To the Infamous, We Salute You: Part Five
“What... Did... You... Call... Me....” growled Vyxtra.
“Oh right. Since you’re part of the freak show here at the fair, you all had to be given catchy names, and I took the courtesy of doing so. You’re Fyora, the ugly one? You’re Vira. And the massive beast? Balthazar.”
“But my name isn’t Vira, it’s Tally,” whispered Tally.
“Too bad.” Then the Faerie whipped around the left.
“Fyora? Freak show? This must be a joke. Wait a minute, I’m a Faerie. I’ve been practicing. I’m going to get us out of here.” Vyxtra picked up her staff and pointed it at the metal bars in front of her, waved it, and the cage around her burst into millions of glittering pieces. She repeated this for Tally and Wess’s cages, and they all huddled together.
“Thank you so much, Fyo- Vyxtra.” Tally grinned half-heartedly.
“Did you actually just call me Fyora?”
“I’m sorry,” muttered Tally. “It just kind of made sense. New look, new name. You know?”
Vyxtra gritted her teeth. “Fine. Vira. Sounds good to me.”
Wess sighed. “Stop arguing, both of you. We have to get out of here before someone catches us.”
Both Tally and Vyxtra turned to glare at him. “Shut up, Balthazar.”
Wess glared at them. “Women,” he muttered.
“Okay,” Fyora announced, “so I have a spell that – ”
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT OF YOUR CAGES?” screeched a nearby voice. Iltyana, once again, appeared in the doorway. “Where are your cages? Fyora, explain yourself now.”
“Iltyana, you know that’s not my name.”
While the two Faeries bickered, Balthazar had noticed a glass bottle with a cork lying on the littered floor. He picked it up and walked behind Iltyana. Stationed behind her entirely, he turned to Vyxtra and mouthed, ‘Shrink her.’ Still engrossed in her argument, Vyxtra began waving her staff unnoticeably. She stopped mid sentence and aimed it at Iltyana, sending a spark of light out of the end of the staff. Iltyana screamed, and before she could think, Wess picked her up, stuffed her in the bottle, and corked it. He held it up to his furry face, staring at the helpless faerie through the glass. “Shut up.”
“I’ll do anything!” cried the captured faerie. “I’ll bless you, please, the power to light up any darkened cavern. Just let me out.”
“Hmm...” thought Wess. “No.”
“Wait,” said Tally, finally moving from her shocked state. “I’ll let you out. Wess, give me the bottle.”
“What? No way!”
“Wess. Give it to me.”
Tally took off and flew into him so hard it knocked the bottle out of his paw. She grabbed it before he could even sit up, and flew outside. He and Vyxtra followed her, confused. She wouldn’t just release a Faerie that captured her, would she? Tally was smarter than that. “Hey, Vyxtra, grab my mirror please. It’s where my cage used to be. I’ll meet you in the middle of the fair”
Vyxtra flew back into the tent, as Tally marched forth towards the fair. She spotted a proud looking Pirate Gelert in the crowd and called out to him. “You! Gelert! C’mere.” Turning to see who called him, the Gelert looked around until his eyes fell upon Tally. He looked horrified, and scampered in the opposite direction. “Oh, no, you don’t.”
That Gelert could run, but Tally mastered flying, and caught up to him in a matter of seconds, grabbing him by a long ear. “Didn’t your owner to tell you not to judge Neopets by their appearance?”
“My owner’s never seen you,” he retorted.
“Whatever, I’m not here to scare you. Say, do you participate in the Battledome at all?”
The Gelert grinned; Tally had hit a nerve. “Of course I do! What’s it to you? You up for a challenge?”
Tally raised an eyebrow. “Not quite. I’ve got this faerie here who would love to be set free.” She flashed the Gelert the bottle. “And will bless anyone who yanks the cork off this here bottle.”
His eyes sparkled as he stared at the gloomy faerie sitting in the bottle. “I’ll take it!”
Wess stepped in, grabbing the bottle from Tally. “Two conditions. One, you pay me three thousand Neopoints. Faeries are hard to capture, they don’t come cheap. Two, you set her free as far away from here as possible. I can’t deal with her at close range.”
The Gelert handed some Neopoints to Wess. Wess carefully counted his earnings and handed the Faerie over.
“So, what if I’d like another blessing? What is your name, so I know who to ask for.”
Wess grinned, baring all his teeth. Tally bit her lip in fear. “They call me Balthazar.”
“Balthazar? Alright, sounds good. I’ll be your best customer.” The happy Gelert walked away, holding the bottle tightly.
“I can’t believe you sold a Faerie! That is so immoral!” yelled Vyxtra.
Wess whipped his head around. “Vyx, where were you anyway? Stop appearing out of thin air.”
“I had to get Tally her stupid mirror. Even though she called me Fyora. Fyora! What a stupid name! Who would name themselves Fyora?”
“I think it’s pretty,” Tally said.
Vyxtra grunted. “Whatever. I’m going back to my tower. I’ve had enough of a freak show for one day. C’mon guys.” Wess and Tally looked at each other apprehensively, then looked at Vyxtra. “What?”
“I am going to go catch some Faeries,” said Wess, as a disgusted expression found its way all over Vyxtra’s face. “It’s not like they are trapped permanently in the bottle. It’s good business.”
“Fine. Tally, let’s go.”
“Well, actually, I think I’m going to head to Neopia Central. I need some time to clear my head. Being called a freak isn’t exactly something that makes my day.”
Vyxtra’s face crumpled. “Is this goodbye, guys?”
“No way!” Wess and Tally chimed together. “Just a little break to clear our heads, okay?” added Tally.
“Alright. I’ll see you soon.” With a heartbreaking glance backwards, Vyxtra took flight towards Faerieland. Tally turned in the opposite direction and began to fly towards Neopia Central, as Wess shrank into the bushes, on a Faerie hunt.
Just as she was about to leave, Vyxtra got an idea. She turned around and hovered above the clouds of the fair. “Freak show? I don’t think so.” She waved her staff in a circle three times, and aimed it towards the fair. In the blink of an eye, everything changed.
The bright colors faded to dim grays and off-whites. The trees that lined the fairground shrank as their leaves fell off, leaving them barren. What was once a sunny day, Vyxtra changed to permanent gloom – with a rainstorm and a sunless sky. The cheerful clowns turned into robots – scary vengeful robots. They could do her bidding while she was in Faerieland. The carnival game owners lost their joy, greed setting in their souls. Rides and games lay broken at their feet. The massive crowd of joyous Neopets dispersed, leaving the entire fair empty except for the carnival game owners, who somehow found themselves unable to leave.
“That’s more like it,” Vyxtra said with a nod of her head. “I think I act more like a Dark Faerie when I’m pretty. Huh. But Faerieland needs the most work. Those Light and Dark Faeries are going to end their feud if it’s the last thing I do.” She turned around to face the sky and flew off into the clouds.
Meanwhile, Tally was sitting next to a bush staring at a Uni frolicking in a nearby well. Her owner was trying to get her to sit still, but why? Tally crawled closer to see why the owner wouldn’t let the Uni play in the water. And she saw something that made her heart lurch.
A paint brush. A Faerie Paint Brush was in one hand of the frantic owner, and the Uni was too excited to sit still and be painted. Tally felt herself becoming teary eyed. It was something she would never have. Ever. She was ugly forever. She felt the weight of the situation she put herself in finally settle in. She had wings, she could fly, but she was hideous. No one would ever love her anymore, no one would want to befriend her. Ever.
And the scariest thought of all was that she was alone. All alone. Wess had found a business for himself. He was now going to run around capturing Faeries and selling them. Knowing Wess, more Light Faeries than any to avenge Vyxtra. Vyxtra. She couldn’t see her again either. Vyxtra was beautiful now, and she had a dream to end the battling. Tally felt in her heart that she was going be successful. But herself. What was she going to do? Her bottom lip quivered.
The dancing Uni had seen her crying and came up to her. “Umm, excuse me? Are you okay?” the Uni asked. She seemed to act like Vira was a disease as opposed to a sad person. A faint look of disgust crossed her face. She was also Faerie now. She’d finally settled down and let her owner paint her, apparently.
“Yeah,” said Tally, wiping her eyes. “I’m okay. You look really pretty. Here, look! I have a mirror.” Tally took her tear-crafted mirror and handed it to the Uni. The Uni stared at the mirror, not at herself. “What? What’s wrong?”
“It’s... it’s beautiful. Can I show it to my owner?”
“Well, okay. But be careful with it.”
The Uni ran over to her waiting owner and jumped right in the well, splashing her owner. Her owner laughed, and gently took the mirror from the Uni, and they looked in it together, at the new Faerie Uni. But then, merely seconds after looking into the beautiful mirror, the Uni’s owner screamed. Tally, suddenly alert, looked over at the pair to see the cause for the owner’s alarm.
The Uni’s color began sliding off her fur, leaving grey color behind. The bright pinks slid down her wings, revealing grey beneath, blending with the blues of her fur and white of her mane and hoofs, all sliding down into the water beneath her hooves, leaving behind a miserable-looking pet. The water swirled with the Uni’s color, turning shades of red to orange to yellow to green to blue to violet and back again. The well had transformed into a shimmering Rainbow Pool.
The owner looked up and glared at Tally. “What have you done to my beautiful pet? You and your cursed mirror!” The owner took the mirror and flung it against a nearby shop, then stalked away. Tally ran over to her mirror and picked it up. The impact should have left it shattered, scratched at least. But turning it over in her paws, Tally found it was in perfect condition.
Nearby Neopets had seen what had just played out between the Uni, the owner, and Tally, and all looked at her like she was a monster. She heard the hushed whispers in the crowd, talking about how evil she was, how ugly she was, and how she just wanted vengeance on all things good. It was preposterous; they didn’t even know her – never even spoke to her, and they passed such judgment.
She flew up and away from the glaring Neopets and sat on a cloud so high that Neopia Central looked like a speck. But, if she squinted, she could still see the rainbow pool she had created. While she felt bad, a part of her rejoiced inside. An unfamiliar, uninvited part of her. That could have been her. She could have been that faerie and in a moment of stupidity, it all got thrown away.
While thinking, she felt something soft land beside her. She turned to see Vyxtra sitting, staring at her with caring, mother-like eyes. She stretched out her arms and gave Tally a hug. Tally burst into tears as she hugged her beautiful faerie friend back. “There, there,” Vyxtra whispered. “There, there.”
“Everyone hates me,” Tally sniffed “They call me ugly and mean, and I did something mean to that Uni.”
Vyxtra looked at Tally with concerned eyes. “What happened?”
“I let her look in my mirror, and I didn’t know it was cursed, but it made her grey, and she was Faerie, and all the color is now in that well down there. I’m awful, and I can’t even blame the spell because it was me. I did it.”
“No, no. Don’t say that. You didn’t know it was cursed. It’s not your fault, don’t worry.”
“How could you have been a Dark Faerie, Vyx? You’re so nice and pretty.”
“Thanks so much. But they call me Fyora now.”
“The Faeries. I’m beginning to stop this irrational feud, and I don’t want to be remembered as that Dark Faerie. So I used that name they gave me.”
“You’re stopping feuds, and I’m hurting pets. It’s amazing how different we turned out. I wonder where Wess... Balthazar is. Catching faeries, I bet.”
“Light ones, I hope,” Vyxtra muttered under her breath.
A howl from somewhere deep in the forest broke through the trees, and made Tally grin.
“He’s still here, isn’t he?”
“Yes, I’m sure he’ll always be.”
“Hey, he still owes me a hug.” A sharp, angry bark followed Tally’s statement. “Just kidding, Wess.”
“So, about these captured Light Faeries, Vyx. Is this nice, new Faerie a little biased?” Tally smirked.
Vyxtra poked her playfully. “Shut up, Vira.”
“Vira, huh? Guess it’s something I have to get used to.”
“It’s kind of pretty, I like it. It’s original.”
“Pretty isn’t a name I get associated with too often nowadays.”
“It’ll get better. You’re going to be a great Neopet, no matter what you look like.” Tally began to sob again, and Vyxtra wiped a tear away, but she missed one.
Her tear fell on a nearby sapling. The sprout quivered slightly, then grew and blossomed high in the sky, ten feet in the air. Branches sprouted from the trunk – leaves from the branches. Large, green, healthy leaves. It had strong bark that almost seemed to... smile at you if you looked a certain way. Tally and Fyora watched as a dirty Kacheek sat underneath the tree. A nearby Ixi walked over and saw the tousled Neopet, and handed him some Neopoints, leaving some more under the newly sprouted tree.
“Those tears,” Vyxtra said with a shake of her head. “They work wonders. The mirror, the tree. See? It can’t be all bad.”
“Yeah,” agreed Tally. “I’m sure I’m going to be okay.”
The two watched the newly grown tree at the center of Neopia Central. They watched Neopets gather around it, sitting under its shade at playing on its branches. They pointed at the beautiful flowers, saying how fresh and beautiful they looked. Except, all the Neopets couldn’t see one. A single bud that sat in the center of the tree that no one could see. It still had to grow and blossom. But that was okay. There was always tomorrow.