Chronicles of the Darkside: Keys to Fantasia:Part Four
Chapter 4: Singing for Space and Dancing in Time
"Lovely," snarked Iggy, "that was just what we wanted to hear. More Shimmer Beasts. Like, why are we calling them oracles now anyway? Wasn't that oracle from Tyrannia benign or something to that effect?"
"I wish I could say so." grimaced Sapphire. "Sadly she seemed to just be the first of many and appeared to simply be bound to her Obelisk. None of the others appear to have any such apparatus binding their magic as she did. If they do, in the best case, it is something small and mobile and easy for their leaders to move and remove at will. In the worst case what they are bound to is a cascading hierarchy of living creatures -- Neopets, most of which would be fates more than likely -- but I see no sense in discussing that now."
"Why would the fates guide them to do the bad things they've done?" questioned Ikufumi.
"Probably because they're fishier than I and I'm a Maraquan..." snorted Vitaqui.
"No. It's more than that," explained Sapphire, "the leaders of these two types of creatures have vied to be fates for some time, and rightfully so given the amount of power both Guramarasu and Kiramekimasu have. They are right in their frustration. But they are too akin in mind and manner to the likes of Mr. Krawley of Neovia or The Three of Meridell, and beyond the obvious problems that stem from that way of being that should be noted from our world's history in that statement I honestly feel they serve a higher authority." Sapphire paused, winded by the extensiveness of that statement, "But what, neither I nor the rest of the Gem Collective know. And until the Heart of Neopia has its balance restored... We probably won't know."
Iggy grimaced at the statement of "Gem Collective", but refused to comment on it. The girls then realized it was time to move on, but not before one last question from Spahrks.
"Miss. Sapphire, I've been messing with my magic this whole time... This one does not manipulate the way my Wind magic does?" she asked, being very confused.
"Mmm..." Sapphire pondered her answer, "I know this sounds ridiculous, but sing it a little song and see what that does." She smiled this uneasy grin, the first time one of the gemstones had shown any real emotion and the "eerie" aspect of their being as mentioned by Kiramekimasu came to light immediately. They always seemed they were up to something.
Thoroughly confused by what Sapphire had stated the group hastily left, heading for the part of Shenkuu the most readily faced Tyrannia, their next destination. Upon reaching that part of the mountains, two things were realized: one, they could not see Tyrannia from there (which was obvious) but two, how did they form this path that Sapphire spoke of?
"Sing us a little song Sparky, let's see how this works." Iggy said as she struggled to stand from the hysterics of her laughter.
Wishing with all her might that this "Centuria" magic would work, Spahrks belted out a personal favorite of hers from the Twisted Rozez. For just a moment while she was singing, nothing happened, but then everything change. The ground began to shake as a bridge of land formed, from out of the ocean and islands and all things between them and Tyrannia. As Spahrks finished her song the other girls shouted their praise at the dimensional Aisha for they now had a ready foot path between them and their destination.
Travel was quick and easy on this path, and the girls talked and enjoyed each other's company. The path was so direct that it only took a day (counting stopping for lunch when above Old Maraqua), whereas their trip between Qasala and Shenkuu had cost them weeks even with the shorter path.
Once the group had reached Tyrannia (specifically, the Plateau), they quickly saw something was awry -- there were next to no Neopets to be seen anywhere. They quickly traversed to the village to find the Gemstone, where oddly enough even fewer Neopians could be seen. Making their way back to the Plateau they quickly found that Sabre-X was still guarding the Omelette, much to their relief.
"Uhm, let me." Spahrks requested, "I've been here a few times before... To be completely honest I've been on the road longer than it comes off, hehe." Spahrks blushed and moved awkwardly towards the ages old Lupe. "Mr. Sabre-X, we need to know where this Gemstone-lady-thing is please?"
"Spahrks..." Sabre-X looked a little confused. Neopians had not visited the omelette for some time and to see the Aisha had him a bit stunned. "Things are dangerous around here, child. You were the last pet I was expecting to see around here, I haven't even seen any locals for days. The gemstone, though... She's at the concert hall. Or she was. She can tell you more. She's an odd being though... Sounding all robotic but really is not robotic at all. Have some omelette while you're here?"
"Yes, yes, I know." Spahrks stated hurriedly, "but thank you! I'm sorry, no Omelette for me today, I have food."
"Very well then. I'm glad you've got something to eat that's a first for awhil--"
"THANK YOU, We'll be going now." Spahrks interrupted.
"Spahrks, if you are attending school in Shenkuu... Why are you getting Omelette from Sabre-X?" Spahrks inquired, suspicious of Spahrks' prior story.
"...Because my parents only think I'm attending school in Shenkuu." Spahrks frowned. "It's a training school. Like the ones in Qasala, and Krawk Island, and Mystery Island. But I'm too advanced. They wanted to send me back. Instead of boarding the shuttle back to the Space Station where I'd be expected to take part in the fighting there I just... Ran away. Dr. Sloth has been gone for ages but the Glamour presence in Kreludor is unbelievable at the moment and something has assumed control of a huge and integral part of the Space Station. Years ago, when my mother was young, she personally saved my father who had been mutated by Dr. Sloth. They're both pretty war hardened but there was a time Dad wasn't. I know the ways of the warrior but that was not what I wanted for myself, I mean c'mon I'm sixteen now! I can make my own decisions for the most part. What I really wanted to do was train petpets, both for military and civilian usage, the way my father did when he was young. But even with my father having been down the path of peace neither of them will hear anything of it. My mother certainly won't."
"I'm sorry to hear that." Iggy whispered, "My mother... Well, she's nowhere to be seen but my father is very much the same way. Maybe not exactly the same, he's not really what I'd call a warrior-type, but he doesn't really understand my desire to be what I be, ya know?"
"Thank you." Spahrks smiled, "for a Magma Draik from the Haunted Woods, you're not half bad. Maybe when this is done we can be whoever we want, yeah?" Iggy just smiled in response.
They had been walking for some time now, not having run into an oracle monster was a real blessing. But as they approached the concert hall, they soon realized where everyone had been.
"Ya know, my book here says that both Shimmer and Glamour are repelled by happiness." explained Ikufumi. "And what makes everyone happy?"
"Oh this looks fun!"
The remaining three girls chimed in their approval of how Tyrannia was handling their situation -- free concerts for anyone living in the region. The sign, haphazardly painted in standard Neopian by someone who probably spoke Tyrannian Native, was huge and could be seen for several hundred meters.
"PRESENTING, THE GEMSTONES FOUR HEROES!" the announcer blared over the loud speaker as the group approached the entrance to the Concert Hall.
"Wait, what?" the four girls hesitated as they walked into the hall and onto the stage.
"Don't be shy." an ever familiar robotic voice sounded from on the stage. "Happiness, faith, excitement... These are the fundamentals of strength in the heart and spirit and are all things that weaken both Glamour and Shimmer. Have them in yourself, and you have an impenetrable shield." The gemstone ushered them onto the stage. "See, they have faith in you, as do I. I am Emerald." Now with a clearer view, the Plushie Yurble was beckoning them forward with open arms.
"Now wait, if you're a gemstone, where's your gem?" quizzed Vitaqui. Rightfully so, they had seen gems on the center of the forehead and the backs of the right and left hands before, but this one was not inherently visible..
"Haha, being a yuble it's harder to find than the others. It would be under my ruff,in the center of my collar bone." the Yurble, showing much more legitimate and far less creepy emotion than the gems before, chortled.
"Now quickly, Ikufumi," Emerald requested to the Clay Aisha, "take this power as your own!" And as had happened twice before, a light shot from the gem and the corresponding girl began to glow. As the glow faded, the Yurble said, "Now, dance for us child! Your dance can manipulate time as you wish!"
Ikufumi danced, and the girls saw day turn to night and then back to day again in moments. The crowd cheered, and Ikufumi took a bow.
"Now, I beseech upon you my children," Emerald stated, "go back to Faerieland, where your final power awaits. Cut through Happy Valley, where it is spring and all is in bloom, and from there Ether village. A ward of protection will surround you if you do, and It will be fastest as most of that land is claimed not in the names of Shimmer and Glamour. Time is of the essence -- I predict these creatures will be wishing to take your powers for their own now that you have three."
Feeling lighthearted and hopeful, the four girls made their way through Happy Valley with no issues... Until nighttime fell, at which point everything changed.
To be continued…