The Prophecy Faeries 2: Imagen's Revenge - Part Nine
PART NINE: THE BATTLE
As Hortensia had predicted, Faerieland’s residents were outraged at the destruction of their peaceful city, and quite a few faeries were willing to fly to Meridell to get their revenge. As they assembled at the palace, Fyora gave them a few simple instructions, outlining the plan. Then they were off, heading towards Meridell.
The sun was setting when the faeries arrived. The residents of Meridell could only stare upwards in fear and awe as a hundred faeries descended upon the castle, illuminated by the light of the sun sinking into the horizon. Several of the castle guards dropped their weapons and fled the moment they saw the faeries, but most remained, prepared to defend their king.
Hortensia had contacted her friends as she neared Meridell, letting them know that the plan was working perfectly. Using their magic charms, Victoria and Clarisse abandoned the supplies and appeared at Hortensia’s side.
“How did it go?” asked Hortensia when her friends appeared.
“We got almost all of them; Bernadette’s map was right every time. There’s no way Imagen’s armies will be able to come to his aid or wage any battles,” said Victoria, “until they can get some more supplies.”
“And there’s no way his guards can protect him,” added Hortensia, “when they’re fighting these faeries.”
Following Fyora’s instructions, the guards of Meridell Castle were not killed or even severely injured; rather, the faeries cast dozens of spells to immobilize or otherwise temporarily incapacitate them. Though many of the guards fought valiantly, they were outnumbered, and their weapons were no match for faerie magic.
Hortensia, Clarisse, and Victoria entered the castle in the midst of the chaos, and were not stopped by any guards. Together, they headed towards the staircase Clarisse had discovered before, which lead directly to Imagen’s chambers.
Wandering so close to the guard’s barracks put them in close proximity with much of the fighting. The three friends dodged swords and spells alike as they raced through the corridors. At one point, a faerie’s spell missed the guard she had aimed for and reverberated around the room before heading straight for Victoria. Clarisse used air currents to push the spell in the opposite direction, while Hortensia pulled Victoria out of the way.
At long last, they reached the hidden door. As they headed up the stairs, they heard footsteps pounding behind them. Turning around quickly, they saw Bernadette rushing towards them, grinning triumphantly.
“Skarl and Hagan are free of the spell,” she said, “and very upset about what happened to them. I told them to make an appearance, and tell their armies to retreat, and get the guards to stop fighting. I don’t think anyone in Meridell liked Imagen much; when Skarl appeared, they started cheering.”
“Imagen has no escape now,” said Victoria. “His castle is surrounded, and his armies turned against him.”
When the four faeries reached the royal chambers, there was no sign of Imagen. After several minutes of searching the rooms, Clarisse pointed out a hidden staircase, leading up to a tower. Together, the four friends ascended the staircase.
They found themselves at the top of a massive, rounded stone turret, with large glass windows overlooking the castle lawn below. Imagen stood at the far end of the room, pressed against the glass, watching emotionlessly as the invading faeries easily defeated his guards.
He did not turn around as the four faeries walked in. “I know you did this,” he said without turning around. “I knew you would come.”
With an echoing bang, the door behind them closed, and Clarisse realized, too late, that they were trapped.
“You think I didn’t expect this?” he said. As he spoke, he slowly turned to face them. He looked just as the faeries remembered: his cruel features were twisted into a sneer, and his dark eyes appeared eerie and haunted.
“There’s a reason Faerieland is never attacked,” he continued. “I knew no one could wage war against Fyora for long. I realized that the only way to attack Faerieland was suddenly, and secretly. I was correct; the city was wholly unprepared for my attack. Fyora had underestimated me, but she will never do so again. I have shown how powerful I can be. I have had my revenge.”
“Spare us the monologue,” said Bernadette. “Surrender now, and maybe we won’t hurt you.”
“You still don’t understand,” sneered Imagen. “The fall of Faerieland was always the goal, and nothing else. I wanted revenge on the Prophecy Faeries and Fyora—the faeries who imprisoned Dinusa and tried to capture me. That’s why the armies were told that their main targets were the palace and Faerie Heights Academy. The plan to attack Faerieland succeeded; I have already won.
“Becoming king, taking over Neopia, all of that was just because I could, with Fyora preoccupied. I hoped that I would succeed, but I expected this plan to fall apart in the end. I knew you would come. But you will never be able to capture me. You will never find me. Whenever you least expect it, I will appear again, and wreak havoc on Neopia. This will not be my last attack on Faerieland; this will not be my last attempt to conquer the world. The power of the Shining Sun has granted me hundreds of years of immortality. You will never be rid of me. Just when you think Neopia is safe, my plan for revenge will continue!”
Bernadette laughed. “That’s so crazy, it’s unbelievable. What makes you think you’re going to get away?” As she spoke, all four faeries prepared to strike the Eyrie, feeling their magic surging through them and tingling in the palms of their hands. The colours of their magic (green, purple, white, and blue) shone on their hands.
Imagen was faster than they were. A bright orange light burst from him, and struck Bernadette and Victoria, who fell to the ground. He moved to strike the other two, but Clarisse began deflecting all the spells he aimed at them. The air faerie and dark sorcerer were soon engaged in a fierce battle, with Clarisse reading his movements in his mind before he made them, and knowing exactly when to dodge his spells.
Meanwhile, Hortensia frantically searched the room for some sign of plant life so that she could use her magic, but found none. It became clear that Imagen had planned well for their attack. He had chosen this room because it was far from both plant life and water, which would have been advantages to Hortensia and Victoria. By placing himself against the window, any spells the faeries aimed at him merely crashed through the glass and were lost, but Imagen’s spells bounced off the wall behind the faeries and boomeranged about the room, lasting for a considerably longer time before hitting the window, increasing his odds of hitting one of them.
With no plants to work with, Hortensia knelt to the floor and attempted a few healing spells to revive her friends. After several minutes, Victoria awakened and began to rise. Hortensia then moved on to Bernadette.
Imagen was so immersed in his fight with Clarisse that he didn’t notice when Victoria sat up. Surveying the battle, Victoria realized that Clarisse was tiring and wouldn’t be able to keep fighting by herself for long. Victoria concentrated her magic, thought of what she wanted to happen, and closed her eyes.
A funnel of water descended from the ceiling of the room and made its way towards Imagen, who was caught completely by surprise. He was soon engulfed in the funnel, which spun rapidly around him and prevented him from casting another spell.
By this point, Hortensia had revived Bernadette, and the two faeries joined their friends. Bernadette, her energy restored, prepared to cast the final spell on Imagen.
However, the sorcerer had prepared for this moment, and knew what to do. Still blinded by the funnel of water, he stumbled backwards quickly, breaking through the torrent of water. He pushed off from the stone floor as hard as he could and propelled himself backwards. The Eyrie collided with the window. With an enormous crash, the glass shattered, and Imagen fell through it, plummeting to the ground below.
Victoria allowed the water in the funnel to fall to the ground, allowing the four faeries to leap out the window after the sorcerer.
Imagen unfurled his wings and soared upwards, flying rapidly away. He was so fast that the faeries couldn’t catch up to him, but stayed a few feet behind, rapidly firing spells in his direction.
After several minutes of flying, the faeries were weakening, but Imagen remained strong, flying so far ahead of them that they feared they would lose sight of him. It was then, however, that Imagen made his biggest mistake. He had completely forgotten about the lake.
Victoria sensed it before she saw it: a large and deep lake, surrounded by farmland, lay directly in the path of Imagen’s flight. Victoria grinned as the Eyrie flew closer and closer to the water. Knowing her plan instantly, Clarisse flew ahead and to the right, blocking Imagen’s escape that way. Realizing what she was doing, Hortensia and Bernadette flew ahead and to the left.
When Imagen was close enough to the water, Victoria sent massive amounts of magic towards the lake. The others saw bright flashes of blue light as Victoria’s magic filled the air. With all her magical strength, she pulled the water upward, forming a wall of water that towered many feet above the ground.
Imagen saw the wall of water rise up before him, blocking his path. He could have flown over it, but he knew that Victoria could create another funnel and capture him. Instead, he swooped backwards and to the left, hoping to retrace his path and fly around the lake.
Hortensia and Bernadette were waiting for him. Imagen barely dodged their spells as he flew frantically away, growing desperate to find an escape route. He could see that Clarisse blocked his path in the opposite direction, and Victoria was waiting if he flew back the way he had come. Imagen was now completely encircled by the faeries and the lake. There was nothing he could do but fly straight towards Clarisse and hope that her spells would miss.
Hortensia and Bernadette had followed Imagen when he flew away from them, and were now closing the distance between them. Imagen was trapped between the three faeries, who rapidly fired spells in his direction. He used magic to form a shield around himself, but soon found it difficult to maintain the shield and fly as quickly as he needed to in order to escape from the faeries.
At long last, part of his shield collapsed, and one of Bernadette’s spells hit his right wing. He spiraled to the ground. All four faeries dived to the ground after him, landing a few feet from the injured Eyrie. They found themselves in the middle of a wide, dirt lane, with small houses sitting alongside it.
Imagen wasn’t giving up. He cast another spell at the faeries, which Clarisse quickly deflected. Meanwhile, Hortensia finally had some nearby plants to work with; all of the plants and grass surrounding the lane suddenly grew to an enormous size and began to envelop the Eyrie, surrounding him on all four sides. As Bernadette and Clarisse continued to deflect the Eyrie’s spells, Victoria cast the final spell, which hit Imagen squarely in the chest. Unconscious and immobile instantly, the Eyrie fell to the ground, with Hortensia’s plants forming an imprisoning wall around him.
Though the faeries had not noticed it, several pets had emerged to see what was happening on the lane outside their homes. Someone recognized the faeries and whispered to his neighbor, “It’s them, the Prophecy Faeries!” Soon a crowd had formed, standing a good distance away from the battle. When Imagen was defeated, they began to applaud.
The four faeries turned around, stunned, to see the cheering crowd. “Wow,” muttered Bernadette. “We have admirers.”
“I guess they don’t like Imagen much more than we do,” laughed Victoria. The water faerie stepped forward, facing the crowd, which instantly fell silent.
“Could someone please fetch a Uni Carriage?” she asked sweetly. “There’s a certain Eyrie who needs to be transported to some dungeons in Faerieland.”
A carriage soon arrived, and, with the help of the villagers, the immobilized Eyrie was placed aboard. The four faeries, exhausted from their efforts, collapsed within it as well, and the carriage headed for Fyora’s palace.
Skarl and Hagan were quick to regain control of Meridell and Brightvale. Their armies returned home, and the war ended before it really began. Meanwhile, nations across Neopia began to assist the citizens of Faerieland in restoring their beautiful land. Before long, Faerieland stood just as it had before, the attack forgotten.
Imagen was imprisoned at long last, and the four faeries felt that they could finally relax. However, the citizens of Faerieland, Meridell, and Brightvale were not content to let them do so. The Prophecy Faeries were renowned across Neopia for having defeated a sorcerer once more. This time, their fame was even more widespread, and the four faeries were unable to step outside without being recognized.
“This is insane,” gasped Bernadette as she entered their dormitory at Faerie Heights, slamming the door shut behind her. “I had twenty people ask me for an autograph just now!”
“Enjoy it while you can,” suggested Victoria. “Before long we won’t be big news anymore.”
“I hope it happens soon,” said Hortensia, who had never liked being the center of attention.
“We have bigger things to worry about,” said Clarisse, staring down at the piece of paper in her hands. “There’s one more prophecy left, and this time we have no idea who—or what—we’ll be facing.”
“Come on, Claire,” teased Bernadette, “with your visions, you’ll know who it is in no time.”
“Maybe,” said Clarisse, but she sounded skeptical. “Speaking of visions, does anyone know what happened to Drake, or Harmony and Melody?”
“Fyora told me that Drake was captured by some of the faeries at Meridell Castle,” said Victoria. “I’m not sure what kind of punishment she plans to give him for aiding Imagen, but I think she’s going to be more lenient, since he didn’t really know what he was doing.”
“Ella told me that Harmony and Melody have left the school,” added Hortensia, “but nobody knows where they’ve gone. Fyora said that after she talked to them, she was sure that they had no idea that Drake was helping a dark sorcerer; they really thought that Drake was just going to show them some advanced spells.”
“But they weren’t too worried about endangering us by telling Drake about the prophecy,” noted Bernadette dryly.
“So, what did Fyora decide to do?” asked Victoria.
“I think they got a lecture about not spying on people, and have to do community service,” laughed Hortensia. “Now that everyone in the Faerie Heights knows what role they played in all of this, I think they’re probably too embarrassed to return to the Academy any time soon.”
Fyora stood on one of the great balconies of her palace. Down below, massive crowds had assembled, and looked up at the balcony expectantly. The awards ceremony had begun.
The first awards given were given to faeries who had proven themselves brave in the battle against Meridellian soldiers and the siege of Meridell Castle. After all the medals were given out, only five faeries were left standing inside the doorway that led to the balcony.
“Now,” said Fyora, “I would like to present this special award to a young faerie whose bravery and quick thinking protected information about the Prophecy Faeries from falling into the hands of a dark sorcerer.”
As Elesempra’s name was called out, the remaining four faeries congratulated her, her sister most of all. The small earth faerie stepped onto the balcony to the sound of massive applause. Accepting her award from Fyora, she then flew down and landed among the faeries who had already received their awards.
The crowd fell silent as everyone waited in anticipation for a glimpse of the four most famous young faeries in Neopia.
Hortensia, Clarisse, Bernadette, and Victoria barely listened as Fyora praised their efforts in defeating Imagen; the four friends had already received a similar award once before, and had already heard Fyora’s praise. They listened, instead, to the crowd, which did not stop cheering from the moment when Fyora called their names to the moment when they received their awards and stood side by side. The knowledge that they had helped so many Neopians was better than any award they could have received.
“We’re never going to have normal lives again, are we?” asked Hortensia wistfully when the ceremony had concluded.
“No,” said Bernadette, “but who cares about a normal life? I, for one, have the three best friends a faerie could ask for; I plan to enjoy every minute of my completely abnormal life. Until the next prophecy comes true, that is.”
The three friends flew together, awards in hand, towards the Academy, knowing that Bernadette was right. Their lives would never be the same, but their friendship would always remain.