The Prophecy Faeries 3: Linisa's Return - Part Twelve
PART TWELVE: THE END
Hortensia ran frantically, trying to avoid the shower of rocks that fell all around her. The floor beneath her feet shook, and she was pitched forward, closer to the immobilized body of the dark faerie. With a resounding thud, an enormous boulder fell, cutting off Hortensia’s exit. She was surrounded, on all four sides, by impenetrable rock; the ceiling above was impassable as well. Below her lay the Sun.
Hortensia stood above the opening and calculated her options, knowing that there weren’t any. There was only one way out. If she jumped, she might be able to fly around the Sun and avoid it completely. It was the only way.
Still, Hortensia hesitated, looking past the edge of the jagged hole. The light was so bright it was blinding; it might be impossible for her to see anything after she jumped. She remembered the final lines of the prophecy: a fall uncontrolled leads to the inevitable death foretold. Frantically, Hortensia considered her options again, wondering how she had gotten herself into such a predicament. She never made such mistakes, never miscalculated anything....
Her charm began to glow, and she remembered the words that Hentoff had given her. You need not always be perfect. Trust in your friends to catch you when you fall.
She had to take a fall, literally. She had to trust.
She stepped closer to the hole until she reached the very edge. She couldn’t see through the light, but she knew that her friends were down there, somewhere. One by one, she called their names as loudly as she could. “Dette! Claire! Tori!” Then she took a deep breath and jumped.
The light was everywhere. She couldn’t see anything but the light. She spread her wings and momentarily managed to remain aloft, but seconds later a stray spell from the battle below pierced her wing, and she began to fall.
Victoria had launched herself into the air instantly when she saw Hortensia falling, but she wasn’t sure if she was fast enough. To her surprise, Tyrrin had noticed what was happening and launched himself into the air after her. As she flew towards her friend, Tyrrin tried to stop her.
Hortensia was mere inches away from the Sun when Victoria reached out and clasped her arm, jerking her upwards. She was unable to turn around, for the Eyrie was right behind her. There was nowhere to go, except...
Victoria remembered what Clarisse had said about a second opening in the wall. Without hesitating she flew straight towards the opposite wall and caught sight of a small sliver of blackness in the otherwise solid rock. She shoved Hortensia into the opening and tumbled in after her.
Tyrrin had not noticed the crack in the rock. He had reached forward to grab hold of Victoria, only to be thrown off balance when she vanished. Tyrrin slammed into the wall. He had no time to recover. When he realized what was happening, he instinctively flapped his wings, trying to remain aloft. It was too late. Within seconds, he fell straight down into the heart of the Shining Sun. A brilliant light flashed, filling the room.
When the onlookers recovered from their temporary blindness, they looked at the center of the Sun, but the Eyrie was gone. Hortensia and Victoria had seemingly vanished into thin air above the Sun.
“Where did they go?” Bernadette screamed, looking at Clarisse. “Are they...?”
“There’s an opening in the rock,” Clarisse explained quickly. “You can’t see it from here, but it’s there. I think Tori found it.”
Just then, Linisa let out a cry of rage, realizing that Tyrrin was dead and that the faeries had escaped. Angrily, she shot a massive burst of light towards Bernadette, whose shield was no match for the spell’s intensity. Bernadette crumpled to the ground.
Hortensia was completely blind. Bright spots danced in front of her eyes, but otherwise she could see nothing. She wondered if she was dead.
“Tenny? Tenny, are you okay? Tenny!”
“Tori, is that you?” she muttered weakly.
“Of course it’s me. I’m right in front of you! Can’t you see me?”
“No. I can’t see anything. What happened?”
“I saved you, of course. Well, Clarisse was the one who told me to look up and who told me about this crevice, because Khorianna told her, but that’s another story.”
Hortensia noticed that Victoria’s voice sounded weak. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Linisa hit me with a spell earlier that was pretty nasty, but I’ll be fine. How about you?”
“I’m fine, but... I can’t see anything. The Sun blinded me.”
Suddenly, they heard Linisa scream in fury.
“Let’s get out of here,” said Victoria. “We need to help the others.” Victoria locked Hortensia’s hand in hers. “I’m going to lead you out of here, and fly us back out of this room, okay? Don’t let go of my hand.”
“I won’t. And... thanks, Tori.”
“Don’t thank me. That’s what friends do—we save each other from being consumed by bright magical spheres,” Victoria teased. She squeezed Hortensia’s hand. “Are you ready?”
Hortensia smiled. “Ready.”
Hortensia had to lean almost entirely on Victoria, her broken wing lying uselessly at her side. Victoria knew not to look down at the sphere, but instead flew directly across it to the opposite wall, and then looked down to make sure that they were safely away from the Sun. Quickly, she lowered herself and Hortensia to the ground. She collapsed on the floor, the last of her energy spent. Hortensia collapsed against her, still blind, holding desperately to her hand.
Clarisse looked frantically at Victoria and Hortensia, hoping that they were okay. As she glanced at them, she noticed the green and blue tendrils of magic swirling around their linked hands. Clarisse knew that she could not defeat Linisa on her own. There was only one way to win this battle.
Clarisse dropped to the ground beside Bernadette and clasped her limp hand in her own. With her other hand, she reached across to Victoria and grabbed her wrist. Then she summoned as much magic as she could. The white light of her magic swirled up, joining the green, blue, and purple magic of Hortensia, Victoria, and Bernadette. As their magic combined, it let out a bright burst of energy that filled the room. With the last of her strength, Clarisse directed the energy towards Linisa, who was hovering in the air above them, preparing to strike.
Clarisse maintained consciousness just long enough to see Linisa fall to the ground. At the same moment, the entire chamber was filled with magic that glowed pink and purple. The source of the magic stood in the entry tunnel. Queen Fyora had arrived.
When Hortensia awoke, she was lying in a hospital bed, surrounded by clean white walls and fluorescent lighting. She had no memory of arriving there. All she remembered was being in the chamber, blinded by the Sun....
It was then that she realized that she was no longer blind. Her eyesight was fully restored. Anxiously, she searched the room for any sign of her friends.
Lying in a bed on the other side of the room was Bernadette, who was unconscious. Carefully, Hortensia stood and tiptoed over to her friend.
“Dette? Are you okay? Dette?”
She was so concerned for her friend that she hardly noticed the door opening. “Tenny! You’re awake!” cried a voice.
Hortensia turned and looked at Victoria, who had spoken, and Clarisse, who walked in after her. For a moment, none of them spoke. Hortensia was so relieved to see them that she was overwhelmed.
After a moment, she asked, “Is Dette...?”
“She’s fine,” said Victoria quickly. “She took Linisa’s spell pretty hard, though. Light faerie magic doesn’t mix well with dark, apparently. Anyway, she woke up the other day, as grouchy as usual. She started citing some statistics about something or other, so we know she’s fine. The doctors said she still needs a lot of rest, but she’ll be back to normal in a few days.”
“And you? How are you two?”
“I’m fine. I was completely drained from the battle, but after a bit of rest I’m as good as new. The same goes for Claire; she used up all her energy casting the final spell that hit Linisa, but she’s recovered fast. Actually, you were the one we were worried about.”
“We’ve been here for three days, and you still hadn’t woken up. We were afraid you were in a coma or something. The doctors weren’t sure about your eyes, either. They don’t know anything about the effects of the Sun, of course, so they didn’t know if you’d been exposed too much. Also, your wing was broken by that spell, but they’ve got it bandaged up now, and it should heal completely in a few days,” said Victoria in a rush.
“What happened, at the end?” Hortensia asked.
“Nobody knows but Claire; you and I passed out, and Dette was knocked out by a spell.”
Clarisse picked up the narrative from there. “I noticed that when you and Tori held hands, your magic combined. I thought that if I could combine our magic, I could get Linisa. So I grabbed Dette and Tori’s hands, and this huge spell just sort of... formed. I directed it at Linisa, and she fell.
“Then I saw Fyora come in. After that I don’t remember anything, but I talked to Fyora yesterday and she told me what happened. She and her army overpowered the remaining faeries fairly quickly, once Linisa was knocked out by our spell. Lyna, Kyra, Halliana, and the rest of the faeries who helped us are all okay, and they’re all being awarded medals of honor, just like we are.
“Fyora and the others found all of the faeries who had been helping Linisa, including the ones in the tunnels and the one who was immobilized in the Rose. They’ve all been imprisoned in the palace dungeons. There were nearly fifty of them in all.”
“No wonder,” muttered Bernadette gruffly. “I must’ve taken out at least thirty of them.” The three faeries turned and looked at Bernadette in surprise. Slowly, Bernadette sat up and looked around.
“Hey, Tenny,” she said. “Glad to see you’re alive.”
“You too,” Hortensia replied with a smile.
“So, I assume you were telling the story of my brilliant fighting skills?” Bernadette teased.
“Yeah, that was it,” said Victoria sarcastically, rolling her eyes.
“Anyway,” continued Clarisse, “all of the scientists and guards who were imprisoned in the Rose are going to be fine, though I don’t know if Fyora’s going to trust them to guard the Sun again....”
“Let’s hope not,” grumbled Bernadette.
“And Tyrrin?” Hortensia asked. “Is he... dead?”
“We think so,” said Victoria. “At least, he hasn’t shown up yet. We can only assume that Hentoff’s original hypothesis, that you die once you enter the Sun, was correct. Of course, we thought Khorianna was dead too, but now we’re not so sure.”
“So that’s what the last line of the prophecy meant,” said Hortensia. “The ‘inevitable death foretold’ was Tyrrin, not me.”
“It could’ve been you. If Tori hadn’t saved you, you would have died and Tyrrin would have lived. Either way, someone was going to die. Khorianna got that part right too,” explained Clarisse.
“Did Fyora ever find out what happened to the owner of the inn we were trapped in?”
“Yeah, Linisa and some of the other faeries took over the inn and imprisoned the staff in a lower basement. Some of Fyora’s soldiers found them when they were looking for us,” said Victoria.
“So, I suppose we have to suffer through another awards ceremony,” Hortensia sighed.
“Yes. Fyora insisted on awarding high honors to everyone who helped in the battle, including Lyna, Kyra, Halliana, and the other two faeries who showed up, as well as the members of the army who helped take control after we all passed out,” said Victoria.
“I think they’re going to have to invent a new award to give us,” laughed Bernadette, “since we’ve already received all the highest honors. Well, not all of them, but eighty-five point nine percent of all the awards that exist and are applicable to us have already been awarded, so—”
“You were right,” said Hortensia to Victoria, “she’s definitely back to normal.”
As the friends laughed together, they realized that, at last, their journey had come to an end. The prophecies had been fulfilled.
“What’s wrong, Tenny?” Victoria asked, noticing that the earth faerie had fallen silent.
“Nothing,” said Hortensia. “I just can’t believe it’s really over.”
“It’s not over quite yet,” said Clarisse. “I think there’s one more thing we have to do.”
Two days later, the four friends entered an entirely different hospital room. Lying on the bed, looking as if he could be asleep, was Professor Hentoff.
The four faeries pulled up chairs and made a circle around him. For a moment, no one spoke. They were all overcome with emotion.
Finally, Clarisse spoke. “You were right about the prophecies,” she said. “They came true, all of them. And we won. Khorianna helped me. She told me what we needed to know. You helped too. Everything you gave us, everything you told us.... we couldn’t have done it without you.”
“Thanks, Hentoff,” said Bernadette. “And I’m sorry I never paid attention in your class.”
“We won’t forget what you taught us,” said Hortensia.
“Thanks for everything,” said Victoria simply.
“Anyway, you... you don’t have to worry about us or the prophecies anymore. It’s over, and we won, thanks to you and Khori.”
Quietly, the four friends stood up to leave. They paused in the doorway for one more look. As they gazed back at their professor, they were almost certain that he smiled.
Several years later...
“I now present to you the graduating class of Faerie Heights Academy for Magical Study!”
Cheers arose from the audience as, one by one, the faeries began to walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. At the very end of the line, Faerie Heights’s four most famous graduates stood silently together, overcome with emotion. Hortensia, Bernadette, Clarisse, and Victoria, the four faeries who were once outcasts, had become the Prophecy Faeries and fulfilled the plans that had been laid out for them five hundred years earlier. They had done what they had never thought possible; they were known throughout Neopia for their achievements. Their friendship was stronger than ever before; each of them was stronger, too. Yet their lives were only just beginning. As they walked, side by side, across the stage to the sound of thunderous applause, they knew that they would face the next phase of their lives just as they always had: together.