Black and White
Drifting colours came through the darkness. They twisted around themselves making shapes she didn’t understand.
Smell came to her nose, a sticky medical smell.
Touch came to her hands, a soft and warm feeling
A taste in her mouth, a bad one. She didn’t like it.
A distant voice drifted through like the breeze.
And she could finally see. It was blurry, of course, but she could see. See the overwhelming pink.
And yet, she felt nothing. Nothing but emptiness.
As she pushed herself out of bed, a new feeling was added. Boiling pain. Numbly she felt the bandages on her stomach, and the medicine on her face. Healing wounds.
Xandra, eyes widening could recognize the pink of Fyora’s castle anywhere.
Have to get out have to get out... she thought frantically. She looked to her paw and concentrated, just a little magic.
A spark lit and went out again immediately, and Xandra cried out and buckled to the ground. She’d never felt so... drained in her life.
“Oh, you are up...” a kindly earth faerie said reproachfully, turning the corner to her bed. Xandra nearly shot in the air. The faerie smiled, almost apologetically, gently easing her body onto the bed. She then uncorked a vial and put to Xandra’s lips.
Xandra spat out as quickly it went in her mouth. A sticky sweet taste lingered, Healing Springs water. Made by a winged tyrant. She didn’t want anything to do with them, let alone consume their poison.
“Queen Fyora said you might be difficult,” the faerie murmured to herself softly. “It is only medicine,” she promised to Xandra. The Xweetok couldn’t find her words, so she shook her head quickly. It made it pound.
“It was very brave, what you did,” the faerie offered. Xandra looked back confused.
As she felt the surge of memories flood back, she wished she was still asleep. The Faerie took this chance to pour some medicine in her mouth.
“You should get some rest. The magnitude of the spell you cast took a great toll on your body,” she said softly, tucking the Xweetok into the covers.
Xandra laid back trembling slightly. The medicine’s taste still lingered in her mouth, and dispersed through her body, filling her with a heavy dread.
When Xandra woke up again, she swore she heard voices.
“Guys, be quiet!”
“She doesn’t look very evil... just sad. She looks sad when she sleeps! That’s so sad!”
“But she could still be a murdering maniac!”
“But she saved our lives!”
“Maybe she was feeling generous that day!”
Xandra straightened up, and the group of mismatched pets fell silent immediately. They were all different, some were teenagers, little kids, young adults...
The pain was still there, but a bit muted. Less noticeable. She supposed that the medicine was working.
“Er, uh, I-I mean we just wanted t-to say that-” A gnorbu started, looking panic stricken.
“We just wanted to say,” continued a Faerie Kacheek, casting a glare from the corner in her eye at him. “That we are very thankful that you saved our lives.”
“Very,” one of the others squeaked out. The Kacheek took a breath, looking unenthused to continue, but did, all the same.
“Without you... well, we’d be dead, and Neopia too.”
Since she couldn’t find her words, she smiled. All of their faces instantly became relieved. Smiling seemed painful, strange to her face.
But she knew it wasn’t forced.
“Xandra, will you wake up?”
“Xandra, it’s time to wake up now...”
Xandra rolled over. She hated that voice, even if it was vaguely familiar. The voice sighed.
“Alexandra, get up.”
Alexandra... no one knows my real name except...
Now she had to stay in bed. She didn’t want to see her. Not now. Not ever. She hated her more than any other winged tyrant.
“Alright then... I wish you well Xandra.”
As Fyora left, she could feel the pressure evaporate. Checking out of the corner of her eye to make sure she really was gone, she straightened up.
She then noticed two leather bound books, one on top of the other at the foot of her bed. Xandra felt a surge of panic. The book. The artefact book.
Gingerly, she picked it up. The book was had on the cover, with a title of curly letters. The Gallery of Heroes.
The book under it, in blood red book. The Gallery of Evil
She had read both books. Even when she was still young, a little girl admiring the beautiful sketches of heroes, and wondering to herself what drove the people to do such evil deeds. She guessed that Fyora just wanted her to see the entries of Brynn and Hanso. And to see the entry of herself.
She saw familiar faces as she flipped through scarlet book. She had once laughed at them, ridiculed their stupidity, once smirked at their defeats.
She had said she would never be like them.
The last page of the book had her face neatly sketched and shaded upon it. Flames at her paw, hair whipping back, an insane glint in her eye.
She hated it. Hated seeing herself in it, hated how everyone would forever laugh at her own stupidity. She flung it across the room into the corner. As much as she hated the book, hate for Fyora seemed to intensify.
The Xweetok glared at the other book. How she hated, how Faeries were in this book, hated how they only did a single good deed. How they just collected their prizes and did nothing.
She opened it anyway. The smiling sketched faces, and the little blurb about why they were so special. That’s what being a hero is only about.
She skipped Brynn and Hanso’s entries. She didn’t feel like rubbing salt into her own wounds today.
She stopped dead when she turned the page.
The last page had a Xweetok sketched up it. The picture was remarkably like the other Xweetok in the book. Hair in a tangled mess, burns on her face, and magic at her paws. Yet, something different shone in the black and white eyes.
Fear? Determination? Fyora probably didn’t know herself.
Xandra, crasher of Faerieland and cause of the Faeries Ruin was freed from her stone imprisonment by none other than...
Xandra closed the book abruptly, furious. Furious because she had probably expected her to be happy, overjoyed. It just proved something that Xandra knew a long time ago. That the Faerie Queen really didn’t know her.
“Black and white...” Xandra breathed, with realization. Fyora had left these two books for her for a special reason. Trying to give her a choice.
Xandra threw the bright blue book into the opposite corner, feeling weak and helpless. How she just wanted to burn the two books to ashes, but whenever she tried to send a spark of magic to her paws, she felt her breakfast coming back up.
“I’m not choosing,” Xandra told the neon pink wall defiantly. “Unlike you, I’m not black and white.”
Weeks went by without her talking. Some days she stared out the window. Some she just stayed in her bed.
Some said she was in shock. Some said she was thinking. Some said she was just being stubborn.
Xandra believed it was a mixture of all three. She was in shock that she saved Fyora, the faerie she hated the most, thinking about why she saved her, and she was stubborn not to give anyone a clue. A clue that she was either black or white.
As soon as she heard footsteps, her head was back on the pillow and her eyes were shut tight.
Xandra didn’t move.
“Well, I’ve brought you a letter, from two... er, admirers, you could say.
Now Xandra couldn’t help but be curious. Admirers? Since when did villains have admirers?
“I wish you well, Xandra. And please... try not to hold a grudge against them. They really do mean well.”
As Fyora fluttered out of the hospital room, Xandra did her standard check, then lifted her head off the pink pillow. Picking up the scroll gingerly, and discarding the pink ribbon onto the floor, she unrolled it, and stared at the scribbled note on it.
In case you have to battle evil faeries anytime soon, use these. If you emotionally unstable or very angry at the moment, please send the charred version of this package.
Xandra picked up the small package that had fallen out of the scroll.
As she examined the package, she read the small hastily scribbled message. In case the some guards come in asking about a blue ixi, say nothing.
And then she burst out laughing, laughing for the first time in years. Holding her stomach, she gazed at the box, wiping the tears in her eyes.
It was a box of contacts.