The Faerie Dilemma: Part Seven
Her mind floated around in a thick fog that dulled the senses and annulled any coherent thought she had. The skin her spirit floated in felt strange, as if it didn’t belong to her, but at the same time she felt like she had an inseparable, close bond to it.
She felt trapped. Something had happened, but she couldn’t tell what, nor could she figure it out in the current state she was in. It was as if something was blocking her ability to do any serious thinking, and it was almost as if it hurt every time she tried, though she could feel no pain.
“Get up, my servant,” commanded a strong voice with an iron will behind it. “I have need of your services.”
She felt her eyes open slowly, and her vision became filled with the image of a petite earth faerie with some of the darker colors of her element gracing her body. A feeling of unease gently flittered through her body as she saw the voluminous emerald eyes glaring down at her, but that emotion was squashed down immediately as the faerie spoke again.
“You and Shirin are to retrieve a group of three off of the side of the mountain that seems to believe that they have escaped.”
The starry Eyrie sitting in the entrance of a large cave shivered and moved his paws a little, trying to scrape off the ice that was collecting on the feathers of his tail. Booville was inside, and in her arms she held Naellie, who was shivering like a person who’d just had their first view of the massive snowager.
“Are we actually free?” Nolion mused out loud, flicking a piece of ice into the blazing white slope of snow in front of them. The clouds had disappeared for the moment, and right now the sun was taking full advantage, reflecting off of the ground and hurting their eyes every time they accidentally managed to look at it.
“I don’t think I’ll feel safe ever again,” said Booville, her face worried as she ran her fingers through the fur on Naellie’s head over and over again, trying to comfort herself. “Not after that. What do you think Rajani’s planning?”
“World domination? Almost every villain so far has tried for that one...” He hesitated for a moment, a look of surprise on his face before he looked down. “I should’ve have said that. Rajani wouldn’t do that.”
“Are you sure?” asked Booville. “I mean, she’s definitely not the same person I think you remember.”
“NO!” the Eyrie shouted, stomping a paw and looking over at his owner. “She can’t! She’s good! I know it!”
Booville, surprised by this sudden outburst, appeared to be hurt for a moment before looking back at him. “I’m sorry, Nolion; I’m just trying to get you to look at the possibilities. I’m not saying she’s bad or good.”
Nolion frowned, and sniffed a little bit before curling up and resting his head on his paws.
The air was silent for a while as they stayed in the cave, but the air was thick with tension. Booville was at a loss for words, and Naellie was worried as she slowly began to get warmer and stopped shivering. A howling wind began to pick up outside, and as it did, snow began to fall down, making the world a white blur.
“Why did Shirin betray us?” she asked, looking up at her owner.
“I have a feeling that she wasn’t there because her owner was going on vacation at all,” said Booville, looking down at her youngest pet. “I think she was brainwashed before that.”
“Brainwashed?” Nolion picked up his head, his head feathers not drooping anymore.
“Well, I’ve known Shirin’s owner for quite some time,” the girl said. “It was before I adopted you, I think. That Shoyru has always been nice. It was true she was quiet, but she was very polite.”
“So you think that Rajani had the Sylkonum before she came to our house?”
“Well, she certainly didn’t have time to brainwash Shirin after I picked her up.”
“No wonder she didn’t want to play with my usukis!” Naellie gasped, her epiphany showing clearly on her face.
“She wanted to be downstairs with us,” said Nolion, his eyelids lowering and a frown appearing on his face. “She wanted to make sure that nothing major was going to happen.”
“Only Amaida showed up,” said Booville, chewing on her lip.
“What happened to her, anyway?” asked Naellie. “I liked her.”
A loud explosion sounded from outside the cave, and Nolion, who was sitting in the entrance, was the first to be caught by an avalanche of snow. He opened his beak to let out a yell, but it was smothered as the stuff enveloped him and rushed towards Naellie and Booville.
“Momma!” she shrieked, as the girl stood up and threw the Kyrii behind her. From amidst the thunderous pile of snow, a shadow Ruki and Kougra leapt towards them.
The expression on the earth faerie’s face when they were forcefully dragged into the room was of extreme pleasure while she sat on the throne that’d been erected at the end of the room. Between them was an enormous pool of who-knows-what, that had an ominous black mist floating on top of it. When there was a break in the stuff, black water floated beneath it, and Booville shuddered, wondering what plans that the faerie could possibly have for them.
Nolion was unconscious, and he was plopped unceremoniously on the floor by a figure that had broken their hearts once they had set eyes on it. Amaida was standing amongst the ranks of the shadow pets now; her eyes glowing like theirs, and wearing a pair of Kougra claws on her paws.
“Good job, my beautiful minions,” said Rajani. “I’m glad to see that you have proved trustworthy once again. Amaida and Shirin stay. The rest of you go.”
The dozens of pets thundered out of the massive room, and behind them stayed a Kougra and a Shoyru, their faces passive and unreceptive. Naellie was crying now that she realized two of the people she trusted most in the world were now helping with their demise. Booville was now standing firmly as she faced Rajani, but anybody could tell that behind her strong front was a girl who was terrified and afraid.
“I am proud to welcome you to the pool room,” said Rajani, her skirts rustling menacingly as she stood up. “So what do you think?”
“Do you really want me to answer that?”
The faerie snarled, her lip curling upwards in a not so pretty appearance. “You will learn to respect me soon, human!”
Her hand shot towards the girl quickly. Booville, who’d been tied up, had at least been able to move a little, but now she was frozen still, with even her mouth shut and the only thing she could do now was breath.
“This is the pool where I bring my soon-to-be servants,” said Rajani, now looking very pleased with herself, like an Aisha who’d gotten into the cream. “No matter what color they were before, it gives them a shadowy coat, and those neopets who can’t have that color yet are given the nearest thing possible. When they are changed, they may be a bit... unresponsive, but they still have their soul, and they are the best things you can have to work for you, for you only have to give them instructions they would’ve understood beforehand.”
Booville, who was smart and didn’t have to work hard to understand what the faerie was leading too, didn’t say a word, hoping that the inevitable wouldn’t be said.
“Nolion and Naellie are going to become my newest minions,” said Rajani, and as Booville winced inwardly, the pink Kyrii only cried even harder. “Amaida and Shirin, come and bring them to their destiny.”
The two neopets lurched forward and grabbed Nolion’s arms. As Amaida’s claws sank into Nolion’s skin, the big Eyrie began to wake up, his eyes fluttering as half of him dragged on the ground.
“And Booville, as I’m sure you already know,” said the faerie, “the pool, like other ones around Neopia, can’t really turn you into one of my servants, as they only works on neopets. I can’t really have you running around the countryside either, warning people about me, so I’m afraid I’m going to have to turn you to stone.”
The girl’s breathing became rapid as the faerie once again lifted her hand to zap her again. With a slight movement, Booville’s feet instantly became grey, and slowly but surely, it crawled up her body, reaching her knees within a minute.
“What’s going on?” asked Nolion sleepily as he was drug closer and closer to the pool. His eyes widened enormously as they rested on it, and he began to fight against his captors for all it was worth, ignoring the pain as Amaida’s claws sank deeper and deeper into his skin. “No! No! HELP!”
To be continued...