Four hours later, Immacolata trotted through the door
as though nothing had happened. She calmly helped herself to lunch and ate it
slowly, while we all stared at her expectantly. After about five minutes the
Aisha looked up, as though only just realising we were there.
"IMMACOLATA MAGDALENE!" I barked, my temper
getting the better of me. "By the mother of all Wombats, you better tell us
what you've found out or there will be trouble!"
She sighed, unfolding her laptop and opening
a file. After a moment, she looked at us, deadly serious.
"Firstly, I have discovered how we find the
Extra-Dimensional Limbo. There is an article known as the Ethereal Compass.
It is capable of finding anyone and anything, but only a certain bloodline of
pets can use it. Rumour has it that it once belonged to a powerful Pirate Captain
named RedBeard, but the Compass was lost."
"Well, it's a start. I reckon if we ask around
Krawk Island, we'll find out more," I reasoned. Immacolata nodded.
"Already done. I have my… ah… sources probing
the local community for information. But there is more."
"There always is," Elenna mumbled. Her head
was pounding and the Christmas Uni was not in a good mood.
"I have found our opponent. She is a fallen
Uber Light Faerie who challenged the Faerie Queen's rule. And when the Shoyru
said you couldn't kill a Faerie, he was lying. You can, and it has been done."
"An Uber Faerie, though." I looked at Hina,
"AS I WAS SAYING, it can be done. However, it
has only been done on four occasions. And as for Uber Faeries…" The Blue Aisha
savoured the moment, half closing her eyes. "That has been done once. It all
We just stared as she continued the story.
"There was once a great weapon, it's name now
unknown, that was crafted in the midst of the great Faerie Wars. It was so powerful
that its creator, a rogue Faerie named Junadila and her four pets, challenged
the false Queen to a duel, to the death. Junadila won, though shortly after
she and her companions were consumed by the power they had created. The weapon,
however, was too dangerous to be left intact. It was broken into five parts,
those parts scattered across Neopia."
Elenna sighed. "That's so cliché. That's what
they do with ALL the unstoppable super weapons, and someone always manages to
unite all the pieces. It'd be a really short story otherwise." I noticed she
was casually ignoring the 'consumed by power' part.
Immacolata nodded. "On this occasion, we are
going to have to be cliché and unite the pieces. No one is quite sure where
the five pieces were hidden, but my contacts had their suspicions. Each of the
pieces alone is capable of killing a Faerie. One and a half thousand years ago,
a great Pharaoh named Mutankhanune destroyed a powerful Water Faerie that was
threatening to drown the Lost Desert. The weapon he used, a great spear, was
buried in his tomb, surrounded by guardians and traps. A great knight named
Fall Wing battled the Air Faerie Lothiku over Meridell, his Glaive remains in
his family as a treasured heirloom."
Elenna gulped, suddenly looking distracted. I
could guess exactly why. Elenna is related to a very old family of Noble Uni
in Meridell, with a great Knight tradition, and I guessed the family Immacolata
was talking about was hers. That could spell problems.
"A Fire Faerie that attempted to burn Mystery
Island to nothingness was slain with a single arrow, though where her body fell
is unknown. Finally, the Snowager himself killed an Earth Faerie that was levelling
the peak of Terror Mountain to the ground. This suggests that a fourth piece
is hidden in his lair. The fifth piece is lost for all eternity, but with the
Ethereal Compass, assuming such an item exists…"
"Well, it's the best plan we've got." I stood
up, rubbing my hands together with anticipation. "The Tomb of Mutankhanune,
eh? Well, what are we waiting for? Lets get packing!"
"Shouldn't we go to HQ on this one?" Elenna
glanced at me with a slightly worried expression. I shook my head determinedly,
a fierce smile starting to work its way onto my face.
"No. This is personal. That Faerie is going
to rue the day she messed with my family."
* * * * *
"Okay, Euston, we are go for lift off. I repeat,
we are go for lift off."
"Hina, Elenna, stop fooling around. If I've
got these equations wrong, we could all plummet to a horrible death."
You were probably wondering how we got off Faerieland
when only one of us has wings. Well, even if you weren't, I'm going to tell
you. Since I'm planning a Minor in Aeronautics, I'd be ashamed of myself if
I couldn't build a set of small hang gliders and calculate how much weight we
could carry safely. Except my maths isn't always foolproof.
Elenna, of course, didn't need a glider, but
she couldn't carry much weight and fly the whole way with us so she had a small
emergency parachute strapped to her back, with Neca, her Snowbunny, in a pouch.
Hina's glider wasn't exactly elegant, because
he had a tendency to crash it. Originally it had been a huge, multicoloured
parrot, in honour of his Mystery Island heritage, but the beak and trailing
tail was slightly battered and there were patches in the wings. He'd also insisted
on spray-painting the words 'The Parrot of Doom' along the body.
I wasn't even sure what Immacolata's glider was
supposed to be of. The words on the side said 'The Silence', which was creepy
enough, but the head was vaguely reptilian, vaguely rat-like, the wings much
like those of a Dragon. It was also pitch black. Unlike the other two, there
weren't legs or claws underneath, only straps to hold the Aisha steady. She'd
helped me make it herself, and I had a feeling it was a lot faster and more
manoeuvrable than the rest.
Mine was the biggest, crafted in the shape of
a Dragon, my favourite fantastical beast. It was a bright, ruby red, with four
limbs to hold my larger, longer and thinner body in place. The wingspan dwarfed
the other three, although Elenna's natural wings came close. I'd named it 'Marialysra'
in honour of a great Red Dragon, although it didn't come anywhere close to how
scary she had been.
It was vaguely saddening to leave Waterlily's
glider, an emerald green wyvern rather eccentrically named 'Death From Above',
hanging on the wall of the entrance hall. She'd been so enthusiastic about them,
she'd put in as many hours as I had to make the hang glider and then spent entire
days surfing the gentle air currents around Faerieland. The numerous times she'd
crashed it; she'd panicked and fussed until it was fixed. I lifted it once,
the light frame tilting into my arms like it had done so many times, before
placing the silk wyvern back on it's hooks. She'd come back to fly it again.
I'd do my utmost to make sure of that.
Finally, we were ready. I strapped myself into
Marialysra, checking my pets were in place. Time for a leap of faith.
Now don't get me wrong, Faerieland is a great
place for flying. Providing you don't go right under the cloud, where you'll
hit the Doldrums, a place of complete still air that instantly kills your lift,
there are lots of nice currents and thermals to make it easy for pets to fly
up and down again. It's just that flinging yourself off a large cloud hovering
at thirty thousand feet above sea level, putting all your trust in an admittedly
rather flimsy glider when you don't know if you've done your maths right and
the load you're carrying isn't too heavy, takes a lot of guts.
So, offering up a short prayer to the Mother
of all Wombats, I went first.
To be continued...