The Wish: Part Three
I followed her reluctantly into the dark hole that she had opened. Once I got inside, it was pitch black, like midnight in the Haunted Woods. I could barely even see my hand in front of my own face! Had I put too much trust in the dark faerie?
I was about to scream but something had clamped over my mouth; my scream came out barely audible and muffled in effect. “Shh,” a voice cautioned from out of nowhere. “It’s me,” the dark faerie muttered. “Don’t worry yourself. Take my hand.” I took her hand and clung onto it, as a baby Xweetok would cling to its mother’s paw. I was putting all my trust in this faerie that I barely knew. But oddly, I felt safe.
“You need to be quiet here,” she continued quietly. “We’re inside Faerie Academy. We don’t want them to hear us.” She led me down the dark corridor silently. I felt scared yet excited at the prospect of sneaking. It reminded me of once when I had snuck into school with Daribell to get a book I had forgotten. At the thought of Daribell, a lump swelled in my throat. I missed her so much.
As I pushed the thoughts of Daribell out of my mind, we managed to come to a chocolate brown door. It was old and creaky, as if it had not been used in a long time. Deep grooves ran through it, plain, weaving around the small glassed window. She pulled me through the doorway; all the while the door whined in protest.
Then we emerged into a cozy room, with two large, overstuffed chairs by a lovely fireplace, fire crackling inside it. The walls were covered in bookshelves filled with thick volumes, ranging from stories about Faerieland’s history and biographies about Fyora. A small lamp in the corner illuminated the room for what the fire did not light. It was perfect, compared to my old room back at—I refused to let myself think that. No dwelling on the past, I reminded myself. The past... but what was my future?
The dark faerie dumped her books on the floor and sat in one of the chairs, snapping me out my thoughts. “Come here,” she beckoned, “so I can tell you a story.” I followed her advice, sitting in the other chair. To my surprise, it was comfortable, not hard as the old, cracked leather insinuated.
“Now,” she started, “Before we get into how I got in here, you need to know a little bit about me first. I was born in the deep recesses of the Haunted Woods. I enjoyed being with my mother, Rinsee, for several years. She was strong and determined, sort of making her a role model for me. But the actions we did weren’t exactly glamorous. We stole at night, hid by day. While my mother enjoyed every minute of stealing and pilfering, I loathed the nights we went into Neovia to steal others’ hard earned Neopoints and food, but unfortunately, it had to be done.
“One day I woke up from a dreamless slumber to find that my mother was gone. I spent many years of my life trying to find her. I still stole, but only when it was absolutely necessary.
“I was on one of my stealing trips when I found her. She was locked in the Defenders of Neopia’s Dungeon and in very bad shape. I walked up to her saying kind words, but to my surprise, she hissed in response. How could she not recognize her own daughter? ‘Go away,’ she had spat at me. ‘I’m not interested in being your Punchbag Bob again. So go away,’ she cautioned icily. I was horrified. If a mother could not recognize her own child, a child who idolized her, what hope was there? I sulked until dawn, and soon realized I had nowhere to hide. Neopians were going to wake up soon, and if I was found, I would be put in the Defenders’ of Neopia Dungeon. So I ducked into a nearby house, praying it was empty.
“But I had ducked into the Soup Faerie’s kitchen. Before I could duck back out, she offered, ‘Would you like--oh,’ she said, looking bemused. ‘You’re a dark faerie, aren’t you?’ She looked at me confusedly. She probably was wondering why I was here, risking being handed over to the Defenders of Neopia. I wondered that, too.
“‘Please!’ I begged. ‘I don’t want to be handed over to the Defenders of Neopia! I haven’t done anything wrong! Except stealing... and I only did that when I had to!’ I kept on babbling a bunch of useless excuses on why I shouldn’t be handed to the Defenders of Neopia. She stopped these with a sigh. And, to my surprise, it was a sigh of joy.
“‘I’ve been waiting for someone like you.’ She had explained happily. ‘I’ve sent many a dark faerie away who had stolen from here only to be faced by me. And every time they didn’t repent what they did, they only tried to leave.’ She frowned, and then smiled again. ‘And then I met you! You are the only dark faerie who has ever repented, felt sorry for what they’ve done! So I’m not going to turn you in to the Defenders of Neopia.’ I breathed a sigh of relief. She wasn’t going to turn me in!
“I started to walk out the door when she had called, ‘Wait!’ I turned around. She looked at me pleadingly. ‘Please stay! I could use a helper to feed the Neopets and you’d be perfect for the part! I’ll let you stay with me and I will let you eat. You wouldn’t have to steal anymore! And you’d only have to stay for seven years. Please stay!’ she begged again. I figured it was the least I could owe her. And it did sound enticing. I wouldn’t have to steal anymore...
“So I accepted. ‘Sure.’ I watched her eyes light up with happiness. And then I thought of a snag. ‘Wait a sec,’ I cautioned her, ‘I’m a dark faerie. What happens when little Neopets see me giving them soup? They’ll turn me over to the Defenders of Neopia in a heartbeat!’
“‘I have a way to fix that,’ she told me; she almost sounded smug. Her eyes turned pleading again. ‘Please stay.’
“‘I will,’ I assured her. Her face lit up in joy. She led me to a small guest room in the back of the Soup Kitchen. It was quaint and cozy; better than I’d ever had. She walked out of the room with a smile on her face as if she had just won the lottery. I left my dark purple backpack on top of the bed and followed her.
“She walked down the corridors hurriedly, her walk quick and efficient. She made a turn into a dark room. She seemed to know I was following her; she turned when she got into the center of the room. With a snap of her fingers, a dozen Blobaguses woke up and illuminated the room. I stared transfixed at the scene. How did she get them to do that?
“‘I give them a good home, and they light up the room accordingly,’ she said, as if reading my thoughts and--” the dark faerie cut off. “Oh my goodness, you’re shivering!” With the mention of this, it brought me back to reality. And she was right. I was shivering. Even my feet were cold in my furry indigo boots.
“I am so sorry,” she apologized. “Here,” she said, “take this blanket.” I took the fabric and noticed the pattern on it. It was beautiful, the exact same shade of a dark night with small twinkling stars luminous across the midnight sky. I gasped when a comet, fiery and bright, raced across the sky, and then laughed. I had been so absorbed in the blanket; the slightest movement had scared me.
The dark faerie laughed when she saw how deeply absorbed I was in the design. “Isn’t it amazing?” she sighed. “Now back to the story.” My head immediately snapped up. I wanted to hear the rest of her incredible tale.
“‘Now,’ the Soup Faerie had said, taking a worn-out book from the shelves, ‘I will teach you how to use glamour.’
“‘Glamour,’ I had repeated dully. It sounded like hard work. ‘What is that?’
“‘Glamour,’ she said, ‘is a way of making yourself look like someone else. Like this.’
Before my eyes, she turned from a soup faerie into a beautiful fire faerie, and back. ‘But there are drawbacks to this spell,” she told me gravely. ‘Firstly, you may not touch anyone, or you are reverted to your original appearance. Secondly, you must revert to your original appearance before the next dusk, or you will be stuck in that glamour forever. But other than that,’ the soup faerie said cheerfully, ‘that’s all there is to it.’
“‘So how do you do it? How do you do that spell?’ I said, eager to learn.
“It didn’t slip past her. ‘Well,’ she said proudly, ‘All you have to do is imagine yourself as whatever you turn into, for instance, a fire faerie. You must feel the heat of fire pulsing through your veins, the heat that dwells inside of you. Try it,’ she encouraged eagerly.
“‘Okay,’ I said. I stood there for several moments, imagining what it was like to be a fire faerie. And then I had it. I could feel the extreme heat as it coursed through my veins, the fire raging through my soul; see the bouncing red curls as they cascaded down my shoulders, burning scarlet as my purple dress turned a brilliant crimson and ginger hue. Then I turned around in the mirror. I looked exactly like a fire faerie.
“It all came easily after that. I could make myself look like each of the six elemental faeries, though I was best at fire. It all went smoothly after that. For seven years from dawn until dusk, I helped the Soup Faerie and when she closed, she taught me magic. We became best friends, the Soup Faerie and I.
“Then seven years passed. I had had a fun day working in the soup kitchen, and was walking to the library for my daily magic lesson. Then I heard crying coming from the Soup Faerie’s room. ‘Hello?’ I called delicately as I waked in her room. She was on her bed crying. I immediately went over to console her for whatever had happened.
“‘What happened?’ I asked. What could be wrong?
“‘It’s been seven years,’ she cried. ‘You have to leave tonight!’
“I didn’t want to leave; this was my home now. ‘But I don’t want to leave,’ I had told her.
“‘Really?’ she said. I nodded and she said happily, ‘How joyous! Well, then, let’s start our magic lesson!’
“We should have known better than to tempt fate. The next day, a little royal Krawk came in while I did not have my glamour on. She immediately called the Defenders of Neopia to catch me. I only had so much time. The Soup Faerie knew this and told me to run and hide in the shadows. She gave me my backpack with everything I would need in it, including the spell book she had taught me with.
“I ran away, scared, to Faerieland and got there at dawn. Before I went into the city, I put on my glamour. I didn’t want to have a brush with the Defenders of Neopia again. I ran to the Faerieland Academy’s library, and have hid here ever since.”
She finished the story, and I was appalled. All this hardship that had happened to her made my life seem like a bunch of boadaisies.
“Well,” she said, “what’s your story?” I told her my story, from the bullying at LWMS to the fateful wish that brought me here.
“A wish?” she asked curiously.
“Yes,” I confirmed sheepishly. “I did something special for an Air Faerie.”
“Interesting...” she murmured. “Would you like to stay the night?” she inquired.
“Oh no!” I cried. “I’m going to be late getting home! What am I going to do?!”
“Shh,” she murmured. “I know a quick way to Illusen’s Glade. Follow me.” I took her hand, placing all my trust in her. I really needed to get home, and was ready to try anything.
She led me down a dank, dark passageway that smelled of earth and vegetables. I was getting scared. “Where are we?” I said. The odor had suddenly taken a more putrid stench. I could smell spoiled milk, rotten omelets, and—was that a moldy tigersquash?
“Underneath the Meridell Rubbish Dump,” she told me. “Just hold your breath, we’re almost past it.”
So I held my breath until we got past the dizzyingly-horrible odor, and we continued under the streets of Neopia as we neared Illusen’s Glade. Suddenly she stopped, warning me with a finger. Were we there?
“Shh,” she cautioned me. “We’re passing under the Defenders of Neopia’s dungeon.” We walked quietly past this obstacle, and then we were there. Illusen’s Glade. Well, sort of. There was a bush in front of the exit, blocking the view of the secret tunnel.
“Well,” she said, “this is where I leave you. See you!” She started to disappear back into the dark murkiness of the tunnel.
“Wait!” I called out. “I haven’t even gotten your name!”
She turned around. “Arian,” she told me, a fearful expression on her face. Why was that? Why was she so scared?
“Well,” I said confusedly, “mine’s Destiny.”
Her fearing expression turned to sheer horror. “I’ll see you tomorrow! Bye, Destiny!” she replied shakily as she turned back into the tunnel and disappeared.
My head was spinning. Why was she afraid of our own names? Little did I know that I was going to find out.
As I emerged in the glade, Illusen was doing a quest with a baby Zafara. As soon she saw me, she handed the item she had found to Illusen and ran up to me, hugging against my leg, laughing with pure joy.
Illusen smiled. “It seems she’s taken a liking to you,” Illusen stated warmly. “Would you mind bringing her home? I don’t want her to get lost in the streets of Meridell.” Illusen’s voice had taken a more concerned tone now, as it seemed she very dearly cared for the young Zafara.
“Sure,” I said, and picked up the baby Zafara. She was so cute. I touched her little nose. She giggled again. Her voice was like a wonderful pealing bell. She reached out for my nose, and laughed again when she touched it. I was completely wrapped around her finger, even though I didn’t know her.
“Be careful,” Illusen warned, fear in her eyes. “She’s special.” Like I didn’t already know that. Even now, as Illusen warned me, her azure-eyed gaze continued to dazzle me.
I walked out of the glade, the cute little baby Zafara snuggled safely in my arms. I walked through the streets of Meridell, with every Neopet around watching me. Looking down self-consciously, I was reminded of Linta Way Middle School. At LWMS, whenever anyone stared at me, it had been when I did something horrible, clumsy, or out-of-place. But the Neopets were now looking at me, a curious glint shining in their eyes.
Suddenly a voice cried out, “That’s her! Get her!” and two angry Darigan Skeiths were all of a sudden chasing me. I ran with the baby Zafara, knowing that she was someone who had to be kept safe. I ran till my heart was pounding, threatening to jump out of my chest, my legs tiring, almost giving out. I needed a rest, but I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t let them get the one who had already become such an important part of my life.
I ducked into an alleyway and hid there, hoping the angry Skeiths would pass by me. Luckily, they did. I looked at the baby Zafara again. Then I saw something I hadn’t noticed, nor expected. A tiny locket was around her neck, glinting gold in the silver moonlight, now that night had fallen. I opened it and saw nothing I had ever anticipated.
There, inside the locket, was Fyora’s Jewel. I had heard of it, but never believed it had existed until now. It was a purple heart, with facets that shone brighter than the locket itself. Its deep lavender surface cast a faint glow on the locket, enchanting me as I looked upon it. On the other side the locket said, “Keep my heart safe”. What was that supposed to mean?
I closed the locket and looked at the baby Zafara again. There was nothing about her that seemed different or odd, so why would she have something with such great significance?
But I did know one thing. I couldn’t go back. Not to Illusen, as they would expect me there. Not walking through the Meridell streets, as they would surely be on my tail again. What should I do?
And then I had it. I knew exactly what I had to do. I had to try glamour. Even though Arian said it wouldn’t be easy. Oh, well, I had to try. A light faerie seemed easy enough.
I concentrated—I wanted to get this right. At first I felt nothing. Oh, well, I thought, it was a nice try. And then I felt everything. I could feel the light covering every inch of my body, my blond tresses falling down to my waist; see the light that suddenly made everything brighter. I could pick out every hair on the baby Zafara’s head as she watched in bewilderment as I transformed into the light faerie.
And then I remembered one of the rules that Arian had told me. If anything touched me, the glamour would disappear. So why wasn’t I normal again, even with the Zafara in my arms?
I supposed I would just have to thank my lucky stars for this exception. But now I had a new problem... where would I go?
Then I suddenly knew exactly who would understand my new dilemma, someone who would know exactly what to do.
To be continued...