Meow Circulation: 120,207,245 Issue: 243 | 9th day of Relaxing, Y8
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Nothing is As it Seems: Part Five

by estantia


Illusen's red-rimmed eyes met Rance's. "The cloth around this place cancels out all earth magic. I can't call, I can't fly, I can't do anything. Please, I'm sorry I didn't listen, but I had a duty, I'm sorry..." Her voice gave out and she lowered her arms, looking at her feet, then seemed shocked as she saw the stone table moving away from her feet, then up again as Lisha guided the faerie gently to their ledge.

     "Thank you," she rasped quietly as they started moving towards the exit of the tunnel before falling silent. The pets looked deadly serious as they carefully moved the shield of fire away from the entrance and got outside before Lisha let it stand against the entrance, not quite closed. Illusen started motioning towards it before she saw the pets tugging her towards a chest, which they all managed to fit inside. "How did you know we'd fit?"

     "Tested it earlier when we made the plan in the first place, now hush."

     Soon there was a scream that could split stone and a frantic flapping of wings. The faerie felt a flipper on her arm and the Tuskaninny shook his head. This time she followed his advice and remained still.

     "How did she get out?" came the far-off voice before they heard someone come out of the tunnel and start to pace the room outside. "She can't have used her magic; I made sure of that, especially with all the wards of the cloth. There must have been something I missed, there must have been. How did she move the fire? She hates fire! She must have had help, that's the only explanation!"

     Illusen's eyes shot wide at this and she stared at the pets, who simply grinned back at her. The faerie tried to relax again and continued to listen. "They must have been magical to get this far; there's no explanation. Who could have touched fire with bare hands?" It was unnerving to hear her go along the right path and Pete hoped that he'd judged her personality right.

     "Fire, it must have been a fire faerie!" The pacing stopped before a wail. "They've found it out! Oh no, I need to get out of here, quickly, while I still have time! I will not be caught. If I can get beyond Fyora's reach in time, I can still live this out as she'll be occupied with the growing war, yes! Now, it shouldn't take long, I've practised this..."

     Footsteps hurried out of the room and the pets relaxed suddenly. "We did it, we actually did it..." Rance murmured, barely believing it. "Thank Fyora you worked out how paranoid they were, Pete."

     "It helped, but we need to get out before we relax," chided Lisha, still waiting. They heard something slam and a proper silence fell over the house, one without things moving able to be heard in the distance.

     The four got out of the chest and looked around properly, making their way out of the room quietly towards the entrance they'd come down. "Can't be the exit, no faerie could fly up there... "

     "Then there's another way." Lisha sounded determined, "Wait, Illusen, you're an earth faerie, can you sense a way out? There must be some kind of exit."

     Illusen looked upwards, seeming to focus on the ceiling for a few moments. "I think we need to go this way," she said eventually, walking towards what had served as the faerie's kitchen. She stopped when there wasn't an exit passage in sight. "But I swear she went this way... "

     "Then maybe she did."

     "Do you think she'll miss some food if she's gone now?" Rance asked. The others stared at him incredulously. "What?"

     "There's a war going on out there and you're thinking about food?" Illusen asked.

     "He usually thinks about food," his brother supplied as Rance protested.

     "Well, it's been ages since we ate!"

     "He does have a point; anyone want some bread?" Lisha asked, pulling a basket into view. After the quick meal they were still clueless about an exit.

     "There has to be a way out in here. I felt her presence," Illusen protested as she looked around.

     Rance tilted his head on one side to think. "Well, what do we know about her way of thinking?"

     "She usually makes it so only she can get in easily, I assume she's done the same for the exit," Pete replied, wondering whether to have another tomato.

     "In which case she did it so she can fly; that's the sensible answer. Now, where could she fly?" Lisha stood and walked around the room, eventually coming to the hooded stove.

     "Why does she have a hooded cooker?" she asked.

     "That's simple, no-one wants to have smoke in their house. You can filter it out pretty easily through a tree," Illusen replied. "Dead end."

     "No, I think she's onto something..." Pete stood and went over himself to inspect it and looked up through the hood. "Illusen? Can you come over here for a minute?" The earth faerie nodded and complied, then got onto the cooker and stood.

     "You think she flies up here to get out?"

     "It's well disguised... Can you fly vertically, Rance?" The yellow Aisha looked at her friend, trying to work it out. The Lenny himself took the place of Illusen and tried.

     "Yup, you lot coming?"

     "Oi! Wait up!"

     "I can't stop now I've started!" came the voice that floated back down to them, "and I don't know how long I can keep this up!"

     "Just do as much as you can, we're coming!" There was a scramble as Illusen moved into the space and grabbed Pete's flipper, starting to fly upwards. As soon as the faerie touched his hand he felt something strange move through his body, a sense of spreading lightness as he practically floated, pulled along like a Tuskaninny balloon with Lisha levitating below him.


     When they emerged out of a hollow tree in the woods there was a pause as they all tried to get charcoal off themselves while staying airborne, which must have been entertaining for Lisha to watch as Illusen was lifting Pete. However the smile vanished as Illusen looked up, "What did you guys say happened while I was down there... ?"

     "Well we did say a war..." the Lenny replied as their eyes widened at the scene above them, "I never imagined it would be as big as this...."

     "Especially not for one faerie..." Lisha said in partial awe.

     The sky was purple and white, the clouds themselves seeming to fight for supremacy even as the sky above them and below them clouded with dark specks that occasionally reflected the clouds currently above eerily. Even from their distance they could see the tell-tale flashes of magic and the screams of those injured. Pete's gaze caught on a fire faerie surrounded by Darigan pets and working furiously, fire streaming away from her as the sword she was wielding flashed around her hypnotically. Pete looked away as the Darigan pets swarmed the faerie, trying to blot out the scream.

     "Quickly, we've got to do something about this..." The earth faerie was aghast at the carnage. The four soared upwards, quickly choosing a clear space of sky to move through, though they didn't land on the solid clouds.

     However clear spaces never lasted long in a battle, suddenly they found themselves embroiled in the airborne battle, a faerie Kougra flying backwards into Lisha, who steadied her then had to hastily dive away as a series of buzzers shot towards them. Lisha was forced to drop, and drop again to avoid being hit, nearly coming into the reach of those pets on the sliding clouds.

     "Help! Help!" Lisha's wand flipped right and left as she landed, blasting the throng away from her in a desperate battle.

     Pete could do nothing but watch as he was towed higher. "Illusen! Lisha's caught down there!"

     "We can't go back!"

     "We can't leave her there!" Rance glanced downwards and gulped. Pete stared; he had never known his brother to do anything like what he thought was about to happen. Suddenly a soft voice same from the faerie.

     "Rance, you can't go back; it would be suicide. She can cope, she has to."

     Illusen flew them higher, above the chaos where the three hovered, staring downwards. Pete sighed in relief as he saw both Jeran and Darigan making their way towards the expanding flux of lights that signalled Lisha's location before wings blotted the sky. Pete whammed his tail into the face of a Buzz, causing it to flip over backwards and be borne away by a faerie Kacheek before it could retaliate.

     "How can we stop them?" Pete asked, half to himself. "They've gone nuts."

     "We show them Illusen's here, then we can explain what happened, right?" Rance was also shaken by the battle as his wings faltered in their hover. "I hate fighting..." he murmured, slowly starting to fly in circles round them to remain airborne.

     Illusen moved her hand and shouted something, though it was covered by the dim roar of battle. The hand movement made Rance slip and all but collide with her as she was saying the spell. She then opened her mouth and yelled a command to the pets around her, who slowed momentarily before turning back to the faerie to attack. The pets on the 'good' side then distracted them, protecting the well-liked faerie.

     The earth faerie bit her lip. "They can't hear me, my voice blends into the crowd too much."

     "Then it's going to go on and we can't stop it! They'll all kill each other and it will be over a stupid plot, stupid!" Rance was panicking now. Pete had been quiet since they reached their space, trying to think, and irritably looked up at his brother to snap at him when he saw the Lenny's panicked face.

     Suddenly the Tuskaninny's mind sparked, an idea lighting his eyes for an instant before he hid it. -Nothing is as it seems.-

     Pete's tail swung back, knocking him forward out of Illusen's hold as Rance's back was to him, feeling his true body weight returning to him as he hit his brother with a solid thump, biting the Lenny gently so he could flap his flippers over his ears.

     A shrill, high scream ripped over the battlefield, clearly audible over the din as neopets turned to look as two pets plummeted downwards with a piercing scream.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» Nothing is As it Seems: Part One
» Nothing is As it Seems: Part Two
» Nothing is As it Seems: Part Three
» Nothing is As it Seems: Part Four
» Nothing is As it Seems: Part Six

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