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
The image swirled and showed Nikola enchanting
her jewel. As if they were pulled inside, they saw the interior. Buildings.
“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
“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
“That’s wrong,” Darkmoon said, unsettled. “That’s
“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
“You don’t want to do this,” Dantus whispered
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
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,
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
“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.
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.
After a moment, Spirit said, “We didn’t find
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....