Awakening: Part Six
And it began to rain stars.
Dethrin watched their progress, mesmerized, as they fell like snow... amethyst snow...
“Warriors and Mages of Faerieland, you will stand down!” A magically magnified voice echoed across the cloud, piercing through the haze of battle.
Out of the corner of his eyes, he could see all faeries raise their left hands in salute. So Aijna was telling the truth; Fyora really was a baddie, if everyone was taking their orders from her. He gripped his dagger tightly, ready to throw it at her if she said anything about anything.
She probably told ’em to stop to trick us, he thought sagely.
“You have shamed me today, my warriors!” Fyora shouted as she descended from an invisible building, her expression one of utmost fury. The stars continued to fall, blazing now, burning holes in the clouds.
“This faerie—” here she pointed at a faerie he couldn’t see quite clearly “—does not speak for me!”
Gasps and whispers filled the air as everyone present turned to look at the faerie that did not speak for Fyora. The faeries looked at the falling stars with doom in their eyes, as though they held a terrible new meaning. A faerie near Dethrin fainted.
The faerie that didn’t speak for Fyora rose into the air, and Dethrin saw that it was Fyora’s assistant Jaina. She had turned quite pale. “I have been your loyal servant!” she snarled, trembling all over.
Fyora shook her head. “You have been manipulating Neopians for years now, planting ideas from the Forbidden books in their minds, sowing seeds of dissent and sedition in their minds, nurturing them, watching them grow and flower... you have schemed to free the Darkest faerie and finish her work... you have pretended to be an apprentice of Jhudora, attempting to turn the two of us against each other... you gave faeries orders to impersonate Jhudora, kidnap winged pets and faeries alike and end their lives—”
“All of this was done on your orders, Fyora! I have only been doing your bidding—”
“Enough!” Now the Faerie Queen’s eyes flashed fire and she raised her hand, the falling stars now zooming towards her palm—
—Annette’s tail wrapped itself around Dethrin’s head firmly. “There are things no one should see,” she whispered.
Fyora strode over to Jhudora, her purple eyes boring into the dark faerie’s.
“Your Majesty.” The dark faerie greeted the other expressionlessly.
“When did you know?”
”When did you?”
The Queen studied Jhudora’s face for a while before saying, “I am sorry.”
“Don’t bother, she wasn’t a particularly good apprentice anyway.”
“No hard feelings then? Good.” Fyora turned on her heel and walked away, her parting words floating towards Jhudora...
“She almost succeeded. We failed...”
A few minutes later, all of the goodies-tricked-into-being-baddies (as Dethrin thought of them) had left with Fyora, presumably to be punished.
Dethrin watched them go and looked around, feeling tears gathering in his eyes.
Annette gave him an understanding, strained smile. “Dethrin—”
Dethrin knew she was about to offer him useless comforting words and flung himself to the ground, sobbing. It’s over, they’re gone...
He grunted in anguish.
The Peophin tried again. “Dethrin, it’s always possible that Jaina didn’t get to Massie and Ra—”
“Shut—up—they’re gone—and I’ll never—”
The Zafara ignored her.
Annette gave up and looked around, hoping to see—
The Shadow Uni was galloping towards them, the Speckled Shoyru flapping happily beside her, waving frantically.
“They’re all right, Dethrin! THEY’RE ALL RIGHT!”
Dethrin continued to sob, fat tears leaking from his eyes and trickling down his fur.
“Dethrin! It’s okay!” Annette cried, sparks flying around her like fireworks in her relief. She bent over and shook his shoulder. “They’re both fine!”
“Who cares?” howled the Zafara. “We actually just got to fight with Fyora’s army, and I didn’t get to battle a single real faerie!”
“There’s still one thing I don’t quite understand...” Annette put down her goblet.
“More punch, Miss?”
“No, thank you—who opened the doors?”
“I did, of course!” Massie pouted. “It was an easy password to remember!”
“Password?” Jhudora also lowered her goblet and looked curiously at the Shoyru.
“Yeah, ‘suo mort’!” As soon as the words left her lips, the doors of the tavern burst open.
“Wow,” she breathed, looking at the door in astonishment. “You faeries use the same password for all of your doors? That’s kinda risky, y’know... what if I was a robber?”
“It’s a spell, not a password.” The dark faerie stared at the door as well.
“Well, it’s just saying some funny words, so it doesn’t matter what you call it.”
“No, it isn’t. Spells require power, and that means... you’re a mage.”
“What?” Massie looked at Annette for help. “No, I’m not! I didn’t even feel anything when I said the words; how could I be?”
“Wow,” Jhudora and Annette said in unison, raising their eyebrows. “Powerful.”
The dark faerie eyed the Shoyru thoughtfully. Bravery, yes. Power, yes. And cleverness... well, she could fix that.
“Wait, wait!” Dethrin looked indignant. “How come you know her name after only five minutes, but you still don’t know ours?”
Jhudora rolled her eyes at the ceiling. “Very well... what are your names?”
“That’s not what you should say.” The Zafara frowned. “That’s not polite enough. You should say, ‘My name is Jhudora, nice to meet you’ and wait for us to tell you our names and say ‘likewise’ and then we shake hands and...”
Massie and her siblings walked through Faerie City, the Shoyru blissfully unaware of the crowds that jostled and pushed them in the fading crimson light.
“Can we go faster?” asked Dethrin, still sulking about not getting to fighting a real, live faerie, then being snubbed by Jhudora. “Oh, yeah, I’ve got a lot of toast for you back at the hotel, Massie...”
The Shoyru’s stomach clenched. “I never want to see a slice of toast ever again as long as I live...” she said, thinking about the bajillion slices of toast (and only toast) they were served while locked up.
Annette and Raven looked at Dethrin, positive that he was about to start howling again. Instead, the Zafara looked positively delighted, shouting, “You mean I’ve been saving all that toast for nothing?! You mean you don’t appreciate it?!”
Dethrin roared with delight, leaping at Massie and pulling out his dagger. Oh well, at least I get to fight a real, live faerie’s apprentice... he thought happily.
“You do know what becoming Jhudora’s apprentice means, though, don’t you, Massie?” asked Annette once Massie had blasted Dethrin’s dagger out of his paw and received a punch in the face.
“Get off my back,” Raven growled at Massie. “We’re here, the free ride is over.”
Massie slid off and bounded into the hotel room, reveling in the magic-ness of the room. I’m gonna be in a place like this forever afterwards! she thought, elated.
“Sure, I get to learn cool spells!”
“No.” The Peophin shook her head. “No, that’s not it at all.”
“You mean Jhudora won’t teach me spells? I’ll have to learn them myself?”
“That’s not what I meant!” Annette said hastily as the Shoyru’s face fell in disappointment. “Of course she will. What I meant was that you’ll be very busy from now on, and probably in danger. Constantly.”
“You sound like Raven now,” Dethrin grumbled at her, shoving a plate of toast at Massie.
“Why?” The Shoyru picked up the plate and tossed it out the window without looking at it.
“Because you’ll have to work hard to ensure the Darkest Faerie never rises again.”
“Why?” Massie tossed a second platter of toast out the window. “Isn’t Jaina gone?”
“You heard what Jhudora said, didn’t you? Jaina was only a minor faerie with minimal power. She only succeeded in getting so far because she exploited Fyora’s resources. She didn’t have the brains or power to come up with this scheme herself.”
Massie frowned. “But that means that somebody else was bossing her around.”
The Shoyru thought she knew the answer to the question, but decided to ask anyway. “So?”
“So, Massie, unless we get very powerful and very lucky—”
“—and of course we’re not going to be—” muttered Raven.
“—the Darkest Faerie will rise again.”
“So you’ve got to eat this toast and make yourself super big and strong,” mumbled Dethrin, now munching on a piece himself.
Beneath the waves of Maraqua, a stone figure stood, magnificent and proud, untouched by water, salt, sand or time.
Around Her, pale ripples circled like some sort of guard.
She has Awakened...
How do you know, Mistress?
You have to ask? The amulet around the statue’s neck glinted dangerously. You ought to know that even chained as I am, My powers far exceed this crude form.
I am sorry, Mistress.
You ought to be.
The ripples spread slightly outward, as though recoiling from the statue.
A laugh seemed to tremble through the water. Dark and hissing, it was more terrifying than a scream of rage.
Everything seemed to freeze when touched by the chuckle; even the seaweed ceased swaying.
She doesn’t know what she is yet, however... and she never will, will she?
No, Mistress, she never will.
Another laugh tore through the water. Soon, very soon, She would be free, and exact her revenge on... everyone...