Preparing Neopia for the Meepits Circulation: 109,523,333 Issue: 207 | 9th day of Gathering, Y7
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The Faerie Pet: Part Two


by nut862

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Each sweep of my fins pushed me closer to the magnificent undersea palace. As I drew nearer, I had to marvel at the glorious structure. I had no trouble believing that a Water Faerie had ruled here. The faintly glowing blue walls enticed me forward. Its size and grandeur were impressive, but there was no mistaking the air of emptiness, of fragileness, around the palace. If I really could restore this palace to its former state, I would love to do it.

     I swam up to the palace looming above me, and swam upwards, towards the nearest seaweed-covered window. I hesitated for just a moment, and then swam through the window. I was inside the palace.

     I found myself inside of a huge room, filled with water, of course. The pale blue walls inside glowed, as well, and the whole room seemed to hold a tint of blue light. I looked around. The floor was comprised of hundreds of white marble tiles, each seeming to radiate their own faint light. The room was mostly empty, with nothing in it except for…a throne.

     A throne, made of an organic material that resembled blue rock, stood regally at one end of the huge room. An air of majesty and power still surrounded the throne, though it appeared to have long been unoccupied. More beautiful than any gold seat of honor to be found in the surface world, the throne seemed to be designed to accentuate the glory and kindness of the ruler to whom it belonged. It was more than fit for a king…or a queen. I remembered the Jetsam's story of the Water Faerie who had cared for the palace. How had she been overthrown? I wondered sadly. Her palace and her throne were beautiful, and I could feel that she was, too.

     I approached the throne hesitantly, as if I did not deserve to come so near to a place where a true ruler had once spent her days. The throne did not glow like the walls and the floor, but it radiated something as well, an aura that I could feel but not see. I felt power, caring, and gentleness as I floated there, staring at the regal throne. I had never met this Water Faerie, yet I knew that she was a worthy queen.

     I could have floated there and stared at the throne, imagining what the queen had been like, for hours without getting tired. But I reminded myself that I was on a mission, a mission to find this so-called Sea Sapphire and bring it to the Jetsam so that he could release the magic and restore the palace. Now that I thought about it, that story didn't sound very believable. I had to wonder about that Jetsam; just what did he really want with me? Whether or not he was telling me the truth, though, I wanted to see more of this palace.

     I swam around in the great throne room. There didn't seem to be a way out, at least, not until I looked up. Then I saw a circular opening cut in the ceiling of the room. On land, that wouldn't make any sense and might warrant an investigation, but here it was plain that the hole was intended to be swum up through to get to the upper floor.

     I swam through it, and found myself in a room that was very small and cramped at first glance, but on looking up, I saw that the ceiling stretched up far above me. The ceiling height served to make the room huge, though the actual width of the room was small, a bit like a very long pencil standing upright. Shelves carved out of the blue material lined each wall, and on the shelves were…books.

     A royal library! Books and books of all colors and sizes were there. This was one thing I would never have expected to find under the sea. I swam through the water-filled room up to the ceiling with practically no effort at all, laughing to myself about the poor bookstores on land that have to use ladders to get to their high shelves.

     I pulled a book off a shelf at random. The cover was made of a yellow rock-like substance, but it was flexible, and opened easily. Inside, the book was full of pages made of the same material. The pages were white, and I guessed that the substance came in many different colors. Though thicker than paper, the pages were much thinner than the book's covers. I scanned the pages quickly, but was disappointed to find that everything on them was written in an odd squiggly language that I didn't understand. I returned the book to its place in its shelf, figuring that all the books were probably written in the same language, and swam back down to the floor of the room.

     A doorway at one end of the huge library allowed me passage into the next room. There I found a whole collection of small individual chambers, each appearing to have been someone's living space at one time. They were empty now, with nothing at all inside them, but when I entered the rooms I could almost sense the personality of the pet who had lived there. This was where the queen's subjects had spent their time, I thought, remembering how the Jetsam had told me that she only allowed the kindest pets in the sea to enter her ocean sanctuary.

     I swam through room after room with no end in sight. Every time I entered a room, I felt the pet that had lived there. This pet had been a good friend of the queen's; this pet had been very kind and gentle; this pet unwittingly acted rather inconsiderate, but was inside true and pure of heart…I couldn't stop the feelings from coming. It was interesting, and I had to wonder where all the pets had gone. What had happened to them, and what had befallen this beautiful kingdom?

     At last, I seemed to have gone through the last of the chambers, and I found myself in an empty room. Nothing was in it except for one large, rather suspicious-looking circular patch in the ceiling. I swam up to investigate it, examining the faintly glowing blue material, searching for a hidden…well, a hidden something; some means of opening or operating the thing. I didn't see anything, and touched the area to run my fin over it.

     As soon as my fin touched it, that one circular patch in the ceiling began to glow brightly. Not the dim light of the walls and the rest of the ceiling, but a bright glow that shone through the water. The circular area tore away from the rest of the wall and swung open like a trapdoor, revealing another hole in the ceiling to serve as a passageway to an upper floor of the palace.

     I was surprised. What had caused the door to swing open? Was it designed to open when touched? But why? The other hole in the ceiling had been just a hole, with no such fancy door. I hesitated a moment, wondering if I should swim through the hole or not.

     Well, why shouldn't I? What was I afraid of, in this empty palace? I swam up through the hole, wondering what I would find.

     I found myself in a small room, with no other entrances or exits other than the trapdoor. The walls of this room glowed brighter than the rest of the walls, and I could see words in that strange language carved in the walls. In the very center of the room was an ornately carved pedestal, and resting atop the pedestal was a deep blue gem that was glowing fiercely.

     The Sea Sapphire.

     I swam toward it breathlessly. It was beautiful. I had no trouble believing that this jewel contained great magic power. I remembered that the Jetsam had told me to bring it to him so that he could release its magic and restore the palace. Yet…something about that story rang false in my mind. Still, I reached out with my fin, intending to take the jewel from its pedestal.

     A voice stopped me. It was a gentle voice, laced with compassion, but it was firm. "Do not touch the Sea Sapphire!"

     I turned around, startled. A yellow Acara was floating behind me. Her eyes were clear and caring as they looked at me, seemingly trying to see into my very soul. Where had she come from? I hadn't seen anyone in the room a moment ago. My gaze fell on the trapdoor in the floor, and I saw that it was now closed.

     "Uh, hello," I said awkwardly, embarrassed to have been caught, not only trespassing, but about to steal an artifact that no doubt belonged to the palace! "Pardon me. I…I thought this place was deserted."

     The Acara didn't seem to hear me. "You entered the room of the Sea Sapphire," she stated calmly, looking straight into my eyes.

     She didn't seem upset, but I felt guilty. What had made me assume that the jewel was mine for the taking? "I'm sorry," I apologized. "Do you, uh, live here?" I asked the Acara, to change the subject.

     The Acara's face saddened. "Yes. I live here. I am the only remaining pet who still resides in this palace. I was one of the royal subjects, in earlier days. Now I am a mere homeless ghost of a pet, with nowhere else to go. I do not know what to do here, but I feel that the palace needs a guard, and I will protect its halls from intruders."

     I cringed. I knew she hadn't meant me when she said that, but her words reminded me that I had no business swimming through this palace. Then again, I wondered why she hadn't meant me. The Acara was gazing at me with a keen interest that made me wonder what she saw in me. For all she knew of me, I was a thief, out to steal the Sea Sapphire.

     "You were sent by the Darkness," the Acara said at last, with the same calm voice that indicated that what she was saying was completely true and she knew it.

     "What?" I said in confusion. "I wasn't…I mean…I swam in here on my own. I didn't mean anything bad, really."

     "You met a Jetsam outside the palace," the Acara said steadily.

     "Yes," I admitted, wondering how she knew. Had she been watching me, or had she known just by looking at me? Something told me it was the latter.

     "The Jetsams around here…they formed a band. A band dedicated to evil. They are one part of the Darkness," the Acara told me. "The Darkness that is spread all over Neopia, even to these very depths of the sea."

     "Oh," I said nervously, wondering what had caused me to ever consider doing something for that creepy Jetsam. "I didn't know he was evil."

     "I am aware of that," the Acara said softly. "You were sent by the Darkness, and yet you were able to enter the room of the Sea Sapphire." The Acara looked at me thoughtfully, and then told me, "The Sea Sapphire is guarded well. The Water Faerie queen placed a spell over the entrance to this room, so that it will only open to those affiliated with the palace who have been deemed right of heart in her eyes. And the door opened to you."

     "Yes, it did." I glanced at the trapdoor in the floor, wondering if the spell had worn away over time. I certainly had never been in contact with this palace before, and I'd never even met the Water Faerie queen, much less been deemed right of heart by her.

     "There can be only one explanation," the Acara said, her eyes flickering over me with a hint of excitement in them. "You are the chosen one, the one that we have been waiting for through all these years! You are Floater, the faerie pet who will restore our good queen Naiyania to her throne!"

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» The Faerie Pet: Part One
» The Faerie Pet: Part Three
» The Faerie Pet: Part Four
» The Faerie Pet: Part Five
» The Faerie Pet: Part Six



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