The Prophecy Faeries 3: Linisa's Return - Part Three
PART THREE: THE PLAN UNFOLDS
Linisa flew stealthily through the caves, making her way through small passageways and twisting tunnels. It had been difficult to find the exact location of the Shining Sun, with nothing but Fyora’s description of it to go on, but at last, just weeks earlier, she had found it.
“Are you ready?” whispered a small voice, which appeared to be issuing from thin air.
Linisa pulled the small mirror from her pocket. It was edged in pink and purple, the Faerie Queen’s colours. Linisa would have liked nothing better than to smash the mirror into a thousand pieces, but had decided instead to be pragmatic. It was from the mirror that the voice had come.
The enchanted mirror, created by Fyora, showed the face of Lucine the light faerie, with whom Linisa was communicating at the moment. In the background, Linisa could make out the faces of a dozen or so assembled faeries of all different types. Lucine looked restless and anxious.
“I’m almost there,” said Linisa with a sigh, feeling almost as if she were speaking to a particularly impatient child. “Wait another few minutes, and then I’ll give you the signal.”
Linisa pocketed the mirror once more and resumed her flight. After a few minutes of flying, the passage widened into a large cavern. Linisa flattened herself against the ceiling and inched her way into the cavern.
The chamber reeked of chemicals and magic. Official-looking lab equipment was strewn about haphazardly, as if the lab had been thrown together in a hurry (which, of course, it had been).
At the far end of the cavern was a massive steel door with several locks attached to it. Copious amounts of bright light seeped through the cracks in the door, and Linisa smiled as she caught glimpses of her prize.
Only three pets were visible in the room; Lucasta’s diversion must have worked. All of the scientists and guards but these three had rushed off to another part of the mountains, thinking that there was some sort of natural disturbance there. They didn’t know that the disturbance had been entirely manufactured by Lucasta and her band of faeries. Lesedi and her group of faeries would be assisting them in the ambush. Meanwhile, it was all too easy for Linisa and the other two dozen faeries to overpower those who remained in this room.
Linisa turned her gaze to the only other entrance to the room, a newly created passageway to her right. She could just see, in the darkness, a flash of a light faerie’s wing.
Linisa stretched her hand out to her right, so that it could be clearly seen from the passage, and used a quick spell to flash a bit of light across her palm. This was the signal.
Following Linisa down the passage were seven other faeries. Gathered in the second passageway were Lucine and about fifteen faeries. When they saw the signal, they all converged, as one, into the cavern. The sleeping scientists and guard below were caught completely unprepared. In a matter of minutes, all three of them were paralyzed by faerie magic.
“Well done,” said Linisa stiffly, surveying the assembly of faeries before her. The vast majority of them were dark faeries, but there were also two air faeries and several fire faeries. There were many reasons that these faeries had chosen to join Linisa, but they all had one reason in common: revenge.
“I told you all it would work,” Lucine bragged to the faeries who accompanied her.
“Now what?” someone asked.
“Now we’ll see how the other ambush is coming along,” Linisa replied, pulling the mirror from her pocket once more.
After a moment, Lesedi’s face appeared. “Mission completed,” she said smugly. “Everyone is immobilized.”
“Nice work,” said Linisa. “There were only three here, so we’ll fly them over to you. Keep the prisoners in the place we discussed earlier.” The light faerie’s image faded, and the surface of the mirror became reflective once more.
“Lucine, you know where the prison is, so pick four faeries to accompany you and fly these three prisoners there. The rest of you, we’re going to collect every single document in this room and the adjoining rooms. Every scrap of paper must be collected. We have a little research to do.”
Some of the faeries wanted to complain that this was not what they had planned at all, but one look at the light faerie’s face stopped them from protesting. They could tell from the vicious gleam in Linisa’s eyes that she would stop at nothing to enact her revenge; anyone who argued would be instantly silenced. Without a word, the faeries began to carry out their assigned duties.
Linisa surveyed them with a satisfied smile. Her plan was unfolding perfectly.
Before long, everyone in Faerie Heights was whispering about how Clarisse had fainted in the middle of class. When Victoria, Bernadette, and Hortensia heard, they instantly headed to their dormitory to see Clarisse.
“Are you okay?” Victoria asked the moment she burst into the room.
“Fine,” said Clarisse nonchalantly, not looking up from the book she was reading. Hortensia and Bernadette were already in the room, studying Clarisse as if she might have lost her mind.
“What did you see?”
“Nothing much,” she said. “It’s not really important.”
“Claire, the third prophecy is going to come true soon. Anything you see is going to be important!” Victoria cried.
At the same moment, Bernadette said, “Since when have your visions not been important?”
Under the pressure of her friend’s glares, Clarisse lowered her book with a sigh. “I don’t know what it means. I saw an inn in Brightvale and a blue Eyrie going into it. That’s all.”
“There’s an Eyrie in the prophecy,” Hortensia said instantly.
“Maybe we’re supposed to go to Brightvale,” said Victoria.
“I think we should tell Fyora about this,” Hortensia suggested. “She might be able to help us figure out what the prophecy and Clarisse’s vision mean.”
Clarisse started to protest, but she was quickly outvoted. Victoria pulled an enchanted mirror from her pocket, and within moments the image of the Faerie Queen appeared within it.
Quickly, Victoria explained about Clarisse’s vision and the words of the final prophecy.
“Is she certain it was in Brightvale?” Fyora asked.
“I’m sure,” said Clarisse.
“I’m afraid you may be right,” said Fyora. “A blue Eyrie working here in the palace recently informed me that he overheard a conversation about defeating the Prophecy Faeries in an inn just outside of Brightvale.”
“Didn’t he see who it was?” Bernadette asked skeptically.
“He said they were hidden in the shadows. He thinks they might have been using magic to conceal themselves from view.”
“What, exactly, did they say?” Victoria asked.
“He said that he couldn’t hear all of the conversation, just bits and pieces. The Prophecy Faeries were definitely mentioned, as was my name. The Eyrie got the impression that they were forming a plan to defeat me, or you four, or all of us. I contacted the innkeeper immediately to ask if he could identify the customers, but he never responded to my inquiries.”
“How convenient,” muttered Bernadette. “He must be involved. Who wouldn’t answer a summons from the Faerie Queen, unless they were involved?”
“Maybe he’s just traveling or something,” said Victoria.
“The only thing the Eyrie could tell me was that one of the voices was definitely female,” Fyora said, “but it’s certainly a possibility that the innkeeper assisted them in some way. At any rate, I need to contact him and any possible witnesses, to see if anyone else heard what the Eyrie heard. Unfortunately, I’m having a diplomatic disagreement with Hagan at the moment. Getting my spies in the area would be tricky. My negotiations with Hagan won’t go well if he even suspects that my spies are in Brightvale.”
“What should we do?” Victoria asked.
“I think you need to go to Brightvale to investigate,” Fyora said.
“How did I know you were going to say that?” joked Bernadette.
As Fyora gave them the address of the inn, Clarisse remained quiet, gazing out the window. She sensed that there was something important she was forgetting. She felt that there was a reason that this trip was a bad idea, but she couldn’t seem to remember why.
After saying goodbye to Fyora, they began to quickly pack their bags. They decided to get a good night’s sleep and leave for Brightvale first thing in the morning.
Clarisse lay awake that night, trying to identify the memory that was nagging at the back of her mind. Eventually, she succumbed to sleep, and her troubled thoughts were forgotten.
The four faeries rose early that morning and gathered things. After stopping briefly in Principal Petrici’s office to explain their absence, they flew off, leaving Faerieland behind.
They stopped for a few hours in Meridell to eat and regain their strength before continuing onward. By early evening, they had arrived on the outskirts of Brightvale. Following the Eyrie’s directions, they soon came upon a small, dilapidated inn, sitting beneath some trees alongside a dirt road. There were no other buildings in sight.
“Marshall’s Inn,” Bernadette read off the sign. “Is this it, Claire?”
“Yes, this is the one.”
Clarisse stopped for a moment and looked around. The sun was just beginning to set, and darkness was encroaching on the land. The area appeared desolate and deserted. An eerie wind blew through the trees, their stark, empty branches outlined against the last, dying rays of the sun. The temperature was dropping rapidly.
“I don’t like the looks of this,” said Clarisse slowly. “Maybe we should wait until morning, when it’s a little more... crowded.”
“Don’t be silly,” said Bernadette. “What are you afraid of, the dark?”
“We can be fairly certain that Marshall will be here, since he probably lives in one of the rooms,” said Hortensia. “It might be a good idea to find him now, when he’s not expecting it.”
“Let’s just get this over with,” added Victoria.
The four faeries approached the front door and cracked it open cautiously. Bernadette peeked inside.
“Looks like it’s closed,” she said. “There aren’t any lights on down here.”
“Shouldn’t the door be locked if it’s closed?” Clarisse whispered, but no one heard her.
The four faeries entered the main room and stumbled around in the darkness. Being a dark faerie, Bernadette had no trouble seeing in the dark, so she lead her friends around the room and described everything she could see.
Clarisse told her that, in her vision, the Eyrie had rounded a corner, and she was certain that something sinister had been on the other side. After a moment, Bernadette located the place she was referring to, and guided them over.
As the four faeries rounded the corner, they were met with a bright, magical flash of light. The floor seemed to vanish from under their feet. They tried to fly and found that they couldn’t move their wings, yet they were not falling; they were rising. In moments, they were suspended in midair, unable to move. Glowing golden light, a sign of magic, surrounded them.
Victoria let out a shriek. The four friends called out to one another, trying to figure out what was happening. As they fell silent, they heard another voice echoing in the darkness: a deep, satisfied laugh.
“And they say you’re the greatest faeries in Neopia,” the voice scoffed. “You walked right in to this little trap. Not so clever now, are you?”
“Who are you?” Bernadette demanded.
“Who am I?” laughed the voice. “Who I am should not concern you. You should be much more concerned with the identity of your true captor, who is, at this very moment, succeeding in her plan to defeat you, conquer Fyora, and rule Neopia.”
“Now where have we heard that before?” Bernadette said with a smirk.
“All right, enlighten us. Who is our true captor?” Victoria asked, hoping that he would give something away.
Her question was met only with echoing laughter. When the laughter ended, the four faeries heard retreating footsteps.
“Dette, could you see who it was?” Hortensia whispered when she was certain they were alone.
“Yes,” Bernadette said. “It was a blue Eyrie.”
The faeries said little as they waited for the darkness of the night to end and day to begin. Though they had no idea what their captor’s intentions were, they were certain that they would find out in the morning. They were weighted down with a sense of despair as they realized that they were the captives of an unknown enemy.
To be continued...