I was not very happy.
Being painted faerie and all, this whole “ding dong, the faeries are petrified” ordeal was not exactly flying with me. But my owner wasn’t letting me touch any of the quests! So what’s a girl to do?
When the clock struck midnight, I slowly slipped on my Sparkling Crimson Slippers and Elegant Black Feather Hat (my disguise of choice), then stealthily opened the window to my second-story bedroom. My legs dangled over the edge; I was going to be in so much trouble for sneaking out in the late hours of the night, even more so if my owner ever found out where I was going.
I jumped, and my wings kicked in before I hit the ground. I flapped harder, harder, and harder still until I was hidden among the darkness of night. No one could see me now.
My instincts told me to fly south, and maybe a little bit west, too. I giggled as the wind flattened my fur against my back. This was way faster than I had ever flown before, but I was on a mission. So really, I had a good reason.
My heels clicked and clacked as I touched down on the stone road outside of the Deserted Fairgrounds. My good friend, Katey, had told me about this place. “It’s kind of scary,” she had warned me, “I wouldn’t want to go there.” And I had brushed her off, laughing and saying that she, being a Wocky and not a Xweetok, was a big baby.
Now, standing in front of the wrought iron gates of the fair that no longer existed, I was thinking that I should invest in a Baby Paint Brush. Pronto.
“No!” I muttered defiantly, “I’m not scared at all.” I forced myself to walk inside, glancing in all directions for Castle Nox. It had to be somewhere nearby, and sure enough, high on a hill and surrounded by wood, I could see it.
I regretted wearing heels.
My knees wobbled when I approached the outskirts of the woods. It was dark, and I didn’t have a flashlight.
“It’s just darkness. I flew here in the dark,” I assured myself. “Light is for wimps.” With a dainty step, I crossed into mostly unknown territory. Roots and rocks and . . . eww, mold . . . and rubble covered the path to the castle.
Fyora better give me an award for all this. You know, once she’s not made of stone anymore. That’s all I’ve got to say.
These woods were starting to spook me a little. Just a little. After all, I wasn’t scared. No Xweetok in their right mind was ever scared. But then something shot out of the darkness, illuminated by a handheld lantern.
I screamed as the frightened JubJub ran past me. He stopped for a moment, panting. “Don’t . . . go . . . in . . . there! It’s freaky!” he yelled, his voice as shrill as could be. Before I could squeeze in a question – or twelve – he ran off again, screaming like a maniac.
I continued on my way through the woods. The darkness seemed to go on forever, but I wasn’t stopping. I was on a mission to save these faeries, once and for all.
It seemed like hours (it really was twenty minutes) but finally, I was about one hundred meters away from the castle. You could tell that time had been put into making it; there was something about it that said something important was happening inside.
It took me a few moments, but I figured out the puzzle to unlock the gate. However, when it swung open, there were some things waiting for me.
They were purplish in color, almost transparent. Maybe they were made of bubbles.
“RAWRRRR,” said the one in front. I took off my hat and smoothed down my fur. I extended my free hand to it.
“Why hello there,” I said, my voice feigning sweetness, “My name’s Nora. What’s your name?” It turned to look at the two other blobs behind it. My heart sunk. These guards didn’t speak English.
“I’m here to see Mr. Nox,” I tried.
“NOOOOOOOOOOX?” it roared. I squealed in delight. They knew him!
“Yes, yes. Mr. Nox and I have some important business to take care of,” I explained. “You see, he accidently turned a few of my friends into stone by accident.” The three stared blankly at me. “Can you just take me to Mr. Nox?” I asked, as politely as I could. My patience was starting to wear thin. I should have taken a nap.
“YOU . . . WANT . . . TO . . . SEE . . . NOW?” one of the other two asked, very slowly. I nodded.
“FOLLOW!” said the third. They formed a circle around me. In an attempt to not be intimidated, I placed my hat back on my head, and we began to walk up the hill. I assumed we would be going in through the main door, but they led me around the back. There were two doors. The three creatures backed up.
“Which door do I go in?” I asked, turning around.
But they weren’t there anymore.
Now I was just a little scared.
Following my instincts yet again, I tugged the door on the right open wide. The hallway was carpeted, and I took that as a good sign. Hubrid Nox was an evil genius. Of course he would have fine furnishings in his castle.
I followed the carpet down the hallway. Another door stood, alone, where the hallway ended. I stood there for a moment, shaking all the way down to my sparkling shoes.
I knocked on the door.
“Who is it? I’m busy!” shrieked a voice. A familiar voice, one I recognized from an interview on the Nightly Neopian News that my owner watched every night.
An interview with the one, the only . . . Hubrid Nox!
“Hello, hi, Mr. Nox,” I said softly as I pushed the door open. The infamous Chia was sitting in a plush chair, in front of a fancy desk, with what looked like very important papers atop it. He glared at me.
“Who are you?” he asked, dragging out each word of his question.
“Me? I’m Nora,” I squeaked. I couldn’t help myself. He was a little scary-looking with all that gel making his fur pouf up.
I cleared my throat. “I came to talk to you about some very important matters. May I sit?” I said firmly, sitting in the chair opposite his before he could object.
“Thank you. You see, I have come to believe that you have something to do with this ruining of the Faerie Festival. And being a faerie pet myself, this upset me very much.” I was amazed by the fact that he was listening to me.
“Really?” A strange-looking smile curled onto his face. “And, does everyone else think that I, Hubrid Nox, turned all the faeries into stone?” I couldn’t tell if he was pleased or not.
“Well, . . . yes. Yes, most people do,” I replied. He laughed.
“Oh, and there’s this crazy group of people who think it was the Meepits, but they’re just foolish. I know it was you,” I say, pointing a finger at him. It pokes him in the middle of his forehead. “Now, Mr. Nox, do you think you could reverse your actions?”
I was startled as one of Neopia’s greatest villains crumpled to the floors.
“Don’t you see? That that’s what I’ve been trying to do?” he cried. Big, fat tears rolled down his cheeks. “All I wanted to do was steal their pies! But something,” he paused, sniffling, “went terribly wrong with the spell. Not only did the pies turn to stone, but so did the faeries!”
“I’ve been working on an antidote, but with everyone suspecting me, I haven’t been able to perfect it. I’ve had to hide!” He started sobbing again.
On instinct, I patted his back as he hunched over, hiding his face in his hands. I wanted him to feel better. “There, there. We’ll find a way to fix this,” I said, trying to alleviate some of his pain. Hmmm. What could I do to help him?
“What can I do to help you?” I asked. Mr. Nox wiped his eyes with a monogrammed handkerchief.
He handed me a calculator. “Are you good at math?” I smiled.
“I’ll try my best.”
_ _ _
“NORA! Wake up!”
I rolled over, groaning. “No, not now. I’m tired, Mr. Nox,” I moaned, not opening my eyes. I tried to hide under his big desk, but there was no desk to duck under. I opened one eye, then the other.
I was in my bed. In my Neohome. With my owner smiling at me.
What had happened to Hubrid? And our antidote? Did he get it to the faeries?
“Now, don’t be silly! I’m no evil villain,” she laughed. “Do you want to head up to Faerieland today? The festival’s back on. Somehow, they were all cured overnight.” I breathed a sigh of relief.
“I would love to! Can we go right after breakfast? Oooh, no! We could go now and have pie for breakfast!” I said, rolling out of bed and reaching for my favorite Fyora-inspired outfit. Maybe I’d get to meet the faerie queen.
My owner paused in the doorway. “Nope, we’re going to have to eat here. It’s the strangest thing, all of the pies disappeared. I’ll make pancakes,” she said and walked back down the hallway. As soon as I knew she was out of earshot, I giggled.
I guess my new friend got his pies after all.