The Sorceress's Choice
Also by princesspesa98
This is the sequel of The Sorceress's Rising.
Xandra landed face first into a flower bed.
"Ow..." she mumbled, wiping dirt off her knees and spitting out flower petals.
"Great..." she muttered, surveying her surroundings and frowning. Of course, she had been aiming for the Hidden Tower, but she had somehow had ended up in Fyora's own garden.
The courtyard had been the place where she had enjoyed sun filled days sitting on the lush grass reading of all the tales of faerie heroics. She had always admired their grace, beauty, and power.
Now all she wanted to know was what they were doing with it.
"Okay, Xandra," she said to herself with a steadying breath. "You are only going to see Fyora. No big deal, right?" She nervously laughed. "I mean, you're just accusing the most powerful faerie that she isn't doing enough for Neopia... "
Great, a Xweetok talking to herself. I must be running out of things to listen to.
Xandra yelped. Someone was here!
Oh, don't act so surprised. Stone can hear as well as anyone else.
Xandra's eyes fell upon a statue. Anger and pain was etched upon its face, hair whipping back. But Xandra, like every other pet, knew that this faerie was more than just a mere statue. Not ever a master could ever make a piece of stone into such a monster.
The Darkest Faerie.
Well, pet? Have you suddenly lost your nerve?
Xandra flushed, her anger flaring from before. "I haven't lost any of it."
Yeah, stone can also detect liars too. So why are you talking to yourself in the middle of a garden?
"Why would you care?" Xandra snapped, casting a glare at the ever still statue.
I don't. Being stone isn't that entertaining, you know, so you might as well tell me.
Xandra had no clue why she was talking to the most evil faerie of all time, but she told her anyway. About how the faeries would never lift a finger to do anything for Neopia. How they'd had told her lie after lie all of these years. It hurt, but finally she felt like a Tonu had been lifted off her shoulders. The Darkest Faerie's voice was nearly bored.
And you find this surprising? Faeries have been like this forever.
"They have?" Xandra echoed, fists clenching.
Yes. The Faeries are too vain for their own good.
"You are a faerie," Xandra pointed out.
Yes, and when I tried to use my powers for something other than giving out quests, I got turned to a garden piece. Face it, the faeries will never change. The only way is to take them out of the picture. I know of an artefact, a faerie artefact that has enough power to wipe the faeries out completely!
Xandra shook her head, eyes widening. "I can't do that... there are good faeries too..." she trailed off, thinking of her former best friend Laya.
If you consider making soup and painting neopets good deeds, go right home then.
Xandra's eyes went hard. She hadn't realized that her green magic had been crackling at her paws. "I'm not like you," she muttered. "They'll listen to me." She muttered an incantation and disappeared.
With a faint pop, Xandra finally landed dizzyingly into the Hidden Tower. Queen Fyora quickly fluttered towards the Xweetok and helped her up.
"Xandra! Your powers are getting stronger, I see."
"All I have to do is practice my aim," Xandra said, curtsying, careful to avoid the Queen's gaze.
"What brings you here today?" Fyora asked, smiling.
"A question," Xandra said, still wary of Fyora's all seeing stare.
"Oh? Well then, take a seat," the Queen said, waving her hand and making a chair appear. "But I do hope it's not a question about my prices. I still do not give out loans."
"No, no," she insisted. "I just wanted to know... what do Faeries do for Neopia?"
"What do you mean?" Fyora asked, taken aback.
"What do they do? Surely they could more, you know, for the pets," Xandra pressed. Fyora looked rather puzzled.
"Many faeries do help pets," Fyora reasoned. "Like Illusen and the Soup Faerie."
"But faeries could do so much good for Neopians," the speckled Xweetok continued earnestly. "Work in hospitals and cure the sick! Work with the Defenders and fight crime!"
Fyora looked troubled. "Faeries can't do that." Xandra felt the hope that had fluttered in her chest die abruptly.
"Why?" she asked.
"Xandra, faeries already do a lot for Neopia. More than you realize," Fyora said gently.
"What sort of things?" she demanded, trying to keep her voice level.
"It is hard to explain. You will understand some day," was all the Faerie Queen said.
"But your Majesty, I don't under-"
"So Xandra, how are your studies?" Fyora interjected, trying to change the subject. Xandra looked momentarily stunned before she answered.
"G-good," she said. "I really ought to be going now," Xandra added hastily. "I've got loads of homework."
"Oh," Fyora said, looking slightly disappointed. "I wish you well, then."
"You too, your majesty." Xandra concentrated, until she disappeared in a whirl of green magic, her mind spinning. The Darkest Faerie was right! she thought miserably. The Faeries really don't do all they could for Neopia!
Xandra heaved the last box onto the table, wiping the sweat off her brow. She had used magic to levitate them before one of her boxes decided to dump its contents all over the staircase, which were mostly books.
She sighed, surveying her work. Her new dorm didn't seem as empty now that all of her belongings were in it again. But, she felt a pang of guilt. Her old dorm mate, an Air Faerie named Laya, was now alone in her room, probably debating with herself if she should invite one of her friends to come and occupy the space she had once stayed.
"I have to concentrate on my studies more," she had told her. "I've asked for a new dorm."
"But Xand!" she had protested. "You can't just leave! We've been roommates forever!"
"I'm sorry, but I have to, Laya!" She lowered her voice. "I'm sorry." Xandra walked away, leaving the Air Faerie flabbergasted and confused.
She had hated lying to her only friend, but she couldn't do anything with someone watching her.
Well, at least that's over with, Xandra thought absentmindedly, dumping the contents of one of her boxes on her new bed. She tiredly began sorting through all of them. Her eyes fell onto a leather bound book.
"I don't remember this one..." she murmured to herself, opening it to the first page. Magical Faerie Artefacts Volume 1 it read. Curious, Xandra flipped it open, staring at the table of contents. She turned to the first page. On it was a diagram of a circular object, centre made of glass. Even in the old black and white picture, she could make out intricate carvings around the rim, and a pair of eerie eyes.
"This artefact is very powerful, when the user is powerful," Xandra read out loud. "It can amplify magic ten fold, but otherwise it's completely useless without." Xandra turned the page, running a finger across a worn map.
"It's in the Haunted Woods," she breathed.
"I can't believe this. We're going on a trip to Neopia Central, like we haven't even seen it!" one faerie said irritably.
"I know, right?" another added. "And we'll be helping in the Soup Kitchen feeding poor pets. How boring, and a waste of a flight!"
"Hey, Xandra, how'll you be getting there then?" a faerie asked.
Xandra, who had been listening on mutely to everyone else's mindless chatter, looked up in surprise.
"I'm taking an Eyrie cab," she said. Some of the others snickered.
"Why don't you go into the Rainbow Pool and be painted Faerie?" one asked smirking.
"I'd rather stay speckled, thanks," Xandra said, keeping her voice levelled. And I wouldn't want to be like any of you, she added silently.
Once they had landed in Neopia Central, they all had some time to look around. Many were astounded; most of them never had even seen Neopia Central before, Xandra included. Some faeries actually squealed when they saw the NC Mall, making the speckled Xweetok roll her eyes.
"Ah, the students!" the Soup Faerie exclaimed as they approached. "I have many jobs for you today." They all groaned in response.
"That's not the response I was looking for," the Soup Faerie said, a bit discouraged. She assigned everyone a station and went off to supervise the work. Xandra had been given the task of cutting up vegetables, without magic. "It'll be character building, working like a neopet for once," the Soup Faerie had assured them. Xandra had earned some glances at that, but she didn't acknowledge them.
"Mummy," a young, fragile looking Zafara said softly. "There's dung in my soup."
"Suri, eat it. That's all we're getting for today," the mother chided her daughter tiredly, slurping up her own bowl.
The knife in Xandra's hand began to shake. "How dare they..." she breathed inaudibly. "Give rubbish to pets that already have nothing?" Xandra glanced around, and dug into her pocket, pulling out a small satchel.
She dropped it in the soup, where they landed with a faint plop. She passed it to the Soup Faerie and watched out of the corner of her eye as an undersized Kacheek found golden neopoints at the bottom of her bowl. Overjoyed, she looked around for someone to thank.
Xandra faintly smiled her way, and resumed chopping.
At long last, it was the day of graduation. It became a common occurrence for faeries to burst into tears and give a suffocating hug to their friends, even though they would see each other again the next day. Meanwhile, Xandra sat on her bed engrossed in her book.
"I wonder why the faeries made such terrible objects..." she murmured to herself, pushing her glasses up her nose. She flipped back to the beginning, and stared at the map on the page. A burning curiosity went over her every time she looked at it.
Xandra glanced at the clock and nearly fell off her bed. "Dung!" she cursed, hurrying to her closet. "I'm going to be late!" She quickly pulled on her favourite purple robe, glancing at herself in the mirror. A wild haired, violet eyed, and rather breathless speckled Xweetok stared back at her. She shrugged and hurried down the staircase. She didn't have anyone to impress anyways.
"Today we are here to celebrate these girls finishing their magical education," the faerie on the stage droned on, giving Xandra enough time to slip into the line of students.
"Excuse me, but may I interrupt?"
Everyone gasped as the Faerie Queen herself strode onto the stage.
"Your Majesty!" the faerie squeaked, fluttering down. "Go right ahead!"
"Thank you," Fyora said. She turned to face her audience. "Ah, I remember my own graduation. A day after that, I took the throne, of course, but I still remember what fun we had," she said, eyes gleaming. "But that is not why I am here today. Today, if the student accepts, I will have an apprentice. All of you are very talented, but one has caught my eye."
The students gasped. Fyora hadn't chosen one in a century!
"This student has always blown me away with her talent and drive, and her eagerness to learn." Every faerie in the area held her breath.
"Alexandra Xweetok, please step on onto the stage."
Xandra felt her heart fall with a thud. She went up to the stage, where the Queen offered her the microphone.
She knew, if she accepted, she would live happily in Fyora's castle, probably get a job there, and be content all her life. A bright future, something nobody could give her.
But that wasn't what she wanted.
"Yes?" Fyora prompted her to go on. Xandra awoke from her standstill.
"I-I'm so grateful right now. I feel so honoured. But... I can't."
"What?" Fyora gasped. A cry of outrage filled the air
"There are others that deserve this position much more than I," Xandra went on. "I could never accept."
The sorceress hurried down from the stage.
"Xandra! Wait for a moment please!"
The Xweetok turned around to see Fyora fluttering her way. "Your Highness!" she exclaimed, curtsying.
"Why didn't you accept my offer?" the Queen asked, looking at her disappointedly.
"Well..." Xandra started. Faerie Artefacts Volume 1 seemed heavier in her backpack.
"What?" Fyora pressed. Xandra's Eyrie Cab flew to the edge of the pink cloud they were standing on.
"I have... bigger dreams in mind," the speckled Xweetok told her. She offered the Faerie Queen a reassuring smile, even if it was forced. She walked into the cab, suitcase floating at her heels. As it rode off back towards the ground, Fyora called out, "I wish you well!"
Even she didn't know that the next time Xandra stepped foot on Faerieland, it would be for many different reasons.