Secrets of Shiryoku: The Gift - Part Two
“Thanks for the produce, Ume,” I said to the lady who ran the produce cart.
“Don’t mention it,” she replied with a warm smile.
As I walked away, she stopped me by shouting to me, “Wait!”
I turned around and looked at her. “Yes?”
“Did you hear?”
I advanced towards the booth as she said to me in a hushed tone, “Come closer; I shouldn’t be gossiping in the first place.”
I got close enough for her to whisper the following words in my ear: “The person who caused the fall of Faerieland has been captured, and the faeries are back to normal!”
I was overjoyed. “That’s great!”
“SHHHH!” she warned me. “Now go, and don’t tell anyone. Let the news go around on its own.”
“Sure... whatever,” I replied.
I left the booth for the last time that day. I was hardly able to contain my excitement as I flew excitedly on back to my temporary home at Heiwa’s abode.
“Xandra was caught? That’s great!”
Nikkou was extremely happy that the fiendish speckled Xweetok had been captured. She was even happier than me, now that I think of it. Xandra and she had one pretty nasty background; I could see why she’d be thrilled.
“Does that mean that we can come out of hiding?” I asked my light faerie friend.
“Indeed we can!” she cheered. “Come on! Let’s go say goodbye to Heiwa and go home!”
She grabbed my arm and pulled me to the main room of Heiwa’s home. The white Aisha was sitting on a floor pillow while drinking some kind of Shenkuuvian herbal tea. In front of her was a table with short legs. She was reading the more recent copy of the Neopian Times.
Nikkou looked down at the relaxed white Aisha. “Heiwa,” she said, “it appears that we will be checking out today.”
She looked up from her newspaper and smiled. She said to us, “I’m guessing that it’s safe for you two to return home to Faerieland. It was nice to have you two around, and it was nice to have someone fetching the groceries for a change. However, I knew that you two would not remain here forever. I sure hope that you two do visit me again in the future, though. You both are more than welcome back here any time.”
Nikkou’s body gave off a pale hue of yellow in happiness. “Thank you, Heiwa. We will most certainly—”
“But wait!” she exclaimed. “I need to give you something! Hold on for a second, would you?”
She got up and darted out of the room to get something. I wondered what it would be as she did so. Both Nikkou and I exchanged looks, as we never expected to be given anything for staying there. But, then again, she always stressed how much she admired the faeries. I began to wonder if the gift was for Nikkou.
She walked back into the room with a book and a trading card. She held up the card in her right hand and put the book under her left arm. “Before I give you this,” Heiwa said, “I want to test something...”
She put the card in Nikkou’s hand. Nothing seemed to happen. After a minute or so, Heiwa took the card out of the light faerie’s dainty hands. “I knew it,” she muttered.
“Knew what?” Nikkou and I both asked simultaneously.
“You see,” she began to say, “most light faeries have the power to predict the future by just touching a trading card. However, some faeries—regardless of whether they are light faeries or not—can see the future through their dreams alone. These dreams display more powerful and important visions than those seen by the average light faeries. This is also known as the rare ability of Shiryoku. I had a feeling that you possessed this talent from the beginning, Nikkou. How else would only one lone faerie survive Xandra’s freezing of the faeries?”
Nikkou smiled. “You really do admire us faeries, don’t you, Heiwa? I’m surprised; you caught on fast. Now, if only you could convince the Faerie Queen that I have been blessed with the talent of Shiryoku...”
“You tried to convince Fyora that you have it?” she asked, shocked. “I don’t blame her for not believing; the last time a faerie had that ability was decades ago!”
“Decades?” Nikkou asked. “Has it really been that long since a faerie has been confirmed to have Shiryoku?”
Heiwa nodded and confirmed, “Indeed, Nikkou. However, Fyora should know better than to think otherwise. I assume that means that you told her about the freezing beforehand and she didn’t listen?”
“Yes, but how did you know?”
“Deductive reasoning. It’s amazing how Fyora could be so naïve! It just proves that nobody’s perfect—not even the strongest faerie in the world.”
Nikkou then bellowed, “Finally! Someone who understands me!”
“HEY!” I shouted. “I believed you at first!”
“But I had to convince you to, Sibunai.” The light faerie stuck her tongue out at me. I mimicked the act in response.
Heiwa handed Nikkou a book entitled Unlocking “The Sight”. It was tightly sealed with a padlock that required a key to open it. The faerie glanced at the cover for a second, then asked the Aisha, “What’s this for?”
“It’s a book about Shiryoku, but it’s also not your average book,” our hostess answered.
Nikkou was still confused. “What do you mean it’s not—“
But by then, Heiwa was urging us to leave. She gave me a box of herbal tea and pushed us out the door. “Look at the time! You might want to leave now if you want to make it back to Faerieland before nightfall. Toodles! Feel free to drop by any time you’d like.”
She slammed her front door once we were outside, and that was that.
Some goodbye, right?
We had teleported to the outskirts of Faerieland and were there in three seconds flat. “Wow, it took forever to get back to Faerieland,” I groaned sarcastically.
Nikkou elbowed me. “Ow!” I exclaimed.
She didn’t say anything back; by her mesmerized expression, I could tell that she was utterly and completely shocked by what her former student had done to the once-great city in the sky (which was now on the ground). “Look at what she’s done,” was all that Nikkou could say.
I could see tears accumulate in her eyes. After dropping Unlocking “The Sight” into a mud puddle (unintentionally, of course), she fell on her knees and planted her palms on the ground as she began to sob. Before then, never in all my life had I seen a faerie ever get this emotional over anything. I bent down and pat her back as she sobbed into the dirt. “Why don’t I go inside and check things out? I need to, uh, check out a few books anyhow,” I offered.
She didn’t respond and continued crying. I stared at her copy of Unlocking “The Sight”, which was now filthy with grime. I then knew what I had to do: I needed to steal any and all books that I could find about her special ability, as well as find out anything I could about her evil ex-student.
I took the first steps to my hometown, which I hadn’t seen in months. I looked more refreshed and tidy than I ever had before, which explains why nobody seemed to be abhorred by my return. (Either that, or everyone was too busy reviving the fallen city.) Usually, my appearance was very disheveled and unkempt. I was wearing a brand new grey T-shirt, a pair of unripped, lightly-faded jeans, and a pair of slightly worn black boots. On top of that, my normally messy brown hair was tied back in a neat pony, and a brand new tan messenger bag was strapped across my right shoulder. It was a rather comfortable outfit for me. Little did I know that I would be wearing it for a very long time.
I reached the Faerieland Bookstore (which was next door to the library for some obscure reason) and stared the building down. The cement bricks that formed the basis of the structure were filled with cracks and were heavily corroded. The roof had caved in, and the stones and pebbles that remained were lying all over the place. Books were scattered across the earth of the once-mighty utopia; some books were left unscathed, but others were either completely obliterated or had their covers or pages torn away. Ashes lay everywhere, not just at the library, but all over the entire city. The Library Faerie was sweeping the debris into a pile when I had shown up. She gave me a suspicious glimpse, and then said to me, “Hello there, Neopian. I’m afraid to say that I need to restock my entire inventory before I can allow you to browse my wares. However, if you’d like to take a look at the very few books that have not been blown to bits, I’d be willing to give them to you free of charge.”
After she said that to me, she gave me a fake smile as she tried to hide her despair over the demolished bookstore. However, I knew that the bookstore wasn’t the only thing that she was grieving over when I looked next door at her library, which was also demolished in the crash. I saw tears forming in the corners of her dainty eyes as she tried to restore the remains of her once-glorious buildings.
The faerie then glanced at me again. “You look rather familiar...” she pondered.
My instincts told me that it was time to make like a banana and split. “You must be mistaking me for someone else. I wish you and the faeries the best of luck in rebuilding your city!” I insisted.
Before she could interrogate me, I fled the scene. It was bad enough that she had to rebuild both her library and her bookstore from the bottom up; I didn’t want to stress her out further by having her remember that I was the Faerieland Book Thief.
I ran down the street towards Fyora’s castle—or shall I say what was left of it. I was hoping that Her Highness was too preoccupied with her fallen city to notice me stealing books from the Royal Library. I knew exactly where Fyora’s exclusive library might have been in the rubble. (What, you assume that I hadn’t pulled off the same stunt in the past, reader?)
There were many guards running about the castle; luckily, none of them were focused on me skulking around its decrepit grounds. I found myself to the remains of the library, and I was surprised by the sight: the library seemed to have suffered significantly less damage than the rest of the castle. Of course, there was still damage, but the amount of it was minimal. There were a few books here and there that were scattered across the floor. One shelf was toppled over, and the contents of another were spilt onto the earth. A few books were severely damaged, but most of them seemed to be fairly intact.
I ran to the shelf closest to me and began to skim through the spines of the books. (I would have just figured that the books were organized alphabetically, but for some reason the royal library of Faerieland and a library in Brightvale were organized in the same obscure way that even I didn’t understand.) I stopped at a book called The Key to “The Sight” and pulled it out of the book case. It was bound with leather and, for the most part, very plain. I stuffed it in my bag and returned to scanning the shelves.
Not too much later, I heard footsteps. Each step grew louder as it grew closer. Please go next door. Please go next door! For the love of Jazan, please don’t be coming here, I prayed.
Sadly, my pleas were ignored. The dainty shadow of what seemed to be a Kougra waltzed into the scene. As she stepped closer to me, her figure became evident. Her fur was a bright red-orange, and her eyes were a crystalline blue. She wore regal and ornate armour that was embellished with fabrics of various purples.
Armour like that always means trouble in Faerieland, especially when you’re stealing from the Faerie Queen herself.
To be continued...