Sinister Side of Faerieland
Faerieland greeted me as I came to the end of my long journey from Neopia central. Everything appeared just perfect. Cascading waterfalls provided a glorious backdrop to the city, and perfectly-dressed angelic neopets glided along the streets. The awe-inspiring faerie castle loomed ahead of me, as though the faeries inside are looking out for the welfare of every single citizen. In fact this scene appeared too perfect, almost sinisterly perfect you could say...
As I dawdled through the city I was constantly smiled at by happy pets and I beamed back, pleased to be made to feel so welcome. Taking a right, I entered the city bookshop, wondering what knowledge awaited me.
"Hello, it's a wonderful day, isn't it? How can I help you?" the faerie behind the desk chirped at me.
"Oh, I'm just browsing if that's okay..." The faerie nodded approvingly.
"Well, if you need any help, you just have to ask."
As I flicked through copies of Rainbow Fountain Secrets and Faerie Crossword Book, I noticed a shadowy figure lurking towards the back of the shop, pretending to be interested in a copy of Faerie Folk. They kept looking around the store and, as soon as I looked up at them, their eyes quickly swivelled down to the page.
I looked once again down at the books, not wanting the figure to know I was staring at them. After a few seconds, however, the temptation became too much and I lifted my eyes once again to the shadowy corner. Empty.
Confused, I approached the faerie at the counter. "Excuse me, I was wondering where the person who was over there went?"
"Sorry, I think you must be mistaken. We're the only people in the shop and have been since you entered..."
"Oh," I replied, unsure of my own sanity. "I must just be sleep-deprived, sorry to bother you." I wondered back into the main part of the shop, searching for a present for my neopets back home. As I reached the shadowy corner, I noticed the copy of Faerie Folk looked a bit tattered, as though it had already been read.
Confused, I flicked through the pages. A piece of paper fluttered slowly to the floor as I did so. I picked it up.
'Meet me by the Healing Springs, 8pm tonight'. I hurriedly pocketed the piece of paper, picked up the nearest book, gave my neopoints to the faerie at the counter, and then left the shop.
I leant against the gold statue at the Healing Springs, my eyes drooping very slightly as I still had yet to sleep after my tiresome journey. Silence. There was nobody around, and I began to wonder whether somebody was having me on.
I had a last glance around at the deserted springs, and got up to leave.
"Psst!" The noise caught me by surprise and I felt my heart thumping in my chest. I swivelled round to face whoever had made the noise, and came face to face with Nereid the water faerie.
"Come on, in here!" She was sat inside a little cave next to a waterfall, so secretly hidden I had no idea how long she had been there watching me. I half-walked, half-ran towards her. As I reached the cave, I was struck by the beauty of both the water faerie and her home; both seem to sparkle and gleam, even in the absence of sunlight.
"You're the journalist, right? You've written for the Neopian Times before, haven't you?" I nodded in agreement, quite humbled to be recognised. "Well, I've got a story for you..."
Nereid cleared her throat and had a last look around to ensure we were alone before she continued.
"Faerieland is not all it seems.... Pets are suffering for the select few to live in luxury. I figured that if you wrote an article for the Neopian Times on this, made more people aware, then maybe, together, we could bring an end to it."
"What do you mean pets are suffering? Surely the faeries could just use their magic in order to get what they want?"
"Well, no. A lot of faeries just don't have that powerful magic, only the select few of us were born with substantial power. The rest, well, the make out that they do by getting invisible pets to do their bidding. Every now and then, invisible pets are stolen from their owners in the middle of the night and sequestered to Faerieland. It's an ingenious plan if you think about it – their owners will never notice their absence!"
"So the faeries are pretending that they are using magic, when in fact they are simply using the invisible pets to pretend that they are conducting magic?"
"Exactly. The pets are badly treated and forced to play games for hours on end in order to earn neopoints to fund their faerie masters' lives of luxury. I can hear them crying out for their owners every night... it breaks my heart."
"Where are these pets kept? And which faeries are the main culprits?"
"They're kept in cages at the Poogle races, and well, Jhudora is the worst!"
"Jhudora doesn't really have powers? Are you sure? I thought she was meant to be the Dark faerie?"
"Well yes, Jhudora does have powers, but they're more limited than she lets on. And she makes a tidy profit renting out the invisible neopets to other less gifted faeries."
"I see. Hmm, so what do you suppose I do about this?"
"I want you to write an article for the Neopian Times, making people aware of what Jhudora is up to. But..."
" Well, I don't want my name anywhere near this, if Fyora found out then-"
"Wait! Fyora even knows about this?"
"Sure she does, she's the omniscient faerie queen – she knows everything that happens here! That's why I can't do anything about this myself."
I contemplated this for a minute. Faerieland was much more corrupt than I had ever imagined – did I really want to get myself involved with this, when who knew what the consequences could be. But, I did like to see myself as somebody who looked out for the welfare of all neopets...
"I'll do it."
"Really? That's fantastic!" The water faerie leaned in and gave me a hug with delight.
Five weeks later I was back at home in Neopia Central, scanning this week's edition of the Neopian Times. The headline read: Invisible pets kidnapped by phoney faeries. I smiled at the page, pleased that I had contributed to combatting injustice in the world. Taking a sip of my coffee, I set to work planning my next travelling adventure, hoping there were no more hidden monstrosities occurring throughout Neopia.
Meanwhile, in Faerieland, Jhudora stomped her way into the Healing Springs, angrily clutching a copy of that week's Neopian Times. Terrified pets ran back towards the entrance, keen to get out of the way of the dark faerie in case she kidnapped them too.
"NEREID!" Jhudora screamed at the top of her voice. "WHAT IS THIS?"
The water faerie sauntered towards Jhudora, smirking at the receipt of the reaction she had been hoping for.
"I don't know what you mean," the water faerie replied in a sugary sweet tone. "You mean it's not true?"
"It's not true and you know it! How can you damage my reputation like this? I've already received a summoning to Fyora to explain myself!"
"Not so big now, are we!"
"What? Oh, this isn't still about that is it?"
"You thought I'd let you get away with it, did you?"
"Well, it was years ago, we were just children then!"
"It was my favourite plushie, though! How would you have liked it if I had taken your favourite toy weapon?"
"Oh for goodness sake, this is ridiculous! Look, I'm sorry about the plushie, I didn't intend to break it"
"Break it? You incinerated it!"
"Well, we all make mistakes... But it doesn't mean you can go around making up lies about me and feeding them to journalists!"
"Says who? And nobody is going to believe your word over mine, are they?"
Jhudora contemplated this and frowned. Nereid was right, nobody would believe her. That meant there was only one thing for it – Revenge.
Ping! I jumped slightly at the sound of a neomail arriving. I looked at the recipient, expecting it to be from one of my neofriends, wanting to arrange a play date for our pets. The recipient name was missing, which struck me as slightly odd.
Never the less, I opened the mail.
'Nereid the water faerie is actually the Turmaculus in disguise. When pets come to visit her she steals their petpets and eats them! Please do something about this to end the suffering!'
I leaned back in my chair and sighed.