Baby Adventures: The Secret Note - Part Five
Jhudora was still seated on her throne, staring into the depths of the room.
Then she frowned.
"I know you are there," she hissed, and the babies held their breath. "The Dark is my element. I can sense when it is disturbed by unwanted visitors. Ah, if only I had not been distracted before..." Slowly, Jhudora raised her hand and she flicked her wrist. A giant purple X barred the door, made entirely of a solid mass of darkness. Dark tentacles swarmed to the back of the room and grabbed each baby around the waist, dragging them forward as they helplessly screamed and flailed their arms and legs. They were soon in close proximity of Jhudora, cowering at her feet, surrounded by purple and green mist. It smelled terrible, and the tentacles were pushing them down underneath it. Jhudora cackled with delight.
"Try and escape!" she coaxed. "Come on! Let's see you try!"
They did try, and they failed. The magic was unbelievably strong. Treaphie had never thought of Darkness as a solid mass before. She had always thought it merely the absence of light. Always, Treaphie had underestimated the power of Darkness. It seemed quite powerful to her now.
"Now tell me," Jhudora sneered at them, "How much did you hear?"
"Why would we tell you?" Treaphie gasped. "You'll get rid of us anyway!"
"Very true," said Jhudora, an evil smile creeping on her face. "But perhaps I will make it less painful if you tell me."
"Don't tell her," puffed Kasthie, straining under the tentacle that had grasped her, and Treaphie swelled with pride. If Kasthie was brave enough to not tell Jhudora, than so was she.
"We aren't telling you, Jhudora," Treaphie shouted bravely, but her voice was much weaker now. The tentacles were squeezing her very tightly. She found it hard to breathe. Her eyes met Kasthie's and Kolyae's, and she saw that they were experiencing similar pain.
Jhudora swept her hand in front of her and the tentacles carried their victims forward to a cauldron at the far end of the wall.
"This is a very interesting concoction," she said, smiling. "It allows one to be slowly and painfully destroyed from the inside. I save it for my special victims."
Kasthie winced. Kolyae struggled against the tentacle, which was enveloping him. Treaphie felt the tentacle squeezing her, her backpack pressing into her. Oh, no. She couldn't let the White Faellie, that beautiful creature, suffer, too! She unlatched the top of her backpack, not caring if anything spilled out from the thrashing of the tentacles. She removed the White Faellie, who yawned. The tentacles enveloped the young petpet, too, only seconds later. Treaphie gasped in horror with what little breath she had left. She watched, terrified, as the tentacles gripped the Faellie around the waist so tightly that she squeaked. The Faellie looked at the tentacles, and light poured into them. The tentacles retreated, being demolished by the surge of light. The Faellie then looked at Treaphie, Kasthie, and Kolyae in turn, and the room was filled with so much radiance that Jhudora herself scowled. She grabbed the cauldron of potion in a desperate attempt to stop them and threw it before anyone could react.
Everything seemed to go into slow motion. Treaphie saw the bubbling green liquid fly out of the cauldron and soar into the air. She realized what she did a split second after she did it: she pushed her brother, sister, and the Faellie down. The potion missed the three of them, but a small bit of it hit one of the large purple hair bows tied around her ears. She could smell the left hair bow sizzling. Kasthie gasped in horror as she saw it and cried out, "Treaphie! Get that off before it gets on you!" The Faellie took care of that; she looked at it and a beam of light, solid as the dark tentacles had been, plucked it off her head. Treaphie turned to the wall of Jhudora's home, where the majority of the potion had splattered. She saw the bricks crumbling in on themselves, causing the wall to collapse.
Jhudora was seething in her throne. She raised her hand threateningly, but Kolyae cried, "Run!" and raced through the space where a wall had once stood. Treaphie and Kasthie hurried forward, the Faellie flying in their wake. Once there, the Faellie made a large cloud appear before them, pure white and puffed all over. They stepped onto it, narrowly missing the streaks of Dark magic Jhudora was hurling at them from inside her house while screaming.
The cloud drifted away, the Faellie directing it by simply looking, and when Treaphie whispered, "Land the cloud at the Neolodge 'Faerie Castle'," she did so. Their moving cloud settled down softly onto the cloud that held the Neolodge aloft. Treaphie looked around. It was so beautiful here. The whiteness of the clouds was undisturbed by the hideous Darkness overwhelming Faerie City. Treaphie scooped up the Faellie into her arms and trotted inside, the other two following.
When they made it to their hotel room, they saw a Black Meerca with a creamy white face and large, wide wings with electric-blue stripes decorating them. "Thank Fyora!" she cried. "You're all right!"
"Toupahz!" the babies greeted.
Toupahz waved the note Treaphie had left. "What's this? You went to Jhudora?"
"Sorry-" Treaphie began.
"Fill me in!" Toupahz exclaimed happily, flying around the room.
Treaphie glanced at the clock. They had been gone for three hours. It was 2 o'clock pm already, meaning they had only three hours left before their time was up. But she knew they needed to discuss what they had overheard, and all that they had discovered, including the part that Treaphie found most curious of all...
"Sure," she told Toupahz. "You can listen in. We'll be discussing what we heard." The three babies sat on the floor.
Kasthie began the conversation, her voice trembling with excitement. "Did you hear what that other person said? In fact, who was that other person?"
"I'm guessing they were the person who is evil!" Kolyae exclaimed.
Treaphie gave a small smile. "Well, obviously they were up to no good, Kolyae. As for who they are... I have no idea. It was so dark where they stood. We're going to have to find them."
"But how?" Kasthie whined. "How would we find them?"
Treaphie laughed cooly. "We don't need to look very hard, Kasthie, once it's too late. They're planning something really big. What was it again? Something about a ring..."
"Two rings," Kolyae corrected, looking very interested in the conversation. "Two rings, one containing the source of power of the Earth element, the other the Dark element. What was that all about, anyway?"
"Well, all the faeries' elemental power has to have a source." Treaphie contemplated the information for a few moments, then plunged on, "So apparently these rings are two of the sources. What are the other elemental powers?"
"Light," Kasthie piped up. "And Fire."
"And Air and Water," Kolyae stated.
"Right," said Treaphie. "So apparently, all of those have sources, too. They're probably in large purple rings like the Earth and Dark magic sources. But the main thing is, it sounds like these people - whoever they are - are trying to destroy the elemental magic of all elements except for Dark."
Kolyae nodded. "That sounds about right," he agreed. "And Jhudora's in on it. I'm sure she'll regret that later, though. Sounds to me like her element is in danger."
They lapsed into silence. Then Treaphie spoke up the point that she had been longing to bring up the entire time. "What do you think about the Faellie?" she asked curiously, gazing at the others intently. "How did that happen? She looked at a place and a cloud suddenly formed there!"
"Maybe she has Air Faerie powers!" gushed Kasthie.
"But even faeries have to wave their arms or something to make magical things happen," Kolyae reminded her. "So this is obviously some sort of special power."
"And it's not just Air powers!" exclaimed Treaphie, standing up in her excitement. "Remember the light? She has Light powers, too!"
"And the magic she does is quite strong," Kasthie agreed.
"I've never heard of a petpet with elemental magic before," Kolyae told them quietly.
"But this isn't any old petpet, Kolyae!" Treaphie said eagerly. "Think for a minute. The faeries traditionally use Weewoos to deliver notices. Weewoos are very reliable birds and there is a plentiful supply of them in Faerieland. So why would the Space Faerie send us a Faellie rather than a Weewoo?"
Kasthie broke the silence that followed for a few seconds by saying timidly, "B-Because the Faellie has some sort of power that the Weewoos don't?"
"Exactly," Treaphie told them. "So this Faellie obviously has powers, but how could she do both Air and Light Faerie magic?"
"Beats me," said Kasthie, shrugging. "But I don't see a problem with it."
"Neither do I," said Treaphie quickly, "But I'm thinking about seeing how much she can do."
The others gasped. "That's a great idea!" Kolyae exclaimed. "Let's see if she can do Earth magic, too!"
Treaphie picked up the Faellie and said, "Um... hello, could you please make a tree form?"
The Faellie blinked. She looked at the ground pointedly, and a small sapling tree sprouted from the cloudy floor.
"Whoa!" Kasthie exclaimed. "It's so cute!"
They tested her powers for Water and Fire (carefully doing Fire first, and then dousing it with Water). It was remarkable. Then Kolyae started in a slow voice, shifting uncomfortably, "Do you think she can do... Dark magic, too?"
The others looked at each other. It was Kasthie who said, "Even if she can, it's not like she's a dark petpet, right? She's got plenty of brightness in her. She might have the powers of Dark, but that can't extinguish her powers of Light."
"Well spoken," said Treaphie, giving her sister a pat on the back. "Right," she said, turning to both of them. "Now, let's see what she can do."
"Um, Miss Faellie?" Kasthie said timidly. "Can you please show us... um... some small amount of Dark magic, then make it go away really quickly?"
The Faellie did nothing.
"Huh. I guess she can't." Kolyae shrugged.
"Wait..." Treaphie said. "Maybe she needs... me to tell her to do it."
Kasthie and Kolyae stared.
Treaphie said softly, "Please, make a little bit of Dark."
The young petpet looked around. In a few seconds, which was far longer than for the other elemental magic, a minuscule orb of Darkness spun in the air. It lingered for a brief moment, then vanished. The babies were intrigued.
"Does she have a hard time with dark magic?" Treaphie whispered. "Or does she just not like it?"
"Maybe both," Kolyae guessed, "but after being grabbed by Dark tentacles, I can't blame her if she doesn't like the element much."
Kasthie laughed. "Looks like we have something in common."
"Okay, I think we have one more thing to discuss," Treaphie said. "Our plan of action. What are we going to do now that we know some information?"
"Tell the world!" cried Kasthie, and she raced toward the door as if about to do just that.
"Come back!" cried Treaphie. The Faellie merely glanced at Kasthie and at once the Korbat was in a net of vines, Treaphie looking surprised to find herself clinging to a long strand attached to it. She looked over at the Faellie, who was now cleaning her paw lazily. "Thanks," she said uncertainly as she reeled a grumpy-looking Korbat back toward them, pulling the vine.
"Don't try to run off again," Treaphie said in a warning tone, and the babies all laughed. The Faellie leaped onto Kolyae's head, where she perched, looking at them, a mildly interested expression on her face.
Now that the babies were all seated once more, Treaphie brought up the topic again, hoping Kasthie would be more cautious this time. "I am thinking that we need to alert those at the meeting. You know, the meeting with all the rulers."
Kasthie looked horrified. "But... but how would we get in? We're babies! That's some super-important meeting with all of the royalty of Neopia assembled at it!"
"True, true," Treaphie mused. "But I'm certain that we'll think of something."
"Maybe we can explain that we brought King Roo there!" Kasthie exclaimed.
"Um..." Kolyae cleared his throat. "Nobody would believe us if we said we brought King Roo here. I wouldn't, if I was the guard."
"But King Roo knows!" Kasthie said.
"That's it!" cried Treaphie. "We just have to find King Roo and have him tell the guards to let us in with him. After all, they'll listen to the King of Roo Island!"
"Sounds like a plan!" Toupahz cried. The babies jumped. They had forgotten she was there. "Where's the meeting?"
"We'll be going to the palace," Kolyae explained. Kasthie gasped.
"Wait... that's in Faerie City!" the Korbat cried.
"Oh, good," said Toupahz happily.
"The danger's there! We're certain of it! We've-" Treaphie tried.
"Well, that's all the more reason for me to come with you," said Toupahz sternly. She glared at them all, as if daring them to argue. Nobody spoke. Then Toupahz clapped her paws together and said, "Good. We leave in twenty minutes. I'm going to the spa." She turned on her heels and marched out of the room. She poked her head back in momentarily to ask, "Did you bring enough money to cover the extras?" Treaphie nodded, and Toupahz smiled, turned, and left once more.
They looked at each other uncertainly. They didn't want anyone else hurt for their own sake, especially not their sister. And their sense of danger had intensified since visiting Jhudora. Before Treaphie could voice her concerns more completely, a cold voice spoke, "There you are."
The babies jumped and turned around just in time to see a shadowed Neopet spring from inside the frame of the open window and stride toward them. The creature had a slim figure covered with a satin black dress. Her long black boots came up to her knees. She had perfectly proportioned eyes, nose, and mouth. She was stunningly beautiful.
And yet, there was something terrible hidden in her beauty. Her pretty eyes were a deep red, her irises a hideous green, and her skin a mix between tan and swamp-green. The fringe of the lovely dress was tattered at the bottom. Her long, graceful tail had a sharp point like an arrow at the end. The two wings protruding from her back were wrinkled. Even the two horns sticking out from her head were crooked.
"Who are you?" Kasthie asked in a quivering voice. Obviously, though she couldn't decide whether the neopet looked nice or not, she could clearly see that the Acara in front of them was bad news.
The Acara laughed, and it was a pretty sound that rang in their ears. "I am the elusive Vira," she said mysteriously. "I specialize in making others beautiful."
Though her voice was raspy, when the babies saw her face and heard her speak they were captivated, as if they were in a trance. Treaphie found herself longing to hear and see Vira for as long as she could.
Vira smiled at the sight of them staring and continued on. "Ah, you are looking at me... do you think I am beautiful?"
They nodded vigorously. Vira smiled wider, and her tail became a little less jagged, her horns a bit straighter, and her wings more smooth. She was growing more beautiful - a little bit from each of them.
"Perhaps I can make you beautiful, too," Vira continued, smiling more crookedly now, but the babies didn't notice this. "Would you like me to do that?"
Speechless, they again nodded eagerly.
Vira waved her hands dramatically. The babies watched her flailing, mystified. Then she stopped and said, "Now take a look at yourselves! You look beautiful!" She held out three mirrors in one hand: purple, red, and green.
Treaphie smiled happily. This was what she needed to do. Not go on some silly quest. She eagerly leaned forward toward a mirror, as did the others. She almost laughed at herself as she prepared to look, thinking how ridiculous it had been to even consider doing, well, anything but meeting Vira and becoming beautiful. The Space Faerie hadn't even completed her thought of what she wanted them to do! She could almost picture the faerie, with her starry outfit, dark blue hair, and sparkling eyes, saying, "Beware the mi-!"
There was the mirror. Right in front of her. Wait a minute... 'mi-'... mirror... beware the mirror...
Treaphie shrunk back before she had even glanced into the glassy surface. She took a look at Kasthie and Kolyae. They didn't look any different than before Vira had waved her arms and commented how pretty they were. Both Kasthie and Kolyae were grabbing mirrors from Vira. They hadn't looked into them yet, but they had dreamy expressions as they fumbled with the handles and seemed enchanted by the prospect of viewing themselves. As if beauty mattered, Treaphie thought. But hadn't she herself been tempted by being beautiful only moments ago?
Time was running out. They were turning the mirrors slowly towards themselves, relishing the moment...
Treaphie jumped at them, knocking down her siblings. Her brother and sister were soon lying on their sides on the cushiony ground, looking bewildered by the events that had happened since Vira had arrived in the window. A terrible wail pierced the air and they looked up. The sight that met them was the Acara, distraught, tears dripping down her gorgeous face.
Now Vira began to breathe slowly, heavily. The babies backed away, horrified. They had thought her beautiful before, but now she looked almost revolting. Her eyes had narrowed. Her wings spread so far that they looked too thin to work. Worst of all was her agitated expression. She looked ready to throttle any of them fifty feet.
Treaphie, her hands trembling, reached for her backpack. Kasthie and Kolyae stared at Vira, transfixed, looks of disgust etched into their faces. Treaphie fumbled with the clasp while Vira spoke softly.
"Ah," she told them, wiping tears from her eyes and trying to smile despite her sorrow. "You don't know who you're messing with. I, blessed by Fyora herself so many years ago to withstand elemental magic!"
Treaphie stopped her attempts to open her backpack. She hadn't known that Fyora could give the ability to be unaffected by the magic of the elements.
"Why would Fyora bless you?" Kasthie challenged, looking fierce and ready to lunge at the villain.
"I wasn't always this way, you know," Vira laughed. "I was once such a sweet little Acara. Fyora came to me one day - Fyora herself! I had thought I was so lucky to meet the Faerie Queen so unexpectedly in person. She came to me and warned me that I was being followed... that I was going to be enchanted and tricked. She blessed me and left. I was very different back then. Pretty, yes... everyone thought I was adorable... but beauty is so much different than that." She filed her nails while talking. "With pretty looks, you can make a few people glance at you for perhaps ten seconds. With beauty, all the people around you can't pry their eyes away! They'll do anything you ask," she curled her lips, "even when that beauty is terrible, and cost such a terrible price..."
"What happened to you?" Kasthie looked a little less defiant now.
"It was tragic," said Vira, shaking her head sadly. "I was just playing in the flower fields. It was my favorite hobby. And then... I wished for beauty... and my wish came true."
"But... what was the 'terrible price'?" Kolyae asked curiously.
Vira's ears drooped, and despair was plain on her face. "Well, it's obvious, isn't it?" She looked angry now. "The... the voice that made my wish come true... it requires servants. I am one of them."
"What?" Treaphie shouted, disbelieving.
"It is so cruel what we must do," Vira sobbed. "A servant may only be freed when he or she recruits one thousand more. We spend all our free time trying to convince others to follow the voice. I use these mirrors. They are magical. Whoever looks in them sees an absolutely beautiful version of themselves that quickly transforms into a repulsive look. The only way they can become themselves again is to follow me to the Master. And... and... they become servants. But no matter. I will buy my freedom one day. And if that fails... well, let's just say I have a back-up plan."
Treaphie thought back to their encounter with Jhudora. The one she was talking to mentioned how it was their 'chance for freedom'...
"Are you working with Jhudora?" she accused.
Vira blinked. "How do you know?" she asked in a shrill voice.
"We have our ways. Why do you think you'll be free if Dark magic is the only elemental magic remaining?"
Vira sniffled. "I can't bear to do anything while I'm this hideous. But if the world was dark, beauty wouldn't matter. That would show them. That would show them all. I would be praised again."
"But this isn't the way to do it!" Treaphie shouted.
Vira shook her head. "It's the only way," she sighed. "But for now, I'm going to have to force you to look into these mirrors." Vira grinned wickedly. The babies looked horrified.
"Run!" Treaphie cried, opening the door of their suite and leaping out into the hallway hurriedly. The babies followed suit. However, they were only babies. Treaphie had known that factor was bound to stop them sometime along on their journey, but she was really wishing it wouldn't be now. As they panted for breath and slowly made their way down the hall, Vira leaped forward with a shriek, as if charging into battle, and flew full-speed down the hall after them.
Treaphie looked desperately around the hall. All the doors to rooms were locked. The Neolodge maids were nowhere to be seen. All that lay in the hallway was a currently empty luggage cart.
Treaphie shoved her brother and sister into the luggage cart. "Hold these poles tightly!" she warned her confused-looking siblings. A few moments later, they were gripping the poles of the luggage cart so tightly that their knuckles were white, and Treaphie began to push the cart. Treaphie risked a glance over her shoulder and noticed, to her dismay, that Vira was speeding towards them quickly. Treaphie tried pushing the cart faster, getting her siblings to safety, but she was running out of breath...
Vira was soon upon them. She swooped down onto the luggage cart and smiled in delight.
"WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T LET GO!" Treaphie hollered to her brother and sister, who were now backing up toward the sides of the cart. Vira cackled maniacally. Treaphie needed a way to shake off Vira. The Acara wasn't leaving, and she wasn't even hanging on as the cart zoomed down the hallway. Treaphie looked around wildly.
She noticed a bathroom to their right and a closet filled with maintenance tools to their left. Hotel employees had a room where their uniforms were constantly washed right next to the bathroom. Beside the closet, there was a flight of stairs. They were on the third floor of the Neolodge, and there was only one long, grand staircase for the hotel.
And then Treaphie knew what to do.
She pushed with more speed than she knew she had, desperate to get rid of the villain closing down upon her brother and sister. But it was still so far away... Treaphie wasn't sure if they were going to make it. Vira was right next to Kasthie, who was on one side of the luggage cart, and smiling as she reached into her pocket for a mirror, using her other hand to hold Kasthie's head still and to force her eyes open...
Suddenly, Treaphie saw Kolyae throw his Ketchup Bottle Pen at the villain's head. Vira gave a small cry. She then growled and let go of Kasthie, glaring at the Baby Chomby instead. Treaphie felt relieved. Kolyae had bought them the extra time they needed. They were right on top of the stairs now. With one final push, Treaphie gripped the poles even tighter than she had before.
The luggage cart jerked forward and began to topple down the stairs.
In a split second, Treaphie bent her arms, pulling herself toward the luggage cart. She swung her legs through the large gap between the poles and continued clinging to the poles while the cart toppled uncontrollably. It was turning full circles in the air as it plummeted. Vira, who had not been holding on, screamed. The cold metal repeatedly hit her head as she swung her wings. She cried out in anguish. The luggage cart continued to collide with her, and she fell out, now rolling down the stairs.
Meanwhile, Treaphie turned her attention to Kasthie and Kolyae. Both were screaming their heads off. Treaphie had imagined it might be kind of fun to ride a luggage cart down a flight of stairs if you were prepared for it, but boy was she wrong. It was the scariest thing she had done in her life, and Kasthie and Kolyae certainly agreed.
As they descended down stair after stair, twirling helplessly in midair as they gripped their vehicle, their screams became louder and louder. Soon employees were running up and gasping, but none came too close - and for a good reason. The luggage cart was knocking down everything in its path. When they landed in a heap on the ground, employees quickly surrounded them. The luggage cart lay on its side, looking unharmed. Vira was on the ground beside them, but she was out cold. Employees were gasping at the sight of her, not in awe, but in horror. Treaphie slowly opened her eyes and saw why; it seemed that Vira's charm to look gorgeous only worked when she was awake. All the ugly parts of her were overwhelming now, and soon people were fussing over what to do with her. They picked her up and carried her to the medical center of the Neolodge.
Treaphie groaned. She was aching all over and felt as though she had one big giant bruise on her entire body. Kasthie and Kolyae looked as though they were in pain, too, but also quite shaken. They hadn't expected that tumble. Treaphie had to remind herself constantly that it had resulted in knocking Vira off in order to stop feeling guilty.
A kind-faced maid bent down next to Treaphie and asked, "Where are your parents, honey?"
"My sister..." Treaphie wheezed. "Faerie Meerca... Toupahz... in the spa..."
"Thank you, dear." The maid straightened up and strolled toward the spa. It didn't take long for Toupahz to burst through the spa doors, crying their names at the top of her lungs. A few disgruntled guests hurried to their rooms and locked their door, but. Toupahz ignored them. She raced over to her baby brother and sisters, wrapping them all in a hug that made them wince.
"We're... still... sore..." Kasthie gasped.
"Sorry!" Toupahz quickly pulled out of the hug, and the babies collapsed on the floor. "You guys have to tell me everything - but later. We have to get you all rested up. I'd say you should all lie down in your beds. They're very comfortable. I could get some potion for you-"
"No," said Treaphie solemnly. Though it sounded very nice to relax in bed, she knew there was something else they had to try first.
Toupahz looked bewildered. "Don't be ridiculous! You can't go on some foolish adventure when you're injured!"
"We can stop at the Healing Springs along the way," Treaphie said, standing up carefully and gritting her teeth in pain from the effort. Toupahz looked skeptical, but not ready to refuse. Toupahz asked the surrounding employees to carefully put the babies onto the back of a Uni, and it didn't take long for a very young Speckled Uni to rush forward. After they were settled in and grabbing onto the Uni as tightly as their bruises would allow, the Uni took off at a steady pace, careful to shift from side to side so that they didn't fall off. Toupahz followed them diligently. The Healing Springs wasn't too far away, and soon the one who operated it came into view.
The beautiful Water Faerie was busy staring at her glamorous reflection in the still water of the springs. She was tossing her long, wavy blonde hair with its small curls from side to side. She brushed the deep pink seashell attached just above her left ear and examined the surface of the springs so intently that she jumped off the rock she was sitting on when the water suddenly splashed up. Drenched and confused, she blinked her pearly blue eyes. Three small babies were gasping for breath and submerging under the water. Sighing, the faerie flicked her light blue tail-fin, its robin's-egg-blue color matching her mascara and lipstick, and plunged into the water. She scooped the three babies up and set them down gently on the side of the water. Then she stared at them angrily.
"A faerie could use some warning, you know," she said huffily.
"Sorry," said Treaphie. The others mumbled apologies, too.
"Well? Are you healed?" the faerie asked, clearly still irritable.
"I feel better," Treaphie admitted.
"Good. Then out! Get out!" The faerie shooed them away, muttering as she turned around and swept back to her usual spot on the rock.
Soon all the babies found themselves on the Speckled Uni's back, and the Uni had taken off into the blue.
"Where to?" the Uni called, smiling.
"The gates of the palace, please!" Treaphie responded.
The Uni looked surprised, but obliged.
To be continued...