A Flicker of Hope
You had a lot of time on your hands to figure things out when you're trapped in stone. What else ya gotta do? No sights to see. No things to hear. Nothing to feel, nothing to taste, nothing to do but think. I'm just about blind, deaf, mute, and numb inside of this stone. I don't know what's going on in the outside world, nor do I know exactly where I am at the moment, other than in stone.
All I can do is ponder what's happened and what's going to happen. A neopet can figure a lot of things out when they're stuck like this. I'm powerless; I have no more magic. No more ability to move. No more ability to eat sweet things and run and hop and skip and jump and play games or talk or shop.
No more anything.
Was what I did worth it? I'm not sure. I wonder where everyone is. I wonder where the faeries are, if they're still in stone or not. Where's Brynn and Hanso? Wait, why should I care about them, of all neopets? At least I'm not dead. If I were dead, I wouldn't be able to think. But then again, am I really alive? Is being stuck like this truly living or is it just being dead among the living? I don't know. I don't know.
The monstrosity of what I did hits me. I destroyed Faerieland. I put all the faeries in stone, even some particularly nice ones that I-
No, Xandra. All the faeries are lying, evil beings. But then why did those dark monsters... and then... oh, forget it. I'll never understand that.
Will I ever be free again? Shut up, you, I tell myself. Too bad. It was worth the shot to try to help Neopia.
Was I truly helping it?
Of... of course I was!
By... well, the faeries wouldn't help the neopets more!
But some help. What about the Soup Faerie or Tooth Faerie or Healing Springs Faerie?
I... I don't want to hear this!
You're arguing with yourself, stupid.
Then I don't want to hear myself!
You're hearing yourself right now.
Could I have helped Neopia? Yes. I would've done more for all the neopets. I wouldn't just sit up in the skies going la-di-da-di-da when there's Neopians who need help. How? How would I have helped them? I just would help them, I guess, simple as that. Angst, angst, angst. Is that all you think about, Xandra? Think of good things you did while you weren't in stone!
But what good things did I do?
What did I do that was good? Specifically good that had an instant impact that wasn't remotely negative?
But I would've if my plans succeeded. But they didn't. I didn't do anything good. Was this whole adventure worth it? Of course, Xandra. You can't be wrong. There has to be a reason why what you did was right and how it would've eventually helped.
King Altador, Jazan, all the other neopets you put in stone while making Faerieland fall. They were innocent, good Neopians.
Aren't some sacrifices needed? Or was it? Gah, what do I decide?! What do I choose?! Why does this have to be so hard?! I want to scream. I want help. I want a hug. I want someone to console me and tell me it's all okay.
But I don't have that anymore. And come to think of it, my fate isn't much different from the Darkest Faerie who-we-shan't-name, is it? Did something... well, was it wrong? I don't know. Let's just pretend it's wrong for the time being. And I ultimately get put into stone. Duh.
Is there a recurring motif here? Yes, yes there is. Okay, maybe what I did was wrong. But heck, I'm sorry. Maybe I should've toned it down a notch and just been a frequent visitor and donation giver to the Money Tree and all sorts of other small things.
What are you talking about, Xandra? Small things aren't for you. But then again, I've heard of small things making the biggest difference. Is that true? I don't know. Maybe I just went a bit extreme.
I don't want to be in here. I want out. Too bad. I brought this upon myself, didn't I? I'd just have to suffer through it until Fyora or some other faerie frees me. Will I ever be freed? I don't know. I hope so. I'm bored here. All I can do is think and think and think and I can't even scratch my nose or read a good book.
How did the Dark One last one thousand years in this state?! It's maddening. I think I'm going insane. Or maybe I already have. Or both. Maybe I'm slightly insane but getting more insane. But then again, that might explain why the Darkest Faerie is such a whack job. Wow, Xandra. You're trapped here, thinking about all these random things, and you focus your mind on this?
Oh, whatever. I-I just want out. I don't care. I'll shut up and sit down and not cause trouble again provided I get out of here. Heck, I'll kiss Sloth just for the sake of getting out of here. How long have I been here? Minutes? Hours? Days? Weeks? Months? Years?
It can't really be years, can it? Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe I sleep in between time periods of thought subconsciously. Won't anyone help me? Please?
What's that light? There's a soft purple light penetrating my view- that was formerly full of darkness. Nothing but blackness. And now there's purple? Am I gaining my sight back? Am I dead?
"Xandra," I hear. I can hear again. "open your eyes."
Can I open them? The purple settles away, and I feel my body again. I hear slight wooshing of wind outside. I crack my eyes open to see Fyora giving me a small grin as I awaken from my trance. She has but one thing to ask me.
"So, what did you learn?"
I struggle to open my mouth- my whole body is stiff from head to toe. I manage to open it. I am wordless, however. I can only open and close my mouth like a fish. I had no idea what I was to say. So I close my mouth again and say nothing. I inclined my head down and stared at the ground. While I did not want to say anything, I did not want to offend the queen into putting me back into stone.
A silence filled the void between us. I whimpered anxiously. I deserved what was going on. I cast a look around the room- it was empty and had the purple that most of the rooms of the Faerieland castle had. This would probably be the last time I'd ever see it.
"My council of faeries and I converged together," Fyora said, gaining Xandra's wide-eyed attention. "We talked for a long time, and eventually we decided on your punishment. You are to work with the Soup Faerie from now on until we decide that you've learned your lesson. Don't try anything funny with the soup, either- we cast a few spells on you prior to releasing you from the stone prison. If you poison the soup in any way, the soup will dissipate and we will be notified immediately.
"Also, we have prohibited you from using any magic."
That gave me a cold clang in the heart. That was it. I no longer had magic- I was just a weak, ordinary Xweetok. I continued to say nothing. All I did was nod my head in acceptance of the terms. Fyora continued.
"We will know when you have truly learned your lesson. Maybe... just maybe... you'll get some of your magic back one day, if you are well behaved. I would suspect the guilt would be bad punishment already. Because not only did you destroy Faerieland... you almost destroyed Neopia as it is known."
My eyes went wide and I looked up in horror. Fyora nodded. "Yes. You see, without the faeries, a sort of force in the world is broken... and soon, had the heroes not reacted bravely, you also would've seized to exist. The neopets in the world you meant to create would not come to be. Now follow me. A cart is already waiting outside to carry you to Neopia Central."
As Fyora turned and began to walk, I moved my stiff legs and walked behind her. I continued staring at the ground. When we reached the outside of Faerieland, the sunlight hurt my eyes, as it had been long since I had seen it, and I squinted. I blinked rapidly... and stared at what I saw. Faerieland was being rebuilt slowly... on the ground. I sighed and looked up to the sky where it should truly be. I turn my eyes to the chariot, with two faerie Unis waiting patiently. I walked up, got inside, and closed the door without a word. Seconds later the Unis began to fly. I looked out of the window as we moved, and saw Fyora waving at me. I awkwardly waved back and forced a smile.
Sighing, I looked out the window. I then looked and saw neopets playing below without a care... I saw faeries helping them when they got hurt or needed directions or leading lost neopets to their owners.
A wave of guilt hit me. I sighed again and stared down. I almost felt embarrassed to be seen by anyone- even the Unis carrying the chariot I was in. It was then it hit me- the only way I'd be able to live happily... is to restore my name. I sat forward. My ear twitched slightly, listening for the loud chattering that belonged to Neopia Central.
I was in for a long ride, and a long story...