Chapter 6: Lord Faerigan (The Dance)
Valentine's Day was a few weeks away but Faerieland was already busy preparing for their annual Valentine's Day ball. Every year, Fyora would send out a special invitation to Lord Darigan, despite him ignoring them. Ever since the end of the wars with Meridell, Lord Darigan was hesitant to make any public appearances. Sally, on the other hand, would always find a good excuse to go to a Faerieland party so she showed up every year, always hoping that she would see Mr. Scary again. The young Usul eagerly helped the faeries with the decorations.
"Your majesty, does this look alright?" Sally asked.
Sally held up a bouquet of roses and daisies she had made to go into a decorative vase.
"Please do call me Fyora. I'm not very fond of formalities and titles. But yes those look wonderful," the faerie queen replied.
Around the castle, there were hundreds of these decorative vases. They had long skinny necks at the top and a round bulb near the bottom. Each of them had light pink heart patterns or pink faerie wings painted into the bulb.
Various tapestries showing simple portraits of love and friendship were unfurled and hung in almost every corridor in the castle.
The faeries themselves were also getting ready for the ball, many of them franticly trying to find out what to wear this year. The last thing they wanted to do was wear something too similar to what they wore last year, lest they become victims of the latest gossip about how they were boring faeries that didn't have any fashion sense. Fyora, of course, was immune to such gossip and often wore her typical iconic lavender dress and arm wraps.
"You sure you don't want a new hairstyle for the ball?" Celandra asked in an effort to humor the faerie queen.
"What would it be? Curls? An Unitail? Snorkle tails?" Fyora playfully replied.
"Snorkle tails, definitely."
"I assume you'll wear the usual?"
"Sure, you know me. My question is, what are you wearing?"
"I-I'm not sure yet. What do you think?"
"I think this pink, fluffy dress works well."
Fyora held up the dress for Celandra to look.
"Hmm. Do you think it's a bit too...fluffy? Wouldn't I look a bit like a pink cloud?"
Fyora took a long, hard look at the dress.
"Yep, I see it now. Perhaps this pink dress would be better."
She held up a pink dress with darker pink hearts scattered across it. Celandra still didn't seem satisfied.
"It's a bit too umm...hey what about that one?" She pointed to a striped dress alternating between lavender and pink.
"You sure? That's what I wore when I was still a princess."
"It looks great!"
"Okay. I'm glad you found something. It's not quite my taste, but I don't think I should be talking about taste when I wear the same thing every year." They both laughed.
Fyora and Celandra peered out a window in from the tower and watched many faeries scrambling frantically between clothing stores to find "the perfect outfit."
"I never understood what the big fuss was about. It's not like us Neopets care a lot about what the faeries are wearing when we dance with them," Celandra commented.
"I think it's more about competition. You know, faeries all trying to avoid being a victim of the next gossip topic."
The Valentines' Day ball was special. It was a time when the faeries set out to find a valentine and dance partner among the Neopets. Fyora never chose her dance partner until the day of the ball. She had hoped that perhaps one day, Lord Darigan would accept her invitation and that the two would dance. She had not forgotten their first meeting on a dance floor during the Faerie Festival in the days of their youth. The carefree days when there weren't any wars or curses to be concerned about; when there were no council meetings to attend or canned speeches to give. Although Fyora loved her kingdom and she loved Neopia, sometimes she longed for the days when everything was simple and she could simply be friends with other future rulers of Neopia.
Fyora turned and looked at Celandra and smiled. No, the old days were good, but she wouldn't trade them for her best friend.
Fyora's garden always had beautiful flowers in full bloom. Petpets often made the flower beds their home, sometimes ruining them, but Fyora didn't mind. Neopians from all corners often visited the gardens to admire the extravagant arrangements Fyora and her gardeners came up with.
However, on the day of the Valentines' Day ball, there was an interesting visitor. The Neopet had bright turquoise wings and a teal dress with light lavender and turquoise dots. The individual's tail had dark purple stripes.
"I can't believe I'm here," the pet muttered.
There was a sizable crowd in the garden and the unsuspecting creature was easily able to move about without anyone noticing.
"Ah, I guess she will like some flowers. Perhaps, these will do."
The creature knelt down and cut a few pink roses and white daisies. Using a ribbon, the creature tied the flowers together in a rather rudimentary bouquet. The creature then tried to enter the castle but was stopped by the guards.
"Hold it right there. Please state your name and business," the faerie Kougra asked.
Fyora heard a knock at the door.
"Fyora! It's Cristy," said one of Fyora's servants.
Fyora opened the door.
"Hello, Cristy. How are you doing?"
"Great. And you?" the Faerie Draik replied.
"I'm doing well. Did you want me to help you with a dress for the ball?"
"Oh, that can wait a bit longer. There is someone waiting at the main entrance for you."
"Oh? Who is it?"
"The individual wouldn't give a name. The castle guards only said they wanted to see you."
"Okay, thanks for letting me know. I will head down there right now."
She grabbed her staff just in case the individual wanted to harm her. She hovered down the stairs and directly to the main entrance.
The faerie looked out the door and saw the creature.
"Please open the door," she said to her guards.
"Do you know this individual?" they asked.
"I believe so."
They opened the enormous pink stone door and in came the guest. Fyora stood there and took a long look and then dropped her staff. She ran over and embraced the creature.
"You came! You finally came! Lord Dar-"
"Shh...yes, I'm here...please don't go telling everyone..." Lord Darigan replied.
"Well, I'm glad to see you are finally here."
"I uhh...brought these for you," Darigan said nervously. He awkwardly reached out and presented his makeshift bouquet.
"Well those look awfully familiar. I guess it's the thought that counts?" the Faerie Queen thought to herself.
"Oh, that's so nice of you. They're beautiful!"
"So umm...I don't know how to put this. I was never good at these things, but will you dance with me at the ball?"
"Oh, I thought you'd never ask. Yes, of course, I would. By the way, you are dressed up as a faerie."
"Oh yes, I thought we were supposed to dress up."
"Umm, yes, but...oh never mind. You look great," Fyora said, trying very hard to contain her laughter.
"Is something the matter?" the Korbat looked extremely confused at Fyora's facial expression.
"May I call you Lord Faerigan?"
Lord Darigan sat down in a Queen Fyora Rocking Chair and then shifted around uncomfortably before answering. Fyora joined him and sat across from him. At the center was an oval-shaped, pink coffee table.
"Umm...I would rather you not..."
"Okay, if you say so. Anyways, how are things going? The last time I saw you, you were signing a truce with King Skarl. Then you sort of disappeared."
"I guess that's my fault. I didn't really want to see anyone after the war. I was afraid that I would be vilified by others for my role in allowing the Three to take over and assert their influences."
"Oh come on, that wasn't your fault."
Lord Darigan folded his arms.
"You and I both know that only a handful of us know about that. You can't change the rest of Neopia's perception."
"I suppose you are right."
"Hence, another reason why I dressed up. I'm surprised you recognized me so quickly."
"I've been doing this for years. All my sisters dress up for Halloween and I've gotten really good with recognizing them."
"Oh, I see. Well, anyway, when does the dance start?"
"You learned how to dance now?"
"No, I haven't really had any occasions to dance to, but I guess I remember what you taught me earlier when many years ago."
Fyora got up and held out her hand to Lord Darigan.
"You're going to need some practice before we go out there a few hours later."
"I'm fine hones-whoa!"
Fyora pulled Lord Darigan out of his seat and twirled him around.
"You are indeed a bit rusty." Fyora shook her head.
Lord Darigan sighed.
"Fine, I'll practice, just this one time."
The two eventually made it to the dance floor after hours of practice and dazzled the audience. Nobody knew who Fyora's dance partner was, but to them, it didn't matter. The two were simply putting on the best show that night. Of course, Queen Fyora was just happy that, finally, she was able to see her friend again – that maybe after many years of suffering, that Lord Darigan finally had a moment of joy. That was the most important thing to her.
Meanwhile, the notion that nobody recognized Fyora's dance partner was actually a lie. Taelia was dancing with Sally right next to Fyora and Sally noticed something familiar about Fyora's dance partner.
"Hey Taelia, I think I know who Fyora's dancing with," she whispered, leaning over so only Taelia could hear.
"Yeah? He does look familiar. Like a Korbat that doesn't usually show up for any big occasion. I suspect he's also a leader of a kingdom," Taelia whispered back.
"Do you make decisions about what the Advent Calendar gives out?"
"I do sometimes. Why do you-" Taelia began to giggle quietly.
"You got it." Sally nodded.
"I ought to get in contact with Neopia's finest plushie makers tomorrow."
The two grinned at each other.