The Prophecy Faeries 3: Linisa's Return - Part Six
PART SIX: THE EYRIE
When the faeries awoke the following morning, they felt considerably more refreshed than they had the day before. All of their magic seemed to have been fully restored.
“Good morning!” said Solon cheerfully as they awoke. “I’ve made some tea, if you’d like it. It’s in the kitchen.”
“Where is the kitchen, exactly?” said Bernadette, peering around a large stack of books that teetered precipitously as she attempted to locate it.
Solon chuckled good-naturedly. “Across from the door where you entered, currently to your right,” he directed.
The kitchen table was, of course, covered in books and papers, which Solon hastily placed on the countertop in an attempt to make space for everyone. There were only two chairs, so Victoria and Clarisse stood beside the countertop.
“This tea is excellent,” said Victoria, who had noticed that it was not only refreshing but also very filling. After drinking only half a cup, she no longer felt hungry.
“Just a special brew whipped up for me by an amateur wizard working here in the castle,” said Solon conversationally. “He’s an old student of mine. I was speaking with him one day about my disastrous cooking attempts, and how they always result in my being late for class, and he said, ‘Well, Professor, I can whip up a little tea for you that will fix that problem. You’ll never be hungry after drinking it, and it’s so simple to make.’ Sure enough, it solved the problem. That’s wizards for you, eh? Fix everything with magic, that’s their philosophy.”
“Professor,” said Victoria quickly before he could bring up something else, “I was wondering... what is it you do here at the castle, exactly?”
“I’m the head scholar,” said Solon proudly. “I used to teach at a university here in Brightvale, but I decided to retire about ten years ago. However, King Hagan himself requested that I come and fill in when the previous scholar had passed away. ‘Just for a few weeks,’ King Hagan said, ‘until we can find a suitable replacement.’ Of course, I’m still here several years later! I must say, I enjoy the job, though it can be tedious work. I’m in charge of the entire castle library. I must decide which books are worth having, and which are the most factual, since the king can’t have incorrect information in his library, after all, so I must read every book about Brightvale history and make sure that every word in it is accurate. That’s why there’s so little room in my apartment—so many of these books actually belong in the library, or else in the rubbish bin if I find any mistakes....”
“So, how did you know Hentoff?” asked Bernadette, interrupting Solon’s ramblings.
“Well, we scholars tend to stick together, to mingle in the same circles, you might say. I was curious about much of Hentoff’s work, so I began to speak with him about it, and gradually we became very close friends. We haven’t spoken in some time, especially since we’ve both retired from the social scene nowadays. I think I may have been one of closest confidants, if I do say so myself. He didn’t tell just anyone about the Prophecy Faeries! I have to wonder, though, why he was so convinced that the prophecies were accurate. Many aren’t, you know. Clearly he was right, though, for here you are!”
“Yes,” said Victoria absently, hiding her amusement at Solon’s description of himself as one of Hentoff’s confidants when, in fact, Solon had no idea who Hentoff really was.
“Well, thanks for everything you’ve done for us,” said Victoria. “We’re really grateful.”
“No problem at all,” said Solon cheerfully. “Any friend of Hentoff’s is a friend of mine, I like to say; anyway, you’re the Prophecy Faeries, so of course it’s my civic duty to—”
“Yeah, of course,” said Bernadette irritably, cutting off what was sure to be another long speech. “We’ve really got to get back to Faerieland, though, so thanks for everything....” The four faeries headed for the door.
“Are you sure you’ll be all right traveling by yourselves?” Solon asked anxiously. “I’m sure one of the castle magicians would be happy to help transport you. And of course King Hagan would be perfectly willing to assist you in any way—”
“Thanks,” said Bernadette, “but with our experience we’d rather not trust any castle magicians, and we don’t want anyone to know we were here, because someone might be looking for us. So, if you could just keep this visit to yourself....”
“Of course, of course,” said Solon. “Your secret is perfectly safe with me!”
The faeries were barely listening. “Are you sure you can fly, Dette?” asked Victoria.
“I’m fine,” said Bernadette quickly, “and we really need to go.”
Thanking Professor Solon again, and ignoring his long-winded farewell, the faeries exited the apartment, found the nearest window, and departed swiftly.
“Do you think he’ll tell anyone?” asked Hortensia once they were away from the castle. “He’s awfully talkative.”
“If Hentoff trusted him, so should we,” said Clarisse firmly.
Without another word, the faeries turned in the direction of Faerie City, hoping that Fyora would be waiting for them when they arrived.
Later that morning, Fyora met King Hagan in a conference room of Brightvale Castle, having spent the night in the Castle’s most prestigious guest suites.
“This is impossible!” cried Hagan. “I can assure you, Your Majesty, that I have no knowledge of any such plot involving the Prophecy Faeries, nor can I believe that one of my citizens might be capable of such a thing. Furthermore,” he added accusingly, “I had no knowledge that the Prophecy Faeries were even entering my lands.”
“I’m sure you understand why such secrecy was important, for the safety of the Faeries,” said Fyora. “At any rate, I am not accusing you, or any of your citizens. Rather, I believe it was a light faerie who orchestrated the kidnapping of the Faeries. For whatever reason, she chose to use an inn belonging to a citizen of Brightvale, most likely because it was in a secluded location and far from Faerieland, where I might have assisted the Faeries in some way.”
“Then how may I be of assistance?” asked Hagan.
“This light faerie has not only kidnapped the Prophecy Faeries, but she has also taken control of one of Neopia’s most powerful magical objects. This object is very volatile, and not meant to be dominated by any one person; thus, it is doubtful that she will be able to use its power very effectively. However, I have no doubt that she is willing to try, and that the damage such an object might inflict on any part of Neopia would be severe indeed. Furthermore, I believe she must have had help in acquiring this object. My powers alone are not going to be enough.”
“Let me guess. This faerie is demanding something as a ransom for the Prophecy Faeries and this magical object.”
“Yes. She is demanding to be made Queen of Faerieland, or she will release the powers of this object on us. If I agree to her terms, she claims that she will release the Prophecy Faeries unharmed.”
“Tell me then,” pressed Hagan, “what do you ask of me, and the people of Brightvale?”
“Your assistance,” said Fyora, “in defeating this faerie, and any others who may be with her, and in the rescue of the Prophecy Faeries and all Neopia.”
“I see,” said Hagan slowly. “Do you think it will be dangerous?”
“Yes. However, if I can gather enough support from all of our allies, victory will be possible. Not easy, but possible. The good news is that she can only take control of this object from one location. I know exactly where to find her.”
“All right,” said Hagan, “I will speak to my head general at once. I don’t have many soldiers, and I cannot spare them all, but I will contribute what I can. If Neopia is in as much danger as you say, Brightvale will do whatever is necessary to defeat this new evil.”
“Thank you,” said Fyora. “But I must ask one more thing of you. I plan to ask Meridell for assistance as well. I ask that you and your brother resolve whatever differences you may have had, and unite our armies in order to defeat the enemy.”
Hagan did not hesitate. “It will be done.”
The faeries arrived in Faerie City late that day, landing on a large rock near the palace. Victoria, who took the lead, started to head toward the main gates of the palace, but Clarisse stopped her.
“We have no idea what’s been going on here,” Clarisse said warningly. “For all we know, our captors have taken control of the palace. It would be best to go in through the back way, and find out if Fyora is here. That way, we won’t accidentally announce our presence to our enemy.”
The others agreed to Clarisse’s plan, and they set off for the back gate of the palace. Luckily, the guard at the gate was one that they knew, so they decided that it was safe to enter there. The guard recognized them and, after calling a greeting, let them in.
The faeries headed through the confusing maze of corridors to the center of the palace, where a concealed staircase lead up to Fyora’s chambers. On the way up the stairs, they passed the fourth floor, where a small hallway led to the rooms of the magicians who lived in the palace. They had just passed the hallway when Clarisse stopped abruptly.
“What’s wrong?” asked Victoria instantly.
“He’s here.” She took off at a run, back to the magicians’ hallway. She darted down the hallway and turned quickly into one of the rooms. Her friends ran after her.
They were standing in a cramped, dimly lit room. Nearby, a cauldron was filled with sickly green liquid that bubbled and glowed. Various potion ingredients littered the small wooden table nearby. At the far end of the room, the back wall was filled with drawers and cabinets, which undoubtedly stored more ingredients. Bending down to retrieve an object from one of the cabinets was a blue Eyrie.
Clarisse knew that it was him. Though his thoughts had been difficult to read while they had been held captive, she would have known that voice, that feeling, anywhere. She had sensed his presence when they walked past this hallway.
The other three faeries did not doubt that Clarisse was right, for they, too, would have recognized the Eyrie anywhere. Quietly, Victoria shut the door to the room behind her and bolted it tightly. Bernadette and Clarisse walked up to the Eyrie from either side, with Victoria guarding the door and Hortensia blocking the path to the cauldron.
At first the Eyrie was oblivious to their presence. None of the faeries dared to say a word; they waited silently for the Eyrie to notice them, each lost in thought as they deliberated what to do next.
After a moment, the Eyrie looked up from his work and froze in surprise. Quickly, Bernadette cast a spell. Purple coils of smoke lashed out from her outstretched hand and entwined themselves around the Eyrie, pinning his wings to his sides. The Eyrie let out a startled gasp and attempted to free himself, but it was too late.
“How did you escape?” he gasped. “How did you find me?”
“I’ll ask the questions,” snarled Bernadette, her voice low and harsh. “Who are you?”
The Eyrie did not respond. Bernadette raised her hand threateningly, purple magic rising from her palm.
“All right!” said the Eyrie hurriedly, watching her hands with fear in his eyes. “Don’t hex me, I’ll tell you!”
“Get on with it then,” muttered Victoria.
“My name is Tyrrin. I’m just a lesser magician, studying under Fyora’s head magician here at the palace.”
“I’ve met you before!” gasped Victoria, who had finally recognized the Eyrie’s voice. “A few months ago, I ran into you outside the Faerie Festival! I was following a magician, and you appeared behind me....”
“Yes,” Tyrrin admitted, “that was me. I had been told to follow you, and report back everything that you did.”
“How long have you been spying on us?” demanded Bernadette.
“Off and on ever since you defeated the sorceress Dinusa,” Tyrrin admitted. “I followed you from Faerieland to the Festival. When Victoria almost caught me, I stopped watching you for awhile. I attempted to get a job at Faerie Heights, so I could observe you there, but it was decided that I would better serve her here at the palace, where I could keep watch on Fyora.”
“You were the Eyrie who went to Fyora and said you heard something suspicious in the inn! You knew she would send us there!” Victoria cried.
“Yes, that was me.”
“Who are you working for? Who was the voice in the mirror?” asked Victoria.
“I can’t tell you that,” said the Eyrie. “I’ve been sworn to secrecy.”
“I really don’t care,” said Bernadette, magic flaring up on the palms of her hands.
“She’ll kill me if I tell!” gasped Tyrrin. “You have no idea what she can do. If you’re planning to defeat her, give up now. It will never work.”
“She’ll probably kill you for letting us escape anyway,” said Bernadette flippantly. “So you might as well tell us before I kill you.”
“Her name is Linisa.”
To be continued...