A Faerie Tale: War - Part Seven
“Hold still!” the Healing Springs Faerie shouted.
Captain Smith flinched his broken wing.
“I said hold still!” the Water Faerie repeated.
“I would if you didn’t keep touching it!” Smith shouted irritably.
At last, the Captain remained still long enough for the Faerie to weave her magic. Afterwards, the Draik’s wing tingled.
“Normally I’d say that you have to rest up for a few weeks,” the Faerie said dryly, “but I don’t think that’s an option at the moment.”
“Captain!” the voice of Jones the Pteri shrieked. “Captain!”
She almost fell into the tent from being in such a hurry.
“What is it?” Smith asked, standing upright like a pole.
“It’s the Faeries, sir; I think they’ve gone mad!” Jones squawked.
“What are you talking about?” Smith asked.
“It’s easier if I show you, come with me!” she replied, grabbing the Captain by the arm.
She dragged him out into the mists, towards the camp fire. There were Faeries milling around, lots of them, and shouting too. Amidst the chaos there was one voice, gently sobbing.
As the pair came closer, the mists parted and Smith took in the scene. Maelstra, the Dark Faerie, was surrounded by her peers. All of them were looking at her with hateful, spiteful eyes. The Dark Faerie seemed bound, trapped in a wall of magic, and she was crying.
“What shall we do with her?” a Faerie from the crowd asked.
“Rip off her wings!” a ruthless voice suggested. “Make her like the Grey Faerie she manipulated!”
“Throw her off the cloud!” another shot in.
“Feed her to the Giant Grarrl!” a third voice suggested.
There were jeers and shouts from the Faeries.
“I’ve done nothing!” Maelstra sobbed.
“Liar, you’re a traitor!” a Faerie shouted.
“You helped the evil Dark Faeries get into the castle! You’re just like the rest of your kind!” someone sneered.
“What is going on!?” an authoritative voice boomed.
The crowd of Faeries parted to make way for Fyora, looking weary and battle-worn.
“We caught the traitor!” a Fire Faerie said eagerly.
“Did you really?” Fyora asked, raising an eyebrow.
She pointed her staff at Maelstra, and the magic binding her faded. The Dark Faerie slumped to the floor, still sobbing.
“Maelstra is not a spy,” Fyora told the gathered Faeries loudly. “I observed the spy leaving our camp more than an hour ago. She was a Light Faerie, I’ll have you know.”
Whispers began in the crowd of Faeries.
“What have I taught you, all these years?” Fyora asked. “Appearances are only skin deep! Not all Dark Faeries are evil! Not all Light Faeries are good! Element doesn’t determine who you are!”
Fyora shook her head, and then walked over to tend to Maelstra.
“I’m sorry for what they have done to you,” she whispered. “I pray you never have to go through such a thing again.”
The Queen looked over towards Smith.
“Captain, can you take her somewhere private?” she asked.
The Draik nodded, and rushed forward to help Maelstra away.
Fyora barely had time to turn around when horns rang through the air.
“Have they found us?” Jhuidah asked fearfully.
She soon got her answer. Out of a nearby cloud, a large dirigible piloted by a Quiggle emerged. From all around, similar vehicles carrying knights burst out of the mist. Unis carrying armour clad warriors charged onto the scene. Everywhere, the royal seal of Meridell could be seen.
“Meridell...” Fyora gasped, speechless. “Skarl has sent help! Illusen reached the beacon!”
Suddenly, in the darkness of the Underclouds, everything seems a touch lighter.
Illusen sat in the dank cells of the dungeons. She was completely alone, the rebel Faeries having let out all of the other prisoners as a gesture of good will. The bars were enchanted; none of her spells would work against them. She sat on a damp bed, her head in her hands.
If only she’d been faster... she could have challenged Jhudora, back on the balcony. She could have ended it all. Now she was stuck, with only the dripping of the brickwork to keep her company.
Far above, Mavara’s forces arrived in Faerie City. They were still large in number having suffered few losses in the initial battle. Jhudora and Mavara stood at the army’s head surveying the land in front of them.
Faerie City had been badly damaged during the initial fight, long before the rebels had reached the castle. Buildings were burnt, the clouds below them stained black with soot. Items from the shops lay strewn across the roads, glass and brickwork ripped asunder like they were paper. In the distance, it seemed as though Jhudora’s Cloud had grown... but it couldn’t have, that was surely a trick of the light...
Mavara squinted to better make out the dark cloud, when shadows began to fall over her troops. The Faeries looked up further into the sky, and cried out in horror.
Dirigibles, hundreds of them, were swarming above their heads.
Taking their cue, the Queen’s forces revealed themselves, storming out from the few buildings that were left.
Hundreds of Meridell knights had joined the Queen’s ranks. Mavara tried to rally her troops, but the force was almost upon them; she had no time. Instead, the rebel Faeries engaged the army of the Queen once more.
This time, the battle was fought more evenly. Not being cramped up in the castle corridors, the Queen’s forces were able to take more ground than they lost. Smith and Habbard fought side by side, slowly pushing back the enemy towards the castle.
The Healing Springs Faerie took a small group towards her former home, cutting through the enemy ranks.
“If we take the Springs, then we can rejuvenate our troops!” she shouted at her fellow Faeries.
She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw the new occupants of the Healing Springs; The Drenched.
“There’s no chance you’re taking this back from us,” the eldest of the evil sisters rasped.
“It’s our home now!” the youngest Faerie snapped.
The Rainbow Fountain Faerie appeared at the side of the Spring’s former owner, and Nereid the Water Faerie on her other side.
“We can take them!” Nereid said confidently.
Yelling out war cries as they went, the three water Faeries engaged the Drenched.
On a distant cloud, two figures watched the battle, one with tears silently running down her cheeks. A Shenkuu ship waited for them, escaping Faerieland while it still could.
“I’m sorry I brought you here,” Tavi said to her friend.
“It’s alright,” Baelia replied, choking back tears. “You thought you were doing the right thing...”
Tavi gently patted the Grey Faerie’s hand.
“Nothing’s changed at all,” Baelia sobbed. “They’re all fighting, just like the old days... just over new things. Faerieland’s just the same as ever, if not worse.”
“Worse?” Tavi asked.
“At least during the old days you knew who your enemies were,” Baelia cried. “Now they’re all turning against each other at every turn.”
“We could come back again, after this is over... ask the Queen for help to find Jennumara,” Tavi suggested.
“No,” Baelia told her, her will solidifying. “I’m done with Faerieland. I’m done with Faeries. I just want to find Jennumara and put all of this behind me.”
Tavi nodded, glancing back over her shoulder.
“It’s time to go,” she told the Faerie.
“Yes, it is,” Baelia agreed.
The two boarded the Shenkuu ship in silence, and Baelia left Faerieland forever.
“Jhudora! We need more magic!” Mavara screamed as she hurled a ball of dark energy into an oncoming group of Faeries.
Jhudora scowled at the Mavara while launching a similar blast.
The Meridell knights seemed resistant to Dark Faerie magic. It was Illusen’s doing, Jhudora just knew it. The Earth Faerie had probably planned it that way all along.
“We need to get those dirigibles out of the sky!” the Fire Faerie Nuria yelled from nearby.
The Quiggle pilots onboard the small flying machines were raining down arrows on the rebel Faeries. With Psellia’s talents, no one had been hit, but all it took was one lucky shot.
“What’s that, there in the sky?” Nuria asked, shielding her vision from the sun.
There was a speck, high above them, moving at an alarming speed.
“A Meridell weapon?” the Tooth Faerie questioned.
“It’s coming from much too high to be from Meridell!” Siyana the Light Faerie shouted.
The speck of blue seemed to be growing as it fell, hurtling down towards Faerieland. It shot straight past the Dirigibles, narrowly missing collision with several, and landed in between the two warring sides. It kicked up misty clouds, obscuring whatever it was from view.
“You don’t think...?” Nuria asked.
As the mists cleared, it soon became clear what had fallen from the sky.
“It is...” Siyana confirmed.
The Space Faerie, protector of galaxies, had arrived back on Neopia.
The intergalactic Faerie slowly got to her feet, watching both sides intently. The two factions seemed hesitant, unaware of what to do.
No one knew who the Space Faerie would side with.
Finally, she eyed the rebel Faeries, and unleashed a blast of cosmic energy towards them; the Space Faerie had remained loyal to the Queen.
Rallied, it didn’t take long for the Queen’s forces to get the message. They pushed forward with all their might and the rebel forces were forced backwards.
“We can’t fight them like this!” Nuria shouted about the roar of the battle.
“Fall back to the castle!” Mavara ordered. “We will fight them in a bottleneck!”
Understanding their orders, the rebel Faeries retreated.
Fyora reached the Space Faerie.
“Sorry I’m late, you majesty,” she said, kneeling before the Queen. “Shall we set up camp here?”
“No,” Fyora replied, her eyes staring intently at the ruined castle. “We have them on the back foot. We shall pursue them, and end this ridiculous feud as soon as we can!”
The Faeries marched forth from Faerie City, liberated... but in ruins.
To be continued...