A Mysterious Heir: Part Five
When Syri regained consciousness only a few minutes later, she had the strangest feeling she was being stared at. Knowing this could be a trap, the Xweetok tensed her muscles and sprang up without warning. Her eyes locked on a dark figure sitting nearby, who she immediately pounced on.
The figure tried to say something, but their voice was muffled and it was impossible to hear. Out of nowhere, someone burst into a fit of laughter. Syri relaxed, but only slightly. She knew who the laughter belonged to. “Evon, what’s going on?” she asked meekly.
After the laughter died down, the Eyrie spoke up. “Why don’t you ask Kora? You two seem pretty... close.” He chuckled quietly as he got to the last word.
At first, Syri was puzzled with his choice of words. Then she suddenly understood what he meant. The Xweetok carefully stood up, letting her prisoner go. The figure she had thought to be an enemy got to her as well.
“Captured twice in one day... that has to be some kind of record!” Kora said with a smile.
Syri grinned back. “My bad... I thought you were one of Vyroske’s guards.”
“That’s okay, you weren’t the only one,” the Wocky assured her, a sheepish look on her face.
“Oh, so you were the one that fell on top of me!” Syri exclaimed.
Kora nodded. “Yeah, sorry about that. I guess I was a little paranoid.”
“The important thing is that we have you back. It’s just not the same without being made fun of!”
“That’s what I’m here for!” The Wocky laughed, sticking her tongue out.
Evon cleared his throat and the friends jumped. They had forgotten he was there. “I hate to ruin the moment, but it might be a good idea to leave before one of the guards comes by...”
Syri sighed. “Good point.”
“Now, how do we get to the throne room?” the Eyrie pondered.
Kora jumped up and down in excitement. “Oh, I know how to get to the throne room from here! Follow me!” She ran off without another word, Syri and Evon not far behind.
“Ta-dah! I told you I know how to get to the throne room!” Kora grinned triumphantly.
“You sure did... But couldn’t you have gone a bit... slower?” panted Syri.
The Wocky frowned and glanced at Evon. “He doesn’t look tired.”
“‘He’ has a name,” the Eyrie grumbled.
“Hmph,” was all Kora said in return.
Syri leaned against a wall for support. “Evon also has wings,” she pointed out, putting emphasis on the Eyrie’s name.
Kora gave her a look. “Really? Is that what those things growing out of his back are? I had no idea!”
The Xweetok smacked her forehead with her paw. She shouldn’t have said anything. “Kora, you know what I—”
But it was too late. “Thank you for gracing me with your infinite wisdom, Your Highness. Never would a simple peasant like myself have been able to figure that out!”
Syri waited a moment before responding. “You proved your point. Can we go now?”
“Eh, I guess so. I was running out of big words to use anyway,” the Wocky admitted.
Evon snickered, which in return attracted a glare from Kora. The Eyrie quickly tried to turn it into a cough instead. Kora decided to let it slide, due to her nagging curiosity. This whole experience was turning out to be an epic adventure—maybe someday, tales of their adventure would be in the Neopian Times!
Syri, seeing that Kora wasn’t about to start a fight with Evon, walked up to the familiar gold encrusted door. She only hoped that there would be a different result this time around. Kora seemed to read her friend’s mind and said in a soothing voice, “Don’t worry, there’s three of us this time. We won’t let anything happen to you.”
The Xweetok smiled weakly and moved toward the door. She let her paw rest on the door a moment before finally throwing it open.
Waiting inside was Vyroske, the last person Syri wanted to see. Once again his back was turned, as if he had been speaking with someone. The trio of young Neopians soon realized that that was just the case. Evon and Kora stepped forward so they were on either side of their friend. Together, the three of them marched forward until they were standing no more than twenty feet away from Vyroske.
As they approached, the evil Pteri faced them and spoke in a low voice to a figure seated on a throne. When Syri saw exactly who this figure was, her heart skipped a beat. It was King Tobaar. Mysica’s ruler and, more importantly, her father, was sitting on a lavish throne right in front of her. The Xweetok didn’t have to look to know who would be seated next to him. It would be Queen Danae, her mother, whose beautiful eyes she had been gifted with.
“Sire, the one in the middle is the imposter I’ve been telling you about. It would seem she’s escaped from her cell... What kind of punishment would you have me perform?” Vyroske asked with an evil smile.
“Patience, Vyroske.” King Tobaar turned his attention to Syri. “Child, you claim to be my daughter but have no proof. How am I to believe you?”
Syri cleared her throat. “Your Majesty, I have no proof but my name and eyes. Will you listen to my story?”
Vyroske shook his head, but the king looked to his wife, who nodded enthusiastically. He turned back to Syri. “We will listen.”
The Xweetok took several steps forward and began, “I am Syri, from the village of Risel. Earlier today, it was made known to me that I am not who my parents claimed I was. Or rather, my adopted parents. Nearly sixteen years ago, they had found me in the woods just outside our village. I was no more than a month old, and there was but a piece of paper attached to the blanket I had been wrapped in. On it was an envelope with Iscalle castle’s seal containing a single scrap of paper that said ‘Syrietta.’ My parents never gave any thought to the seal, but when I pointed it out this morning, they made the connection. As far as I’m concerned, my name is my proof. If you require more, look at my eyes or take this envelope. My eyes are the exact same color as the queen’s, and this envelope is the one I spoke of, with the palace’s seal.”
After Syri finished her speech, she untied the crinkled envelope from her tail, where she had been hiding it. She walked forward slowly and handed it to King Tobaar, who examined it carefully. “This is indeed the seal of our palace. Do you happen to know whose plan this was?”
The Xweetok’s only reaction was to glare at Vyroske. “Yes, sire. The one who wanted me gone was Vyroske, your very own brother. He wanted me out of the way so he would one day be able to take over your kingdom.”
The king turned to his brother and raised an eyebrow. “Well?”
Vyroske narrowed his beady little eyes at Syri. “Lies! How are we to be sure that she isn’t a spy sent from a neighboring kingdom? Surely you don’t honestly believe I kidnapped your daughter?”
Tobaar looked like he was in pain. He knew he should believe his brother over this strange Xweetok he’d never seen before, but for some reason he was starting to believe Syri. “I’m not sure what to believe anymore,” he whispered.
But the evil Pteri wasn’t about to give up. “In that case, your majesty, there’s someone I’d like you to meet. I thought it best to wait until this imposter was gone, but it appears I have no choice.” He motioned to one of the guards standing near the door.
The guard left the room but soon reappeared. However, this time he wasn’t alone. Walking next to him was a red Xweetok who could’ve passed as Syri’s twin. Upon closer inspection, Syri noticed something that made her gasp. The Xweetok’s eyes were the exact same shade of gold as her own!
Vyroske seemed satisfied with Syri’s reaction and explained while the Xweetok came to stand next to him, “I found her wandering around Iscalle this morning and was perplexed by her eyes. As soon as I saw them, I was reminded of your daughter and how she had the queen’s eye color. When I asked her where she was going, she told me she was looking for the Dark Faeries she had been separated from. Then I remembered the search team that the palace sent out after your daughter had been kidnapped. They came to the conclusion that she had been kidnapped by Dark Faeries, had they not? It makes sense, your majesty. Her name isn’t Syrietta, but I expect that the faeries changed it so no one suspected who she really was.”
The king took this into consideration as he addressed Vyroske. “How am I to decide which is my daughter?”
Vyroske pretended to think about his brother’s question. “Is there anyone who was around Syrietta often when she was a baby? Someone who can... identify the true princess?”
Danae spoke at last. “What about Ezra, Syrietta’s nursemaid?”
“Yes, summon Ezra at once,” Tobaar instructed another guard.
Within the next few minutes, the guard returned with a Starry Bruce. She had a motherly air about her, exactly the way you would picture a nursemaid. The Bruce made her way over to the king and bowed her head. “What service do you require of me, Your Highness?”
“Ezra, surely you remember Syrietta?” the king asked her.
“Of course, Your Majesty. It’s good to see her again...” She had been looking at Vyroske’s fake princess, but when her eyes fell on Syri, Ezra’s voice trailed off.
Vyroske watched the Bruce, a smug look appearing on his face. Syri wondered how he could possibly be so confident. Surely Ezra would be able to tell she was the real Syrietta?
Danae spoke softly. “Dear Ezra, you often cared for Syrietta when she was a baby. Might you be able to tell us which of these is truly our daughter?”
Ezra glanced at the Pteri and shifted her feet nervously. Her eyes drifted to Syri again and the Xweetok thought she saw something in those worried eyes—the motherly Bruce seemed almost apologetic.
With Syri still wondering what was going on, Ezra finally gave her hesitant reply. She pointed shakily at Vyroske’s fake Syrietta and announced quietly, “She is Mysica’s true princess.”
Syri’s jaw dropped open, and Kora hissed. Evon crouched forward and glared at Vyroske, ready to strike. The guards were instantly at the king and queen’s sides, even though they weren’t the ones being targeted.
Evon’s eyes flashed, and he bared his teeth. It was now or never. Just as he was about to pounce, he perked his ears up. Although he was the first one to hear it, the others soon heard it too—a barking sound that was slowly growing louder.
As Tobaar, Danae, Syri, Kora, Evon, Vyroske, Ezra, the fake princess, and the guards all turned toward the sound, the door opened just the slightest bit and a small blur of brown ran forward. Danae recognized the little furball and called out, “Vio! Down, boy!”
But Vio only ran faster. He was now in a full sprint, and headed right toward Syri. The Xweetok strained her eyes and tried to recognize what species of petpet this was. Even though she couldn’t actually see what Vio was, she knew. He was a Doglefox—her Doglefox.
She sat down on the thick violet carpet and held out her paws. Sure enough, the adorable petpet not only leaped into her paws but was so fast he actually tackled her. Syri smiled, memories of her earlier days slowly coming back to her.
“Guards!” Tobaar exclaimed. “Arrest that Xweetok at once!”
Syri wanted to scream.
To be continued...