A Thousand Years Apart
Sigh. Sigh, sigh and sigh.
The Darkness Faerie had had enough. She had spent hours trying to think of a new artifact to forge, but she just couldn’t. And that was just great, because Neopets all over Miarra were fond of her stuff. Repleka was at a loss. She needed the Neopoints these things generated for her, or she would spend the rest of her life in that place the Miarrans had nicknamed the Restive Tomb, since there was usually nothing but silence coming from there. Well, relative silence. If one listened closely, they would be able to hear Repleka at work.
Well, usually they would. Not today.
She needed inspiration. Besides, she didn’t want another accident like the one with the supposed-to-be jelly generator. She wouldn’t have tried if not for the Queen’s daughter, Katriana, personally requesting one (not to mention the fact that she seemed awfully demanding about it). Because of it, there was a big fat steel box in the middle of her workshop. It was the only thing that would contain a gelatinous non-cube.
With another sigh, she spread her plum-colored wings and headed out.
Goodness, the wind was excited about something today! Repleka needed all her strength to fly through what to her was almost a tornado. Her black hair kept getting in her face, meaning she had to push it away with her pale hands, trying to make sure those violet eyes could actually see the Miarran landscape.
Fine. This was enough. She would have to go back to her workshop and wait until she was able to actually fly. She turned to go, but as fate would have it, the wind increased in strength, pushing the Faerie backwards.
Not knowing what else to do, she landed to prevent any harm to herself, sighing once again.
A glimpse of bright pink caught her eye. Odd, she thought, for a forest like this. Was it a flower? No, it couldn’t be. It looked like... fur.
Repleka had to check this out. She ran through the trees and finally found the source of the color – and what she saw made her jaw drop, and almost brought tears to her eyes.
There in the small clearing lay a baby Pink Xweetok. She was hugging her blankets in and shivering. No wonder, the poor thing was not used to these strong winds. She must have been pretty sheltered until now, Repleka guessed. After all, it was spring, and the days were getting warmer.
There was only one thing to do.
The Dark Faerie got down on her knees and scooped the baby up in her arms. Now that she’d found her, she couldn’t just leave her here. Repleka had to wonder who would be heartless enough to just abandon a little girl like that. Oh wait, she could name one: Princess Katriana. But that didn’t seem likely. The whole kingdom would’ve known about that.
As she flew back to her workshop, Repleka tried to think of a name for this little Xweetok. She didn’t have a name tag or anything, so her real name was probably lost. Hmmm...
Then she had it. The Xweetok’s little mop of hair, fur collar, and tail were as pink as one of the most beautiful flowers Repleka had ever seen. As far as she knew, they only grew in Miarra, but their perfectly round petals and leaves just... drew her.
“Your name,” she told the Xweetok, “is Miriya. You are the flower of Miarra.”
The Xweetok’s little indigo eyes smiled at Repleka. She knew Miriya adored her new name.
“Rei! Hey, Rei! Come on!”
Repleka groaned and opened her eyes to find the face of an eight-year-old Xweetok staring into them.
“Miri... what is it?”
“They’re saying that the Queen has disappeared!” The little girl’s expression showed a mix of worry and curiosity. “I think the princess wants everyone to come to Miarra Palace.”
Princess Katriana, summoning everyone? That sounded suspicious. Last Repleka had heard she’d actually pointed a spell at the tutor who hadn’t run away. Caylin, Repleka thought was her name. Well, Caylin had supposedly struck back and resigned out of shame. Nevertheless, a royal summon was a royal summon. Repleka got up, picked up Miriya and flew to the center of the kingdom.
There was Katriana, newly crowned and making a speech. Something about how she was so aggrieved that her mother had vanished into thin air and since no one could find her, she was promising to be the best queen she could be. Repleka didn’t believe a word of it. That selfish brat had probably usurped the throne of Miarra and was now crying Krawk tears over it. All the Neopets and Faeries who had faith in her were fools.
The disappearance of Queen Miarra created a barrier between the land’s people for many weeks. Some, like Repleka, were sure Katriana was lying, but others insisted she wasn’t so bad. The disagreements finally came to an end, however, when a tearful Green Xweetok, the respected Lady Katryca, fled the kingdom with her daughter, Kalara. Her other daughter, she’d said, had been abducted by the new queen. Sure enough, their home had been completely razed to the ground. There was no denying then that the new queen was a tyrant, but now that she was in power, the people were too afraid to rise up against her.
In the midst of all this, Miriya attended the esteemed Academy of Miarra, where she figured out just what she wanted to do. Offered an opportunity to learn the magical arts, she declined, having been warned by Repleka that magic was a compelling skill, and if you weren’t careful, you would be using it to solve everything. The Xweetok would wait on magic until she was in the service of a ruler other than Queen Katriana, who appeared to be wreaking havoc every other week. She had decided to become a scribe. They were well-paid by most rulers and had a pretty easy job to do.
One night, a loud bang shook Miriya awake. She rushed to Repleka’s room and immediately hugged her tight.
Repleka embraced the sobbing thirteen-year-old.
“I know, I know. I heard it too, Miri honey.”
The Faerie opened the workshop door and took a peek outside to see what it was. Had that tyrant done something else?!
But it was fireworks. Neopets were cheering in the streets. Upon flying closer, Repleka discovered that Miarra Palace was in ruins. Standing in front of the fallen castle were two figures, a Lupe and a Faerie. Everyone was thanking the Lupe, a knight known as Sir Altador, for liberating their kingdom from Katriana’s tyranny. Repleka recognized the Faerie standing next to the Lupe – it was Princess Sakura, the older daughter of the Faerie Queen Evanna! She couldn’t miss the unique blue gown she wore, or her large crimson Dark Faerie wings. One grateful Blue Lenny came forward. He appeared to be a young sage. He was promising that upon the space where Miarra Palace had once stood he would have a Hall of Heroes built to honor the saviors of Miarra. The Lenny himself had plans to record the history of the new kingdom.
With a new era on the horizon, Miriya was much at ease. She knew the Queen’s captive had been rescued, and she was now attending the new school, Katare Academy, now run by a young Fire Faerie called Katare who had bought the old Academy of Miarra. But most of all, she was pleased that she wouldn’t have to leave home to become a scribe. Sir Altador was king now, with Princess Sakura and ten others helping him run the new kingdom of Altador.
However, not all the strife was over. The greatest tribulation was still yet to come...
“I don’t believe it,” Miriya’s friend, a Red Cybunny called Alana, was telling her. “Fyora just wouldn’t do that to her sister. If I knew any better, I would say she was the one who launched an attack on Altador.”
Miriya remembered. She shuddered as she thought of the giant Cobrall that the Twelve Heroes had been fighting. Afterwards, Princess Sakura had claimed to see her sister atop it. The Xweetok, however, didn’t think Sakura was just making it up. She probably really thought she saw her sister, but with the increasing number of shape shifters it was probably someone else in disguise. Who would want to attack Altador, though? Besides Katriana, of course, but then again, wasn’t she turned into stone or something?
About four years had passed since the liberation of Miarra. Repleka had been summoned to Faerie City with all the other Faeries. The Queen must’ve wanted to talk to them about her daughter.
Suddenly, the ground began to shake. Alana screamed. Within moments Altadorian soldiers were in the school, evacuating Neopets into the cellar. Miriya asked again and again about Repleka, but the soldiers would not answer, save for one kind-looking Peophin who assured her the Faeries of Altador would return soon. She recognized him at once as Marak the Wave, and thus stayed close to him as soldiers and students descended the steps into the basement.
She sat down grasping Alana’s hand, waiting for the ordeal to be over. She could hear what sounded like earthquakes outside and prayed Repleka was all right. In the midst of it, she abruptly lurched backward. It felt as if the whole world was turning in the opposite direction! Overcome with dizziness, Miriya fainted.
Whew! Finally the lecture was over. Who cared if Queen Evanna was now abdicating to her younger daughter rather than her older one? Repleka just needed to know if Miriya was okay. With a sigh of relief, she flew to Altador.
And immediately stopped in her tracks.
The whole kingdom... the Hall of Heroes, the schools, the shops, the clamor of noisy Neopets, even the forests and quarries, and her workshop – gone.
There was no sign of any battle. The Kingdom of Light had simply vanished into thin air.
“MIRIYA!” Repleka screamed.
The Dark Faerie flew to the ground, crying into the grass where Altador had been.
“Oh, Miriya, Miriya...”
She had to do something. She had to find out where the kingdom had gone.
“Unnnh... what happened...?”
Miriya’s eyes flickered open. She was in her dorm room in Katare Academy. Marak was standing beside her.
“You’re safe,” the Peophin told her gently. “There are force fields around each house while King Altador and the others try to track down the Betrayer. Princess Sakura has sent this city a thousand years into the past.”
“Why?” Miriya asked, shocked.
“She tried to rewrite Altador’s history, making herself the sole founder.” He scoffed. “She said it was to protect us from her sister’s tyranny over the rest of Neopia. She was going to force all the armed forces to go to battle against the ‘usurper’ Fyora before she could take the throne.”
Marak sighed. It was clear he didn’t want to say something that needed saying.
“The Faeries didn’t make it back here before the time warp except for Siyana. I’m sorry, Miriya, but she’s...”
Miriya didn’t need him to finish his sentence. The first few tears fell as she whispered four words.
“A thousand years away.”
“Your Majesty, please! We have to go back!”
Miriya stood before King Altador and Queen Kalara in the council chamber. They were the only ones not searching at the minute.
“Please!” the Xweetok pleaded, her face soaked with tears. “I have to see her again! She probably thinks I’m gone forever!”
“Listen, young one,” the King said in an understanding yet firm tone, “it’s not safe for the rest of Neopia if we go back. We would be unleashing the Betrayer’s evil. Anyone could be a potential victim, including your godmother.”
“She’s not a betrayer, Your Majesty! She –”
“Has she recruited you? Is she threatening you, Miss Miriya? Is she making you say that?”
“N-no, I just don’t think – never mind that! I have to let Repleka know that I’m okay!”
“Listen, if you really care about her, you’ll go back to Katare Academy and keep yourself safe!”
Miriya knew it was no use. With a small wail, she turned and headed out of the chamber.
The new Queen, Fyora, looked upon the kneeling Darkness Faerie with sadness in her eyes. The Faerie had just pleaded that she do something about her sister’s situation with Altador.
“My lady,” Repleka said, her eyes glittering with small tears. “You don’t understand. I have a... well...”
What did she have? Had she been attacked?
“I have a sort of daughter lost in Altador.”
For many more months, Miriya did not know how she managed to survive each day. The battle between the heroes of Altador and the Betrayer was a long one, until one day, when Miriya woke up to see a shining light descending on her kingdom. She ran outside, hoping and praying.
Fyora the Faerie Queen landed before her.
“It’s... you,” Miriya half-whispered. “Does this mean...”
“The war is done for now, young one,” Queen Fyora said solemnly. “However, I foresee a day when my sister will rise again.”
Miriya didn’t care about that. A couple tears of joy fell as she broke into a genuine smile, the first time she’d ever been truly happy ever since it all went downhill.
Fyora could guess what the Xweetok was thinking of.
“For now, your land is back in its rightful place. However, there is still a danger, so it is hidden to the eyes of most of Neopia, except those who remember. They will be able to find the portal before it opens to all. And it shall, in the time of most need.”
With that, the Faerie hovered upward and flew towards Altador Palace.
Miriya sat on the ground. The sky, which had been dark for quite some time, was now showing signs of daybreak. It turned from nearly black to the color of the green-tinted ocean. The sun was waking up once more.
Another figure, a darker one, also appeared on the horizon. It walked forward into the light, and Miriya’s eyes looked on the only mother she’d ever known.
Repleka, with her tiny tears still streaming down her face, walked closer to the now standing Xweetok. She began to walk too, as Faerie and Neopet, who had once spent a thousand years apart, were at long last reunited.