The Sisterhood Of The Travelling Broomsticks: Part Four
4: A Search And A Confession
“It can’t be ‘gone’!” Kindle exclaimed, running over to Marie and shaking her shoulders. She looked over the eyes hurriedly, but didn’t find the Eye. “No, no, Marie, you couldn’t have lost it!”
“I didn’t,” Marie said angrily. “It was stolen.”
“Oh, and who do you propose did that, Mr. Nobody?” Tiggy asked, hands on hips.
“The Witches,” Allison whispered, her eyes wide and staring.
“Yes, actually,” Marie said in surprise. “I – I don’t know what to believe, really, but that’s my first guess.”
“We can’t let them get to the faeries!” Kindle said immediately. “We might not be witches, but we are witchlets, and we are friends.”
“We can do it,” Allison said strongly, defying her first instinct to curl up in a ball and hide under the bed. “Witchlets stick together, and we can’t just let the faeries get attacked, as much as we might not like them – and as must as we might.”
“We have no choice,” Marie agreed, bowing her head, and the other girls joined in. “To justice we pledge.”
“To justice we pledge,” the others murmured, almost in agreement.
* * * * *
“Where would the Witches hide it?” Kindle asked immediately, as soon as their heads rose.
“They wouldn’t hide it,” Tiggy said; “they’d take it to war.”
“War?” Marie whispered, eyes wide with fright. This was all too real. “You mean...”
“Wage war on the faeries,” Tiggy said grimly. “I’ve never liked faeries, but this is pretty awful. Faeries haven’t really done anything wrong, except be infuriatingly—”
“Yes, Tiggy, we know that you don’t like them,” Allison interrupted. “Let’s just... put that behind us. For the peace of Neopia, just try to help them.”
Tiggy took a deep breath. “Okay.”
“We have to go after them,” Marie said. “To Faerieland.”
“Now, now, don’t let’s be too rash,” Kindle said hastily, looking at Marie worriedly, as if she was insane. “Faerieland is a long way away – and how are we meant to get out of the house to get to an Eyrie cab if the house is magically locked?”
“We fly,” Marie said, grinning slyly. “On... broomsticks.”
* * * * *
“Holy smokin’ light faerie muffins!” Tiggy exclaimed, reeling back. “I – I don’t want to do that.” She was looking slightly green.
“Why?” Allison asked, patting her shoulder comfortingly.
“Because...” She took a deep breath. “I’m afraid of heights.”
“Really?” Marie was surprised. “I’d have never thought of it from you. I mean, perhaps from Kindle, maybe Allison, me; but you?”
“Hush!” she exclaimed. “I – I’ve never liked heights. Once when I was very young I was flying on an Eyrie and... I fell. I was hurt very badly and had to go to Hospital; I’ve never been flying – or even been held – since.”
“Golly!” Allison exclaimed. “Well... Bang goes that theory...”
“Plan, not theory,” Kindle muttered, looking off into the distance, trying to formulate a plan.
“There’s only one thing to do,” Marie said, looking down at Tiggy almost regally, with the queenly air of someone asking for help. “You need to brave your fear – for us; for the world.”
It took a lot of persuading, and a great deal of trouble, but eventually Tiggy submitted with a shudder. They opened what appeared to be a broom-cupboard, and saw a pair of stairs that led up, up, up into nowhere. Each step was lined with a coating of dust and spyderwebs were strung from the railings and the poles that filled the empty space between banister and stair.
“Creepy,” Kindle said, shivering.
“I hate spyders,” Allison said with distaste, scrutinising with mild fear the many creepy-crawlies that were waiting to pounce. “Whoever likes them is stupid.”
“That’s a very un-witch-like fear,” Tiggy commented, her face paper-white.
“As is fearing heights,” she countered calmly.
“C’mon,” Marie said nervously, wondering if the stairs would hold their weight. There was four of them... She wasn’t sure if they would hold even her alone! “Be prepared for a fall...”
“Heights are everywhere, pressing in on me,” Tiggy muttered. “Could we hurry this up a bit?”
“I have an idea!” Kindle exclaimed, elbowing Marie aside. “Lie down on the stairs so your weight is more evenly dispersed, and not just in one spot; we’ll stand a better chance of not falling.”
She was first, to demonstrate. Next followed Allison and then Tiggy. They climbed slowly, but did make progress. They grew sticky and sweaty as the air became more humid, and perspiration made their shirts stick to their chests, their fur matted with dirt and dust from climbing up through the filth.
“I see the top!” Kindle yelled joyously, and her voice reverberated through the walls. “Oops...”
“Really?” Tiggy asked, now lime-coloured. “I can’t wait!”
They hurried, like the last few steps of the marathon that no one can help but speed up at – for it had been a marathon!
When they reached the landing, Tiggy would have kissed the floor if she wasn’t worried that she would get a disease from it. It was sweltering there, and Marie wished that they had thought to bring a cauldron of cool water.
“I... hate... this!” Allison said. “Let’s hurry up and find these broomsticks so we can get out of here!”
They looked and looked, and in a secluded little nook they found four broomsticks.
“They were probably left over from when Morguss, Sophie, Edna and Kauvara were witchlets,” Kindle said, staring at the brooms in awe, as if they were too sacred to be touched, let along ridden.
“Well, grab one,” Tiggy said impatiently, snatching one up.
When Allison followed suit, Kindle looked crestfallen. “Don’t worry, Kindle,” Marie whispered. “It’s just that there’s no time for sentimentality at the moment; maybe they weren’t even theirs.”
Kindle nodded dejectedly, and then she grabbed one for herself. “C’mon, we don’t want to be late!”
Marie nodded and followed her. “Let’s fly down!” Allison was saying excitedly.
“Fly? Already?” Tiggy was quite green (no pun intended). “C-can we wait until we’re at the bottom?”
“Hun, I don’t want to walk all the way down those stairs again,” Allison snapped. “Face your fears and come along! I faced my fear of spyders, now you face yours!”
Tiggy gulped and climbed onto the broomstick. “O-okay. How do you, you know... ride these things?”
“I’m not sure exactly,” Marie said, frowning. “Most of the books seemed to think that it was pretty basic – which it’s not.”
“You know, when this is over, and we’re fully-fledged witches, we should write our own How to Be a Witch book. Wouldn’t that be fun?”
“Yeah.” Tiggy smiled softly, and Marie was struck by how nice her face was, beneath all of the scruff and the tatters. “But not now! Let’s go.”
“I have an idea!” Marie said. “Let’s use the levitating spell!”
“Great idea!” Allison said, grinning. “What was it again?”
“Sisterax,” Kindle said immediately, and when everyone looked at her a little oddly she shrugged. “I have a photographic memory.”
“Yeah, okay. So, we say sisterax and hopefully we’ll start flying,” Marie said. “Okay? It doesn’t sound too hard.”
They climbed onto the brooms, Kindle at the front, and all whispered, “Sisterax,” at the same time. Lo and behold, there were four broomsticks hovering at the top of the stairs.
“Wow,” Kindle said, wobbling and almost toppling to the floor. “How the heck do you stay on these—” She fell to the floor with a thump. “Things...?”
Marie wobbled and tottered like jelly, but she stayed on. “Get back on, Kindle,” she said firmly. “We’ve got to go all the way to Faerieland – you better get used to it.”
Kindle got back on obediently and they started to slowly fly down the stairs. Once Marie glanced back and saw that Tiggy’s face was, quite simply, green. They were at the bottom of the stairs finally, and they flew to the door. Marie and Allison were getting the hang of it better than Kindle and Tiggy and they zoomed to the door.
“What can I say, it’s in my blood,” Allison said when Tiggy gave her an angry glare. “It’s in yours, too, but you have to believe.”
Tiggy took a deep breath, and her broomstick stopped shaking. “I am a witch-in-training,” she said firmly, almost angrily. “I am flying. I am!”
She laughed then, her broomstick flying higher than the others, and then subsiding and coming back to level. “I am, too,” Kindle joined in. “I can fly, and I will, thank you very much, broomstick!”
They soared into the air, a quartet of witches. “Let’s go,” Marie said, laughing. They spun out the door, and up into the sky.
They flew for a long time; longer than they had expected. Their behinds grew very sore from sitting on a narrow beam for so long, but the actual flying was so exhilarating they tried to forget. Finally Faerieland’s pink, fluffy clouds were in sight.
“We’re here!” Kindle rejoiced. “We’re almost at Faerieland!”
But it wasn’t the usual, happy place that it normally was – no, this place was different. It was a rag-tag band of warriors, crouched and waiting. They were all strong and muscled, lean and ready for a fight.
“Witchlets,” they growled, barring their entrance. “What are you doing here?”
“We’re here,” Marie said calmly, “to take the Witches away; we’re here to stop the war.”
“Stop the war?” the faerie questioned. “Ha! You four? I don’t think so. Our army is trying to stop the war, and we’re not having too much luck. We’re preparing for battle.”
“No, no, don’t do that!” she exclaimed. “If you do... Oh, my, if you do...! The Witches will start a huge war; a war that will not be ended for a long, long time. Please, my friends, do not fight!”
The faerie raised a sharp spear, the head glinting with sharpness in the fading light. “Why should we listen to you?”
Just as she was about to charge – and call with her the other warriors – Tiggy jumped forward.
“Wait!” she cried. “I – I have a confession to make. It was me; I gave the Witches the Eye.”
To be continued...