The Adventures of Trina: The Glass Key: Part Nine
“You’re Trina’s father? ” Pat exclaimed, approaching the disheveled brown Wocky on his knees. “You’re Rorren Willicks? That’s…that’s impossible!”
He nodded. “That name…it’s been such a long time…There’s much to explain, but now’s not the time. We need to get back to headquarters.”
I dragged him to his feet by his coat, my face red hot with rage. Kail fought to hold me back. “You’ve been around this whole time? What about Trina, huh? What about her?”
“I had my reasons,” he said regretfully.
“You abandoned her!” Pat spat to his face. “You’re her father—how could you?”
Linny stepped forward. “All this time…and she needed you…”
“I hope you’re ashamed,” Cassie said, sniffling.
“I can explain,” he pleaded. “Let me explain.”
“No, you can’t!” Pat yelled and kicked snow into his face. “It’s too late. Ten years too late.”* * * * *
“Brightstar has been my enemy for quite some time,” the Wocky began back at headquarters, on the dingy sofas.
“The faerie was at large then, and went by another name. She’s been scouring the globe for some dangerous artifacts so naturally we stand in her way. I’ve watched so many friends succumb to their fear of her, and their families…I had to do what was best. That meant I had to disappear.”
“You could’ve just moved, couldn’t you?” Pat asked. “Change your names?”
“Get a moustache,” I added.
“It’s not that simple. Brightstar—the extent of her abilities remains a mystery to us. But if she’s determined, she’ll find you. She always finds you. I couldn’t take that chance. Nor did I want my daughter to grow up in a world where she could never play outside. That’s no way to live, and I know my daughter. She would’ve hated that.”
“You still ran from your responsibilities,” I pointed out. He was filth, abandoning his daughter and forcing her to live in an empty home. After wandering for so long, I found Master Iko. I can’t imagine if I hadn’t. I just can’t…
“I ran, I know. I’ll admit it. But I was younger then and so afraid. In hindsight there was more I could’ve done, especially for Polly, her mother. But since I vanished, I’ve spent every waking moment trying to make the world safer. Brightstar hasn’t been active since recently. As I recall, up until a few days ago I hadn’t heard mention of her whereabouts in years.”
“This isn’t about Brightstar,” Cassie said with disappointment. “Trina hurt so much because of you. Because of that day, I watched her run into a burning library out of sheer terror. I watched her hurt and I was there whenever she cried. You’re such a lousy father.”
“It has everything to do with Brightstar. Brightstar is using Trina to get to me. Because of that faerie, I’ve lost everything…Yeah, maybe you’re right. Maybe I am a lousy father. But I’d like to change. And I can’t until Brightstar is defeated. Then I might be able to mend what was lost.”
“No, you ruined everything,” I said bluntly. “What’s done is done. Unless you can turn back time, you can’t fix a thing, but you can tell her the truth yourself.”
“I will,” Rorren said, determination brimming in his hazel eyes, as well as fear, “but I need your help. All of you. I implore you…Trina is all I have left. There’s no place too far, to treacherous to go. I’ll take a spaceship to the farthest corner of the universe and back to bring her home.”
“Of course we’ll help you!” I said. “Trina’s our friend. I—we—failed her. There’s no way we’re leaving without her.”
“But Brightstar—this is a game changer. She’s dangerous.”
“So we catch her in the act and tell Fyora,” Pat said confidently.
“Except we haven’t been able to, after all these years,” Rorren replied. “We suspect she can manipulate memories, which would explain why so few of us have ever remembered encountering her.”
I grimaced. “Memory manipulation—that’s dark magic! But how is a light faerie capable of such an evil power?”
“What I wouldn’t give for the answer to that question,” Rorren said. “That’s not even the worst of her powers. Brightstar has discovered a way to create gold. Magic or not, when you have gold, you have power. Even we can’t compete with that.”
Not even Master Iko could create gold. That was alchemy stuff, and even they were unsuccessful. This faerie was giving me a headache, questioning everything I learned. I thought I knew a fraction of Master Iko’s teachings, but now, I’ve barely scratched the surface. Magic here was vastly different and potentially a lot more dangerous. The last thing I wanted to see was the islands’ dark history repeat itself here.
“I think it’s time you learned of the Star Prophecy,” Rorren said.* * * * *
I awoke to find myself trapped in a cell. Bars on all four sides, I lay across a cold stone floor. Beyond the bars was a white door, and beyond that who knows. My parka and knapsack were gone, and I slowly came to the realization that my wand had been taken from me, too. The dust was assaulting my sinuses but I didn’t dare to move. Had I deserved this? Apparently, Brightstar thought so. Now I see why people reject her quests.
Horrified, I remembered the memory best left forgotten, my all-time low. The cold floors, the dim lights, the mold, locking me away from the world, but not shielded away from the cruel words that slipped through the bars. The windowless room in the Pound where I had been abandoned, only to be trapped there for the longest, most solitary months of my life. History was now repeating itself, the same pain wrangling me yet again, the same tears dropping to the empty floor.
No, it was not the same—it was worse than that.
“Trin!” snapped a familiar voice from the adjacent cell. Evrilin’s hair was in shambles, overgrown beyond ear-length, clumps standing upright or ruffled in every direction, and dirt was smeared across his cheekbones and the stubble on his chin. His eyes, however, burned red with more rage than ever before.
“Evrilin? But why?” I threw my arms to my head and noticed they were heavy, shackled to the floor. “What’s going on here?”
“That crazy faerie’s got a problem with you, and she isn’t the only one,” he said darkly from the shadow in the cell. “My revenge was interrupted, but now we can resume.”
For once I was glad that I was trapped inside of a metal box. Though as seconds past without his rage echoing the dungeon, I knew the maniac couldn’t get out, either.
I scooted over to the far end of the cramped space and squeezed my head through the bars as much as it would allow. “I’m not afraid of you,” I said to his stupid face.
“You will be,” he said apathetically. “I’ll make sure of it.”
“That’s how you plan to scare me, huh? Threats? And why do you need a reason to scare me, anyway? You’re stuck there and so am I. I’m totally defenseless.”
“Don’t try to be some smart-aleck.”
I ignored him. “I might be able to let you out of here—what do you know what I know? We’re in Faerieland. Your sort of dark magic doesn’t work here, I see, but ‘good’ magic?
“Hiding behind words. How weak.”
For the second time, I was struck by darkness. The sleeping powder must have side effects. One blink and everything was on fire. Bright orange flames reached beyond my height, and I could no longer see myself. Yet I knew I was here, as I felt the heat of the blaze all around me. Fire burning throughout my whole body, steam swelling inside me and ready to burst. Fire, fire, fire, continuing to burn, itching consuming everything in its wake, but there is nothing here, nothing left to take.
Suddenly, the heat dissipated and my spirit was in a cluttered room. It was too burry to see exactly what was hanging on the walls, but it reeked of grog. In the center, lounging in a green throne that was covered in pirate swords, was the unmistakable petite figure of Mevin the pirate Yurble, Mevolin’s former secondhand. His face was concealed by a feathery pirate’s hat. Looking at him, all I could feel was raw anger.
“We need to talk.” I heard Evrilin snarl, though I failed to spot him.
“You talk on my terms. Show some respect for your captain.”
Evrilin’s hands yanked the Yurble close to him. “I came to say it and I’ll only say it once. Understand? Now hear me out.”
He released him. “What’s taken you so long to promote me to secondhand?”
“You, promotion?” the Yurble laughed. The anger was rising.
“After the battle I was supposed to become your secondhand.”
Mevin gestured to the wall-mirror behind him. “Do I look like Mevolin to you?”
“I was promised a position. Don’t pretend like you don’t know.”
“Aww, poor you. You didn’t get the memo. With all this roundin’ up going on by the Arugahians things got out of hand, ranks are constantly being reshuffled. We need our strongest on the top if we’re to keep bestin’ them. And I’m afraid you didn’t make the cut.”
“Do I have to run through the list? I’ve been the Gunner for 8 years, I have hundreds of weapons at my disposal, I specialize—”
“None of that!” Mevin ordered. “We can’t overlook your mistakes! Your idiocy cost us everything, Evrilin!”
“I’ve given so much to the crew over eight years to be squandered by one measly mistake!”
“It was more than one! Might I remind you that you were the one who went out and saved the girl that led to our downfall? We all saw you dive into the ocean that day, in your moment of weakness. Wanted to be the hero, didn’t you?”
“That’s a lie!”
“Then why’d you do it?”
“Because you were wrong! You all were wrong! The Shoyru wasn’t the prophesized one—you wouldn’t listen to me!”
“Well it’s all history now. And I need to look to our future. As Captain I need to do what’s best for the crew, a crew without you.”
“No…” he gasped.
“To answer your question: yes, there is, in fact, a position for you, and I’m afraid you been demoted.”
“You…You can’t do this! I’ll fight you! The captain’s seat is mine!”
He unsheathed his cutlass but Mevin didn’t flinch, remaining in his throne with a smug grin. After ringing a bell two Skeith bodyguards rushed at the Mynci, disarming him immediately. Yet the Mynci still tried to break free, even as they dragged him out of the door.
“Let me go—I’ll take you all on, you hear! Hand’s off! I’m the rightful pirate captain! I’ll prove it!”
“Evrilin Shinski, I, Captain of the Dark Depths and head of the pirates, hereby banish you from these islands for treason!” he declared with a booming voice and a smirk. “If you show up again, the Arugahians will know where you are, and I don’t doubt pirates will to try to collect the bounty on your capture. I suggest you find a new hobby—and a new name. So long, gunner boy!”
The scene was consumed in fire, until a new landscape took shape: a bright and sunny Neopia central scene. Upon a closer look, she recognized it as the shrub-lined path leading directly to her home.
“Who do you think you are?” Evrilin said as a light Faerie appeared in his path.
“On my way to visit an old friend,” she smiled at him. “Say, is this the residence of Trinandra Willicks?”
Evrilin, who was feeling threatened that he was sighted, unsheathed his sword again. He wasted no time cutting the air, spewing magic at the Faerie. She was caught off guard, but it is hard to believe, as she broke his volley with a snap of her fingers. An explosion of light occurred, and then it all fades to black.
I awoke with a severe headache. Somehow, I entered Evrilin’s memories. As he looked at me with a raised eyebrow, I doubt he was aware that I had just witnessed his inner turmoil. I didn’t know what to make of it, but I was sure that I couldn’t trust him.
So I slouched over, facing the opposite wall, and kept quiet.
At some point a Yellow Skeith walked in and shuffled down the aisle. They paced the dungeon once before stopping at my cell. We never exchanged any eye contact. Something gold clinked to the floor, like a coin, and it rolled within an arm’s length in front of me. Just to be safe, I waited for the door to lock behind them before snatching it. It was a golden key. I didn’t think it was large enough to fit the keyhole in the chains, but it turned perfectly. The shackles at my wrist fell clean off. The cell door unlocked just as easily.
“How’d you do that?” Evrilin asked, eyes wide.
“With this!” I waved the key between his eyes.
I lingered in front of him, unsure of what to do next. It was too dangerous to set him free, but I couldn’t help but pity him.
“I don’t need you!” I snickered. “You’re right where you deserve.”
“If you didn’t need me, you would’ve already left,” he smirked. “But I might know where you might find that toy wand of yours. You see, you were wrong about this Faerieland magic. Dark magic can indeed sense the presence of its kind nearby. I can feel it now…”
He read right through me. Most of all, I needed my wand, and I couldn’t imagine leaving without it. It was a part of my soul. Evrilin, too, was breaking in his powerless state. He would do anything to find his weapon.
All I have to do is find mine first.
So I proceeded to free him, making sure I kept a fair distance away from him. In any case, he was still thirsting for revenge.
We travelled down several corridors which seemed endless. The walls were bare save the occasional lantern and portrait of light faeries. Not a word was exchanged between us. When I managed to slip in front of him, he would return to the lead.
“Where exactly are you going?” I whispered finally. “We already past that painting like ten times.”
“I sense something here,” he growled, irritated. “Magic.”
“Of course! We’re in Faerieland! Magic’s everywhere here!”
I could see him twitching as he struggled to contain himself. He kept on going forward and after several minutes, the painting passed by us again.
“There it is again! That painting! You’re going the wrong—”
“She must have multiples, idiot!” he yelled.
“Quiet or she’s gonna notice we’re missing!” I hissed.
I wiped some dirt from my cheek and smeared an “X” next to the painting.
Minutes later, the same “X” appeared.
“That’s impossible!” I gasped, hand over my mouth. “We never changed directions, yet we’re back here again!”
Evrilin looked at me with disbelief, until I pointed out the X.
As swiftly as I could, I ran the other direction and sure enough, the painting with the “X” appeared a few minutes later. To verify my theory, I ran back to where Evrilin last was and “X” appeared there, too, just as before. The corridor was caught in an endless loop.
“We’re trapped,” I panted. “We’re caught in an infinite loop.”
“Magic,” he spat. “I knew it.” He slumped to the floor, exhausted from all of this walking.
I jiggled the nearest doorknob. It was locked, but the gold key worked wonders on it. To my disdain, the room was completely empty. And so were the neighboring ones.
I returned to the corridor to find Evrilin delivering a kick into the wall. The plywood gave way and left a bowling ball-sized hole, where we could see the same empty room on the other side.
“This is hopeless!” he shouted. “There’s no way out. Just sitting ducks.”
“I think we need a little magic right about now…” I mused.
“Yeah well you’re out of luck,” he sighed.
I had an idea. Perhaps something that was once magical, or was around magic, could help in some way? It was impossible for me to use magic without my wand, but I once thought it was impossible to control tornadoes.
A grey bandana was snug around his neck, with an all-over print of a Draik skeleton and two swords, the Dark Depth’s insignia, the perfect candidate.
“That Bandana. Give it to me?” I said, hopeful. Evrilin was from a land rich in magic. For all I knew, his clothes could be infused with those magic particles Master Iko had once told me about.
“It may help us. There could be some magical residue on it. I might be able to make something of it.”
“Hands off,” he said as I was reaching for it.
“What else do you suppose we do? Now hand it over!”
“The bandana’s for pirates, only.” He said, annoyed.
“Well you’re not a pirate anymore!”
He leapt toward me. “Who told you that?”
“Well I—you see—“
“Who told you?” he said in the coldest voice I heard all day. His gaze was fixed on me.
“M-Mevolin,” I managed to say. “He sounded like he was going to fire you.”
“You’re a bad liar.”
“Look, whatever happened then is history for now. Brightstar will find us if you keep stalling! Just hand it over already!”
Arms crossed, he shot me a stubborn glare. “Not a chance.”
Finally, after several minutes of silence, he tossed me the sweaty banana. I folded it in my lap, closed my eyes, and waited for power to flow over me, but nothing happened. I tried twiddling my fingers and clapping, but to no avail.
Evrilin yanked it from under me. “Useless…”
On the floor, he closed his eyes with the bandana wrapped around his fingers, except this time the lanterns flickered.
“It’s working! Think! Why would these rooms be hexed in the first place?”
“A trap, probably,” he said with his eyes still shut. “No one waltzes into a dungeon and drops a key. Unless…Unless these rooms are not to keep us in, but to keep us out…”
“It’s hiding something,” I finished.
Suddenly, the cream-colored walls and everything around them were fading away, revealing a metal warehouse. Stacks of unmarked brown boxes were piled everywhere in neat rows or stuffed onto shelves. Most striking of all, which made me shiver in excitement, was the glass domes displayed in rows. Wands, daggers, orbs, and all kinds of artifacts lay on tiny velvet pillows.
“It’s a collection!” I said in awe as I gaped at the artifacts, pressing my nose against the cold glass. It was the Snowager’s cavern all over again.
“No, it’s an arsenal,” he corrected, his head bobbing frantically.
“Is this the Hidden Tower?” I gasped. “Funny. I expected it to be a bit more elegant.”
But if I was correct, why was this place deserted? I realized my misjudgment when I happened upon another domed display case, shoved off into the corner and under a tablecloth. So undisturbed, I couldn’t help but have a peek inside. I pulled back the tarp, and small, black shards were scattered about, all surrounding the green Cobrall head in the center.
There was no mistake about it. It was the same staff that I had taken from Malkus Vile from the Lost Desert many seasons ago.
I had witnessed Brightstar blast it to smithereens, yet here it was, its tongue in my face as if to taunt me. Desperately, I hoped this was merely a damaged fake, but my gut feeling warned me otherwise. I flipped the tarp right over it.
“What was that?” he asked quickly.
“Oh, just some creepy skull-thing. No, don’t!”
He looked at me with disbelief and yanked the tarp with one motion of his arm.
“Cobrall’s freak me out!” I cried in one breath while attempting to shield my eyes.
He gave the dismantled Staff a hard look before rolling his eyes and moving away. I let out a sigh of relief.
Even if this warehouse was the back storage of the Hidden Tower, our presence would soon be known. Although this place was a mess, the warehouse had some logic too it. Each type of weapon was grouped together. I was sure that my wand would be here somewhere. Minutes later, I stumbled upon a row of empty display cases, empty except for a blue wand. My wand.
In the next moment, green fire exploded all around me. I recognized the flames as Evrilin’s dark magic. He had found his sword.
I bat my fists against the glass but it refused to budge. Kicking it was useless, too. I ran over to a shelf, skipping over bundles of flames, and grabbed random wands, the heaviest ones in the boxes. I thrust them against the dome but only the sound of my anguish ricochet the glass.
I looked up in horror at the figure approaching me, a silhouette against a wall of green flames.
“This isn’t a fair fight,” I complained, heart pounding as I backed away.
He only smiled as he raised his sword.
To be continued…