A Mysterious Heir: Part Two
“So that makes me a princess. Princess Syrietta, heir to the throne of Mysica. That means the last fifteen years of my life have all been one huge lie?” Syri’s head dropped into her paws on the last word.
“I can’t believe you! I’d be jumping up and down if I found out I was a princess!” Kora squealed in amazement.
The sad-looking Xweetok raised her head to look into her friend’s eyes. “What about Mom and D—Naola and Lerom? Am I supposed to just... leave? Do you think they even know?”
“I’m sure they would’ve told you if they had known. As for leaving, you have to make that decision on your own. Trust your instincts, Syri,” encouraged Kora.
“Whoa, what happened to the sarcastic, competitive Wocky we all know and love?” Syri teased with the slightest hint of a smile.
“Don’t worry, she’ll always be here!” Kora teased back in a way that was almost reassuring.
There was a moment of silence while the two of them realized how much their lives were about to change. Then Syri swallowed and spoke up, “I guess I should go talk to Lerom and Naola about this...”
She turned to start in the direction of her hut, but felt a furry paw on her shoulder. “You can still call them Mom and Dad, you know. They raised you, after all. Isn’t that more important than being related by blood?”
Syri let her friend’s words sink in before responding. “Yeah, I suppose you’re right. Well then, time for me to go talk to Mom and Dad,” she half-whispered.
“Good luck, Syri. I have faith in you,” Kora said supportively.
Syri grinned. “Thanks, Kora.”
With those words, Syri started down the long path leading to a whole new chapter of her life.
Syri poked her head into her hut and called out nervously, “Um, Mom? Dad? Can I talk to you about something?”
“What’s wrong, Syri?” Naola asked, worry creasing her forehead. She glanced behind her and shot a panicked look at her husband, who appeared in the doorway a moment later. His face mirrored hers, both tense and anxious.
The Xweetok suddenly wished she had rehearsed this better. She looked down at her paws and began to speak. “I’m... not really your daughter, am I?” It’s wasn’t a question—it was a statement.
Syri could plainly see the shock on her parents’ faces as she said this. Naola was the first to recover. “No, sweetie, you’re not. Lerom and I were taking a walk through the woods one day, when we came across a crying baby who had been abandoned. She was an adorable red Xweetok with amber colored eyes...”
“I was abandoned in the woods? But... why?” Syri whispered, not wanting to believe what she was hearing.
“We still don’t know, Syri. I’m sorry,” Lerom piped up.
Syri sighed. “It’s not your fault... but do you know who my parents are?”
“I’m afraid not,” Naola answered.
“...Because I do,” she finished.
Lerom’s face paled, and Naola looked like she was about to faint. But despite that, they both spoke at the same time, the single word almost inaudible. “Who?”
“Have you ever seen Queen Danae in person?” she began.
“Yes, we’ve both seen her before. Why do you ask?” questioned a puzzled Lerom.
Meanwhile, Naola had been watching her daughter’s face carefully. At the very moment she mentioned Queen Danae, the Gelert’s light brown eyes were drawn to Syri’s striking golden ones. Then she remembered the queen’s eyes...
Naola rushed over and wrapped her arms around Syri in a tight hug. “My little Princess Syri...”
Syri gave her a weak smile, then realized something. “That’s another thing—how did you know my name was Syri? Tobaar and Danae had planned to release my name, Syrietta, to the public the very next day. It can’t be a mere coincidence, can it?”
“No, you’re right. We found you wrapped in a blanket with a small envelope attached to it. The only thing inside was a small piece of paper with ‘Syrietta’ written on it,” Lerom explained slowly. “In fact, we kept that envelope for the day we planned to explain how we found you.” He left the room in search of the important piece of paper.
Syri continued speaking, a glazed look in her eyes. “That means Kora was right. There was someone—there is someone who wanted me out of the castle... but who? And what would they have to gain from it?” More and more questions clouded the Xweetok’s mind as she learned about her mysterious past.
Lerom returned with a small yellowed envelope in his paws. Its edges were crinkled, showing just how many times her adopted parents had reread the note inside. He looked from his daughter to the envelope, then back to Syri again before gently placing it in her paws.
Syri’s furry red paws shook as they closed around the envelope. Just as she was about to open it, she noticed for the first time what its seal was. “Isn’t this...?”
Lerom and Naola followed their daughter’s gaze until all three of them found themselves looking at a fancy red seal on the back of the envelope. Naola gasped. “It’s the palace’s seal! We never even made that connection.” Naola’s voice quivered.
A new, determined look was on Syri’s face now. “Mom, Dad... You both know what I have to do. I’m going to Iscalle to claim what is rightfully mine. I’m going to uncover the truth behind my kidnapping and take my place as Princess Syrietta, Mysica’s true heir to the throne.”
Naola looked like she was going to protest, but Lerom glanced at her and shook his head. He turned to his daughter and simply said, “Your mother and I will be worried, but if that’s your decision, we’ll just have to trust you. You’ll be the best princess the kingdom of Mysica has ever seen.”
Syri blinked back some unexpected tears and gave her father a heartfelt smile. She silently thanked him for understanding, and he seemed to hear her, without either of them saying a single word.
After one last look at Lerom, Naola, and the tiny house she had come to know so well, the brave Xweetok turned away and let a lone tear slide down her cheek before she walked outside to begin her journey.
Meanwhile, in a dark, gloomy room of Iscalle Castle, a suspicious looking Buzz dressed as one of the king and queen’s guards was telling his lord of the strange event that he had witnessed.
“The village of Risel, you say? So the queen has finally found her precious daughter... How interesting,” a threatening voice boomed.
“Yes, Lord Vyroske. The girl has her majesty’s eyes,” the Buzz continued, his head bowed in respect.
The sinister figure laughed maliciously. “Well we can’t have her make it to the castle now, can we? No, then all of our plans will have been for nothing! Summon Nyx and Zyr—I must speak with them at once.”
“Of course, sir,” the Buzz spy consented with a low bow. He flew quickly out of the ominous room and rushed to find the Dark Faeries, just as his master had commanded.
“Ah, Syrietta. It appears you’ve learned of your true lineage at last. Do you honestly intend to march right into Iscalle and claim the throne? It seems you truly do take after your father—you’re just as foolish as he is. We’ll just see who rules over Mysica, dear niece.”
Just outside of Risel, an anxious red Xweetok stood all alone, a sick feeling taking root in her stomach. Although she was also excited to finally be able to journey outside her village, she was more worried and nervous than anything else.
There were often stories of Neopians traveling by themselves who ran into Dark Faeries on the roads between towns. The merciless faeries would cast spells on them and turn them into all sorts of creatures. Second-thoughts of the journey ahead flooded her mind. The frightened Xweetok wanted to turn around and run back into the hut she’d known for years. She wanted to be in her parents’ arms and have them tell her it was going to be okay. She wanted Kora to promise they’d always be friends...
“Wait up, your highness!” an all too familiar voice broke the silence.
“Kora!” Syri yelped in relief. Then she realized why her best friend must have come. “Here to say goodbye?”
The Wocky’s face twisted into a grimace. “Now why would you think that?”
“Well, I’m leaving for Iscalle... Why else would you be here?”
A mischievous look shone on Kora’s face. “Okay, have it your way. Guess I won’t come with you then...”
Syri’s heart leaped into her throat. “You mean it? You’re really coming with me?”
“Of course I am! You didn’t really think I’d let you do this on your own?” Kora taunted, sticking her tongue out.
As much as Syri wanted to give her friend a giant bear hug, she knew Kora would only be embarrassed. She wasn’t exactly the sentimental type that got all worked up over something like this.
Kora seemed to read Syri’s mind as her cheeks turned a light shade of purple, the tell-tale sign that she was blushing. Syri giggled and asked with a grin, “Ready to go?”
“You know it, princess!” Kora chirped as she began to follow her friend.
Syri whirled around so quickly that Kora almost ran into her. “Hold on, there’s one condition. No calling me ‘princess’ or ‘your highness.’ I don’t even want to hear ‘your majesty.’ Deal?”
“Fine. Just ruin all the fun,” the Wocky scowled.
Without another word, the pair turned and walked away, unaware of the danger that lurked ahead.
To be continued...