The Fall and Rise of Sycaria: Part Two
When his boat bumped up against the shield, he held up a gold ring he was wearing. The ring was only available to members of the royal families living on the Kingdom Islands. The ring glowed with a golden light, and a doorway opened up, allowing him to make his way through the shield. As soon as he was past, the opening closed behind him.
He stopped after passing through the magic shield long enough to dump the armor he was wearing into the water below him, then used the water to wash the paint off his face. Once he was done, he looked at his reflection and saw what looked like a normal green Shoyru staring back at him. Satisfied, he took a look around him.
He noticed two lands close to his location. One of them was a city, though he couldn’t see much of it. It was surrounded by a stone grey wall, with one building in the middle rising above the rest. The other location looked like it was built on the top of the mountains, with bridges between the different buildings. Ranlio glanced between the two before deciding the second one was easier to enter.
He rowed his way to the bottom of the mountains and noticed that there were Unis working on bringing their customers to the gates of the city. Since he was a Shoyru, and had wings, he was not interested in their services. With a mighty flap, Ranlio was up in the air, soaring towards the front gates.
As soon as he landed, he took a few minutes to catch his breath. As soon as he was able to take a small rest, he walked inside the city. Glancing inside the first hut he passed, he could see a pink Kougra playing what looked to be a game with tiles. Though it looked like it could be fun, he didn’t have time...
“Hello there. Need some medicine?” a voice asked.
Ranlio looked up to see an old brown Ruki looking down at him from a teacup shaped house. Though he wasn’t sick, he thought that he might know someone that could help with his predicament. So he took the bridges and paths to make his way up to his hut.
Inside, he saw many natural looking products, all for curing a wide range of diseases. As he searched, he found some Black Cherry Tea. Remembering that two of his guards would probably have headaches when he returned, he brought it up to the counter.
“That’ll be 2340,” the Ruki told him.
Ranlio pulled out some of the coins he took with him and dropped them on the counter, hoping that they still used the same currency as the Kingdom Islands did. The old Ruki looked at them, shocked at what he saw, and then looked up at the Shoyru.
“Where did you get these?” he asked. “This is Sycarian currency. Sycaria disappeared many many years ago, when I was still a young Ruki.”
Ranlio didn’t want to say anything about the fact that the Kingdom Islands still existed, since they distanced themselves from the rest of Neopia for a reason. But he had a feeling that the old Ruki would respect that and keep it a secret from others. So he launched into a story about what happened at the castle, and the fact that he needed training in order to defeat his sister. The Ruki stroked his beard before speaking.
“I may be able to help you,” he said. “My name is Wikalo. Come with me.”
Wikalo led Ranlio into the back room of his shop, which was sparsely furnished. It had a bed in one corner, and another held a chair facing a Neovision set. Against the walls were cases filled with different spices and herbs that Ranlio guessed were used to make his cures, and a small table sat with a clay bowl and a tool used for crushing and mixing. At the back wall, he noticed a fireplace, with some items used for cooking.
Wikalo walked over to a closet and started to search through it. While he did, he threw behind him some interesting items, some of which Ranlio took a closer look at. A Gallion also bolted its way out of the closet and stood by Ranlio as Wikalo searched. Finally, he came out with what he was looking for.
It was a staff, about the same height as Ranlio was. The staff was a golden color, and it curled around a purple jewel at the top, which had a soft glow to it as the Ruki carried it over to Ranlio.
“This staff was given to me by my father,” Wikalo told him. “It is said to hold great power, and he told me that one would come that would need its magic. I believe you, Ranlio, are that one.”
Ranlio, a little hesitant, took the staff from him. As soon as his hand curled around it, the jewel flashed with a bright light, and the staff crackled with magical power. As Ranlio held the staff, he could feel his brain being fed a list of magical spells at a rapid pace, too fast for him to follow. But the spells were embedded in his instinct, so he would know instantly how to do a certain spell.
“This is unbelievable,” Ranlio said in awe.
“The magic alone, though, will not be enough to rescue your sister,” Wikalo warned. “The reason dark magic is forbidden in the Kingdom Islands is that dark magic, while strong and easy to use, also has consequences. Every time one uses it, whether for good or ill purposes, it will slowly but surely corrupt the user. The corruption continues until they are fully taken by the darkness. Therefore, your only hope is to reach out and try to find the good that I believe still resides inside of her. And it’s best done by someone she is familiar with.”
“I haven’t talked with her in years, so I’m not sure if I can reach her through the darkness controlling her,” Ranlio mentioned. Then his face lit up, as he continued, “But I know someone who may be able to.”
Wikalo glanced out his window, and noticed that the sun was starting to set behind the Lunar Temple outside. He turned to Ranlio, who was just preparing to leave.
“Wait,” he said. “You should spend the night here. I should have a small cot in that closet that you can use, and it’s no trouble.”
Then Wikalo noticed the Gallion, who hadn’t left its spot at Ranlio’s side. It was standing there, rubbing its scales against Ranlio’s, looking up at him with begging eyes, like it wanted to go with him.
“It seems that Larigan has taken a liking to you as well,” the Ruki said. “So it only makes sense that you should take it with you.”
When Larigan heard that, it started to hop wildly around the room. Ranlio watched it with a smirk, then told Wikalo that he would take it with him, and would make sure it was well taken care of. After that was settled, the two of them pushed out the old cot and unfolded it. They both went to their respective bets, and were soon asleep, with Larigan sleeping at the foot of Ranlio’s cot.
Ranlio woke up the next day to the smells of something cooking. He opened his eyes and looked around to see Wikalo cooking something over the fireplace. And whatever he was cooking smelled pretty good. When the food was loaded onto plates, Ranlio could see that the food was Fluffy Faerie Pancakes.
“Ready for breakfast?” he said, before Larigan leaped up and used its mouth to grab the top one off the stack and start eating as soon as the Gallion landed.
“Looks like somebody was,” Ranlio joked, as he watched it chomp the pancake down. He accepted the plate from Wikalo and started eating.
After Ranlio finishing and saying their goodbyes, he walked down the bridges to where he came in. As he passed by the Kougra he'd seen before, he noticed a Rainbow Buzz attempting the game, while the Kougra just sat and watched him. Ranlio turned away and slowly glided his way back down the mountainside, with Larigan close behind him.
The two of them jumped in the rowboat, and Ranlio rowed them back towards the Kingdom Islands. As they left, Ranlio looked back at the mountainous town and hoped that someday, he could return and visit his new friend again.
As soon as he got through the barrier and rowed his way through the maze of islands, he took a look at his castle. It was covered in shadow, and he could see the dark energy covering every inch of it. He shuddered, wondering what happened to his kingdom while he was away. But there was no time for that.
He kept rowing, past Sycaria, to another, smaller kingdom. He glanced at his reflection to make sure he wouldn’t stand out, and then stepped onto land. Larigan leaped onto his shoulder, and he started towards the castle. As he hoped, nobody gave the two of them a second glance, thinking that he was just some traveling wizard because of his wand. He stepped up to the edge of the door.
“I need an audience with Queen Syca,” he said.
To be continued...