The Forgotten Years:Part Two
The queen of Altador began to tell one of the many stories about the now infamous Betrayer. This tale had begun right after Nera was scheduled to make her first speech as queen.
“I don't know if I can do this.” Nera paced across the shiny floor of the Hall of Heroes. A nervous feeling rose in her stomach. She wasn't prepared for the upcoming speech she had to make. Was she really ready for this? Most likely not.
“You'll do fine.” Zairia, a dark faerie was standing nearby, admiring her stone statue. It towered above the two, looking fierce. “Hey did they a pretty sweet job on me, don't you think?”
Her mouth formed into a small smile. It's something she didn't do often, but being appreciated for her work filled her heart with joy. For the first time in forever, a dark faerie was shown actual respect. Not feared...not looked down upon, but respected.
Queen Nera turned around and frowned. She couldn't believe that at her most vulnerable time, Zairia was instead talking about her statue. “Seriously? I'm terrified about becoming queen. I have to make a big speech in like…” she paused a moment to think, “ten minutes.”
“So? You managed to overthrow an evil sorcerer, you crossed the treacherous seas to arrive here.” The dark faerie approached Nera, her dark blue dress dragging across the marble floor. “You helped us build the kingdom and married Mr. Know-it-all over there. You're saying you can do all that, but not make a tiny speech and have some title?”
Nera’s shoulders slumped. “...yes.” All those things sounded much easier than speaking in front of a large crowd. She found herself wanting to face Rasputin once again instead of making a speech.
“Nera.” Zairia crossed her arms. Her red lips turned downwards into a frown. Pulling Nera out of her comfort zone was something the faerie promised to do.
“Zairia I'm just...scared.” The light brown Xweetok looked up to her husband's tall statue. “Altador always knows what to say and do. He's a much better ruler than I. I, on the other hand, have no idea what I'm doing.”
“I'm pretty sure none of us know what we're doing.” Zairia snorted. “You'll do just fine. You always do.”
Nera then beamed with joy and hugged the dark faerie. “Thank you Zairia, you truly are a dear friend.”
Zairia blinked a few times, surprised any Neopian would call her a friend. For being a dark faerie had caused many to turn their cheek at her. She never had a friend before.
The dark-haired faerie hugged the Xweetok. “You're welcome, Nera.”
“So is that it?” Tormund spoke up, interrupting the queen's story. It didn't answer his questions, just that the Darkest Faerie liked herself an awful lot, and the queen had stage fright.
“Tor!” Roberta smacked her friend in the arm, causing him to yelp. Tor rubbed his arm and glared back at her.
Queen Nera sighed at the two and shook her head. “Patience young Lupe, I'm not finished. After my speech is when things began to go downhill.”
Nera went back to tell her story, hoping for no more interruptions. If any occurred, she would let Roberta handle it.
Years ago...once again.
“Zairia!” Nera hurried through the halls, her white dress dragging on the floor. The sound of her sandals clicking on the marble floor filled the room.
A female voice from somewhere in the building called out to the queen. “What?”
The sound echoed through the hallway, confusing Nera. She stopped walking and looked around the large building. “Where are you?”
The queen made her ways towards the main hall, approaching an entryway to a staircase. She walked up the staircase, carefully picking up the hem of her white Altadorian dress so she wouldn't step on it.
Once she arrived at the top, she noticed that Zairia was standing at a large table in the council chamber. Her back was turned to Nera. She appeared to be doing something.
Nera gleefully chirped. “The speech went great!”
“I can't believe I actually did well! Everyone clapped at the end and seemed happy to see me!” Nera said, walking into the chamber. “I swore I wouldn't do well, but I was wrong! I did wonderfully!”
The dark faerie didn't reply. She only stood there in utter silence.
An achingly long silence. The kind of silence that made Nera worry.
“What's wrong?” Nera spoke up, breaking the silence with a question.
“Altador and the rest of the council keep shutting down my ideas.” Zairia’s head hung down as she examined the table in front of her.
Nera stood by her side, trying to comfort her. A large sheet of paper laid out on the large table in front of the Neopians. It was covered in sketchy marks, creating the outline for the kingdom. The handwriting of the council members adored the paper.
All but Zairia’s.
The queen patted the dark faerie’s back. She felt pity for the poor faerie. “Oh...well I'm sure they have good reasons.”
Zairia clenched her hands into fists and shook her head. “No, it's because I'm a dark faerie!”
“Zairia, surely it's not that-” Nera started to object to the silly idea.
“Yes, it is! Altador listens to everyone else here but me!”
“He rejects ideas that he thinks aren't good for the kingdom it's not-”
“Altador even accepts your ideas and you aren't even part of the council!”
The accusation shocked the queen. “Okay, I don't see why you have to bring that up.”
“Seriously? You're just his wife and I'm on the council. I should have my ideas considered and accepted. Your ideas shouldn't be considered!” The dark faerie snapped.
Nera would be lying if she said she wasn't hurt by her friend’s remark. The comment made her flinch, and she took a step back.
“Zaira what's wrong with you? You don't usually act like this…”
“Well, I'm sick and tired of being treated differently than anyone else!” Zairia grew angrier. “I deserve the same respect as you and the other council members!”
“Yes, I agree you do, but shouting at me will accomplish nothing!
Zairia stood there for a moment, thinking over what Nera said. “You're absolutely right, it will accomplish nothing.”
“See? Now let's-”
“I have to go. I can't be here right now.” Zairia pulled away from Nera. She held her hands up in frustration and anger.
The dark faerie stormed out of the room, and Nera ran after her.
But once she reached the bottom of the stairs, the dark faerie was already gone.
King Altador stood in the front chamber room, where he often spent time with his son, Alarick. The young white Xweetok sat on the floor by his father, playing with his petpet Yooyu, Danny. Thankfully the child was behaving for once, and not causing trouble. It gave the parents some relief. Their younger daughter, Cecilia, was more behaved than her sibling. Altador found himself often wishing Alarick was more like her.
Nera walked into the room and let out a tired breath. “Altador, Zairia is gone.”
“She just…left.” She told him, a sigh slipping past her lips. “She was upset you kept rejecting her ideas and-”
The king stopped her from continuing and turned to their son. “Alarick, can you play outside for a bit? Your mother and I need to talk about something.”
The light-haired prince groaned, “I'm always being sent away when the adults are busy.”
He picked up his beloved pet Yooyu and begrudgingly walked outside. Altador chuckled at the boy’s response and turned to his worried wife.
A stern expression then formed on the aging Lupe’s face. “Nera, she wanted us to overthrow the surrounding lands and have them under my rule. I couldn't possibly accept that idea.”
“Really?” the red-eyed Xweetok blinked. Zairia hadn't told her what the ideas were. No wonder Altador rejected them, they sounded cruel.
“It's why I rejected her ideas. They're all not appropriate for the kingdom.”
Nera understood why he had to reject the ideas, but she didn't know why Zairia accused Altador of playing favorites.
“She...she also said my ideas are only considered and accepted because I'm your wife.”
“No my dear that's not why,” the white Lupe gently patted her hand. “Your ideas are wonderful and that's why they're always considered.”
“Are you sure that's why?”
“Yes, Zairia just needs some time away. Once she cools off, she'll be back.”
“Okay...I'll just... give her space then.”
“Good.” Altador warmly smiled. “Now I'm off to tend to some errands, don't worry so much over it, okay?”
“You rest and ease your mind. You've had a long day. I'll see you in a few hours.” Altador left a small kiss upon her hand and exited the room to go about his day.
After the king departed, Nera rested her arms on the window sill and gazed out into the peaceful city.
She felt as if this was all her fault.
To be continued…