Three Wishes: Part Four
Ellie darted out from her hiding place, heading straight for the Snowager towering over her sister. Her goal was to scratch it with her claws to distract it, but the Snowager swept a giant tail in her direction and knocked her off her paws. She tried to scramble back onto her paws again, and when she finally looked around she saw that Ophir had it under control.
The Snowager reared back and massive jaws parted to shoot more shards of ice, and in those precious seconds Ophir charged forward, head lowered, her sharp horns flashing before burying themselves in the Snowager’s side.
She pulled back her head and cantered around the Snowager’s massive body to the exit, just managing to squeeze past its belly.Then she turned and saw Ellie, and her eyes widened.
“Come on!” she yelled. It was the loudest Ellie had ever heard her speak, though that could be a result of her voice reverberating off the walls.
But her voice caused the Snowager to jerk its head from where it was studying its wound. The translucent eyes fixed themselves firmly on Ellie and the head changed direction once again.
She ducked behind her shelter of stalagmites as a spray of shards ricocheted off the wall behind her. Then she heard a bellow of pain and looked around her shield to see Ko with his teeth latched onto the Snowager’s tail and Ophir nearby stabbing its side repeatedly. The ice guardian lifted its head abruptly and hit the roof. Ellie used the distraction to make a break for it.
She squeezed herself through the exit and pulled Ko off the Snowager as it backed out of the cave.
“Let’s go,” she puffed as she bolted for the exit, which was just visible over a pile of neggs.
She saw Ophir seem to stumble and glanced around, but the Kau had regained her hooves and was galloping closer. Behind her the Snowager’s head was almost free of the constricting cave. But the exit was getting closer, and Ellie could almost smell the freedom.
And then Ko was through and dashing down the narrow passageway. Ellie followed after with Ophir at her heels. They rounded the corner and slowed down. Ellie looked back and saw a dozen shards of ice embed themselves in the wall of the passage where they had just turned, and breathed a sigh of relief. They were safe for now.
Ko seemed to think the exact same thing and slowed down. Ellie prodded him in the ribs and sent him a death glare.
“Good thinking, charging forward and making a heap of racket.”
“How was I supposed to know we were in the Snowager’s cavern?” Ko whined.
Ellie opened her mouth to answer, but at that moment the world seemed to reel and she dug her claws into the ice as the dizziness clouded her mind as she slowly sank to the ground. There wasn’t enough time for a last thought before she was unconscious.
“I wish that I had powers over all the elements and also that I was the son of King Coltzan III instead of Princess Amira.”
He had thought out the wish as he marched towards the throne room. And now the world seemed to change, and the two burly Elephante guards that had been heading towards him telling him to, “Leave now or face the consequences,” froze.
Smoke billowed around his horn where the lamp still hung and a desert Draik hovered before him and surveyed the world calmly before bringing his paws together in a thunderclap.
When Sylkon woke up, his head was still going around in circles. He moaned and opened his eyes. Then he shut them. It was only a full ten seconds later that he braved the light again.
He could feel his pupils shrinking as his gaze met a doorway with a large balcony, the curtains flung open to keep the palace from getting too stuffy. He was lying in an oversized four-poster bed, and the floor seemed dangerously far away. The Desert Hissi hovering over him gave a great sigh of relief and sat back in his chair with his eyes closed.
“Thank Coltzan you’re awake, Your Highness. The guards found you outside the throne room and you’d fainted clean away.”
“I’m just a bit dizzy,” Sylkon moaned and squinted to see clearly.
“It must be heatstroke, Your Highness,” said a smooth yet mocking voice. Maleficus was still in Desert Draik form, and he looked much more solid, as if each passing moment away from his lamp made him more real. “What do you think, Doctor?”
The Hissi frowned. “It is not unusual...” he murmured. “But there’s never been a Royal Family member with heatstroke for centuries.”
“Well, it is particularly hot today,” said Maleficus smoothly, and the room suddenly became noticeably hotter.
“Wait...” said Sylkon, the discussion finally registering in the far parts of his brain. “Your Highness?”
“Yes, that’s you, Prince,” Maleficus said in a taunting voice. “Son of King Coltzan III.”
The doctor didn’t seem to notice his tone. “You must be having mild amnesia,” he explained. “But at least you seem to remember some things.”
Sylkon nodded. Then he frowned. “Excuse me...Doctor. But I’d like a few moments to speak with my...” he paused and looked up at Maleficus.
“Royal Advisor,” the Genie finished for him.
The Hissi bowed. “Your will, Highness,” he said. “And you may want to have these. You were clutching them when we found you.”
He handed Sylkon the lamp, and the royal Uni breathed a sigh of relief. He didn’t understand why he wanted to make sure the lamp was in his hooves. But he didn’t trust Maleficus all that much. The next thing the Hissi handed him was his book on Genies, but he made no comment. Finally he left.
“Royal Advisor?” Sylkon asked.
“Yes, Highness,” said the Genie as he gave a mocking bow. “I need an excuse to follow you around all day.”
“But it means that I might actually have to listen to you,” Sylkon grouched.
Maleficus almost looked offended. “And why wouldn’t you?”
“Because I don’t trust you.”
A smirk appeared on the Draik’s face.
“How very wise of you,” he mocked. “I guess you don’t need an advisor after all.”
Sylkon didn’t grace this with an answer.
“So have you decided on your last wish?” Maleficus asked.
“No,” Sylkon replied. “Now go away and leave me alone.”
“Of course, Highness.” Another mocking bow. “I wouldn’t want you to call your Royal Guards.” And another smirk. Then he was gone.
Sylkon lay still for a moment, wondering. Wondering what had happened to Princess Amira. Wondering if he now had magical powers. He would have needed more than one sentence to describe just hat type of magic he really wanted, so he had settled on elemental power.
Lifting a hoof in front of his face he willed a flame.
A flame came. He struggled backwards, then realising that it was quite impossible to get away from his own hoof, he stopped. There was no burning sensation. Amazing. He wondered how powerful Maleficus really was, then remembered a line from the book... Only the three Great Genies have enough power... to generate the three-part wishes.
He pulled the book closer after extinguishing the flame and flipped to the contents. His eyes fell on the chapter titled The Great Ones and he turned to the right page.
The origins of the first Genies are unknown as yet, but the three Great Ones are surrounded by an old myth.
A group of powerful magicians decided that to conserve their own powers they needed to call forth three powerful spirits and enslave them to do their bidding. The first step, summoning the spirits, was the only step they completed correctly. The spirits they had called up were too powerful for them to control, so as a last resort they snared them into three separate lamps and only called on them three times each. Thus they became Genies, but the most powerful of all in the Lost Desert.
The names of these Great Ones are Azrah the Wise, Emmal the Wrathful and Maleficus the Canny.
Sylkon paused in his readings and took a deep breath. So now he knew that Maleficus could give three-part wishes. But just what that wish would be he couldn’t think. He picked up the lamp and polished it with one of his silken bed sheets. His. He now ruled Sakhmet. His head hurt at the thought. Or was it just still reeling from him fainting?
“A small side effect,” said Maleficus’s voice from above him on the bed frame and Sylkon cursed and looked upwards to see a slender Seti perched above him and staring down with thoughtful yellow eyes.
“I had to change the memories of every being in Neopia. No mean feat, I can tell you.” The Genie inspected a claw dispassionately. “As for your migraine, that was an added bonus, the effect of you being the only one outside of my magic. And anyone who’s been subject to my magic would have had the same results. Though I don’t think there are any other than you out there who have.” His eyes glinted as he thought of where he had sent the royal Uni’s siblings. If only he had been there to see it.
“What are you doing?” Sylkon spat. “I told you to leave me!”
“Sorry, Your Royal Highness, but it’s quite impossible for me to be split apart from my vessel for any length of time.”
Sylkon stared at the lamp in his hooves and remembered the words from the book with a shiver. “But how did you get back here without me seeing?”
Maleficus snorted and disappeared. “There is such a colour as Invisible, you know, Highness.”
Sylkon flicked his mane disdainfully and turned away. “You can stay invisible if you want, but I’m going to survey my Kingdom.” He flung back the sheets and stood up, then thought better of it as his head spun and sat down again. He still couldn’t see Maleficus, but if he had he would have betted that the Genie was wearing a smirk.
Finally he stood up and Maleficus materialised in his Royal Advisor form and padded after him, eyes fixed on the lamp tied to the side of Sylkon’s clothes. He was waiting for a chance to get payback, if only the little Uni would leave the lamp for a single moment...
To be continued...