Spiral: Part Five
Part 5: The Faerie Council
I n a dimly lit space, surrounded by branches and overlapping leaves, a throne sat high before a desk. The desk’s top was square in shape, but its sides elongated down into rectangles. Arching out near the base of the rectangular prism, from each side, were the top of barricades. The barricades curved out so that they seemed to form a narrow horseshoe. Behind the barricades rose seating that resembled that of ancient colosseums. On one side sat Ilere, Nuria and three dark faeries, whilst on the other, Nereid, Psellia and Siyana were seated. Whispers flitted around the space. On the throne, Fyora slammed down a magical gavel thrice. The whispers stopped.
"As many of you have heard, recent attacks on Neopians have involved that of a long haired, sharp fanged, pointy clawed Usul."
"Do we know of this Usul’s name?" Ilere boomed, sitting back, hood up, arms folded.
The faerie queen waited a moment before parting her lips
The whispering began again. This time it rose up louder than before.
"Not Bathori…Who’s Bathori?"
"Aren’t they Count Blumaroo’s friend?"
"Count Blumaroo has no friends."
"Bathori…is that a boy’s name or a girl’s name?"
Three strikes of the gavel.
"As I understand it, we’ve also come under attack." Fyora’s voice rang out.
"That…thing…ambushed one of our own. Clipped her wings and used it as theirs. They turned her into a grey faerie." One of the dark faeries revealed
"Of course, we cast he aside after that, threw her out, for what use is a faerie without any magic. But still. No one steals from a dark faerie." a second dark faerie voiced. Baelia, who had been seated a small ways away from Fyora, scribbling down every word with a quill on parchment, winced at this remark. Suddenly, the third dark faerie piped up
"Yeah! We’re the ones who do the stea-." the other dark faeries covered her mouth
"Ugh, why couldn’t that Usul have taken this one’s wings instead." one of them complained
"So then that would explain Bathori’s appearance in the Haunted Woods." Ilere mentioned
"You came across it?" the third dark faerie queried, seemingly asking for confirmation ."How did you fare?"
"Quite well, considering…." Ilere’s glowing eyes shifted towards Fyora
"Ah yes, the young friends." Fyora thought of all Bathori’s successful attacks ."Hmm perhaps…."
"Don’t doubt them. They did quite well against the Nightsteed." Nuria defended
"Their first encounter with Bathori was also spectacular, quite remarkable." Ilere added
"If they’re so great, why did we lose one of our own.." the first dark faerie rebutted
"Maybe because your carelessness and arrogance proceeds you. They managed to take on and defeat The Drenched, rescuing me in the process, even at a disadvantage." Nereid countered
"Hmph, you get netted by The Drenched then call us careless." the second dark faerie grumbled
"I object to the term ‘netted’ it’s an offensive term not only to water faeries, but to all faerie kind." Psellia objected
"Baelia, please kindly strike ‘netted’ from the records." Fyora stated
"OK, I got ambushed, but it wasn’t due to carelessness, I took every precaution. There was no heavy rain or wind. They’ve never shown up on that path before. They must’ve been clued in somehow." Nereid justified
"I heard they lost to Bathori on their second encounter." the first dark faerie stirred
"That was on Terror Mountain, I saw that battle, it was before they battled The Drenched. They proved themselves competent, no, beyond competent with their actions following that." Nereid opposed
"They took on the Slug Creature and won." Siyana vouched
"The one from the Bubbling Pit in the Maraquan ruins? Wow, that is impressive." Psellia praised
"Mmmm." the third dark faerie agreed
"Who’s side are you on?" the second dark faerie scowled
"That feat, their triumphs, when they washed up on the shores of Altador I just had shower them with my blessing." Siyana mentioned
"You blessed them? So did I." Nereid stated
"Then, you must’ve sensed mine as well." Ilere said
"Hmm, out of interest, how many here have granted them blessings." Fyora asked raising her hand. Nuria, Ilere, Psellia, Nereid and Siyana raised their hands.
"That’s six. That may just be enough to defeat Bathori, even with the help of the artefact." Fyora said, elated.
"Let me get this straight. Six of the most powerful faeries from almost every element has sprinkled them with sparkles and they still haven’t defeated Androgynous Fangy Claws? Pah!" the first dark faerie scoffed.
Fyora sat, a patient smile slowly spreading across her face. Her lips parted
"The gifts aren’t active yet."
Night had fallen on Altador. On the harbour was a magnificent sea-faring vessel. For the most of four days, the four friends had been constructing a ship, preparing to sail afloat on the vast open sea. Tracking the Usul’s whereabouts, with each day that passed they knew that the Usul would only be getting stronger, would only be getting closer to completing what it had set out to do.
Throwing the last of their belongings onto the ship, the four friends prepared to board
"There hasn’t been any news of an attack for a whole day, which means the Usul’ll probably strike tomorrow." Charmifire hypothesised
"How do you figure that?" Blaz asked
"Two attacks in four days, six coils, the first three jewels occupied the first three, two attacks brings the Usul to five." Charmifire explained pulling a rope
"Do we know what traits they’ve stolen this time? Who they’ve attacked?" Frostrym asked
"A Professor and a Weight-lifter." Charmifire recalled
"Ah so wisdom and strength." Blaz figured ."Do we have any clue of the Usul’s current location?"
"They were spotted near Mystery Island and Shenkuu." Cree mentioned
"Hmm, what do those two locations have in common?" Frostrym wondered aloud
"We can figure that out on the way." Charmifire stated
"Should we still make stopovers at Maraqua and Terror Mountain." Blaz asked
"You don’t have to."
The unfamiliar voice caused all four friends to freeze.
"Who’s there? Show yourself." Blaz commanded. Part of the night sky began to move. Like a curtain billowing in the wind, a cloak drifted on the night’s air around a figure.
"My name is Selene." the figure stated. Drawing back her hood, the figure had eyes like stars.
"A dark faerie." Blaz said, apprehensively
"Please, I’m not like the others, I’ve come to help." Selene persuaded ."You needn’t board this ship. The Usul is midway between Altador and Shenkuu." Selene mentioned. Charmifire stared her straight in the eyes.
"Can we trust you?"
"I have no reason to lie. I’ve never really been all that great with being duplicitous, deceptive, in fact, in a council meeting, I almost revealed a dark faerie’s penchant for stea- oops." the dark faerie stopped herself ."It’s like I’m hardwired to do good." the faerie admitted ."Which never really turns out great for dark faeries."
"But what about Delina?" Frostrym pointed out
"Good point. But with those prices for the things she asks for in order to craft, I wouldn’t be surprised if deep down she’s a dark faerie through and through."
"Well, the mischief is certainly present." Cree and Selene laughed together
."Oh, I haven’t got long, I hope this helps."
Eyes glowing, cloak resembling the night sky on a moonless night, the faerie stretched out her arms, palms open. The four friends were bathed in a moonlight glow.
"Tell me, what was it that you discovered after your defeat on Terror Mountain?" Selene asked
"We were certainly humbled, a little too much, but other than that, we became more determined. That guilt. We wanted to make sure we would somehow make amends for putting that village in danger." Blaz answered
"So that experience helped you to grow." Selene confirmed ."And in your adventures surrounding Maraqua, what did you learn?"
"We learned that everyone makes mistakes, that you shouldn’t let your past faults be your present, that you can learn from your mistakes, move forward as a better being, find the balance between modesty and confidence." Cree said
"Hey! I get it now. The help that Ilere was referring to on Terror Mountain, and the thing Nereid said we needed to find in Maraqua, we’ve already accomplished that. We really don’t need to go back to either place." Frostrym deduced ."It’s such a waste of a ship though."
"I’m sure it’ll be put to good use. Perhaps to continue a mysterious voyage." Selene suggested ."Your responses. I feel as though you’ve unlocked something deep within. The gift that I bestowed was to make that, which had stayed dormant, active, but it was up to you to make sure that that which was hidden would come to light. You’ve done well. I wish you all the best in your last fight against the Usul, against Bathori. I must now bid you farewell, my new friends." taking her leave, Selene disappeared back into the night sky. Unloading their belongings and dismounting the ship, the four friends headed for the space between Shenkuu and Altador
A masked ninja cowered under the clawed grip of a long haired, sharp fanged Usul
"Did you really think you could escape me?" the Usul now had a yellow, light-orange and white jewel on their brace, Bathori began to gloat
"Finally. I have all six! And no one to stop me from taking over ALL of Neopia!"
To be continued…