Diary of a Teenage Faerie: Persephone
Persephone opened her eyes and grinned as she saw a room full of her friends from the Faerieland school. In the centre of the room was a large cake with twelve candles on it, each one burning with a flame of a different colour.
'My twelfth birthday,' she thought. 'Soon I'll be a real faerie!'
She looked around the room at her best friends - golden Isabella, the light faerie; Poppy, showing signs of becoming an earth faerie with green streaks in her hair; pale Layla, fluffing her snowy white wings; dark Ginevra, gently fluttering her brown wings; and her mother, the beautiful air faerie Psellia.
Persephone closed her eyes, took a deep breath and blew out the candles, wishing as she did - 'I wish I could find out what sort of faerie I am.'
During her party tea of cloud cupcakes and iced cookies, the girls all seemed to be thinking the same thing, even Isabella. "Have you seen any sign of what sort of faerie you're going to be?" she asked curiously.
Persephone shook her head. "No sign whatsoever," she replied, ruffling her pale white wings agitatedly. Privately she couldn't wait to find out where her talents would lie, but she would never admit publicly to being that impatient - especially not to Miss Perfect Isabella. It wasn't Isabella's fault that she was the oldest in the class, almost thirteen, and a fully fledged light faerie. She was tall and graceful with beautiful long shining golden hair, and beautiful gold and silver wings which glowed softly.
The other annoying thing about Isabella was that it was impossible to dislike her. She was so nice and fun to be around that no one could ever hate her, despite her perfect looks, charm, and seemingly easy control over her magic.
"I think I'm going to be an earth faerie," Poppy said. "But why do I have to have green hair and brown wings? It's the wrong way around." She pouted prettily then perked up suddenly as Layla offered her a sandwich.
"I hope I'm going to be a fire faerie," Ginevra chipped in. "I know I've got brown hair, but it's got a sort of reddish tinge to it, hasn't it? And the edges of my wings are definitely turning red."
"You look more like an autumn leaf to me," Poppy told her, with her mouth full of sandwich. "Pass the fruit bowl, please."
"If you eat any more, Poppy, you'll never be able to get off the ground!" Layla teased her.
"What about you then?" she replied, still with her mouth full.
"I don't know," Layla replied. "But I'm happy to just sit back and wait to see what happens when it happens."
"How can you be so calm?" Persephone broke in. "I can't wait to find out what I'm going to be."
"It will happen soon enough," Isabella told her. "My wings started to turn golden about a week after my twelfth birthday, and I could do light magic without thinking about it within a few months."
"I think I'd like to be a light faerie," Persephone said thoughtfully.
"Maybe you'll surprise us all and be a dark faerie!" Poppy said, making them all laugh.
But Persephone looked worried.
* * * * *
After the party Psellia caught Persephone for a few moments alone.
"What's the matter, darling?" she said.
"Do you really think I'll find my magic soon?" she asked.
"Absolutely," Psellia replied. "All faeries find out where their talents lie after they have their twelfth birthday."
"But Mom, what if I turn into a dark faerie?" she asked, worried.
Psellia smoothed Persephone's light brown hair back from her face and smiled down at her daughter.
"You are far too sweet and lovely to ever become a dark faerie, my sweet," she told her. "Now, don't you worry - when it's time for you to find out what your special type of magic is, you'll find it's perfectly suited to you.
"Now," she said, changing the subject and handing a small box to Persephone, "open your present from me. I hope you like it."
Persephone carefully undid the satin ribbon tied around the pretty pink box and lifted the lid. Inside was a small cloud, created, Persephone knew, by her mom's air faerie magic.
She blew softly on the clouds and they disappeared, revealing what lay beneath - a delicate silver chain threaded through a sparkling flower-shaped pendant, with each petal a different colour of the rainbow.
"Thank you! It's lovely!" she exclaimed, fastening it around her neck and then jumping up to hug her mom.
* * * * *
Six months later...
The four friends finished off their picnic and lay back in the grass to enjoy the sun. Persephone fluttered her still-white wings lazily to create a breeze, while Isabella created tiny light balls and watched them spin slowly in the air above her head.
Poppy had fallen asleep with her mouth open, her now completely green hair fuzzed out around her head making her look rather like a dandelion. Layla grinned and pulled out a sketch pad to start drawing her friend. It was her twelfth birthday and she had planned the picnic as a special treat before her bigger party later that evening.
"Layla!" a pretty little white Gathow with a pink star came bounding up to the young faerie. "Your mom says it's time for you all to come home now and get ready for your party."
"Thanks, Charlie," Layla said, poking Poppy with a pencil to wake her up.
They gathered up their picnic basket and took to the air, laughing and talking about what they were going to wear to the party.
A few minutes into the flight, Persephone gasped and pulled up, her hand at her neck.
"What's up?" Poppy asked, almost bumping into her friend.
"My necklace is gone - the one my mom bought me for my birthday! I must have dropped it in the field."
As Persephone started to go back, Poppy tugged her arm.
"Do you want me to come with you?" she asked.
Persephone shook her head. "No, it's okay; you go and get ready. I'll see you at the party."
Without waiting for an answer, she darted back to the field to hunt for the necklace. The sun was starting to set, casting a beautiful orange glow over the field. Persephone found herself wishing she was a light faerie like Isabella so that she could see better what she was doing.
Suddenly the setting sun cast a ray onto something that glinted and sparkled in the grass. Persephone pounced on it - her necklace! Smiling happily, she fastened it around her neck, making sure it was completely safe.
She was just about to take to the air again when she heard a strange noise - a crackling, hissing noise. Frowning, she followed the sound to a small dip in the ground, half-hidden by a large passionberry bush. Hiding behind the bush she carefully edged forward until she could see around the edge. As she did, she realised the strange noise which sounded like a campfire was actually voices.
Poking her head around the edge of the bush she saw a group of orange and red figures, surrounded by clouds of smoke, sitting in a circle and talking loudly - fire imps!
Persephone just managed to stifle a gasp as she made out the smoky figures. Fire imps could be very dangerous, she knew. She had heard stories of times when the imps had attempted to steal magic items from faeries, and knew that they would not be happy if they found her listening in on their meeting.
She was about to creep back and fly off to catch up with her friends when she noticed a small figure with jet black hair huddled on the far side of the circle. Squinting to try to get a better view she managed to make out the shape of a small faerie, only five or six years old. She was crying, and looked terrified.
Persephone frowned as she made out ropes tied around the girl's wrists, then gave a gasp as she recognised the child: "Freya!" she whispered.
The small faerie was Queen Fyora's ward, Freya. Persephone had seen her picture in the Neopian Times when she had had her fifth birthday party. She remembered her mom telling her that Freya's hair had turned black because she had tried to play with Queen Fyora's mystical orb and couldn't control the magic.
All this passed through her head in a second. Knowing she had to get help, she started to shuffle back around the bush.
She had almost got a safe distance away when a bird flew out of the bush, startling her and making her cry out.
In an instant imps popped up all around her. She backed away, but there were too many of them to escape from.
She jumped into the air, snapping her wings open and flapping hard to get away.
Up and up she went, but suddenly she felt something around her ankle like a snake.
She kicked, but it suddenly tightened and she couldn't gain any more height.
Looking down, she saw that the imps had managed to throw a lasso around her foot as she had taken off. She reached down to her foot, feeling the imps pulling her lower all the time - they were strong for their small size!
The rope around her foot had got caught on her boot buckle and she struggled to get it free.
Another lasso flew through the air, narrowly missing one of her wings.
Another flew up, then another. Both missed, but a third caught her wrist as she was working to free her foot.
As she got closer to the ground, more ropes came sailing through the air, pinning her wings as they did, and she landed in an undignified heap at the feet of the largest imp.
He looked down at Persephone with eyes black as coal and grinned, revealing a row of sharp teeth.
"Pretty," he hissed. "Get much magic for this one!"
* * * * *
Between the whimpering of the small faerie next to her and the hissing conversation of the fire imps, Persephone was starting to get a headache.
The imps were dragging her through the Haunted Woods to goodness knows where. Her hands had been tied behind her back and another rope pinned her wings to her body, making it impossible for her to escape, especially if she wanted to take Freya, the little faerie, with her.
She looked around, trying to get her bearings, but she had never been this deep into the woods before.
Suddenly they stopped in front of a big ugly tree. At the base of the trunk Persephone could just about make out a dark hollow - a cave of some sort?
The imps headed into the dark opening and Persephone realised it was actually a tunnel.
A wave of despair swept over her - how on Neopia was she to get out of this? If she were an earth faerie, she could maybe do something to manipulate the tunnels - make the imps get lost, and trap them inside while she and Freya escaped.
If she were a fire faerie, that would be even better - she could control the imps then.
Or a water faerie and she'd be able to disable them. Then again, she thought with a wry smile, it would be difficult to run away if she had a tail!
If she were a light faerie, she could at least see where they were going to give them a chance of finding their way out, but she wasn't any of those; she didn't have any sort of special abilities.
The imps stopped again and one of them pushed the two faeries to the ground. The dirt was cold and damp, and smelled of fungus. Persephone wrinkled her nose and Freya burst into tears.
"You stay here now," the leader of the imps told them. "We get magic and you go free. We no get magic... well then, we keep you here as slaves."
The imps marched off down the passage again, leaving two of the larger members of the group behind to guard the faeries.
Persephone looked down at Freya, her small tear-stained face just visible by the light of the candles embedded in the wall farther up the passage.
"You're Freya, aren't you?" she asked. Freya nodded, but didn't say anything, instead choosing to stick her thumb in her mouth. "I'm Persephone," she introduced herself.
Freya took her thumb out of her mouth. "Purse-fee?"
"No, sweetie, Pur-seff-oh-nee."
"That'll do," she replied.
Looking at Freya, she noticed that her hands had only been tied loosely in front of her. The imps obviously hadn't thought her much of a threat.
"Do you think you could untie my hands?" she asked. "If you do, I can untie you and then we can try to get out of here and get you back home."
Freya nodded and shuffled round behind Persephone. The older faerie felt her trying to untie the knots for what felt like hours, but was really only about fifteen minutes. Eventually she felt the ropes starting to loosen.
"You're doing it, Freya," she encouraged her. "Keep going!"
After another long period of time, she felt the ropes loosen more, and wriggling her hands, managed to get one hand out. She quickly pushed off the rope holding her wings in and started work on Freya's rope, keeping an eye on the two imps guarding the passage.
As luck would have it, neither seemed particularly interested in them, appearing to be more interested in munching what looked like blocks of charcoal.
The pair managed to free themselves, but looking at the two imps blocking their path, Persephone was forced to admit they seemed no nearer to escaping.
At that moment their luck changed, as one of the guards glanced in their direction and saw that they had escaped from the ropes.
One of the guards shouted something in his hissing, spitting voice, and Persephone heard footsteps running down the passage towards them.
The two guards turned towards the faeries, one picking up a length of rope ready to tie them back up, and the other holding what looked like a toasting fork and poking it in their direction.
As two more imps appeared in the passage, Persephone tried desperately to remember the basic defence spells she had learned at school, but could only conjure small sparks. As the imps got ever closer, she closed her eyes, pulled as much magic together as she could, and wildly flung it out at the imps. She felt the power leaving her hands, making her fingers tingle, and, astonished, opened her eyes to see a cloud of bright silver magic.
As the magic blasted out, it started spinning and swirling, forming itself into a whirlwind which swept up the imps in its path and threw them out of its way.
At the same time as blasting out, the wave of magic swept backwards towards Persephone, engulfing her in a translucent bubble, shimmering with power. As it did, Persephone began to change. Her wings, which had been pure white, took on a beautiful pale blue colour around the edges; her eyes, which had been a greeny grey, lightened and brightened into the blue of a clear spring sky; and her hair, which had been light brown, lightened to a pale blonde colour and took on a slight curl, as if being blown by a summer breeze.
As the whirlwind faded, leaving a clear passage out of the tunnel, Persephone could feel that something had happened to her. Had she finally discovered her calling?
"You're an air faerie!" Freya said, looking admiringly at Persephone's wavy hair.
"I am, aren't I?" replied Persephone dreamily.
Then, snapping back to reality, she took Freya by the hand and they hurried down the passage.
"Where are we going?" Freya asked, a little bit worried as Persephone led her through the maze of passages.
"Outside!" Persephone replied. "I can feel the fresh air this way!"
As she spoke they turned a corner and a glimmer of daylight could be seen at the end of the passage.
They ran out into the early morning sunlight just breaking through the canopy of the trees. Persephone looked behind for any signs of the imps chasing them but saw nothing.
"Had the wind knocked out of them," she giggled to herself, feeling a little light headed as she felt her air faerie magic getting stronger.
"Sephny?" Freya said, tugging her hand.
"Yes, sweetie?" Persephone replied, looking down into the worried little face.
"How're we getting home?"
Persephone knelt down and looked into the little faerie's big grey eyes.
"Can't you fly yet?" she asked gently.
Freya shook her head, tears welling up in her eyes.
"They're going to get us again!" she wailed, bursting into tears.
Persephone fished around in her pocket for a handkerchief and passed it to Freya. "No, they're not," she assured her, looking up into the sky.
Spying a small fluffy cloud, she waved a hand at it and smiled as it flew down towards them and stopped a few inches off the ground.
"Hop on," she told Freya, then climbed up behind her. Freya had stopped crying now, far too excited about riding on a cloud to be scared any more.
Making sure that Freya was safe, Persephone lifted the cloud up through the trees into the sky and off towards Faerieland. Later she would remember the flight as one of the loveliest moments of her life - relishing her newly-developed magic as the cloud soared towards the rising sun, the land bathed in clear yellow and pink light.
* * * * *
Psellia stood up as Queen Fyora entered the room. She noticed the queen looked worried, but assumed it was the usual pressure of her royal duties.
"Your majesty," she greeted her, curtseying.
Fyora sat down and waited until Psellia sat down opposite her to ask what was wrong.
"My daughter Persephone is missing," she said, her usually clear blue eyes reflecting her worry by turning a cloudy grey colour. "She was supposed to be at a party last night, but none of her friends have seen her since they left a picnic yesterday afternoon."
Fyora looked distressed and spoke quietly. "My ward Freya is missing as well," she said. "She was taken while she was out with her school class."
The two faeries looked at each other, sympathetic, but neither sure what to do.
As they sat in silence, the sound of singing floated in from outside the window. It sounded like nursery rhymes.
A courtier rushed in and ran over to the window. "Your majesty! Look!" she called excitedly. Both faeries ran to the window to join her and watched in amazement as a small fluffy cloud came swooping through the sky with two figures aboard.
The singing was coming from the cloud, and as Psellia watched and listened she suddenly recognised Persephone.
The cloud swooped in through the window and deposited the two giggling figures on the floor of the chamber. Persephone helped Freya up and there was a moment of complete silence before Fyora cried her name and enveloped her in a huge hug.
Persephone watched, a little embarrassed, and then looked up at her mom.
"Persephone...?!" Psellia said, taking in her daughter's new blonde curls and shining blue eyes.
Persephone flew straight into her mother's open arms for a huge hug.
As she snuggled up to Psellia and heard Freya telling Fyora what had happened she felt relaxed and happy.
"You were right, Mom," she whispered. "I was meant to be an air faerie."