The Happiness Faerie's Tea Party
The Happiness Faerie flitted about the garden, fussing over the placement of chairs and tables. She smoothed out creases in the tablecloths and tweaked the flowers in the centrepieces. Pausing over one such arrangement, she plucked a long-stemmed pink blossom and breathed deeply of its heady perfume in an effort to calm her nerves. This was a very important day for the Faerie, and she was anxiously awaiting the arrival of her guests.
Being the newest resident of Faerieland, the Happiness Faerie wanted to make a good first impression with her new neighbours. Soon after she had first arrived, she had struck upon the idea of hosting an afternoon social. Devising a guest list and sending out invitations, she had waited with great anticipation for her intended guests to rsvp. It was with notable disappointment that she had received word that Fyora, the Faerie Queen, had been forced to send her regrets, but the Happiness Faerie was gratified to learn that nearly all the other invitees were planning to attend. As the appointed day loomed, the Happiness Faerie had busied herself with the preparation of light snacks, the tidying of her home, and the polishing of her finest silverware. Now that the day had arrived, she was second-guessing her provisions and heaved a dainty sigh at the slightly less than perfect appearance of her gardens.
“If only,” she lamented, “I had waited one more week for the Faeriecinths to come into bloom.” The words had barely been uttered when a tinkling bell from within her home alerted the Happiness Faerie to the arrival of her guests. Startled, she looked at herself in the glass of her patio door and straightened her cowl, eyemask and smiley-face pin. With a nod of approval at her reflection, the Faerie strode through her Neohome and opened wide the wing-shaped front doors.
There on the stoop stood three powerful Faeries representing Fyora’s Court: Nereid the Water Faerie, whose person sparkled like sunshine on water while in her bipedal form; Psellia the Air Faerie, whose dignified bearing was enhanced by the attendance of her magic Harris; and Fuhnah the Fire Faerie, whose mischievous grin and wings of flame enticed and enchanted the Happiness Faerie. Behind these three stood dozens of lesser Faeries, each holding a welcoming gift for their hostess. The Happiness Faerie was flustered by this display of friendship, and clumsily grasping the folds of her black robes, attempted a low curtsy before the assembled Faeries.
“Please rise,” commanded Psellia. “We are elated to attend your function and must insist upon informality. I am charged with conveying Fyora’s best wishes and her sincere hope that you will meet before long. Accept the gifts we bear to welcome you to Faerieland, and please do not hesitate to ask for any help you might require.”
The Happiness Faerie rose to her feet, and with a sweep of her arm, showed her visitors the way toward her back garden. As her guests passed, each had charming words of welcome and a modest gift for their hostess, all of which she accepted with humble gratitude. When the last of the guests had passed through her home, the Happiness Faerie turned toward the front door, quietly closed it shut, slid the deadbolt into its fully locked position, and followed them into the yard.
“Please be seated,” said the Happiness Faerie solicitously. “I hope no one minds if I serve the refreshments right away. I am looking forward to visiting with each of you over our tea and cakes.”
The Faeries nodded their assent to one another and found their designated places at the tables. The Happiness Faerie led Nereid, Psellia and Fuhnah to their places of honour at the head table, held their chairs while they seated themselves, and then watched as the other Faeries proceeded to relax into their own chairs.
“I’ll be right back with the tea,” said the Happiness Faerie with a small giggle. “I do hope you will enjoy my special blend.”
With a respectful nod toward the head table as she left, the Happiness Faerie skipped into the kitchen to fetch the tea. The Faeries seated in her garden began to speak quietly amongst themselves and to help themselves to the sweets that were generously provided on each table. Before too long, the Happiness Faerie returned with a steaming urn, which she placed upon a serving cart. Starting with the head table, she moved from guest to guest, drawing the tea into fine china cups and placing them upon the table in front of each Faerie. When everyone had been thus served, the Happiness Faerie raised her own cup to propose a toast.
“I am humbled by your generosity here this afternoon,” she gushed. “I am not only grateful for the gifts that you have brought, but also for the generosity of spirit with which you bless me by your presence. I do hope that today we can capture that spirit and use it as the foundation for long and fruitful friendships.”
With that, she raised her cup and the other Faeries followed suit. “To friendship!” decreed the Happiness Faerie, and the others echoed the toast. One by one, they emptied their cups and blinked at the slightly acrid aftertaste.
“Oh dear,” exclaimed the Happiness Faerie. “It would seem that we have drained the urn. If you will just give me a moment, I’ll refill it in the kitchen and be right back.” She smiled again at her gathered guests and pushed the tea trolley into the kitchen.
Within seconds, the gathered Faeries heard a crash and a scream coming from inside the home. One by one, as they tried to stand, they realized that they were paralysed in their chairs and could not move. It was with horror that they watched as the patio doors were flung open and out came Dr. Sloth, leading a small army of Grundo slaves.
“It looks like your freezing potion worked as planned,” said the Grundo Leader to Dr. Sloth. “Shall we proceed to the next step?”
Sloth grinned maniacally, and rubbing his hands together with gleeful malice, nodded his assent to his assistant. Suddenly, the Grundos drew their Downsize! Rays and began to shrink all of the Faeries where they sat. As the minions went about their evil mission, Sloth began to sway and wave his arms like a mad orchestra conductor, keeping time to an evil tune playing inside his demented consciousness. He alternately swayed through and jabbed at the air as he led the Grundos toward their horrible crescendo; as soon as all of the Faeries had been shrunk, the Grundos began to collect each one in a bottle, which was then sealed with a cork. When they reached the head table, Sloth swept his arms in a command to stop.
“What do we do with these three, Master?” asked the Grundo Leader.
“Yes,” replied Sloth, walking menacingly toward the three powerful Faeries of Fyora’s Court, “These three will take special care to entrap. According to my research, Elemental Faeries like these can only be captured with an Artifact of the Ancients, and I happen to have brought three such Artifacts with me.” With an evil grin, Sloth removed three miniaturized objects from within the folds of his robe.
“For the Air Faerie, we will add the Golden Lock.” As soon as Dr. Sloth placed the object in a bottle, Psellia was helpless to resist her captor.
“And for the Fire Faerie, we have the Sphere of Neopium.” Fuhnah was likewise entrapped.
“And finally, for the Water Faerie, the Silver Clock.” And with that, Nereid was the last to be captured.
“And now,” commanded Dr. Sloth, “you must take these three and anchor them to their Elements. Air to Air, Fire to Fire, and Water to Water. My research tells me that this will cause a great instability among the Elements, which will lead to Chaos and Disorder; perfect conditions for me to take over all of Neopia. Ha ha ha ha ha,” he finished with an evil cackle.
“What about the rest of the Faeries, Master?” asked the Grundo Leader.
“Scatter them around Neopia. I want them to be found by the Neopians as they go about their daily business, to add to the Fear and Confusion. Go now!”
“Yes, Master.” The Grundo army gathered the bottles and left to execute Dr. Sloth’s orders. Sloth, himself, spun in slow circles, madly waving his arms, conducting an orchestra invisible, and thus left the garden and exited through the home.
Within minutes, a dishevelled and disoriented Happiness Faerie stumbled into her garden. When she saw the overturned chairs, crushed flowerbeds, and missing guests, she rubbed the lump on the top of her head and screamed and screamed.
In the Palace in the clouds high above Neopia, the Space Faerie entered into Fyora’s private meeting room and found the Faerie Queen sitting there.
“Your Highness,” began the Space Faerie, “I have just been informed that Sloth has enslaved some of our sisters. There is no doubt that this is the first step in some crazy plan for world domination. I can leave at once for the Space Station and try to confront him there.”
Fyora held up her hand in a calming gesture. “Yes,” said the Faerie Queen, “I have just been informed of this by Psellia’s Harris here. I am afraid that confronting Sloth at this time will do no good. Neither he nor we can liberate our sisters. As it was written by the Ancients,
‘Air turns the golden lock,
Fire burns the neopium rock,
Water churns the silver clock,
Earth spurns the Spectral Krawk,
Until balance returns to the flock.’
“It was prophesied, long ago, that there would arrive a period of great instability, marked by an Imbalance of the Elements. I can feel this Imbalance now, and understand that we are all simply playing our roles in Destiny. It was written that after a time, a Hero will emerge from Neopia, and only that Hero will be able to right the Imbalance.”
“Then, what do we do, Fyora?”
“I want you to locate where Sloth has anchored our Elemental sisters, and protect each with a Task. This, too, was prophecied, and we can take an active role in their protection. And then, we wait. All we can do is watch and wait.”