Of Potions and Power
The forest flashed by in a dark green blur as Aangharad
raced through. She startled the local wildlife as she streaked through, but Aangharad
knew They were not far behind her.
The powerful ones. The evil ones. At the very
thought of the group, a sneer touched her lips and disfigured her once-beautiful
face. What had those people ever done for her? They were full of empty promises,
lies, and tricks. You had to watch your back, with Them. Someone might stick
a knife in it.
Aangharad slowed, caught up in the world of her
memories. It had been . . . Cloudtail that had first persuaded her.
"Come on, Aangharad!" Cloudtail pleaded. "You
can go straight to the top, or so I've been told, but you have to get other
people to come in order to get promoted!"
Cloudtail had always been very ambitious. The
blue Kougra had always dreamed of being the hero of Neopia, or the ruler, or
whatever would give him the most attention. He and Aangharad were good friends.
Could it be a downfall for him to be so ambitious? Aangharad wondered. Naah.
A bit of ambition never hurt anyone.
"Pleeeeaaaaase, Ghara?" Cloudtail pleaded, breaking
through her thoughts.
"Why not?" said Aangharad, looking at the Kougra.
"What could happen?"
This is what could happen, thought Aangharad,
jerking up out of the pool of memories to the present. The Zafara became aware
that she had slowed, and was at a standstill. Acutely aware of the thundering
footsteps of her pursuers, she sped off once more into the woods.
Why? she thought bitterly. Why me?
She had given up everything she knew, to follow the leader who had at the time
seemed to be a faerie in disguise. So perfect, such promises, - she should have
known the Aisha could never have been trusted. To promise the strength to win
at the Battledome, the power to rule worlds . . . These the leader certainly
had made come true, but for himself. He had used Transmogrification potions
to make the pets stronger, and more fear-inspiring. One by one, Aangharad had
seen the pets around her mutate. Even her best friend, Cloudtail, drank of a
potion one day and turned Mutant.
Finally, it had become her turn. But, when she
looked at the other pets, who had once been such kind and welcoming creatures,
turned dark and foreboding, and when she looked at Cloudtail, how he had changed
from his once-lively self, she could not bring herself to drink of the potion
that would bring her full initiation.
Aangharad slowed again, once more letting the
memories overtake her.
"Here." The leader presented her with a potion.
"Drink, and become one of Us. We are the powerful, the strong, the ones to be
feared . . . Join Us truly, and you will reap the rewards."
Aangharad almost drank. She wanted to stay with
her friends whom she had known from childhood, most especially Cloudtail. But,
as she looked at the darkened pets, she knew she could not.
"No." The young Zafara's voice cut clearly through
the muttering of the others there. "I will not. To do this would be to make
a shadow of myself, to completely forfeit who I am. I will not do this, and
I most certainly shall not become one of You." She stared at them contemptuously
for some moments, forgetting the danger she was in. "You are but twisted shadows
of your former selves. I will never submit myself to this. I am leaving now."
Silently adding to herself, And I will find a way to undo this, I swear I
They had been too stunned to follow her out.
Aangharad had left and been safe, safe from Them and their rages. But that was
not to last long . . .
Again Aangharad came to herself. She couldn't
let herself be caught. Not when she held the key to undoing all that had been
done, right in her very hand.
Aangharad had done much research. She had found
the solution, but it was near-impossible to perfect. Ingredients from every
place in Neopia were needed, as well as a morphing potion that was not the victim's
original color and form, but the color and form that their heart would have
them take. In some cases, a drop of paint had to be added, if the morphing potion
did not come in the correct color.
Aangharad had originally shied away from the
solution. She was always wary of potions, ever since the incident with Them.
But she read, and researched, and all she could find was the potion solution.
Aangharad was not pleased with this result, but she resolved to do it anyway.
For her friend.
Aangharad had thought long and hard about what
Cloudtail's true form could be, but nothing came to mind. She continued to visit
Kauvara every day, in the hopes that a potion would jump out at her. Aangharad
lived peacefully in Neopia central for two months before she saw it.
One day in Kauvara's shop, Aangharad saw a Blue
Eyrie morphing potion. She swooped down and picked it up, something clicking
in her head. She had found a Cloud Paint Brush two weeks ago . . .
"How much?" the Zafara asked Kauvara. Before
the Kau could respond, Aangharad slapped ten thousand Neopoints down on the
counter and bolted for her house. Kauvara sat still, wondering what had just
Back at her home, Aangharad carefully opened
the potion. She held the Cloud Paint Brush over it until it dripped once, then
quickly laid it aside. With satisfaction she watched as the potion swirled,
then changed. The wings on its sides were no longer blue but clouded, and the
same with the neck ruff on it. Aangharad smiled in contentment. There was the
easy part done, the purification of the body. Now for the soul.
Aangharad carefully extracted a small amount
of juice from a Sniddberry, and collected it in a jug. Next, she popped a Lemon
Flavor Faerie Bubble, and squeezed the juice into the same jug. Aangharad took
a drop of blood from a Raptraphant Leg and dropped part of a Water Hot Dog in.
Next came the Pyramibread crumbs. Then a bit of a Crab Apple Chia Pop and a
bit of Cherries Jubalee from the Space Station. "Let's see . . there's the bit
of Eyeball Pasta - the hair from a Blairnut - and that's it!"
Carrying the jug over to the still-uncorked morphing
potion, Aangharad spooned a small bit of the concoction into the potion, then
corked it once more. She shook it, then hid under the table.
A small explosion came from the morphing potion
on the desk. Peeking over the edge, Aangharad found that the potion had changed
once more. The cork was now white. "Perfect," she breathed. She was now ready
to track down Them and get her friend back. "I will rest first," Aangharad said
to the empty air. "I will go in the morning."
Walking to her room Aangharad had set the potion
on the side table. She had been awakened in the night by the breaking open of
her front door, and gruff voices near her room.
"Is this where she sleeps?"
"Well, come on, we're not getting anywhere standing
At the last, Aangharad's heart soared. It wasn't
much like him, but it definitely sounded somewhat like Cloudtail. She couldn't
face him yet, though. The potion still needed time to cure. Grabbing it and
a brown sack from the table, Aangharad leapt out the window as the door opened.
The others saw her, and followed. Aangharad ran.
She had to let the potion finish before she risked anything!
Running through the Haunted Woods now, Aangharad
stopped again , the third time that night, to check on the potion. It was finally
ready. As the pursuers approached, she wrapped the potion's body in the sack,
leaving the mouth and neck free, and turned to face them.
Her guess had been correct. Cloudtail was with
two other mutant pets, a Kacheek and a Lenny.
A harsh voice arrested her movement toward them.
"You are Aangharad, correct?"
Aangharad nodded timidly.
The Kacheek continued. "You will come with us,
to see our leader, you traitor!" He spat the last words at her, then turned,
leaving it to Cloudtail and the Lenny to bring Aangharad.
Aangharad was put in a small cell. Interestingly
enough, her potion had been left with her. The guard assigned to her cell was
Cloudtail. Luck was finally working in her favor.
After a few minutes, she padded toward the dark
form of the Mutant Kougra outside her cell. "Cloudtail!" she hissed.
There was no response. She tried again, a bit
He spun. "How do you know my name, prisoner?"
he queried her.
Aangharad was shocked. "And how is it that you
do not know mine?" she demanded, once more forgetting her precarious position.
"I have never seen you," the Kougra replied monotonously.
"What? Oh, never mind," Aangharad said, shaking
her head dejectedly. Suddenly, though, she perked up. "Wait, sir!" she called
after him as he began to turn away.
That got his attention. Apparently Cloudtail
wanted respect more than anything. She could use that.
Lowering her eyes demurely, Aangharad said, "I
-I thought you might be thirsty. You don't get many breaks down here. Would
you like something to drink, good sir?" she asked, proffering the potion and
inwardly rolling her eyes at her own acting.
It was good enough for the guard, though. "Why,
thank you," he said, in his arrogance forgetting to look closely at the potion
or wonder how a prisoner came by a good drink in the cells.
Cloudtail took the potion from Aangharad, unstopped
it, and downed it in one gulp. Suddenly, a change came over his face. "Ghara?"
he whispered, dropping the bottle and collapsing on the floor. Aangharad caught
the bottle through the bars before it could hit the ground. Pulling it inside
her cell, she sat back to watch.
First, the Kougra sprouted wings. Cloudy wings
made of feathers. His jaws stretched into a beak as the rest of his head changed
to that of an Eyrie's. His paws turned Eyrie and finally the rest of him. Finally,
his tail lengthened and sprouted a white tuft on the end.
Aangharad waited a moment to be sure he was done,
then hissed once more, "Cloudtail!"
The Cloud Eyrie stretched groggily and stood,
looking at Aangharad. "Ghara? What are you doing here?" he asked. "And why do
I not feel like a Kougra any more?"
"That can wait," said Aangharad. "For now, would
you mind getting me out of here?"
"Oh, right." Cloudtail fumbled for the keys.
"Here." He unlocked the door and Aangharad pushed out with a sigh of relief.
"We've gotta get out of here, Cloudtail."
"Huh? I work here! How can I leave?" asked Cloudtail.
"Easy," Aangharad said sarcastically. "Look at
yourself. You are no longer a mutant Kougra, and no longer do you belong here.
Can we go yet?"
"Right." Cloudtail led her off, through a twisting
maze of tunnels. It seemed like it took hours to go through them, but finally
Aangharad and Cloudtail found themselves at a steep dropoff, ending in sharp
"Okay," said Cloudtail. "Wrong turn. We have
to turn around."
"We can't turn around!" Aangharad shouted. "We
have to go here!"
"Umm, Ghara? I can't fly."
"Use your head, Cloudtail, you're an Eyrie!"
"I am?" The Cloud Eyrie rapidly began an inspection
"What?" he asked innocently.
"Well? Can you fly us out of here or not?" Aangharad
Cloudtail pondered. "Well, I've never flown before,
but . . . when I was younger, I used to watch a friend of mine, an Eyrie named
Cheronti, fly all the time. I think I could maybe do it now."
"Well, Cloudtail, you get to try. Because in
about ten seconds, we're going to be pushed off."
He nodded. "Right. Get on my back. You're light,
so I should be able to carry you."
Aangharad complied quickly.
"Right." Cloudtail began to flap his wings awkwardly.
He managed to catch a strong wind, and he pulled himself and his friend up and
out from over the spikes. He managed a landing some distance away.
"Thank you, Aangharad," Cloudtail told the Zafara.
"No problem," she replied. "But, do you know
the names of any of the other mutants there? They could be vital to over throw
"Yeah, and come to think of it, how exactly did
you free me?"
Aangharad looked at him. "I've got to have some
"Sure. Whatever." Cloudtail was sure he didn't
want to know what had gone into the drink she had given him.
"I need to see about getting flying lessons,"
Cloudtail mumbled under his breath.
Aangharad's laugh sounded from right ahead of
him. "Like that one?"
Note: As far as I know, Cloudtail plans to stay as a blue Kougra. Thanks
to roztom for letting me borrow Aangharad, silverstream_38 for letting me borrow
Cloudtail, and liawnsha for borrowing Cheronti.