Nothing is As it Seems: Part Five
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
"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
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.
"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
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
"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...