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Things were getting out of control. I had been attacked by creatures that I
had only dreamed up the night before, a psycho detective was convinced that
I was some kind of criminal mastermind, and Fyora, one of the most powerful
individuals in all of Neopia, had just sent for me. It was tempting to simply
throw up my hands and yell, "Why me!?"
Unfortunately, that question is rarely answered.
End of Prologue
Location: About 5600 feet
above sea level, en route to Faerieland.
Time: 9:13 am NST
"Remind me again why we decided to do this!?" I yelled,
once again hanging for dear life from leather straps tied to Infernus' legs.
"Because we've practiced it some and we need
to get to Faerieland in a hurry!" Infernus yelled back, trying to make himself
heard as the air rushed past us. Up ahead, Dark Night was flying towards our
destination, his trench coat billowing in the wind, his Shoyru wings beating
steadily. He turned to watch our progress.
"There's a thermal current up ahead!" he yelled,
then turned back to watch where he was flying. I briefly thought back to my
physics class and remembered that thermal currents are rising columns of warm
air that flying creatures could use to effortlessly soar to higher altitudes.
Such a current would be useful, since Infernus was having difficulty keeping
us both aloft.
My pondering was interrupted as we reached the
thermal. Although it couldn't be seen, it was immediately evident from the way
the air warmed slightly. Infernus stopped flapping and spread his wings wide.
The current of air made his wings billow out like sails, and we were borne upwards.
A large cloud passed in front of us as we rose. I checked my watch, which had
a built in altimeter (the result of a few hours tinkering with some spare airplane
parts). After a few minutes of gentle looping through the thermal current, it
read just over 10,000 ft. I looked at the cloud we had passed, and blinked in
surprise. How on earth could a tower be perched on top of a cloud...
"Faerieland!" Dark Night yelled, pointing. As
we approached, more details became visible. Graceful towers rose from the cloud
banks. Pets and owners walked the avenues, bouncing slightly on the soft white
surface. Faeries of all descriptions soared past. One air Faerie, only a few
inches tall, flew effortlessly next to us, watching curiously before flying
away. An Uber Fire Faerie sat on a bench in what appeared to be a park, chatting
with a human and a Gelert. A long line of people and pets had gathered in one
spot. I noticed with a sinking heart that they were gathered at the healing
springs. As we approached I could hear snatches of conversation, all related
to the attack that had just occurred at Neopia Central.
We landed on a stretch of cloud just in front
of an ornate palace. A glowing thing I at first thought was a firefly flew up
to us, revealing it to be a small Light Faerie.
"We've been expecting you," the Faerie spoke
softly. "Please, come inside."
Infernus, Dark Night, and I all walked towards
the entrance, only to be stopped. "Only you are needed, Sabreur," the Faerie
spoke. She gestured towards Infernus and Dark. "Please wait here." Infernus
shrugged, and began looking around at the various towers of Faerieland. Dark
Night glared, and began to walk off. He pulled a can of Neocola from a pocket
of his trench coat, opened it and took a sip.
"I'm not needed here anymore," he said, not
bothering to look back. "Next time you call me, try to give me something more
interesting than delivering a message. I'm not an errand boy, you know." He
took another long sip of Neocola, and calmly walked away.
The Light Faerie watched him go, then gestured
for me to follow as she flew inside the massive palace. I followed, feeling
uncomfortable. As we passed through the massive corridors of the palace, I finally
located the source of my unease. Everyone was watching us. Everyone.
Two Faeries, an Earth Faerie and a Fire Faerie,
had stopped in mid-flight and watched us pass. A boy and his Moehog stood watching,
as did a girl and her two Lupes. Several of them were talking in furtive voices,
and I couldn't hear what they were saying. Two Uber Air Faeries and an Uber
Light Faerie stood in a hallway, glancing at us and talking. Particularly disturbing
was an Uber Dark Faerie leaning against a pillar. She appeared to be smiling.
My light Faerie guide noticed my gaze, and answered
my unspoken question. "That's Rycio," she whispered. "She's tolerated here,
but just barely. Best not to draw her attention." We walked onwards, and at
last came to an ornate set of doors, easily twice my height.
"The Queen awaits," spoke my guide. Before I
could ask any questions, she turned and flew back the way she came, leaving
me standing alone in the corridor. A shape moved out of the corner of my eye.
I turned, and saw the man in grey, once again in his perfect suit and sunglasses.
The dark red Scorchio once again sat at his side, watching me. I was about to
ask him how he had escaped the creatures when a voice spoke from behind the
"Sabreur, you may enter." I turned, saving my
questions for later. Nervously, I pushed open the door and walked into the throne
room of the Faerie Queen. The spacious throne room was nearly empty; rows of
ornate seats reserved for important dignitaries were left without occupants.
I had little time to take in the details of the room however, as my attention
was immediately drawn to the figure that was just now rising from the throne.
Fyora walked towards me, her purple hued wings trailing gently behind her.
"I am glad to see that you are safe," she spoke.
"Please, tell me what happened earlier today."
I am usually uncomfortable in the presence of
powerful leaders, but something about her attitude put me at ease. I found myself
recounting the events of earlier today, including the odd dream that seemed
to have started it all. When I had finished, Fyora nodded, sadness evident in
"I had feared as much," she sighed. "Please,
take a seat. This will take awhile to explain." I seated myself in a beautifully
carved wooden chair, which was unfortunately more ornate than it was comfortable.
"Centuries past, Neopia came under attack,"
she began. "Faeries, humans, and pets alike came under attack from creatures
that seemed to come from the depths of our darkest nightmares. Things with fangs,
things that slithered, things that defied description. It took us a great deal
of time, but we finally discovered the source of the creatures."
"A young Scorchio, whose name has been lost
through time, was having nightmares. At first, we thought nothing of it - bad
dreams happen, after all. But the Faeries soon realized that his dreams were
more than mere nightmares. They were being influenced by something - else. Something
was causing nightmares, and turning those nightmares into reality."
"The details have been lost by the erosion of
time, but this much we do know. There was a creature that exists beyond this
world, who hungers for all that can be found in Neopia. His name is Nightmare."
I felt cold all over. An image rushed to my mind. I knew that name. My mind
rushed back to last night's dream.
Despite my immediate peril, something caught
my attention. Watching a short way off was a ferocious looking... thing. It
was completely black. Red eyes blazed like hot coals, and it paced back and
forth with a motion similar to a tiger. Six legs, three on each side, worked
in a steady rhythm. A tail lashed back and forth. I tried to focus my eyes on
it, but my sight refused to cooperate.
Fyora paused, looking at me intently, her eyes
revealing nothing about her thoughts. After a moment, she continued. "There
was a battle of some kind. In the end, Nightmare was defeated, but only temporarily.
The Faeries constructed a barrier, sealing him away from Neopia forever. Or
so we hoped..."
"Sorry to interrupt," I said as curiosity got
the better of me, "but what does Nightmare have to do with me?" Fyora looked
at me, sadness again appearing in her eyes.
"Nightmare is very much alive, and still wishes
to enter Neopia. He is trying to force an entrance. His choice of entrance -
is you." My mouth hung open in surprise.
"But what about the barrier? Shouldn't that
keep him out?" I stammered.
"The barrier is failing," replied Fyora. "Nightmare
has grown in strength. We can no longer hold him back. I do not know what he
intends for Neopia, but it is safe to assume his intentions are evil." She gestured
in the general direction of the Healing Springs. I thought quickly.
"What do I need to do? How was he defeated last
"We don't know. That knowledge has also been
lost to time. There is more at stake here than just Nightmare, however." She
looked at me intently. "Nightmare is a terrible foe, but he is overconfident.
Even if he does manage to enter Neopia, he will be destroyed. We have faced
worse, and won."
Fyora continued, looking distracted. "There are
greater evils than Nightmare in this world, however… things that have been sealed
away since the dawn of Neopia. Things that could destroy this world." She turned
towards me suddenly, and spoke, "Have you ever heard of Shadows?"
I was taken aback. I had heard of shadows of
course - shadows are simply areas where light is blocked by a solid object,
creating a patch of darkness. But somehow I knew that wasn't what she was referring
to. The way she had spoken told me that a shadow and "the Shadows" weren't the
same thing at all. I shook my head, and replied, "No."
Fyora spoke again. "Shadows are an ancient evil
that could destroy Neopia if they attack. They too, have been sealed behind
powerful barriers. If Nightmare's barrier fails completely, the Shadow barrier
will also fail. Already, the Shadow barrier is perilously weak."
Fyora turned away, and walked back to her throne.
"The Faeries cannot help you. All of our strength is dedicated to keeping Nightmare
and the Shadows contained, and even that is not enough. You must find a way
to stop Nightmare, or all is lost."
I opened my mouth to speak, and then shut it
to think instead. Finally, I risked a question. "Fyora? Why me?" She turned
to face me, and I continued. "I mean, of all the people in Neopia, why did Nightmare
choose me? Was it just random? Or was there a reason?"
Fyora shook her head sadly. "I am sorry, but
I do not know why Nightmare choose you. I do know this however - he will attack
your resolve, weakening you to the point where you simply give up. When that
happens, he will be able to break through into Neopia."
She looked up, fire in her eyes. "Don't give
in. No matter what happens, you must never give up."
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