The Shadows: Part Four
Sophie stopped flipping pages and pointed at the start of one of the pages. “Here it is,” she murmured and started to read from the ancient pages.
I hope I have enough time to write the story that she told me, to preserve the information. I’m hoping that if I write it down that it cannot be changed, be altered. Maybe then, if I fail at this, someone else can take my role to save Neopia. For we all need to be saved now, even if we don’t know it.
Here is the story that Sophie read that night:
The six Faerie kingdoms stood separated. Fire, water, earth, air, light, and dark. Each of them were content with what they had, happy that they could control a part of this world we call Neopia. Of course, nothing stays the same forever.
Tui walked peacefully through the forest, smiling to herself at the life that was all around her. She could hear pets and petpets making noises, laughing, and she could hear the water running not too far away. The river. That would be a nice place to go for a peaceful picnic with herself.
The Earth Faerie Princess walked through the forest barefoot, trying to enjoy as much of nature as she could possibly. This was her solitude, her comfort when she didn’t want to think about having to be the next Earth Faerie ruler. That was too much for her at this moment, right now she just wanted to have a peaceful lunch and that was what she was going to do.
Tui sat at the edge of the flowing river, spreading her green skirt out around her and folding her legs underneath her. The running water was so quiet and serene, flowing gently through her forest and causing life to all of the trees and animals here.
Tui leaned over the edge, looking into the clear water. She dipped one hand in and felt the cool water run over her delicate fingers.
The water around her hand grew dark, black. Tui drew her hand back suddenly, gasping at the darkness growing in the water. She scrambled back in fright, eyes wide as she continued to gape at the river that was steadily growing black and grey.
The grey grew around the frightened Earth Faerie. The trees sagged and turned grey as well, the flowers wilted along with the grass. Slowly, the forest was dying.
A flash of black light shimmered around Tui and everything went away.
The forest that Tui knew and loved had been reformed and she had been whisked away. The Earth kingdom was furious; they ultimately went to war with the Dark kingdom.
“Doesn’t explain much, now; it’s just an introduction,” Sophie explained, slamming the book shut and placing it on the ground. “That’s why the Earth Faeries and Dark Faeries hate each other, in case you were wondering.”
I gave Sophie a confused look, not understanding how that had anything to do with what I had asked her.
Sophie bent over and picked up a large scroll from her pile. She gently undid the ribbon that kept it closed and then pulled the scroll open. The scroll had a bunch of strange words on it that I didn’t understand, along with a huge picture in the middle. The picture was of a huge monster with long claws and evil, red eyes. Eyes that seemed faintly familiar.
“Now. Dark Faeries don’t have enough magic to just override the Earth Faeries. Each Faerie kingdom and nation was given equal power just so that there wouldn’t be any wars. Makes sense, right?” Sophie asked, placing her paws over the picture and drawing my attention away from it.
“Right. Well, that worked out perfectly for a while. Then the Dark Faeries found an item. No one knows where they got it from but they do know that it loosed a creature that was completely under their control,” Sophie explained. “The creature is this.” Sophie moved her paws to show the picture.
I looked over the picture carefully. It looked almost like the creature trying to escape in that dream I had had only last night. Was it really only one day ago that I had dreamed that horrible dream? It seemed like it had been a year or a month or so, not just one day.
“This creature held an all above power. It could change reality as we knew it and was constantly doing that. It traveled around in time and meddled with things; it also changed minds and thoughts. So, naturally, it had to be taken care of before it took over Neopia,” Sophie sighed, running her paws over the scroll and evening out the wrinkles in it. “All the Faerie kingdoms joined together, excepting the Dark Faerie kingdom, and put all of their powers together. But they couldn’t destroy the monster.
“Instead,” Sophie continued with a stern look, “they locked it up in a box and hid the key. Still having great strength, the monster let its spirit out loose on Neopia. Its body and main strength is still inside the box, though, something that no one ever wants to have to deal with. You hold the key. He wants it to gain control over Neopia again. You can see him and feel him, but you are one of the only ones who can because you have touched the key itself.”
I gulped, looking down at the scroll moodily. “So what am I supposed to do? I don’t want him to get the key, but what am I supposed to do about it?”
Sophie held up one hand for me to wait and rolled up the scroll. She bent down and picked up another thick book. She opened it up and then looked up at me when she found the page she wanted. “Look. I’ve actually been studying this subject for a while. It’s interesting that the ignorant ‘Mystic’ Kyrii at Mystery Island knew that you should talk to me.” Sophie shrugged and then cleared her throat. “Anyway. Here’s what I wanted to show you:
“There are many monsters in Neopia that are too much for even the Faeries that guard us to destroy. They keep their hold on Neopia forever unless they are stopped. There is only one way to get rid of these monsters. You must get a piece of every item that the Monster has holding it to Neopia and make a potion out of it.
“Then you add the ultimate Faerie magic to it and-”
Sophie looked to the next page and shook her head. “No, this can’t be,” Sophie muttered, quickly looking over the pages. “It doesn’t have the rest of how to defeat the monsters in here. How did this happen? It was here just yesterday when I found it.” Sophie pursed her lips in frustration, letting her eyes quickly scan and rescan the pages.
Sophie couldn’t see what I could see; she couldn’t understand. I could see the black shadow leaning over the book, changing the words that she saw. I felt a sudden awareness rise inside of me. An awareness that, no matter how hard I tried, the shadows could always change what others saw around me and there was nothing I could do about that.
“At least I can gather the items. What are they?” I asked, trying to draw Sophie’s attention from the book before the shadows decided to notice me. Just looking at them caused the fur on my neck to stand up.
Sophie nodded and shut the book she had currently open, placing it on the ground beside the others. She picked up the last scroll and opened. It had scrawlings of items and places in a very messy handwriting that was almost not legible. “I’ve made a list of all the items I have found so far. Get these and bring them back, then I should be able to make a potion for you.”
I nodded and stood up, giving her a thankful smile. “That sounds good. When do we start?”
Sophie looked down at the scroll almost guiltily. “Look, kid, I’m only going to make the potion. You have to retrieve the items by yourself. Understand? I can offer you a bed tonight; you look about to drop from exhaustion. There’s a bed through that door there.” She pointed off into her house where the one room that broke off from the main room was. “I’ll stay out here and try to find the missing information. Alright? I’m nocturnal anyway.”
I hesitated. There was nothing I wanted more then to get rid of those shadows. Still, I could feel the physical effects sleep deprivation was doing to my overly large body. I nodded sleepily and started toward the room.
“Kid.” Sophie spoke out as I reached the room. I stopped and turned to look at her, my eyes questioning what she was about to say. She hesitated, fiddling with her fingers for a moment before saying quietly, “This potion won’t fix everything. It’s not a ‘restart’ button. You can never have your old life back.”
I paused, averting my eyes to the ground. I guess I had already known this, always known it. I could feel tears rushing to my eyes as I thought about my old life, something I yearned for again. “Thank you, Sophie,” I said, barely over a whisper. I highly doubt it was even that audible. I turned around and disappeared into the room.
The first thing I saw in the small bedroom wasn’t the ratty bed or the piles and piles of books and scrolls but something quiet different. It was something that caused chills down my spine and a feeling of dread to stir inside of me so deeply that my heart basically plummeted down towards my paws.
Red eyes flickered as they recognized me and I swear I could see the shadow smile evilly.
Give it to usss...
To be continued...