The Eternal Paint Brushes: Part Three
Sheldon couldn't think of what to do. He couldn't break free of King Altador's grasp. He should have known that it was a mistake to come to this village. He had known that King Altador had wandered off into the Haunted Woods, but he considered it a better idea not to follow him into that place. Rather, he thought of staying in some nearby village where the king would probably go once he had left the forest.
However, the villagers hadn't taken to him nicely, and it turned out that for a few days, their food supply had been running low unexpectedly. He tried to tell them that he was innocent and had only flown over here today, but they wouldn't listen. That wasn't too bad. What was bad was that King Altador was now in front of him, holding him by the throat. A lock of his hair, that was what he needed, but taking that would be a problem right now.
"Answer me, what are you doing in this place?" the king asked him. Sheldon knew it would be useless to try and break free.
Sheldon wasn't exactly sure what happened next. The first thing that he did was say, "Release me!"
However, he said it in a different voice, his words rang with power, and he felt an odd sensation like electricity running through him. King Altador dropped him in shock, the villagers stepped back, but Sheldon didn't know what had happened. However, quickly, he took some of the king's hair and immediately flew off.
He kept flying for hours on end, not knowing where he was going; he kept flying even when the sun rose out from the horizon, even when it hovered above him in mid-day. Finally, he stopped flying and landed somewhere. He took slow breaths, trying to calm down. Everything that had happened was still clear in his mind.
After five minutes, he took a look at the brown Lupe hair he had clutched in his left fist. So, he was successful after all. However, he still couldn't tell what it was exactly that had happened when King Altador had grabbed him. It was as if he couldn't move his limbs, and he had a feeling that he hadn't meant to speak those words at that time. And the way he had said them, he had never been able to speak like that ever before.
For the first time, he paid attention to his surroundings. It looked like he was somewhere in Meridell. Then, with a jolt, he remembered his quest. He had to go to Altador now. He had King Altador's hair, but he would require the keys to that chamber below Altador.
He took off, not wasting time. Within an hour, the city of Altador was before him. He walked inside easily, posing as a tourist. For an hour, he wandered around the city, taking in the sites, before moving on towards the archives.
Here, the difficult task of getting a pair of keys to the rooms below the archives began. Sheldon didn't have any concrete plan, so he just wandered around to the library where he found the archivist. He seemed a bit too busy to notice him, and Sheldon couldn't help but notice the keys sticking out of his coat pocket. He tried to reach for them, but then the archivist whipped around and asked him what he was doing.
Thinking fast, Sheldon said, "I was a student at Neopia Central Academy. I've brought some research papers from over there, and was wondering if you would be interested in them." He took out some of his research papers that he was now grateful that he had decided to keep.
It turned out that that was the best thing that he could have done. For one, the archivist seemed to trust him a lot since he was a Lenny, and was completely engrossed in the research papers. He was a flurry of activity, taking books from various places, and noting references to various works. While he was consulting a book regarding Lost Desert culture, Sheldon easily took the keys from his front pocket. He played along for the next half hour, and then told the archivist that he had to return somewhere, but would be back very soon.
He left the archivist's room, and then wandered around to where he knew he would find a doorway leading below. Luckily, the archives weren't crowded at this point of time, so Sheldon wasn't seen as he opened the door and descended.
For the next hour, Sheldon was busy going through the hundreds of doors that were scattered beneath the archives. It was extremely confusing, and by the time he found the right door, his stomach began rumbling, a reminder that he hadn't eaten anything. Too bad he hadn't though to pack any food, he only had neopoints to buy food, which were useless right now. He went down a staircase, and, using the keys he had just stolen, opened a door that looked so old that it seemed it hadn't been opened for centuries. That only meant that he was getting closer. He opened the door, and to his surprise, there were even more doors.
After half an hour, he finally found one door that went down, not up, and once he had reached the foot of the long staircase, he met a small room. That was all, no paint brushes, just some old supplies. However, Sheldon knew better, and, taking the few hairs he had managed to grab, pressed them along with the keys against the wall. The wall melted away, to reveal an opening near the floor. Crouching, Sheldon entered it and beheld a large, circular room. Unbelievably enough, there were even more stairs that he had to go down. After that, he took out the scroll, and read the directions on it carefully. After fifteen minutes, he finally found a door that was the plainest of all the doors, and opened it.
He didn't need the scroll to tell that the paint brushes in the room were the fabled Eternal Paint Brushes. There was no doubt about them. They shone like nothing he had ever seen. The colours that they had were different from normal colours. There, the red paint brush wasn't just red, its colours swirled and changed in various shades, sometimes fiery red, sometimes as red as rubies, and sometimes a new mixture. He could almost see lightning and thunder flash across the electric paint brush. Waves traveled through the maractite paint brush, currents and ripples flowed through the blue markings on it. The leaves on the woodland paint brush moved though there was no wind blowing; the eventide paint brush was more beautiful than the evening sky itself. The cloud paint brush carried the very essence of the limitless sky.
He stood there, mesmerized by the various paint brushes. He was also slightly relieved, a small defeatist part of him had been worried throughout the journey that maybe he was wrong, that the paint brushes were just a thing of legend, but now look, he was right! He fingered the ring on his left hand, and stepped forward to actually touch one of them.
As he stepped forward, he could see them more clearly. As a feast of the most delicious food is to the tongue and stomach, the paint brushes were to his eyes. They were a delight, music to the eyes, if such a thing even existed. He touched one of their handles; the wood was softer and finer than any his hands had ever touched.
He then began formulating a plan. He couldn't take all of the paint brushes along with him, only around six or seven at maximum. The rest, he would have to hide them somewhere in the archives, from where he could retrieve them later. He had barely finished this plan when someone spoke behind him.
"It was right after all." Sheldon whirled around to see an air faerie, and not any air faerie, Psellia herself. "I had a dream that someone would break beneath the archives. However, I believe this may turn out worst than you may expect."
Sheldon really didn't understand what she was saying; he just looked back at the paint brushes. Psellia wasn't looking at them, however.
"I don't care for what purpose you've come here. I followed you because I sense something malevolent in that ring of yours. Give it to me, and we will discuss the matter of these brushes sometime else." Sheldon looked at the ring on his left hand. He decided it was better to give it up, but before he could take it off, his arm stopped by its own accord. Then, his mouth spoke suddenly, though he had no control over what he was saying. Suddenly, a wind began to blow through the room, though there were no windows. Sheldon felt the similar sensation of electricity run through him, and his voice once again rang with power like it had did that time with King Altador.
"I am the Darkest Faerie!" he screamed.
To be continued...