The Prophecy Faeries 2: Imagen's Revenge - Part Four
PART FOUR: THE FESTIVAL
Victoria and Clarisse soon arrived at the Faerie Magic Festival, held in Illusen’s Glade.
“Look at all the people here,” Victoria mused as they showed their passes to the guards at the front entrance and were allowed onto the festival grounds. “How will we ever find the magicians?”
“Tori, stop talking to me,” Clarisse hissed. “We’re not supposed to be seen together, remember?”
“Right,” said Victoria, turning quickly away. The two friends stayed near each other as they walked deeper into the festival, but avoided looking at each other. Victoria walked ahead of Clarisse but paused often at booths or tents to allow Clarisse to catch up.
The main walkway was lined with booths selling magical objects and tents that housed numerous attractions, including fortune-tellers and faeries with strange magical talents. The trees above them had massive branches with enormous tents or other structures perched upon them or hanging down below. Faeries ran about on the paths and flew through the trees, buying items and rushing in and out of the tents. At the center of the festival, the path widened, revealing two large arenas, lined with bleacher-like seating. The Faerie Magic Festival’s main attractions would perform in these arenas, where larger audiences could see them.
Glancing at a sign as she approached, Victoria saw that the next show was due to start in ten minutes. She was about to veer around the arena to see what lay at the other side of the festival when she suddenly spotted a large camouflage Kau walking past, heading into one of the bleachers. Victoria instantly recognized him as Vrioli, one of the magicians they’d been told to look for.
In an instant, Clarisse was at her side. Quickly the two of them slipped into the bleachers just behind Vrioli, being careful to sit far apart so that they didn’t appear to know each other.
Victoria scanned the crowd, looking for any of the other magicians or for Bernadette and Hortensia, who had entered the festival through another entrance. She soon spotted another magician, a Tonu called Thothorin, across the arena. Clarisse, who heard Victoria’s thoughts and knew she had seen him, looked up and scanned the crowd until she, too, saw him.
“Should I go sit behind him?” Victoria whispered, her lips barely moving. Clarisse nodded ever so slightly, and Victoria left her seat, heading across the arena to sit just behind the Tonu. She could no longer see Clarisse, but she knew that Clarisse could listen for her thoughts, even across an arena, and locate her if necessary.
Clarisse was feeling the emotions of Vrioli, trying to hear his thoughts. He was impatient, waiting for the show to begin. After several minutes, she picked up on some of his thoughts, and knew that someone named Idris had promised to brew a potion for him, in exchange for his attending the festival and listening to part of a speech. Clarisse considered this information for several minutes.
After a moment, the last of the audience was seated, and a blue Lenny walked out to the center of the arena to the applause of the crowd. Clarisse was momentarily confused; this was, after all, a faerie magic festival, so she had been expecting their speaker to be a faerie.
The Lenny, who introduced himself as Professor Kohl, began his speech by explaining that he was an expert in all things magical and that he had spent several years studying the laws of faerie magic. He then promised to discuss multiple principles of faerie magic that he had begun investigating.
From across the arena, Clarisse could feel Victoria’s boredom. “Hey Claire,” Victoria thought, hoping that Clarisse could hear her, “I bet Hentoff knew loads more than this guy. We’ll have to tell him to speak at the festival. When he wakes up, that is.”
Clarisse, hearing this thought, stifled a laugh as she imagined Hentoff lecturing to this large crowd and causing everyone to fall asleep, just as the students in his history class did. The Lenny, she noted, was not doing much better; Clarisse sensed a general feeling of boredom from those sitting around her.
The magician Vrioli was bored as well. Clarisse understood, from the brief snatches of thought she heard from him, that Idris had asked him to listen to only one part of Professor Kohl’s speech. She wondered if the other magician, Thothorin the Tonu, had been asked to listen to the same part of the speech, or a different part entirely.
After watching Thothorin for about five minutes, Victoria determined that he was, in fact, as bored as she was. He sat slumped in his seat, his eyes glazed over, apparently not paying any attention. Why would he be here, wondered Victoria, if he’s not listening to the speech?
Ten minutes later, Professor Kohl began to transition into the next portion of his speech. Clarisse noticed that Vrioli’s emotions flashed from bored to interested in an instant. She listened closely for Victoria’s thoughts, and knew that the other magician had sat up as well, suddenly paying attention. This, Clarisse knew, was what they came to hear.
“Another very interesting branch of faerie magic that has yet to be explored to its full potential,” Kohl was saying, “is mind control.” Clarisse felt shivers run up and down her spine.
“In fact,” Kohl continued, “many other scholars on faerie magic have concluded that any form of mind control is beyond the potential of faerie magic. Even the most powerful sorcerers in Neopia have struggled with its complexities. Though it is rumored that the Faerie Queen has the power of mind control over other faeries, this has never been proven. Furthermore, there are some scholars who will tell you that the idea of one faerie controlling the mind of anyone with magic is simply preposterous. I am here to tell you that those scholars are wrong.
“Through my investigations I have learned several important things about the principles behind mind control. First, you must be able to access the subject’s mind. Second, you must understand the workings and complexities of the mind, and know how to achieve your purpose. Third, you then plant the command that you wish to be followed. In order to achieve subtlety, this must all happen in a matter of seconds. Such a complicated combination has been deemed impossible.
“However, after observing a study run by several scientists in the area of faerie magic, we have come to the conclusion that a person with previous knowledge of the workings of the mind and enough magical strength to invade the mind of another might have a chance of succeeding.
“I thought I would bring this study to your attention today because, in addition to contradicting our previous understanding of faerie magic, it is also frightening in its implications.”
The professor’s speech continued for several more minutes. Using a pen and paper she had brought, Clarisse began to jot down everything Kohl was saying. She had filled two whole sheets of paper when Kohl left the subject of mind control and began to discuss breakthroughs in the use of faerie magic to produce household cleaning products.
Both Thothorin and Vrioli stood up in the same instant, despite the fact that Kohl’s speech was not over, and exited the arena. Victoria and Clarisse trailed after them, staying a good distance behind in case the magicians suspected that they were being followed.
Both magicians headed towards the main entrance, where Clarisse and Victoria had entered the festival earlier. Victoria slowly made her way over to Clarisse, keeping Thothorin within her sight.
“Do you think we should follow them out,” she said when she reached Clarisse, “or stay in the festival and look for more magicians?”
“Follow them,” said Clarisse. “The festival continues for several more weeks, so we’ll have another chance to find the other magicians. Besides, they might be going to tell Imagen what they know. We could find out where he’s staying right now!”
“Okay,” Victoria agreed.
“You should follow Vrioli now,” said Clarisse. “I’d like to follow Thothorin, and hear some of his thoughts. I’ve already gotten plenty from Vrioli.” Victoria agreed, and they traded places. Clarisse followed the Tonu up the path and out the exit.
Vrioli walked much more slowly than Thothorin, so Victoria was well behind Clarisse. When she finally reached the exit, Clarisse and Thothorin were nowhere to be seen. Keeping to the shadows, she followed the large Kau as he strode down the winding roads of Brightvale.
Victoria looked expectantly for a shadow Eyrie to appear, but Imagen was nowhere to be seen. In fact, hardly anyone was moving about the streets. It was now late afternoon, with dusk rapidly approaching. The sun was just beginning to slip past the horizon when Vrioli suddenly stopped and strode off the path, into a cluster of trees lining the road.
Victoria suspected that Vrioli was using this secluded spot to meet with Imagen and share the information he had learned at the festival. Victoria turned off the road as well, peering through the bare branches of the trees to find the magician.
To her surprise, she could no longer see Vrioli. She parted several tree branches and walked forward, but still the camouflage Kau was not visible. Victoria wondered if there was a secret hiding spot in the trees, one where Imagen was waiting.
She was about to walk forward when she saw a flickering shadow of movement between two trees. Turning quickly, she saw a massive shape materializing from the shadows; she gasped as she saw that the bulking shape was that of an Eyrie.
At Faerie Heights Academy, Elesempra had been unable to stop thinking about the twin light faeries, and how strange their behavior had been. She began to wonder if there wasn’t something sinister in their new organization, and their barely concealed excitement upon seeing the prophecy. She feared that she had made a horrible mistake.
So, when Elesempra noticed Harmony and Melody sneaking off to an abandoned corridor, Elesempra decided to follow them. She hid around the corner, occasionally sneaking a glance in their direction. She watched in fascination as Melody produced some sort of magical mirror, and the face of a Draik appeared in it.
“What have your spies found?” asked the Draik softly.
“We’ve found something good for you this time, Drake,” said Melody excitedly. “We’ve found the prophecy.”
The Draik became very excited. “Really?” he asked. “Are you sure it’s the real thing?”
“Yes,” said Harmony. “The Prophecy Faeries had it in their possession.”
“What does it say?” demanded the Draik.
His question remained unanswered, for at that moment Elesempra leaped around the corner and struck both faeries with a simple, defensive spell. Both faeries were instantly immobilized. The mirror Melody had been holding clattered to the floor; the Draik’s face had vanished.
Elesempra breathed a sigh of relief. All was not lost; she had prevented the twins from revealing the contents of the prophecy. Elesempra regretted putting a spell on the two faeries, but she felt it was necessary. Turning away from the immobile light faeries, Elesempra headed for Petrici’s office, knowing that the principal would know exactly what to do with them.
Meanwhile, Hortensia and Bernadette had entered the festival through a smaller entrance than the one Clarisse and Victoria used. After being admitted, they wandered about the festival. After about twenty minutes, Bernadette noticed one of the magicians they were looking for, a plump Meerca named Mirothi, exiting a fortune-teller’s tent.
Together, they followed him as he weaved through the crowd, occasionally stopping at booths to see what was for sale.
“Okay, either Imagen wants to know what this guy’s fortune is, or he wants Mirothi to buy something for him,” said Bernadette after several minutes of following the magician through the festival.
“I don’t think so,” said Hortensia. “He’s been moving purposefully uphill, towards the center of the festival. I think that’s his destination. He’s just taking his time getting there. Most likely he’s going to see an attraction there, and he’s just passing the time until it starts by shopping.”
“I hate it when you’re so smart,” groaned Bernadette. “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Sure enough, Hortensia was right. At the peak of the hill sat the second of two arenas. Mirothi headed there immediately and took a seat, just as a booming voice from the arena announced, “Five minutes until the lecture begins!”
Bernadette and Hortensia seated themselves on opposite sides of Mirothi, acting as if they were quite oblivious to the presence of both Mirothi and each other. The two faeries watched him out of the corners of their eyes, but the Meerca was doing nothing suspicious. He held a large Hot Dog Sundae Deluxe, which had purchased on his way up the hill, and began to devour it.
Hortensia spotted a sign that listed all of the arena’s performances for the day, and noticed that in fifteen minutes, a light faerie would be giving a lecture entitled “Faerie Magic: The Ancient and Unusual Powers”. Hortensia caught Bernadette’s eye and gestured towards the sign. Bernadette nodded in understanding; they both were certain that this was what Imagen was interested in.
The light faerie who was giving the lecture soon appeared. She had a bubbly, overly cheerful personality that Bernadette found quite obnoxious. However, when she began to speak, both Hortensia and Bernadette were awestruck with what they heard. The lecture was full of information; though Hortensia had a good memory, she quickly began scribbling down every word that the faerie said, for she found the subject fascinating. Bernadette was awestruck as well, but not because of the academics of the lecture. For once, she realized something important before Hortensia did. Bernadette knew, with absolute certainty, why Imagen was interested in this particular lecture. She also knew that it did not bode well for them, particularly for Clarisse.
After several hours, the lecture ended. Mirothi lazily exited the arena, followed by the two faeries. Mirothi wandered over to another hotdog stand and waited in line to purchase another hotdog.
While he was preoccupied, the two friends looked at each other. “That was unbelievable,” Hortensia gushed. “I had no idea they were conducting these kinds of studies. I can’t wait to tell Claire! Can you imagine her reaction when she hears about this?”
“Tenny,” said Bernadette, “haven’t you been paying attention? That Meerca wasn’t just listening to that lecture by chance. Don’t you realize what Imagen could do with this information? Don’t you see why he wants it?”
Hortensia considered Bernadette’s words for a long moment. “It all makes sense,” she said slowly. “Dette, you’re a genius!”
“I know,” said Bernadette.
“We have to tell Fyora right now,” said Hortensia, “that we know exactly what kind of information Imagen’s looking for, and why.”
“Yeah,” said Bernadette glumly. “He’s looking for information about the magical powers of the Prophecy Faeries, so he can destroy us.”
To be continued...