The Prophecy Faeries: Part Five
PART FIVE: FYORA’S PALACE
The four faeries flew into the heart of Faerie City, finally landing on the steps of Fyora’s palace. Cautiously they approached the great doors, where two guards were positioned.
“State your business here,” the guard on the left demanded.
“We’ve come to see Fyora,” Bernadette said, her voice quavering with nerves. “It is a matter of emergency.”
The guard studied them carefully. “What kind of emergency?” he asked suspiciously. “The Faerie Queen cannot be disturbed on matters of minor importance.”
“This isn’t a matter of minor importance, but it can’t be discussed out here,” Bernadette said indignantly. “This is about the safety and security of Neopia!”
The guard laughed. “And how would four little faeries know about something like that?” he said, looking amused. “Run along home now. Aren’t the adults looking for you?”
“Just please let us speak to Fyora,” Victoria begged.
“I don’t think so.” Suddenly, the guard looked more closely at Bernadette. “Hey, you’re a dark faerie,” he said accusingly.
“Believe it or not, I’m aware of that,” Bernadette said irritably.
“Sorry, no dark faeries in the palace. It could be a trick, or a plot to capture the Queen,” the guard said.
“A second ago we were just kids who didn’t know what we were talking about,” Bernadette said angrily. “Regardless of what kind of faerie I am, we’re still too young to attempt to hurt the Queen.”
“And too young to speak with her,” the guard countered. “I’ve got my orders. No dark faeries in the palace, and no one in the company of a dark faerie either.”
Bernadette balled her right hand into a fist, her nails digging into her skin. “Did you know that twenty percent of all Neopian faeries are dark faeries? Do you mean to tell me that all dark faeries are evil? Do you realize that you are exercising a prejudice against twenty percent of Faerieland’s population?”
“Here she goes again,” Victoria muttered under her breath.
“Do you hear her, Ignitus?” the guard chuckled, directing his comment at the other guard. “She actually expects us to believe that dark faeries aren’t evil!” The two guards laughed.
Bernadette could no longer contain her fury. Purple swirls of smoke began issuing from her fingertips. Most of them entwined themselves around the guards, blinding and immobilizing them. The last few tendrils of smoke began to attack the locked doors of the palace, attempting to open them.
Realizing that it was far too late for caution, Victoria decided to help. She conjured a huge amount of water and forced it to furiously pound against the doors. Clarisse did the same, but with a huge air current. Hortensia flew down the palace steps and magically uprooted the nearest tree. Under her careful guidance, it soared through the air and slammed heavily into the uppermost beams of the doors.
Under all of these forces, the doors almost immediately gave way. Victoria sent the water crashing down the palace steps, while Hortensia carefully set her uprooted tree back into its original position. The purple smoke drifted back to Bernadette and disappeared, while Clarisse released the air currents and allowed them to flow normally.
As soon as their magical weapons had been safely disposed of, the four faeries ran inside, leaving the guards surrounded in clouds of impenetrable purple smoke.
The faeries found themselves in a massive chamber, with marble flooring and stained glass across the walls. The ceiling had been delicately carved by one of Neopia’s finest artists, while glass chandeliers threw light across the echoing space. At the far end of the room was a grand staircase, draped in red velvet carpeting. The sound of gentle music came from above, but its source was not clear.
As soon as the faeries noticed this, the music stopped, and an alarm began to sound. Hidden doors opened from behind the staircase, and huge guards came running out, headed for them.
“Attack as many guards as you can and head for the stairs! Whatever you do, don’t stop for anyone! Try to find Fyora!” Bernadette said to her friends. Before they could reply, the guards had reached them.
Clarisse seized a fistful of air and directed it straight at some oncoming guards, who were immediately bowled over. Quickly she flew above them and headed for the staircase.
Hortensia found that she could do nothing, as there were no plants or earth to be seen in the room. Frantically she launched a typical defensive spell, one that all mediocre faeries could do. This allowed her to temporarily escape the oncoming horde and follow Clarisse to the stairs.
Victoria flew high above them and conjured a vast amount of water, which cascaded down upon all who stood below her. The vast majority of the guards were now lying unconscious or injured on the floor, thanks to the faeries’ combined efforts.
A few of the remaining guards took off after Hortensia and Clarisse, but six or seven others remained behind, targeting Bernadette, who quickly conjured more smoke. It was not enough, however, and she felt her powers weakening. Desperately she cast another spell, which sent a heavy purple force crashing into the nearest guards and knocked them to the floor. Two more remained standing.
Noticing her friend’s plight, Victoria sneaked behind the guards and formed two neat spheres of tightly contained water, which she let drift over the heads of the unsuspecting guards. With a snap of her fingers, the spheres fell and released the water, causing both guards to fall.
Unfortunately, many of the guards that had been previously attacked were once more approaching them. Quickly the two friends flew up the staircase. They found themselves in a narrow but elegantly decorated hallway, with one path heading left and one heading right.
“Which way did they go?” Victoria asked.
“I don’t know! Hopefully they’ll find Fyora,” Bernadette said, flying to the left. Victoria followed close behind her.
Meanwhile, Clarisse and Hortensia were racing down the opposite hall. “Don’t you think we should go back for Tori and Dette?” Hortensia asked.
Clarisse didn’t even hesitate. “No,” she called back, “or we’ll all be caught. You heard Dette; she wants us to find Fyora.”
Hortensia had to agree, but still she felt guilty about leaving her friends. She was certain that they could take care of themselves, but she couldn’t help imagining what the guards might do if they captured them.
Up ahead, the hallway went into a sharp turn. The moment Clarisse was hidden behind the corner, Hortensia seized her chance. Quickly she turned around and flew in the opposite direction, back toward the main hall.
Just as she neared the end of the hall, she heard the voices of guards. “Which way do you think they went?” asked a voice.
“We should split up,” another replied. “There were four of them, so perhaps they went in two directions.” From this statement, Hortensia realized that Bernadette and Victoria must have gotten away.
“Good idea,” a third voice said. “But someone needs to go and warn Fyora. Who volunteers?”
No one spoke after this last statement. Hortensia held her breath, hoping she would have a chance to hide before they came down the hall.
“How about you, Revin?” asked the second voice, who seemed to be in charge.
“I’m not the fastest flyer, maybe somebody else—” said a fourth pet.
“That wasn’t a suggestion,” the second voice barked. “Revin, go to Fyora. Doniu, Kile, go left and look for them. Frenden, come with me to the right. Posmen, go to the main hall and see how many of the others you can revive. When they wake, send out a full search force. Cover every inch of the palace.”
“Yes sir,” said five voices simultaneously.
Hortensia had positioned herself so that she could see the six pets assembled below her. She located the one called Revin. He was a timid-looking Ogrin. She wondered how he had ever managed to become one of Fyora’s guards, but it didn’t really matter. The important thing was to follow him. He would lead her to Fyora.
She pressed herself up against the ceiling, hoping none of the guards would look up and see her. They didn’t. Two of them passed below her, heading right, while two others headed left. The one called Posmen headed back to the main hall. Revin stepped cautiously up to the stretch of wall just behind the staircase landing. He felt around the wall with his hoof, obviously looking for something. He must have found it, because a moment later the wall slid back noiselessly, revealing a hidden corridor lit by torches with purple flames.
Hortensia flew silently behind Revin as he made his way up the hidden passage. She clung to the ceiling when he turned and closed the wall, concealing the hidden passage once more.
Like the hallways outside, the hidden corridor contained no doors, and was lit by torches every few feet. Unlike the other halls, however, the walls were painted purple, and the occasional chandelier hung from the ceiling.
Finally, the hall appeared to stop. The Ogrin was facing a dead end, yet there was still no sign of any doors. Revin turned to his left and tapped hurriedly on the purple wall with his hoof.
After a moment of silence, a deep male voice called, “State your identity and your purpose here.”
“I am Revin the Ogrin, member of Her Majesty Queen Fyora’s Official Palace Guard,” he said in a shaky voice. “I have come on order of my commander to discuss the severe security breach within the palace that occurred just moments ago.”
There was another silence, and then the voice said, “You may enter,” and with these words, a purple door magically appeared in the wall.
Now was the time for Hortensia to take action. Her heart pounding, she quickly cast a spell that rendered Revin completely immobile. The look of surprise was still frozen on his face as Hortensia flew down and propped him up against the wall so that he was out of sight of the door. Then she carefully opened it and entered, wondering what she would find.
She had stepped into a tiny, circular room. Six doors, not including the one she had just come through, took up the entirety of the walls. A circular purple rug sat on the floor beneath another chandelier. Sitting in a purple chair beside the door she had just come through was a chubby Bruce in a guard’s uniform. He was presumably the voice she had heard in the corridor. As she came through the door, it disappeared completely.
Once the Bruce realized that an earth faerie, and not an Ogrin, had come through the door, he looked stunned, and began to rise from his chair. Quickly Hortensia performed another immobilization spell.
She then turned her attention to the doors before her. Each was painted with swirling patterns in which the primary colors were various shades of purple and hints of pinks. The designs were beautiful, but they provided no clue as to which door led the way to Fyora. Cautiously, Hortensia opened one.
The door led to an ornately furnished sitting room, complete with two huge windows that provided a spectacular view of Faerie City. Hortensia did not have time to admire it, however. She closed the door and tried another room.
This one was a dining area. A grand table that seated sixteen, three chandeliers, and two more windows furnished the room. Hortensia realized that there were more doors in this room, allowing Fyora to pass from room to room without entering the circular hall.
The next room Hortensia tried was some sort of meeting room. She supposed it must be where all the great rulers of Neopia held conferences. As with the other rooms, Fyora was nowhere to be seen.
Feeling extremely discouraged and increasingly worried, Hortensia tried the last door. Before she even had time to examine the room, a blinding flash of yellow light suddenly hit her, and then the room went dark.
Clarisse soon realized that Hortensia was no longer following her, and she considered turning back and locating her friends. While she was deliberating, she heard voices echoing up the hall. Guards were coming after her.
Frantically she continued up the hall, looking for a place to hide until they passed. Unfortunately, there were no doors in the entire hall. She had no choice but to keep flying forward, and hope that the hall would eventually provide a good hiding place.
After what seemed like hours, she reached the end of the hall. There was a single wooden door before her. She quickly opened it and peeked inside. She had discovered the palace kitchen. Luckily, there was no one inside, so she slipped in and studied the room.
It was large and immaculately clean, but not particularly unusual. Clarisse looked around for either a suitable hiding place or a way out. She soon located a broom closet, a dumbwaiter, and a small door much like the one she had come through, which led to another door-less purple hall. She could either wait in the broom closet and hope she was not discovered, or head down the new hall and hope it would lead somewhere.
After a moment of contemplation she came upon another idea. The dumbwaiter in the corner was large enough that she might be able to squeeze inside. There was a chance that it led to Fyora’s chambers. If she found Fyora’s chambers, she might find Fyora, and anyway it seemed to be a cleverer hiding place than the closet.
Quickly Clarisse jumped inside. She used a gust of air to pull the metal door closed on the other side, and then used the same air current to tug on the ropes. As the air pulled down on the ropes, the platform on which she was crouched began to rise.
After several minutes she reached the top of the chute. There was another small metal door sealing the chute off from the room, so Clarisse used her magic to shove it open. Carefully she pulled herself out of the chute and studied her surroundings.
She was standing in a small room furnished with a circular purple table and four little chairs. A small countertop ran along one wall, with several purple cabinets situated above it. I must be in Fyora’s private chamber! Clarisse thought excitedly. Eager as she was to find Fyora, she was still worried about her friends, so she decided to stop for a minute and search for them. She closed her eyes and allowed herself to be emerged in the feeling of her power.
After a moment she felt Bernadette and Victoria. They were with each other, she realized, and they didn’t seem be in danger. Both of their thoughts were centered on flying and finding Fyora, so they must have gone down one of the long hallways. Clarisse could only hope that one of the guards wouldn’t find them.
Next, she searched for Hortensia, and found to her surprise that Hortensia was very close by. For some reason, Clarisse couldn’t feel her thoughts at all; something must be wrong. Abandoning all thoughts of finding Fyora, she headed off to locate Hortensia.
The small eating area opened into a larger, formal dining room. At the opposite end of the dining room was another door, and Clarisse had the feeling that Hortensia was in the room beyond it.
Hurriedly she crossed the room and flung open the door, finding herself face-to-face with another faerie.
Bernadette and Victoria were growing very tired. None of the four had slept since the night before, and with all of the magic they had used to escape the school and evade the guards, their energy was quickly disappearing, even as they sped down the hall.
“Dette, slow down,” Victoria panted as Bernadette turned sharply around a corner.
“We can’t stop, Tori, or the guards will find us,” Bernadette called over her shoulder, never slowing her pace.
“How much farther?” Victoria asked.
“How should I know?” Bernadette said irritably. Deciding to distract herself and her friend, she added, “Did you know that seventy-five percent of all Faerie City residents have never even seen the Faerie Queen? In Faerieland overall, that number is eighty percent, and in all Neopia, it’s ninety-eight point three.”
“How do you know that?” Victoria asked incredulously, grateful for the change in topic.
“I read it. Since I live in Altador, I went to the Altadorian Archives a lot, and I picked up some things,” she replied, slowly turning another corner.
“So, you just pick up books on percentages and polls?” Victoria asked, grateful for the slower pace.
“Yeah, and books with facts and statistics. For example, did you know that—”
Suddenly, Bernadette stifled a shriek as her right wing gave way and she fell to the floor.
“Dette!” Victoria gasped, rushing to her aid. “What happened?”
“I can’t stand,” Bernadette gasped. With a sickening feeling, Victoria realized that Bernadette’s ankle was twisted at an odd angle.
“Dette, can you move your ankle?” she asked.
“Yes,” Bernadette said, her face twisted in pain.
“It must be sprained,” Victoria said. “Do you think you can fly anymore?”
“No,” Bernadette admitted. With a grim smile she added, “Remind me to tell Hentoff to show me that healing spell when we get back.”
Victoria helped Bernadette to her feet, but they soon discovered that she was unable to put any weight on her right ankle. Victoria stood on her right side to support her, and together they continued painstakingly down the hall.
At last, the hall opened up into a long corridor. It was not at all fancy or well kept like the front entrance had been, so Bernadette guessed that it must be servants’ quarters. Her guess proved correct as she and Victoria began opening doors.
“We must be really far from Fyora,” Victoria said glumly.
“Wait, what’s at the end of the corridor?” Bernadette asked, pointing down the hall.
“How should I know?” Victoria mimicked.
Bernadette sat down against the wall to rest while Victoria walked to the end of the corridor.
“There’s another hallway, and lots more doors,” Victoria called. “I can’t even see the end of this hall.”
“Go ahead and look around,” Bernadette called back. “I’ll be fine here for a minute.”
“Okay,” Victoria called, moving up the hall, out of sight of her injured friend.
For several minutes Bernadette sat on the floor, listening to the sounds of Victoria’s receding footsteps. All at once, she realized that she was hearing more than one set of footsteps. In the next moment, the door in front of her opened, and the silence was shattered as someone let out an earsplitting scream.
Clarisse hardly had any time to think. One fact registered through the tumult in her brain: the faerie looked angry, and she was about to cast a spell.
Frantically, Clarisse murmured a spell, sending currents of air to form a shield between herself and the light faerie before her.
With a wave of her hand, the faerie stopped Clarisse’s spell, and with another flicker of movement, she bound Clarisse’s hands and feet with invisible ropes.
“What are you two doing here?” she hissed angrily, gesturing to the still form of Hortensia, who lay motionless on the floor in the doorway of one of the adjoining rooms. For one terrible moment Clarisse thought that Hortensia might be dead, but she could still feel the presence of Hortensia’s mind, so she guessed that her friend was merely unconscious.
The only other person in the room was the still-frozen Bruce guard. At first Clarisse wondered why the faerie, who was obviously working for Fyora, would freeze her own guard, and then realized with some satisfaction that Hortensia must have done it.
“We came to warn Fyora,” Clarisse said.
“Warn Fyora?” The faerie seemed taken aback. “Warn Fyora of what?”
“I can only discuss it with Fyora,” Clarisse said.
“Nonsense. I am Fyora’s personal assistant, Linisa. Any visitors to Her Majesty must come through me first. If you came to warn her, why did you attack the guards?”
“We couldn’t get in the front. We didn’t mean to attack, but we had to force our way in.”
“How many of you are there?” Linisa asked suspiciously. She knew that the two young faeries here could not have administered an attack on the guard by themselves.
“Four,” Clarisse said.
“And your name?”
“Where do you attend school?”
“How did you get out of Faerie Heights?”
“We broke out.”
“To tell Fyora about Principal Dinusa.”
“Are the others from Faerie Heights as well?”
“Are the other two older than the two of you?”
“No, same age.”
Linisa looked very surprised. There had been very few breaches in palace security before, and none by faeries so young.
“What about Principal Dinusa did you wish to tell her?”
“Dinusa left to see Baerlin. He has... an object. She’s going to use it to take over Neopia. We only have two more days.”
“What kind of object?” Linisa asked sharply.
“Don’t know... something about hypnotism.”
“And how do you know this?”
“Bernadette and I overheard Dinusa talking to Rutherford, the new substitute.”
“So, you heard the principal of the most highly esteemed school in Faerieland talking to a substitute teacher about taking over the world using hypnotism?” she asked skeptically.
Clarisse wasn’t sure what to say. Technically, they learned about most of the plot from Hentoff, but of course Clarisse couldn’t tell Linisa about him. She also couldn’t mention that she believed Dinusa was evil because she had heard the thoughts inside Dinusa’s mind.
“Not exactly... we learned the rest later.”
“And what is this about Baerlin, the sorcerer?”
“He has some object. Dinusa went to see him. In two days she’ll return to school and take over.”
“And you expect me to believe that, without any outside help, four students were able to break out of a highly guarded boarding school, attack the entire palace guard, and manage to sneak up to Fyora’s private apartments, all of which are feats that no one else has accomplished before?”
“We had some help,” Clarisse said hesitatingly.
“I can’t say.”
“And why not?”
“He wants his identity to be protected.”
“I can’t say.”
“You must tell me,” Linisa ordered. Clarisse could tell that Linisa did not believe her, and truthfully Clarisse couldn’t blame her. She thought about mentioning that he was a teacher at Faerie Heights, but decided against it.
“Why didn’t the guards admit you?” Linisa demanded when Clarisse made it clear she would say no more on the identity of the mysterious helper.
“They didn’t believe us, because Bernadette is a dark faerie.”
“A dark faerie?” Linisa practically shrieked. “Well, no wonder you weren’t admitted! Dark faeries are evil!”
“Why did you attack my friend?” Clarisse demanded angrily, deciding to ask Linisa some questions of her own.
“I witnessed her attack two palace guards,” she said, gesturing to the immobilized Bruce, “and anyway, the fact that you two are here, in Fyora’s secret chambers, without having been admitted, proves that you are here to attack Her Majesty!”
“No! We want to warn her!”
Linisa pulled the ropes binding Clarisse tighter. “Where are the other two? Where is the dark faerie?”
“I don’t know.”
“Where are they?” Linisa repeated stubbornly.
“I don’t know! We were separated.”
“I will call the guards immediately! The entire palace will be alerted!” Haughtily Linisa walked over to the Bruce and removed the spell. Instantly he sat up, looking around.
“I’ve taken care of these two,” Linisa said. “The guard outside the door was attacked as well. Get him, and then send someone up here immediately to arrest these two for attempted attack on the Faerie Queen!”
“Right away, Miss Linisa,” the guard said with a salute. He turned and hurried out the door.
“Now, how did you get in here?” Linisa demanded.
“You can’t arrest us,” Clarisse said, ignoring the question. “We have to speak with Fyora.”
“Fyora isn’t here,” Linisa snapped, “and you little traitors will most certainly not be speaking with her.”
“You have to believe me!” Clarisse cried desperately.
Linisa’s reply was interrupted as several of the guards came into the room. Clarisse could only stare at Linisa in horror as guards led her away.
Bernadette had been resting her injured foot, only to meet someone else. A small, frail Lutari wearing a maid’s uniform had opened the door in front of her. At the sight of a dark faerie, the Lutari let out a terrified scream.
“Shh! Be quiet!” Bernadette snapped. The Lutari was instantly silent. “Do you know where Fyora is?” Bernadette asked.
“She’s not in the palace today,” the Lutari said timidly. “She’s visiting with King Skarl in Meridell.”
“Oh no,” Bernadette said. “Do you know when she’ll be back?”
“Sometime tonight,” the maid said.
“Great,” Bernadette muttered sarcastically. Suddenly, an alarm sounded. “What’s that mean?” Bernadette asked.
“It’s letting the guards know that suspects have been arrested,” the Lutari said.
In the hallway nearby, Victoria had heard the scream and was hurrying to Bernadette’s aid. She began running down the hall, towards the place where she had last seen Bernadette. Just as she reached the corner, an alarm blared. “Bernadette’s been captured!” Victoria said to herself. As she rounded the corner, she saw a tiny Lutari maid, with Bernadette right beside her.
“Hortensia and Clarisse have been arrested,” Bernadette said. “This Lutari knows how to get to the palace dungeon. Fyora’s not here, she’s in Meridell. We have to get Claire and Tenny and get out of here. I’ll only slow you down.” She turned to the Lutari, her face white with pain. “Is there any way I can get out past the guards?”
“There’s a servants’ exit right over here,” she said, leading the way. Victoria helped Bernadette to her feet, and Bernadette quickly slipped out the door, hovering carefully in the air.
“How will you get anywhere?” Victoria asked.
“I think I’ll try to fly to Hentoff’s. Meet me there.”
“What if you can’t make it that far?”
“I’ll make it,” Bernadette said stubbornly.
The two friends said a hasty goodbye, and then Bernadette flew out of the palace, while the terrified Lutari led Victoria down a long flight of stone steps to the dungeon.
Victoria easily immobilized the two guards standing watch outside the door. She then considered how to unlock the dungeon door. She remembered an earlier teacher at the academy had once said that water was one of the most powerful forces in Neopia, capable of wearing down any surface if it had enough strength. Weak as she was, Victoria concentrated all of her powers into creating a powerful but controlled band of water, which she worked into the lock on the dungeon door. Victoria had been expecting the lock to give way; instead, half of the dungeon door crumpled under the force of the magically enhanced water.
Clarisse and Hortensia, who had just awakened, were the dungeon’s only current occupants. Victoria opened the cell door with the same band of water, although less forcefully this time.
“How’d you get—”
“There’s no time to explain. Fyora’s in Meridell, we’ve gotta get out of here. Dette’s already left but she’s injured. We have to go to Hentoff’s.”
“Okay,” Clarisse agreed. Victoria then immobilized the Lutari maid. Although she felt sorry for her, it couldn’t be helped, because the Lutari might locate more guards before they managed to escape.
The three faeries ran back up the stairs and returned to the door through which Bernadette had left. Before long they were flying easily through the skies of Faerie City.
“We’d better split up. A water faerie, earth faerie, and air faerie traveling together looks pretty conspicuous,” Hortensia observed.
The others agreed, so they took three separate routes to Hentoff’s home. When they arrived, Hentoff hurried out to meet them, looking concerned. “Where is Bernadette?” he asked.
“You mean she’s not here?” Victoria asked.
“No, she never arrived.”
To be continued...