Then There Were Six: Part Three
"Explain." Tanelle's eyes were cold. "I personally would
love to know how anything could be worse."
Triesta pressed her lips together, and her fists
clenched at her sides, white-knuckled. "It's the destruction of our existence.
Something has happened - is happening - to the Faeries' source of power. Slowly,
one by one, all our wings will crumble into dust, our powers become nonexistent.
We will be more like humans, and Neopia will be without the protection of the
faeries in its darkest hour."
Mayra, Sanalre, and Kanal'te became pale; Talusai's
hair stood on end as her eyes widened in shock, and Tanelle's hair began to
blacken as her mouth opened in a wide O.
Finally, Sanalre regained enough composure to
ask the question that was hanging over them all: "Mayra, how can we fix this?"
Mayra passed a trembling hand over her skirt,
smoothing the wrinkles out nervously. "It's...complicated. I haven't gotten
nearly as clear a vision as Triesta. It's almost as though there was a fault
in the crystal. I know where all our power comes from, I know where to find
it, I know how to approach it without being destroyed.... I just can't quite
see how to fix it. It's fuzzy, as though I was nearsighted and it was far away."
"Oh dear." Triesta looked almost close to tears.
"How can we fix it, how can we survive as faeries if you can't see it?"
"Well, why don't we just go talk to Fyora?" Kanal'te
suggested. "She might actually help us this time, now we're in a real fix."
Talusai twisted one side of her mouth into a
scowl. "Last time, we were turned away at the gate."
"Well, we're still faeries, not pets," Tanelle
pointed out. "Or, at least we were last time I checked."
Triesta managed a weak laugh. "Yes, that would
seem to be the wisest course."
"Can we go?" Sanalre shifted from foot to foot
impatiently. "If you're all okay, that is. We're wasting daylight."
"I'm fine." Triesta was regaining some of her
usual vigor. "Let us be off, then." She looked around the group for confirmation.
The five other faces looked drawn and pale, but they were ready.
A few minutes later, they stood outside the castle.
A fresh breeze ruffled their hair, and Talusai lifted her head up and reveled
in the wind. "I hope this can be resolved soon. I want to go back to just being
"Yeah, that'd be fun," Tanelle commented ruefully,
stretching her firey, butterfly-like wings. The other Faeries stretched similarly,
preparing to fly hard and fast to reach Faerieland before night fell.
Talusai swooped inside the gates of Faerieland
as the last rays of the sun sank below the horizon. The others were not far
"I feel like I could sleep for a week," Tanelle
groaned. "We've been all over Neopia in the past two days, and I need a rest."
Sanalre looked at Mayra. "It would be good to
rest. Surely this can wait 'til morning."
The others agreed, but Mayra gazed at the setting
sun. "And with the setting of the sun comes eternal night for our race," she
The next morning, they were all ready, Talusai
most of all. "Can we go yet?" she asked, pushing lightly against the door of
her home, where they had spent the night.
"Patience, patience," Kanal'te laughed, her eyes
sparkling. "We'll go soon."
Talusai was jogging in place at the door when
they were all finally ready to go. Mayra still seemed a little out-of-sorts.
"Are you all right?" Sanalre asked her.
Mayra shook it off. "Fine, fine."
The walk to the palace seemed to take hours,
though in reality it was only a few minutes before the Draik guards opened the
doors to admit them.
"This seems strangely...empty," Mayra commented,
a sinking feeling in her stomach as they paced slowly through the purple-and-pink
"Well, this is the throne room," Tanelle commented
as they entered the room with the large, cloudy throne. "But there's no Fyora.
No one, in fact."
"That's not strictly true," Triesta pointed out.
"There's a girl in here."
As one, they all looked in the direction that
Triesta gestured. Sure enough, a tall girl with pale brown hair that fell to
the small of her back sat sobbing in a corner, her face averted. On the ground
near her lay a crystalline staff with a purple sphere atop it.
"Doesn't that look like Fyora's staff?" Kanal'te
Mayra's eyes widened; they scanned the room until
she found the things she was searching for: two piles of ash, or dust, near
the throne. A tiara not unlike Fyora's lay, discarded, in a corner.
"Oh, no," Mayra murmured. "Oh no, oh no, oh no...."
"What?" Triesta turned to her sister, fear evident
in her eyes. "What's wrong?"
Mayra pushed her aside gently and turned to speak
to the girl. "What's your name?"
The girl raised a tear-streaked face to them.
Her pale eyes were red from sobbing. "A - Aroyf."
Talusai, the cleverest one of the Four, drew
her breath in sharply. "Oh no."
"Would you care to enlighten the rest of us as
to what's happened here?" Kanal'te demanded. "I for one am confused. I'm not
entirely sure what is light and what is dark. Explain?" She crossed her green-sleeved
arms over her chest and took on an offensive stance.
Tanelle, Sanalre, and Triesta saw it at the same
time, and their combined gasps paused Talusai before she could answer. Whispers
of 'oh no' echoed through the room.
"Explain now." Kanal'te tapped her fingers on
her upper arm.
"Reverse Aroyf and you get Fyora," Talusai explained
to her friend. "It's already begun."
"Oh dear," Kanal'te muttered, paling.
"Well, it's a change from 'oh no'," Tanelle commented,
trying to bring some light to the dark situation.
Mayra blew her breath out in a silent chuckle.
"Indeed. For now, though, we must ascertain what to do. Talusai, perhaps you
could speak with Fy - Aroyf?"
"Sure." The Air Faerie paced slowly over to the
still-weeping girl and placed a hand on her shoulder. Talusai began to murmur
in comforting tones.
"We'll leave Talusai to help Aroyf," Mayra ordered.
"Triesta and I will attempt to figure out what must be done to fix this. Tanelle,
you and Sanalre and Kanal'te will scout out the other faeries, trying to see
how far the blight has extended. We must work together if we're going to fix
this at all."
Kanal'te nodded. "Yes. Tanelle, Sanalre, come."
She motioned to the other two, then walked out the door. Her voice faded into
the distance as Kanal'te began to order the inspection.
"So, what do you suggest?" Triesta asked Mayra.
"I have no ideas, so it's entirely up to you what to try."
"Hmmm." Mayra's brows snapped together. "What
if you tried returning the offending memories to the crystal? Then we could
examine it, to see if there's maybe a fault."
"Good idea," Triesta agreed. "Shall we begin?"
She placed her fingers on Mayra's temples and closed her eyes, sending tendrils
of light into her sister's mind, looking to isolate the memories which would
save them from a terrible fate.
"Well, Lexica seems fine," Sanalre observed as
they left the Library. "Next up is Jhudora, right?"
Kanal'te winced. "Yeah."
"I'll go check on Fuhnah," Tanelle said worriedly.
"I'm not going near that Cloud. I think much of the Council are here."
Sanalre's mouth twitched at the corners. "That's
good. We should split up anyway; it'll get more ground covered."
Tanelle raced hurriedly off, back toward the
palace, as Sanalre and Kanal'te strode nervously toward the roiling purple and
"Hello?" Kanal'te called nervously as they entered
"Who goes there?" a raspy voice called, and green
flames sprang up in front of them.
Sanalre raised an eyebrow. "Stay, Kanal'te."
She extended her power over the stretch of flame in front of her, holding it
quiescent long enough for her to pass through.
She walked farther into the Cloud, eventually
coming upon a large, dark throne. On it sat a Dark Faerie, dealing with several
streams of pets coming for quests. Kanal'te and Sanalre had taken the back way
"Well, Jhudora looks fine," Sanalre muttered,
and turned to go.
An earsplitting scream caught her attention,
and Sanalre whipped around and darted around to the front of the throne in time
to see Jhudora's wings begin to crumble into dust. Her hair became more black
than purple, her regal robes changed to a skirt and T-shirt.
Sanalre's eyes widened: the realm's most powerful
Dark Faerie had just changed into a human.
Kanal'te dashed through in a moment; with her
transformation, Jhudora's magic had all fallen to pieces. "Everyone out!" she
cried, herding the pets toward the exit, Sanalre helping her to shepherd the
As the last of the pets left, Sanalre rushed
to the throne. "Jhudora?"
She smiled bitterly. "Aroduhj," the new human
Sanalre and Kanal'te exchanged glances. "We'd
best go find Tanelle," Sanalre suggested. "We need to find and check up on the
rest of the Faerie Council, and then we'll have to find a way to check on the
Faeries who don't live up here. Illusen and Taelia are the two biggest concerns,
as they're the ones who give quests."
"Right. Plus, if Jhudora's gone, Illusen's going
soon," Kanal'te told her, and the two raced for the back door, beginning to
fly as they exited the Cloud and headed for the palace. "We've got trouble on
"It's flawed," Triesta announced, examining the
dark violet crystal. "You'd better take it back, and then we hope you can play
it by ear."
"I hope so." Mayra's green eyes were filled with
worry, and her purple wings trembled as she re-folded them against her back.
"If I can't do it, then...." Mayra trailed off as she realized the terrible
fate that awaited them all if she could not succeed.
"I know you can." Triesta placed her hand on
Mayra's shoulder, trust evident in her eyes. "I know that this disaster can
Mayra smiled genuinely for once. "Thank you,
"Don't call me that," Triesta mock-growled. "Or
I'll call you May!"
Mayra placed her hand against her forehead and
faked a swoon. "You wouldn't!"
"Fine, no name-calling," the Light Faerie agreed.
"Now get that memory back. We have work to do."
"Right." Mayra nodded and began to stare deep
into the violet depths of the stone. Soon she was deep in concentration.
On the other side of the room, Talusai had managed
to get Aroyf to talk sense, though she burst into tears every so often while
she spoke. "I - I don't know h-how it happened!" Aroyf sobbed. "I-I was j-just
going to s-sit down and m-m-my-my wings just-"
She dissolved into tears once more, and Talusai
sat, patting the former queen on the shoulder, continuing to murmur soothingly.
"It'll be all right. The Prophecy says-"
Talusai broke off with a gasp. "Kyar! I almost
forgot! I have no idea whether or not she's all right! And as far as I know,
Tanelle and Sanalre and Kanal'te aren't planning to check on her."
She patted Aroyf on the shoulder and bolted over
to where Triesta was helping Mayra re-absorb the crystal. "I'm going to go check
on Kyar," Talusai murmured, and began to run, feeling the wind beneath her wings
as slowly she transferred her weight to the delicate, butterfly-like structures.
Talusai retraced the path she'd flown so few
days ago, down through the tunnels and to the Seer's cavern. She arrived, breathless,
in the middle of the cave, almost skidding to a stop as she put her feet down.
"Kyar?" she called, not immediately seeing any sign of the Seer.
Then Talusai caught sight of the old woman sitting
where Kyar usually sat. "Rayk?" she asked cautiously.
Pale eyes raised to meet hers, filled with pain.
"Oh, curses!" Talusai exclaimed as she patted
the Seer, made sure she was comfortable, and began to retrace once more the
path to the palace.
To be continued...