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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 1st day of Running, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 142 > Continuing Series > Nikola's Jewel: Part Eight

Nikola's Jewel: Part Eight

by leb388

She led them to the pool, just as Dantus had hoped.

     Nikola’s world was very complex indeed. The sun had set over a pink and gold horizon, slipping out of sight for the evening. A cerulean blue sky with scattered stars, twinkling like diamonds, emerged. Dantus thought it looked very much like the sky of Neopia, but this realm’s sky was fake, mere images against a blue crystal dome.

     But the world looked so real. Trees, like the ones so familiar in Neopia, grew in the garden. Green grass, unswerving from the light breeze, clustered everywhere except for in a small dirt path by the pool. Dantus likened it to be more of a pond, since it looked shallow and murky. Lily pads lay listlessly on the surface, and the grass seemed longer around it except for one bare spot in which Nikola now sat, dipping her slippered feet into the pond.

     “My home,” she whispered.

     Dantus had a plan. If what he thought would happen when the jewel is broken was correct, it would work.

     Bluey, Dragoon, Darkmoon, and Spirit were edgy. They didn’t trust Nikola one bit and thought she was rotten to the core, no matter how comely she was.

     Nikola started humming, then stood up and moved into the pool until the water was up to her knees.

     Bluey was unsettled. Here was a vile faerie who had trapped thousands of innocent Neopians, and she was enjoying--almost swimming in--a cool pond like any Water Faerie. Well, he had outsmarted her once, and maybe he could pull it off again. But would he be lucky enough?

     Nikola tossed her head and her blonde hair waved in the breeze. She turned and stared at Dragoon. “You,” she said maliciously, pointing her wand.

     Bluey turned to leap toward his friend, but the Green Shoyru was gone. Bluey landed with a thud and sprang back up, agitated. “What have you done to him?” he demanded.

     “He’s fine,” she said, unconcerned, “just sleeping, you might say, in my palace. In case you want to try something, you see... you can try to escape, just not with him.”

     Gaping, Bluey turned to his friends. They were just as shocked. Bluey was unsettled--they really couldn’t escape. Dragoon’d had the jewel.

     But Nikola now held it in her hands.

     “Give that back.”

     She ignored Bluey and continued. “Interesting item, this jewel. It was mine, long ago... almost longer than I can remember.

     “Dr. Sloth gave it to me. He was an amazing scientist, and going through faerie school right before the Tyrannian war, I thought he was everything a faerie could hope for.”

     Bluey closed his eyes, silently pleading for mercy. If there was something he really didn’t want now, it was a life story.

     “I sacrificed everything to be with him, but he cast me aside. He was more evil than I could ever be. He instead chose to be with Jhudora, a dark faerie.”

     It crossed all four of Dantus’s, Bluey’s, Spirit’s, and Darkmoon’s minds to tell her that she wasn’t missing out on much, but that was just their opinion and they figured she didn’t want it at the moment.

     Nikola turned and pointed her wand to the pond. The waters rippled and revealed a mirrored version of Nikola, only much younger, who was crying and anguished.

     “I was devastated. And it’s ironic that I chose to be evil, like him, afterwards. I was a great faerie, far better than my peers, even a rival to the masters. I designed and created powerful weapons for the Hidden Tower. And for my last weapon, a school project, really, I created a world. This.”

     The image swirled and showed Nikola enchanting her jewel. As if they were pulled inside, they saw the interior. Buildings. Plants. Neopians.

     “My masterpiece. You’re standing in it. Designed to trap any who touched the jewel. And so, I tried to give my jewel back to Sloth.”

     “Revenge,” Spirit whispered.

     “Yes. But he wouldn’t take it, and after he left for the Tyrannian War, I never saw him again. In despair, I crafted a spell to leave the jewel and touched it myself. The jewel was lost for a long time. But I’d left a surprise.”

     Bluey glanced at the side entrance of the palace. It was unlocked. When Nikola wasn’t looking at him, he slipped into a shadow.

     “The jewel fell into many greedy Neopians’ hands. One by one, they became trapped. Then it became like a game for me. Others were greedy and demanding, like Sloth was. If I couldn’t punish him, I could punish them.”

     “That’s wrong,” Darkmoon said, unsettled. “That’s evil.”

     “It’s what I do. No one has escaped. And no one ever will. But I can’t have any troublemakers, can I?” She gazed at the jewel, seemingly absorbed in its pretty color. She lifted her wand and stared hard at Dantus, Spirit, and Darkmoon. “I’ve crafted an interesting spell for permanent deletion. Ever wonder where items go when they’re discarded? You’re about to find out.”

     “You don’t want to do this,” Dantus whispered gruffly.

     But Nikola wasn’t listening. She gaped open-mouthed at the trio, and Dantus realized whom she was looking for.

     “The dragon,” she said. “Where did the dragon go?”

     Spirit knew, though he was shaking with fear. “Bluey went to find Dragoon. To find... our friend.”

     A white-yellow moon had risen overhead, and the garden was filled with soft light. The night was warm, but no one felt at ease.

     Dantus whispered to Spirit and Darkmoon, “Quick! If we break the jewel, we--”

     “Enough!” Nikola shouted. “I’ve wasted too much time!” She lifted her wand just as Bluey and Dragoon came running out.

     In a flash of motion, Bluey wrestled the faerie to the ground and Dragoon yanked her wand out of her hand. He snapped it into two pieces. The jewel went flying and landed with a thunk in the pond.

     “You fools!” she yelled. “Fools, all of you!”

     “Spirit, Darkmoon, Dantus, find the jewel!” Bluey ordered, getting up and dashing away. “Dragoon and I will round up everyone and meet you back here!”

     With that, Dragoon frantically sprinted after his owner, toward the realm’s villages of prisoners.

     “You heard my owner!” Spirit said. He dove into the pond, bobbed to the surface for air, and slipped down to swim around and search for the jewel. Darkmoon did the same.

     “I have some magic even without my wand!” Nikola taunted. She turned menacingly to the pond as a snowball appeared in her hand, by magic.

     For a moment Dantus feared the snowball was a Battledome weapon, but Nikola tossed it into the pond. Instead of sinking into the water, the snowball stayed on the surface and grew until the water was coated with ice.

     “Spirit! Darkmoon!” Dantus yelped, running on the pond’s icy surface. He stomped on the ice, but it held firm. He frantically glanced down but couldn’t see his friends.

     “You can’t save them,” Nikola hissed.

     Dantus stared at her, hard.

     “I trusted you once,” she murmured. “That was a mistake. You betrayed me, like everyone else. Now you’ll pay the price.”

     Dantus roared. A full-sized Grarrl, he jumped and stomped on the ice. It cracked.

     “No! Stop!”

     Dantus jumped on it again, then shoved his foot down past the crack, into the pond. He jumped back just in time. The ice gave way, and a large hole appeared. Spirit and Darkmoon surfaced, sputtering and coughing. They crawled out, not turning their backs to Nikola.

     “T-t-thanks, buddy,” Darkmoon said to Dantus.

     “No problem.”

     After a moment, Spirit said, “We didn’t find it.”

     Nikola ignored them all and glanced at the horizon. The night sky was dark, but her faerie eyes could see movement in the distance. “I’ve lingered too long, but I may yet be able to cast the spell for deletion.”

To be continued....

Previous Episodes

Nikola's Jewel: Part One

Nikola's Jewel: Part Two

Nikola's Jewel: Part Three

Nikola's Jewel: Part Four

Nikola's Jewel: Part Five

Nikola's Jewel: Part Six

Nikola's Jewel: Part Seven

Nikola's Jewel: Part Nine

Nikola's Jewel: Part Ten

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