Sebastian's Spirits: Part Three
Ava squealed with delight while the other three remained poised. "This is splendid! We should go on an adventure right now!"
"Ava, sweetheart..." Viktoria placed a delicate hoof on her friend's shoulder as Fredrick's eyes flickered. He knew the Ixi was putting on the "friendly" act to get Ava to follow her suggestions and to furthermore keep quiet. It worked all the other dozens and dozens of times for her. "Sebastian's just taken this all in. I bet he's tired."
"Oh, come on, Viktoria! At the very least we should let him know what he's got himself into." Jerome nudged the gypsy Ixi, who scowled and knocked his wing away.
"Let's take him to Meridell!" Ava beamed.
"You could never guess that Ava is from Meridell." Jerome rolled his eyes, noting Ava's pink and white checkered milkmaid outfit complete with puffy frills that she happily wore at all times.
Fredrick groaned. He had been trapped with these three for decades, with Roger being the only source of fresh air. "Come now, why don't we ask Sebastian what he wants to do instead of jumping to conclusions like imbeciles?"
All eyes were on Sebastian, who frantically shook his head. "It doesn't matter to me! Maybe we could try somewhere that's not filled with danger?"
"Faerieland, perhaps? Is that serene meadow of joy non-threatening enough for you?" Viktoria scoffed. "I always admired Roger for choosing to go to Faerieland the least. He really saved me the trouble of wanting to stick it to those airheaded faeries."
The Lupe stepped back, and under his breath muttered, "I'm guessing you don't care for faeries."
"Let's go to Neovia, perchance? Check out the Neovian Printing Press?" Fredrick asked slyly, contradicting himself earlier when stating that it was up to Sebastian to decide where to go. But instead of backing up his suggestion, he was cut off by Viktoria before any further comment could be made.
"If we go back to your home, then we should go to mine as well."
"No one wants to go to that blasted gypsy camp of yours!" Fredrick retorted, making it painfully obvious that he had some strong feelings towards gypsies.
"Oh, come now, if you pompous Neovian lunatics just accepted us, we wouldn't be arguing after all this time," Viktoria purred, taunting the Neovian by twirling her hooves as if she was dancing around a campfire like she had been doing ever since she was young.
"I don't know how I've managed to tolerate you after all these years!" Fredrick roared.
"Friends, you're forgetting someone," Roger interrupted. His voice was solemn, and Sebastian knew how serious the situation was when the group froze, nodding sternly and facing Sebastian.
"You recall when we were talking about preventing the box from falling into the wrong hands? There's one person whom you must specifically watch out for." Viktoria glowered.
Sebastian's pulse began to race. A moment passed with no words murmured.
"There's no need to speak of him!" Jerome protested out of the blue. "Really... he hasn't been around in a while. It's all fine."
"Why yes, that's correct," Ava reminded Viktoria gently. "Forget it. There's absolutely nothing to worry about."
"Ava..." Roger muttered, looking at Fredrick for support. But he said nothing, rather letting his gaze fall to the floor.
"Come now, let's forget what was said and leave." Fredrick was desperate to avert the subject. "Where do you want to go, Sebastian?"
"But who do I have to-"
"Sebastian." His throat tightened, and the words formed into a menacing hiss. "Where do you want to go?"
Sebastian swallowed his remaining inquiries that began to build up as a lump in his throat. At this point, any answer he gave as to wear to travel would be disapproved. So he spoke the first thing that popped into his mind. "Faerieland?"
"Of all places," Viktoria groaned. "Well then, let's be on our way. Ready, everyone?"
"Not in the slightest," Fredrick murmured as the four spirits circled Sebastian, their arms pressed to their sides. A beam of light shot up from under Sebastian and grew to encompass him. "Faerieland it is. Sebastian, hold onto the box and keep it closed. Don't let go."
"Viktoria, you have to tell him!" Roger cried out, unable to stand up from his chair without falling back down due to his quivering knees. "It's for his own safety!"
"Tell me what? Grandfather! Make them stop!" Sebastian pleaded, but his eyes were blinded by the light. He raised his paw to block out some of the light, but grew tense as the image of his grandfather faded.
The carriage wheels groaned to a halt as the driver snapped the reigns, signaling for the two Unis to stop in their tracks. Once they complied, the driver, who was wrapped in a tattered blanket to shield him from the cold night, slid off the seat and made his way to the carriage door. Being deep in the unexplored Neovian forest would scare many, but not the Zafara, who was only worried about the frigid cold freezing his old bones. Opening the carriage door, he waited for the two residing passengers to step out.
The Darigan Eyrie that got out first met the driver with a stern gaze. "The ride was dreadful. You drove over ever single bump. My darling Carolyn even briefly complained of her head hurting."
"My apologies, Sir." The Zafara bowed, noting that the Xweetok was stepping out of the carriage. He raised a paw to help her keep her balance, but the Eyrie edged him out of the way and reached for her instead, helping the stunningly gorgeous Xweetok out and onto the ground.
"Carolyn, my dear, are you feeling all right?" Vandor asked worriedly, wrapping his wing around her shoulders.
"A bit better than before, yes," she confessed, brushing her bountiful curly hair streaked with violet and a bit of grey out of her long black lashes. "I'll be fine for now, Vandor, I assure you."
Vandor smiled, and the driver cringed at the sight. If there was one thing in all of Neopia that could bring the tyrannical, temperamental, malicious Vandor to his knees, it was his beautiful bride Carolyn. "If you are well, then so am I. Let's go inside, shall we?"
He took her hand, and the two traveled up the stone path that led to the front door of their giant estate, while the white Zafara watched in suppressed anger. When the couple had disappeared inside of the grand estate, he straightened his stance made his way to the front of the carriage where two Unis were harnessed.
"You two really couldn't avoid the bumps? You just had to go right over them? Vandor was breathing down my neck because of your idiotic actions!"
"Our apologizes," the Unis replied in harmony.
Not in the mood to scold, Nikoli wearily climbed back up on the seat and gripped the reigns. The Unis were new to the job, unlike him. "Shall we move on?"
As the carriage groaned and began to move forward, Nikoli heard the faint voices of the Unis in the front.
"What kind of a father would want his daughter to marry Vandor?" one of them fathomed, assuming Nikoli was unable to hear their conversation.
"A father that doesn't want to face Vandor's wrath just because he disapproves, that's who," the other suggested. "You know what Vandor is capable of, and it's not mercy."
"Love really does come in all shapes and sizes."
"In this case, between the whimsical and the wicked."
"That's enough!" Nikoli angrily snapped the reigns. "I want silence from the both of you!"
His eyelids felt weighed down, as if opening them were a huge obstacle that he could not overcome. And his skull... had he been thrown headfirst into a brick wall?
"Roger always landed on his feet."
"Well this isn't exactly Roger, now is it?"
"Poor little guy! He just wanted to go on an adventure, and now he'll probably be dizzy for weeks."
There was a pause. "You know, we really shouldn't have rushed this."
"Preposterous," a voice that belonged to Fredrick snapped. "In the future, unexpected events will pop up every day. He must become accustomed to this."
"Can someone help me up?" Sebastian moaned, his vision becoming clear enough to point out the four spirits that were staring down at him.
"Sorry buddy, we're as thick as air, remember? No help for you!" Jerome chuckled, and Ava gave him a disapproving look.
Sebastian groggily stood up, rubbing his eyes and taking in his surroundings. They had clearly landed on the outskirts of Faerieland, for in the far-off distance the Lupe could see the pinnacles of the towers in Faerie City. But positioned in their way was a spawning green meadow covered with dew, and the parallel light blue sky casting a hazy glow around the group.
"The box," Fredrick warned, noting the mahogany box that was tipped over next to Sebastian's feet. "It cannot be left in such a condition."
Sebastian picked the box up and wiped off the tiny specks of dew that stuck to the top. "I have to carry this around with me all the time?" he sighed in disbelief.
"You grow accustomed to it," Ava insisted. "Roger always put it in a backpack. He was so clever!"
"You wouldn't want anyone to open it, would you?" Viktoria mused. "So next time just get a knapsack or something to keep it in. When you do, people won't become suspicious when they see a young Lupe tugging along a jewelry box."
"Excuse me, but won't they get a little suspicious when they notice four translucent Neopians walking behind me?" Sebastian retorted.
Jerome laughed as if Sebastian was missing an important detail. "You honestly think we'd show ourselves to the public eye?"
"Oh, let me guess... you can turn--" Sebastian rolled his eyes as the four completely vanished on cue. "--invisible."
"Of course," Viktoria said snidely, her voice directly in Sebastian's left ear even though she was nowhere to be seen. "It's either that or we just go back inside the box until you summon us once again."
As if on command, the four spirits became visible once more.
"I swear I'll keep the box out of harm's way," Sebastian promised once he could see the individuals he was dealing with. "But just out of curiosity... what happens if the box is destroyed?"
Jerome shuddered. "We don't know for certain... but it was always thought that we would just disappear into nothingness."
"Not that there's anything wrong with that," announced Fredrick. "I willingly accept disappearing forever over living this treacherous life."
"He's such a charmer!" Ava smiled nervously. "Well now, let's begin!"
To be continued...