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||You are on Week 327
Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...
We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!
Story Three Hundred Twenty Seven Ends July 6
Seraph spread his wings and felt the wind lift him higher. The faerie Bori dipped and spiralled among the white clouds, the cool moisture against his face providing some relief from the hot sun. It was a beautiful day to be flying.
His mind, however, was not concerned with such trivialities. Who cared if the tops of Fyora's castle gleamed and shimmered in the sun like iridescent pearls? Who cared about the fluffy little clouds that looked like Babaas on an everlasting baby-blue pasture? Who cared if he could see endless skies stretching away in every direction, offering up sweet promises of infinite freedom?
No, there were much more important things to occupy his mind... or, rather, one thing.
Only one word filled his mind as he flattened his wings against his sides and sped into a dive, hoping to reach his destination quicker.
Author: Have at thee!|
Date: Jun 22nd
...Seraph grinned indulgently. Even the word gave him a warm and fuzzy feeling.
He had waited so long for this day. Ever so long. Cooped up, trapped in his own Neohome, bound by a spell.
Seraph remembered facing the light faerie on a swirling storm cloud above Faerieland. He leapt at her, claws extended. She raised a glowing sceptre. He fell back, shielding his eyes from the sudden flash of light. He tried to step up again, but found himself unable to move. The faerie was chanting an ancient spell, and a stream of white magic was flowing from the sceptre, wrapping around him. Everything began to fade, and then everything was darkness. A familiar darkness, but the door was gone.
He remembered wandering through the dark halls as a Darigan Bori, without a torch to see by, only his Darigan-enhanced night vision. Forever pacing through the manor, back and forth, back and forth. Nothing ever changed, just constant thinking. Thinking of a plan.
He remembered finally breaking through the light faerie's spell, only two nights ago. Finally escaping his ten-year imprisonment.
What a waste, Seraph lamented. He could only imagine how much he could have accomplished during that period of time, had he not been held prisoner. In his own Neohome, too. That faerie certainly had some nerve.
He glanced down at his fur. How repulsive. Such a pretty shade of light blue, the delicate Faerie wings... it sent a wave of nausea through him just thinking about it. But it was a small price to pay for the vengeance that had filled his dreams for ten long years.
Liannah will pay, at long last... he thought. You didn't think I could escape, did you? You thought that the heroes always triumph? You thought that the darkness would perish?
Seraph shook his head to clear his thoughts. Time enough to gloat later, but he had to put his plan into action. Liannah was only the first on a long vengeance list.
Seraph alighted near Jhudora's Cloud in Faerieland. He started to walk toward the city, and then paused. He turned to look at the purple, stormy clouds of the dark faerie's abode. Now there was somebody that could help him with this particular ambition. They had been allies before. Why not now?
Oh yes, all of Neopia will remember the name of Seraph, he thought, lips curving into a cruel smile...
Date: Jun 25th
* * * * *
...Jhudora’s cloud was an architectural feat of clouds, noxious gas, and, of course, magic. The actual abode seemed to rise out of the gloom like an ominous shadow and a dark door with brass knocker made the structure even more imposing.
As the newly-turned faerie Bori approached his old friend’s lair, he had to admit that Jhudora had gotten quite well-off since they had last worked together plotting and scheming for new ways of domination. Before, the cloud clearly hadn’t been as extravagant or just as terrifying, but yet again, ten years left quite some time for remodeling.
Seraph shook his dainty wings and knocked on the heavy door.
Within moments it had been flung open, revealing a faerie that still reeked enough evilness for Seraph to step back. Her long hair was sleek, her violet eyes wide and menacing, and her nails had been filed to sharp dagger-like points.
“Bori!” she hissed, her voice loud, yet enticing. “You have come to seek items of great power, have you not?” She waved her hand and dark items of great magical power flashed before Seraph’s eyes: potions, spell books, and even the coveted Wand of the Dark Faerie. Greed filled his soul, almost overpowering his want for revenge, but with a puff of smoke the items vanished, and Jhudora finished, “They can be yours if you agree to take on my quest.”
Seraph’s jaw dropped, his world shattering around him. Quest? In the past ten years, he had been locked up in a perpetual prison tormenting his existence and what had his close friend and confidant been doing? Handing out quests to random Neopets?!
He shook his head. Clearly, she needed a reminder of what she was: a powerful dark faerie capable of much more.
“Jhudora,” he called out, “have the years made you forget me?”
The dark faerie looked at him skeptically. No one ever questioned her after her welcoming spiel. Instead, they gave either a frightened “yes” or ran off in search of an easier task. And who was he to say that she knew him? She didn’t know a single faerie neopet or a Bori for that matter, except for an old friend who had been placed under a powerful spell quite a few years back...
“Seraph?” she breathed questionably. “Is it really you?”
“In the flesh,” Seraph said with a sinister bow. “Maybe not the right color, but clearly in the flesh.”
Jhudora crossed her arms over her chest and rolled her eyes. “Let me guess... Liannah’s spell has worn off and you want revenge?”
“Precisely,” Seraph said, “and that is why I need your help...”
“Help? From me?” Jhudora asked incredulously before giving a laugh that was more of a cross between a howl and a screech. “Listen, Seraph,” she said once her hysterics were over, “ten years is a long time and I’ve long since gotten my priorities in order. Right now, only a few things occupy my precious time: quests, potion brewing, and letting loose evil on Neopia a little at a time. Big-scale plots just aren’t my thing anymore. That’s what Sloth, Meepits, and all the other failures are for.”
Seraph backed away from his old friend, shaking his head. “I don’t believe it!” he muttered. “Ten years have passed and you’ve completely changed.”
“Get with the times, Seraph,” Jhudora said brutally. “Everything changes over time.” And with that she slammed the door...
Date: Jun 25th
...Seraph gaped at the sound of departing footsteps that could be heard beyond the weighty door. He refused to believe someone like Jhudora could become so tame in a matter of ten years.
Of course, this was coming from a Darigan Bori who now sported pastel fur and lithe wings, so he was truly in no position to judge.
Infuriated, he ran his long claws down the door. “Jhudora! Jhudora, come back this instant!” Perhaps ordering the evil faerie around was not his wisest move, but desperate times called for desperate measures. His actions went unrewarded, either way.
With a snarl, Seraph drew back from the door, his fur rising on end. Now who could he turn to? She had mentioned that Sloth and Meepits were both big on the larger scale plans, but neither sounded intimidating enough to take down a someone like Liannah.
Liannah... the very name was like poison.
Not only was she responsible for ten years of imprisonment, but she had betrayed him. She was a traitor, no matter how you looked at it. Yes, Liannah had to pay for her deeds.
Brooding, Seraph began to roam the fluffy streets of Faerieland. No one paid him any mind, since he looked like any other faerie Bori. Perhaps more would have steered clear had they known the plans and anger that were tumbling through his mind, the product of ten years of resentment.
“You... I know you...”
Seraph turned impatiently, though startled, as a slow voice came from nearby. A small unrecognizable figure sat by the road, shrouded in a tattered cowl. He growled, hoping to startle the strange beggar. This creature couldn’t possibly know him.
But the mystery pet was unshaken. “You’re Seraph, aren’t you?”
This accurate proclamation nearly threw Seraph back. The figure chuckled a half insane sort of laugh. “I knew your presence... I could feel the evil in your essence... all the hatred... yes, that must be you. You look different, Seraph.”
With that, the stranger drew back the hood on his cloak...
Date: Jun 26th
...and revealed a small, weary-looking grey faerie.
"What?" Seraph sneered. He'd never associate with one those pitiful little failures, and moreover, he tried to avoid faeries whenever he could (Jhudora being the notable exception, but she wasn't a thoughtless airhead). "You must have confused me with one of your Soup Kitchen companions."
"Oh, no." The faerie shook her head slightly, and though her clothes were drab, wings little more than tattered shreds and voice a weak, thready whine, her next gaze sparked with determination. "I know you, Seraph. You may be wearing the guise of a faerie, but I'd recognize your venomous aura anywhere."
Seraph regarded her with suspicion. Odd as the notion was, this faerie certainly seemed sure of their acquaintance, and moreover, she knew his name in spite of his pastel guise. Enough was enough. "How do you know me?" he spat. "Speak!"
Instead, the faerie chuckled darkly. "You will know soon enough... first, I have something to propose."
Seraph scoffed. "And what could you, a washed-out little nobody, possibly do for me?"
Surprisingly, the faerie smiled. "More than you know. Fyora may have taken away my powers, but she could never strip me of my determination... I can help you on your path to revenge, for it is one I also share. And with my considerable knowledge--"
"Enough!" shouted Seraph, fed up with the faerie's cryptic tone. "Who are you? Tell me!"
With the same fiery look in her eyes she'd had earlier, the faerie stood and shook off her cloak. "I am one who you believe betrayed you," she said slowly, gazing at Seraph with nothing less than imperiousness. "I was once known as Liannah..."
Date: Jun 26th
...Liannah... Wild fury exploded like fireworks in Seraph's skull, painting his vision with crimson flame, and his claws sped through the air like blades homing in on their mark. Questions and negotiations were utterly forgotten. He didn't care how the light faerie had come to be this way. He didn't care what she had to offer. And he certainly didn't wish to hear whatever pitiful excuse it was that she was going to attempt.
She was going to die!
Or at least, so he thought, for the fiery handful of seconds it took the Faerie to pin him to the ground.
"Now," Liannah murmured, her voice suddenly as sweet and regal as it had been back in the days when sweeping wings molded of golden incandescence had flared out of her back and power had coursed through her veins, "are you ready to listen to my proposal?"
Seraph gritted his teeth, struggling. No good. Whatever she had lost in magic, in terms of short-range combat the Faerie had more than made up for it in simple physical skill. She was good at predicting his movements, and flawless in compensating for them. He couldn't pitch her off.
A long, deep sigh of resignation poured out of his body. "Very well. I will listen, but I give no guarantees. The moment you turn your back I might just see fit to kill you." Indeed, that is one of the few things that I CAN guarantee. Ten years of my life you stole from me, and for those ten years I was sustained only by the thought of tearing you down. I will not surrender that now, just because you happen to be useful at the moment.
A thin, darkly bitter smile curved Liannah's ashen lips. "Were I to hear anything less from you, I might question my choice of you as an ally."
Seraph closed his eyes. Now that was the Liannah he had once known as a comrade. In times past, he might have predicted them.
But her next words took him entirely by surprise. "I was right to hide you from Fyora for these past ten years."
Shock exploded in Seraph's mind. Hide me from Fyora?
...The reason for my imprisonment?
A lie, or the truth?
Liannah watched him ponder with another of those slow, cold, bitter smiles. "Yes," she murmured, "you begin to understand. Our strength was surpassed. Our defeat was inevitable. And so, I cut our losses, in hopes that this day would come."
Defeat. Seraph closed his eyes, remembering.
"Seraph, we have to fall back." Liannah was desperately adamant. "We can't defeat Fyora, not as we are now. Not separated from Jhudora. We need to retreat, take time to gain more power."
"Coward," Seraph snarled, angry not only because of her words, but because she voiced his own fears and doubts. Their enemies were approaching even as they hesitated. They could not defeat them, not in their present state.
But blast it, they had to try! "We cannot give up, not when we're so close! Stand with me!" A taloned paw slashed the air in the direction of their approaching foes. "Together, we can-"
"No." Liannah shook her head. "No, we cannot. Seraph, if you cannot see what is right in front of your eyes, then I must take this matter into my own hands."
Seraph froze for a moment, facing the Light Faerie on a swirling storm cloud above Faerieland. He leapt at her, claws extended. She raised a glowing sceptre. He fell back, shielding his eyes from the sudden flash of light...
As his current stream of memories began to blend and mingle with his earlier musings, Seraph shook himself free. "You were a fool," he told her softly, his voice half a growl, half a bitter murmur, "and you still are. You threw away our victory, just when it could have been ours. And now, you have stripped me of my powers, just as you yourself are now stripped." The very words were bitterness in his mouth. "Why do you think it took me ten years to escape? And now, while you're sitting here on my back, talking about long-awaited revenge, why don't you tell me precisely how you intend to go about achieving it?"
"Very well." And with that, Liannah reached into a pocket that had been crudely sewn into the ragged grey dress that she wore under her shed cloak, and drew forth a small object that she then dangled in front of Seraph's nose. "This shall be the first step in our long and glorious retribution..."
Date: Jun 27th
...Seraph raised an eyebrow. For a moment all thought of anything but the object was gone. "Cheese," he said skeptically. "We rebuild an empire... on cheese."
Liannah glared. "Not funny, Seraph," she said, and for a moment it was like the old days. The old, old days.
"Seriously, you expect me to believe that cheese will help us achieve revenge? Pshaw. I'm calling the insanity ward."
The faerie looked down at the object. Indeed, it was a wedge of cheese. Finest made cheddar, if she wasn't mistaken. She groaned, and fumbled through her pocket. "I don't believe it!" she exclaimed. "Someone stole it! Great galloping Meepits -- who would do such a thing? No one knows about it!" All composure lost, Liannah pawed through her cloak.
Seraph rolled his eyes. "Do you mind telling me what this grand weapon is, or must I go find the burglar myself?" The moment of friendship was over. His cold sarcastic demeanor was back. “Liannah, tell me, or I shall turn myself into Fyora.”
It was an empty threat, and they both knew it.
"You wouldn’t dare,” Liannah hissed, still holding her cloak. Her eyes glittered maliciously. “You might be as thick as a plank when it comes to retreat, but we all know you aren’t stupid enough to do something like that.”
Seraph bit his lip. She was right.
"Heard of Thyora’s Tear?” she asked.
Seraph nodded. Who hadn’t?
"No, you haven’t,” Liannah said. “Not this one, at any rate.”
"Explain yourself.” Seraph was tired of her silly word games. Either she’d get to the point, or... well, he didn’t know what he would do. But he would think up some drastic move. Later.
"There are two,” Liannah stated simply. “Two tears from Thyora. Polar opposites. One holds extreme powers of defence...”
"...While the other holds extreme powers of attack,” finished Seraph. He knew what Liannah intended, and it was brilliant in its simplicity. “You’ve gotten smarter.”
The faerie was not amused. “Obviously, you’ve gotten dumber. Some crook has it in his hands now, remember?”
The ‘crook’, hidden in the shadowed alley nearby, grinned...
Editor's Note: We apologise for the lack of updates! To make up for it, this story will extend to next Friday, July 6th. Enjoy!
Date: Jun 28th
...as Liannah began to make a sweep of the area, softly cursing the loss of her Faerie powers. Heh. As if she would be able to locate her prey, even at full strength. Of course, Seraph was being even more useless, rolling his eyes and making frosty, sarcastic comments. The bandit chuckled, keeping her voice too low for the two would-be avengers to hear as their argument resumed.
"Positively brilliant, Liannah. You cost us both our powers, set us back ten years... and then, you go and let the one thing you were counting on to undo all that get swiped from you by some lowlife."
"Shut up!" Liannah spat as she began shooting glances down alleys and streets, far too agitated to maintain her earlier regal demeanour. "Whoever took it had some sort of unusual power - do you really think I'd let a normal thief get near me when I was carrying something like that?"
Unusual power. Ah, Liannah, you have no idea.
"Well," Seraph grated, "you let some kind of thief get near you, so now what do you intend to do?"
Liannah was pretty much fed up with Seraph's petulant, sarcastic unhelpfulness. "I intend to stuff your tail down your pastel faerie throat if you don't stop talking and start searching!"
As the argument continued and the search began to spread out, the thief slipped away, one slender hand lingering in a pocket to caress the hard, cold surface of Thyora's tear. Ah, Seraph, Liannah, you never did have an inkling of it, did you? All that time, you never imagined that you were being played like harps. Why do you think I was missing during that final battle? And why do you think I will not condescend to fight alongside you now? Pathetic fools. I've already gotten from you everything you had that I want.
Out of her two victims' range of hearing by now, Jhudora allowed a cold, ringing laugh to chill the air as she gave vent to the joy of the prelude to a long-awaited victory, fingering the stolen artifact that rested in her pocket as she strode toward her dark, stormy abode...
Date: Jun 28th
* * * * *
Liannah stopped in her tracks and sighed. “We have no choice,” she declared at last. “We’ll never find it at this rate. There has to be another way.”
“There were two Thyoras’ Tears, did you say?” Seraph suggested, trying to be useful for once.
Liannah spun to face him, her eyes aglitter. “Why, Seraph, you are a genius! Why didn’t I think of that?” She started pacing restlessly, with the same fire in her heels as she used to have. “Okay, so if we steal the Thoyra’s Tear of defence from the Hidden Tower, we could use the link between the two Tears to find the other one...”
“But it could backfire,” said Seraph miserably, “if the other owner tried to do the same.”
“Well, do we have a choice?” Liannah stamped her foot impatiently. “Are you going to stay here forever, emptily thinking of revenge, not doing anything constructive? Come on, what are you waiting for? It’s off to the Hidden Tower we go!”
“As long as we don’t get caught,” Seraph mumbled gloomily as he followed his partner under the darkening sky.
* * * * *
Jhudora watched from the depths of her window, chuckling, as the two silly self-proclaimed evildoers flew by. She ran her pale hand over the Tear, again and again. It was hers, this delicate, precious drop of power. It had slipped into her grasp, just like that, almost effortlessly. And those dimwits were about to fetch her the other one...
Date: Jun 29th
* * * * *
...The palace loomed above them, bright shades of violet gleaming in the sunlight. The Faerieland Castle was a wonder to behold, but to Liannah and Seraph an empty spot in the sky was much more interesting.
For that empty spot wasn’t as empty as it would appear. Behind the azure sky and fluffy, white clouds was an illusion. They were going to go beyond the veil of magic, and into the Hidden Tower
Or rather, Seraph was.
He glared at Liannah ferociously. “What do you mean only I have to go in there?”
Liannah rolled her eyes and glared at Seraph, a know-it-all expression obviously plastered upon her pale face. “A grey faerie will attract way too much attention. And in order to claim Thoyra’s Tear, the theft must be done quickly and skillfully,” she hissed “A faerie Bori -- in which there are thousands -- will no doubt be a usual sight. There are probably dozens that enter each day. You’ll be a common sight, another boring customer, and as long as you don’t do anything unusual you’ll be able to swipe the Tear and escape in a flash.”
Seraph growled; as much as he hate to admit it, she was right. “Fine,” he snapped “I’ll do it.”
Shoving past her, he leapt into the sky and in seconds, disappeared from view.
* * * * *
Jhudora fingered the crystallized tear; delicately running her fingers over is pristine surface. Imprisoned in a crystal, the power within gleamed brightly in her dark fortress.
This was too easy.
Jhudora smiled, trademark malice creeping across her face as she did so. Now, all she had to do was wait.
* * * * *
One second he was looking a pure sky, the next at a curved room. Seraph gracefully landed on the wooden floor as he flew through the window. Shelves ran across the walls, packed with magnificent items, sparkling in the sunlight.
He was almost alone in the sacred shop. The only other being apparent in the tower was a bored faerie Wocky, probably acting as the shopkeeper in Fyora’s absence. The Wocky gave him a quick glance as he entered but returned to her book instantly.
Seraph couldn’t help but smile. This was much simpler than he thought. The task would’ve been much more difficult if the Faerie Queen was there, luck must’ve been on his side, for once.
His eyes carefully scanned the shelves, searching for the one object he desired at the moment.
It wasn’t there.
Seraph let out a low, exasperated growl. Of course he should have expected this. Thyora’s Tear was in no doubt the rarest and most powerful artifact around. Even the Hidden Tower -- known worldwide for its magical items -- would not have one in stock.
Seraph sighed; maybe this wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be. He was about to head back but then he saw something that made him stop.
It was a door.
It wasn’t the door itself that was remarkable. It was plain and made of a dark wood. It scarcely stood out in the room filled with such magnificence.
A plain, white sign hung on it. Written in a beautiful purple ink in delicate handwriting read: Employees Only.
Thyora’s Tear, a remarkable item exceeding the limits of power and magic, Queen Fyora had to have such a thing in her possession. And if she did, it would probably be hidden behind a simple and boring door such as this one.
Seraph inched closer to the door. He was almost there. He stuck out his paw, carefully touched the handle and-
“Excuse me, what are you doing?” The faerie Wocky scowled at him from behind her desk. “That room is employees only, you shouldn’t go in there.”
Seraph silently cursed. The old him would’ve never made a mistake such as this. Ten years, it had taken more out of him than just time.
His paw twitched. He had to see what was behind that door. Thoyra’s Tear, he had to get it.
The Wocky glared at him. “Didn’t you hear me?”
Seraph said nothing. He had to somehow get rid of her, but how?
“Want me to call Queen Fyora?”
Something caught his eye. Beside him, lying innocently on the shelf was a bottle filled with sparkling lavender dust. Seraph smirked, perfect.
With amazing speed and accuracy, his hand speed towards the bottle of Glittering Faerie Dust. Quickly pulling the cork out, he tossed the vial’s contents towards the Wocky.
She opened her mouth as if to shout, but never got the chance. The glittering cloud of violet danced around her. The Wocky’s eyes closed and she swayed back and forth. She fell to the ground, trapped in a deep sleep.
Not wanting to lose any more time, Seraph quickly turned away from the sleeping pet. He wanted to get out of here as quickly as possible, time was running out.
The other Thyora’s Tear was in possession of somebody. As Liannah mentioned earlier, that crystal contained great power, dangerous power. In the hands of someone naïve and inexperienced -- Seraph didn’t want to think of what might happen.
Seraph opened the door...
Date: Jul 2nd
...eager to locate the magnificent artifact. To his dismay, the very petite room was almost devoid of light and from what Seraph could make out, there were stacks upon stacks of neatly arranged boxes, towering above him on shelves very much like the stocked ones he saw previously.
Great... Fyora has this much to sell? he thought to himself, knowing time was undoubtedly slipping away from him. There where so many if's involved. What if the Wocky wakes up? What if the Faerie Queen herself returns? What if a customer walks in to find the Wocky sleeping? This was not good at all.
I may have been locked up inside my Neohome for ten miserable years, but my eyes are as skillful as ever! After all, maneuvering about my home, especially at night, was no easy task. The faerie Bori thought whilst scanning the shelves around him to see how those boxes were assembled.
Thank goodness they have labels! Fyora's at least very organized. Think, if I had a Thyora's Tear, where would I put it away? Seraph fluttered to the very top of the dimly lighted storage space, his wings quietly billowing in the air.
A box caught his eye. It was in no way different in appearance from the rest of the boxes, being in the shape of a square and having a brown hue to it. However, there was no label. No "Faerie Queen Dolls" or "Darigan Paint Brushes" written across it. Seraph quickly opened the box, which had accumulated substantial dust, and a wide grin spread across his light blue furred face. "Perfect," he let himself utter a word in the darkness as the other Thyora's Tear coruscated in the dark, lighting up the room if only a bit.
Wasting not a second longer, he shook the other items, marvelous but not relevant to the plan, out of the box, placing the gem alone in there. Remembering what else he had perceived before chancing upon the Tear, Seraph grabbed a Darigan Paint Brush as well. "Fyora won't miss this at all," the Bori noted a plethora of other paint brushes aligned in a box near the bottom of a shelf.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Seraph closed the box, Thyora's Tear inside, with a lid and composed himself before opening it. Phew, it's only another customer, he smirked, noticing a faerie Kau in front of him.
"What happened to the shopkeeper?" she asked him, appearing perplexed.
"She was so silly she accidentally knocked over some of that faerie dust, now lying around the floor. Luckily for her, I was here to help take care of Fyora's items." Ha, lying is a piece of sweet Neopian cake, Seraph thought, faking a sincere smile at the potential customer.
"Oh, I see. Glad to see a pet care enough to aid another in need! ... Oh, look! She's awaking!" She pointed to the Wocky, rising up, wobbling around a bit now from momentary confusion.
Ugh, caring to aid? I can't stand Faerieland, Seraph thought, saying out loud, "Yes, I agree! I'll be right back. Looks like someone stole some of the Faerie Queen's inventory," he pointed to the box, turning from the Kau, who was naive enough to believe what he stated was true, and headed straight for the door.
Meanwhile, Jhudora glanced in her crystal ball, observing the happy malicious Bori fly towards Liannah with box in hand...
Date: Jul 2nd
...She couldn't resist tilting her head back and laughing. with both Tears in her possession -- with the ultimate power of both attack and defense -- none in Faerieland would be able to stop her. She could level that saccharine pastel castle, build her own edifice in tasteful green and purple, force Fyora to lurk at the edges and give paltry quests to desperate Neopets...
But first, she had to deal with those two clowns. They had been useful (there was no way she would have been able to sneak into the Hidden Tower; indeed, Fyora had set wards on it keeping her away), but they were no longer necessary to her plan. She spread her wings and took off, feeling the air beneath her and the fire of wickedness warming her heart.
* * * * *
"Do you have it?" Liannah asked, dancing from one foot to the other. Seraph pulled Thyora's Tear out with a flourish. "Perfect," Liannah said. "Set it down. I cannot perform the magic to locate the other Tear with it, since I have had my magic stripped from me, but I can instruct you."
"All right," Seraph said. "Tell me what to do."
The ritual went on for some time. Liannah instructed Seraph to make certain elaborate gestures with his hands, and lead him in a lengthy chant. She then had him draw a circle around the Tear with his claw. She poured a little water within the circle, next to the Tear, and said, "Now, instruct the water to show you the location of the Tear's twin."
"Water," Seraph said, "show me the Tear of Attack!"
"You can just turn around," said a dark, amused voice behind him. Seraph and Liannah whirled. There, standing at the edge of the cloud, the other Tear in one hand and a wicked-looking wand in the other, was Jhudora.
Liannah gasped. "Traitor!" she said. "It was you who betrayed us during the fight..."
The dark faerie rolled her eyes. "How bright of you to finally realize it."
"You!" Seraph spat. "How much has your power decreased, that you have to sneak around and steal things like a coward?"
Jhudora laughed. "what charming little insults. Nevertheless. You were quite useful -- there is no way I could infiltrate the Hidden Tower myself -- but you have outlasted your usefulness. Hmm, I can think of many tempting curses for the pair of you... let me just pick one." She lowered her wand.
"Wait!" Seraph said, stalling for time. "Aren't you going to tell us your plan?"
"How foolish do you think I am, to fall for a trick like that?" Jhudora asked. Seraph's eyes crossed as he watched the tip of her wand, wondering what dreadful curse would come out of it. If Liannah had trapped him in his Neohome for ten years to protect him, what would Jhudora do when she meant him harm?
He could see Liannah edging toward the magic circle. I'd better stall Jhudora more, he thought, and let her do whatever she's trying to do. And Jhudora could never resist exchanging insults....
"I don't know why Fyora didn't squash you like a bug years ago!" he said. "How pitiful, to lurk at the edges of her country!"
Jhudora gave him a scathing look. "I may abhor her sparkles and pastels, but clearly she is at least smarter than you. Don't you realize that all things must have their opposite? Fyora could not banish me permanently. It would have ruined the balance of things. She knows that."
Out of the corner of his eye, Seraph could see Liannah snatch up the Defensive Tear. She held it over her head and said in her reedy voice, "Leave us, Jhudora, or I'll smash the tear."
Jhudora's eyes narrowed. "You wouldn't dare."
"Wouldn't I? I've had my powers stripped from me -- magic means nothing to me anymore. And it's joined so closely to its twin that I think breaking one would drain the power from the other as well."
Jhudora bared her teeth, but said nothing.
"Even if it doesn't hurt the Attack Tear," Liannah went on, "you need both of them, don't you? For your plan? You don't have to ask her what it is, Seraph -- I think I know. Everything in balance, you said, Jhudora. One Tear to attack, one to defend. But what if you bind both Tears into a single amulet, chained together by fantastic power? If I'm not mistaken, that would-..."
Date: Jul 3rd
..."-give me the strength to overthrow Fyora," Jhudora hissed, her violet painted lips curling in a truly wicked smile. "Smart, for a fallen faerie. But I don't think you'll smash it."
Liannah's eyes narrowed. "Why not?" she asked suspiciously.
Jhudora shrugged and spread her hands apart. "If you did, yes, my plan would be ruined. I would go my way, and you would go yours. But think, Liannah. If the combined tears would give me enough power to overthrow Fyora, wouldn't it make sense that I would have the power to restore your own strength and magic?"
Uh oh, Seraph thought as he glanced at Liannah. The grey faerie's eyes glittered with sudden hope and temptation. Her hands shook and she bit her lip, looking down at the Tear. Then she frowned. "You wouldn't," she snarled. "If I did as you say, as soon as I handed the tear over to you, you'd curse me out of oblivion. Your lies mean nothing to me."
Jhudora grinned and shrugged. "Believe what you will, but the possibility is there. And whether you trust me or not, remember that we were once partners. We could be so again. With you at my side we could take our rightful place as rulers of Faerieland!"
Seraph shifted nervously on his feet. This plan was not good. Nowhere was his name mentioned, and as the seconds slipped past, Liannah's face was growing more and more doubtful. Her hands lowered, brining the Tear back to a safer place.
Jhudora smiled and held out her hand, perfectly sharpened and painted nails glittering in the sunlight. "Now, then, hand it over."
Liannah's hands moved as if in slow motion. The light of wicked elation grew in Jhudora's face, and then...
Liannah grinned her own wicked smile, and the Tear dropped from her fingrs, plummeting to the pristine tile of the courtyard below. Jhudora's face contorted as she dove for the tear, her eyes bloody with rage.
Seraph moved. He had never moved so quickly in his life, not even back in his prime. Releasing his Darigan Paint Brush he dove, butting Jhudora's other hand with his fuzzy blue head. Her fingers loosened, dropping the Attack Tear, which Seraph gripped tightly in his mouth. With a burst of his powerful wings he fluttered out of range and looped the chain around his neck.
Liannah too was quick. Her fingers jerked back around the chain that was just clearing her finger-tips, pulling it back into her possession. Jhudora blinked, cursing herself for being to foolish, and stared at the two before her. "You..." she shuddered with rage. "You little...!" She raised her wand, darkness swirling about her as its tip began to glow eerily.
"Uh oh," Seraph said.
"Quick!" Liannah screamed, running towards him. "Use the Attack Tear!"
"I don't know how!" the faerie Bori wailed. Closing his eyes, he placed his hands on the tear, just as Jhudora's wand emitted a huge bolt of crackling purple, black, and green energy...
Date: Jul 3rd
...Seraph felt the crackling bolt of energy approach him quickly -- too quickly. Please, Seraph prayed, something, anything! Just don’t let Jhudora’s magic hit me! Seraph opened his eyes and gasped as a sharp tingle spread through his body. His paws tingled so much it almost hurt. For a second the Bori thought he had been struck by Jhudora’s powerful magic before he realized the black, green and purple energy was being forced back by a bolt of pure blue an inch from the tips of his claws. Seraph gave a very unvillain-like squeak but relaxed as he saw the opposing magic retreating.
That was a mistake.
As soon as Seraph let his guard down, Jhudora struck with a force harder than the last. He felt his wing beats falter and cried out. Searing pain coursed through his arms and spread to his shoulders.
“Catch!” Liannah cried from below. With a powerful arm, the grey faerie tossed the necklace to Seraph. With trembling paws, he held off the sickly green energy and snagged the Tear of Defense with his teeth. The faerie Bori sighed and dropped his shaking arms. For a terrifying moment his vision flashed red and his head throbbed painfully. He could vaguely make out the sound of Jhudora’s manic laughing. Slowly the pain ebbed away and his senses returned. Seraph felt the wind rush through his pastel blue fur and knew he was falling.
“Got you!” a familiar voice said. Seraph landed cradled in Liannah’s arms. “You really don’t know how to use Thyora’s tears.”
“You think?” Seraph growled his voice dripping with sarcasm and pain. “If I did, Jhudora wouldn’t have stood a chance and I wouldn’t be in this unforgiving state!” He struggled in Liannah’s grasp and she gently put him on back on his paws.
Jhudora howled with fury. “Give me the Tears you fools!”
“Run!” Liannah shouted. Seraph didn’t have to be told twice. He took off after the grey faerie into the heart of the Faerieland. Though their position was horrible, Seraph couldn’t help but smile. They were a team once more...
Date: Jul 5th
...Time enough for memories later, he told himself, when there isn't a vengeful dark faerie trying to kill you.
Seraph's heart pounded. His eyes were wide, and his tongue lolled out of his mouth as he gasped for breath. He had never run so fast in his life, and it didn't help that his new color had very weak limbs.
He dimly wished he hadn't left his Darigan paint brush back in the alley, but the more rational part of his mind had other, more important issues to worry about.
Seraph could vaguely hear Jhudora's furious screams as the pair fled through the crowded streets. Neopets turned to look at the unusual sight with wide eyes; a faerie Bori and a grey faerie dressed in rags fleeing Neopia's most famous dark faerie, who was yelling incoherently and shooting out blasts of magic from her wand. Most spectators yelled and jumped back, and more than one covered their eyes. A green Kacheek got down on his knees and proclaimed that it was the end of the world.
Before Seraph knew it, he and Liannah were out of the city. Can't stop running, he told himself, although now he was using his wings as well as his feet to jump over increasingly large gaps in the clouds. He barely noticed that his chosen path was getting higher and higher above Faerieland.
And then he was standing on a swirling storm cloud. Horribly familiar.
A sickening sense of deja vu seized him. His eyes darted around. It was a dead end. He could always fly away, but then he would be leaving Liannah to the mercy of Jhudora, and although he was a villain, he somehow couldn't let that happen.
Jhudora landed daintily on the cloud, wearing a malicious grin. "Guess what I found?" she mocked, lifting up a certain sceptre. One he had seen before, ten years ago.
Seraph whipped around and spread his wings. He would take Liannah's advice from ten years ago and retreat. But his wings seemed to be pinioned to his sides; they were suddenly far too heavy to lift.
He turned back toward Jhudora. The jeweled sceptre was raised, and streams of white magic were flowing toward him. Around him. She was chanting a terribly familiar chant.
And he knew. Oh, he knew. He had escaped his ten years of imprisonment, and now Jhudora was going to put him under that same curse again...
Date: Jul 5th
...“I’ll drop them.” Seraph threatened, dangling the two necklaces over the side of the cloud, “I swear I will.” He had no need to mention what ‘them’ was. It was quite obvious.
Jhudora halted her chanting and sneered; “If you do, you’ll still be spending another ten years trapped in your own Neohome” She took a menacing step towards him. The swirls of white magic which had frozen when the dark faerie stopped the spell slowly began to encase him.
“If I escaped last time, what makes you think I won’t escape again? Besides, I’m fairly young, I have a long life ahead of me,” the faerie Bori replied using all his willpower to keep his voice steady, “But not many opportunities come along where you have a chance to overthrow a faerie queen.”
Something clicked in her luminous purple eyes. It wasn’t huge but something had definitely gone off. The streams of white magic and turned a dull grey. They shifted around him, but did nothing more. Seraph grew in confidence; he had hit a raw nerve. “Nothing you do is without reason,” he continued, “I know you do not give out quests from sheer boredom but I do not know what you plan to do with all the items you ask for. It is not likely you will be able to put that plan into action anytime soon.”
“It may come sooner than you think.” Jhudora growled. “Hand over the tears, Seraph.”
“No.” Seraph rebelled, lifting his chin up, “As much as I detest this hideous purple theme Fyora has going on, I refuse to live under the rule of a traitorous fiend such as you.”
Jhudora sighed, “I wish it wouldn’t have to end this way, Seraph. I rather liked you. Too bad.” Her lips curved up in a cruel smile, and she continued her chant. Seraph’s ears buzzed. I’ll use the Tear of Defense, he thought but then reconsidered, but if I fail in my attempt to use them, Jhudora will snatch them from me and succeed in her evil doings. From where Seraph was standing, there were two choices. Use the Tear of Defense and risk losing it to Jhudora, or drop the tears and make sure Jhudora can’t achieve her goal. They both had the same outcome: he would be imprisoned in his Neohome. The only difference was when he was released or he escaped, Faerieland, and possibly other parts of Neopia would be utterly different and he’d have to live under Jhudora’s reign, or Faerieland would be the same ugly, magenta Fyora had chosen...
“So be it.” Seraph whispered softly so only he heard it. He released the tears and watched them fall until their magnificent glittering disappeared from view. Looking back up, Seraph saw Jhudora run to the edge of the puffy, white cloud, spread her dark, leathery wings and prepared to take off. Liannah’s speed surprised Seraph again. She suddenly appeared behind Jhudora and tackled the renowned dark faerie, pinning her wings.
“You will not win this time.” Liannah hissed venomously. She kicked Jhudora’s staff out of reach. The grey faerie knew what she was doing. Liannah wouldn’t be able to hold the traitor down long, but long enough so that there would be no way she could save Thyora’s Tears.
Seraph started laughing hysterically. He was relieved but furious at the same time. There had been the faintest glimmer of hope that Jhudora hadn’t finished her dreaded incantation but it didn’t last long. The gray streams of magic shone a brilliant white again and swirled faster around him. He managed to croak one last thing out: “Wait for me, Liannah. I still await the victory and revenge you promised me.” Then everything began to fade, and then everything was darkness.
In his Neohome, Seraph paced endlessly. He was enraged at being imprisoned so soon after his escape, but regretted nothing. He would escape again. There was no doubt. Tick, tock, tick, tock. Minutes passed with agonizing slowness. He could not make his way around as easily for his faerie eyes were not as accustomed to the dark as his Darigan eyes were.
“Ouch!” Seraph grumbled as something landed on his head. He picked the object up and examined it. The faerie Bori’s eyes widened with shock. His eye sight may not have been as sharp as it had been, but it was sharp enough that he could make out what lay in front of him.
A Darigan paint brush.
“How...?” Seraph was about to ask himself when he realized there was a note attached to it. Seraph recognized the handwriting and though there were only two words written on the scrap of paper, they meant the whole world to him. It read:
Date: Jul 6th
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