A Queen's Ascension - War:Part Six
Faerieland had once been a magical kingdom that hung far above the ground of Neopia, sitting atop white, fluffy clouds which held the weight of the pink and purple buildings that were elegant creations. After the events of war, Faerieland had come crashing to the ground and remained there ever since, with the Faeries having to rebuild their civilisation.
Upon first entrance to Faerieland from the Haunted Woods, the Healing Springs could be heard, the delicate rushing of water down the cliffs which seemed to sparkle. If you were to continue climbing the cliffs, past the kind Healing Faerie, there was a secret cave that no one as of yet had dared to enter. Beyond that was even worse, the frightening Jhudora’s Bluff, where desperate Neopets ventured for small rewards from the dark faerie.
However, if you were to stay on the ground near the Healing Springs, it would be the Rainbow Fountain that would quickly become visible on the right. Despite having the seemingly similar sparkling, clear water, this fountain actually came from another water source, a magical one that the Fountain Faerie controlled. If you were very lucky, the Fountain Faerie would grant you the ability to change your colour, something considered very luxurious and fortunate, as it could be almost anything you wanted. Beyond this, you could follow the trail up to the right and encounter the Wheel of Excitement, which for the fortunate promised riches, or up and beyond that were the seemingly never-ending depths of the Faerie Cavern, somewhere few dared to enter upon fear of never returning. Behind them were the Poogle Races, often a popular destination for those who enjoyed gambling and something which ran every hour, prompting thousands upon thousands of Poogles trying their best to win and get entered into the races.
All of these sights were in clear view to Vyssa and Tomos as they entered Faerieland, its brightness and sense of colour a stark contrast to the darkness and gloom of the Haunted Woods. As much as they wanted to explore, they had to focus. Their path was the central one: past the Healing Springs and the Rainbow Fountain, past the beautiful apple tree and the glittering lake that was formed from the waterfall that fell below the Faerie Caverns, and over the strong stone bridge to the massive purple doors of the Faerie City.
“I’ve never been to Faerieland before,” Vyssa whispered to Tomos as they walked up the path, the huge doors mere metres away and forebodingly closed before them. There were two Battle Faerie guards standing either side, their eyes already on these two mysterious visitors.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Tomos muttered back. “Although it kind of feels like we’re walking through the ancient ruins of some past great city…”
They had reached the doors. One of the Battle Faeries, who was armed with a sword and shield, spoke first.
“What business do you have in the Faerie City?” She asked. It was hard not to find her intimidating, but her tone wasn’t particularly aggressive. It was their job, after all. They must do this for everyone that comes through.
Vyssa removed her hood first, making her face clear to see. “I am Prin –” She paused suddenly. Everything had been stripped from her, and yet she still couldn’t help introducing herself as such. She swallowed. “I am Vyssa, formerly Her Royal Highness Princess Vyssa of Sakhmet.”
Before she could say anything else, the other Battle Faerie leapt forward. “You are a wanted criminal!” She hissed. “Across Neopia there have been orders to capture you and send you back to Sakhmet where you will face the punishment for killing your sister. Niamh –” She turned to address the other Battle Faerie. “We must take her prisoner this instant.”
“Please, wait!” This was Tomos, who had taken off his hood also. “I am Tomos, and yes, I am also a wanted criminal in Sankara’s eyes. But we have been sent here by King Jazan, and we have a message we must get to Queen Fyora. She promised to help King Jazan after he rescued her.”
“That doesn’t matter!” The same Battle Faerie snapped. “We cannot trust you to see our Queen.”
“Siobhan.” This was the Battle Faerie known as Niamh, speaking quietly but with authority. “As Faeries we must always be above the common laws and dictates of the other Neopian realms. We cannot claim particular favour with one jurisdiction; we must remain neutral. You know that.”
“But Niamh, they pose a risk to the Queen herself!” Siobhan said, the shock on her face quite obvious. “We should not let them through these doors. What about our citizens?”
“What proof do you have of what you speak? That you have been sent by King Jazan?” Niamh asked, ignoring Siobhan’s protestations. “Show me this proof, and I will let you through the doors to the Faerie City.
Tomos without hesitation retrieved King Jazan’s letter from his bag, and handed it to Niamh. She studied it carefully with a slight furrow of her brow from concentration, and then gave it back to him.
“I see.” She said. “I was always under the impression that there was something…untoward about what had happened.”
Vyssa hung her head. She still couldn’t quiet get over the fact that she had been the one to commit the action, however unintentionally. But at least they now had proof that Jazan’s letter was working.
“You may enter the Faerie City.” Niamh told them, the first hints of a smile reaching her face. “We cannot promise that you will be able to see Queen Fyora herself – as you know, she is very secretive.”
“Thank you,” Tomos breathed, the relief showing in his shoulders.
Siobhan frowned, but knew when she was defeated. Both Faeries knocked on the doors simultaneously, and they swung open with grandeur, leading to the entrancing Faerie City.
Vyssa and Tomos walked through almost cautiously. This seemed much more intimidating than the Haunted Woods. As they passed through, the doors instinctively began to close behind them.
She turned around to Niamh’s voice. The doors were still closing, but she could still see her.
“Look for the Hidden Tower, beyond the Faerie Quests station and before the waterfall of Faerie Bubbles,” she called, with a genuine smile on her face.
“Thank you!” Vyssa said, just as the doors closed behind them.
The Faerie City had once been a sprawling, wide expanse of buildings across the clouds, but now had been reduced to a smaller area after the crash, the buildings hastily put together to establish some sense of order. To the left was the Faerie Paint Brush shop, which showcased what Neopets would look like if painted Faerie. Above this a little further along to the left was the Faerieland Employment Agency, a valuable source of help to the unemployed and destitute Neopets who often came through the gates looking for work. In front of Vyssa and Tomos directly was a huge orb that stood on a pedestal. It was said that if you looked inside this orb the inner depths of your personality were revealed. This was interesting; but unfortunately, Vyssa and Tomos had no time for this. To their right were all of the shops in a series of cute cottages, from the Bookshop, to Furniture, to Foods and Petpets and Weapons. Beyond the orb was the castle and the destination of the Faerie Quests, which were extremely popular, to the point where there was a queue coming out of the door that Vyssa and Tomos had to hurry past so as not to get caught up in it. In the distance they could make out the bubbling waterfall that would indicate they had gone too far.
The Hidden Tower. Hidden for a reason. How on Neopia were they going to find it? They walked among the castle’s walls, past the obvious turrets and towers with doors that seemed too obvious. It felt like an impossible task.
“What are we going to do?” Tomos asked. “We could wander around here for hours and find nothing. What if there’s some kind of secret code?”
Before Vyssa could answer, it seemed that fate held their answer. Ahead of them, coming out of what seemed like a wall of a tower rather than a door, was a strong Battle Neopet, clutching a new Sword of Lameness. He looked around warily, and then darted away, his movement clearly strong. Without waiting, Vyssa and Tomos hurried to this wall.
“Do we just…walk in?” Tomos chuckled.
“There’s only one way to find out.” Vyssa said, and promptly stepped forward into the wall. Instead of it smacking her in the face, she went straight through, and found herself in the Hidden Tower, surrounded by high class weapons on display, and none other than Queen Fyora herself in front of her. Tomos quickly followed her, and gasped when he saw the Queen.
Queen Fyora was breathtakingly beautiful, a fact acknowledged by all who had seen her. She was the most powerful being in the whole of Neopia, but fortunately had a heart of benevolence and wanted nothing but joy and good fortune for all the creatures of this world. She had protected Neopia many times from foes, including the fearsome Doctor Sloth. She had kind, lavender eyes that matched her gentle purple outfit. She carried a great sky-blue staff that would only wield to her command, and had the largest, gossamer wings that flew her to great heights and with great speed, and held great strength despite their delicate appearance.
She smiled at them and spoke with a calm, dominating presence that commanded attention. “Vyssa and Tomos,” she murmured. “I have been expecting you.”
To be continued…