|Kat grimaced as her head pounded. Around the Royal Zafara, semi-organised chaos reigned as Hagan's musical theatre company made final preparations for the opening night of The Fall of Faerieland. The stagehands were doing final checks on the sets, lighting, and sound, which wasn't doing any favours for her headache. Neither was the orchestra rehearsing the loudest, most jarring song in the play, Crashing Down, but Kat could hardly blame them. She did note that they were playing the best they'd ever been, at least.
"Hey, what are you doing here?" Kat spun around to see Carolyn, the production manager, and regretted it immediately as her migraine flared.
The Darigan Eyrie looked rather confused to see Kat, who raised an eyebrow.
"Not that you're not welcome," she added hastily, "but why not show up tomorrow, on the actual opening night? That's when you're writing the review for the Neopian Times, right?"
"Well, yes, but that's not why I'm here. Someone sent an alarming message to the Times about the play, and I think you should read it."
Date: Jan 19th
Carolyn's mind flooded with thoughts. Did tickets not sell? Were there rumours this play was going to be a flop? Some upset neighbours unhappy about the noise? Oh, why did there have to be so many factors that could be going wrong?
As soon as Kat held out a sheet of paper, Carolyn swiped it and held it close to her face to read it, taking in every last detail.
"The Fall of Faerieland is a cursed production. Instruments failing, crew and actors getting hurt, set pieces getting destroyed or lost. In all the instances I've seen, the show never makes it past opening night. I ask you to stop the production now before anything goes wrong."
"I don't understand," Carolyn said to herself. She looked at Kat. "Who sent this?"
Kat shrugged. "Nobody knows. It was left on my desk in an envelope with just a Weewoo feather stuck to it with a wax seal." Her arms folded in with unease. "This does not bode well."
Carolyn actually let out a nervous laugh. "What? Do you really believe in this?"
"Ms. Carolyn, this is not the first time I've heard of cursed productions-"
"Kat, Kat, with all due respect, everything has been practiced to perfection." Carolyn took a deep breath. "You hear the orchestra, they're doing amazing. The actors are going over their final lines right now. Every single set piece-"
Before Carolyn could go on, she and the Zafara heard a loud crash coming from the stage...
Date: Jan 20th
...Kat and Carolyn looked in the direction of the noise.
"What the Hagan was that!?" shrieked Carolyn.
Kat stiffened. "That, my friend, is plot development."
The two -- both manager and NT writer -- ran up to the stage to investigate.
"What's happening here?" shouted the Zafara. "Who goes there?"
"Bewaaaaree," drawled a voice. "I am the Spirit of the Theatre. Begone, or I will haunt this theatre and its productions foreveerrr." It faded away.
Carolyn and Kat narrowed their eyes.
"There are many corridors and hidden passageways in this castle," the Eyrie uttered. "We must find the spirit--"
"And put it to spiritual sleep," conjectured Kat, "preventing it from doing more damage, before it's too late..."
Date: Jan 21st
Kat turned to look at the Eyrie, whose eyes widened in... fear or stress, she couldn't quite tell. "Carolyn, I'll go with you! You don't have to do this alone, we can do it together. There's nothing to fear."
Carolyn, who had already started walking quickly towards the back of the theatre, spun around on her heels and looked at Kat intensely. "I'm not afraid of the spirit, Kat! I'm the production manager; I have so much left to do before opening night tomorrow! I don't have time for this!!"
Okay, it's stress, definitely stress, Kat thought.
Carolyn noticed how concerned the Zafara looked for her. Kat and Carolyn had been the best of friends once, long before the Zafara started working for the Neopian Times. They'd become much more cordial to each other since The Review.
Carolyn softened her eyes and her tone. "Thank you for the offer to come with me, Kat. I'd appreciate that very much, if you have the time."
"Of course I have the time, Carolyn. Finding a spirit and putting it to rest sounds like great fun, and it'll make for a much more interesting story for the Times!"
Carolyn found the closest stagehand and handed them her big production clipboard. "Roxi, you're in charge until I get back! Make sure you start the final dress rehearsal promptly on time!" Carolyn called as she sped off with Kat in the other direction.
Carolyn led Kat out the main entrance to the theatre and down the corridor leading to the concession area. She took a sharp left into what Kat thought was a wall, but it turned out to be a hidden door that the Eyrie had opened in one swift movement.
"After you, Kat," Carolyn said. "It's time to find a very dramatic spirit..."
How will this story end?
Date: Jan 21st
Kat quietly rushed in, followed by Carolyn, doing her best not to make a sound. As they took a peek around the corner, they saw a rather young blue acara holding a rather large megaphone peeking through a wall crack. Suddenly, she aimed her megaphone up in the air, and started to speak in a familiar voice.
“Bewaaaareee to all of you attending the Fall of Faerieland,” the blue acara started to speak out, “You shall face my wrath, MWAHAHAHA!!!”
“Hey kid,” Carolyn called out, “You're losing your grip on that megaphone there.”
“Oh thank you,” the acara said, lifting her megaphone higher, “MWAHAha. Ha…”
Quickly realizing, the young acara turned around and screamed in shock as the Zafara and Eyire. Quick at her senses, Kat quickly rushed over to calm the young acara down who started to weep a bit.
“Hey things are going to be okay,” Kat says wiping the acara’s tears away, “I’m Kat and my friend is Carolyn, what’s your name and why did you try to halt the production?”
“M-My name is Hybisky,” the blue acara said starting to calm down a bit, “I-I wanted the production to stop because I didn’t get a ticket in time, so I tried to halt it so that I can get one in time.”
“Hybisky, everything is going to be alright,” Carolyn called out, “We were just spooked from what happened, also you were quite good when it came to scaring our production group.”
Kat looked around, then at Carolyn, and then Hybisky. “Hey we should give you an apology, too, Hybisky,” Kat said, pulling a ticket out of her pocket, “You can have it, I got a spare.”
The young acara jumped in the air with joy, and Kat, Carolyn, and Hybisky left the secret area to go back to the theatre, knowing that the “Spirit of the Theatre” won’t harm anyone again.
Date: Jan 22nd