Shades of Grey: Part Three
She had expected to see herself unchanged except for her
lack of wings. She did not know how wrong she had been.
Where her lively blue eyes had once been, a
dull and stormy grey pair now resided. They held no traces of their usual sparkle.
Her skin was a pale, washed-out grey as well, yet she was so pallid that its
tinge was hardly noticeable. She looked translucent. Her lips drooped into a
frown, and her muscles were so tired that she could not pull them up for the
life of her. Her hair was lank and ash-blonde, falling in pieces around her
nearly unrecognizable face. She looked like she had gone days without nourishment,
and her hollow cheeks had no hint of color. Her face was the utter vision of
sadness, yet that was not the most shocking transition of all.
Her luxurious buttercup wings had been replaced
with tattered feathers that threatened to fall out with the slightest movement.
Her lower lip trembled dangerously, her strength fading, and the sky above her
bellowed with the sound of thunder. As lightning streaked across the sky, Telera
stumbled down the deserted plaza before crumpling to a heap at the base of the
Money Tree. Rain began to fall and mixed with the tears careening down her cheeks.
Distraught, cold, and lonely, Telera fell asleep, because only in her sleep
could she escape what her life had just become.
It was the night after that horrible day, the
day she had lost her wings. Telera had been walking around Neopia all day, observing
others proceed with their daily lives. She could not think of a single day in
the past where she had no responsibilities or chores to complete. For one fleeting
second, Telera felt free. Reality, a heavy weight, came crashing down, scattering
her thoughts. She was not free; she was more trapped than she had ever been
in her entire life. She could no longer visit her home, her friends, her sister...
Her heart fluttered anxiously in her chest.
Her sister! She wondered wildly if she had been able to escape, and if she managed
to escape, what was she planning on doing next? Impulsively, she looked up towards
Faerieland. A voice in her head told her that she was stupid; she would not
be able to see a thing from where she stood, and Grey Faeries were forever banned
from Faerieland. A chill swirled in the air and travelled down her spine. Faerieland
seemed different, somehow. When she thought about her former home, the wind
picked up speed, blowing her hair around her face in violent gusts. It seemed
almost as if the wind itself could feel the impending gloom on Faerieland.
Settling herself beneath some trees, Telera
combed her fingers through her ragged hair, her eyes laced with unrelenting
worry. The worst was over, yet somehow she could not convince herself to let
go. She heard a rustle in the leaves above her, and she jumped to her feet,
looking frantically in every direction. Her paranoia dissolved slightly when
she saw a Pteri flying away. Figuring that it was the source of the noise, Telera
felt silly for overreacting.
"Sister!" a familiar voice hissed, coming from
the tree overhead. All the stress of the past few days must have been getting
to her; she must be hallucinating. Her sister couldn't be here, not when she
was on the run? Sure enough, her sister dropped down beside her softly.
"I've been looking for you all day!" Tilaina
panted, blowing her sweaty bangs out of her face. "I can't believe the rumors
are true, Tellie. You can't believe how awful I feel... I never imagined that
Fyora would do this to you; you were completely innocent!" she ranted, her tiny
fist curling into a ball angrily, a snarl worn plainly on her face.
"Until I knocked out her two Eyrie guards and
let a wanted criminal go on the run," Telera added with a grim smile, knocking
her shoulder against her sister's.
"It's my fault. I shouldn't have told you anything.
I shouldn't have gotten you involved," Tilaina muttered, biting her lip.
"That's not true, and you know it. I pushed
you into telling me. It's my fault," Telera countered.
Tilaina didn't know what to say to that, so
she looked away. A second later, she began to speak again. "What's done is done,
I guess," Tilaina said sadly. "All you did was try to protect your sister. You
didn't do anything wrong. I wish I could say that I'm surprised that Fyora would
do such a thing, but I'm not. She's ordered quite a few Dark Faerie banishments
on the slightest of technicalities. Her position has changed her, Telera. She
loves her power so much that she's willing to do anything to keep it. She'll
step on anyone who gets in her way." She spat bitterly.
Telera looked around cautiously. "So is the
plan still on, then? The rebellion?" she whispered, her eyes lowering from the
sky to meet with Tilaina's. This life of constant fear was not for her; her
ribs ached from her heart's relentless racing, and she felt as if she had not
slept in days. She could now appreciate what the last few months of Tilaina's
life had felt like.
Tilaina also scanned the area before replying.
"Yes. Your unjust punishment was the final nail in the coffin. I'll avenge you,
Telera. I'll fight with all my heart, I swear it."
The sisters hugged, and tears sparkled in Telera's
eyes. "Thank you," she whispered to Tilaina.
"No, thank you," she whispered back. They pulled
away, Telera feeling awkward. "Here, I want you to have this," she whispered,
pulling a locket off of her neck. Telera had never seen it before; the locket
was a deep violet, nearly black, with an ornately-designed T on the cover. Telera's
eyes met with her sister's and her mouth dropped a bit.
"You want me to have this?" she asked, touching
the locket gently. It sprung open at her touch. Inside was a dazzling sparkle
of golden light, with the same T engraved on the inside. Tilaina nodded wordlessly
as Telera put on the locket gently. The locket glowed a faint blue for a second,
and it was warm to the touch. As soon as it had started, it ended, and the locket
lay innocently on her neck as if nothing had ever happened.
"I'll be seeing you soon, I hope." Tilaina said
softly, as she hated saying good-bye. She flew away swiftly, leaving Telera
feeling empty and hollow. The feathers on Telera's back ached with longing,
as a bitter jealousy coursed through her veins. Feeling ill, she laid down to
rest. Her eyes danced fretfully beneath her lowered eyelids, while she fell
into a nervous slumber.
She awoke hours later, when her breath was coming
out in short puffs of hot air. Something about the wind had changed; it felt
menacing somehow, as if a malevolent dragon was breathing down her neck. She
had heard from her good friend, an Air Faerie, that one could tell when great
tides of evil were coming from the way the wind blew. Shivering at this thought
and hoping it wasn't true, Telera looked towards the sky again, feeling silly.
It was like staring down a clock when she knew was time it was: pointless, and
purely out of habit rather than purpose.
Her jaw dropped when she saw what was happening
A noxious purple cloud encased Faerieland in
a bubble of despair. Swarms of fast-moving blurs darted in the clouds, jets
of violet light shooting miles into the air before hitting a nearby cloud and
ricocheting back. Clutching her hair in fear, Telera's worried eyes scanned
the activity in the clouds. Her intestines felt alive, like there were snakes
writhing around in them, hissing angrily.
"Oh my," she murmured in wonder. "What have
I done?" Her locket seemed to grow colder in response.
Tears welled up in her eyes as she slumped back
against the tree. She swallowed back the lump that had promptly risen to her
throat and blinked back the tears. Worry poked and prodded every inch of her
stomach, questioning herself. Maybe Fyora had not been unreasonable; maybe she
was right. Who knew the terror that Telera had unleashed upon such a beautiful
Miserably, slowly, painfully, Telera rose to
her tender feet. Almost automatically, she walked towards the plaza, where the
crowd was abuzz with talk of Faerieland.
"Have you heard, Mary? It's awful! The Dark
Faeries have waged war on Faerieland," one Shoyru pronounced from the doorway
of her shop, lounging in the door frame almost languidly, talking with a casual
ease that Telera longed for. Never again would she be that carefree, that casual.
But how could she be feeling bad for herself at a time like this? She was sickened
"Oh, Martha, I heard! Those Dark Faeries are
vicious. Have you heard some of the atrocities they've been performing? The
leader, you know, she's the worst of them all. Cindy told me that she ordered
some pets to be flung off the edge of the cloud. Fyora only stopped them just
But Telera could not hear anymore. With a sob
of despair, she flung herself onto the grass, weeping in sorrow as the toxic
cloud above her grew larger still, and the screams from above seemed to echo
in her ears. She grabbed her locket and ripped it off her neck furiously, breaking
the chain in one solid sweep. Bawling as she flung it a nearby puddle of water,
the locket hissed angrily before sinking into the mud and striking the bottom.
With a final cry, Telera flopped miserably into the grass, as thunder crashed
overhead and rain began to pour from the sky.
Author's Note: My first series is dedicated to my two wonderful friends
who helped me edit. Thanks so much Matt and Jen, it means the world to me! I'd
love to hear feedback on my story, so do not hesitate to write me a Neomail.
Thanks for reading.