The Winds of Change: Part Four
Neopia had only seen a year of Sloth’s reign when Crystal had taken enough. She was living in Shenkuu with Flight’s family. Everyone was grateful that Sloth wasn’t going to make an example of them showing what he could do to Neopets who didn’t obey him, but Crystal could not take it any longer. It was when she and her adopted family were eating dinner one night that Crystal lost her temper.
“I can’t take it anymore!” she said angrily.
“Can’t take what? Isn’t the dinner all right?” Sky the Royal Girl Acara asked. She was the one who made the meal.
“It’s fine, Sky. I’m talking about how we live right now! Always wondering when Sloth is going to attack, not being free, I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE! We need to do something! We’re just sitting here like nothing’s going on! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going out to find Feather. She’s experienced in the Battledome. She’s probably already coming up with a plan. I’m going to be there to help Feather free Neopia,” Crystal said.
“But what if Sloth finds out? He’ll destroy you!” Streamer the Faerie Xweetok said worriedly.
“That’s a chance I’m willing to take,” Crystal replied.
“Not by yourself,” Flight said. “It’s too dangerous. I would never forgive myself if I could have protected you when and if Sloth attacked you,” Flight added.
“Yeah, I wanna go too!” Streamer said.
“I’m not gonna be left out!” Sky added.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, guys. I can’t take all of you. And if we traveled in a big group, Sloth would be more suspicious! Besides, it’s too dangerous for all of you,” Crystal said.
“But it’s still dangerous for you to go by yourself, or even with just one of us! If Sloth sees you up to something, urgh, I can’t imagine what he could do to you if he finds out you’re trying to take away his power!” Lexi pointed out.
“Don’t worry, guys. I’ve got a plan. Didn’t you say that Ivy gave Feather to someone who lives on Mystery Island? I bet she’s still living there. And Sloth never goes there. He says he can’t take all the sunlight. So, it would be the perfect place to devise a plan to restore peace to Neopia!” Crystal explained. Streamer looked as if she was about to say something, but Crystal cut her off.
“If you’re wondering about how I’m going to get there without being noticed, then I have your answer. Flight and I told you guys about what happened when Sloth destroyed my old home, right? Well, I can turn myself and one of you guys invisible so we can travel without being noticed,” Crystal said.
“Hmm, all right then. But who are you taking?” Flight asked.
“If it’s all right with everyone, I’d like to take you, Flight. It’ll be just like old times,” Crystal replied, smiling.
“Thanks.” Flight smiled back.
“You guys are going to need supplies for the journey. Wait here while I go pack you some,” Lexi said, getting up and walking towards the kitchen.
“This is going to be a great adventure. But I don’t know if I’m ready yet,” Flight said.
“Don’t worry. I’ll make sure you’re safe. And besides, would I have offered to take you if I didn’t think that you could do it?” Crystal reassured. “We’ll be fine. And once our adventure is over, Neopia will be free.”
“All right, I’ve got a week’s worth of food and other supplies for each of you. I’ll store it in Crystal’s bag and then you guys can go. Just be careful, all right?” Lexi came back from the kitchen with her arms full of things that they would need. She dumped them in Crystal’s bag and handed it to Crystal.
“Don’t worry, Mom, we’ll be fine. At least, that’s what Crystal says,” Flight said. Crystal shrugged and slung her bag over her shoulder. The pair walked out of the door. Crystal grabbed Flight’s paws, fluttered her wings and the pair was lifted into the air. She closed her eyes and focused, and soon she and Flight were gone from sight. Crystal flew off towards Mystery Island.
The trip took a couple of days. Crystal and Flight landed on little islands whenever they needed to sleep or eat. Only a little bit before they reached Mystery Island Crystal started up a conversation.
“Are you as bored as I am, Flight?” she asked.
“I’m too scared to be bored,” Flight replied.
“I just thought this journey would have a little more action,” Crystal sighed.
“Just be glad that Sloth hasn’t noticed us yet,” Flight pointed out.
They ate for a bit and rested afterwards. It was peaceful right then and there. The sun was beating down, a gentle wind blew, the sea waves lapped softly at the shore of the little island. It was as if Sloth had never taken over Neopia, as if Flight and Crystal were relaxing on the Mystery Island Beach without a care in the world. Crystal wanted to live like this forever, but she had a mission to complete. She grabbed Flight and flew off towards Mystery Island.
When they got there and Crystal made them visible again, they could glance at each other and see their mouths wide open at what they were seeing. On the west side of Mystery Island (where they had landed), something huge was going on. A large community of pets was walking around the clearing, some hauling attack and defense items for the Battledome, while others were practicing paw to paw combat with each other. They all looked tough and eager. Crystal glanced around to see that a pile of Battledome items was located at the far end of the clearing.
Right after Crystal and Flight had arrived, an Island Eyrie entered the clearing near where the Battledome items were. Over her shoulder were a couple of shields and swords. She laid the supplies on the pile, and when she looked up, she saw Flight and Crystal. Crystal’s eyes lit up as she stared into the familiar amber eyes of the Eyrie, and softly said the name of her old sister.
More eyes were set on the travelers. One fierce looking Tyrannian Techo sprang at them, obviously trying to protect the clearing. The Eyrie flew forward and pried the Techo off of Crystal.
“Easy there. I know these guys. They’re not here to attack us,” she scolded him. The Techo hissed and dropped back. The Eyrie began talking to Crystal and Flight.
“Flight! What are you doing here? Crystal – I - I thought I’d never see you again. What are you guys doing here? How’d you find out about this place? Does Sloth know?” she asked anxiously.
“Calm down, Feather. We never found out about whatever it is you’re doing here; we just came here because we hoped you had a plan to defeat Sloth. We want to help,” Flight explained.
“Let me guess, Crystal convinced you to accompany her?” Feather asked.
“Yeppers.” Crystal giggled.
“Well then, I’ll take you guys to my hut, so we can talk about plans over some refreshments. Crystal -- I’m so glad you finally came home,” Feather sighed, then led them down a forest path until the reached a small bamboo hut. Inside there was nothing more than some tables and cabinets, a couple of chairs and four beds. They sat down at the table and Feather brought out some tropical berries and drinks.
“So, what’re you planning, Feather?” Crystal asked.
“Well, you guys know that Sloth declared that the only place one can fight him is in the Battledome, and that both sides have to keep on fighting until one side surrenders, and if by some chance we do defeat him, then he’ll give up his reign over Neopia, right? Well, we’re going to fight him and his army under those terms. I rounded up some pets who want peace restored in Neopia, and we developed a location where we can train each other and store supplies. That location was the clearing you arrived at. Hopefully, if we’re strong enough, we can challenge him and his army to Battledome matches so we can end his rule,” Feather explained.
“But what if you guys aren’t smart enough?” Crystal asked. “You know that Sloth is probably going to be too strong for you.”
Feather smirked. “Don’t worry about that. I’ve contacted some outside forces that’ll be able to help us out.”
“Outside forces? Who did you contact? Who? Who?! WHO?!” Crystal asked anxiously. Normally she wouldn’t be so curious, but it was the look on Feather’s face that made Crystal want to know so much.
Again Feather smirked. “You’ll find out soon enough, Crystal.”
“How can we help you guys with this effort?” Flight asked.
“You can train with us. I know you guys are strong battlers, but you should make sure your skills are fresh before I take you into combat,” Feather replied.
“All right,” Flight and Crystal said together.
Over the next day or so Crystal, Flight, and Feather helped the group sharpen their skills. Crystal often went to the Harbour to see who the outside forces were. Two mornings after Feather met Crystal and Flight again, as Crystal was soaking her feet in the ocean near the Harbour, she saw a small boat in the distance. As it grew nearer, Crystal could identify people and a couple of pets on it. Then when it grew even closer, Crystal could identify a figure in the front of the little boat. Crystal’s face it up as she saw the face of someone who was more than an old friend. Even though she had grown, it was still her. Crystal stood up and waved her paws broadly, shouting the name she never thought she’d ever get the chance to shout.
To be continued...