The Unsung Faerie
The Library Faerie looked up, sighed, and returned to the crumpled old note she was reading. The faded ink seemed to sway along the yellowed parchment, and the annoyed faerie blinked furiously, trying to brush the confusing thoughts of her mind away. Again her eyes flicked to the paper, so with stiff resolve, she snatched it up and stuffed it the drawer of her old desk.
The Library Faerie stood up slowly, the events of the past few days trapped within her pulsing, frenetic mind. She turned and jogged down one of the endless rows of the library, stopping at Team to Thorn. Her well trained eyes scanned the shelves until she spotted the book she was looking for. She hovered up a few feet, and plucked the book from its place. There was a knock at the door to the library, and the faerie sprinted to her desk. She sat down as soon as two pets walked in. A red Chia, followed closely by a blue Lutari.
Slowly, the Chia stepped up to the faerie's desk. He seemed nervous, and the Library Faerie knew he had never been here before. She never forgot a face. Unfortunately.
"We're here for the crossword puzzle," the Chia said. The faerie pulled out two of today's puzzle and handed them out. She overturned a large brass hourglass, and watched as golden sand slipped to the bottom.
"Begin." As the two pets sat down at a low table and began to work feverishly, consulting a copy of the Neopedia for answers, the faerie pulled out the book she had retrieved.
The Kacheek in the Castle: The Story of Eliv Thade. She thumbed through the book. Nothing more than a few torn pages, not one of them mentioning "The Puzzle". Weary, the faerie leaned back in her chair and let her memory float back to a week ago...
The Library Faerie had been calmly meditating when a Gelert ran in. He panted, out of breath, until the Library Faerie gave him a drink of water.
"I've gotten a quest from Fyora," he gasped, still breathing heavily.
The Library Faerie smiled kindly. "Well, I don't think I'm allowed to help."
The Gelert shook his head. "The quest was to find you, and bring you to Fyora."
The faerie nodded, and had followed the Gelert across the smooth fluffy cloud to Faerie City. After rapping sharply on the castle door, she and the Gelert were admitted into the faerie Queen's chamber.
Fyora stood proudly, silhouetted by the window which showed a beautiful view of the ocean, and the west coast of Mystery Island. Fyora nodded at the Gelert and gave him a Paint Brush. After the elated Gelert had left, Fyora turned to the Library Faerie.
"I need your help," Fyora said, and the Library Faerie frowned. How often did this happen? Never. Conclusion: This must be something big. Fyora spoke.
"A light faerie, named Liyani, has gone missing. She was last seen entering the castle of Eliv Thade..." It was obvious what Fyora wanted. The Library Faerie, probably the only faerie clever enough to figure out the anagrams, was supposed to rescue Liyani. The faerie relished this challenge. It made her feel necessary, important.
She turned to Fyora. "I'm on my way." And with that, she perked up her wings and flew out the window.
She alighted on Thade's doorstep not an hour later. The Library Faerie stopped, and she realized she was nervous. Stop it, she told herself, and slowly twisting the chipped metal doorknob, she stepped inside the Castle of Eliv Thade.
After taking a step inside, four letter tiles appeared floating in the air in front of her. AYRX, it read. She flipped around the magic tiles until it read XRAY. After it disappeared, she took two steps, confident in her abilities.
She continued on in this fashion, solving all the puzzles easily save for TINELL, which turned out to be LENTIL. After a quick four-letter anagram, she stepped into Thade’s dining hall.
It was an eerie sight. The Kacheek, as frightening as he was in the legends, was eating dinner while a Light Faerie, who must have been Liyani, was tied to a chair squirming helplessly.
Slowly, Thade’s face turned to face the Library Faerie. A maniacal grin spread across his features slowly, instilling fear into the faerie’s heart.
“Ah, the Library Faerie,” muttered Thade. “How exciting! Someone worthy of a challenge. Sit down, will you?” He gestured toward a seat at the table.
The faerie shook her head. “I’m just here to rescue Liyani,” she said, a bit too loudly. The Kacheek studied her.
“Alright,” he said slowly, “Alright. If you can solve a riddle, I’ll let Liyani go.” Thade paused in thought, thinking hard to come up with a suitable riddle. His brow furrowed in concentration. Slowly, still mouthing the riddle until he was sure of it, he spoke.
“How,” he said slyly, “Do you hurt someone with rubies?”
The Library Faerie got to work on it straight away. She counted syllables, switched and deduced logic, until finally she found the solution. She doubled checked her answer and slowly turned to Thade.
“You can use rubies to hurt someone when you change it to a bruise.”
Thade screamed, an awful shriek that told the faerie she had been right. The Kacheek got up, and for a moment the Library Faerie thought he was going to hurt her. But the Kacheek merely stormed up an elegant staircase lined with portraits of glaring puzzle-solvers.
The Library Faerie was unsure of whether or not to untie Liyani, who was clearly annoyed by the fact she was tied to the chair in a mansion in the middle of the Haunted Woods. Moments later, Thade stomped back down the stairs, clutching a piece of paper and still fuming.
He wordlessly untied Liyani, who jumped up and ran straight for the Library Faerie. Thade escorted the ladies to the door. After Liyani stepped outside, he leaned in close and thrust the piece of paper into the Library Faerie’s hand with a whisper.
“This should keep you occupied, if anything, for a while.” The Kacheek’s face had resumed a horribly happy grin, and the faerie quickly ran out the door to join Liyani.
The Light Faerie was almost at tears.
“Thank you,” she whispered, so softly the Library Faerie had to lean in to hear, “for saving me.” Liyani hovered, then shot up into the sky. The Library Faerie followed, and they dove and flew and raced through the sky and clouds of Neopia.
After the Library Faerie and Liyani had landed safely in Faerieland, Liyani had quickly run back to her home. Slowly, the Library Faerie trudged through the cloud back to the library. She had tugged open and sat down at her desk with a sigh. And then she had slept.
But her sleep was not the channel for peaceful dreams, but rather a recurring nightmare. Her dreams had been tormented—no, haunted—by the strange parchment that Thade had given her, and the mysteries its ink kept.
When she awoke the following morning, the faerie had immediately searched for the paper, finding it in her pocket. She plucked it out and studied the parchment, but to no avail. The note was written in a strange language unknown to her. She put it out of her mind…
The Library Faerie shook the fog from her head. How she could remember what happened with such clarity was a mystery. But the events still hung in her mind, suspended like glass. Like a mirror. A mirror. Mirror.
She quickly stood up and took off down the aisles, startling the Chia and Lutari who were hard at work after only two minutes of crossword. The Library Faerie again found the necessary aisle in no time. Mills to Mission. She searched around until she found Reflections, a book with a mirror in the back. She rushed back to her desk and held the faded note up to the mirror. The first line was visible, plain as day. Captain Threelegs’ secret passion. Realization crept over the faerie’s face. She threw open the door and flew off to Krawk Island.
She quickly landed outside the academy’s old door, eyeing the motto engraved in the wood. Walk in a Neopet, walk out a pirate. She scurried inside to Threelegs’ office. The old Eyrie sat at his desk, cleaning a sword. The faerie walked to him and spoke.
“What’s your secret passion?”
The Eyrie slowly looked up. He put down the half-polished blade and croaked a single word. “Thade?”
The faerie nodded.
The Captain muttered to himself, and stared up at the Library Faerie. The Eyrie blushed. “If you must know, I’m a philatelist.”
“I collect stamps and study them.” The anger of the pirate’s eyes had flourished and he picked up the sword. “Now get out of my office!” he roared.
The Library Faerie burst out of the office, surrounded by pets all clamouring to see the nature of the disturbance. The faerie pushed her way outside, sat down on a bench and wrote “stamp collecting” next to the first line. A small, black ink check mark appeared. The faerie smiled in satisfaction, then deciphered the next line.
A clairvoyant Maraquan Aisha. Well, that was easy. The faerie wrote down “Isca” on the paper, but a small “x” appeared. She tried “Caylis”. That didn’t work either. Perplexed, the Library Faerie headed for Maraqua.
As soon as she had reached the aquatic city’s location, a sad voice called out to her. In her mind. Follow my voice. The Library Faerie obeyed, and flew toward a small outcropping of rock alone in the ocean. When she reached it, she noticed a cave was accessible if she squeezed through a crack. The voice was strongest here. She pushed her way into the cave.
A Maraquan Aisha swam alone in a small pool in the cave.
‘Hello,” said the Aisha brightly. “I knew if I agreed to be part of Thade’s puzzle, someone would visit me. You want the answer, don’t you?”
The Library Faerie, shocked at the lonely life of this creature, nodded. The Aisha looked around, in case there was somebody else in the empty cave, and whispered, “Hurcia.” Quill shaking, the Library Faerie filled it in. Another check mark. She turned to go, but heard Hurcia whimper.
“Won’t you stay with me?” The faerie was torn. She couldn’t go another night with her dreams, but she couldn’t just leave the Aisha. She got an idea.
Five minutes later, the faerie buzzed away, feeling happy. She had cast a spell, transporting Hurcia out of her cave prison into the sea to be free.
She checked out the third line. Sloth’s personal access code. The faerie rolled her eyes. No reason for this to be easy. She pulled out a piece of paper and wrote a message on it. She stuffed it in a familiar yellow envelope and tossed it to the wind.
Moments later, an identical envelope sailed back to her. She snatched it from the air, tore it open and read the message
I can provide transport to the Space Station if you meet me three miles south of Mystery Island.
Your Sister Faerie,
The Space Faerie
Well, that wasn’t too far from here. The Library Faerie began flying, skimming over the clear blue depths of the ocean.
A while later the faerie found the spaceship. It was shaped like a ball but flattened on the bottom to provide a floor. A small portal opened up and the Library Faerie daintily stepped inside. At the console sat the Space Faerie, who was already firing up the ship. Everyone knew she did not like coming to Neopia often.
The trip took only a minute, but it would have taken the Library Faerie hours if she hadn’t called in a favour. She watched dreamily as stars flashed by illuminating Neopia from above.
Soon the Space Station came into view. A big chunk of steel and glass hanging in the middle of space. The Space Faerie set the craft down, and once the Library Faerie had left, flew away.
The faerie stepped into a big impressive steel building. A pink Grundo receptionist looked up from her paperwork.
“Can I help you?” she said kindly.
The faerie stepped up to her desk. “I’m looking for Dr. Sloth.”
The Grundo raised an eyebrow, or would have if Grundos had eyebrows. “Why would I know where Dr. Sloth is?” she said, confused. She lowered her voice. “The large tower. Plenty of guards. Get in, talk to Sloth, and get out.”
The faerie ran to the tower, passing Grundos manning blipping computer station. Strange-coloured lights dazed her, until finally she burst past a guard and into Sloth’s chamber.
The evil overlord stood at his desk, eyeing the intruder carefully. “Why are you here?” he asked.
The faerie had no time for games. She ran to Sloth, looked him square in the eye, and breathed, “Access Code. Now. Thade.”
Sloth, unnerved by the fury of this Faerie, began spouting numbers. The Library Faerie copied them down until a small checkmark appeared. Success! Now there was only one riddle left.
After flying back to Neopia, again with help from the Space Faerie, the Library Faerie held the line up to a mirror. It was still confusing gibberish. The mirror didn’t work! The faerie felt like crying, until she realized that the last line was already translated. Return me to my owner. She would have to go back. Back to the Castle of Eliv Thade.
As she flew there, her mind tumbled. Could she really do it all again? Thade was such a horrible creature; could she face him? Inspiration struck in the memory of a prank a young pet had played on her years before.
She landed again on the front step, but this time did not knock yet. She slid the puzzle under the door, hit the knocker twice, and flew away faster than she ever had before.
She could feel the curse lifting. Her mind and body were rejuvenating. She could feel joy in her soul. She decided to do a celebratory circuit of Neopia.
Meanwhile, back at the library, the Lutari and Chia were both done. They had been done for ages, and the faerie hadn’t been here all day. The Chia turned to his friend.
“Should we leave, or what?”
If you're reading this, I'm in the Times!!!!!! Go goosher, go goosher!