Enter the Snowflake's lair... Circulation: 97,878,627 Issue: 186 | 15th day of Eating, Y7
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Then There Were Six: Part One


by jade_steel

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Note: Due to popular demand (fine, four Neomails, two msn chats, and one face-to-face confrontation), here is the sequel to the Prophecy of Four. This story takes place approximately six months after the Fulfillment of the Prophecy of Four, as described in the story called, 'The Prophecy of Four', by yours truly. If you're not quite grasping this one, I suggest you go back and read the other one.

"This is really starting to bug me," the earth faerie ground out, slitting open another envelope. "What's with all these, anyway? Tanelle, listen to this: OMG yu guyz sav d Noepa u r soo kewl be mi nf plez thanx." Somehow she managed to make the full impact of the misspellings and chatspeak come across.

     "That's the thanks you get for saving the world," the fire faerie yawned. Although she had been the Betrayer of the ancient Prophecy of Four, she still did get fan mails. Way too many.

     "Gaaaah!" cried another voice, light and breathy, from a blue armchair. Her upper body was hidden by the enormous stack of mail.

     "What's up, Sanalre?" Kanal'te, the Warrior, sighed.

     The other faerie whom she addressed placed two dainty hands on top of the mail pile and hauled herself up to glare at her friend. "The mail pile is up. There's way too much of it!" the Healer exclaimed, then flopped back down in her chair, to open the next letter.

     Sanalre's long, thin fingers quickly opened the envelope, then shut it again. "Oops. Talusai, this one's for-- Talusai?"

     As Sanalre had noticed, the fourth of the Four, Talusai, the Believer, was missing. "Where could she be?" Tanelle wondered out loud. "She's supposed to be here."

     Before Tanelle finished saying 'here', an Air Faerie shot out of a doorway and into Sanalre's pile of mail, scattering it all over the floor. "Well, speak of the Pant Devil," remarked Sanalre. "This one's for you," she added, holding out the envelope.

     Talusai pushed it away. "You've gotta come quick! The Seer, Kyar, knows she's going to make a Prophecy really soon, and she says we need to be there!"

     "Another Prophecy?" Kanal'te shot out of her chair. "These only happen once every fifty years or so! Are the Scribes there?" she asked Talusai, while the other two scrambled for the door.

     "Of course!" Talusai shot at her. "Now come on, we've got to go!"

     The four faeries flew through twisting tunnels of rock, many miles into the clouds, where no rock could exist. But it did anyway, one of the many mysteries that surrounded the Seer's Cavern.

     They emerged, breathless, into a dark grotto. An aging earth faerie sat in the center, surrounded by several of Lexica's apprentices, sent to serve as Scribes.

     The Four had come just in time, it appeared, for Kyar began to rasp in a voice unlike her own:

     "Betrayer, Warrior, Believer, and Healer,

     Joined by the Keepers of an ancient secret,

     Unravel the mystery, these six must,

     Else life as we know it will all turn to dust.

     "Light will be found on an isle most odd,

     While Dark shall appear in an ancient city.

     These two, once found, shall help you to find,

     What must be done to save Faeriekind."

     Kyar slumped back in her seat, and two of the Scribes rushed to help her, though no one spoke.

     "Who has a copy I can have?" Kanal'te asked, breaking the unearthly silence that had begun when the other faerie finished.

     A young light faerie extended a sheet of paper covered in slanting writing. "Here, Warrior."

     "Quit calling me that!" Kanal'te snapped, then gently took the paper. "My thanks." Her voice softened a bit, and she led her friends back to the room that was now almost flooded in mail.

     Once they were back, Kanal'te laid the paper in the center of the one clear table. "Now, we have to figure this out, because it definitely says something about finding, not waiting. So, who's got ideas?"

     "Well, the first line definitely specifies us," Sanalre mused, running a finger over the first line of the first stanza.

     "Yeah, and the 'Keepers' are probably faeries like us... light and dark faeries are my guess," Talusai put in. "But what's the 'secret' that they're keeping?"

     "I guess they'll tell us that when we find both of them." Tanelle shrugged. "For now, let's focus on the rest of the prophecy. The first two lines of the second stanza tell us where to find these faeries, so that's where we should start."

     Kanal'te took over. "It says 'isle' when it talks about Light... an 'isle most odd'. The three recognized islands in Neopia are Roo Island, Krawk Island, and Mystery Island."

     "Well, Roo Island's definitely not odd," Talusai informed them. "Krawk Island is full of rascals, scoundrels, and pirates... would you three call a mystery, 'most odd'?"

     The others nodded, and Talusai gave her verdict. "Light is on Mystery Island, then. Dark will be harder to track down, but with light, we can do it. Now, let's try to empty this room of mail before we leave. We leave tomorrow morning, so let's get cracking!"

     The four of them agreed heartily, and set to answering and tossing mail as fast as they could.

     ***

     The next morning dawned bright and beautiful, and by the time the sun rose fully, the Four were on their way.

     They landed on Mystery Island around noon, but were at a loss for where to start looking for Light. "Maybe we could ask a native if there's a light faerie around?" Sanalre suggested.

     "Good idea," Talusai agreed. "How about that Quiggle, over there?"

     "Sounds good to me." Tanelle led the way over to the Quiggle. "Sir, is there a light faerie anywhere in residence?"

     "Nope," the Quiggle grumbled, scuffing a toe in the loose sand. "Ain't been a faerie 'round here but Jhuidah for who-knows-how long!"

     Tanelle's eyes narrowed as she spoke to him. "How can we be sure you're telling the truth?"

     "He's not," Talusai told them absent-mindedly, staring almost through the Quiggle. "That new truth-sight thing is useful, eh? He's bright red to my eyes, which means he's lying like a rug." She glared at him. "Now, tell me truly: Has a Light Faerie come to the island recently, or is one in residence?"

     The Quiggle stared at her, but made no reply.

     "Talusai, can't you make him tell us the truth or something good like that? This is getting us nowhere!" Kanal'te complained.

     Talusai sighed. "All right." She gestured at the little creature, a silver nimbus growing around her hands. Then she chanted:

     "Ni vria kal ani

     Kinsiri mar tri!"

     At these words, which in the ancient faerie language meant, "No truth shall be hidden from me," the light flowed over the Quiggle and vanished.

     "Well?" Tanelle asked. "How about you answer our earlier question, little one?"

     His jaws worked for a moment, and then he spoke. "There's a Light Faerie living up near the City of Geraptiku."

     "How long has she lived there?" Tanelle asked intently, leaning forward.

     "As long as I can remember," he told them, still looking surprised that he was talking.

     "Thank you," Talusai said quietly. She inclined her head briefly, then strode off, followed almost immediately by the rest of her friends.

     "As long as he can remember… do you think this faerie could be one of the 'Keepers'? Sanalre asked.

     "It's possible," Kanal'te told them. "Still, we should meet her before making any assumptions."

     "Shouldn't take too long," Tanelle pointed out.

     "What? Oh, that's right," Sanalre remembered. "We landed near Geraptiku anyway, so finding this faerie should be a snap."

     "Indeed." Tanelle smiled. "Unless I'm mistaken, she lives there."

     The four stared at the huge stone castle that confronted them. It could have been any castle, but in place of lanterns or torches, compact balls of pure light shone from the walls.

     "Kinda... obvious, isn't it?" Talusai asked after a brief interlude.

     "Yeah, you'd think she'd be more subtle..." Tanelle, along with Kanal'te and Sanalre, still looked somewhat shell-shocked.

     "Well, we aren't going to get anywhere just standing here," Talusai pointed out. "Come on! I said, COME ON!" she added as the others just stood there, staring at the castle.

     Sanalre shook her head, as if to clear it, and followed Talusai toward the massive wooden door. Tanelle and Kanal'te followed suit.

     It took scant few paces to reach the door. Talusai lifted a fist to rap on it, but before she could do so, it gently opened itself.

     "Right then," commented Sanalre. "Who's going in first?" A hand shoved her in the small of her back, and she fell forward, into the open portal. "Hey!" she shouted at the perpetrator, Tanelle. "Come back here!"

     The Fire Faerie merely smiled, guiding her other two friends inside and following them. The door slammed shut behind them, narrowly missing the tip of Tanelle's wing, and she started. "I guess we need to find Light to get out of here."

     "No need." A soft, musical voice drifted out of the darkness, accompanied by a small globe of light. It revealed the pale face of a Light Faerie. She seemed at first glance one of the normal Light air-brains, but her eyes held both an immeasurable sadness and a surprising wisdom. A dark violet pendant hung on a gold chain around her slender neck. She continued, "You are the Four of the ancient Prophecy, correct?"

     "Yes, but how did you know?" Kanal'te demanded, always the aggressive one.

     "News of the Fulfillment has reached even as far as my humble abode." The Faerie's tone was soft and chiding. "Besides, it's not often a party such as yours comes here, seeking one known only as 'Light'."

     Tanelle blushed a deep crimson. "I'm sorry, ma'am. Please forgive Kanal'te; you know she's the Warrior, always a bit aggressive."

     The bright Faerie smiled gently. "No harm done. My name is Triesta, and I believe I am the one whom you seek. The 'Light' of the newest Prophecy, correct?"

     Kanal'te, aggression subsiding, nodded slowly. "Yes. How did you know, though? That Prophecy is only a day old, at most."

     Triesta blinked slowly. "There's another of those Prophecies. It came after the Prophecy of Four, and foretold two Faeries, one Dark, one Light, who together would hold an ancient secret that will save the world someday."

     "Oh, brilliant," Talusai grumbled. "Oodles of Prophecies, and we have to save the world yet again."

     Triesta smiled once more. "Not yet. You see, my sister and I each held a half of the secret, embedded in our memories. At one point, these memories were removed and placed in two pendants, one light, one dark, in order to protect it. The dark one was given to me, and the light to my sister." She brushed the dark crystal. "Unfortunately, that's about all I remember on that topic. Almost everything relating to the secret was placed in the crystals, and that includes my sister's name and present location. And, I can't absorb the memories from the dark crystal, just as my sister cannot take those from the light."

     Kanal'te pressed her lips together grimly, while Sanalre chose to be helpful. "The line of the Prophecy that indicates your sister's whereabouts says that 'Dark will be found in an ancient city'. Any ideas?"

     "Regretfully, not many." Triesta shook her head. "Many of the cities in Neopia could be termed ancient. Faerieland and Neopia Central, at least, have existed since time immemorial. Tyrannia could be it, but it's more prehistoric than ancient. Meridell is a relatively new find, only a few years ago, so that's-"

     She was interrupted in her cataloging of the cities of Neopia by an excited exclamation by Talusai. "Meridell! The land itself may be new to Neopia, but it originally comes from the past!"

     Triesta frowned. "Yes, that could be right. Meridell sounds familiar, now that I try to think of it."

     "Couldn't hurt to check it out," Kanal'te ventured.

     "Shall we go now?" Sanalre questioned.

     "Better now than later," Triesta quipped, showing a sense of humor for once, and they all laughed, then walked out the door that Triesta kindly opened again for them.

To be continued...

 
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