Seeded: Part Two
Ziya arrived in Faerieland in less than thirty minutes. As soon as she passed over the beautifully wrought gates that surrounded the city, she landed on the cobblestone streets and massaged her wings. She hadn’t flown that far in a long time and it had taken a lot out of her.
But Faerieland was beautiful even on foot, balancing a certain quaintness along with the appeal of magic. The streets were paved with an array of pale stones: oranges and pinks and reds. Flowers lined the roads and green vines wrapped themselves around streetlamps, signposts, and houses. Faeries and neopets alike were busily making their way through the city, taking a left here for Healing Springs, or going straight into the heart of Faerieland to take a peek at the palace.
The Faerieland library was one of the largest in all of Neopia, but the dark faerie had been there so many times that the sheer vastness didn’t stun her anymore. Visions required research, and the library in her own small town wasn’t adequate enough for her needs. She walked through the front door, nodded briefly at the librarian, and made her way inside.
Wooden shelves filled with thousands of books coated the walls, and perfectly clear windows allowed natural light to sprinkle inside. The library had three floors, along with a few reading towers. A spiral staircase dominated the center of the main room and there were also ladders with wheels on their bases to help Neopians reach the books on the uppermost levels. And of course there were comfy chairs with embroidered seat cushions, a few couches nested next to a bewitched fireplace in the back, and a lot of tables ready to be piled with books for researchers.
Ziya headed over to one of the many crystal balls poised on wrought iron pedestals throughout the library. Searcher Orbs. Anyone could use them, even Neopians without a drop of magic in their veins. The dark faerie put her slender hands on top of the orb and it glowed subtly with white light.
Welcome to the Faerieland Library. The words floated into her head with a magical lilt, friendly and soft. What is it you are seeking?
The Seed, she thought clearly, closing her eyes.
The Orb hummed gently for a few moments, and then listed off some books along with their authors: Dark Spells of Power by Albert Daines; Long Term Spells for the Patient by Miriam Vie; The Most Lucrative: a List of the Most Questionable Spells Ever Performed by Silas Hire... They all shared the same call number: 133.42, a.k.a. the spell book section.
Ziya unwound herself from the Orb and headed towards the proper shelf. She usually gravitated towards the spell book section, even when she visited the library just for fun. She was young and magic fascinated her. Of course, her ulterior motive was that she hoped reading the words written so long ago would help her with her own powers. She was a shabby Seer, but an even worse sorcerer. The only thing she could perform without a hitch was a darkness spell, and that was only useful when she took naps during the day and was too lazy to get off her butt and turn off the lights manually.
Ziya didn’t bother with the ladders or staircases; she preferred to stretch her wings. The books she wanted were on the second floor, and it wasn’t too hard to pluck them from the shelves. Some of the volumes were old and dusty and hadn’t been touched in many years, while a few others were newer, with glossy covers protected by transparent book jackets. When she had enough reading material, she found herself a large round table and settled down. She grabbed the first book and motioned upward with her hand. The bewitched reading lamp brightened slightly, allowing her to read the print more clearly.
It didn’t take long for Ziya to start getting worried. She knew a little bit about dark magic, but the magic mentioned in the book wasn’t just dark: it was evil.
She put a pale finger on one of the pages, using it to follow the lines of the text as she read a disturbing passage in a Neopian Magical History book. The Seed is a risky magical endeavor that was most frequently cast during the darker times in Neopia’s history. The caster would take a good portion of their own magic and invest it inside of another younger magical being, ie: sorcerer, faerie, etc. While they were left with a diminished supply of magic in their own bodies, the magic invested in the other would grow in strength as the years progressed, peaking around the age of magical puberty. When the Seed had grown all it could, a ceremony would then be performed to retrieve the magic. The ceremony was an extremely painstaking ritual, and was very dangerous even when performed properly. That is why in some brutal cases, the casters of the spell would merely sacrifice the individual who had carried the Seed inside of them. This would then release the Seed and increase their own magical abilities almost a hundred fold.
The words “dangerous” and “sacrifice” made Ziya’s eyes sting. “This is horrible,” she whispered in a state of shock. Ziya dog-eared the page and went onto the next book, but the more she read, the more disturbed she felt. Some of the texts outlined the actual steps in both the immersion spell and the retrieval spell. Another mentioned how only one person had used the Seed in a way that promoted good; most of them were used in instances of power-hungry individuals who didn’t care if a single faerie suffered for their gain.
At least it’s a long term spell, she thought hopefully. That means that we have a good amount of time to put an end to this.
All that was left was to figure out who the faeries were and who was the child they had planted the Seed inside of.
Ziya put her head down on the table, trying to recall the vision. She had focused so much on the cloaked faeries, trying to figure out their identities, that she had barely paid any attention to the small child. She wove her fingers through her dark hair and breathed deeply, willing herself into a trance. She still hadn’t mastered her Seeing abilities, but yet again most Seers never did and just encountered random, uncontrolled visions their entire lives.
But today she caught a break. Slowly, she found herself back in the clearing, watching the eerie scene from above. The faeries were exchanging hushed whispers, but she ignored them. She could always try to uncover their identities later. Instead she focused on the bundle in one of their arms: an earth faerie, she realized, when she caught a glimpse of her bright green wings.
But then she froze. Because she had been wrong. It wasn’t “wings” plural. The earth faerie child had but a single wing sticking out from her pale back.
Immediately she pulled herself out of the vision. Her eyes were wide and wild, and her heart hammered wildly in her chest. “Isabelle!” she gasped and, grabbing a single book off the table, she darted out of the library.
* * *
Isabelle couldn’t stop thinking about Ziya’s vision.
The earth faerie drew a squiggle in the dirt with her finger, feeling helpless. She couldn’t fly, not with her wing the way it was, which meant all she could do was sit around and wait impatiently for Ziya to return.
She wiggled her fingers over a blade of grass. A moment later it had doubled in size and was tickling her palm as it swayed in the breeze. At least I’m fairly competent with magic, she thought to herself. Her earth faerie powers had come in nicely, and she was finally gaining some control over them. And it was just in time, seeing as she was about to head off to the Faerie Academy to focus in on her earth magic, using herbs and plants to create magical brews and antidotes.
She paused from her game as a thought crossed her mind. “Wait a minute,” she murmured, “I don’t have to just sit here. I can help.”
Isabelle stood up abruptly and briskly started walking through the town towards the woods that bordered it. She was an earth faerie. Plants were as much a part of her as her left hand. And no matter what Ziya uncovered at the library, there was a high chance that she would need a potion to be made. And potions needed ingredients.
As she stepped beyond the first line of trees, Isabelle immediately felt at home. It was darker in the forest, and bugs crawled beneath her feet, but she loved it all the same. Especially the damp, rich smell of the earth that surrounded her.
In a matter of minutes she had gathered up a number of the most common beneficial plants used in potion making. She stuffed her pockets with wild Faeriewing, Farn, Tagobo, Void, Glowleaves, Pineflower, and even some blackberries, knowing each of their varied uses in potion making.
“I just need some mint,” she murmured, scouring the ground with her green eyes. Mint had over a fifty magical properties, and she knew that she had seen it growing in the forest before. But she just couldn’t remember where.
Pushing past a branch with large green leaves, Isabelle suddenly found herself in the middle of a circular clearing. Large maple trees surrounded her like guards, their roots peppered with beige-colored mushrooms. Bumbluzes flew by lazily, their behinds flashing with blue sparks, and the ground was comprised of rich brown dirt.
“Oh Fyora,” Isabelle muttered, putting her hand to her mouth. Her one wing fluttered nervously. She immediately recognized the clearing from Ziya’s description. This was where the three faeries had planted the Seed inside the young girl.
Isabelle bent down to the ground, scouring the ground for the design Ziya had described, the circular rune carved into the dirt. But it wasn’t there. The ground appeared undisturbed. Bugs crawled through it contentedly, munching on fallen leaves without a care in the world.
Did those faeries magically erase all of the evidence? Isabelle wondered, her long brown hair falling past her cheek. But somehow that didn’t seem plausible. Perhaps it was an earth faerie hunch, but she felt as if the clearing had been undisturbed for a very long time, years perhaps.
“Well, well, she finally returns,” a voice from behind her cooed.
Isabelle wheeled around in terror, seeing a robed faerie no more than three feet away. She opened her mouth to scream but it was too late. The light faerie pointed her finger at her and hissed, “Slumberlia!”
A heaviness immediately overcame Isabelle. Her eyelids weighed a ton, and her strength suddenly fled her body. As sleep overtook her, she crumpled to the ground like a discarded rag doll and everything went black.
To be continued...