Switched Beings, Switched Minds: Part Four
Xavier's eyes softened as Cecelia looked up to stare at his face. "You're all right?" He whispered the words so gently that Cecelia could barely hear them.
Cecelia nodded. "Yeah, I'm fine." She held out her hand, and she was filled with shock. A hand! A hand! Am I still in Taelia's body? Did Xavier's spell not work? "What happened?" The words tumbled out of her mouth before she could stop them. "I don't remember anything."
Then Xavier began to laugh. "Oh, all's well. Just a bit of a mix-up, that's all," he explained. "You know, three people. Three objects. Didn't think such a spell existed, but, uh, apparently one did. So, sorry I disappeared on you. The moment I heard Eve, I moved everything. It was quicker than I had imagined, but then again, I just needed to finish chanting stuff."
She narrowed her eyes. "Get to the point, Xavier."
Like Cecelia had been when she faded out of time, she was on the floor. Eve was gone, Taelia was gone, and it was just Xavier and herself. Wasn't this a bit weird? Wouldn't Taelia be celebrating? Wouldn't Hailey be rushing around -
And then she remembered with a pang that Hailey had never actually existed. The truth was almost too much to take in. Prella and Mary were alone with Cecelia. But unless she found a way to get out of this creepy switching scenario, then she probably wouldn't be able to care for Prella and Mary at all.
Xavier shrugged. "Okay," he said exasperatedly. "Well, three people in that room. I got three objects from them, because, uh, well, the necklace you picked up wasn't Taelia's. Eve accidentally left it behind. So, I switched you three. You got the air faerie body, Taelia returned to her original body, and Eve got the little neopet body. Eve got arrested, Taelia went back to her room to go to sleep, and I... I waited for you to wake up."
Cecelia's eyes widened. She had gotten the air faerie body? Way cool. Beyond cool. She would be a strutting faerie forever, while Eve would be in her frail, ailing body with all the less magic. She resisted the urge to punch the air. Cecelia felt even stronger, using the element of air rather than snow. It was odd, but then again, Cecelia loved only fresh air. Cooking, with the smell of food, almost made her throw up, and when she cooked with Hailey, she was careful not to breathe... with Hailey!
Hailey, the traitor. Hailey, who had never existed. Hailey, who had pretended to be their mother. All Eve. Why couldn't have Cecelia gotten an owner? The purpose of keeping her near all these years, without sending her away, was because of the plot that had unfolded... what, five, six hours ago?
Wow. Switched bodies, done spells, stalled Eve, performed a weird potion/spell again, fought a blizzard, carried a half-dead neopet... all in five to six hours. That was seriously awesome. Cecelia felt better, though. She wasn't pressured; Eve wouldn't destroy the world, and Taelia wouldn't be condemned to certain death.
"Wait, wait, wait, back up," said Cecelia, remembering something. "Eve got arrested?"
"Well," explained Xavier patiently, "this little fluffy dumb Weewoo" -
"She's not dumb! And her name's Jaiden!" corrected Cecelia, her fur ruffling. She had liked the white Weewoo that Taelia had spoken to and cared for.
Xavier crossed his arms. "Do you want me to explain or not?" When Cecelia didn't answer, he went on, "Fine, 'Jaiden,' came flying with Fyora behind her, Fyora did some magic, Eve was bound by some Ropes of Awesomeness or whatever. That Weewoo's a lifesaver, I'm telling you! And Fyora told me all was well, there was no end-of-the-world junk going on, Eve's plot had failed... blah, blah blah."
Cecelia shot Xavier a contemptuous look. "Hey, Fyora saved us all! If not, Eve might have woken up and done something."
"Yeah, right," Xavier scoffed. "You should've seen her. She was all shaking and nearly crumpled when Fyora got her to resume consciousness. Eve'll be fine, but she will have to take a special potion once every forty-eight hours or she goes all weak like Taelia did with only three hours of being a neopet."
She frowned. Bad news. She asked warily, "So... Eve will be at full strength in her prison or whatever?"
"No, the potion stops the fever and half of the weakness, but there will be many things that Eve will have a struggle with. Or at least Fyora said. Either way, you're fine now."
"Thanks." Xavier held out his paw and Cecelia took it. She smiled as he lifted her up to stand up, and then she walked over to the couch where her neopet self had once been.
It seemed so long ago. Like, a lifetime had passed since she had been a Shadow Ixi. Cecelia sighed. Things would be different now. She was an air faerie. An air faerie! she told herself, grinning still. You've remained an all-powerful immortal faerie. Congratulations to me!
"Well, Faerieland's certainly nice," Cecelia commented as she and Taelia took a stroll through the cloud. "I still miss Terror Mountain, though. I wish so desperately I could return." She rubbed her bare arms. Though she loved the freezing temperatures, it had affected her a bit, but at least she had a natural power towards being an air faerie, so she managed the wind not to blow towards her.
Taelia's features were morphed into sadness. She took Cecelia's hand. "I'm sorry," she whispered softly. "It must be difficult. You'll be alone here at Faerie Academy; you won't know anyone. I can only prepare you for what will come, but I can't experience Faerie Academy again."
"That's a bummer." Cecelia scuffed the cloud with her feet. "So much has changed since I became a faerie. I wish I could put Prella and Mary by my side every day again." Tears started in her eyes, but she was careful not to let them fall. She had done enough crying lately.
"Like I said, I'm sorry." Taelia let go of Cecelia's hand. "Prella and Mary will be well taken care of by Michael. I made sure he was a responsible owner, and told him that Xavier would know most about those two."
Cecelia didn't know what to say, so she just answered awkwardly, "Thanks." After a moment's pause, she added, "Did you use magic to make Michael a 'responsible' owner? I hope not. Michael's just Michael, and I don't think you can change him."
"No, I didn't," Taelia laughed. She sighed. "I'm so glad I could visit my friends again. Jhudora not so much, though." They both shared a snicker or two, but silence spread between them again. All around them, Faerieland was bustling, but they were not talking.
Ever since Cecelia had stepped out of Taelia's home, so much had changed. She had been pelted by endless lawyers and eventually Fyora, telling her that she would go to Faerie Academy. But Cecelia was given a choice: to separate Mary and Prella and give them to a rich, very rich owner, or give them to Michael and Xavier. Cecelia had chosen Michael. But then she had flown off to Faerieland with Taelia at her side. They were renting an empty neohome to stay in at the moment.
At last Taelia advised, "You know, you might be sad right now, but soon, you might be happy. It won't be too bad, Cecelia. Soon the time will come for you to go to Faerie Academy. You might want time to stop, but unfortunately, you can't." Taelia gazed off towards the Academy. "Remember, I will stand with you, and so will Xavier, Mary, Prella, and Michael. Your mother Hailey might not be there anymore. So you will have to be the mother of Mary and Prella."
"The mother that's never around," Cecelia reminded Taelia heatedly.
The snow faerie gave her a little noncommittal jerk of the head. "Mary and Prella might not see that yet. They understand, or at least Mary does, that you are different now. Hailey is gone. There is nothing you can do about it. Things have changed and you can't reverse it. So they will adapt to Michael and Xavier's company."
"I hope they will," growled Cecelia, "because if not, I'm going to take them straight back to Terror Mountain and me as well." Her heart ached to not have this difference. She had wanted to be a faerie, but not like this.
"You might not have a choice like that, Cecelia."
Taelia left her to think. The tears were threatening to spill over again. Cecelia strode over to an abandoned spot, next to a small tree, and sat. She put her knees up to her face and felt her wings brush the lower branches. She closed her eyes and remembered all the good memories. But the good memories hurt, and she wanted to wave them away.
It was so difficult. But Cecelia would have to move on. She would have to be stronger, to face the life that would be ahead. She had chosen an immortal, magical faerie. Well, not exactly her choice. But she had wished it in the last moments before Eve had disturbed her and Xavier.
Cecelia had chosen this life. The Faerie Academy would not be tough; it would just be a change. And she was afraid of change. But that didn't have to be the case. She could cower underneath the weight of the future, or she could face it without fear.
She had started, she had formed this way of life. Now this way of life would form her.