Greenglade: Part Nine
Tayheir peered down the chasm. "It's a long way down," he reported.
Laerya also looked down, groaning at what she saw. It wasn't just a long way down; in this darkness, she could not see the ground. It looked like an abyss; it seemed that the group were standing at the edge of a cliff now. Looking back up, she saw how far away the other side was. Lae could clear it if she got a good enough head start and jumped; she was a Cybunny after all, with extremely powerful leg muscles. But as she stepped back, she almost tripped over, reminding her how weak her legs were now. How could she hope to cross this chasm?
"We could go around..." Akorri suggested.
"We'll never make it in time." Laerya gritted her teeth, screwing her eyes shut as anger threatened to moisten them. She quickly wiped her face before opening her eyes again.
Tayheir hissed impatiently, "You won't, but I will." Spreading his wings, he took off into the air. Laerya did not want to watch him, as he only reminded her of her inability to jump. He landed effortlessly on the other side. "I probably won't see you again. Good luck getting to Greenglade."
"Wait!" Laerya's sharp voice halted the Hissi as he began to move. "You can't leave without us!"
"Why not?" Tayheir replied impatiently.
"Technically he can," Akorri added. "The attack is probably happening now, and Alex has organised Greenglade's defences. They'll be fine without us."
"No..." Lae shook her head. "I have to help! My heart is telling me to help!"
"Your heart is reckless." Akorri looked on at the chasm. "But it's a good thing that you want to listen to it." He rolled his shoulders once, as if preparing for action. "I'll listen to it, too. It's better than what my heart's telling me."
Lae did not have time to question this because the Xweetok turned to Jinny. "I remember Alex saying that you had the power of flight," he told her. "Do you think you could fly us across?"
Jinny's eyes widened as if she had not expected to be called upon. "I... I'm not sure..."
"Please, you have to try." Akorri looked intensely at her. "Stop doubting yourself and just give it a go. All right?"
Jinny flattened her ears and looked away. "...Okay. I'll try." The Kyrii rolled up her purple sleeves and asked Lae, "Is it okay if I hold on to you?"
Lae nodded. Gingerly Jinny grabbed her waist, motioning for Akorri to come closer. She held on to the Xweetok carefully; Lae could feel her body shaking with fear. A humming noise filled the Cybunny's ears, akin to the magic Jinny used when breaking the magic seal on the lock.
Two large translucent wings sprouted from the Kyrii's back. Laerya could see the sky through them, but their outline shined through, almost as magnificent as Alex's wings. Jinny squeaked as she broke into a run, stumbling under the weight of her passengers.
The closer they drew to the chasm, the more scared Lae felt until they left the ground completely. They hovered precariously over the rift for a few moments before they plunged down into the abyss.
"Oh my Fyora, fly, Jinny, FLY!" Akorri screeched as Laerya almost fainted from the sudden sickening lurch of her stomach.
"I'm trying!" Jinny retorted, flapping her magic wings fiercely. "I've never done this before!"
"What, never? Well, THANKS FOR LETTING US KNOW!" Akorri yelled. "I would've thought you at least practised a bit before this!"
"Hey, you were the one who told me to give it a go!" Jinny snarled with a ferocity Lae would not have expected the Kyrii to possess. She grunted with exertion as her wings tried to carry everyone's weight. "I told you that I didn't think I could use my magic when the time for it came, and HERE IS YOUR PROOF!"
"I-ignore him," Lae tried to soothe Jinny, but her voice was high with her own fear. "Try your best. Y-you can do this."
Jinny was breathing heavily, but they continued to drop further down. She was holding Lae so tightly that the Cybunny could barely breathe.
Just when it seemed they would crash horribly into nothingness below, the feeling of falling downwards ceased. Instead they were flying up, slowly but surely, until they reached the other side of the cliff. Jinny fell onto the ground, releasing her passengers.
"Wow..." Akorri was hugging himself and shivering. "I never want to go through that again."
"Well done, Jinny," Lae rasped. She was glad to be back on solid ground, though she was too weak to pick herself up. The fear was still pumping through her veins so she waited for it to subside, looking around for Tayheir. The Hissi was still there, watching them carefully.
"Why didn't you help Jinny out?" she asked him angrily.
"I didn't think you needed it," the Hissi replied curtly. "Besides, I can't carry you. No hands."
"Didn't think we needed it?" Akorri grumbled. "Seriously?"
Laerya turned to Jinny. The white Kyrii was panting on the ground, her wings gone. "Are you okay?" Lae asked her.
"I'm fine, just tired... and surprised... I didn't think I'd be able to do it." Jinny sat up, her eyes filled with life. "That was terrifying, but exhilarating, too."
"It was." Lae slowly stood up and dusted herself off. She ran a hand through her hair, sighing as she realised her ponytail was gone; her dark purple hair flowed out behind her, reaching far past her shoulders. "We really have to hurry now."
"How did that chasm get there?" Akorri wondered aloud. "It wasn't there before."
"Lorelei must have made it so we couldn't reach Greenglade," Lae guessed. "She's really bent on stopping us."
Akorri shrugged. "Come on, let's move."
A heart-stopping scream rent the air. Laerya and the others glanced at each other; her blood froze as she realised the scream came from the direction of Greenglade.
"Lorelei must have started the attack," Tayheir observed.
They hurried on over to Greenglade as quickly as they could, Lae trying to take the lead despite her weak legs. How could she let this happen? How could she let herself get trapped? What if Greenglade was already in ruins?
They crashed through the trees and their eyes met a horrifying sight.
Most of the village buildings had collapsed, purple smoke wisps snaking out of the rubble. Laerya could feel the heat of flames close by and she turned to see the trees nearby were on fire; soon the fire would spread, engulfing the whole of Greenglade. Colours of all sorts flashed in Lae's vision as beams of magic struck each other and dissipated. Some Neopets were on the ground with the same purple wisps entangled around them while others stood fighting Lorelei's massive army of Wraiths Neopets. There seemed to be so many more than when Lae's group had faced them. She saw Alex emanating yellow light, firing magic in Lorelei's direction.
The Bori herself was up in the sky, commanding her Wraiths from down below. She was launching purple magic this way and that, hoping to strike whomever or whatever she could.
Laerya was about to try and reach her when a punch knocked her down to the ground. She quickly stood back up, all weariness in her legs forgotten as she faced her attacker. A Wraith Scorchio grinned maliciously at her, his dark fists poised for another punch. Lae quickly dodged the second one, kicking him fiercely. She was pleasantly surprised that her foot came into contact with the Wraith Neopet and sent him reeling back. Akorri delivered a punch to the Scorchio. Figuring he would keep the Scorchio busy, Lae turned to more pressing matters.
Around her everyone was fighting, even Jinny. The Kyrii sent an explosion of light hurtling towards the Wraiths, knocking them back with the force of her attack. She yelled as she quickly waved her hand, shooting dark magic shards at the Wraiths. This did not seem as effective as the enemies only hissed with annoyance.
Laerya looked up to Lorelei. If she could reach the Bori, this battle would be finished. She began jumping over the rubble, adrenaline giving her leg muscles strength, hopping on the roofs of the buildings still standing until one jump would send her hurtling towards Lorelei.
But just before she jumped she noticed Tayheir swooping towards the faerie Bori. He looked more manic than Lae had ever seen him, his hood blown back to reveal his red horns, his mouth bared and shooting fire, his eyes extremely wide. He looked like a Draik, almost like Vacerus, as he careered towards Lorelei.
"Tayheir!" Alex gasped; Lae hadn't noticed the Christmas Zafara flying opposite Lorelei, facing her to attack. The Hissi ignored Alex completely and launched a huge fireball at Lorelei.
The Bori gasped but veered to the side so the fireball crashed into the woods below. "You?" she said, her voice taught. "How did you get out?"
"I will destroy you for what you did to Dash!" Tayheir hissed, ignoring Lorelei's question. He flew closer still until he soared right past her, launching a fireball from behind. Lorelei dodged again.
"But if you escaped, that means..." the Bori chanced a look down and her eyes locked on Lae. "You again!"
"Hello!" Lae called back, invigorated by Lorelei's intense glare. She was prepared for the purple wisps that Lorelei sent towards her this time; she leapt away, managing to get a kick in before landing on another roof close by.
Lorelei gasped from the force of Laerya's kick. "You persistent pest, I will end you!"
Laerya had only a moment to dodge before Tayheir's fireball whisked past her. "What are you doing?!" she shouted up at him. "We're against the same enemy here!"
"Lorelei is mine!" Tayheir roared. Yes, Lae thought, he did look like Vacerus now.
Lorelei sent a dark purple beam at Tayheir, catching him unawares. He yelled as he was struck; his wings stopped flapping completely. He was immobilized. With a jolt, Lae realised she recognised that spell. It had been used on her before. She bunched her muscles and jumped back on to the other roof just before the purple beam could strike her, too.
Tayheir crashed down to the battlefield below, and now it was just her and Lorelei. Alex seemed to be incapacitated somewhere else, no longer glowing.
"Where's your friend, the Red Rogue?" Lorelei asked Lae.
The Cybunny bit her lip. She didn't know how competent Akorri was in a fight. She should not have left him. Clearing her throat, she put her worries about her companion aside. This showdown did not call for fear. "He's down there, fighting," she replied tensely.
"So it's just you and me." Lorelei's bloodshot eyes bore down on Laerya. "This will be fun. Do you know how to use magic?"
Laerya didn't want to answer. She had not practised her feeble light magic at all since the brief session with Alex. She tried to conjure the magic now, but not even a tiny spark would come. Perhaps Alex was right; perhaps she would never be able to control magic.
There was no time for doubts now. She had to rely on what she did know to get her through this.
"There's no Cloud Flute to help you. No Red Rogue to aid you." Lorelei gave Lae her menacing twisted grin. "If you can't use magic, this will be very difficult for you."
To be continued...