The Mirror: Part Two
Leran stumbled backwards, his mouth agape, and he found himself pressed against the stone wall across from the mirror. His ears flattened against his skull, and his jaw dropped, drawing in breath after shaky breath. He was looking at a ghost!
The Ixi giggled, daintily putting her hoof in front of her mouth.
“You look like a Nupie!” she said, unable to hide her smile.
“Wha—who are you?” he gasped, his fingers roaming across the wall as if he could magically give him something to defend himself with.
The Ixi looked offended, and for a second he thought she was going to unleash her horrible spectral powers of doom upon his head. However, she said, albeit with an annoyed, clipped tone to her voice, “I am Asafe Tirei Jazana Misi of the Family of the Iris, and my father was the second cousin of the King!”
“Your father’s related to who?” he asked.
“Now I need your help,” she said quickly, ignoring what he said as she pointed a ghostly hoof at him. “I need you to take me to my good friend. I’m sure you know him after all. He is the Prince.”
“Wha—huh?” he asked. “Who?”
“Prince Jazan, of course! Who else did you think it was? He doesn’t have any siblings!” she said, rolling her eyes. “I need you to take me to him in this bracelet. See, somehow you’ll have to get him to grab onto it so that I can talk to him like I am with you, because it’s really hard for me to talk to somebody at all without getting them to prick their skin with the jewel, but I don’t think it’ll be a problem for you. My friend’s always been willing to take risks when it comes to peasants.”
“King Jazan has guards, though!” he gasped, somehow managing to bring up the courage to walk closer to the mirror. If Asafe had been planning to hurt him, surely she would’ve done it by now... wouldn’t she?
“Kin—Oh, King Jazan,” she said, looking a little downcast. “His father must have passed away then... he must be really sad about that...”
She fell silent for a moment, and Leran wondered if he ought to say anything. After all, even if it was a ghost, he never liked to see anybody be upset at all. His friends had teased him when he had found himself trying to cheer up a grey pet at lunch one day, and he didn’t get a respite from that incident for weeks.
“Anyway, you’ll have to get me in!” she said suddenly, determination flooding back into her eyes. “I don’t care how, but you have to!”
Her voice and figure faded away as she finished speaking, and the bracelet started to glow with a steady light. Leran stood still for a moment, wondering what he should do. Should he trust the strange spirit? Should he follow her directions?
The plushie Kougra slowly closed the door, wincing as it shut with a loud click that echoed throughout the entire mansion. Around his wrist hung the bracelet, and he had to watch his paws when he wrapped his arms around his side, careful not to puncture himself with the pointy gem.
Steam rose from his mouth and into the pitch black night, and he wondered for the thousandth time why he was actually going through with the Ixi’s plan. Was it still his overactive imagination that was getting him into this, or was it actually real. Feepits, he didn’t even know why she wanted him to do this! What was he getting into?
He sighed and stepped off of the porch and onto the dirt road. Even his thick brown sweater didn’t help much against the freezing air, and his gloves didn’t do much to help either. What was strange was that it was the bracelet that kept back most of the chill, emanating a heat as well as its glow, which had dimmed now from what it had been back inside.
“Ah! The air feels so good!” exclaimed Asafe’s voice, startling the ghostkerchiefs out of him. “It’s been so long since I’ve been out in the open!”
“I thought you couldn’t talk anymore!” he nearly shouted in his surprise.
“Quiet down!” she said. “Do you want the neighbors to wake up? They can’t here me, but you have a physical voice that the average ears can actually listen to! Of course I can still talk!”
He bowed his head, ashamed, and continued to walk. His owner probably would’ve scolded him the same way, and at that moment Asafe had reminded him of her.
He wondered if she would decide to come home early. Just in case that happened, he had left a note on his pillow telling her where he’d gone, and explaining everything that had happened. Of course, she might just decide that he was playing a game, but she might also decide that it was the truth and tear after him. After all, who would trust a random ghost on her word alone?
“Hey, Asafe?” he asked softly, scared he might start up her anger again if he talked any louder.
“That’s Lady Asafe to you,” her disembodied voice said. “What do you want?”
“How’d you, er...” he faltered, unsure of what to say next.
“Become a ghost?” she asked. “I was wondering if you’d actually ask that. None of the people who owned the neohome bothered to stay behind to talk when they saw me, for some reason.”
No wonder we got the house so cheap, he thought.
“A while ago there was a tale told to children, and it was treated like the ones I’ve heard children today talk about,” she said, her voice sounding introspective. “The monsters under the bed, in the closet... but there was one we had, which was in the mirror. Our parents were even scared of the creature, at some level. We called it the Morgey, and it's told that it originated from the mirror. It was a creature that was known to lure children away from their parents and turn them into what I am today, basically a ghost with no way of returning to the living. The only possibility would be to perform a task that was nearly impossible.
“When I was ten years old, my parents, the Lord and Lady of the Iris, had taken me and my siblings on an outing to the river. We were having a great old time, and I was playing with a wild Djuti when I heard somebody calling my name. I had thought it was our nanny, so I eagerly went in the direction I heard it coming from, thinking that she was going to have a treat for me and my siblings.
“Only, I was wrong. There was a kind, sweet looking old blue Kyrii, with jewels hanging all over her as well as tattered old robes. She lavished compliments on me, which I sadly took without suspicion. After a short while, in which she told me stories of her ‘youth’, she dug into her pocket and pulled out a bracelet, the one you’re wearing.
“Anyway, I grabbed onto it, and the next thing I knew, a young human boy that was my age and a goofy looking Zafara were wandering around my mansion, being led around by somebody that was wearing something I heard later being called a ‘suit’, and everybody I knew was gone. Inside, instantly, I knew the conditions, and they scared me. She’s planning on doing something terrible, Fejaleran!”
“Wow,” said Leran, amazed. They were walking through the middle of the market place now, and he thought it was kind of creepy how empty everything was. Most of the neohomes and buildings that were nearby were empty, and like he had been when he was inside of his own home, he imagined being attacked once again by extremely sly, powerful beings that intended ill will on him.
“Is it really that amazing?” she asked. She grew silent for a while, before saying in an uneasy tone, “Um, Fejaleran...”
“There are some pets following you...?”
“What!” he asked, eyes widening with alarm. He whipped his head around to see three shadows quickly storming in his direction. “What on Neopia...!”
King Jazan rubbed his forehead as he peered down at the documents lying on the table in front of him, furrowing his eyebrows. His eyes were strained as he tried to read the documents, but somehow he wasn’t comprehending anything they said. Was that word water... or warble?
Surely it couldn’t be the latter...
“Jazan?” asked a calm voice. Nabile peeked her head into the room to find him resting his head on his hands, a buzzing noise coming out of him that she quickly realized was snoring. She smiled softly and walked over to him, pushing his shoulder and causing him to snort loudly before his head shot up.
“Huh?” he asked. “Wha...?”
“Come to bed, dear,” she said calmly. “You won’t do Qasala very much good if you’re falling asleep during the council meetings.”
“Mmm,” he said, pushing his chair backwards and standing up, swaying a little before Nabile caught his shoulders and steadied him.
“You’ve been working yourself too hard lately,” she said, shaking her head. “Jazan, the city wasn’t built in an hour.”
“Aye,” he said, “but it was surely destroyed in one.”
Nabile pursed her lips together and was about to reply when a bulky purple Ruki burst into the room. He was wheezing as he hunched over for a second to catch his breath, and then he straightened up, looking as if he had done nothing strenuous at all.
“Your Majesties,” he said steadily. “There’s a disturbance in the Court.”
Leran nearly fell as he shot behind the thrones, his limbs aching and his lungs on fire. Asafe was shrieking advice and warnings that weren’t helping at all, and he felt as if he were about to die from the pain and exhaustion. He was shaking extremely bad, and his teeth dug into his lip as he tried to keep himself from crying.
“He’s closing in!” shouted Asafe, her voice anxious.
“You said it already!” he gasped, somehow still able to speak. He felt as if he had one of the sabers that the guards held in his side.
All of a sudden, purple and black clouds exploded next to his feet and he was thrown through the air and into a nearby pillar. Stars danced through his vision, and he gasped, a floating feeling roaming through his body...
To be continued...