Hubrid's Attempted Hero Heist: Part Twelve
Also by schefflera
Jeran looked around, sounding only mildly puzzled by
Kass's disappearance halfway up the staircase. "Well, he couldn't really have
gone anywhere but up the stairs...."
Kass had in fact slipped quietly away, thinking
this might be safer than the conversation with Skarl and Illusen, to find Lisha's
door standing open near the top of the staircase. This turned out to be a mistake.
Just as Jeran's words floated up to him, the occupants of the room saw him --
and Lisha turned out not to be alone.
Lisha herself sat up in bed, but fell back dizzily;
two young warriors, however, shouted angrily and leaped at him. There was a
brief scuffle and a sharp pain in his arm before Jeran charged in and barked,
Everyone stilled, and Kass saw that his attackers
were familiar; everyone had known of them during the first war, and he had last
seen them on the Citadel. Come to think of it, they'd jumped on him then too.
"But it's--!" the Quiggle protested.
"Kass. Yes, Morris, I know. He's... changed,
and was my ally on the journey." Jeran looked around. "No one's hurt, I hope?"
he asked dryly.
The boys shook their heads; Lisha propped herself
up less abruptly this time, though she looked very pale.
"My apologies for the confusion," Kass muttered.
"You didn't mention her personal guards."
Jeran snorted, moving across to check Lisha.
"I didn't think you'd be showing up without me. And I assumed you could take
care of yourself."
"Mostly." Kass inspected his arm and glanced
at the Blumaroo, looking away quickly in an effort not to glare. It wouldn't
have been that unreasonable.... "The little vampire bit me."
"He isn't really a vampire, don't worry," Jeran
"Yes, I am!" Boris argued.
"You enjoy jumping around in broad daylight and
eating garlic bread at King Skarl's feasts," Jeran sighed, then turned to Kass,
who seemed quite confused. "So you don't have to worry about turning into a
"Aww, you didn't have to tell him that..."
"Might it be better if we healed Lisha now?"
Illusen asked as she and Skarl walked into the room rather more sedately than
"Yes, I would agree," the Lupe knight said. "Would
you come out now, Rennah?"
"Does she have to be here?" an annoyed-sounding
voice called from inside Kass's mane.
"I would prefer to stay here," Illusen stated.
"Earth Faeries... they never trust anyone," Rennah
grumbled. But the Dark Faerie flew out from her hiding spot, and assumed her
full size anyway.
"A Dark Faerie?" Illusen hissed. "What could
"Exactly what you can't, and what they need,"
the other Faerie said. "I can heal Lisha."
Illusen's eyes narrowed. "A Dark Faerie's healing
generally comes at a high price."
Rennah's wings twitched. "It's been paid," she
said shortly, then amended after a few seconds, "Well, my part in it has."
"And just what do you mean by that?" Illusen
didn't move, and her voice had become calm again, but everyone else in the room
was suddenly and strongly reminded that they were all surrounded by stone.
"I owe a sorceress a favor," Rennah said, "and
she sent me here to bless Lisha up to seven times. When she has the ability
Drain Life, she will be able to use it on her brother--"
"What?" Lisha cried out. "NO!"
"It's all right, Lisha," Jeran said calmly. "I
know exactly what this means for me. But I would give anything to keep you safe,
and would gladly allow you to use that ability on me. It wouldn't work otherwise."
"But... I don't want to hurt you... Not for this...
not for anything!"
"I understand. But you have to do this. I couldn't
stand myself if I didn't do everything possible to help you."
"But what if it doesn't work? What if it's a
trick?" Lisha asked.
"Isn't that why she's here?" Rennah pointed to
Illusen. "What would I have to gain from tricking you? But anyway, if you don't
want the healing I offer, just say so. I'd rather not stay where I'm not wanted."
"There's a sorceress in the Haunted Woods," Jeran
explained quietly, before Lisha could say anything else, "who suggested this
and sent Rennah along. She said that using Drain Life on a willing target is
more effective in some ways than using it in battle, that it will cure diseases.
And she gave us other advice that proved true." He lifted one of Lisha's drooping
ears. "I can take it, you know. I've done it before, and kept fighting. It's
not going to do me any serious harm -- nothing that a common healing potion
won't cure. And I don't think having or using the ability will do you harm,
either. Your wand already does dark damage as well as light, doesn't it?"
Lisha nodded reluctantly. "But I don't want to
hurt you," she repeated.
"I'll be fine."
"I never heard of using dark-sphere battle abilities
on a willing target," Illusen said slowly, frowning at Rennah, "but it is true
that the damage should not be so very great. And you're really in no condition
to travel unnecessarily, Lisha."
Lisha nodded reluctantly, unable to argue that
point. "I suppose... if Jeran really wants me to... and if he'll be all right...
I could accept your gifts," she told Rennah.
"Of course I want you to," Jeran said. "How could
I not want you to make yourself healthy again?"
"Are you ready?" the Dark Faerie asked Lisha.
The Aisha nodded. "This might feel a bit strange, but don't worry. You'll be
healthy again in no time." Rennah moved directly in front of Lisha, and held
one hand out towards the Aisha. A dim purple aura surrounded her hand, which
grew in both size and intensity until it surrounded Lisha entirely. The Aisha
"I feel... cold... and a little tired..." she
said. "As if it suddenly became night time."
"That isn't unusual. The night is where my powers
come from," Rennah explained. "I'm almost finished, though." From the way the
Faerie looked, she meant to reassure herself as much as Lisha -- she seemed
out of breath and drained of energy, and her wings drooped. Using so much of
her power at once appeared to have taken a lot out of her. "I'm done now," Rennah
said, letting her hand drop and the purple aura fade. "But I'll have to go."
"Won't you show me how to use Drain Life first?"
"You already know how, you'll find. Just will
it to happen, and it will," Rennah said, stepping towards the window.
"But where will you go?" Jeran asked.
"To Faerieland, if I can, so I can regain my
power. Giving someone seven abilities at once is never easy, but with my wings
just having been restored, it's even more draining. I'll be able to find someone
to take me, at least as far as Neopia Central. Good luck to you all."
"You're just going to let her leave?" Illusen
asked, as Rennah shrank and took off out of the window.
"From what I understood, her part in this is
done," Jeran said. "All that is left now is for Lisha to use Life Drain on me."
"If this works," Illusen muttered, "I'll give
the Dark Faerie a lift to Neopia Central myself. After I look after you two.
I haven't been able to remove the disease itself, but I can help you recover
your strength faster. Just go have a nap as soon as you can."
"All right then." Jeran approached Lisha, meeting
her eyes, and knelt by the bed to take both her hands in his.
Lisha looked, if anything, more ill, but she
set her teeth and adopted an expression of intense concentration. "I think I
can tell how to do it -- but it -- really doesn't feel right," she said faintly,
sweat beading on her forehead, "outside of a fight. It's like... trying to scream
when I'm not upset or excited or... or anything."
"Would it help if I drew my sword?" Jeran offered.
The young Aisha let out a breath that might have
been a laugh, but her grip only tightened. "I could never believe you were --
really -- attacking," she panted. She shut her eyes tightly, then opened them
again, looking up at Jeran. They were red-rimmed and bloodshot, and there were
dark circles under them.
Just as Kass was beginning to consider whether
he should try advancing on her -- after all, Lisha would probably have very
little trouble at least half believing he was attacking her -- and, if so, whether
he was actually willing to do it, he heard King Skarl catch his breath. Something
Violet-red light pulsed between the siblings,
not along their joined hands but at their hearts, and a bolt of black shot from
Jeran to Lisha. Lisha let out a little cry and fell back; Jeran leaned on the
edge of the bed, looking suddenly exhausted, and watched her anxiously.
Lisha's color came back; the fever-brightness
faded from her eyes, and her ears no longer drooped limply. She swallowed hard.
"I -- I think it worked," she said wonderingly. "Jeran, are you okay?"
Jeran braced himself on the mattress and pushed
himself to his feet as everyone in the room gave a soft collective sigh, as
if they'd all been holding their breaths. It was done; Hubrid Nox had been foiled,
Lisha healed, and everybody could go home again. He gave his sister a tired