Storm at Sea: Part Four
Ivy and Embyrr swung their swords. They could barely see through the flock of Dark Faeries surrounding them. But they could hear Vengeance outside of the chaos, urging her minions on. “There are only two of them! Kill them!”
The only good point was that she hadn’t sent anyone after Jaykob, Mayrie, Zane, Vivian, Calder, and Alec. The six teens had to be climbing the mountain by now – they were fit, and could run fast. Everything hinged on them destroying the pearl before the faerie horde caught them. There was no way they could survive against Vengeance’s full might, but the destruction of the spell would completely incapacitate the Faeries who had created it.
Embyrr looked around in near-panic – they couldn’t possibly last much longer. The Fire Faerie told her companion, “Ivy – we have to get out of here! We’re being overwhelmed!”
The Earth Faerie replied, “We withdraw only, but we keep fighting. We must try to lead them away from the Horn.”
The two Faeries took to the sky, heading toward the coast. A speck of green and a speck of red, followed by an unwholesome mass of purple and black.
When her hated enemy was out of her sight, Lady Vengeance remembered the pearl with a jolt. She looked around wildly, expecting to see the body of the girl she had struck down. But there was no sign of her, and the pearl was gone!
She fumed. Stupid! She had been so wrapped up in killing Ivy and her companion that she had forgotten the spell center! Stupid, stupid, stupid! She found the trail of the magic in her mind – the pearl left a clear path for those who could sense it – and sprang into flight with her sword in hand.
No mortal mage could steal her magic and live to boast of it!
Climbing up Pirate’s Horn was a long, hard slog. Dangerous, too – slick mud, slippery wet rock, and limp vegetation that would rip out if it was used as a handhold did not make for an easy stroll.
Alec squinted his red eyes to see Calder through the rain. The little glowing Grundo asked, “Why don’t you just fly the pearl up there and drop it in?”
The Eyrie replied, “Safety in numbers. If I get caught alone up there, I’m dead. And the wind’s too strong. Save your breath for climbing.”
Vivian clutched the pearl, violet eyes narrowed in concentration. It took all of her focus to not be overwhelmed by the power in the little orb. She shuddered at the thought of being lost again in that blinding sea of sheer force. It had been amazing, but in a terrifying way. She was as weary as she had ever been – physically and mentally drained.
Her foot slipped, and Mayrie caught her. The brown Kyrii was doing double duty, watching out for herself and Vivian. Mayrie was glad to help her friend – it was all she could do. She had no idea what Vivian was going through, and she didn’t want to know. She was perfectly happy to leave grand matters to people more suited for them. She still wasn’t quite sure how she ended up fighting for all of Neopia – Jaykob was the fighter, not her. He was the brave one, the strong one, the leader. She was the one who liked watching clouds, collecting seashells, and listening to the old ones tell stories in the inns.
Her twin called back to her, “Mayrie! Are you two holding up okay?”
She shouted back, “We’re fine. Any idea how far we have left to go?”
“We’re over halfway. Maybe even three-quarters. Thank Fyora this volcano isn’t big, only nasty.”
Zane grumbled, “I thought we signed on to fight Faeries, not muddy mountains.”
Jaykob glared at him. “Zane, we’ve told you before. If we start an out-and-out battle, we’ll lose. Badly. We’re outnumbered almost ten to one – more, if you count the fact that they all have magic.”
Vivian’s eyes widened and she shot a glance behind her. “RUN! IT’S VENGEANCE!”
She was flying fast, looking very angry. The six friends sped up their pace, wary of the treacherous footing. Jaykob wished fervently that they could fly. Vengeance didn’t have to worry about where she put her feet.
The Dark Faerie didn’t have everything going in her favor. The winds that made it so hard for Calder to take flight affected her, too. She wasn’t making as much headway as she would have liked, but she was steadily gaining ground.
Vengeance was close enough to clearly see the sorceress who held her pearl. She hurled another bolt of magic – this time she wouldn’t miss.
The Ixi dodged to the side, and realized that the Dark Faerie’s magic had been aimed at her. She yelled at her friends, “Get away from me – she wants me, not you!”
Jaykob called back, “We’re not leaving you alone! We started this together, and we’re going to finish it together!”
Zane drew his sword, grinning ferociously. “See, Cappy? I’ll get my fight after all!”
Another blast of magic flew at them. Zane swung his sword at it, like he was playing a game of baseball in the old vacant lot. The spell rebounded off the cold steed, back the way it had came. Vengeance darted upward, narrowly avoiding her own magic. What was in that sword? The boy was no sorcerer! But she had other matters to occupy her shortly – she had flown into an air current thundering down the mountainside, and was tumbling back the way she had come as she desperately tried to free herself. As weary as they were, the six all cheered. Calder reminded them, “Keep moving – the hag won’t be caught in the draft forever.”
Though their bodies were exhausted, their hearts were full of hope. They had taken on a Dark Faerie and won!
Embyrr and Ivy were leading the Faerie flock on a wild-goose chase around the island. The Dark Faeries were so enraged that they no longer needed Vengeance to urge them on. But that meant that they didn’t notice that their leader was gone, and both the Fire Faerie and the Earth Faerie knew that angry people were easy to trick. Though the sky was dark as ever and the rain still poured, the future was bright. They could really win!
Zane looked up – they were but yards from the top of the slope. He had never seen a volcano before, but they had big craters at the top in pictures – it couldn’t be too hard to find a fiery place and drop the pearl in.
Alec pointed out, “Look at all that smoke!”
Jaykob took an instinctive look over his shoulder, and his heart plummeted. “The old witch’s back for an encore!”
Vivian called, “Zane! Your sword! Remember what it did last time!”
“It’s right here, Viv - and ready to fight!”
Mayrie asked despairingly, “Is fighting all you think of?”
Jaykob ordered, “Vivian, Mayrie, get rid of the pearl! We’ll hold her off!”
“But what if you need my magic?”
“Zane was the best batter in the neighborhood. That thing has to be destroyed.”
Vengeance screamed, “GIVE ME THAT, YOU LITTLE THIEVES!”
Alec grinned. “If we cared about being thieves, we wouldn’t be here in the first place.” He yelled to the rapidly approaching Dark Faerie, “Bring it on! We aren’t afraid of you, you old hag!”
In response, she flung a blast of magic at them. It was so tactless that they dodged easily, and it flew harmlessly past them. Jaykob turned for a second to see Mayrie pull Vivian out of the way. Zane laughed. “Is that the best you can do?”
Calder caught on to the strategy. How many times had he seen it in dock fights? Insult your opponent, make them lose control, and the match was yours. He laughed at their enemy, and added, “My grandma fights better than you – she’s dead!”
It was working extremely well. Vengeance was already a few cookies short of a batch, and the taunting was rapidly driving her over the edge. She hurled bolt after bolt of magic, but her blows were easy to dodge or beat away.
Vivian and Mayrie squinted from the extreme heat. Vivian muttered, “This’ll do it, for sure.”
The pearl was buzzing in her hands, as if the thing knew she intended to destroy it. The fissure glowed with malevolent reddish light.
Vengeance looked up from the fight. The pearl was on the brink of the abyss! She forgot about the boys in that instant, focusing on the sorceress with the pearl. Her pearl! The spell-center, Vengeance’s key to ruling Neopia! The girl would pay for this! She began to call on her magic for the death-blow.
Alec frantically scooped mud into a ball. He threw it with all his strength, aiming for the Faerie’s eyes.
His intentions were good, but his aim wasn’t. The mud splattered on the Faerie’s cheek. Her attention swung from the Ixi girl to the little Grundo, whom she could see far too clearly for the boy’s tastes. Now that lethal magic was meant for him.
Vivian threw the pearl at the fissure – she was as close as the heat would let her get. It hit the ground two feet short – and bounced in.
Vengeance screamed a high, piercing scream. No words, just pure rage. The ground started to tremble underfoot. Jaykob yelled as loud as he could, “RUN!”
No one heard him over the Faerie’s howling, but they had all gotten the same idea. Vengeance was in no condition to stop them. She had invested so much power in the storm-spell that its destruction affected her drastically, reducing her to a shrieking heap on the ground.
Down the mountain the six friends ran – skidding, sliding, tumbling, falling, trying just to get away as fast as possible.
Then there was a gigantic blast behind them as Pirate’s Horn erupted once more.
Though none of the other faeries had been affected as much as Lady Vengeance, Ivy and Embyrr were still able to make good their escape. They heard the boom and saw the pillar of smoke as the volcano blew. They also saw what the others were too occupied to notice – the clouds breaking up, the light shining through thinning patches, the rain starting to slow. Ivy said, “Fly fast to the Queen. We must ready it for sail.”
Embyrr asked, “Do either of us know how to ready a ship for sail?”
“It can’t possibly be complicated. Pirates can do it, after all.”
After they started, they realized it was a good deal more complicated than Ivy had thought. The Earth Faerie wondered aloud as they struggled with the sail, “How can just Mayrie and Calder manage this much cloth?”
Her companion grumbled, “This was your idea, O wise one.”
But Ivy’s attention had been taken by something else. She said with a smile, “I think we are under attack by six large balls of mud.”
Embyrr tensed up at the word “attack”, but smiled as well when she saw their six mortal friends approaching the ship, all covered in dirt and debris from their trips up and down the Horn. They climbed aboard, and Zane asked, “What are you trying to do to the sail?”
Calder and Mayrie took it away from the Faeries, and the girl patiently explained how it was supposed to be done as they fixed it. Jaykob ordered, “Make it snappy – I don’t know how long we have before those Faeries get their acts together – or before the lava gets down here.”
Ivy assured him, “Oh, it will be days before they are fit to fly, and if Vengeance did not survive, they will be lost and confused. And the lava is no threat – it moves very slowly.”
Jaykob replied testily, “Then how about I just want to get away from this accursed rock?”
Everyone agreed with that.
Two days later, the Queen of the Seas was sailing through calm seas under a blue sky. They had decided to try sailing to Mystery Island again – hopefully it would go better this time.
The eight crewmembers were on deck, attending to chores or simply enjoying the sun, when a lavender light appeared in the center of the deck, which grew and solidified into a figure the mortals had never seen, but recognized instantly.
Fyora the Faerie Queen.
Embyrr and Ivy knelt. The rest followed their example. The Queen motioned for them to stand, and said, “Come.”
They gathered around her, keeping a respectful distance. Mayrie was trying to hide behind Jaykob without looking like that was what she was doing. Jaykob reassured her, “She’s good, Mayrie – don’t be scared.”
Zane wished he was small enough to hide behind someone. He didn’t trust rulers or government authorities – they had far too much power in his life for people who didn’t even know he existed. Thankfully, the Queen’s attention was on Embyrr and Ivy. “You have done well. I knew you could succeed.”
Ivy nodded. “Thank you, Your Majesty. But it was these six who did most of it.”
Fyora turned her brilliant violet eyes – brighter even than Vivian’s – toward them. “Ah? Tell me your names.”
Ivy started, “This is...”
“No. I want them to tell me their names.”
They did, and then they all began to pitch in to tell the story of how the storm-spell had been destroyed. When they finished, Fyora said, “A very interesting tale, showing great valor from the most unlikely of heroes.”
Mayrie, Zane, Vivian, Calder, and Alec all looked at their feet. Only Jaykob’s responsibilities as captain allowed him to meet the Queen’s eyes. “It really wasn’t as grand as all that, Your Majesty. We landed in that mess by accident and we bungled our way through. We aren’t heroes.”
“You saved Neopia from Vengeance’s schemes and spells. You are, indeed, heroes.” The Queen continued, “Ivy, Embyrr, you will return with me to the Cloud. Captain Jaykob, you and your crew may sail your own way - for now. But servants of the Faerie Crown are servants for life. I will call upon you as soon as you are needed again. You will not be forgotten.”
Embyrr smiled. “Thank you for saving me, Mayrie. Keep in touch!”
Then Fyora cast her spell again, and the three faeries disappeared the way Queen Fyora had come.
Alec groaned. “Looks like we’re enlisted.”
Jaykob reassured them, “It’s not so bad. Neopia’s at peace now. It’ll be years before anyone calls us again. Now get back to your places – next stop, Mystery Island!”
The Queen of the Seas sailed out onto the horizon, its crew content to wander the worlds until they found another adventure.
The End – For Now