The Princess and the Crook:Part Three
We searched in every room of the ship without finding a single trace of any intruder. After hours of searches, we finally agreed to say that we were only being paranoiac and that this feeling of uneasiness was due to the fact that we hadn't slept for a while. Both tired, we just went to bed, trying to forget about the events of the day.
I was about to fall asleep when I heard a loud laugh in Hugo’s room. I tried to get up to see what was happening but Hugo entered my room at this exact moment:
« Guess what I found in my bed, Princess! » He was still laughing.
I looked at him with an interrogative look. A little shadow approached near Hugo’s leg, and I understood why he was laughing so hard.
« Oh my! What are you doing here little guy? »
« I think he was just too shy to show up! » Hugo said, grinning.
The little Carmariller he rescued earlier was standing next to him. All this time spent worrying for nothing! I started laughing too, realizing how stupid we were.
« So, what do I do with him? Should I give him to a Petpet shop? » The little guy looked frightened and began flying in my room, which had for only effect to make Hugo laugh harder. « Hey, hey! I’m just kidding, calm down! »
Relieved and tired, we returned to our bed, without any worries this time.
When I got up the next day, it was already 11.
« ‘Morning Princess! I’ve got good news for you! » said Hugo happily « Look at that! »
I grabbed a telescope and followed the direction of his paw. A kind of big pillar of wind was raising from the ocean to the sky.
« What is it? »
« You don’t remember? Faerieland used to be in the sky… We used to take this windy road to ascend there. Now look further, what do you see? »
The weather wasn’t this good, so it was hard to see anything… After a few seconds I saw what he was talking about.
« Oh! I see a pink tower! Is that Faerieland? »
Hugo was grinning. « What else could it be? »
« Stop being sarcastic and go back to the rudder! Faerieland, here we come! »
Something was wrong with Fearieland. We walked around the city, went near the castle, but we didn’t heard a sound. All the shops were closed, and not a single faerie was outside.
« Well… where do we go now? » asked Hunego.
« We are looking for water faerie tears right? »
« Yeah… »
« Then the best place to find them must be the healing springs »
No sooner said than done, we headed over Marina’s springs. It was a real mess. About fifty Neopets of various species and colors, petpets, and even faeries were there, badly injured, queuing at the water point. Three water faeries were helping Marina healing them, drops of sweat rolling from their forehead to the spring bellow. They looked really focused on their task, so much that nothing could disrupt them. We approached them and tried to talk to them.
« Hum hum! Excuse me? »
No answer. Hugo got closer to the faerie and put his paw on her shoulder.
« Excuse me? » He repeated.
« Oh my, I’m sorry! » The faerie was startled « What can I do for you? »
She spoke in a soft sleepy voice, she looked exhausted. It was such a sorrowful sight…
« We are sorry to interrupt, but what happened here? » I enquired.
« A crew of dangerous pirates came here yesterday… We don’t know what they were after but they slaughtered everything that was on their way… It was awful! » She started crying as she remembered the details of the scene « I was at the spring and I heard screams… The Neopets were suffering, houses were burnt, we were too weak to face them, it was a real nightmare! »
« And you have no idea what they could be looking for? Or where they went?» Hugo asked. « They might come back if they didn’t find what they were looking for… »
« I don’t know… Maybe Neopoints? Or maybe their goal was much more sinister… I heard that they were also looking for the hidden tower… I don’t know if they managed to steal something there since Fyora was away. »
« Where was she? Isn’t a Queen always supposed to be with her subjects? »
« It is not the fault of the Queen! She had business to deal with in the Terror Mountains. It has something to do with Taelia I think… »
As the water faerie was sobbing, Hugo took my hand and led me in a deserted alley.
« So what’s the plan Princess? We take the tears and we go? »
« We are not going to just take what we want without helping them, are we? »
« What else do you want us to do? In case you have already forgotten, the life of your sister is at stake! »
« I perfectly know it, but I just can’t leave them like that! »
I found the idea of taking advantage of these poor faeries’ misfortune disgusting. I knew that we didn’t have much time to spare, but I needed to help them! We stared at each other in silence for a few seconds.
« Well this is getting awkward… » whispered Hugo.
I couldn’t help but chuckle a bit.
« Fine Princess, you win this round, we’re going to help them… But I warn you, tomorrow at dawn we MUST be gone. » Hugo sighted.
« Deal ! » I offered him my brightest smile « Oh and… Thank you for everything you’re doing for my sister and I… I promise I’ll repay you somehow one day »
Hugo adverted his gaze and rubbed the nape of his neck « You don’t have to, really… »
Since we arrived in Faerieland, Hugo seemed quite uneasy. He was looking around him nervously, as if scared that something would come to hunt him. Was he stressed out because of exhaustion or was he fearing the return of the pirates? The almighty Hugo, afraid of a bunch of crooks? No way! I sneaked behind his back without him noticing.
« You are sure that you are alright Hugo? » I chuckled as he jumped in fear.
« Don’t do that Horliane! I nearly passed out! » He frowned.
« Horliane » ? Since when did he start calling me by my name? I know I was the one complaining that he was giving me a title that wasn’t my own, but this was so not like him! Something was definitely wrong…
I didn’t add anything and we went back to helping the faeries in silence. After hours of hard work, all the wounded had been treated. We were exhausted but satisfied, it was such a nice feeling to see all of them smiling and full of life again. We went for a walk in this lively atmosphere. The buildings were still in a pitiful state but the healed Faerielanders were already working on the reconstruction of the city. Hugo finally started to go back to his old self. He was happily playing with our new friend the Carmariller. We approached the healing springs where the Water Faeries were finally resting a little.
« Thank you so much the both of you! It would have taken days without your help! » Marina seemed really grateful « What can I do to thank you properly? Is there anything you need? »
Well now we were talking! I knew it was a good idea helping them! I briefly explained our condition and she looked really concerned as the story went on.
« You both are really brave Neopets, let me get what you … » She was interrupted by a deafening sound. The pirates were back.
A chaotic crowd of terrified Neopets formed. I looked around me, searching for Hugo but he was nowhere to be found.
« We’re lookin’ for a very particular treasure… All ye have to do is to give it to us and no harm will be don’. » Shouted their captain « Well…. That is if ye behave ! »
« But… But… We don’t know anything…! » Marina was sobbing.
« Okay… Ye asked for it. » The captain laughed out loud « THEY ARE YERS, COMRADES! »
All the pirates drew their weapons at once. I kept looking for Hunego in this overwhelming brouhaha of people weeping, sobbing, hyperventilating… But there were no trace of him.
« STOP IT. » a loud gravelly voice shouted, putting an end to this whole mess. « I’ve got what you are looking for. »
A shadow emerged slowly from the crowd. The Neopians of Faerieland stepped off to give him enough space to walk, and the Pirates began whispering. Their murmur turned into cheers as the word was passed within their ranks. « He is back! » « Who is? » « No way ! » « Lemme see, lemme see !! »
My heart skipped a beat. My mouth was dry. My mind went blank. In the eyes of the arriving Neopet was the darkest and coldest gaze I’d ever seen. He stood there, expressionless, straight back and composed face. The captain turned around and a little smirk lit up his face.
« What a surprise ! Our good ol’Quartermaster… » This time, the Lupe was grinning « Ye done with yer mission, Hunego? »
To be continued…