SNRPG: Series 1
A Little Slushie Faerie Kaen
Leslie Tuatara and her red lupe FirePrinse stood in line for ten minutes at the Healing Springs, waiting for a faerie. The magical pools lay impossibly on top of the fluffy white clouds, occasionally cascading from one to the other in perpetual waterfalls.
The clouds dense enough to hold pools of water (not to mention their customers) are standard faerie magic. The waterfalls are faeries showing off.
The water faeries at the Healing Springs, like the light faeries at the Wheel of Excitement, are trainees (to the polite) or newbies (to the blunt). The one who finally met with Leslie and FirePrinse, for example, had only been on the job for two weeks. So she closed her eyes, brushed back her sandy hair, concentrated very hard, and then said with a smile, "All of your neopets gain three hit points. Sorry, that was the best I could do!"
"At least I feel a little better," murmured 'Prinse.
The faerie flashed them a smile with cyan lips, and Leslie nodded uncertainly. "Um, excuse me . . ."
"Sorry! My magic is not fully restored yet," the faerie informed them. "Please try back later."
"Now, hold on!" barked FirePrinse. "We don't want more magic. We have a question."
"Ask at the shop," said the faerie, waving them away.
A nearly identical water faerie greeted them at the Healing Springs boutique. "Feel free to browse!" she told them, indicating the assortment of colorful snowballs and potions in glass bottles with a wave of her hand. The items sat in neat lines on shelves made of cloud, separated by the occasional waterfall.
"Um, I have a question," Leslie ventured. "My pet got attacked, you see..."
"One of the faeries at the springs will heal him."
"I was just there, and--"
"Oh, well, you'll have to try back in a few hours, then."
Leslie felt like crying. She'd just faced down a monstrous creature of Dr. Sloth's, but she couldn't get through a simple bureaucracy.
"Dear me, we can't have an unsatisfied customer," interrupted a voice behind her. "Come with me, child - and you too, dear lupe. We'll get this sorted out."
"Yes, my lady!" exclaimed the faerie shopkeeper, and Leslie realized who was behind her. Resplendent in ropes of pearls, fish-tail floating delicately just over a puddle in the cloud, it was the Über-Water Faerie.
As Leslie watched, the faerie gently grew until she was about four feet tall - still miniature, but large enough to comfortably take her hand. "Come along. Never fear; we'll get you sorted out."
"Now, let me hear what's troubling you," the Über-Water Faerie reassured her as they walked (and floated) along the edge of Faerieland's clouds.
"It's just - I got attacked," Leslie stammered. "Or, well, my pet did. And then me. But there were other pets, too. It's Dr. Sloth, you see."
"You're both all right now, though," the faerie said gently. "If the doctor has any nefarious plans, they'll be stopped."
"Just show her the Chalice," 'Prinse cut in.
"The...Chalice?" repeated the faerie, stopping in her metaphorical tracks.
"That's right" Leslie let go of the delicate hand to pull the bag off of the golden cup. "I got this yesterday."
In a quite different tone of voice, the Über-Water Faerie said, "I think you'd better tell me exactly what happened."
So Leslie explained. About the Wheel, about the trading post, about the shops, about her missing pet. About the not-quite-grundo. About the way the Chalice glowed, and the pen, and the transformation...
"You mean you became Sailor Lupe?"
"Um, yes. Yes, I did."
"This is much more serious than I had imagined."
"Yeah, we noticed," said FirePrinse roughly.
The faerie ignored him. "If the Sacred Chalice is free...and you are transformed...my dear, you must go directly to Fyora with this."
Leslie's heart did a somersault that would have won it a Neolympic gold had it not been, strictly speaking, an organ and therefore ineligible. "I can't just walk in and demand to see the Faerie Queen!"
"Of course not. You'd get stopped by an attendant and tangled up in questions. No, I'll take you there myself."
Imagine going to Washington, hoping maybe to get an audience with a congressperson's aide, and being ushered into the White House by the Secretary of State for a face-to-face session with the President. Non U.S.-residents, fill in the capital and executives of your choice. That's basically what Leslie had just been offered.
She was very proud of herself, afterwards, for not fainting.
The Throne Room was beautiful. The drapery was soft and golden, pastel rugs covered the floors, and the windows stretched from floor to ceiling, filling the room with sunlight. The Faerie Queen herself sat on a throne of burnished gold. Her lavender gownmatched her rich purple hair and gossamer wings. And then there were those eyes...
She was half Leslie's size, but looked like she could stare down Sloth himself.
A pair of air faeries pulled up chairs and then fluttered away, leaving Leslie and FirePrinse alone in the room with the Queen. "Please," she said, waving a hand, "be seated."
"Sailor Soldiers," the Queen explained, in tones clear and pure, "are guardians. They draw their power from primordial forces. You are one of the Sailor Neopets; your power comes from the pets. You personally, of course, are Sailor Lupe."
There was a moment of silence, and Leslie wondered if she was expected to answer; but then the Queen continued.
"Your grandmother was the original Sailor Lupe. It was my mother who first invested her with the power.
"The Sacred Chalice is a vessel of that power, a cup of light that channels the strength of the Sailor Neopets. My mother and the Über-Faeries created it, half a century ago. They tapped the power of Neopia's creatures and gave it to thirty-four young men and women, including your grandmother. And now you have inherited it."
It was strange to think of Fyora, the Faerie Queen, having a mother - but it made the imposing force before her seem more like a person, and Leslie relaxed a bit.
"This means that one of Neopia's greatest threats is stirring again. You must be ready to stop it."
So much for relaxing.
"The Sailor Neopets were created to counteract a force of destruction that had surfaced at the time. It called itself - herself - the Chaos Faerie. She might have once been a dark faerie; we really don't know. There was a war - a secret, underground, unknown war, but a war nonetheless. Not all of the sailors survived. But they won."
So much for relaxing for the next few weeks.
"The Chaos Faerie was sealed away with the powers of the Sailor Neopets, and the Sacred Chalice was entrusted to the Über-Light Faerie for safekeeping. Now that your power has resurfaced, we must assume that the Chaos Faerie has reawakened as well. You must defeat her again."
"I don't know..."
When the Faerie Queen says to speak up, the quietest person will shout. "I don't know if I can do this," Leslie repeated. "I mean, I'm just me, I'm nothing special, and 'Prinse here isn't much for the Battledome, so, I mean, couldn't you get someone else?"
"The blood of the first Sailor Lupe, leader of the Sailor Neopets, runs through your veins," the Queen told her. "No one can replace you. But you must have aid. The other Sailors will be awakening as well; you must find them. What do you like to do?"
"What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun?"
Caught completely off-guard, Leslie finally stammered, "I like...gardening..."
"Then you shall have an earth faerie at your side," the Queen declared. "I know just the one." She snapped her fingers, and a sound like a bell rang out.
A heat wave had hit Neopia Central, so half the students of Neopia Central Junior High ended up in Happy Valley within twenty minutes of school getting out. Leslie was one of them. She wasn't alone, though FirePrinse was taking a nap; but the company wasn't much to speak of.
"Ooh, and Leslie, did you hear?" (Slurp.) "There,s like, a new movie with that hot actor, what's his name," (slurp) "you know, the tuskaninny with the totally cute smile," (slurp) "and it's based on ancient Altador, so it would've been, like, a hundred years ago," (slurp) "anyway, it just came out, and I, like, totally wanna see it!" (Slurp.) "Are you listening?"
Leslie looked up from her grass slushie. "Sorry, what?"
"You're, like, so spacey sometimes!" chirped Brianna Veranne. She picked a chunk of pineapple out of her own slushie and chomped on it. "Do you wanna see this movie?"
"I guess so." Leslie hadn't been listening, and thus wasn't sure what she'd just agreed to; but she didn't want to hurt Briana's feelings.
Briana's feelings were hurt easily. That was how she'd come to be Leslie's friend in the first place. The bubbly, bracefaced blonde had been told to shut up by whoever she'd been hanging out with before; the next day, in math class, she'd said hello to Leslie for the first time.
Leslie was glad to have one friend, and desperately, despeartely didn't want to drive her away.
"Goody! We can make a whole, like, event out of it," giggled Briana. "We can get dressed up. I can do your hair! You always wear, like, the exact same headband. You gotta do something new. And you can, like, borrow my makeup, and then we'll go see the movie and totally snorkle out on popcorn! Like, is that okay?"
The green-haired girl looked into Briana's hopeful, needy, shallow eyes and nodded. And with that, she was off again, chattering about how there weren't any really cute tuskaninnies in the movies anymore, and how she would let herself eat popcorn but only get the diet Neocola because she was trying to watch what she ate, and Leslie let the talk wash over her.
It was rhythmic - almost soothing, if you didn't listen too hard. Leslie's mind was far too full to listen.
I'm a Sailor Neopet. I'm Sailor Lupe. I'm a legend come to life.
This was not as surprising as it might have been. After all, this was Neopia; you can hardly walk to the store for a gallon of milk without tripping over some remnant of an ancient legend. The Battledome had resurfaced only a few decades ago, as had the very valley that the girls were eating in. So Leslie was able to accept the idea that her grandmother was a legend relatively quickly.
Still, a legendendary hero meant a legendary enemy, and that scared her.
Leslie took another bite of her grass slushie. She wasn't much for grass; this sort of food was stocked more for grazing pets than for users. Still, the slushie was almost gone, and Briana hadn't noticed that it was disappearing much faster than Leslie was eating.
Most of it was disappearing into the stomach of an invisible earth faerie.
Her name was Kaen. She had spent most of the day riding on Leslie's shoulder, magically keeping out of sight to everyone else. When visible, she had hair the color of earth after a rainstorm and a dress the color of pine needles. According to the Queen, she was a student of Neopian legend, and knew more about the Sailor Neopets than most living faeries.
She was also apparently very hungry.
"And I got the cutest hair clip yesterday, it's, like, dark faerie," Briana was saying. "My shoyru said it was the prettiest thing, so I got it, and matching ones for her, and it has, like, sparkly rhinestones on it. Leslie, do you want one? They have all kinds, and they're sooooo gorgeous, I wanted the whole set but GiggleWings says it's, like, way too expensive to get them all."
"Sorry, what?" Leslie took her eyes off of Kaen, who was munching on a spare blade of grass from the slushie. She'd caught the name GiggleWings - that was Briana's speckled shoyru - but missed the rest of Briana's speech.
"If you don't want it, it's okay," Briana backtracked. "I just thought you might like it. If you don't, we can totally get something else."
"No, no, I like it," Leslie reassured her quickly, wondering what she was agreeing to. Being Briana's friend apparently meant paying attention.
"Oh goody!" chirruped Briana. "I was going to wear mine today, but it, like, totally doesn't match this outfit."
As the outfit was in shades of lavender and pink, like most things Briana wore, Leslie wondered why she'd buy something that didn't match. But she didn't question it.
Kaen, on the other hand, was giving her a querying look. "Excuse me a minute," said Leslie, and made a buzzerline for the bathroom.
"Why does she talk so much?" complained Kaen, hovering over Leslie's shoulder as the girl washed her hands.
"Briana? I don't know. She has a lot to say, I suppose."
"But she doesn't. She talks and talks and says nothing. Why?"
"I really don't know. Now I have to get back, or she'll start to worry. You'll have to keep quiet again, or someone will get suspicious."
"Don't worry," Kaen reassured her, landing. "I know how important your secret identity is. It's safe with me." And then she was quiet.
Secret identity. Now I really feel like a superhero, Leslie thought. The Queen had been very clear about this: her face would be disguised by the transformation, but her name, username, and address would have to be kept separate from Sailor Lupe. Only the Queen, the Über-Faeries, and her pet knew her new dual identity - oh, and her new guardian faerie. It was safer that way.
The Queen had said one other thing: Come to me if you ever need aid or advice. My door is always open to you. Leslie couldn't imagine doing that if it weren't a dire emergency.
She had the power to create blasts of energy with a single spoken phrase, but any properly trained neopet could do that. It was the power to reach the Faerie Queen at any time that really set her head spinning.
As Leslie and Briana walked home late that afternoon, the sun was getting low and the air had cooled off. The lockdown had passed and the panic was subsiding; people were milling around on the streets again.
They were still tense enough, though, to be inside within thirty seconds when someone screamed.
"Run," ordered Leslie. Briana didn't need to be told twice; they were almost at her home anyway, and she dashed off in that direction without looking back.
Leslie took a deep breath and followed the scream.