The Fall and Rise of Sycaria: Part Three
The guards narrowed their eyes at him, and he could sense that they were suspicious of his intentions, as they crossed their spears to deny him passage. He was ready for this, though, and held up the hand containing the ring on it, and they could clearly see that it had the royal crest of Sycaria on it.
“King Ranlio! Oh, I am very sorry, your majesty. I will arrange for an audience with her immediately,” one of the guards said.
“Wait. You should stay at your post and have someone else get me there,” he replied.
He nodded and commanded one of the guards inside the castle to take him directly to Syca. As Ranlio was led through the castle, he could see that the splendor was similar to his castle, and the design really brought out the personality of the sister that she knew and loved.
When Ranlio entered the throne room, he could see the queen at the other end. She was a green Acara, wearing a green dress that was sewn from golden thread. The necklace around her neck was also cold, and it looked like it contained a locket at the end. Like all the kings and queens of the Kingdom Islands, she had a gold ring on her finger. Finally, she had a silver tiara on her head, signifying her royal status. Syca looked at Ranlio for a moment, as if trying to place him, then suddenly, her eyes lit up in recognition.
“Uncle Ranlio,” she said. “My mom has told me all about you.”
“I have some important business I need to talk to you about. Is there somewhere we can speak privately?” he asked.
Syca nodded and had two of her guards stand on either side of the door to her royal chambers, and commanded them not to let anybody in until further notice. Then he had Ranlio follow her in and closed the door behind them. Larigan slipped in behind them just as the door closed.
“It’s about Mom, isn’t it?” she asked, making Ranlio blink in surprise.
“Yes, it is. But how did you know?” he asked.
“She has been acting strangely these past few months,” Syca answered, looking down at her feet. “Yelling at servants, spending most days locking herself in the library, going over maps of the surrounding kingdoms... and even making me queen when I’m only seventeen. There also seemed to be this dark aura around her, frightening even me.”
“There have been kings and queens that have started at a younger age,” Ranlio told her. “But it usually happens only if the current rulers suffer a fatal injury or disease. What happened is that she used the information she’s been studying these past few months to take over Sycaria.”
“What?” Syca yelled, looking up at him with utter shock.
“That’s why I came here. I know why Ningai is like this, and I know how I can bring her back to her old self. But I need your help, Syca,” he continued. “I’m not going to lie; it will be dangerous. But you’re the only one I can think of that can help me.”
“I’ll do whatever it takes to help my mom, despite the danger,” Syca proclaimed.
Syca told her servants that she needed to go on some important and dangerous business, and she wasn’t sure when she’d be back, if she came back. She had her royal advisor, a Blue Eyrie, overlook things while she was away. With all that settled, the two of them, along with Larigan, all piled into the rowboat. Soon, they landed on the island of Sycaria, behind the dark castle.
“Now, with all the servants and guards under Ningai’s control, we need to be careful that they don’t see us. So we’ll need to sneak in through a window,” Ranlio told Syca.
Ranlio wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her up higher and higher to one of the windows at the top of a tower. Inside were a bunch of random items that he had no room for, but didn’t want to throw away. When he landed inside, he put Syca down and tiptoed his way to the door, opening it a crack and glancing outside.
“It’s clear. Let’s go,” he said.
In the throne room, the walls, ceiling and floor were full of dark energy, darkening the whole room. No sunlight was let in, thanks to the windows being covered as well. In the throne, Ningai sat, thinking about what she had accomplished.
She successfully took Sycaria from Ranlio and had him driven out. She was a bit disappointed that she wasn’t able to put him in the dungeon like she wanted. But despite having the largest kingdom in all the Kingdom Islands, she still felt unsatisfied. She wasn’t sure why.
Then, something suddenly occurred to her. She had the power to take this kingdom. Why stop here? She could be the queen of every kingdom here, and then she’d have more than everyone. She might even drop the barrier keeping the islands split from the rest of Neopia, and take it all for herself.
Then someone kicked the door on the other end open, and Ningai saw two figures walking in. Though the room was in total darkness, her power allowed her to see in the dark. It was Ranlio, dressed in his royal clothes again and carrying a wand. Behind him was her daughter, which she didn’t expect. She also noticed the Gallion standing alongside the two of them. The crystal on Ranlio’s wand shone with a bright purple light, illuminating the darkness.
“I’m back,” Ranlio said to Ningai.
Ningai responded by blasting a dark energy beam right at him. Ranlio yelled some magic words, and a yellow shield rose up around all of them, deflecting the beam. Ningai gave a small hiss when she saw this happen.
“So you learned a few tricks while you were away,” she hissed.
“Maybe I have,” he replied, tapping his wand in the floor.
After he did, he made a dot in the black floor, showing the original floor underneath. It started to spread, banishing the darkness around them, showing the true color of the walls and floor. The windows were also uncovered, letting in the light outside. As the light shone in, Ningai wrapped the cloak around her, trying to block the light
“You’ve become powerful, but there’s one here that may not be,” Ningai hissed.
She leapt forward in a black blur, knocking Ranlio aside before he could react, and pinned Syca to the floor. With her paw covered in shadow, the shadows shaped like claws, her paw went right for Syca.
She launched some of her own magic at her point blank, but Ningai knocked it aside effortlessly. Ningai’s claws went right for her chest, but they stopped short, before they could pierce her. They both noticed that she seemed to be struggling, like somebody was holding her back.
“No...” Ningai’s voice said. “I... will not... let you... hurt... my daughter.”
“You belong to me now,” a stronger voice hissed from Ningai’s mouth. “And I’ll hurt whoever I wish.”
As her internal struggle continued, they noticed that there seemed to be something trying to force something out, and whatever she was trying to push out wasn’t giving up without a fight. Syca grabbed the opportunity to get her off her, then stood and give Ningai encouragement.
“You can do it, Mom,” she yelled. “You always told me never to give up, and I know that you won’t either.”
Hearing the familiar voice seemed to give her strength, and she seemed to be winning the battle against whatever held her in its control. Finally, with a shriek, it was forced out of her. After it was out, Ningai collapsed to the ground, unconscious. Syca ran forward and checked her body, giving a nod to confirm that she was still alive.
The thing that was forced out looked like a shadowy ball as it rose in the air out of her body. As it lowered to the ground, it took the shape of an Aisha. When it opened its eyes, they could see that they were blood red.
“Yessss,” it hissed in a voice that told them it was female. “That Aisha’s body was too weak for me to fight properly. But now, in my natural body, I will have the power to destroy you all.”
“Not if I can help it,” Ranlio said, stepping forward.
“Same here,” Syca said, stepping beside him.
Larigan walked to the other side and gave a hiss at the black figure. The shadow looked over all of them with her eyes, as if she was sizing them up. Then she gave a short, evil laugh, as if she couldn’t believe they were foolish enough to face her.
Ranlio answered with a blast from his wand. The shadow fired a beam right back and their beams met in the middle. The beams pushed back and forth, as the two beams pushed against each other.
Syca, seeing that he needed some help, added her own magical beam into it. Her beam combined with his to form one large beam. It managed to keep the dark beam back, but not overcome it.
“I don’t think that’s enough. We’ll have to think of something, fast. I don’t know how long we can keep this up!” Ranlio yelled.
“Then... you’ll need... my help,” a voice said from behind them.
They both turned to see that Ningai had revived. She was still weakened from the internal struggle, but that didn’t stop her. Putting a paw on either side of the A on her collar, she muttered some magic words. The A started to glow with a golden light, and a beam shot out from it to meet the other two.
It gave them the power they needed, as their tri-powered ray slowly pushed back the dark beam from the shadow Aisha, until it broke through it and went right through her chest. When the beams stopped, the shadow fell to the ground, gasping for breath.
“C... curse you, Shoyru,” she struggled to say. “If it wasn’t for you, I... I would have... conquered... everything...”
Then her head fell, and she faded away completely. As she faded, they could feel the darkness in the castle dissipating, as her spell over it was broken. Then Ningai, drained from the ordeal, collapsed again. Syca and Ranlio were able to catch her and led her to a guest bedroom. After some rest, they started to talk about what happened.
“I did study dark magic, but I was using it to learn ways to defend against it, so we would be better prepared if the time came,” Ningai explained. “But I also conjured up dark spells, so I could later destroy them and practice my defenses against the dark arts. It looks like doing that allowed the darkness to corrupt me and take over.”
“So, Mom, I guess you’re coming back home to Tragafar,” Syca mentioned, before Ningai shook her head.
“No, I made you queen. I already taught you everything I know, and I know you’ll do a great job. That leaves the question of where I live,” Ningai answered.
“What about here?” Ranlio asked. “My kingdom could use a queen.”
Ningai and Syca both blinked in surprise. If they did this, it would only be the third time that siblings ruled the same kingdom at the same time. There was no law against it, but it was generally frowned upon. Ningai took a bit of time to think about it before agreeing to Ranlio’s proposal to stay.
After saying their goodbyes, Syca rowed her way back home, as Ranlio and Ningai prepared to rule as brother and sister.