The Frozen Skeith - A Princess Airy Tale: Part Three
The mammoth Mutant Skeith lumbered towards them, the ground shaking beneath each step, his eyes glowing with hunger. Airy stood practically on top of Towsier, terror having frozen her from moving. They were doomed, all because she’d been determined to finish any quest she put her mind to. Why couldn’t she just stay in the palace like a normal princess?
“Airy, do something,” Towsier cried, clutching desperately at her hind leg as if she could actually do anything.
The Skeith roared and was practically on top of them. Airy was broken free of her terror induced freeze but it didn’t do her any good. With nothing better to do, she screamed and threw her hoofs up in the air to cover her face. She didn’t know how long she was standing like that when she felt Towsier shaking her violently. Carefully, afraid of what she would see, she lowered her hoofs.
The Skeith stood before her, exactly as he had been before she’d raised her hoofs except for he was now a statue of ice. It was an exact replica of him, down to each scale, each claw, and each terrifyingly sharp tooth.
“What happened?” she mumbled in surprise, slowly walking around the frozen beast. Any moment she expected him to burst free of his icy imprisonment but it seemed to be pretty sound.
Towsier stood up. “You did that. I don’t know what you did, but when you raised your hoofs, a bolt of ice shot from the tips. He just froze. What did you do?” Airy sat down on her haunches in shock; she had frozen the lumbering horror?
“I think,” she mumbled, “I think I’m beginning to get my faerie powers. I don’t have them yet and that was one of the reasons I ran away. My parents were ashamed because most Faerie Ixi already have their powers by the time they hit my age. Do you think that was my power coming in?” She turned to the Baby Scorchio, practically begging him to agree with her.
For a moment, he sat there, deep in thought and then he replied, “Yeah, I do. I mean, I don’t have those powers and I’m not a faerie. That seems like something a faerie would do. Anyway, can we leave him here? I don’t want to exactly be around if he thaws out.”
“You mean, when he thaws out,” she exclaimed, but Towsier cocked his eyebrow at her. It was clear he didn’t necessarily have faith in the ice replica of the Mutant somehow producing the creature again.
“Let’s go get this flower to Calucilo; the sooner we get done with this whole mess, the better. To think, if we hadn’t had to face the Skeith, who knows when I would have got my power,” she trilled, her fear forgotten in her excitement at her gifts. Towsier didn’t say anything but obediently followed her out of the cave. Velcro was still waiting in the grass for her, looking panicked, but he had kept his silence.
“Oh Velcro,” she cooed. “Guess what? I’m truly a faerie princess now. I can freeze things. I don’t know how I did it before, but if I did it once, I can do it again.” Wanting to test her theory, she raised a hoof and aimed it at a tree. Squinting harshly and wrinkling her face with effort, she concentrated on turning the tree into ice... Nothing. Her shoulders slumped but she wasn’t beaten yet. Again she focused, running the image of the tree as an ice sculpture through her head over and over again, and still nothing.
Towsier patted her shoulder. “You’ll be able to do it again, I’m sure. Once you put your mind to something, there’s no stopping you.”
“Yeah,” she grumbled, “I guess.” It was all she could do not to venture back into the cave to check out the Skeith, see if he really was frozen or if they had imagined him to be so. The entire way back to Calucilo’s hut, she kept staring down trees, trying desperately to freeze them. Despite her efforts, not a single tree was harmed in her attempts to summon her power again.
When they got back to Calucilo’s cottage, she was surprised to see them. “You came back?”
“What? Thought that Skeith would be enough to stop us,” she chuckled and handed the flower to the stunned Quiggle. Calucilo didn’t reply but went over to the bubbling cauldron on the stove. She pulled the petals off the flower and ground them into a juicy, pulpy mess in her fingers. Then, without any explanation, she dropped the remains of the petals into the cauldron.
After she stirred the frothing liquid, she turned back to face them. “I did expect you back, perhaps not so soon or in such an unbruised state, but I did expect you back. I can sense that you both have many great things ahead of you.” Her eyes fell on the amulet hanging around Airy’s neck and they narrowed into slits. “Where’d you get that?” she demanded, and Airy clutched a hoof over the jewel.
“What does it matter to you?” Suddenly she wasn’t all that comfortable and began to edge back towards the door.
Calucilo realized the mistake that she had made and quickly changed her attitude. “I’m sorry for upsetting you; it’s just that it was mine many years ago. I had a feud with a fire faerie over our property line and she kept trying to char me when I went to talk to her. So, I created that necklace so that I could safely speak with her. She’s since moved on, but I’ve been looking for that ever since it disappeared. It was a very difficult little piece to make.”
“It was given to me as a gift.” She still didn’t take her hoof off the necklace. The Quiggle turned back to her brew and stirred it a couple of times.
“A gift, huh? It was stolen from me and now is being passed around. Neopians these days. I’ll tell you what. I have a water amulet, works exactly the same way, that I would be willing to trade for the one you’re wearing.” She pulled a box off a shelf and pulled out a beautiful blue stone set in intricate silver designs.
Airy was not to be swayed. “Why would I want the water amulet over the fire amulet? And how do I even know that it works?”
“Oh child, why do you doubt my intentions? I have done nothing to make you question my honesty. I have fed you and helped you out in every way possible.” Calucilo stared at her with pained eyes.
Towsier mumbled, “Yeah, and made us go fetch a flower for your potion in exchange.”
Calucilo turned to the cauldron where she filled a bottle up with the strange glowing blue liquid. Turning back to them, she thrust the bottle at Airy, “This potion that I made you work so hard for is actually for you. It is designed to draw out any repressed faerie powers unless you feel that you don’t need it. In that case, I can sell this for a reasonable fee down at the marketplace.”
“You made the potion for me?” Airy took it from her, finally lowering her hoof back to the floor.
“Yes, I told you that I can sense there are great things in the two of your futures. Great things, and I am eager to help. That’s why I’m offering you the water amulet in exchange. I know for certain that very soon, your path will lead you to a watery world where you will need something to let you breathe underwater,” she explained.
Airy and Towsier looked at each other. It was such a tempting offer, but there was still the underlying doubt. How could they be sure that the Quiggle witch was telling the truth? Maybe the stone in her hand did nothing but turn them into Mortogs for her meal. Not to mention, one necklace didn’t do them both good.
“Can you prove the water amulet works? I don’t want to trade mine for something that is merely going to curse me. And, can’t we get another one for Towsier too?” Airy smiled her sweetest smile and tried to look as innocent as possible.
Calucilo glared at her and clutched the water jewel to her dress. “You still doubt me? Even after I’ve been doing nothing but trying to help you. If that is that way you shall have it, so be it, don’t trade me. As for more amulets, these are not easy to make; it takes years upon years to perfect each stone. So, no, you cannot have two.” She turned her back upon them and it was clear that if they were not willing to trade, she was done with them.
Once more the two Neopets looked at each other, and then Airy made the decision, “Okay, I’ll trade you. I’m sorry for doubting you and we really appreciate your help.”
Calucilo turned back to them with a triumphant smile. She held out the water amulet and Airy hesitated for only a moment before pulling the fire amulet over her head. The Quiggle dropped her necklace on her hoof and leapt upon the fire jewel as if it were the rarest treasure in the world.
“Thank you for returning this to me, I’ve been looking for it for ages. I won’t be letting any other Neopet steal you again.” She slipped the delicate chain over her head and added, “By the way, when you drink that potion, make sure that no one is in the vicinity. It is very, very powerful and you may end up hurting someone that you care about. I wish you the best of luck on your quest.” The way she gestured her hand at them without looking up from the gem hanging around her neck said that she was dismissing them.
“Wait, we have no idea what direction we’re supposed to head,” Towsier cried out and Airy almost kicked herself. How could she forget that important detail? Calucilo looked startled then walked out of the cottage with them. She pointed them in the right direction and wished them good luck again, then she went back into her cottage, stroking the necklace around her neck.
“Well, let’s get going, Towsier and Velcro. We’ve apparently got great things before us.” She almost skipped with her happiness. Her faerie powers, though difficult to control, were finally coming in, she had now completed two tasks, and they were on their way to a new quest. Being an adventurer wasn’t all that hard and she could hardly wait to see what else lay before them.