Cheriche wasn't sure where to go, and her heart was
beating wildly. Who would know about what had happened? She decided her best
bet would be to poke around in Faerieland and see if anyone there knew anything
about silverbelle Unis, or enchanted bridles.
She arrived out of breath as much from fear
as from hurrying. The most obvious place was the library. She wondered if she
could just borrow a few books, as she didn't have much money. She doubted it,
She walked into the shop and fought the Sunday-afternoon
crowd to get to the counter. She stood as tall as she could and asked in a loud
"Do you have any books on enchanted bridles
A hush fell over the bookstore. Some people
pointed at her and stared. She blushed and fidgeted, wondering what she had
said wrong. One of the clerks, a red Lenny, put down the book he was restocking
and came up to her.
"Now why in Neopia would you ask a thing like
that?" She looked at him and felt like crying again. He stared at her evenly,
then waved a wing at the other customers. "Continue shopping, nothing to see
here." He took her by the elbow and gently steered her into a back room. He
sat down in a comfortable chair and gestured for her to do the same. She sat
on the edge of it, too tense to lean back.
"I think I made a terrible mistake," she said.
"You put a bridle on a Uni?" he asked sharply.
"What, were you playing dress-up and weren't thinking? What happened? And where
is this Uni?" The Lenny leaned forward and stared at the trembling Kyrii.
"No," she squeaked. "No, I didn't put a bridle
on a Uni. Is that… is it a bad thing to do?" The Lenny continued to stare at
her, looking into her eyes for a clue. Finally he leaned back again and sighed.
"You don't ask a question like that for no reason.
And you don't ask it unless you really don't know. I don't know what they teach
you in Neoschool if you don't know that…" Cheriche bit her lip.
"No, I don't know."
"Well, yes, it is a very bad thing to do. Putting
a bridle on a Uni is like… well; it's like taking away their identity. They
lose their free will. Little Neopets sometimes play pretend and a Uni will get
a bridle put on them without any of them knowing… well, sometimes there are
bad results. The Uni acting funny. But it does happen and can be easily remedied
by removing the bridle."
"Why? I mean, why does it make the Uni act funny?"
"Well, no one knows for sure. But there are
theories. You see, Unis are rumored to be cousins of the mythical beasts called
horses. And these creatures are "beasts of burden" in their native world. Not
that they are always treated badly, but you see, they can be, and have no choice
in it. They can be made to do backbreaking labor as well as something as simple
as letting a human ride them. And all of this power lies in the bridle."
"So, they become slaves," Cheriche whispered.
What was happening to Lynella right now?
"Yes. They become completely helpless, under
the power of whoever put the bridle on them. But unlike horses, Unis are magical
creatures, and special rules apply when they are… when someone slaves them under
their power." "What rules?" Cheriche asked.
"For one, the Uni must allow the bridle to be
put on, even want it. And of course, only the person who puts on the bridle
can take it off." Cheriche waited, then asked,
"Is there anything more?"
"I really need to know why you're asking," the
Lenny said sternly. "If you had just made a silly mistake and didn't know why
your friend was acting funny, you'd be out of here and taking off that bridle
by now. This must be something much more serious." Cheriche nodded. "Why don't
you tell me what happened?" Cheriche shook her head, then sighed.
"All right. I need to tell someone." She proceeded
to tell him about the silverbelle Uni in the bridle, and how Lynella had threatened
to stop being friends if Cheriche tried to keep her from following the silverbelle
Uni off into the woods to have a similar bridle put on. "And I think Lynella
was getting hypnotized by the bells or something, because every time they rang
she spaced out, but I wasn't sure. I know I messed up and I should never have
let her go, but I was just so scared she'd hate me forever. And now I might
never see her again," Cheriche said, and started to cry. The Lenny let her get
the worst of it out, then said,
"But you were promised you would see her on
Monday. This sounds like powerful Faerie magic, and Faeries usually have to
keep direct promises when they make them. You were very wise to insist on seeing
"But the Uni wasn't a Faerie, I don't think…"
Cheriche looked up and begged with her eyes for the red Lenny to tell her there
"Yes, but a Faerie was probably speaking though
her. The bridle sounds even more powerful than most on a Uni and was probably
controlling this Uni psychically…" The Lenny suddenly stood up and looked through
the shelves lining the room. He pulled out a book, and flipped through the pages,
muttering to himself. "Yes. Yes. Oh, of course. Silverbelle, did you say?"
"Yes," Cheriche replied.
"Well, there's only one Darkness Faerie that
would have done this, then. Her name is Serenelle, and she is notorious for
preying on vanity, and it says here she also favors mind-control techniques."
The Lenny showed Cheriche a picture from the book he was holding. Cheriche stared,
and felt a chill go up her spine.
It was definitely a darkness Faerie, but far
more beautiful than most of them were. The Faerie's hair was purple, and her
skin was a pale orchid, and she was wearing a silver tiara. This wasn't what
made Cheriche shiver, though.
The Faerie was shown riding a silverbelle Uni.
"That's just what the Uni looked like!" Cheriche
said. "That's it, exactly!" The Lenny nodded and read from the small article
on the evil Faerie.
"Serenelle is said to derive her power from
pain and suffering, most of all guilt. She is rumored to live on the dark side
of the moon, but as it has never been explored no one knows for sure. What we
do know about her is that she visits Neopia, preying on the foolish and the
vain, and enslaving Unis to add to her flying army, which can be seen flying
on clear nights and is often mistaken for shooting stars. Her power is strongest
at the full moon, and weakest at the new moon." The Lenny closed the book and
Cheriche bit her lip.
"So now we know what happened to Lynella… but
we still don't know how to save her. And right now she's probably being tortured
in some horrible way." The Lenny shook his head.
"No, a Uni in a bridle has little or no awareness
of what is happening to them. The misery she preys on is yours, remember, Serenelle
feeds on guilt. What you need to do is stop blaming yourself and try to find
a solution." Cheriche nodded and sighed.
"Well, it says that she's more powerful at the
full moon. Was that today?"
"No, in fact, the new moon is tonight," the
Lenny said. "So you should hurry." Cheriche's eyes became wide.
"So you think I have a chance?"
"Yes. So what we need to do between now and
then is find some way to fight Serenelle," the Lenny said. "And I know just
where to start. The only person who can fight a darkness Faerie is…."
"A Light Faerie!" Cheriche said. "We have to
find a Light Faerie who is willing to help us!" The Lenny smiled but shook his
"Not we, you have to do this. I need to stay
here and search for any more useful information. This is your friend, and she
is your responsibility now. I'm willing to help, but you need me less than you
need to learn to stand up for yourself. That is the only way you can be a real
help to your friend."
"But where would I find a Light Faerie willing
to help me?" Cheriche asked. The Lenny pulled a pen and notebook out of his
pocket and wrote something down. He gave it to Cheriche. "1537 Effulgence Lane,"
she read. "What's this?"
"The address of a Light Faerie named Helene.
She is a friend of mine. Tell her Harold sent you." The Lenny gently guided
Cheriche out the door, and as she left said "Good luck. Remember to believe
in yourself… and the strength of your friendship. Hurry now."
"Thank you," Cheriche said, and closed the door
behind her. She looked back at the slip of paper, and started off to meet Helene.
To be continued...