A Yurble stole my cinnamon roll! Circulation: 107,223,896 Issue: 214 | 28th day of Collecting, Y7
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Shades of Grey: Part Three


by cloudybliss

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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 in Faerieland.

      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 world?

      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 with herself!

      "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 in ti-"

      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.

The End

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.

 
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Other Episodes


» Shades of Grey: Part One
» Shades of Grey: Part Two



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