Neopia, Year 200: The Beginning - Part Eleven
Chapter Eleven: Deceit
“How?” shrieked Kayna, still in denial of her friend’s true identity.
“Yes, how,” said Luther, smirking, all traces of the kindly shopkeeper the group once knew gone. “That’s an excellent question, Kayna.” His eyes glinted. “Well then, consider this. Why would kind, gentle Luther give his friends faulty invisibility elixirs? Why would an unassuming shopkeeper capture innocent Neopets and use them as Rheani’s army? Why would someone like me destroy June’s house?”
“So... Julius didn’t do that?” asked Cillo, catching on yet again faster than anyone else. “You mean... he’s not an Agent?”
Luther snickered. “No, although his little 'oh, I’m-so-happy-we’re-being-ruled-by-a-Faerie' act did provide a useful scapegoat. I can thank him for that, at least.”
“So you’re not a Rebel?” asked Cillo, again.
The red Bori rolled his eyes. “Puh-leeze. That rag-tag little group gives rebellion a bad name! No-one would honestly be scared of an elderly Acara that likes knitting and an Eyrie that shuts herself up in her house all day and reads books.”
He smiled. “So, I befriended them. I built the tunnel to the headquarters and soon became leader of the group for my generosity. Granted, they were quite pathetic, but it allowed me to gain an image as an anti-Rheani figure, which, as you know, allowed me to be trusted.” Luther smirked. “Well, I think that’s all that needs to be said. I’m going to take your minds now. Good day.” As he raised his hands, Kayna looked up at him fiercely.
“Not so fast!” she yelled. “You cast one spell at us, and these two Keys are history!” She held up the Keeper’s staff and Taelia’s wand, then pointed them at a nearby rock.
Luther’s eyes widened in horror. Then he did the unthinkable.
He laughed. “Those? You’re going to threaten me with breaking those?” Luther laughed again. “Only one of those Keys, the Wand of Taelia, is genuine!”
“What?!” Kayna was shocked. “B-but you told us that it was genuine!”
“Let’s see, little Zafara,” snapped Luther. “Judging by what I’ve just revealed to you in the past few minutes, does it appear that the pathetic little crystal stick you call the Keeper’s staff in your paws is actually the real deal?”
“Well,” said Kayna, still furious, “we’ll destroy the wand, then!”
Luther rolled his eyes. “The Wand of Taelia, due to the balancing presence of the Snow Faerie’s power against Rheani’s, is actually the weakest of the Keys. Destroying it won't help you in the slightest!"
“So where are the Orb and the staff, then?” asked Cillo. In response, Luther withdrew a shining crystal staff from his cloak pocket.
“YOU had it?” shrieked Kayna. Cillo rolled his eyes. “I KNEW it was too easy to be true!”
Luther laughed. “And good luck taking it from me! The Keeper’s staff is most powerful when it’s used by a Bori. You can’t defeat me with a weaker Key and without your Faerie friend’s powers!”
“Huh?” Layla turned to her siblings. “Why’s he saying that?” But it was too late.
Brianne looked down to see the fire powers running through her body greatly diminish, as if someone was dampening them with water. She tried to conjure up something, but could only manage a little spark.
“What’s going on?” Brianne asked in despair while Luther sighed. “You people ask so many QUESTIONS! The “extra maple syrup” I put in your tea, Brianne, was a potion that not only served to erase your memory of seeing where I was hiding the REAL Keeper’s staff, but it also acted as a power damper that would only work when you reached the summit. Brilliant, hm?”
Yorick glared at Luther, and then turned to the rest of the group. “Guys,” he said in a low voice, “I have a plan. Cillo, you distract him. Kayna, you try and find that Orb; I have a feeling it’s around here somewhere. Layla, you stay with Brianne and try and restore her power.”
“How am I supposed to do THAT?”
Yorick moved in closer. “The Keys of Power were Rheani’s power reserves, right? And Rheani’s just a Faerie, right? So, who’s to say they won’t work on another Faerie?” Layla raised an eyebrow, took the wand from Kayna, and headed towards Brianne.
“Okay, guys,” said Yorick quickly. “Action!”
“Luther,” said Cillo, “I still don’t get why the rain came!”
The Bori shrugged. “Well, Rheani just cast a simple weather spell towards your location to make it rain. That’s it, really.”
“No, no,” said Cillo, shaking his head. “I didn’t mean that. How does actual rain come? I never learned that in school.”
Luther sighed. “Fine. But this had better be the last question, OR ELSE.”
Layla crept over to Brianne, who was sitting on a rock glumly. “Here, she said, handing the Fire Faerie the Wand of Taelia, “maybe you can get some power from this!”
Brianne raised an eyebrow and smiled. “It’s so crazy it might work...” Muttering a few simple energy conversion spells, the Faerie smiled triumphantly as the wand began glowing and draining bright red energy from the wand to her body.
Once the process was completed, Brianne stood up, the power of fire rushing through her veins again and placed the wand on the rock, stripped of its power and now no longer a Key.
“Thanks, Layla,” she said, smiling. “Now let’s go help the others.”
Luther glared at Cillo. “I’m sick of your stupid questions, you silly Techo! Now, you’re going to be the FIRST of your siblings to become the Mistress’ slave!” He raised the Keeper’s staff and pointed it at Cillo...
Only to have it snatched out of his hands by Yorick, who flew high into the air.
Luther looked up and growled, then began to conjure up fireballs and launch them at the yellow Draik.
“Whoa!” Yorick dodged one of the fireballs that had nearly burnt the tip of his wing. “I guess Rheani was teaching him some of her tricks...”
Luther began to gather fire in his hands for a massive explosion when he was pelted in the back by... a storm of snowballs.
“Huh?” The Bori turned around to see Layla and Brianne hurling snowball upon snowball at him. No matter how much firepower he hurled back, Luther was starting to weaken.
“Catch!” Yorick flew by and tossed the Keeper’s staff to Brianne, who quickly absorbed its power, leaving only one Key left.
Kayna gulped audibly as she approached Rheani’s throne. After looking around the Caldera, she had finally deduced that the Orb of the Rising Sun had to be with Rheani.
The Fire Faerie cackled as the Zafara approached her throne, evidently nervous. “Hello there, Kayna! Come for the Orb? Well, you won’t get it!”
“I don’t NEED to get it,” said Kayna, trying to act calm. “I can destroy it from here!” Rheani laughed.
“Don’t be ridiculous! My orb is protected from the most powerful attacks known to Faerie and Neopet kind! How can you think of destroying such a mighty object when you have so little power?”
“With this.” Kayna withdrew the Rainbow Gun from her pack and held it out, ready to fire.
“A RAINBOW GUN?” Rheani howled with laughter. “Could you be more PATHETIC?” Unfortunately for Rheani, however, her laughter was cut short.
A rainbow burst of energy hit the Orb of the Rising Sun, and, to the Faerie’s horror, it slowly began to crack.
“No! NO, NO, NO, NO!” Rheani screamed like a spoiled child as the Orb disintegrated into nothing. A brilliant red spark of flame appeared from within the orange glass, and then it was gone.
Powerless, Rheani sat frozen on her throne as Yorick, Cillo, Kayna, Brianne and Layla stood before her. The Valkaeum member tried to speak, but she was rendered mute by pure shock. All appeared well, but soon Kayna noticed something was wrong.
“Yorick,” she hissed, “how are we going to capture her?”
“I can handle THAT,” said Brianne. She pointed both her hands at Rheani, who had a nasty snarl on her face, and said, with all the force she could muster, “DOMESTA MENTALIA!”
The snarl on Rheani’s face faded away to a bland, expressionless smile, after which she was surrounded by an orange glow and transformed into a Fire Faerie Doll.
Brianne smiled. “There,” she said. “At least THAT’S over now.”
The four siblings sat in chairs in Happy Valley’s town square, laughing and sipping cups of tea. After Rheani was defeated, the spells on all her minions were undone, leaving at least fifty pets utterly confused as to where they were. It took a lot of effort, but the majority of those pets were being sent back to their homelands on the S.S. Lilac. When the news got to Happy Valley, a large festival was immediately announced, with tons of free food and tea.
Brianne, now redressed in her Nimmo costume, came over and sat down. “You know,” she said, frowning, “there’s one thing I don’t really understand.”
“What?” Layla looked up from sipping her cup of Peppermint Peaks to look at the Faerie-turned-Nimmo.
“Why did the blast from a Rainbow Gun shatter the Orb?”
Kayna set aside her tea to answer Brianne’s question. “The truth is, Brianne, Rheani mentioned that the Orb was protected against the most powerful spells known. So I took a chance that she hadn’t considered protecting the orb against something as simple as a Rainbow Gun, and it worked.”
Brianne nodded and sat back in the chair she had drawn up. “Looks like it’s a happy ending... for everyone but Luther, at least.”
Yorick nodded. “Yeah. Apparently, he’s going to be taken to Neopia Central and placed under the care of the Defenders of Neopia there. Hopefully they can do something that can change his mood.”
They all sat there in peaceful silence for a few minutes, then Cillo turned to look at the others. “Don’t forget, guys, the journey isn’t over. We still have three more members of the Valkaeum to track down and recapture.”
“But can’t we stay here for a little while?” Layla asked. “We might not get a chance to rest like this for a long, long time...”
Yorick smiled. “Don’t worry, Layla. We’re staying. After all, we’ve got to enjoy life when we can.”
As the five friends sat back and enjoyed the first peaceful day on their entire journey, the grey clouds parted, and the sun shone on Terror Mountain.
Author's Note: Well, this is the end of the first book of the Neopia, Year 200 saga. I've put countless hours into writing, rewriting, and increasing word counts, so hopefully it all paid off, which it must have done if you're reading it here. I can't say when the second volume, Earthly Winds, will be published, but look out for it. Any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated, so go and Neomail me if you feel like it. Thanks again. Bye for now!