Chronicles of the Darkside: Keys to Fantasia:Part Six
Chapter 6: It Was Worth It
"What do you mean Iggy?" Ikufumi murmered, terrified of the dark surroundings but doing her best to not panic.
"I have no clue how my power is going to help us in a cramped space." Iggy responded, "black holes are not exactly useful unless there's something I've not thought up yet. They suck everything in around the and destroy needlessly. I could see moving a boulder or something but nothing that's been put directly before us. We're at a dead end." The Draik motioned to the innate lack of symbols or anything they had seen before.This last part was going to be tricky... How would a black hole help them here? "And what's worse I've yet to even use my power and to be completely honest, y'all, I don't know how this is supposed to work. " Iggy fumed. "I use it like my fire. I use kenesis for my fire. I MOVE PARTICLES IN THINGS TO DO IT, WOO!." she exclaimed, not able to contain her laughter at how nonsensical it is to think moving particles apart and causing vacuums in space in the process would actually help.
The four girls looked around for several minutes, until Spahrks (who really was quite the climber) noted an odd symbol on the floor.
"Iggy, 'X' marks the spot, I think that weird crack is where you use it. But uh... do we need to like... Go through the black hole?" Spahrks exclaimed, shocked by the idea that this was supposed to end well as Topaz had stated before.
"Well, if I rip one open there we'll be going through it no matter what..." Iggy snarked. The four girls looked to one another, obviously discomforted by this idea. "But what if what I'm opening isn't really a black hole to begin with?" pondered Iggy. "Yo, space girl, don't portals use the same principles as black holes?"
"Come to think of it, I think they do." answered Spahrks.
"Then what if... I just try opening the floor up a bit then?" grinned Iggy. With a quick series of motions, Iggy attempted to create a portal between the floor anything that could be directly below, and much to the whole group's (Iggy's included) surprise, it worked. Because a black hole was simply a portal to nothing, Iggy could use the same magic she obtained from the gems to open portals to and through places and things.
The girls dropped down the hole with the help of Spahrks, who used her space magic to slow their falls. And as they were dusting themselves off, the girls looked before them and saw a massive molten but slightly cooled orb, sparking with energy -- they had found the Heart of Neopia. It would be mere moments before their joy of finding their target would come to an abrupt end -- they had been followed by Kiramekimasu and Guramurasu.
The pair dropped into the hole Iggy had created behind them, cackling maniacally all the while. "Nice work, but we'll take it from here," the two hissed.
"YOU WILL NOT!" all for girls exclaimed in unison. To this point weapons were hardly necessary but now with a quick incantation each girl had summoned their weapons to their sides: Iggy's Blaster, Spahrks' Lance, Ikufumi's Lantern, and Vitaqui's Staff. After what they did to Ether, they were prepared to do what it took to stop the two from whatever their twisted desires were.
Knowing they were both outnumbered and out powered, Kiramekimasu and Guraramasu turned to each other and began an eerie chant, one that the language in which it was spoken had never been heard by any of the girls opposing them. In a matter of moments the Shimmer and Glamour leaders disappeared, and in their stead a gigantic Hissi appeared. The girls had heard of this fearsome beast, as it is a creature of Neopian legend. The Hissi was adorned in the skeleton of a halloween Hissi, the crest of an Island Hiss, and the body of a shadow Hissi. She was none other than Shutten, Spirit of the Source.
The battle raged on for some time, but eventually the girls were able to contain Shutten. Iggy then opened a portal to as far of away of a place as she could think (possibly Kreludor but she's never said) and booted the pair and their summoned ally out of the cave.
"Glad that's over." sighed Vitaqui. "What now? We have to use our powers together, right?"
A bit of bickering on how to simultaneously share four different powers commenced, but it was Ikufumi who had what should have been the obvious idea: "Why don't we just use them at the exact same time and direct them so that their areas overlap?" she shrugged. It was worth a try, and after some rehearsing and some practicing but the girls managed to get their timing right after a couple of tries. ...And what would you know? It worked.
Suddenly, there was flashing and rapid pulses of energy. The girls could hear the rush of the release of the faeries, but once the world stopped spinning around them there were no faeries, as a matter of fact they were somewhere... Strange. Looking to each other confused, Spahrks motioned for them to follow her inside what appeared to be a temple-like structure before she began explaining.
"I don't know who those gemstones are but there's something menacing about them." Spahrks explained, "reading Diamond's mind was like reading an open book, and she was deliberately hiding things from us but she has so much power she could shut me out before I found out what. This place... It's strange. Remember the "alternate" times that Zylphio guy was studying I know we all read about in history? It seems we are in the Faerieland in one, one where neither Faeries nor Fates ever existed. Look, I may have studied battle in Shenkuu but everything I learned as a child in the Space Station about time-space is right here in front of me... This "alternate reality" is very real for us right now. Look around us. No pets, no nothing. Without faeries and fates there isn't much to Neopia. But I may have dug up a clue about how to get out of here while reading the other gems -- we need to find an alter and one of us needs to wish for us to leave there. The catch is that I don't know if that will let us all leave or some of us." A very downtrodden look crossed Spahrks face. "If one of us has to keep it open then that one of us will have to stay here -- you only get one go at the wish I think."
"We'll talk about that when we know for sure." Vitaqui said calmly, knowing in her heart she'd never make any of them stay behind. After all, they had homes to return to. People to see. Things to do. She had gotten her wish, and an eternity in solitude is a small price to pay for the priceless experience of traveling for what had now been months with real, true friends.,
Together, the girls searched. Going up and down what felt like countless flights of stairs, questioning just how many times that had been in the exact same room at the entrance, until they came into it on final time to find it was different. This "foyer" of the Faerie Place, which had statues all over of faerie wings (odd for a world that had no faeries), had a different statue that any of the others. The statue was of the Faerie Queen and a Faerie Ixi, standing back to back but hand in hand. At the base of the statue was a plaque that read: "Forever Together. Never apart. Leave the one with the strongest heart." This variation of the Faerie Palace was a maze and this appeared to be its end. This was the altar Spahrks had gleaned information about from the minds of the Gems.
"Leave the one with the strongest heart."
"One of us has to stay."
Spahrks, Ikufumi, and Iggy uttered their dismay, but Vitaqui's mind was made up. Without giving the other girls any thought or opinion on the matter, she ran forward and made her wish for the others to return home. The other girls gasped in unison, Ikufumi began to cry as Iggy held her back and the three were returned to Faerie City, now filled to the brim with thousands of freshly freed faeries. It was over, their task had been complete.
One Year Later
Iggy and Spahrks demanded answers for some time attempts try to get the Gems to answer why this had to be were never fruitful. It was decided that in honor of Vitaqui, Ether would be rebuilt and a set of statues of the girls funded and produced by the Faerie Queen would be placed there.
It was now the one year anniversary of all that had come to pass, and the statue was finally ready, covered in a huge puple-pink cloth to hide it before it's unveiling. The remaining three girls were in attendance, and the countdown at sunset was perfectly performed to sync with fireworks imported from Shenkuu. But as the countdown finished, there was one final surprise waiting at the base of the statue as the veil was pulled.
Vitaqui was sitting merrily at it's base, staff in hand and eating a sandwich because time had no meaning in that realm and she was pretty hungry.
"Strongest heart it said." Vitaqui chuckled at the shocked and delighted girls, tears of happiness being shed through the joyful crowd. "Because apparently what Skyfor, who as we know is a fate and as I now know can access that place like it's nothin' has some kind of weird magic that gets ya out if your heart meets the req to share the magic but only if we leave the door to it wide open like we did. Oops."
The girls celebrated together into the night, and would stay together for some time. But, from atop a distant rooftop, something was awry. A mysterious Plushie Cybunny, dressed in her best purples and her top hat tilted to one side, sat and grinned menacingly. "The world was saved, so that's it right?" she sneered, "But oh, oh honey. This is just the beginning. This is too, too good. Ya girl Scourge has an itch she can't scratch on her own right, yeah? My bet is they can help me tie up some loose ends here... 'Cause, ya know I like a gamble, and those gems have got chips on the table. But you know I don't play fair."
Coming up Next: Doors to NowhereThe girls are in for a nasty surprise when old allies become enemies and enemies become friends. And just who is this mysterious Scourge? The story has just begun in Chronicles of the Darkside.