Tales from Number Five: Under the Highest Sky - Part Three
Altair went to the blackboard in the room, and drew a simple picture, with a cloud and a small version of the tower below it.
"This," he said to the people gathered, "is our current situation. I believe that it is time that we all get to know the ultimate plan. You see, though we build at quite a speed, the problem lies in the fact that Faerieland's ancient wards will stop anything that goes within a few hundred feet of it that isn't a faerie." He paused here, letting the weight of what he had said sink into everyone's minds. "No spell can penetrate those wards. However, I did manage to find a loophole in the enchantments. The spell will stop something that is not a faerie from moving towards Faerieland, but will not stop Faerieland if it moves towards it."
It was obvious no one had really understood, so he asked his lieutenant, Fraxor, to bring what he had shown him last night. Fraxor was a Grarrl who had been turned into a monster by the Dark Faeries, though he was still good at heart. Later on, the colour that he had become would be known as mutant.
Fraxor pulled out a few set of wings, wings that were a deep shade of turquoise and shimmered in the air. Even the dullest Neopet could tell that they were magical, and Altair explained what they were.
"These wings are specially made by dipping them in Faerie Water under a crescent moon in a vessel of platinum. They will evade the sorcerous wards guarding Faerieland and allow whoever wears them to enter with ease. Therin lies our plan. We will build until the target point below Faerieland, and a small force will wear these wings and enter Faerieland, where they will drop Faerieland to the ground by assaulting the mechanisms that keep Faerieland afloat."
"Mechanisms?" a Red Xweetok asked, who was one of the new recruits and so Altair didn't remember his name. "What mechanisms? I thought that Faerieland was kept afloat by magic."
"It is," Altair answered. "The Faeries store their magic in reservoirs and use that to keep it afloat, which is controlled by a network of switches. It's kind of like storing a large amount of water to use later on."
"I have another question," a Green Tuskaninny asked. "Won't the Faeries get to know of our plan? About the tower? And how will a group stop the Faerie's mechanisms without getting caught?"
"The faerie's arrogance will be their undoing," Altair said. "They will not suspect us of our plan until it is too late. They are too prideful to think of the magic that we use to shield the tower, to prevent it from casting a shadow, and so on. Not only that, we have been very careful regarding recruiting new Neopets. We can't go around handing flyers, because the Faeries will get to know of that eventually, but soon our plan will have advanced too far for us to be stopped. Not only that, the control panel is not heavily guarded. No place in Faerieland is, because the faeries believe that no Neopet can enter Faerieland."
"So if Faerieland is going to crash to the ground, why not position forces near the ground?" a Green Lupe by the name of Freorin asked, who had been turned into a Mortog by a group of dark faeries.
"That is because assaulting the switch room is not enough to bring Faerieland crashing to the ground. Ancient sorceries will prevent that. The most that we can achieve is to lower Faerieland by a few hundred feet." Altair edited the diagram, now drawing Faerieland around the tower. "This is what it will look like. The tower will stick out of Faerieland, and we will make a dozen more elevators to the top. From the tower, we will send thousands of our troops into Faerieland with ease."
It was a good plan. Yet, there was still that one question in the air, which was voiced by Fraxor.
"Do we stand a chance?" The Neopets knew what he was talking about. The faeries were powerful, and no Neopet had been known to defeat them and their magic.
"Of course we do," Altair said, and his voice said that he really believe it. "Though the faeries have powers we do not, they also have weaknesses that we don't have. I've seen it all in scriptures, Faeries are weak to red clay heated in a silver furnace, and lots of other things as well. I'll explain war plans later on, but we can definitely defeat them." The meeting ended after that, and Altair went to the top to take another glimpse of the underside of Faerieland. He left after a while, the swamp mages had shown interest in joining them, and he felt that he had to go himself to convince them.
"I don't get one thing," Galgarrath said, interrupting the story again. "Was Queen Fyora still ruler of the faeries during that time? Because she wouldn't have allowed something like that to happen."
"Ah, yes, she was, but there is an explanation that comes later on in the story," Number Five said, and continued as if he had not been interrupted.
The target part was reached in only three months, all due to the exponential increase in the numbers of the giant petpetpets. Four sets of wings had been procured, and besides Altair a Blue Moehog by the name of Asparticus, a Green Lupe who was a swamp mage by the name of Grignar and a Yellow Acara by the name of Cynthia were going. Fraxor was left behind, a very basic tactic: never put all of your eggs in one basket. In this case the eggs were people crucial to their plan.
The rest of what happened was rather simple, as it all went according to plan. The initial raiding party, under the command of Altair reached the Underclouds in the dead of the night, flew to the periphery of Faerie City within an hour and landed near the place where the switches controlling Faerieland's flight were.
Before attacking, Altair wanted to take a good look at Faerieland. Luckily, almost everything was as had been described in a record he had looked up a few months ago. He had feared that the layout of the place may have changed, but the faeries had hardly changed anything at all. They crept into the building.
Nothing extremely interesting happened. The faeries had not even thought of the idea that anyone could get to Faerieland, so they hadn't bothered to put up any real security. Not to mention that Altair and his team were shielded by various sorceries that the faeries wouldn't think about. They were practically invisible to Faerie eyes.
The switchroom's door was closed, but they very swiftly disabled the two guards outside it, took the key, and crept in. Inside, they plunged Faerieland down as far as it would go, and then damaged the control panel so that it would take at least three days before it was fixed. By then it would be too late.
Outside, they found out that the faeries hadn't been affected too badly. It seemed as if none of them had noticed. Everything looked like it had a few minutes ago, except for the fact that the top ten floors of Altair's tower was poking out of the clouds.
Excellent, Altair thought. The troops would be coming in within a few minutes. But by then, they had to open the gates of Faerie City so that the troops would not be impeded in their march towards the faerie capital. Opening the gates wouldn't be too hard, it was doubtful that they were guarded much better than the switchroom.
As they travelled towards the city, and Altair's mind was no longer clouded by a rush of adrenaline, he began to grasp the situation a bit better. They were the first free Neopets to step foot on faerie territory in centuries. He had heard some stories about Neopets being taken as slaves, but he wasn't too sure if that was true. With what the faeries did, he thought, it was not completely implausible.
I am under the highest sky, he thought, glancing at the stars and moon above, which seemed so close. He cleared his head and continued on.
The gates were opened. Within a few hours, Faerieland had woken up to the crisis. Neopets fell off from the tower like water, forming an angry, snarling tsunami that engulfed everything within its path. They were armed to the teeth, not with simple pitchforks and torches, but with sorcerously enchanted weapons made by Altair and the swamp mages and other mages that they had that were extremely powerful against faeries. They carried shields that would protect them from most spells. And more kept coming.
Once Neopets saw that the attempt to attack Faerieland had succeeded, Neopets from all over gathered beneath the tower, going to the top to attack the land of Faeries. They had no shortage of weapons, for thousands had been made in the weeks of preparation that Altair had done.
The siege of Faerieland had started.
To be continued...