The End: A Shoyru Tale - Part Three
Fyora lead us back down the spiral staircase and into the room which we had entered from. A light and pleasant sparkle came into each area of the castle she stepped in. Overall, her presence was pretty incredible, as expected from a Faerie Queen. She lead us to the center of the room where Jhudora and I sat at a table, while Fyora and Victoria went off to do their business. I was a bit nervous, as it was the first time that Jhudora and I had been alone. After a few minutes of silence, I decided to try and talk to her.
"So," I said, "how do you know Victoria?" She grunted at me. Her eyes were closed and her legs were crossed, and although I decided not to pursue any more questioning, she answered.
"The Shadow Faerie is fairly famous, Shoyru," she began. "After all, she is Fyora's sister."
I was startled to hear that. Never had I ever heard of Fyora having a sister, and I didn't ever suspect that Victoria, the Shadow Faerie, could be related to her at all.
"Sister? Are you sure?"
"Of course; everybody knows."
"What happened between them?"
"You really are nosy, aren't you? This is faerie business, not Shoyru business. I suggest not treading into dangerous territory."
"I'm sorry. I'm just confused, and kind of curious."
"I suppose I could tell you, Shoyru." She opened her eyes. "Yes, this is something that you ought to know."
"Fyora and Victoria were, to say the least, different. From birth, Victoria showed great promise as a Dark Faerie. She could complete complex illusions with shadows, even as a small child. Fyora, on the other hand, showed no such promise. She was practically without talent, save a few minor healing abilities she practiced only when her sister became weak due to constant training with increasingly dangerous dark magic.
"Victoria's ability to control shadows reached master levels far before she reached adulthood. Everyone assumed that, due to her ability and lineage, she would become the Faerie Queen when she reached maturity. The Shadow Faerie wanted nothing less, while becoming Queen was Fyora's dream.
"It was for that reason that, suddenly, Victoria completely abandoned her training, and in secret began teaching her sister. Fyora, by then already a skilled healer, was grateful to her sister and learned quickly. This, however, did not seem meant to be, as when Victoria became of age, she was forced into the position wherein she would become the Queen.
"Not wishing to advance in her royal lineage, perhaps out of dislike for the lifestyle, or maybe from sisterly love, Victoria denounced her family without warning, and after only a few days more, left Faerieland altogether. Fyora was happy to take her place, and after only a few short months of study, surpassed her sister in all forms of magic.
"Victoria went to become a hermit, and kind of a social pariah. For a while, she would regularly visit her sister, but these visits became more and more uncommon. Eventually, she stopped coming back to Faerieland altogether. Many of us thought her to be deceased, and some of us came to forget the prodigy altogether. Now, she is practically forgotten by all but the eldest faeries."
I had listened intently and without interruption to the whole story.
"You must not speak of this to Fyora or Victoria," Jhudora said. "It is forbidden knowledge to outsiders."
"I won't. Thank you, Jhudora." She grunted at me and closed her eyes. I did not ask any more of her – she probably wouldn't have answered me, anyway.
After about thirty more minutes, Fyora returned. With her, there came Victoria, who was followed by the Space Faerie, the Battle Faerie, Illusen, who came in glaring at Jhudora, and the Snow Faerie. They all sat down at the table, Fyora and Victoria sitting next to me.
"Hello, Jhudora," Illusen said, a hint of hatred in her voice as if she were accusing the Dark Faerie of some crime. Jhudora said nothing.
"It has been a long time," the Space Faerie said, "since we all last met. Longer, still, since Victoria has joined us."
"And we are blessed with a guest!" Illusen said. All of the faeries turned their attention to me. Victoria took the role of introducing me, saying that I was her own personal guest and that I would be an important part of the meeting. Once the greetings were over, the Queen began to speak.
"My dear friends," Fyora said, "How wonderful it is to see all of you – a shame that we must meet under these circumstances. These are dark times, I'm sure you know; dark as midnight on a moonless night. Faerieland has nearly fallen, due to an evil being who, if it were not for this Shoyru, would at this time already control all of Neopia.
"I would like to suggest a complete strategic reversal. For years, Dr. Frank Sloth has been a blight on our minds, and now on our land. Playing defensive is no longer an option; we must switch to the offensive. I have a plan, and would appreciate your support."
She described her idea, and it was excellent. The Snow Faerie would use her magic to bring clouds, shrouding all of Neopia in darkness which the Dark Faeries would use to camouflage the Battle Faerie's armies. A wild offensive attack would be lead on the ground, while in space the Space Faerie would lead a second offensive against the space station itself. In the confusion, Sloth's army would fall apart, and in the aftermath, the Water Faeries would return the mutants to their original forms.
"But my Queen," the Battle Faerie said, "how will we gain the raw power that we need to bring this plan to fruition? I can tell you now with all certainty that even with your armory, we will have trouble."
"It's actually quite simple. Our guest, the Shoyru, has brought us everything that we need. Mac, please place your staff on the table."
All of the faeries turned to once again look at me as I raised my staff and placed it on the table in front of me.
Silence fell over the room as the staff met the smooth white table. Each of the faeries, not including Fyora, Jhudora, and Victoria, seemed to be disturbed by it. They didn't say anything, of course, but fear was seen in their unvaried expressions.
"Is that what I think it is?" the Space Faerie asked of Fyora.
"It can't be. No one's seen it in years," Illusen responded.
"Rest assured, it is real. I have seen its power, and it is great – greater than any of our own wands, perhaps more than all of them combined. I know this because I taught him a very weak spell, and it acted as one of our most powerful." Jhudora spoke for the first time in the meeting. As expected, she was shown the absolute greatest level of respect.
"Yes," Fyora said, "I, too, have seen its power. Where it has been all these years, we may never know; but with its power, we will win."
"Wait," I said, "What's so special about the staff?" The other faeries stared blankly at me.
"You mean to say," the Snow Faerie said, "that you have been carrying with you the Staff of Ancients without even realizing it?"
"The Staff of Ancients?"
"You don't know of the staff!?"
"Come now," Illusen said, "it is an old legend. I don't suspect many remember it other than us."
"I will tell him," Victoria said. "He deserves that much. Mac, have you heard of faerie wands?"
"Yes, of course I have. Who hasn't?"
"Well, then, you know that the power of a faerie's wand represents their own natural ability, correct?"
"I didn't know that."
"Well, that's how it works, Mac. Now, some faeries are more powerful than others, like Fyora is more powerful than Jhudora. You know by common sense that there are different kinds of faeries, but I must tell you now of a group more powerful than any other faerie group: the Ancient Faeries.
"Ancient Faeries are thought by many to be a myth. They, like Queen Fyora, had the abilities of all elemental faeries. Even moreso considered a myth is the greatest of all Ancient Faeries: Lima, an old war hero rumored to have existed long before Faerieland itself. She was absolutely the most powerful of all faeries. So powerful, in fact, that her wand grew – evolved, even – into a staff. You'll note that Illusen has a staff as well, but that is different; Illusen has always had a staff, and Lima's became one.
"The other Ancient Faeries grew jealous of her power and glory, and some decided to stand against Lima. The Ancient Faerie population was split in half, and a great war began which threatened the entire planet of Neopia. Lima, not wanting the natural world to be destroyed, organized a great battle in which every Ancient Faerie would participate.
"The battle was fierce, rough, and deadly. Even the land around them warped, and it is rumored that an entire continent sank during it. When Lima herself came to the battlefield, she only used one spell. She raised her staff and a giant wave of magical energy covered the entire planet. When it faded, the Ancient Faeries ceased to be; they had become the groups of faeries you know now. Lima herself had completely disappeared.
"It is said that the majority of the ancients' power was transferred into the staff. Some say that Lima herself became one with it. After the battle, though, the staff disappeared and the story fell into obscurity. Many say that it never happened, but your staff may prove the old legends true. It very well may be the Staff of Ancients."
Where had Arthur found this staff? It seemed impossible that I was in this situation.
"Victoria," I said, "Why didn't you tell me earlier?"
"You would have tried to use it at some point if I had been so foolish as to do so. That level of power was never meant for anyone other than a faerie."
"What if I had?" I demanded. "Would my brother, my friends be safe now? What if I had used this 'Staff of Ancients' before we met?"
"Your body wouldn't be able to handle it. You probably would have been destroyed." She sounded completely serious. I relaxed in my seat. If this staff was really so unbelievably powerful, I didn't want to hold it any longer. I knew what had to happen.
"Would you take my staff?"
"I would be honored, Mac."
A loud thump and a scream interrupted the meeting. That was what we had all heard. Fyora stood and walked to the window, and we all followed. Down below, on ground level, the gates had been torn open. Under the shade of midnight, the gates to the Faerie City had been broken by a group of mutant Grundos.
Above the city, a ship flew, more Grundos dropping from the sky. Fyora was visibly outraged.
"Give me the staff," she said. I did just as she asked.
With a flick of her wrist, Fyora sent out a giant wave of dark pink energy. Hundreds of Grundos were blown out of the city, nearly all of the ones who had invaded, with just one movement. I looked quickly at Victoria, who was watching intently. Could she really have been stronger than this at one point? That seemed hard to believe.
When I looked back to Fyora, she was flying outside of the window. The Staff of Ancients was pointed at the Grundo ship. Another wave of the staff, and the ship floating just above us imploded and disappeared. The Queen had completely destroyed it, while in the city below, the Grundo forces were retreating out of fear. Faerieland was safe.
To be continued...