The Eternal Paint Brushes: Part Four
Psellia knew she had to inform the others, and barely managed to avoid a streak of fire the Striped Lenny threw at her. Clearly, the Sleeper possessed this neopet. She sent a quick mental message to Siyana. While she was doing this, the Lenny turned around and with a burst of dark magic, was gone. The paint brushes were gone as well, and though Psellia didn't know what they were, if the Betrayer wanted them, it couldn't mean anything good.
She couldn't teleport, but being an air faerie she was as fast as the wind and rushed outside quickly, hoping she wasn't too late.
* * * *
Jerdana and Siyana examined the statue of the Darkest Faerie that King Altador had brought. He had just returned from the Haunted Woods with the statue. While he said that he would have preferred to take the statue to Faerieland, he wanted both of them to examine it, explaining the extraordinary conditions upon which he had found it.
"Odd," Jerdana said. "There's absolutely nothing wrong with this statue."
"How is that odd?" King Altador asked.
"This is just a statue, it's just a bit of rock. This isn't the Darkest Faerie," Siyana answered. Before King Altador could ask another question, there were shouts and noises from outside the Council Chamber.
"Psellia just contacted me," Siyana said. "She says that the Darkest Faerie has possessed a neopet and has returned with her powers. She says that the Striped Lenny that she was possessing has just moved outside, and is somewhere in Altador."
"We have to find her!" King Altador shouted. Before they could act on this order, Fauna burst in the Council Chamber.
"We're under attack," she said worriedly, she was panting and was speaking between gasps. "The petpets tell me all that's happening. They say the Darkest Faerie is behind this, she has summoned a Kraken to attack our shore, and Marak is trying his best to suppress it. Werelupes have attacked the eastern side of the city, though Torakor says that he should be able to handle it."
"Werelupes!" King Altador shouted. "Some of them attacked me, saying they worked for someone. I see the Darkest Faerie has managed to earn their allegiance."
"I'm going to search for that Lenny," Siyana said. "I think it would be best, Your Highness, if you took your warriors and stopped the Werelupes and the Kraken as well."
"I will gather the civilians and try to evacuate the city, along with the rest of the Council Members," Fauna said.
"Indeed," was all that King Altador said, and they all rushed off to play their respective parts in keeping Altador safe.
* * * *
Sheldon wasn't sure exactly where he was. He remembered seeing Psellia, but after that he wasn't sure what happened.
Wherever he was, most of it was obscured by mist. He could hear some sounds and maybe even some cackling from far away, but couldn't see anything at all. Just then, a figure popped out from the mist. It was a Lenny, a Striped Lenny, only much smaller than he was.
"Who are you? Where am I?" Sheldon asked.
"My name is Sheldon," the Lenny replied. "You are currently inside your own mind."
"What?" Sheldon asked, very confused.
"The Darkest Faerie dwelled in the ring that you had, and she slowly began to take over you, and has almost succeeded. This is a remote corner of your mind where she has shoved you, where you cannot control your own actions," the boy said.
"Almost?" Sheldon asked.
"Yes, all hope is not lost for you to regain your body," the boy said. "That is the exact reason that I wish to see you. I am a part of your mind, I am a memory who is here to tell you how to defeat her."
"Defeat the Darkest Faerie?" Sheldon asked. That seemed like a very impossible idea.
"Yes, you must defeat her not in a battle of magic, nor a physical battle, this is a battle of the mind," the boy said. "However, that is impossible unless you reawaken."
"Reawaken?" Sheldon asked, getting more and more confused as the boy was explaining everything.
"Yes. You have been sleeping, sort of, for most of your life. That child who you didn't spare a thought for, the way you were ready to steal for your own gain. All of your life, what you've been doing until now is wrong. It is the darkness within you that allows the Darkest Faerie to reign freely within your mind. To defeat her, you must remove all darkness from your heart."
Sheldon sighed; why couldn't these things be simpler?
"I want to show you something," the boy said. "A memory of you when you were younger, and not quite what you are now." The mist around them vanished, and then a scene appeared before them. It was a school, the same school that Sheldon had been to. He saw only brief images flash by him, getting picked on by bullies, getting low grades, his teachers scolding him, the other children shunning him.
"It was then, during your childhood that the darkness seeped within you. Angry at how the world had treated you, you sought to get revenge. You became better, you got better grades, you became successful, or so you thought." The boy shook his head. "Your success stemmed from your hatred, you used your hatred to become stronger, so you could defeat others, though in the end all you have accomplished is destroying yourself." The scenes went away and the mist returned. "Remember that while fighting the Darkest Faerie."
"Why does she want the Eternal Paint Brushes?" Sheldon wondered. Then, with horror, he realized why. "She must want to take away the colour from Neopia, so she can rule over a colourless, dull world."
The mist cleared away, to reveal the Darkest Faerie. Sheldon didn't recognize her by her dress, nor by how she looked. Sheldon recognized her by her hair which was darker than the darkest obsidian in the very depths of Moltara, which swayed and flew like a thousand cobralls though there was no breeze blowing, by the way her eyes glowed, and most importantly of all, the very aura that she cast around the place, a dark, sinister aura that was nothing that he could describe with mere words.
"What do I do?" Sheldon asked his younger counterpart.
"Go and touch her dress. The moment you will do this, she will recognize your presence, and will try to force you away by her own will. However, you must be the one to truly force her away. Remember what I told you, and victory will be yours." That was all the boy said, and hesitantly, Sheldon stepped forward, and touched the sleeve of the Betrayer's dress.
Until then, her eyes had been fixed somewhere up, she hadn't even noticed him, however, now, she turned her head, and her dark gaze could bore holes in even the metal that made up the Virtupets Space station. Every instinct of Sheldon urged him to run, but he didn't, and he could feel her will and her mind, trying to suppress his own.
It was near impossible; Sheldon could feel that she was winning. His younger self walked besides them.
"By the way, if you lose this, you lose your body forever," he said casually. Sheldon couldn't believe he hadn't told him that earlier, but was fighting against the wave of memories the Darkest Faerie was sending at him, memories of being bullied and neglected. He was just about to lose when he frowned. He looked at the younger Sheldon, there was still some hope.
"No, there isn't," the Darkest Faerie sneered. "I will be rid of you! You cannot defeat me; your heart is tainted by darkness. As your defeat is inevitable, I may as well tell you how this came to be. When Hanso freed the faeries, for a second, he had also weakened the magic surrounding me. Unable to completely free myself, I transferred my magic to a ring and that scroll, making sure that they would appear before a neopet who was willing to do anything for power. Look at you, you stole, you lied, all for your own gain. You're no better than I am."
"I left a hollow of a statue in the Haunted Woods, and ordered those Werelupes to kill King Altador if they saw him, for I knew that he would be foolish enough to seek the statue. Now, no one will stop me."
"I will!" Sheldon shouted. "I won't let you rob the world of colour."
The Darkest Faerie laughed. "Is that what you think I want those paint brushes for? Of course not. Why do you think that they were hidden in the first place? Those brushes are colour themselves, if I can take them, I can force all neopets who are painted that specific colour to do my bidding. I will have the largest army in Neopia, and will take over not only Altador, but the rest of the world as well."
"No," he said. The Darkest Faerie frowned, she couldn't overpower him. Sheldon continued, "Everything that I've done until now has been wrong. However, I'm going to change that. And, the first thing that I'm going to do right is to defeat you!" He didn't know where his determination was coming from, but it flowed through him, and, step-by-step, he vanquished the Darkest Faerie, who faded into nothing.
"Good job," the younger Sheldon said. "You'll soon find yourself in control of not only your own body, but the Darkest Faerie's powers as well."
"What?" Sheldon asked, shocked.
"Yes. In the fight, your body was at stake, but the Darkest Faerie placed her magical abilities at stake as well. And now, you have conquered her, and her powers are yours to keep forever. You will probably be one of the greatest sorcerers in the land when you wake up. I hope you use your powers well," the young Sheldon said. The mist surrounding them vanished, and Sheldon found himself standing in the Council Chamber in Altador. Turning around, he saw Psellia and Siyana. The sun was about to set over the city, but it was clear that the city was in crisis, there were fires burning everywhere, there was a huge tentacle near the docks, and he could hear howls of some sort of beasts from far away. The ring on his left hand crumbled to dust as he looked at it.
"I don't feel her anymore," Siyana said.
"Don't worry," Sheldon said. "I've defeated the Darkest Faerie, and now it's time I get rid of whatever she made." Lifting his hands, he banished the Kraken from the shores, he could fell the familiar sense of power flowing through him, though, this time, he only felt the Darkest Faerie's power, and not her will, as he transported the Werelupes to the Haunted Woods and extinguished the fires that were burning.
King Altador and the rest of the council members gathered there later, and Sheldon told them everything, how he had lied, stolen, and cheated for his gain. Once he had finished telling them, King Altador stood up.
"This morning, we were eleven in the council. Now, we will be twelve. You, Sheldon, are our newest member."
"I don't deserve it," Sheldon said. "I've been nothing more than a greedy Lenny."
"And you realize that," Fauna said. "That is the reason we invite you among our ranks."
"From tomorrow," King Altador said, "you will be known as the twelfth council member, the Sleeper, for you, indeed, have been sleeping most of your life. The Eternal Paint Brushes must be hidden." Sheldon realized what King Altador was trying to say, and said,
"Fine then, it will be an honor to join your ranks," Sheldon said. Before that though, he knew there was a certain child in Neopia Central he had to visit.