Flying High: Part Five
Queen Fyora sighed heavily as she stared out of the window in her chambers. She’d been standing here alone a lot today, since she’d heard the news about Krawk Island at breakfast. Oh, if only there’d been a sign that Bugsypal9 and her crew might still be alive! She sighed again and continued to stare at the ever-darkening sky.
Kreludor was steadily rising up from the horizon, shining as bright as ever. Fyora sighed again. “Maybe I’ll take a quick moonlight stroll around the palace to soothe my nerves before I turn in,” she said to herself.
So Fyora got up, picked up her staff of power, and walked out of the room. After a while she reached the large entrance hall at the front of the palace, where the giant wooden front doors opened up into Faerieland itself. A few other faeries were bustling to and fro there too.
Fyora smiled, looking down at the scene from the top of the great staircase that led up from the ground floor to the second, branching off in two directions. Fyora slowly walked down the stairs, approaching from the right. She stood at the bottom for a while, staring up at the huge doors, then turned to go back up the stairs again.
BANG! Suddenly, there was a huge bang on the giant wooden doors from the outside. All the faeries in the hall, including Fyora, instantly stopped what they were doing and turned their heads to look at the doors. There was another BANG and the doors opened up a little. In jostled about five or six huge Skeiths, carrying between them a huge tree trunk which obviously had been cut down to use as a battering ram. They were all wearing well-shaped, shiny black armour.
The doors then suddenly burst open fully and... in came Jhudora! Behind her, a gigantic army of Neopets was standing in the doorway, each and every one wearing the same black, shiny armour adapted according to their species.
A few of the faeries snapped out of their stunned trances and rushed to the back of the hall where there were several magical telephones, hoping to call for help. Jhudora pointed a long purple finger forward and several of the Neopets behind her started running, grabbing the faeries before they could take a single step.
“Search the entire palace! Make sure not a single one of them escapes!” barked Jhudora. Her army instantly split up into teams which raced into the hall, up the stairs and along the several corridors which led off the hall.
Fyora tried to run, but before she could take a single step, a group of Jhudora’s troops were on her, pinning her to the floor. She looked up and saw Jhudora walking slowly towards her.
“Well, well, well,” sneered Jhudora, as she advanced towards Fyora, “so we meet again, your majesty.”
“You’ll never pull something like this off, Jhudora!” said Fyora, trying to convince herself of the same thing. “Mark my words, you’ll get defeated in the end. You always do!”
“Not this time!” snapped Jhudora. “Now that that stupid, foolish human and her crew of brats are out of my way, and you’re on the verge of becoming my prisoner, absolutely nothing can stop me now! Every one of your hopes has been crushed into pieces.” She made a fist to show her point.
Fyora couldn’t believe what she’d just heard. Bugsypal9 was.... dead!? No, this couldn’t be true!
“I left a little surprise for them on Krawk Island,” said Jhudora, as though she could somehow tell what Fyora was thinking. “One of my commanders reported to me that although the ship got away, the human was taken out! Fell shortly after she was sighted on the balcony. The pirate’s leader was also reported missing, but he doesn’t matter to me any more. None of them matter to me any more!”
Fyora hung her head, the last little flicker of hope within her extinguished. One of the soldiers gently slid her staff of power out of her hands and gave it to Jhudora. Jhudora raised the staff high into the air, and then pointed the tip right at Fyora!
“It’s over, Fyora!” shouted Jhudora. “I’m taking over your palace, your entire land and proclaiming myself Queen of the Faeries! And this is just the beginning. Soon, all of Neopia will be mine as well!” She let out an evil, witchy sort of laugh.
Fyora didn’t respond. She was too miserable and broken-hearted to care.
Jhudora straightened up and turned to one of her soldiers. “Take her away,” she ordered.
Meanwhile, far away from Faerieland, just as the sun was beginning to rise, in the little bed in her cabin on the Sweet Fyora, Captain Bugsypal9 suddenly sat bolt upright... screaming. The next thing she knew, she was bursting out of bed and running out onto the main deck in her pyjamas and dressing gown, still shouting loudly.
“Captain!” cried Nikolikan as she fluttered down from the Crow’s Nest, “what on Neopia is the matter!?”
“Fyora...”answered Bugsy, calming down but still breathing heavily, “Fyora is in trouble.”
The sun had risen properly now, and the Sweet Fyora’s entire crew was assembled on the main deck, including Pteri. Bugsypal9 paced up and down in front of them for a few seconds before speaking.
“I suppose you’re all wondering why you’re here,” said Bugsy, stopping and turning to face them all, “Well, last night, I had a vision in my sleep. Faerieland was invaded by Jhudora!”
The whole crew gasped. “But... but... how is that possible?!” stuttered Nikolikan.
“Jhudora had this huge army-thing of Neopets at her command,” replied Bugsy. “They stormed into the palace the instant Jhudora gave the word, capturing every faerie they could find. They took them completely by surprise. Even Fyora herself didn’t have a chance. They got her too.”
“So what are we supposed to do about it?” asked ZoshiDevil.
“First,” answered Bugsy, “we alert the Defenders.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” said Pteri, suddenly. “You say you saw all that in a vision while you slept. I doubt the Defenders of Neopia are going to believe something someone dreamed up out of nothing.”
Bugsy gave him a swift, piercing look, causing him to falter slightly.
“Dreams can be a window into what’s happening far away,” said Shadow suddenly, hoping to distract Bugsy and succeeding, “or maybe even into the future.”
Bugsy looked at him for a moment. “Hmm...” she mumbled. “Nevertheless, we must do something! It’s part of our duty to Faerieland,” she snapped, turning to face them all again. “Even if it was just a dream, we can still send a Neomail to the Defenders, alerting them of our suspicions. And then we’ll go and warn Fyora.”
“Right!” they all said. Bugsy reached into her coat pocket and pulled out an envelope. “Which one of you is the fastest flier here?” she asked.
“Oh, oh, oh!” said Pteri, suddenly, sticking his wing in the air. “I’m pretty fast.”
Bugsy looked at him for a few seconds before hesitantly walking over. “Take this Neomail straight to the Defenders of Neopia HQ in Neopia Central,” she ordered, giving him the envelope, “and come straight back. Don’t try anything, because Buckbeak will be escorting you.”
“Yes, Captain Bugsy,” replied Pteri, taking the envelope in his beak. He and Buckbeak took off and started flying north-west.
Bugsy turned to the other three. “The rest of you, prepare the ship for battle,” she ordered. “We may yet need to fight soon.”
Thirty minutes later, the captain and her crew were going about their business, bringing all the supplies and equipment they thought they would need for battle up to the main deck and sorting through them.
“Captain,” said ZoshiDevil, as he and Bugsy untangled various lengths of rope, “just a question, but... if Faerieland really has been taken over, how can you be sure that Fyora’s even still alive?”
“Towards the end of the dream, Jhudora ordered her troops to take Fyora away somewhere, either up into the tower or down into the dungeon. I know she’s alive,” replied Bugsy.
Suddenly there was a loud squawk from somewhere over head. Bugsy looked up and saw Buckbeak and Pteri flying back towards the ship.
“How’d it go?” asked Bugsy, the instant they were back on board. But the looks on Buckbeak and Pteri’s faces did all the talking.
“They didn’t believe me?” Bugsy presumed.
Pteri shook his head. “They said they couldn’t send in a squadron until they were absolutely sure there was a problem,” he explained, “and since we had neither proof nor picture, we couldn’t put up an effective case.”
“But we also have a bit of good news, captain,” said Buckbeak, stretching his wings a little. “As we were coming back, we passed Faerieland itself.”
“And?” asked Bugsy.
“You were right, captain!” said Buckbeak, determined. “Instead of it being all pink and bright and colourful, Faerieland was all dark and shadowy and evil-looking, as if it had indeed been taken over by a dark power.”
“Then it’s settled,” said Bugsy, loudly. “I now know what we have to do.”
“Which is?” asked ZoshiDevil, hesitantly.
Bugsy gave him a swift, piercing look. Without speaking, she climbed up onto the wooden barrier on the side of the deck and stood on it, holding on with one hand to the rope ladder that led up to the Crow’s Nest for support.
“Now listen to me, all of you!” she yelled. “A friend of ours is in trouble; her land has been conquered by evil, and unless Jhudora is stopped, all of Neopia will share the same fate! So what are we going to do?!”
The pets stayed silent.
“I’ll tell you what we’re going to do!” Bugsy continued. “We’re going to rescue Fyora, and then we’re going to stop Jhudora and save Faerieland! And if nobody’s going to help us, we’ll just have to go it alone! By the strength of our bodies and the courage of our hearts, we will charge into that palace without a backwards look; and the enemy will see not our cowardly retreating backs, but the flash of our blades and our brave, roaring faces and they will know what we can do! I love this planet, almost as much as I love my own Earth. This world may not be my home, but still I will not just stand by and watch it be destroyed! So who’s with me?!”
Buckbeak, Nikolikan, Shadow and ZoshiDevil instantly started shouting out battle cries in agreement, punching the air as they roared. Pteri, on the other hand, didn’t look too sure, but Bugsy pretended not to notice this.
“ZoshiDevil,” she called, “set course for Faerieland. At midnight, we strike!”
To be continued...