The Prophecy Faeries: Part Eight
PART EIGHT: THE BEGINNING
The battle had completely stopped as everyone in the room stared in shock at Clarisse, who was still for several moments. When she moved again, her eyes flickered open, and everyone gasped. Her opaque irises had turned a deep, impenetrable black.
Victoria, who was standing nearest Clarisse, reached out to her, but Hentoff, who had come running forward, stopped her. “You mustn’t touch her,” he whispered softly. “The curse is unstable. It might affect you as well.”
Bernadette recovered from the shock first. In a terrible rage, she threw a strong spell at Dinusa. It was the darkest spell she knew, one she had sworn never to use. Dinusa brushed it aside almost lazily, and it dissolved into thin air. Ignoring everyone around her except for Clarisse, Dinusa placed the object around her neck, placing her paw in the center of the glowing green stone set in the object’s center. Softly Dinusa began speaking in a language the others did not recognize, maintaining eye contact with Clarisse. The others could only watch in horror as Dinusa attempted to control their friend.
Inside Clarisse’s mind, a fierce battle was waging between herself and the invading curse. The back of her mind knew that this was Dinusa’s hypnotism and she must not let herself be controlled, but the curse was quickly attacking her. It took all of the willpower she had to fight it off for a fraction of a second. This was made more difficult by the voices and images floating through her mind. Her strange abilities seemed to have been magnified within the past few hours, so that she could hear thoughts and sense emotions constantly, not to mention the dozens of strange visions she had been seeing, none of which seemed to make any sense. These thoughts, emotions, and visions swirled around in her mind, distracting her from her battle with the green mist that was slowly taking possession of her mind.
What Clarisse did not know was that the only reason she was able to hold off the curse was the presence of her strange abilities. This ancient curse had never encountered any magic quite like Clarisse’s, and it was having immense difficulty fighting off the magic. This struggle between her magical abilities and the curse allowed Clarisse to keep at least parts of mind in her own control.
Suddenly, the strangest thoughts entered Clarisse’s mind. It suddenly occurred to her that she should attempt to cut through all of the plant walls Hortensia had made. The green mist forced her to turn, slowly, in the direction of Victoria and Hentoff, both of whom were shrouded in plants. “It would be so easy to give in,” suggested a loud voice in Clarisse’s head. “Just cut down the plants. Everything will be fine if you just destroy the walls.”
“No,” argued the feeble voice that was still Clarisse. “I can’t do that, or they could die. Can’t destroy the walls...”
Even thinking of not doing as the curse commanded sent intense waves of pain across Clarisse’s body. She wasn’t sure how long she could resist....
“Think of Hortensia and Bernadette and Victoria. Think of how you need to save them!” Clarisse commanded herself.
“There is no escape from the pain, except to do as you are commanded. DESTROY THE PLANT WALLS!” ordered the voice belonging to the green mist.
“You cannot escape from the curse, but your friends can. Do not let them be killed. Save them.”
“NO!” screamed the voice as Clarisse resisted, turning away from Victoria and Hentoff, towards Dinusa and Baerlin. Clarisse doubled over in pain.
“Remember your friends. Hortensia, Victoria, Bernadette. Tenny, Tori, and Dette. Tenny, Tori, and Dette. You must save them. Tenny, Tori and Dette. Think of them, and only of them...”
As Clarisse filled what little was left of her mind with thoughts of her friends, she felt the intensity of her feelings literally push the green mist farther away. The curse could not tolerate such wonderful feelings...
As she regained more of her mind, the memories of the past few days came back to her, and she understood that Dinusa had hypnotized her. The green mist was still present, but it was a fleeting, wispy echo against the strength of her sudden power. She was suddenly aware of where she was—lying on the damp floor of the cave—and where everyone else was. The dark film that had clouded her vision lingered only in the corners of her eyes. As fast as she could, she stood, glared at Dinusa, and sent a huge stream of magic towards her.
The others, watching from a distance, stared in shock as the black faded from Clarisse’s eyes just before she stood and attacked. None of them saw what happened next, as they were all blinded by the pure white light of Clarisse’s power.
Dinusa screamed and was thrown into the door separating the room from the chamber housing the golden sphere. The door gave way under the force of Clarisse’s power, and Dinusa landed with a heavy thud on the floor, mere inches away from the giant golden sphere. The object around her neck flew away, landing with a crack on the cave floor several feet from Dinusa, who stirred feebly but did not rise.
Hortensia, Bernadette, Victoria, and Hentoff ran forward eagerly, enveloping Clarisse in a massive hug. The walls of plants fell away as they embraced.
“You did it!” Victoria cried triumphantly.
“Tori, I’m now completely deaf,” Clarisse joked, rubbing her ear.
Amidst the congratulations, Imagen sneaked away. He knew a defeat was coming, and he had no wish to stick around and be killed.
When the faeries stopped celebrating, they found Baerlin walking across the cave floor, towards the glowing sphere.
“Don’t do it, Baerlin,” Clarisse said, having instantly understood. Baerlin recognized a lost battle too, but his escape would be quite different from Imagen’s.
“I will do whatever it takes!” Baerlin hissed, his eyes livid with rage. “Marpameus, you are living proof of the Golden Light’s power! I always suspected the Golden Light was here, especially when I read of Khorianna’s disappearance. When I read that Khorianna’s missing brother was a Draik, I knew that you must have come across this legend while in the mountains. I assumed the power was too great, and you were dead. But here you are, with magic and immortality! Imagine how powerful I shall be, a sorcerer possessing all the powers of the Golden Light!”
“No pet can possess it, Baerlin,” Hentoff said calmly. “Imagine how many have tried. I was lucky to escape with my life. The others with me were not so lucky.”
“They were fools! They did not know what they were dealing with! I have studied the Golden Light for a century, trying to understand its secrets, and now at last I have found it, and no renegade bunch of faeries is going to stop me from taking the power that is rightfully mine!”
“So the hypnotism bit was never true,” Hentoff said calmly. “You knew that one of your apprentices wanted to conquer the world, as you did. You knew she is now more powerful than you. You had no wish to be controlled by your own apprentice. So you gave her the Vinessien, activated it for her, all with the promise that she would rule but you would still be her advisor, her mentor. All along you never intended to let her have power. You told her the presence of the Shining Sun was needed to activate the Vinessien, but really you had her bring you here so that you could take all the power for yourself. You would then be strong enough to kill her, getting her out of the way, and her apprentice too. You would then use both the Vinessien and all the power from the Shining Sun to control Neopia, as you had always planned.”
“Exactly,” Baerlin said maliciously. “And it will work! Of course, I knew of the existence of your sister’s prophecy, but I was not concerned, for I did not think the prophecy applied to me. Until I realized that the ‘evil villain pretending to be a friend’ could easily be Dinusa, principal of a faerie school. When I realized this, two days ago, I wanted to take Dinusa out of the equation, for surely the prophecy faeries would arrive to stop her. I planned to seize control of the Golden Light immediately, but of course I had just given Dinusa the Vinessien, which would surely be lost if she were to die. So here I am, waiting for the opportune moment to reclaim what is mine!” At this point Baerlin seemed to grow tired of the conversation. He turned and began walking towards the glowing sphere, paying no attention to Dinusa, who was moaning on the floor.
“You’ll be killed,” Clarisse warned him. “You cannot control it.”
“Of course I can! I was the most powerful sorcerer in the world, the one who killed all others before him!”
“You are not powerful now, and even if you were, you cannot control it. Khorianna had more powerful magic than you, and the sphere killed her,” Clarisse said, catching his attention.
“Khorianna was a mere prophetess! She saw glimpses of the future; that was all. Her gift could not protect her against the sphere,” Baerlin retorted.
“That wasn’t all. Weren’t you paying attention? I fought off the Vinessien Curse. You’ve never seen anyone do that before, have you? I did it because I have the same power that Khorianna had, the same gifts. You would not be able to fight off the Vinessien as I did, therefore your magic is not as strong as the kind Khorianna and I share. If Khorianna could not withstand it, you cannot.”
“You lie!” cried Baerlin, but fear was present in his eyes. Without another word, he turned and ran towards the sphere. Clarisse reached out to him, knowing that she could not allow him to kill himself, but Hentoff pushed her back and ran after Baerlin himself. Realizing that they were in danger where they stood, Hortensia pulled her friends into the adjoining room, away from the sphere.
Hentoff lunged forward and caught Baerlin just as he touched the sphere. Both of them fell to the floor, lying dangerously close to the sphere. Neither of them moved for a long time. Suddenly, Baerlin stirred.
“We can’t let him attack Hentoff!” Bernadette cried, and broke away from her friends. Getting closer to where Baerlin lay, but not close enough to touch the sphere, Bernadette cast an immobilization spell.
Hentoff picked himself up off the floor and dragged Baerlin’s motionless form farther from the sphere, towards where Dinusa lay, still unconscious. Bernadette then immobilized Dinusa as well. Bernadette and Hentoff then rejoined the other three faeries waiting in the adjoining chamber.
For several long moments, all five of them were silent. Hortensia wrung her hands, feeling rather sick. She tried to calm herself, counting slowly to ten and attempting to control her breathing, but her efforts were in vain. Bernadette and Victoria recognized the signs of one of Hortensia’s panic attacks, and quickly took her friend aside, conjuring a drinking glass filled with water, which Hortensia drank gratefully as she tried to control her sudden anxiety.
Clarisse was feeling the same as Hortensia. As with all air faeries, Clarisse had always been prone to claustrophobia, and the small, underground cave had been making her feel very uncomfortable. She did not dwell on these feelings, however, when she saw Hentoff. He face was white and drawn, and his hands shook. Clarisse ran to him as he slumped against the cave wall, his breathing shallow and uneven.
“Will you be all right?” Clarisse asked, concerned.
“Just fine,” Hentoff replied calmly, but Clarisse knew that he was lying. He needed help, and fast. “What’s important,” he continued, wheezing slightly, “is that we get out of here quickly, or you will be affected by the power of the Shining Sun.”
“Of course,” Clarisse said. “Do you think you can stand?” she asked anxiously.
“Just give a me a moment to catch my breath,” he replied, but Clarisse had a sinking feeling that Hentoff would not be able to walk out unaccompanied; she and her friends were not strong enough to carry him as they flew back to Faerieland. Of course, there was also the matter of what to do with Dinusa, Baerlin, and Imagen. They could hardly carry them back to the city.
“Maybe I should stay here with you,” Clarisse mused aloud, “and the others can go to the city and get help. Neopia Central is closer, maybe...”
“That won’t be necessary,” replied Hentoff, his voice barely above a whisper. “I left a message for someone back home. If Fyora deciphers it, and I am sure she will, she will be here in a matter of minutes.
“After you leave here, you should celebrate your victory. The four of you have far exceeded my greatest expectations.” Despite his calm tones, Clarisse suspected that, in his own way, Hentoff was saying goodbye.
“You aren’t going anywhere!” she hissed in a low whisper. “You aren’t going to die!”
“Not today,” Hentoff agreed. “I know how much power I have left....” He hesitated, as if unsure how much he should tell her. “I suppose you know, Claire, that it will be difficult for me to recover from this. To be honest, I will never be fully healthy again. I suspect that I will be spending my days in a fine hospital in Faerieland from now on.” He tried to smile, but it turned into a wince of pain as he coughed heavily.
“But we’re going to need you!” Clarisse protested. Despite the truth of his words, she found herself unable to accept them. “I know what you’ve left me; this isn’t over yet.”
“You’re right,” said Hentoff sadly, and for a moment he looked regretful. “This isn’t over, but the four of you don’t need me anymore; you never really did. My sole purpose for many years has been to prevent my sister’s final prophecies from coming true, and to aid the four faeries heroes. I think it is safe to say that my purpose has been fulfilled. I am free to spend my remaining days unburdened.”
“How are we going to stop what’s coming next? How will we know?” Clarisse asked desperately.
“The things I have given you,” said Hentoff patiently. “The money, the list of contacts... all should help you on your next adventure. And, of course, what I gave you, Claire, is the most important of all. I expect that once I have gone, you will be able to read it.”
“Professor...” Clarisse whispered softly, unsure of how to say goodbye. Finally, she asked the questions that had been lingering in the back of her mind ever since Hentoff told them about Khorianna. “Why did Khorianna go into the sphere? Didn’t she know what would happen to her? Was she really so sick that it didn’t matter?”
Hentoff pondered the questions a moment before answering. “I don’t know, Claire. For a long time I hoped that perhaps Khori hadn’t known what was coming, trying to convince myself that she hadn’t wanted to leave me. After a time, however, I grew angry, convinced that she did know what would happen and decided to leave me anyway.... It took me so long to forgive her... Sometimes I do wonder if she chose to enter the sphere, perhaps because she saw something in her final visions that I cannot comprehend.”
Clarisse started to ask him what he meant, but was so overwhelmed with emotion that she could not speak. A drop of water splashed onto the back of her hand. For the first time in her life, Clarisse was crying.
“Do not be afraid, Claire. You have your friends; you will never be alone.”
At that moment, the door from the tunnel burst open, sending huge chunks of natural rock flying through the air. On the other side of the room stood dozens of pets and faeries wearing the official uniform of Fyora’s guard. Standing in the center of the crowd was the Faerie Queen herself.
Clarisse was so distracted by their sudden appearance that she forgot Hentoff for a moment. When she remembered his presence and turned back to face him, his eyes were closed, his head slumped forward. For a moment she feared that he was dead, but she could see that he was breathing. He must be unconscious. Clarisse wondered if he had known this was coming, that perhaps he might be far too sick to even give them advice. She approached him slowly. “Don’t worry, Professor,” she whispered. “We’ll get you to Faerie City, and then everything will be all right. Thank you for everything.”
For just a second, Clarisse could have sworn that he whispered, “I love you, Khori.” A moment later she was certain that she must have imagined it.
As Clarisse approached, Hortensia noticed that, though her friend was not crying, her usually clouded eyes appeared clear and moist. Hortensia thought briefly that they looked rather like small mirrors, reflecting the images Clarisse was seeing. The three faeries did not have time to ask Clarisse what had happened, as Fyora had surveyed the room and was now speaking to them.
“Where are Baerlin and Dinusa?” asked the Faerie Queen briskly.
Victoria spoke. “Baerlin and Dinusa are immobilized in the next room, but you might not want to go in there; contact with the Shining Sun can be deadly. The Vinessien is in there too, but it’s unstable... I’m not sure how you’d want to take it. We need to get out of here quickly, before we’re affected by the power of the Shining Sun.”
The information about the Vinessien seemed to pique the interest of the guards more than anything. Most of them did not know of the Shining Sun, but tales of the Vinessien were well known.
“You’re certain that it is the Vinessien, and that Baerlin is immobilized?”
“Yes,” Victoria replied. She started to say something about Imagen, but realized that in all the confusion he had disappeared. The knowledge did not particularly worry her; at that moment all she wanted was to fall into a dreamless and unthinking sleep.
Fyora rapidly issued instructions to her guards. The four faeries, exhausted from everything that had happened, saw only a blur of movement and color. After a moment, a guard approached the four faeries and gestured towards them. He looked suspiciously at Bernadette, who had been shrouded in the back because of her experiences with prejudiced palace guards, but said nothing as he led them away.
The following events were blurry in the minds of all four faeries. Fyora seemed to have been transported there on some kind of cloud; the guard ushered the faeries onto it, while several other guards carried Hentoff’s still form, and the cloud flew up and away, leaving the Haunted Woods behind at a speed far faster than any of the faeries could fly. Before long, the shadow of the palace loomed before them. The sun was rising in the sky, illuminating the city below with a pinkish tint as the faeries arrived at the palace. Victoria noted with satisfaction that the debris from their fight with the palace guards were noticeable; pools of water, fallen tree limbs, and whishing air currents remained, despite the best efforts of various castle faeries.
Palace maids showed them each to guest bedrooms. Victoria was led to the Water Faerie Suite, Hortensia to the Earth Suite, and Clarisse to Air. Bernadette noted with distaste that there was, of course, no suite for accommodating dark faeries, and so she was ushered into the Fire Faerie Suite. Deciding to bring this matter and many others up with Fyora, she quickly fell asleep.
Victoria and Hortensia were quick to sleep as well, but Clarisse waited a little longer. Carefully she removed the bag from around her neck and produced the paper Hentoff had given her. It was now covered in words on both sides, written in Hentoff’s flowing script. The paper was now old and tattered, and showed evidence of magical restoration. At the top of the page ran the words “From the Diary of Marpameus the Draik, the Haunted Woods in Neopia, the first of the month of Collecting, Year 35 A.F.B. (After the Founding of Brightvale).” Clarisse knew that she was holding the original page of Khorianna’s three prophecies. The first had just been fulfilled, and the second and third were yet to come. Clarisse replaced the prophecies into her bag and fell into a deep and instantaneous sleep.
“Excuse me, miss,” said a soft voice nearby. Bernadette groaned and rolled over. She felt terrible, as though she had used up all the magic she had. Her professors had often referred to “overexertion” as the main cause for faerie illnesses. At first, she couldn’t remember why she felt so terrible, or why there were such bright lights in her eyes, or why the bed she was sleeping on was too comfortable to belong to her dormitory at Faerie Heights.
“Miss?” called the timid voice again. Bernadette cracked open an eyelid. A small, frumpy Kacheek in a maid’s uniform was standing several feet away. It was then that Bernadette remembered all the events of the previous few days, and realized that she was lying in the Fire Faerie Suite of Fyora’s palace.
“What?” Bernadette asked grumpily. She never liked be awakened early in the morning, especially when she felt so awful.
“Her Majesty Faerie Queen Fyora is requesting your presence in the conference room in fifteen minutes,” the maid said softly. “She insists that you must come at once.”
Bernadette muttered irritably under her breath. “I’ll be there,” she sighed regretfully.
“I shall tell Her Majesty,” said the maid gratefully, scurrying out the door.
“I shall tell Her Majesty,” Bernadette mimicked in a high-pitched voice once the maid had left. “Have these people nothing better to do than wake me up?”
Bernadette’s grumpy demeanor was softened slightly when she found all of her possessions, magically transported from her dormitory at the academy. Fifteen minutes later, she emerged from the suite. Another royal attendant showed her through the palace to the conference room. When Bernadette entered, she found Fyora seated at the head of a long table. Clarisse, Hortensia, and Victoria were seated near her.
“Ah, Bernadette,” Fyora said calmly. “Please, have a seat.”
Bernadette sat next to Clarisse and looked curiously at her friends, wondering if any of them knew what was going on.
“I suppose it’s time we discuss yesterday’s events,” Fyora said smoothly. “Many of Neopia’s finest leaders will be meeting us here in an hour, demanding explanations. I trust that you four will be able to explain what has taken place.”
“How did you find us in the Haunted Woods?” Bernadette blurted, too impatient to bother with being polite, as usual.
“Professor Hentoff sent a rather cryptic message to Petrici, who as you know is vice-principal of Faerie Heights. She contacted me in Meridell immediately. I also heard of your invasion of my palace and knew that I must return. When I arrived, Linisa told me everything that had happened, and the things that Clarisse had said. Combined with the message Hentoff had sent Petrici, I determined that Baerlin and Dinusa were indeed plotting something in the Haunted Woods. No sooner had I deduced this than a small and clever little charm appeared within my chambers. It seems Hentoff sent me that charm, just like the one he gave to you, to show me the whereabouts of Dinusa. Naturally, I set out at once. I imagine Hentoff must have sent me the charm minutes before arriving in the Woods himself.”
Hortensia noticed that Fyora referred to their professor as Hentoff, which confirmed her suspicion that Fyora did not know that Hentoff was really Marpameus. Hortensia wondered if they should tell her. Across the table from her, Clarisse met her eyes and shook her head a fraction of inch. Hortensia supposed that Clarisse had read her thoughts, and must also be reading Fyora’s. The development of Clarisse’s strange powers within the past few days had been unnervingly rapid; Hortensia wondered how much she was capable of.
“Now, then,” Fyora said, “I first must apologize for the behavior of my guards and servants when you arrived at the palace. You must understand that your story was quite far-fetched, to say the least.”
“By the way, you have some pretty prejudiced guards,” Bernadette commented hotly. “Not all dark faeries are bad, you know. It wouldn’t hurt to make a Dark Faerie Suite.”
“But sadly, Bernadette, you are one of the only kind dark faeries I have encountered. While only a few are truly evil, most are generally unpleasant,” Fyora replied, looking amused.
“True,” Bernadette admitted, “but we should be admitted into the palace like everyone else.”
“I agree. I will be speaking to my guards about that. But first, we have more pressing matters at hand.”
The four friends took turns telling Fyora their story. Very little was left out, except for the explanation of Hentoff’s real identity; that part of the story was smoothed over or skipped. They merely mentioned Hentoff’s previous childhood encounter with the Shining Sun that left him with unusual magical powers.
When they were finished, Fyora remained silent and thoughtful. Victoria studied her. The Faerie Queen seemed kind and considerate, Victoria mused, but authoritative. She was awed by the Queen’s very presence.
Fyora contemplated their story for story for a few minutes before speaking. “Very well. It seems all of Neopia has the four of you to thank. Without you, Neopia as we know it would cease to exist.”
Victoria and Hortensia blushed at the praise, while Clarisse looked down at the floor in embarrassment. Bernadette alone was unaffected.
“What’s happened to Hentoff?” Bernadette asked.
“He has been well taken care of by my own doctors. They say he will never recover fully, but they are confident that he is doing well, considering the circumstances. You may visit him soon, if you would like.”
“What’s happened to Dinusa, and the Vinessien?” Victoria asked.
“Dinusa has been imprisoned, and is being watched constantly. Escape is impossible. She seems very weak; we expect her exposure to the Shining Sun has taken its toll on her power. She spent too much time near it, and it weakened her. As for the Vinessien, it has been hidden away, and is being studied by Neopia’s most prominent and trusted experts on dark magic. It cannot be acquired by anyone. We’re also taking extensive measures to ensure that the Shining Sun is secured, as well as studying it to learn more. Also, we took the liberty of imprisoning Rutherford, as well.”
“And Imagen? Are you looking for him?” Victoria asked.
“Admittedly, we did not know until recently that Dinusa’s apprentice had been present at the Shining Sun. We suspect he is still hiding out in the mountains. He should be caught fairly soon. We are confident that he will not cause much trouble, as he is young and inexperienced.”
Clarisse highly doubted this. She suspected that people with power were more susceptible to being weakened by the Shining Sun, while those without power were more likely to acquire some of its magic. Therefore, Dinusa had been negatively affected by her exposure to it, because she was so powerful. It would not have such a heavy impact on Baerlin either, since he was old and weak. Imagen, who was not at all a powerful sorcerer, had also been exposed to the Shining Sun. Perhaps he had gained magic from it, just as Hentoff had years before. If so, Imagen could prove to be a deadly enemy.
Fyora and the four faeries talked for a great deal longer about the events that had passed. Soon other Neopian leaders began arriving in the conference room. The rulers of Maraqua, Tyrannia, the Lost Desert, Mystery Island, Meridell, Brightvale, and many other Neopian lands waited eagerly to hear the faeries’ explanations. The four friends explained everything as well as they could, despite many interruptions and questions.
Hours later, Victoria, Bernadette, and Hortensia met with Hentoff, and later with their families, who had been brought to the palace by Fyora’s assistants (Clarisse spent the afternoon with Hortensia and her family, since Clarisse had been orphaned), but their afternoon of peace was short-lived. Press conferences and various media events were held within the following days, all of which the four friends were required to attend. In the whirlwind of events following, none of them were quite certain if they enjoyed the attention or not. The media was referring to them as “The Prophecy Faeries”, because, coincidentally, all four of them had taken to wearing the lucky charms Hentoff had given them. When Neopians saw the engraving “The Prophecy Faeries” (which, besides their initials, was the only engraving large enough for others to read), the name quickly stuck.
Four days after the battle with Dinusa, the four friends attended an awards ceremony in the main hall of Fyora’s palace. They received medals of honor and were given the title “Hero of Neopia”, one of the highest awards any Neopian could achieve.
Petrici, former vice-principal of Faerie Heights, became head of the school in place of Dinusa and offered all four faeries and their siblings free tuition if they would complete their schooling at the academy. Grateful for the chance to return things to normal, or at least, as normal as their lives ever could be, all four agreed, and returned to school two days after the award ceremony.
Before they left Fyora’s palace, Clarisse met the Faerie Queen in her library and handed her a piece of paper, on which she had copied out, word for word, the diary page Hentoff had given her.
Fyora scanned the words, looking at Clarisse with shock. “What does this mean?” she asked.
“These are Khorianna’s final prophecies. The first prophecy came true. The second and third are also about the prophecy faeries, meaning us. This is what’s going to happen next. We all need to be prepared. I don’t know how soon this is going to happen, but this time we need to be ready.” Clarisse left without waiting for a response.
She and her friends arrived secretly at Faerie Heights, so as to avoid a mob of onlookers wanting to catch glimpses of the Prophecy Faeries. Petrici met them and showed them to new dormitories. They were two adjoining rooms, each with two beds, located on the main floor near Hentoff’s old classroom. Petrici, being a rather insightful faerie, knew that the four of them were much too famous to share dorms with other faeries of their age.
As they unpacked their things, Clarisse caught her friends’ attention. “I think you should know what Hentoff left me,” she said. She handed each of them a copy of the paper. “It’s Khorianna’s final two prophecies. They’re about us, too.”
Hortensia, Victoria, and Bernadette read through them in silence. “It’s not over,” Hortensia said softly. “Not even close.”
“No,” said Clarisse firmly, “it’s only just beginning.”
“The Prophecy Faeries will strike again!” Bernadette teased, trying to lighten the mood.
“This time, we’ll be ready,” Victoria said optimistically. “This time, people will believe us.”
“We’ll never really be outcasts again,” Hortensia said. “From now on, we’re heroes.”
“We’re going to be really busy heroes. I heard a rumor that we have to make up all the schoolwork we’ve missed. I don’t know about you, but for me that’s three tests, two projects, and two essays. I’m not even going to have time to eat and sleep, let alone save Neopia again,” Bernadette said.
“Me neither,” Victoria replied.
“I don’t know when the next prophecy will happen,” Clarisse said. “But we need to be ready. We have to stop whoever it is before it’s too late.”
“You know, I hope the next villain chooses to make an evil hideout in Mystery Island. I’ve always wanted to go there,” Bernadette joked. “Did you know that twenty percent of Neopians have never been to Mystery Island, even on vacation? And only eleven percent of Neopians actually live there.”
Victoria groaned. “Where do you get this stuff from?” she asked.
As the four friends joked and laughed together, they felt secure in knowing that their friendship would remain, no matter what adventures were ahead. They were content to return to their previous lives and wait for their next great journey.