Magic and Mayhem: Part Four
"Oh, is that a ghost?"
Chaos ensues as chairs screech back and tip over. Franticly, eyes dart across the room, but there is no ghost.
"I said is that a GHOST?"
Suddenly, a scruffy, blue-ish grey Eyrie materializes shouting, "Beware! Beware! And... uh, BOO!"
Guards move to block the princess, who has remained seated and only a tight grip on her chair betrays a sense of fright. Sand sees her chance. Amira blinks in shock as a kepru bounces into her lap, presents to her a toothy smile and snatches her amulet of the crystal moon. Plates shatter into tiny pieces as they slide off the table when kepru paws accidently kick them. A clumsy guard lunges at her to miss and get a face full of pie. Wizards scramble over each other in a rush to stop the small intruder.
"Halt, thief!" someone bellows. "In the name of Princ-"
The rest of his threat is lost as he is mistakenly tackled by a large guard. (How a guard mistakenly tackles another when he is supposed to be stopping a small petpet, Sand couldn't figure out.) Dodging around a stampeding crowd, Sand is reminded of her market adventures. A slick crystal crescent moon is harder to hold onto than a fruit. Making it to the other end of the dining room, Sand throws herself out a window. She lands heavily on a tarp above a shopkeeper's stall. Knowing the ghost is following her (he has to because she clipped the scarab charm on her necklace), she wastes no time to jump to the ground.
"Hey!" A voice causes her to spin around. "Not you again!"
She growls and lopes away, but the spotted Techo chases her yelling. Muscles throbbing, she presses on. A furry paw darts out and scopes the kepru up. Before the Techo realizes what happened, Sand's rescuer has climbed to the roof of a building.
"I saw you exit that tourist carriage." The blue Xweetok sets her down. "I was wondering how you were going to get back.... But I knew you would."
Sure... okay.... Sand wonders at the random comment. "Well... thanks for saving me, kid." Sand studies the Xweetok's dark violet eyes that have shards of lavender. "I guess I'll be seeing you around too."
"Never mind....." Sand begins to trot away.
"What are you doing? Can I help?"
Sand freezes then turns to face her. Several less-than-courteous replies cross her mind: "Mind your own business, why don't you?" "Did I ASK for help?", but she grudgingly says, "Actually, yes. I need to get to Coltzan's Shrine."
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Three pairs of eyes- emerald, violet and sea blue-green- look at the shrine, icy white in the soft glow of the moon.
"Stand back," she instructs the red Lupe and blue Xweetok.
She doesn't know why the Xweetok, whose name is Violet, insisted her brother Ruby, the Lupe, come along, but she is glad she did. He makes her feel safer- not that she would ever admit it.
"Coltzan." She places the amulet near the shrine and calls into the night air. "I need your aid. A wrong has befallen a desert dweller. Help me mend it."
At first, nothing happens. Then the runes on the side of the shrine glimmer blue. The amulet pulses silver with energy. Sand gasps as her magic is untangled inside herself. It is as if she hadn't known she had an arrow stuck in her pelt until it had just been removed. Her head begins to swim.
"Don't fight it," the ghost Eyrie suggests appearing abruptly. "I think your flashbacks are going to show you something."
"Flashbacks? What is that ghost dude talking about?" Violet approaches with Ruby on her tail.
"What are you doing?" Sand hisses. "I said to stay back there."
Before anyone can reply, a white light flashes and blinds everyone.
"Where are we?" Violet asks, standing slowly.
"Why do we all look faded... kind of like ghosts?" Ruby grimaces watching his partially see-through red paw pass through his sister's arm.
Shocked at their presence, she gazes at herself. In all the previous flashbacks, she saw through her desert Lupe body, but now she is a ghost-like kepru.
"Hey!" Violet points to a figure. "Isn't that Queen Fyora?"
The desert Lupe princess takes her place at the head of the table and raises a glass to toast the faeries.
"I don't know who that lady is." Violet passes Queen Akota. "But this is Fyora.... She looks much younger."
"This is cruel torture! It smells so good," Ruby growls, repeatedly attempting to eat the food, but his head keeps going through food, plate and even table.
Their heads snap up when the desert Lupe speaks and Ruby says, "That sounds just like you, Sand. It is you, isn't it?"
Sand nods and motions for silence.
"Thank you all for coming to the Sixth Annual Midsummer's Ball!" Polite applause is heard then she adds, "A special welcome to our faerie friends! May your journey's end be near."
The traditional words for what was once a wandering tribe are echoed throughout the room, "May your journey's end be near."
The servants take the cue and bring out a few more platters of food. While the feast begins, the princess slips out the door.
"Come on!" Sand follows herself with Violet and Ruby.
"What's the matter, Ray?" The princess questions her pacing friend placing a paw on his arm. "You have seemed on edge ever since that amulet arrived."
"As I should be," the Kyrii gently brushes her paw away. "That thing is powerful... powerful enough to cripple strong magicians. And the amulet calls out to tempt anyone with dark abilities. You have many rivals, Sandra. They would not hesitate to destroy you."
"Don't worry, Mr. Sunshine," huffs the Lupe. "I can take care of myself."
"I don't trust those faeries at all," he peers at the banquet. "Their... kind of magic makes me nervous."
"If it makes you feel any better, you make them- and lots of other people- nervous too." She laughs at his bewildered expression. "Not me of course. I could duel you with a paw tied behind my back."
His fiery amber eyes soften. "You get back to the party. I still have work to do."
"Don't work too late," she calls after him.
"Who is that guy?" demands Violet with narrowed eyes. "He makes my fur stand on end.... I feel like he is familiar."
Another explosion of intense light throws them into a different vision.
"Whoa... looks like a pack of Werelupes on a full moon went hunting in here," Ruby sniffs the air. "Lots of fear and anger. I can taste it in the air."
"This is a few hours after the party moved out into the gardens," Sand recalls. "Some crazy wizard attacked, but no one saw who it was."
The princess Lupe walks in the room with two guards in tow and gasps, "You said it was bad, but I never- Who did this?"
The shadow Kyrii replies, "Those faeries are bad luck." A shudder runs down his spine. "They need to leave."
"You know I can't just kick them out!" The princess rubs her head. "That is not good hospitality and.... maybe they can help. I bet if we asked, they wou-"
"No!" he thunders, amber eyes flashing.
Confused and hurt, the Lupe steps back and her guards reach for their swords. "What is wrong with you? Are you sure that amulet is not affecting you?"
"No, no! I-" He takes a deep breath. "I didn't mean to scare you. I just don't think they should get involved."
"This isn't just your problem, you know," she fires back, eyes cold. "I care for things around here too."
"Princess, I didn't-"he begins while she pivots and stomps out the door.
Ruby, Sand and Violet hurry to catch up to the princess as she travels to the gardens.
The princess boldly strides up to the Faerie Queen and converses briefly. Solemnly, the queen rises up and follows her back to the palace and two faeries flank her. They investigate the room.
"Hey!" Violet shouts in surprise. "Someone is over there!"
A figure blending into the shadows sneaks up on the princess and his/her paw glows yellow. Immediately the princess crumples. A faerie grabs her arm and the vision grows dark as if they all had fainted.
"Is that supposed to happen?" Ruby calls out in the inky blackness.
"This," Sand sighs. "...is the beginning of my curse."
Images appear at first blurry then rapidly sharpen.
The princess slumps in her marble chair wearily lifting her head, "I'm telling you, it's not the faeries. I would have felt their power being used. It was some kind of dark magic amplifying somebody's usual magic."
"It could have been them," the shadow Kyrii insists. "There is something not right about them."
"Ray... Razul! You have to quit this obsession that they are pure evil," she curls her paws into fists. "Do you have any theories that do not include faeries?"
Violet hisses in alarm.
"What?" Sand enquires.
"His name is Razul?" Her tail whips back and forth. "Isn't that the evil emperor that was going to vaporize Sakhmet?"
"That can't be him... can it?" Ruby observes the shadow Kyrii. "I thought Razul was King Jazan's father and... this is like centuries ago.... Right? How could he have been living in this time period too?"
Sand feels paralyzed. Her childhood companion, her closest friend, her most trusted advisor... her Razul would never do that. Never. Then why do the words stick in her throat?
To be continued...