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The Eyes of Imari


by micrody

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Author's Note: The Eyrie's name in this is pronounced HAH-kone; Imari is pronounced ih-MAH-ree.

I am a Dark Faerie and my name is Imari. I reside within the Ice Caves of Terror Mountain, where many Neopians feel the need to explore. I have no wish for explorers of my abode. I left the perky, cheery clouds of Faerieland to get away from the joy and excitement of people; I came to the Ice Caves to embrace the coldness of my heart.

     I have my ways of keeping others away. I possess a crystal ball forged of my darkest emotions, and with this crystal sphere I am able to extend my powers to keep others at bay. My crystal sits upon a stand of black, frozen shadows before my throne, formed also of frozen shadows. I see those who travel into my mountain before they even know of my existence. I use my crystal, and my powers, to make them flee.

     For three days I have been watching a group of travelers. They were preparing to ascend the mountain for the first two days, and today, since morning on the third day, they have been hiking, climbing, and ascending the mountain, drawing ever nearer to my abode.

     I will not let them find me. I shall keep them away. I reach out to my crystal and I lift it from my stand, drawing it closer to my face. I blink a couple of times, my reflection disappearing and the side of the mountain clearly showing itself to me. I observe them, but they have no knowledge of my knowledge of them.

     * * *

     "Calsa," the yellow Yurble groaned, shaking the snow from his perfectly-groomed mane, "please, slow down."

     "No, Kemwood, I will not," Calsa, a red Acara, replied. "We have to reach the summit before nightfall, otherwise we'll end up late for the auroras when they illuminate the sky every day from sunset to the morning before dawn. I won't miss them again, Kemwood!"

     "Hey, you two down there," a green Eyrie called down to them from where he flew in the sky, "stop your arguing--we're almost to the summit!" He flew up a bit, Imari's eyes staring at him as he flew; had he turned around he would have seen her eyes--and only her disembodied, menacing purple eyes--watching them from the crystal sky.

     "Haakon," Calsa yelled up to the Eyrie as he flew in circles above them, "shut up! We can only climb as fast as we can--you're the one with wings, not us! Stop treating us like we can actually climb as fast as you can fly!"

     "Calsa," Haakon replied coolly, "calm down--sheesh, what I have to put up with!" He laughed playfully, slowing down his flying and gliding for a while as they continued to climb in silence. Imari smiled from her abode; still, she had not been seen.

     Almost an hour passed before the three arrived at the snowy summit. They took off their backpacks and set up camp at the mouth of the Ice Caves, where they would wait until nightfall when the auroras spread across Terror Mountain, illuminating the skies with bands of light shining in every color possibly imaginable.

     Imari drew the crystal ball closer to her face, grinning, her eyes sparkling with darkness. She lifted her gaze from the travelers, the scene within the orb moving up the mountain. She inhaled, her chest expanding, and blew forcefully onto the stone; her breath clouded the crystal's surface, but the surface cleared. The snow beyond the glass was gone. She smiled, blinking, and the image became that off the three explorers--Calsa and Kemwood reclining on a thick blanket laid upon the ground and Haakon flying around.

     "Calsa, Kemwood--watch out!" Haakon yelled, noticing the torrent of snow tumbling down the mountain's side like a tidal wave. Haakon shot forwards, his wings beating faster than he had ever beat them before, and he flew into the cave, grabbing his friends and dragging them into the cave as the avalanche sealed them inside of the mountain.

     Imari yelled to herself--the avalanche was supposed to keep them out of the Ice Caves, but instead, it had sealed them inside! A short moment passed and Imari smiled. Now that they were there... she had an excuse to get rid of them. However she wanted to do it.

     "What do we do now?" Calsa asked, stunned, as she rolled over and stood up a few feet from where the others had landed.

     "Great," Kemwood said, "we're going to die--and worse, we're going to miss the auroras!" He whined pathetically, brushing the dirt and snow out of his well-kept fur. "This vacation stinks."

     "No one's going to die," Haakon said, flexing his wings to make sure they weren't broken. "The Ice Caves have hundreds of entrances--all we need to do is find another one, and then we'll be free of the caves. Now, do either of you have any of your things?"

     "No," Calsa replied, her voice serious, "everything was crushed under the avalanche."

     Haakon shook his head, muttering under his breath, and punched his clenched talon into the cave's wall. He sighed, shaking his talon, and turned around to face his friends, "Then we have nothing!" He leaned against the cave, fuming.

     "I..." Kemwood said tentatively, "I... I have my Light Faerie Token-"

     "Good," Haakon yelled, "That'll give us plenty of light!"

     "More importantly," Calsa said sarcastically, "how'd you even get one?"

     Kemwood stuttered a bit as he reached into his pocket to grab the Light Faerie Token, but was finally able to say, "It was a gift." As the Light Faerie Token left his pocket, the cave was instantly illuminated with a soft, silvery-orange glow that cast long, eerie shadows behind them and accentuated the cave's many twists and turns, stalagmites and stalactites.

     "I'll lead the way," Haakon said and quickly grabbed the Light Faerie Token from Kemwood's paw, "I've been in the caves plenty of times before." Kemwood whimpered, but said nothing and dropped his head as he began following Haakon through the cold, thick darkness of the Ice Caves ahead of before them.

     "Hey, Haakon," Calsa yelled as she, too, followed the Eyrie, "I've been in the caves plenty of times before, too! I can lead us just as well as you can!" The Eyrie said nothing in response, but Imari smiled. Already had anger been born among them, and after her next trick, they would surely fall to pieces before her.

     * * *

     The cave was dark and bitterly cold before the three explorers. They walked in silence, conserving their energy and shivering with each step taken. The Ice Caves were, as their name implied, formed entirely of ice. Long ago, ancient creatures had burrowed through the mountain, forming the Ice Caves; only one of these creatures still existed, and it was the feared Snowager. If only Imari could coax the Snowager from his treasure room...

     But she would be unable to locate the Snowager without losing sight of the travelers, so Imari decided to do something else. She shook the crystal ball, stalactites falling around the travelers. She shook the ball again, another earthquake rumbling through the cave--more stalactites fell around them and they ran faster, screaming in panic. Imari smiled.

     The cave shook again, more stalactites, and now even parts of the icy ceiling itself, began falling around them. The shaking continued as they screamed, running through the icy caves. The icy walls refracted the Faerie Token's light and the cave became brighter around them--they reached a dead end, the quaking still chasing after them.

     The ground beneath them shattered and they fell, screaming, until they landed in another icy cave. The quaking stopped; Imari was pleased. The travelers lay on their backs, staring above them and groaning in pain. The Light Faerie Token flickered, and then sputtered to death. It could only provide them with one thing now: Darkness.

     Haakon breathed deeply, his breath raspy and furious. Calsa breathed heavily, anger in each breath. Slowly they all stood, Imari smiling as she observed their emotions. "This is all your fault, Calsa," Haakon yelled, flapping his wings and blowing shards of ice away from him, but he didn't care, for his wings had not broken during the fall.

     "My fault?" Calsa yelled, furious now. "My fault? How is this all my fault? If it hadn't been for you leading us the wrong way, and if it hadn't been for you getting us in here--"

     "What?" Haakon yelled back, cutting off Calsa's words, "If I hadn't gotten us in here, you would all be dead! How is that my fault? Well, Calsa, how?"

     "Guys," Kemwood yelled, stepping between the two. "Stop fighting. Fighting isn't going to help us. All we need to do is calm down, because if we don't calm down we might run out of air." Kemwood, blinked, gulping, gasping for air. "We're running out of air! Help, help, help--somebody, please, help us!" He ran around in circles, frantically searching for a way out, gasping for breath and breathing deeper than either Calsa or Haakon.

     "Kemwood--calm down," Haakon said, "We're not running out of air!"

     "We're... we're not?" Kemwood asked tentatively, breathing normally again, "Oh... okay."

     "Now," Calsa said, stepping forward and picking up the Light Faerie Token, "We need to get out of this place--like Haakon said, the Ice Caves have hundreds of entrances and all we need to do is find one, then we'll be free." She banged the Token on the ground, the light flicking back on. She stood up, taking a step forward, "Come on--I'll be the leader until Haakon can calm down." Haakon scowled, but followed Calsa nonetheless.

     Imari hissed, angered that the Token had come back to life, and angered even more that they had stopped fighting. She blew upon her crystal, but to no avail for there was no avalanche to be let loose upon the travelers. She considered shaking the crystal once again, but earthquakes had grown old. She smiled, drawing her lips closer to the crystal ball; she pursed her lips, blowing gently, whistling into the Ice Caves.

     "What's that noise?" Haakon yelled, holding his hands to his ears.

     "I--don't--know," Calsa yelled over the noise. The ice to her right began to crack; in any moment it might shatter if the whistling continued. Had she turned around, had she looked upwards, had she turned her eyes upon the icy ceiling above her, she might have seen the eyes of Imari looking down upon her, laughing at their pain, at their fear.

     "Watch out!" Kemwood yelled, running forwards and jumping onto Calsa as the Ice Caves shattered around them--shards of ice flew everywhere, the ice shattering like glass.

     "That was close," Calsa said as she stood up, shaking off pieces of ice. The whistling had ended, but at what cost had it stopped? Kemwood stood up beside her, shaking in fear.

     "Too close," he said, gulping and pointing ahead of them. The ice had shattered not only the wall, but part of the cave itself. A chasm that had appeared was but inches before them; had the two slid upon the icy ground even an inch farther than they had, they would have fallen into the deep, sinister darkness. On the opposite side of the chasm, Haakon lay on his back, his wing bent awkwardly beneath him, covered in shards of ice and fine, white powder, the ice crystals sparkling in the dim light of the Light Faerie Token.

     "Haakon," Calsa cried, worried and scared, "Haakon, are you alright? Can you hear me?"

     Haakon moaned in pain, slowly opening his eyes. He spoke in a slow, painful voice, "I can't move..." He moaned again, trying, unsuccessfully, to roll over and stand up.

     Calsa wiped tears from her eyes and spoke, her voice echoing in the dark, icy cave. "I'll be over there in only a minute, Haakon; just hold on a little bit longer." She handed the Light Faerie Token back to Kemwood and took a few steps backwards; she ran forwards and jumped--

     "Calsa!" Kemwood yelled as she fell into the darkness; Kemwood gasped as she reached forward as she fell and grabbed the edge of the chasm. She struggled to pull herself up, slowly getting herself entirely out of the chasm and onto solid ground.

     "Haakon," Calsa said as Kemwood sank to his knees, thankful that Calsa hadn't fallen into the shadows. "Can you hear me, Haakon?" she asked. He moaned and nodded, Calsa smiling. "I'm going to try and get you to stand up, okay?" Haakon moaned, but nodded.

     Calsa bent down and grabbed Haakon under the arms, slowly standing up with him on her back. She was hunched forward a bit, but he was standing. Haakon tried to spread out his wings; his left wing was intact, but his right wing was bent and broken. "I..." he mumbled, moaning in pain, "I think I can stand on my own; thank you, Calsa." He took a step back, fully able to stand on his own. Calsa took his hand, lest he fall into the chasm.

     "Kemwood," Calsa called out over the chasm after she took Haakon a few feet farther away, "Kemwood, you'll need to jump over to us."

     "What?" Kemwood said, standing up, "I can't jump--I'll fall into the hole and die!" His eyes were wide with fear; his body was petrified in silence.

     "No, Kemwood," Calsa said, "You can do this--Yurbles are better jumpers than Acaras, haven't you ever heard that?" Kemwood shook his head; he had never heard that. "Well, anyway," Calsa said, "I've seen how you jump--remember, last Halloween, when Haakon jumped out from behind the tree and scared you? You jumped a mile high!"

     Kemwood moaned and laughed uneasily, stepping to the edge of the chasm. He had, in fact, jumped higher than any other Neopet that he had ever seen... Maybe he was a good jumper after all. "Here's the Light Faerie Token, Calsa," he said, "just in case I don't make it." He fumbled around with the Token before throwing it to Calsa--she caught it and stepped back, clearing room for him to land on her side of the chasm.

     Kemwood gulped and took a few steps back. He closed his eyes and ran forwards, opening his eyes just before the edge of the chasm and jumping--he flew through the air, going farther, going farther, falling downward, not moving. Imari smiled as she held Kemwood in the air. His eyes were wide as he flailed around, the unseen powers of the Dark Faerie not letting him go. Calsa stepped back, her eyes wide; Haakon was speechless, his beak agape. Kemwood was screaming, "Help me--help me!" but nobody knew what to do.

     Imari smiled--why drop him down the chasm when she could play around with the travelers a little bit longer? She flicked her finger across the surface of her crystal ball, sending Kemwood flying forwards to land a few feet beyond Calsa and Haakon. He rolled onto his back, his eyes still wide in fear, but he wasn't screaming any longer.

     "Are... are you alright," Calsa asked quietly as she walked over to Kemwood and kneeled down beside him. She helped him to stand up as he nodded; he was alright. She stepped back, clenching her fist as she did so. "What was that back there?" Her voice was now angry, and maybe a bit scared, too. "Why did you just float there?"

     Haakon moaned and took a step forward, leaning back against the wall as he spoke, "I've heard that a Dark Faerie lives in the Ice Caves; they say she keeps travelers away at all costs, but nobody knows why..." He closed his eyes and sighed, still feeling hurt.

     "There's a Dark Faerie in here?" Kemwood said, jumping up, apparently healed in his fright. "Where is she? We have to get out; we have to get out of here before she gets us!"

     "Kemwood," Calsa said dryly, "calm down; it's probably just one of Haakon's ghost stories; right, Haakon?" She turned to face the green Eyrie; he opened his eyes, his face serious, and shook his head: no, this was not just a ghost story. "You--you mean there's really a Dark Faerie in here?" Haakon nodded, gulping; his face was still too serious. "And you took us into the Ice Caves anyway?" Calsa was angry, and afraid.

     "I," Haakon said slowly, "I didn't know the stories were true--they were just stories; I didn't even believe them. Anyway, we weren't even supposed to be in the Ice Caves at all--if it hadn't been for that..." His eyes widened, "The avalanche, and the earthquake, and the whistling--it was all the Dark Faerie's doing!" His mouth hung open, astonished.

     Imari was furious--they knew about her; they knew that she was in the Ice Caves! People knew that she was in the Ice Caves--but how did anyone even find out about her? How did anyone even know that she existed? She hadn't let anybody out of the Ice Caves if they came anywhere near her; the few travelers that she had caught were now in bottles of their own, waiting to be let out. She had always disliked being in Faerie Bottles...

     She gasped--years before, she had been released from her own Faerie Bottle in the Ice Caves! Why did she have any reason to ever leave? The Ice Caves were cold, cold enough for her to feel their iciness, and dark, and lonely. All things that she, Imari the Dark Faerie, loved and enjoyed very dearly. It must not have been very long after her release when the rumors began, and then the rumors grew, slowly becoming ghost stories and Neopian legends, told at parties to give everyone a scare. But no... Imari did not want to be found! She wanted to be alone! She slammed the crystal back onto its stand (the mountain within it trembling) and leaned back in her chair, silently plotting her revenge.

     * * *

     "Come on," Calsa yelled, "we need to leave--she knows about us, and she wants us to be gone!" They ran forward, dodging stalactites as they fell from of the ceiling because of the quaking. They ran forwards, turning a corner and stopping. Before them, upon the icy wall that they had ran into, was a pair of massive, ominous purple eyes, the eyes of Imari.

     "I will get you," she said, her voice echoing through the caves as they slowly backed up, "I will get each and every one of you! Mark my words, this shall be the last time that you ever enter the Ice Caves for I shall--" She stopped speaking, her eyes vanishing.

     "Imari," Taelia yelled, her voice stern and frustrated as she entered Imari's chamber. "What are you doing, Imari?" Imari pulled her face away from the crystal ball, abruptly finishing what she was saying. She jumped onto the ground, cowering away from Taelia.

     "I--I--Taelia, your greatness," her voice was shaky, "I was only... I was only... only..."

     "Imari," Taelia said, "I should tell Fyora about this! One more chance--and only one more chance--and you will no longer be a Faerie when Fyora's through with you! Now, release your captives and do this never again!" Imari had never seen the Snow Faerie so enraged, but nevertheless she slowly stood up and took the four Faerie Bottles from her icy shelves, uncorking each of them (scared Neopets materializing from puffy clouds of air and graciously thanking Taelia for saving them) and putting them back on the shelf.

     "Now, Imari," Taelia said as the Neopets ran from the chamber, "What do you have to say for yourself?" Taelia's face was angry, staring down at Imari as she turned around.

     "I will never play with Neopets again," Imari said unwillingly. Taelia smiled and flew away, leaving Imari alone and in the cold darkness. Imari walked to her crystal and picked it up, throwing it onto the ground and watching it as it shattered. She would have to find a new home, so she could be alone once more, and maybe buy a new crystal...

     * * *

     "Come on," Haakon yelled, turning around and running straight down the cave, the wall of ice that had hosted the Dark Faerie's eyes directly behind them. They turned another corner, a bright light in the distance. They ran forwards, towards the light. The cave rose upwards and in moment they were running up a steep incline, "Just a little bit farther..."

     They jumped out of the Ice Caves, the bright light of the setting sun directly before them. They were standing upon the summit of Terror Mountain, all of Neopia surrounding them upon all sides. The sun set, the sky darkening to a midnight blue as pricks of light began shining. In the dark, starry sky they could see Kreludor shimmering beside the stars.

     "It looks like we finally made it," Calsa said in a daze as the auroras jumped to life and danced across they sky, illuminating their faces with every color imaginable. "After all that," she said, "this is so much more beautiful..." Kemwood and Haakon nodded in agreement; they couldn't wait for their next adventure to begin.

The End

 
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