Chapter 32: Appreciation

Kendra stared across the yard at where Murdred, Helwic, Nemenemi and her manticore were all standing. The villains all appeared to be in prime form, and Kendra, regrettably, was well aware of that.

Surrounding Kendra were Ingrid, Raxtus, Geminus, Bracken, Bright and Clover. Seth, Warren, Skyfrost and Firesquall were technically still there as well, but alas, they had each been entrapped within one of Nemenemi's darkness bubbles, which were undoubtedly inflicting some degree of trauma upon them.

"Come on," said Kendra, shaking the light crystal within her hands. "You can't fail now. Please work! I need you!"

"Enough wasting time," said Murdred. "Helwic, deal with them!"

"As you command, Lord Murdred," as she held up her hands.

"Look out!" shrieked Bright, as Helwic shot another blast of fire towards the group, prompting Kendra to drop the light crystal. However, everybody narrowly managed to avoid being hit by the incoming wave of fire.

Just before Kendra had readied herself to bend down and pick up the fallen light crystal, a thought suddenly hit her. The Emerock! Kendra had nearly forgotten all about it. As good as it was, the light crystal was essentially useless if it didn't have any power left in it. Kendra then reached into her bag and proceeded to pull out the green relic.

"Maybe they were able to shield themselves from a blast of water," said Kendra, raising the Emerock before her, "but let's see what they do when I manipulate the earth from under their feet!"

"Don't just stand there, you fools," said Murdred. "Get them!"

"We don't possess infinite power," noted Helwic.

"It figures," said Murdred. "Typical women. If the adlets were here, they'd have ripped our opponents to shreds by now."

Suddenly, the ground that Murdred, Helwic, Nemenemi and the manticore were standing atop of inexplicably jutted itself upwards, knocking the three villains who had been standing on it a good number of feet into the air. They then came crashing down and landed elsewhere on the ground.

"All right, Kendra!" said Ingrid, as she picked up the fallen light crystal. "If only this thing had more power."

"It needs recharging," said Kendra.

"And we don't have that sort of energy within us at the moment," said Bracken.

"You think that will stop me?" growled Murdred. "Lot of help these women have been. Guess I'll crush you all with my bare hands!"

Murdred proceeded to stomp his way over towards the group. Wasting no time, Kendra used the Emerock and fixated her focus on a nearby tree. Under her control, Kendra caused a branch of the tree to extend itself outwards, then made it wrap itself around the approaching Demon God, stopping him in his tracks.

"Send him flying!" exclaimed Ingrid, as Kendra used the Emerock to lift Murdred up into the air, keeping him restrained.

"Shut up, you stupid weakling," said Nemenemi. "I was saving this for somebody more important, but since you seem sooo eager..."

Nemenemi then quickly shot a bolt of darkness directly at Ingrid, instantly causing a bubble to form itself around her upon contact.

"Ingrid!" cried Geminus. "No!"

"Keep on whining," said Nemenemi. "I'll do you next!"

"Let her go!" cried Kendra, as who could feel as her body became overwhelmed with rage. "What did she ever do to you? I'm the one you want!"

Murdred then ripped himself free from the branch that was holding him and fell down to the ground. He immediately stood up, seemingly unharmed from the fall. "Stupid girl. Soon I will have you all!"

"There's nothing we can do!" said Bracken.

"Oh yes there is," said a familiar voice from behind Kendra.

Kendra turned around and saw that standing behind her were Stargleam, Windshear and a large court of fairies. At the front of the fairy court were Passion, Larissa and Goldenrod.

"Fairies?" asked Murdred. "What the... That unicorn and pegusus! What are they doing here? They're my property! You can't have them!"

"Something's wrong," said Goldenrod. "I feel... weaker for some reason."

"Fools!" laughed Helwic. "The combined powers of Murdred and Nemenemi are more than the lot of you can even bear!"

"We can't waste any more time!" exclaimed Larissa. "Fairies! Attack!"

Kendra watched as the dozens of fairies all shot diminutive beams of all colors from their hands and directed them across the yard at the villains. Likewise, a beam of red energy came spiralling out of Stargleam's horn. Windshear extended his wings, which began to emit a brilliant purple glow.

Murdred, Helwic and Nemenemi remained where they were, seemingly unaffected by all the light energy that was flowing into them.

"The rest of us, try again!" exclaimed Bright, as she shot a blast of rainbow-colored energy towards the villains, joining in the assault with the other fairies. Likewise, Bright's encouragement prompted Bracken, Clover, Raxtus and Geminus to all add in their attacks as well.

All together, the combined energies of the fairies was quite a spectacle to behold. Had the circumstances not been so dire, the display of colorful energy would've been fascinating to watch. But it wasn't. This was the last hope that Kendra and her family had to rely on. If it failed, there was seemingly nothing they could do to stop the villains.

Murdred let out a deep laugh. "Is that the best you've got?"

"It's not working!" cried Passion, as energy continued to flow from her hands.

"They're just... too powerful!" exclaimed Clover.

"But how?" asked Bracken. "There's way more of us than there are of them!"

"Don't you fairies get it?" shouted Helwic, as she expelled a fiery shock wave from her body, dispersing all the light energy that was surging through the air. "Being in the mere presence of our excessive power weakens each and every one of your hearts, which in turn weakens your power. And as long as your hearts are weakened, it wouldn't matter if there were a thousand of you!"

"She's... right," said Geminus. "This isn't about numbers. As fairies, we're just... too weak to stop them."

"And we weren't in peak condition to begin with either," said Bright.

"Please don't give up!" gasped Kendra. "You have to stop them!"

"Nemenemi, take care of the one known as Kendra next," said Murdred.

"I couldn't agree with you more," said Nemenemi, as she proceeded to shoot a bolt of darkness at Kendra.

"No!" shouted Bracken, as he leapt in front of Kendra, taking the impact of the bolt, only for a bubble to form around the fairy prince.

"Bracken!" shrieked Kendra, as she proceeded to pound upon the unicorn's darkness bubble with her fists. Despite being a bubble, the surface felt cold and extremely hard. "How could you?"

"This would go a lot faster if you'd surrender already!" said Murdred.

"But..."

"Don't sass me. You're clearly on the losing side here. Just admit it. You've all lost. You possess no chance of stopping us. Give it up. There's no hope left for you at all."

Suddenly, everybody was caught off guard when they heard what sounded like glass shattering.

"Lord Murdred," said Helwic. "What is that sound?"

"I don't know," replied Murdred. "And I don't care. Nemenemi, hurry up and trap another one of them, since they just want to keep standing around like this."

Just then, Kendra watched in amazement as one of the darkness bubbles burst open into hundreds of opaque, glass-like shards, which came as a huge shock to everybody.

Standing where the bubble had been was Ingrid. She was clenching the light crystal in her hands, which was giving off a nearly-blinding white glow.

"Ingrid," gasped Kendra. "You got out!"

"Sorry to burst your bubble," said Ingrid, as she sneered at Nemenemi.

"Nemenemi," muttered Murdred, "your power must be weakening. Trap that pathetic girl again!"

Ingrid then held out the light crystal and proceed to shoot a beam of white energy at one of the other bubbles. Almost immediately, the bubble vanished, freeing Firesquall, who had been trapped inside.

"Ingrid," said Firesquall, "did you just... save me?"

"I'm not getting weaker, you goddamn idiot!" shouted Nemenemi. "Either she or that crystal are getting stronger!"

"But... how?" asked Murdred.

Ignoring Murdred, Ingrid proceeded to quickly use the crystal on the other bubbles, effectively releasing Bracken, Warren, Seth and Skyfrost from confinement as well. All of them cheered joyously upon being freed.

"Incredible," said Bracken. "It's like Ingrid managed to restore the light crystal somehow."

"Enough of this!" hissed Murdred. "Helwic! Turn Ingrid into a bronze statue right now!"

Helwic extended her hands and unleashed a beam of fire at Ingrid. However, before it could make contact with her, the light crystal glowed stronger, causing the fire to sizzle out.

"It's not working!" gasped Helwic, as smoke flowed up from her palms.

"Ingrid," said Kendra, "give me the light crystal! Please!"

"Okay!" said Ingrid, as she quickly darted over to Kendra and handed her the light crystal.

Just by making contact with it, Kendra could sense that the light crystal was flowing with a great abundance of light energy.

"Nemenemi!" yelled Murdred. "Nemenemi! Do something!"

"Like what?" snapped Nemenemi.

"Take this!" said Kendra, as she directed a blast of light energy each at Murdred, Helwic and Nemenemi, all of whom screamed in pain upon being hit.

"Let's try this again, everybody! Help me go fairyprime!"

All the fairies surrounding Kendra used their power to turn themselves, as well as Kendra's family and the wyverns into glowing balls of energy.

"What're they trying now?" asked Helwic.

"Beats me," said Murdred. "But now... I don't quite feel one-hundred percent. It's like my power is... weakening."

At this point, all of the energy balls had flown into Kendra's body. Her body now overflowing with power, Kendra experienced the sensation as her hair became streaked in rainbow colors, while wings sprouted out of her backside. She had done it! She had successfully become fairyprime!

"You want to know what's going on?" asked Kendra. "I'll tell you! I've just undergone my transformation into fairyprime! And you're going to get what's coming to you!"

"Lord Murdred," said Helwic. "This doesn't look good! I'm sensing a phenomenal degree of light energy flowing through Kendra's body."

"No!" said Murdred. "It must be that stupid crystal! Destroy it!"

Helwic aimed another beam of fire directly at the crystal. However, before it could so much as get near Kendra, it ricocheted in midair and went flying in another direction.

"Is that the best you can do?" asked Kendra.

"My power!" exclaimed Helwic. "It didn't do anything!"

Kendra then held out the crystal and shot a rainbow directly at Murdred, causing him to wince and shriek in pain upon being hit.

"HELWIC!" screamed Murdred, as he endured the light energy that was flowing into his body. "STOP HER!"

"But... I..." muttered Helwic.

"THAT'S AN ORDER!" blared Murdred, still being weakened by the rainbow. "DO WHATEVER IT TAKES! JUST STOP HER!"

"I'll need your dark energy for this, Nemenemi!" shouted Helwic, as she held out her hand at Nemenemi.

Although she kept her rainbow focused on Murdred, Kendra watched as Helwic seemingly siphoned dark energy out of Nemenemi and her manticore.

"What are you doing?" yelled Nemenemi, as a black aura formed around Helwic.

"It's working!" scoffed Helwic. "I've increased my power!"

Helwic then shot the rainbow with a blast of black fire, instantly engulfing the entire thing in flames and freeing Murdred from its power. Now that Helwic had the power to counter her own, Kendra was starting to worry.

"Lord Murdred," said Helwic, "allow me to heal you!"

"No!" roared Murdred, as he collapsed to the ground. "Now's your chance! Eliminate Kendra while you still can!"

"But.. she's so powerful!"

"Then banish her to Hell! I don't care if doing so exhausts the last of your power! With her out of the way, we can win!"

"As you command, Lord Murdred!" said Helwic, as she shot another blast of black fiery energy at Kendra.

Her natural instinct wanting to be to shield herself, Kendra held up the light crystal in front of the incoming black fire. The fire was strong, pushing against Kendra with tremendous force. However, the light crystal not only blocked the fire, but deflected it as well.

Kendra then noticed that Nemenemi was riding towards her atop her manticore, no doubt trying to strike while Kendra was open.

"I'll deal with her myself if I have to!" roared Nemenemi.

Not knowing what else to do, Kendra adjusted the way she was holding the crystal and realigned the reflecting fire so that it impacted Nemenemi and the manticore, stopping them in their tracks.

After a few seconds, the ground started to shake violently, causing Kendra to fall over just as Helwic's fire came to an end.

"What's happening?" exclaimed Nemenemi, while her manticore started to growl.

Suddenly, the ground started to open up underneath Nemenemi and her manticore.

"Uh oh," said Helwic.

"Take off you idiot!" yelled Nemenemi, as the crack in the ground underneath her manticore started to widen.

The manticore flapped her wings and attempted to take off, but an unseen force was seemingly keeping both her and Nemenemi from leaving their very spot.

"HELP ME!" screamed Nemenemi.

"I... can't..." said Helwic admittedly.

Once the crack grew wide enough for the manticore to fit through, despite flapping her wings furiously, she immediately plummeted downwards, taking Nemenemi down with her.

"Helwic," said Murdred, as the crack magically sealed itself up, "what just happened?"

"Well, you told me to banish Kendra to Hell," answered Helwic. "I obeyed your order as best I could. But my spell got deflected, so instead, it banished Nemenemi and her manticore to Hell. Not on purpose, of course."

"What difference does it make?" asked Murdred. "She's gone now."

"But I'm not!" shouted Kendra. "And now to deal with you."

Kendra held out the crystal and attempted to shoot a rainbow from it, but nothing came out. Had deflecting Helwic's attack weakened it again? What exactly had Ingrid done to recharge it? And so quickly, too?

Nevertheless, Kendra was still feeling powerful. She placed the light crystal down, extended her hands, and proceeded to blast Murdred with another rainbow.

"ACK!" cried Murdred. "I CAN'T STAND THIS! HELWIC! GET ME OUT OF THIS PLACE!"

"As you command, Lord Murdred," said Helwic, as she quickly conjured up a portal directly behind Murdred.

"You're not leaving this place empty-handed," said Kendra, as she focused her power upon Murdred, just before he was about to step through the portal. Wanting to see it to believe it, Kendra brought her rainbow to a halt.

Standing next to Helwic was Murdred. Only instead of being black, his entire body was now hot pink in color.

"PINK?" gasped Murdred. "PINK? OF ALL COLORS! KENDRA! I'll GET YOU FOR THIS!"

Seeing a pink Murdred was just such an amusing sight, that Kendra couldn't help but erupt with laughter.

"COME ON!" yelled Murdred, as he darted through the portal, while Helwic followed behind him. A moment later, the portal closed behind them.

Once she stopped laughing, Kendra took a moment to absorb what had happened. "YES!" she shouted. "I defeated Murdred! I mean... WE defeated Murdred!"

A moment later, Kendra could feel as all the excess energy that was within her flowed out of her body. Once she had been fully relieved, Kendra's family and the fairies all appeared around her.

"Way to go!" said Seth, as he high-fived Kendra.

"That was fairyprime?" asked Skyfrost. "That was cool!"

"It was pretty awesome," said Firesquall.

"Good work," said Warren, patting Kendra on her shoulder.

"Nice going," said Bracken, as he threw his arms around Kendra and gave her a kiss.

"Kendra," said Ingrid. "That was just... so cool!"

"Hooray for Kendra!" shouted numerous small fairies, as they all started to sing in harmony.

"Everybody, please!" gasped Kendra. "Hold your applause for a moment!"

At this point, Kendra and Seth noticed that the fire dome that Helwic had placed around the house had vanished, and that their parents, Grandparents and Dale were running across the yard to where everybody else had gathered.

"Everybody!" gasped Grandma. "What happened? We saw Murdred!"

"You stopped him?" asked Grandpa.

"Everything's fine," said Ingrid. "Thanks to Kendra."

Kendra then held her hands against her hips. "Listen to me! Ingrid! You are just as responsible for stopping Murdred and Nemenemi as I was."

"What do you mean?"

"You recharged the light crystal! Even though I'm the one who can become fairyprime, it was you who made it possible."

"How did you charge that light crystal, anyway, Ingrid?" asked Bright.

"Well," replied Ingrid. "I recalled hearing that it was powered by light energy, which I've been told comes from the heart. While I was holding it, trapped in that bubble, I thought about how kind and supportive my family had been, rescuing me from Murdred's castle and giving me a home. I already lost my family once. and I knew how much it would hurt to lose everything a second time."

"So it was your love," said Bracken. "Even though you were encased in a bubble of darkness and surrounded by villains, the power of your heart still shone through, allowing you to recharge the light crystal."

"You're saying... Ingrid's a hero?" asked Seth.

"Yup."

"But... what I did with the light crystal... Anybody here could have done it. I mean, all of you are kind and loving, are you not? What difference would it have made if Seth or Kendra had charged the crystal instead of myself?"

"You're right," said Clover. "Anybody with a pure heart probably could've recharged that crystal if they knew what they were doing. But so what? You were the one who charged it. You. Ingrid Sorenson. The girl who thought she was a useless burden. You're the one who took action and restored the light crystal's power all on her own. And that's what truly matters."

"It's true that being fairyprime is what allowed me to triumph over Murdred and Nemenemi," said Kendra. "But that's something I can't possibly do alone. I depend on others. And if it hadn't have been for you, I never would've gained the power I needed to become fairyprime."

"And you know what, Ingrid" said Seth. "You did it without any special powers or abilities. I'm a shadow charmer, and even I couldn't overwhelm those three. You did good, Ingrid. Well done."

Seth then extended his arms around Ingrid and gave her a hug. Ingrid responded by hugging him in return, and gave him an assuring pat on the back.