Faded Memories #2: Rise of the Battle Faerie - Part Four
It was well past midday when Valeane finally made her way toward the council room. She had spent the earlier part of the day with Lydriel and Anna at the dueling courts. She had managed to beat every challenger she had come up against, though Lydriel had come very close to disarming her.
She had considered stopping by the palace kitchens and begging something from the head cook but decided that Fyora would probably be willing to ask a maid to fetch her food. She didn’t really want to walk that far, especially after her workout from that morning.
The council members were in a sour mood when Valeane entered and even Fyora seemed slightly perplexed. Valeane looked around and realized instantly what was missing.
“Where’s Mithana?” she questioned as she plopped herself down in a chair near Fyora’s desk.
“That is exactly what we would like to know,” snapped Prilla.
“I told her we had a meeting this afternoon,” stated Sira, puzzlement written clearly on her face. “It’s not like her to forget.”
As if she had been summoned by the frustrated thoughts of her peers, the dark faerie who was the subject of the conversation burst through the council room doors. She carried several rolls of paper in her arms as well as a couple of books.
“Sorry about that,” she panted as she set her things down on the table. “I was in the library and lost track of time.”
“What on earth could have kept you in the library that long?” demanded Prilla. The light faerie stood with her arms crossed and she glared at the younger dark faerie.
To everyone’s slight puzzlement, Mithana’s cheeks flushed, with anger or embarrassment, no one knew.
“It’s none of your business,” she half snarled at the light faerie. Valeane was surprised by her vehemence. She was not the only one. Prilla stared at the dark faerie for a moment before apparently deciding that arguing wasn’t worth it.
Several seconds passed in uncomfortable silence. Finally, Fyora stood and began the meeting. Valeane leaned back in her chair, her mind not on the matters being discussed. Instead, she watched the dark faerie who sat across the room from her.
Mithana’s mind seemed to be a million miles away. Her eyes glanced over at the scrolls she had carried in every so often, causing Valeane to wonder what they contained. The faerie strained her eyes as she tried to read the titles of the books on the dark faerie’s desk.
“Palace Layouts and Blueprints and Faerieland Castle Construction. What on earth does she want with the layout of the castle?” wondered Valeane. “Surely she doesn’t need it to get around. Come on, she works and lives in the castle. It would be pathetic if she didn’t know her way around.”
Just then, Fyora called an adjournment of the meeting and the dark faerie began to collect her things. Valeane watched as she was the first out of the door. The faerie shrugged, and figured that if whatever Mithana was working on was important, then she would probably figure out what it was eventually.
“Hey, Valeane.” Valeane turned at the sound of her name and smiled when she saw that her sister as well as Lilia, Sira and Prilla were walking over toward her. “All of our work is done for the day. Want to go for a ride through the marketplace?”
Valeane raised an eyebrow at her sister. Her question was clear on her face.
“Oh, come on, Valeane.” Fyora sighed. “It isn’t against the law for a monarch to walk amongst her people. Just because I’m queen doesn’t mean I was born to live inside stone walls my whole life. I don’t often get free time, so I’m going, even if you aren’t.”
Valeane laughed and agreed to go. A ride through the city sounded wonderful at the moment.
The five of them were making their way through the halls toward the stables when voices were heard from the corridor on the right. They looked in the direction of the noise as they passed and were startled to see Mithana and a dark faerie maid conversing in a corner. Pieces of the conversation reached their ears.
“These contain everything you need to get in,” said Mithana to the maid, who nodded.
“Good, I was wondering about that part of the plan. I’ll pass the word on. Finally, we might be able to get that faerie who calls herself a queen out of power.” Her voice was filled with triumph. Mithana nodded in agreement.
“Now the plan is to get as many faeries as we can into the tunnels. Make sure...” her voice trailed off when she spotted the five watchers, who were staring at her in shock. The dark faerie’s face went dead white as did the maid’s when she saw what her co-conspirator was looking at.
“Your Majesty... Fyora... This isn’t...” Mithana was unable to speak for her voice had failed her.
“Guards!” yelled Prilla. At this, the maid prepared to flee.
Fyora waved her hands as lavender magic shot from them. Tendrils of magic wrapped themselves around the fleeing faerie.
“No!” yelled Mithana. “Stop! She doesn’t have anything to do with this!”
When the queen made no move to remove the spell, Mithana shot a whirling disk of darkness at the lavender ropes holding the maid. She hissed an incantation in her own, dark faerie tongue and Fyora’s spell dissolved. The instant she was free, the maid brought up a cloud of darkness which blocked her completely from view. When the smoke dispersed, they saw that she had transported herself out of the palace all together.
By this time, guards had answered Prilla’s call and had rushed forward to seize Mithana. To Valeane’s surprise, she didn’t fight, physically or magically. She looked at them with pleading eyes.
“Please,” she begged. The desperation in her voice shocked the surrounding faeries. “Let me explain this.”
“Explain what?” demanded Prilla. “Explain why you betrayed us and joined that cousin of yours.” Mithana looked at her, her violet eyes hard.
“I wouldn’t join her if my life depended on it!” she snapped. “I was--”
“Enough,” said Fyora as she raised a hand. “You can explain your case in court, in front of the council. For now...” She turned toward the guards holding the dark faerie. “Take her and put her in one of the cells.” Without another word, the queen turned and strode back down the hall towards the council room.
Valeane and the others followed her, all of them trying to grasp what had just happened.
“I can’t believe this!” shouted Prilla. The council had been summoned and feelings were mixed. “How could she betray us like that?”
“I don’t believe she did,” stated Rani. The water faerie’s eyes were troubled. “Mithana is no traitor. Temperamental, yes. Stubborn, unbelievably so. Traitorous, no.”
“I agree with Rani,” said Sira. “I know her the best of all of us and there isn’t a treacherous bone in her body.”
“But she was giving that faerie information,” began Sheila. The air faerie’s light blue wings fluttered in agitation. “She even agreed that Fyora needed to be taken off of the throne!”
Everyone was silent for several moments.
“Valeane, what do you think?” questioned Fyora. The queen’s face was completely unreadable.
Valeane chose her words carefully. “I think that there is more to this than there seems,” she said slowly. “I also do not believe that Mithana is capable of this kind of treachery but the evidence is overwhelming.”
“So what would you suggest?” asked Lilia.
“Let me go talk to her,” said Valeane. “I think I might be able to figure out what is going on. Even if she is part of the rebellion it is possible that she may have been forced or blackmailed into it. From what I have heard, Sirine isn’t above those sorts of things.”
Fyora nodded in agreement. “I will go with you. For now I want the rest of you to get to work putting guards on the tunnels. If that maid really was part of the rebellion, then I want to make sure that all of the entrances into the palace are heavily guarded.”
The council grumbled but made no move to argue. Satisfied, the queen turned and made her way to the dungeon with Valeane close behind. The faerie was startled by Fyora’s silence. Her expression showed no emotion and this worried her sister.
“What about you?” she asked. Fyora looked at her. “What do you think? You haven’t said anything.” The queen sighed.
“I’m shocked,” she admitted. “I have known Mithana since before she could even fly. I watched her grow up and nothing has ever made me think that she would do something like this. That’s why I made her a council member in the first place.”
This news came somewhat as a surprise to Valeane. She didn’t know that Fyora had known the dark faerie for so long and so well.
“Well, I have no idea what could have caused her a change of heart,” she thought. “But I have a feeling that we are about to find out.”
To be continued...