Cheriche, a yellow Kyrii, looked back and forth at the
number on the houses in Faerieland. She had gotten lost twice, because the streets,
while beautifully decorated, all looked very similar. She counted the house
numbers as she walked.
"1533, 1534, 1535, 1536… There it is!" she said,
relieved. "1537 Effulgence Lane." She walked up to the beautiful house and knocked
gently on the door.
"Coming!!" a voice called from within. After
a few seconds the door unlocked and opened, but only a crack. "Who are you?"
"I'm-I'm looking for a Light Faerie named Helene,
I was told she lived here," Cheriche stammered. "I was sent here by a red Lenny
named Harold. I need help fighting a darkness Faerie who is trying to make my
friend her slave." The door opened, and Cheriche was able to see a beautiful
Light Faerie wearing, oddly enough, a sweat suit.
"I am Helene," the Faerie said. "Come in." Cheriche
stepped inside and Helene shut the door behind her. "You have to pardon my appearance,"
the Light Faerie said. "I'm probably not what you would expect a Light Faerie
to look like, but today is my day off from working at the bookstore and I'm
dressed to be comfortable." She smiled disarmingly.
"Oh, no, you are very beautiful," Cheriche said.
Then she asked, "You work at the bookstore? That must be how you know Harold."
Helene nodded. "He… he said you could help me. I need help fighting a Darkness
Faerie." Helene's beautiful eyes widened.
"How could a young Neopet such as yourself get
involved with a darkness Faerie?" Helene asked. Cheriche sighed, and told her
story for the second time that day. She looked at the floor the whole time she
was telling it, afraid to meet this kind Faerie's eyes. What would such a wise
creature think of her for being so foolish?
When she was done, the Kyrii looked up at the
Faerie, expecting disappointment, annoyance, or even anger. Instead, the Faerie's
eyes were bright with tears. She took Cheriche's hands in hers and said softly,
"We will help your friend. I promise." Cheriche
started to cry too, and the Light Faerie patted her back.
"We can't both of us sit here and cry, can we?
We have to go, now, and find your friend. Well, maybe I should change first,""
she added, looking down at her sweat suit. Cheriche nodded and laughed through
* * *
They set off as quickly as they could, but it was still dark by the time they
reached Uni Meadows. Helene waved her hands and a ball of light appeared between
them, and floated towards the woods, leaving a dimly glowing trail behind it.
"Is there where Lynella went?" Helen asked in
a low voice.
"Yes," Cheriche whispered, and they followed
the light sphere to the beginning of the woods. Cheriche stood a moment, then
pointed, and Helene sent the light in that direction. They walked alongside
the edge until they found a path, then continued several hundred meters until
it forked in two directions. Cheriche stopped, furrowed here eyebrows, and said,
"I'm not sure of the direction any more." Helene stopped too, and asked,
"Well, when a Uni is put in a bridle, they aren't
aware of what is happening to them mentally, but their bodies do seem to react
to the stress." The Light Faerie gestured, and the ball flowed up and down first
one path, then another.
"What does that mean? How do they react? Will
she be OK?" Cheriche asked nervously.
"Oh, it's nothing serious, but they tend to
shed a bit more than usual," Helene replied absently. The orb stopped and hovered
in midair a few meters into the path on the left, and something below it gleamed
silver. "Aha," said Helene. Celeste went over towards the orb and looked at
what it was hovering over.
"This isn't hers," she said unhappily, picking
up the hair. "She's blue, and this is…"
"Silver," Helene said. "And she wasn't wearing
a harness yet, remember? This is what we were looking for, the hair from the
"Oh," Celeste said. "So, they must have gone
this way." They took the left path and continued until they reached another
fork. Helene searched again with her light, and found another silver hair. Cheriche
started to shiver from the cold and from fear. Helene was now dressed in black
clothing that looked strange on a Light Faerie but was far more suitable for
the task at hand than a shimmering ball gown. She noticed the Kyrii shaking,
took off her outermost coat, and gave it to the little Kyrii. Cheriche looked
up and thanked her with her eyes. She didn't want to speak now for fear of being
At the next place the path divided, there were
three branches, and Helene had difficulty finding any clues. Cheriche crawled
up each path on her hands and knees and found nothing in the left and middle
paths. However, over a dozen meters into the right, she found a tiny shred of
hair ribbon that she recognized as one she had woven into Lynella's mane that
afternoon. She gestured to Helene, who nodded, and they continued on the path
for what seemed like hours.
Suddenly, Cheriche felt a hand on her shoulder
and she had to stifle a scream. Helene put her hand over the Kyrii's mouth and
"Listen," Helene whispered. Cheriche strained
her ears until she heard it too. Bells, hundreds or maybe thousands of bells,
jingling and chiming in an odd rhythm. She recognized the sound. The silverbelle
Unis, or some of them, were close by. Helene clapped her hands together softly
and the sphere of light dimmed, them vanished. They followed the sound of the
silverbelle Unis until they began to see an eerie silver glow flickering between
the trees. They crouched and crept forward, and when she had a full view of
what was happening, Cheriche's breath caught in her throat.
In a large clearing in the woods, dozens of
Unis were flying in a circle, in perfect rhythm to each other and yet seeming
to beat their wings frantically as in panic at the same time. All were wearing
the silverbelle harnesses and were colored with the same ethereal glow that
Diane, the Uni who had taken her friend Lynella, had shown. It was the most
beautiful thing Cheriche had ever seen… but also the most frightening.
Over the sound of the bells came a faint melody,
a song floating in and out so the Kyrii had to staring to hear it at all. She
looked over at Helene, whose lips were moving with the song. The Faerie looked
over at Cheriche and pointed to her beautiful but quite large Faerie ears. Of
course she could hear the song better than the Kyrii.
"It's an old spell, a chant that gives beauty
and power," Helene whispered to her. "My mother sang it to me at night when
I was little."
"So it's not evil?" Cheriche asked.
"No, it's more like a lullaby. I think she's
using it to teach the Unis a certain rhythm. You said the bells seemed to hypnotize
your friend?" The Kyrii nodded. "Yes. The song in itself means nothing, but
the beat that she is singing it to must have a hypnotic effect on Unis in particular."
Now it was Helene's turn to shudder. "I never thought that I would hate the
sound of that song."
The Unis continues to dance in the air, but
now seemed to be slowing down. They spread out, and landed in a perfect circle,
facing inward, towards another Faerie, this one dark and hateful looking.
"It's Serenelle," Cheriche gasped.
It was indeed, the same Faerie she had seen
in the picture Harold that had shown her. The same purple hair and orchid skin,
the same silver tiara, but far more beautiful in person than the picture could
have portrayed. And far more frightening. The Darkness Faerie was holding a
bridle in her hands like the ones the Unis were wearing. There was an opening
in the circle, and out stepped-
"Lynella!" Cheriche breathed. There was her
friend, alive and walking calmly to her doom. Serenelle clapped her hands smartly
and the Unis started walking around the clearing counterclockwise, their bells
jingling in that same rhythm.
"Do you wish to be as beautiful as my silverbelle
Unis all are?" Serenelle asked Lynella. The Blue Uni nodded slowly, her eyes
glassy. "Are you willing to wear this bridle to become that beautiful?" The
Darkness Faerie asked.
"Anything," Lynella said, so quietly that Cheriche
would barely hear her. The Darkness Faerie smiled, and placed the bridle on
the Uni. Cheriche stood up and screamed,
"No! No! Don't let her!" She ran into the circle,
pushing aside the silverbelle Unis, but it was too late. Serenelle fastened
the halter before Cheriche could reach her, and her friend's beautiful blue
coat shimmered, then turned silver with a cold, white glow. Helene came from
behind her and grabbed her just before she reached the Darkness Faerie, who
didn't flinch but merely smiled and said,
"Hello, Cheriche. Hello, Helene. I've been expecting
To be continued...