and Alyss were gone and in their place, was a faerie like no other. Her wings were nearly twice the size of her body and were white with rainbow-coloured starbursts patterning them, her hair was as black as the night and she wore a simple white dress with rainbow-coloured stars around the waist and hem of it. She looked like something straight out of a faerie tale and ethereal in a way.
"Alyss, is that you?" Zyerii breathed. The faerie smiled at him.
"I am Alyss, but I am also Suki and all those who came before me. You may call me Aradyne. That's is the title given to all Guardian Faeries of Ars Arcanium." Aradyne said softly.
"Wow, Alyss. Um, I mean Aradyne. You're absolutely beautiful!" Sinisal said. Diakumablo nodded rapidly in agreement.
"Thank you. Also thank you for helping me. As Alyss, I never would have made it here and defeated Niran without you. For now he has retreated and will not able able to return unless Ars Arcanium's defences fail momentarily as they did when I was Suki. I will strengthen the defences and make sure he never returns. Also the Ars Arcania has been restored by my succession so magic has also been restored to normal." Aradyne said.
"Thank you, Aradyne." Diakumablo signed.
"No, thank you for helping me fulfil my destiny." Aradyne said, finally able to understand Diakumablo's sign language. So with Neopia's source of magic in safe hands once again, Sinisal, Diakumablo and Zyerii said good bye to Aradyne, promising to visit her again and headed back to the portal so that they all may go back home. Confident in the knowledge that the day had been saved once again.