Enter the Snowflake's lair... Circulation: 197,607,338 Issue: 992 | 22nd day of Gathering, Y25
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The Primordial Saga: A Faerie's Woe

by rurirawr


"Got it!" Brynn charged at Illuma with her sword, but the Faerie blocked the strike with a sword she conjured out of hard light.

     "You see what a fraction of the ancient power can do? I've never felt so powerful!" the Light Faerie laughed cruelly.

     "I only see what it's doing to you!" Brynn exclaimed. "It's eating you! Can't you feel it?"

     "I can, and it's the best feeling I've ever had!" Illuma cried out in joy as she pushed Brynn back, her sword transforming into a shield which she used to deflect another attack before slamming the Kougra's side with it and sending her flying sideways. Brynn landed in a crumpled heap on the floor, dizzy and disoriented. The Faerie readied another strike, but stopped for a moment when she felt an invisible hand grabbing her shoulder from behind. Then she whirled her shield to her left, the light transforming into a gigantic hand that pinned Sophie against the wall, causing the Ixi's invisibility to fade. Illuma smirked. "Oh, you're one sneaky witch, aren't you?"

     The Ixi shot a disgusted look at the Faerie as she walked closer. The blinding white light had taken over Illuma's entire body save for her head. "You know, it's funny that you went to such great lengths to purge this world, but you won't even get to see it happen with your own eyes," Sophie finally said.

     That made the Faerie stop in her tracks. "What do you mean?"

     "You're just a vessel. Once the Primordial absorbs your magical essence and becomes free, maybe it'll destroy the world. Or maybe Fyora and the other Faeries will once again imprison it and everything will go back to normal." Sophie gave her a lopsided grin. "The sad part is, even after having everything go your way, you wouldn't be able to control the one outcome that actually matters because you allowed yourself to be consumed by a mindless force of nature."

     "If I were you, I'd worry more about yourself and think of how to avoid being disintegrated by a concentrated sphere of light very soon," Illuma responded coolly. "What does a puny witch like you know besides blabbering, anyway?"

     "Oh, I know enough," was all Sophie divulged.

     "Okay, whatever you say. I'll become the most—" the Faerie began, her voice turning ethereal as the last of her physical form faded into light energy, but the rest of her sentence was broken off as sparks of static started to discharge out of her. The intensity of the white light fluctuated, her whole form dimming and brightening sporadically. "What's going on?" She suddenly seemed to be struggling to maintain her newly acquired power.

     "Looks like you don't have enough magic to keep the Primordial in check," Sophie quipped.

     "No, that can't be!" Illuma's exclamation ricocheted off the walls, causing a loud echo. "I'm channelling all of my—YOU!" Her last word was filled with so much rage and hatred towards the Ixi when she realized belatedly what Sophie had done to her. "I can't lose after coming this far. I can't lose control!" Her thunderous screams boomed in the air as her form began to distort and shrink. Within a matter of seconds, a Meowclops was standing in place of a fearful monster, yowling fretfully. The artefact, which had fallen out of her grasp, landed with a clink on the floor.

     Brynn had just managed to stand up and was rubbing her temples, still trying to recover from the blow. "Is it over? What happened?"

     The witch was sullen as she grabbed the Meowclops by the scruff of her neck. She ignored Illuma's constant struggles to escape and examined the transdermal patch plastered on her back. "I warned you not to cause any trouble while you were in Neovia. D'you think it was a joke?"

     "No," Brynn replied. The Meowclops hissed angrily.

     "Well, Miss Sunshine here probably thought it was," Sophie said, scowling at the Petpet. "Too bad for you, because I was prepared for this. As long as the patch stays on you, you're not transforming back into a Faerie anytime soon."

     "What do you mean you were 'prepared for this'?" Brynn questioned, signing air quotes for the last three words. "You didn't believe us?"

     "If you two had come up with a more convincing lie, perhaps—"

     "What lie?"

     "Are you still trying to cover up for the Faerie?" the witch huffed in exasperation. "There was no swelling in her ankle. She was never injured in the first place." After seeing Brynn's astonished reaction, she shook her head in disbelief. "She may have fooled you, but I'm not that careless."

     "She tricked me…?" the Kougra trailed off, staring at the seething Meowclops. Her mind spun as she recalled the events and conversations that led up to this moment. Why would Illuma do that? Could it be that she lied in an attempt to prevent Brynn from bringing her to Faerieland because she despised Queen Fyora? Now that the Kougra thought about it, the Light Faerie had been exceptionally weak and slow for most of their journey. Was all of that deliberate too? Her eyes darted back to Sophie. "Then why did you brew her a potion? What was that for?"

     "It's just a general tonic for boosting one's vitality. Nothing special, really. Even you can take it now."

     "Oh," was all Brynn could say. An awkward silence ensued.

     "You're not very observant for a guard, are you?"

     Brynn pretended not to hear the Ixi's comment. "Anyway, what's on the patch you stuck on her?" She steered the conversation elsewhere to save herself from the embarrassment.

     "You can't figure that out too?" Sophie's tone was both incredulous and sarcastic.

     "Would it hurt for you to explain?" the Kougra retorted.

     The Ixi rolled her eyes with a sigh. "The patch contains the potion that transformed us into Petpets. I stuck it on Illuma's shoulder while you were playing sword fight with her."

     "Excuse me, I was fighting against her with all my might!"

     "That was the best you got? A little pathetic, but anyway," Sophie raised her voice a little to prevent the Kougra from refuting her again, "the point is, the Faerie can't manifest her Light magic in Petpet form, so she won't be able to summon the Primordial for now."

     "That's reassuring." Brynn let out a sigh of relief, but then caught her breath midway when another problem crossed her mind. "How do we bring her up though? We need to transform into Meowclopses again to get out of this place, don't we? We can't carry her easily, and it's not like she's going to follow us."

     While the Kougra was babbling away, Sophie had taken out a bottle from her drawstring pouch and uncorked it, aiming its neck at Illuma. A loud whoosh filled the air as a vortex materialized and sucked the Faerie in, trapping her in the bottle. "Problem solved."

     "Is that—"

     "One of Balthazar's bottles? Yes. Now, if you have no more questions, drink this," Sophie said impatiently, shoving a flask of the same black liquid that they'd taken earlier into Brynn's paw. She then picked up the artefact, stuffed it into the pouch and strapped the pouch to her hip.

     "Why not use the patch?" Brynn questioned. "It's essentially the same, isn't it?"

     "You think you're capable of removing it from your body while in Meowclops form?" Sophie asked back. "Last I remember, you were constantly tripping over your front two paws."

     "Right… Potion it is then, I guess," Brynn muttered. She hadn't liked the taste of the potion at all, so she pinched her nose before tipping the contents of the flask into her mouth.

     Once Sophie had done the same, they made their way up and out of the Catacombs, then went their separate ways after Sophie had hailed a carriage on the outskirts of Neovia for Brynn. Brynn would've liked to think that Sophie helped her out of kindness despite the Ixi insisting that she was only making sure both troublemakers would leave Neovia for good.

     "Surely, you wouldn't hand the pouch to me if you thought I was going to cause trouble," the Kougra teased as the carriage departed, earning a click of the tongue from Sophie. "Anyway, thank you for your help!" she called out, but the witch didn't reply. It didn't matter at all, since Brynn wasn't expecting her to, anyway.

     After tucking the pouch safely in her pocket, she took the opportunity to get some sleep in the carriage. She was exhausted from all the travelling and battling, not to mention she had an early shift tomorrow… or technically today since it was already the wee hours of the morning.

     When the carriage finally arrived at Faerieland, the first rays of the sun had peeked over the horizon. Brynn paid the Uni driver, then raced to the castle to report to Queen Fyora.

     The Faerie Queen's expression was sombre as she examined the disc and bottled Faerie. After a moment of silence, she finally spoke. "Although I understand her predicament, it's still quite disappointing to hear that Illuma ultimately chose to do what she did. I had high hopes for her."

     "It's probably ironic for a Light Faerie to have dark thoughts, but to be fair, she was held captive for so many years that she likely can't see any glimmer of light in her life anymore," Brynn said, but added quickly, "these are just my thoughts though, so I might be wrong." She hesitated for a bit, then plucked up the courage to ask what the Queen would do with Illuma after all this.

     Fyora sighed heavily. "Well, in any case, I need to separate the Light Primordial from her and reseal it into the disc first. And then hopefully after that, I'll be able to talk with her on a deeper level." She placed the bottle and disc back into the pouch. "You can take the rest of the day off, Captain Brynn. You've done an excellent job."

     The Kougra thanked the Queen, saluted and left for her quarters. She was glad that her mission was over, but something else was tugging at the back of her mind. She had no idea what was going on at Hanso's end, and she could only hope that everything went well for him too.

To be continued…

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