The Flight of Faerieland: Part One
Queen Fyora sat at a round table, across from Lord Darigan. The leaders did not make eye contact and there was not a bit of conversation. Darigan drummed his claws on the table while Fyora started staring off into space. This went on for several minutes until there was a knock at the door.
"Come in," Darigan said.
The door opened slowly and in came a tall Gelert dressed in red and yellow robes. He was bearded. In his right hand was a large, brown briefcase full of scrolls. Fyora noticed that there was a limp in his stride and rushed over to his side.
"Emperor Akeno, let me help you with something," Fyora said.
"There's no need Your Majesty. I may look old but my spirit is still young," Akeno insisted. The Gelert pulled out a chair and sat down next to the Faerie Queen.
"I think we'll get started," Darigan said gruffly.
Emperor Akeno pulled out a scroll from his briefcase and began reading it aloud.
"This marks the beginning of the annual meeting of the Skies of Neopia. Today's agenda will focus on Neopian Security. The skies are getting progressively dangerous since Faerieland fell from the sky. Without the faeries' magic ensuring safe passage of Darigan's citizens and Shenkuu's shipments, sky pirates have frequently raided travelers in the air," read Akeno.
Akeno turned to Fyora.
"Your Majesty, please give us a status update on the raising of Faerieland."
"Yes, certainly. We are slowly progressing toward getting Faerieland into a state where it can rise up again. Some of our buildings are still fragile enough where they could collapse if we tried to raise Faerieland into the sky now. I still cannot give a specific timeline, but I assure you we are working our hardest to restore Faerieland to the skies," Fyora stated before she was interrupted.
Darigan shuffled uncomfortably before he spoke up.
"It does not seem like your kingdom has really made any progress since last time," Darigan said.
"We're doing all we can, Lord Darigan. I assure you that we are making progress daily, and with the help of kind Neopians gathering supplies, we are working toward a solution. We have tried levitation and anti-gravity spells to no avail. We also tried to create clouds, none which have supported any structures."
Darigan opened his mouth as if to say something else but Akeno spoke up first.
"Your Majesty, we know this is not an easy undertaking. Is it alright if you try to explain to us exactly what is taking this long? Darigan and I unfortunately are not very well versed in sorcery."
Fyora shifted uncomfortably in her seat as she wracked her brain for a simple explanation. She stared up at the ceiling as if the answer would magically come to her. Meanwhile, the others stared off into space, waiting for an answer.
"Well... levitation tends to be a difficult spell when it comes to larger objects and it does not seem to be a viable option like I originally thought. I assure you I am looking into the history of Faerieland to find out how it rose into the sky in the first place but the archives are extremely large so it may take a bit," Fyora said. She started biting her well-manicured nails.
"Perhaps you could enlist the help of other Neopians? Perhaps they could bring in other spells that faeries are not able to perform," Akeno inquired.
"Faerieland was held in the sky with faerie magic, I know that much from the archives written in ancient faerie manuscript. It is highly unlikely they would be able to help, despite their enthusiasm," Fyora responded.
"Akeno and I are extremely alarmed about the increased rate of crime in the skies. Lately there have been sky pirate raids Neopian merchant vessels and passenger airships from the Citadel. This makes it extremely difficult for goods, especially food, to reach Neopia's other kingdoms that do not have the blessing of fertile soil like Meridell and Brightvale. Faerieland was the deterrent, but she is no longer there. Akeno and I were discussing whether the current solution would be to send your faeries to create some sort of magical barrier, if you will, and patrol the skies for any suspicious activity," Darigan suggested.
Fyora's expression suddenly changed to one of shock and even a hint of anger. Emperor Akeno quickly leaned over to whisper in Darigan's ear.
"I thought I told you not to bring that up. We agreed that was not an option. Now look at her; I have never seen her like this."
"I do not know what else to do. I care about the faeries just as much as you do. However, I feel like our citizens have been hurt enough," insisted Darigan.
"What is this? Another secret meeting that I am not a part of?" Fyora said, raising her voice for the first time since she was angry at the Darkest Faerie. It was not a shouting or yelling voice but it was a stark contrast compared to Fyora's normal soft, gentle voice.
"No, Your Majesty. I am simply trying to reason with Lord Darigan. We were discussing this-" Akeno began before Fyora interrupted.
"Discussing? So you admit you had a closed door meeting without me?"
Akeno stared at Fyora fearfully as she gave off a piercing glare at Darigan and him. After an extended, awkward silence, Darigan spoke up.
"We know this is hard for you. However, it is time for us to put a stop to this. Are you going to help us?" Darigan responded.
Emperor Akeno looked away from Fyora as Darigan said those words. He stared at the ground, intentionally avoiding eye contact with the Faerie Queen.
"I will not be putting my own sisters in harm's way unless you send your own reinforcements to back them up. Are these terms agreeable to you?"
"Unfortunately we came to you because our troops are used to defending land, not skies and not very many of them are willing to spend more than a week in the skies. Your faeries are better at this with flight and sorcery on your side," replied Akeno.
At this, Queen Fyora stood up and began gathering her things.
"Your Majesty, please stay and work this out with us."
"I am afraid I need some time to think about this. I suggest we meet next week, but I am giving you all a fair warning." Fyora paused, her voice shaking.
"Faerieland will not be coerced into anything. She is tired of Neopia asking for her assistance whenever a problem arises. She wishes that Neopia would learn not to depend on her power so much."
Lord Darigan opened his mouth as if to speak but Emperor Akeno shook his head vigorously at him. Lord Darigan closed his mouth and nodded.
"Certainly, your Majesty. A decision like this should not be made in haste. We'll meet in Shenkuu next time. This meeting is adjourned for future discussion," Akeno stated, quickly.
Without speaking any further, Fyora disappeared in a cloud of pink smoke.
Queen Fyora quickly flew back to her cloud racer where Celandra awaited. Practically every part of the racer was a shade of pink or lavender. The wings were exactly the same shape as Fyora's own wings. The front was very smooth so that it would glide seamlessly through the air. It was the same racer that won championships in Faerie Cloud Racers before Extreme Faerie Cloud Racers came along, as did Queen Fyora's retirement from cloud racing. Since then, the racer had been retrofitted with four seats for guests.
Celandra stepped forward and opened the driver's side door for Fyora.
"How did the meeting go?" Celandra asked.
"Um... it was alright, I guess; do you mind flying us back?" Fyora replied.
Celandra knew something was wrong. Fyora usually enjoyed flying the cloud racer and rarely offered anyone else the chance to fly. Even Celandra was typically only allowed to fly it when Fyora was not using it. Still Celandra knew that Fyora was not ready to be open about her problems yet and pressing the issue would only result in Fyora insisting everything was perfect.
"Yes, of course, if that is your wish... I do need your keys, though."
"Oh right, my apologies."
Fyora handed Celandra a small pink keyring. The two buckled themselves and then Celandra closed the overhead door, sealing them inside the cockpit. Celandra then started up the racer and the two set off toward Faerieland, leaving behind a trail of pink clouds.
Attached to the dashboard was a compass for navigation as well as a speedometer. Aside from that, Fyora really did not have many bells and whistles on her racer.
For most of the journey, the two did not speak, and eventually Queen Fyora dozed off in her seat. This troubled Celandra since usually, the queen would try to carry on a conversation. Then again, ever since the incident with Xandra, Queen Fyora had become increasingly withdrawn and less sociable. Celandra wrestled with her thoughts a bit longer before she noticed that Faerieland was nearby so it was time to begin the descent. At that moment, the Queen woke back up.
"May we visit the Healing Springs, please? It would be a nice place for us to relax," Fyora requested.
"Sure," Celandra replied.
Queen Fyora had her own little area in the healing springs further north from the main springs. It was a quiet place for Fyora to gather her thoughts and relax. After all, the Queen did need some time away from the politics and the protocol of her role.
Celandra began a gentle descent after slowing down a bit. She pulled a lever and the racer coasted to a grassy area to the right of the private springs.
"Do you want me to wait for you?" Celandra did not move, as if expecting Fyora to give affirmation.
"Actually, I was going to ask if you wanted join. You've been driving for a while and I would think you need some relaxation too," Fyora suggested.
To be continued...