The Prophecy Faeries 3: Linisa's Return - Part One
PART ONE: THE END FORETOLD
Two faeries chatted aimlessly as they walked through the halls of Faerie Heights Academy for Magical Study. Around them, the other students kept their distance. Some glanced at the duo warily before looking in the opposite direction, while others stared blatantly, curious about two of Faerie Heights’s most famous students.
One of the faeries was a water faerie. Her long blond curls were messily tied back from her face, revealing soft features and sea-blue eyes. She walked confidently; the aversion of the other students appeared to have no effect on her. A simple cord hung around her neck; dangling from the end of it was a small blue charm engraved with a V, which stood for Victoria.
Her companion couldn’t have been more different. She was a dark faerie with sharp features and careless attitude. Her black hair was cropped short and streaked with deep violet, which accentuated the swirls of purple and black in her eyes. While her companion’s demeanor was self-assured, hers was defiant. Like her friend, she wore a small charm around her neck; hers was purple and marked with a B, which stood for Bernadette.
“So,” Bernadette was saying, “I compared the surveys and figured out that sixteen point two percent of Neopians claim to, and I quote, ‘be dissatisfied with the attempts to restore relations between Meridell and Faerieland’, so Fyora will probably ask us to give a speech or something in Meridell soon.”
“Dette,” said Victoria with a sigh, “I highly doubt that Fyora bases her public policy decisions on a couple of unprofessional poll results.”
“She should,” protested Bernadette, “because numbers—”
“—don’t lie,” Victoria said, completing Bernadette’s sentence with a laugh.
Bernadette was about to reply, but caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of her eye and turned abruptly. “Incoming at six o’clock,” she warned.
Victoria glanced back and spotted a fire faerie hurrying towards them. She appeared very nervous, and awkwardly clutched a pen and paper in one hand. She wore the gleaming silver badge of a school prefect, and Victoria thought that she looked vaguely familiar.
“Do we know her?” she whispered to Bernadette.
Before Bernadette could reply, the faerie was upon them. “Hi,” she said, glancing at them nervously. Matching their pace, she walked beside them as they continued up the hall.
“Hi,” said Victoria, waiting for the faerie to regain her courage and explain what she wanted.
“I’m really sorry to bother you, but...” She trailed off, looking flustered.
Victoria suddenly remembered who she was. Her name was Tamporean, and she had been in their Magic History class last semester. Victoria had a vague recollection of receiving their class schedules from Tamporean in the month of Gathering. That had been just days before Victoria and her four friends had discovered a secret plot to take over Neopia, and began the journey that would forever change them....
“...but I was wondering if maybe you could... I mean, I have a younger sister, and she saw your pictures on the news, and when she heard that we went to the same school, she asked if I could...”
“Could what?” asked Bernadette exasperatedly, her patience evaporating.
“Could I have your autographs?” Tamporean blurted, holding out her pen and paper cautiously.
Bernadette looked like she was about to say something rude, so Victoria quickly cut in. “Of course,” she said, taking the pen and paper from the faerie’s hand. “What’s your sister’s name?”
After jotting down a quick message and signing her name, Victoria passed the paper to Bernadette, who scrawled her name with a glare and thrust the paper back at Tamporean.
“Thank you so much!” Tamporean gushed.
“Just leave us alone, would you?” said Bernadette loudly, casting her glare not only at Tamporean but also at the many faeries around them, who were staring openly.
As the faerie rushed away, the two friends hurried down the hallway and descended a flight of stairs to the main floor.
The two faeries reached their dormitory to find that their best friends had already arrived. Hortensia, an earth faerie with long auburn hair and a scattering of freckles across her face, was sitting at her desk, surrounded by piles of books, her reading glasses situated crookedly on her nose. She barely glanced up from the book she was engrossed in as her friends entered the room.
Nearby, an air faerie named Clarisse was sitting on the floor, practicing spells for her Practical Uses of Air Magic class, her short blond hair waving in the breeze she was conjuring. As Bernadette and Victoria entered the room, she gazed up at them with her unnaturally large, clouded eyes.
Before long all four friends had seated themselves around the room and were chatting as they worked on their homework in various subjects. Bernadette turned on the small Neovision set in the corner and tuned it to her favorite game show. Bernadette was addicted to trivia and statistics; she often knew all of the answers on quiz shows. As the four faeries conversed, Bernadette would occasionally blurt out an answer to the trivia question just before the contestants did.
“Hey, Claire,” Victoria said suddenly, after a rare moment of silence, “don’t you think it’s about time we looked at the third prophecy?”
An uneasy silence filled the room. About three months earlier, the four friends had discovered that they were the heroes of a trio of ancient prophecies, which foretold the villainous acts of evil sorcerers who attempted to take over Neopia. A young prophetess named Khorianna had recited the prophecies to her brother shortly before her death. Due to an encounter with a magical object known as the Shining Sun, her brother had lived for over five hundred years; the four faeries knew him as Hentoff, their Magic History teacher. Hentoff had given copies of all three prophecies to Clarisse and aided them during the events of the first prophecy. The second prophecy had come true as well, and the four friends were now famous for defeating the sorcerers and saving Neopia. However, their last adventure had been nearly two months ago, and they all believed that the third prophecy could come true at any time. Yet Clarisse, who possessed the parchment containing the words of the third prophecy, had yet to show it to her friends.
“You’re right,” said Clarisse after a moment, but she made no move to retrieve the parchment. Every time the prophecy had been mentioned recently, she had seemed nervous and preoccupied. Her friends had begun to wonder if Clarisse was keeping something from them.
“What’s wrong?” demanded Bernadette bluntly.
“Nothing,” said Clarisse, too quickly.
“Then show it to us. We have to know,” Bernadette said.
Clarisse sighed. “Are you sure you want to see it? You know it won’t make any sense, and we’ll just drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out what it means.”
“We don’t have any choice,” Hortensia reminded her gently.
Slowly, Clarisse stood and went over to her bed, retrieving her bag from its hiding place inside her pillowcase. She opened the bag and gently slid out a yellowed, decaying piece of parchment.
The front side of the parchment was covered with the words of the second prophecy, written in neat, meticulous handwriting. On the reverse side of the torn page, the third and final prophecy was written.
Without speaking, Clarisse handed the page to Victoria, who began to read the lines of the final prophecy aloud.
“Before the Month of Sleeping comes to a close,
The scorned faeries will enclose
The guardians in the rose.
The Eyrie, firmly planted, lies,
And Faeries take to the skies,
Heading to an unwelcome surprise.
A trap, a castle, a trip, a confession
All precede the final transgression
As evil attempts another accession.
The messages, carved in stone, are read;
Aware at last, the Faeries are lead
To fulfill the Fate previously unsaid.
Events of the burning battle unfold,
The Sun consumes, and a fall uncontrolled
Leads to the inevitable death foretold.”
As Victoria uttered the last words, she seemed to realize what she had just said and, with a start, dropped the paper as if it had burned her. It fluttered to the floor and landed softly on the carpet before Victoria’s feet. The four faeries stared at it as if it were a monster threatening to devour them.
“How long have you known about this?” Bernadette asked, looking at Clarisse.
“Since we returned from the Haunted Woods, at the same time that I read the second,” Clarisse said dully. Her friends stared at her in shock; they couldn’t believe that Clarisse had kept such a dark secret weighing on her all this time.
“Does it really mean what I think it means?” whispered Victoria.
“I don’t know what it means,” said Clarisse, “except for the last line.”
“Yeah, Khorianna made that one pretty clear, didn’t she?” muttered Bernadette grimly. “She never says what we’re supposed to do, just what’s going to happen.”
“The Month of Sleeping,” Hortensia mused, almost to herself. Absently, she fiddled with her glasses, a sure sign that she was thinking hard, considering the problem from all angles. “So it will happen this month, that part’s clear. But who are the faeries it keeps mentioning? It says ‘faeries’ three times.”
“Twice it’s capitalized,” said Clarisse. “I don’t know if that has any significance. Hentoff capitalized people’s titles in the last one: ‘Prophecy Faeries’, ‘Conqueror’, and ‘Dragon’ were all capitalized, and they were all names for people.”
“The capitalized ‘Faeries’ could mean us, then,” said Hortensia, “but the first one, ‘scorned faeries’, definitely isn’t us. The ‘scorned faeries’ sound like the villains.”
Bernadette stared at the overturned parchment, still lying on the floor, as if it would suddenly sprout fangs. “How did Hentoff even know which words to capitalize?” she asked. “Khorianna was just reciting the prophecies to him. Even he didn’t know what they meant, so how could he know what was supposed to be in caps? Maybe he just guessed.”
“Who are the guardians?” said Victoria exasperatedly. “Guardians of what? Are the guardians in ‘the rose’ already, or will they be enclosed in it?”
“The villain could also be the Eyrie,” added Bernadette.
“Who else thinks of Imagen when they think of an Eyrie?” said Victoria.
“I thought so too,” said Hortensia, “but it couldn’t possibly be him. He’s locked up in the palace dungeons.”
“Unless he escapes,” said Bernadette darkly.
“He can’t,” said Hortensia confidently. “There has never been a documented escape from the Faerie Castle dungeons.”
“Just because there’s never been a documented escape doesn’t mean there hasn’t been one,” countered Bernadette.
“Tenny, are there any plants with the word ‘eyrie’ in the name, or maybe shaped like an Eyrie?” asked Clarisse suddenly, interrupting their argument.
“Not any plants that I know of,” Hortensia said, “but there is an Eyrie garden statue. Why?”
“I was thinking about the fourth line. It describes the Eyrie as ‘firmly planted’. What else could be ‘firmly planted’?”
“Maybe it is a garden statue,” joked Bernadette. “Maybe it was firmly planted in a garden, but it fell over, so it ‘lies’ on the ground!”
“So we’re going to have a battle over a garden statue?” said Victoria with a laugh.
“One in a castle garden,” added Bernadette, “since it mentions a castle. And, now that I think about it, it also mentions ‘messages carved in stone’. Maybe there’s something important carved into the statue!”
“What’s ‘the rose’?” muttered Hortensia, barely paying attention to Bernadette’s ramblings. Distractedly, she ran her fingers through her hair. “Maybe it’s the rose that’s firmly planted, not the Eyrie.”
“We’re thinking too literally,” said Clarisse. “After all, the previous prophecies were never literal. Remember how the second prophecy said Drake had the sky on his wings, when he was just painted Starry? We weren’t meant to take that literally, either. What else could ‘firmly planted’ mean?”
The friends brainstormed for several more minutes, but couldn’t come up with any plausible answers.
“You know what bothers me?” said Clarisse. “It mentions the Sun again. Will we be going back to the Shining Sun?”
“Maybe it just means the sun, not the Sun,” said Victoria hopefully.
“I don’t know,” said Clarisse with a sigh. “I just hope that it isn’t the Shining Sun. If any villain should succeed in using the Sun’s power... it would be ten times worse than anything Dinusa or Imagen tried to do.”
“So basically, we still have no idea what’s coming, because we have no idea what any of this means,” said Victoria.
“Except for the last line,” Clarisse reminded her grimly.
“Right,” said Bernadette. “All we know is that one of us is going to die.”
To be continued...