THIS FANFICTION CONTAINS MURDERS AND ONE SUICIDE. I HAVE NOT GONE INTO DETAIL ABOUT THEM, BUT THEY ARE MENTIONED. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK OF SOBBING HYSTERICALLY.
By: Sunset Gold
It seems like the world is finally at peace. The Neverseen are gone, and Vespera's right where she belongs, in Exile. Sophie Foster is even looking forward to celebrating her 16th birthday.
That is, until her gruesome murder 13 days before.
The whole Elvin World is thrown into upheaval, and accusations are flying. The Black Swan doesn't know who to turn too in their darkest hour yet.
Biana knows things aren't adding up, and how could anyone have killed Sophie Foster? The only explanation is that it had to be someone she trusted, someone she never would have expected to kill her.
But as Biana delves deeper into the heart of the mystery, the murderer seems to be watching her. And if they managed to kill the Moonlark, what will they be able to do with Biana?
From writer TheBookQueen16, her darkest mystery yet unfolds. And no one will ever be the same again.
They wouldn't let me see the crime scene.
Della and Alden bluntly refused to let me and Fitz see Sophie’s broken body. They refused to let me see my best friend.
I still couldn't believe it. How had someone killed Sophie Foster?
There wasn’t any doubt from anyone that it wasn't foul play. The problem? Everyone thought it was the Neverseen or some interpretation of them.
The case closed, and here I stand, in front of Sophie’s Wanderling. It looks like a willow tree, with its leaves a light blond color. Its brown trunk seems to glow, and the flowers are the exact gold of her eyes.
So many people wanted to come, but the ceremony is closed off the family friends only. But the sobbing of people carries over any other sounds. Keefe and Fitz seem to be leaning on each other, the bags under their eyes looking like they didn't sleep for days.
Grady and Edaline stare at the Wanderling as if they stare long enough Sophie will come back, unscathed as she did from so many of her near-death experiences.
But no, Sophie’s dead. And nothing anyone can do can change that.
It hurts me so much to say that. Sophie was my friend, sister, and my savior. She brought me back from a world where the worst thing in life was failing Midterms.
The funeral is over faster then it began, everyone heading to their houses.
I catch up with my family, Fitz staring at the ground as if life lost its luster. In a way, I suppose, it did.
Alden and Della share a look, before turning to me.”Honey,” Della begins in a careful voice. I look up at her, urging her to go on.”I was wondering if you would go check on Grady and Edaline. We’re worried about them.” she lets out in one breath.
I nod. Saying words has even gotten painful.
She shoots me a grateful look before handing me a light leaper to Havenfield. I leap away, wrapping just enough concentration to keep me from fading away.
When I get there, I see Grady and Edaline taking off their coats.
“Hey,” I say awkwardly.”I was wondering if...I could go see Iggy.” The first thing that popped into my mind.
Grady and Edaline nod. “I’ll bring up some mallowmelt,” Edaline says with no emotion in her voice. Alden and Della were right, even I’m worried about them now.
I dash up the stairs, reaching Sophie’s glass bedroom. I take a deep half-breath and push open the door.
That's the first thing that comes to my mind. The room’s tidy, even though Sophie was murdered here. Even though her blood was spilled on the white carpet. Even though-.
I squeeze my eyes shut, trying to block out the barrage of ugly thoughts going through my head. The murder report that I stole off Alden’s desk starts playing in my head.
Death by suffocation.
The subject seems to be in shock.
The subject’s eyes seem to-
Iggy’s squeaking finally takes me out of my self-depression. I give him a grateful glance. He squeaks some more. His eyes seem wild.
I frown. This doesn't seem like him. I hesitantly slid the lock of the door to the cage and flip it open. Iggy dashes out and slams into a pegboard with jewelry hanging on it. He grabs and emerald necklace and drops it on me. He then flies in circles.
I laugh, despite everything. I throw a treat in his cage and close it once he flies in.
I pick up the necklace to hang it on the pegboard again when I drop it on the edge of the nightstand.
It makes a hollow clunk sound. I frown again and pick it up. It's lighter than a normal necklace and feels different too.
I drag a finger around the edge of the pendant until I hear a tiny click. The top part of the emerald flies open.
And right in this little nook is a piece of paper. With shaky fingers, I carefully unfold it. A picture appears before my eyes.
Sophie’s human iPod.
My breath catches and my heart stops for a moment.
And then it starts beating as if I had run a 5k.
Sophie left a clue.
Sophie left a clue.
It sings through my bones as I try to wrap my head around this. I don’t realize I'm crumpling the manilla paper until it rips slightly between my fingers.
I scrutinize every bit of the paper looking for another clue. But no, it's just a rough sketch of her iPod, along with her earbuds.
“Biana!” Edaline calls. I jerk and almost rip the paper the rest of the way through. “I made some Custard Bursts!”
I don’t waste a moment. I rip through Sophie’s drawers and nightstand, only to find nothing. I give the room one last sweeping glance as I tuck the drawing in my back pocket and reluctantly head back downstairs.
I’m back at Everglen, my door and windows locked tight. No one wants to take any chances in light of the murder.
No one calls it Sophie’s Murder. It's the murder or, if people are feeling dramatic, Moonlark’s Murder.
It sounds like it's from a storybook, not happening to real-life people. But if it was a story, everyone would read it and forget. Forget all about everything. While we have to live with it forever.
I close my eyes and try not to cry. Everything is horrible. Sophie’s dead and I can't figure out why.
Why would she leave a drawing and not leave directions to the iPod? Why go through all the trouble of carving a hole in a necklace and not leave a tiny note, like, by the way, the iPod is buried beneath the Panakes Tree!
Unless...She didn't want it to be found by just anyone.
I shoot up and think harder. Where would have Sophie hidden something she wanted only her friends to find? Something that meant something to her, something like...
The Lake of Blood.
I don't hesitate, I grab a pathfinder and set it to the right crystal.
The Lake of Blood, also known as the location of the final showdown. The one between the Neverseen and The Elvin World.
My feet slam against the ground. I don’t realize I’m shaking until I almost lose my grip on the Pathfinder.
I start walking, letting the memories flash through my head. That is until a flash of blond hair and icy blue eyes appear in my mind.
The guilt hits me like a sledgehammer, bringing me to my knees. Tears come to my eyes.
Don’t break Don’t break
I mentally chant. I don’t even understand, the guilt hasn't been this strong in the last 6 months.
I find myself walking towards where it happened as if some otherworldly spirit is pushing me there.
Considering the fact that technically my whole species is considered otherworldly to humans, I highly doubt that.
I kneel down in the exact spot and let the tears flow. Sophie always told me it was good to let your emotions flow.
One of my tears land on the stone, and as I wipe it away, I see a flash, like glass.
I knit my eyebrows together in confusion and wipe away the dirt and gravel.
Then I see the emotiorall.
An emotiorall is basically a tiny round sphere that works as a lock. When you pour in the right emotions, it opens.
I know what emotions to enter. But I need to remember. I take a half breath and plunge into my memories.
We fight as if it's our last day on earth. Melder blasts fly, and screams can be clearly heard.
But that doesn't bother her. Her fire blasts everyone and doesn't leave a survivor.
She fights off attacks of ice, shadows, and wind.
Until one of them freezes her leg.
She gives them a glare and says something I can't hear.
Then Umber takes a modified melder and shoots her in the head.
My silent scream is buried in the other ones, as Marella Redek falls to the ground, dead.
An audible click takes me out of the memories. I fight back the urge to scream and cry as I pull out Sophie’s iPod out of the stone duvet.
I don't even celebrate, I just leap away.
Della sobbing by the gates is the first things that greets me when I return home.
I immediately say “What happened?”
Della looks up with bloodshot eyes and says “Fitz just tried to commit suicide.”
It's funny how we never know something is there until we lose it. I always thought my garden was quiet, by now I see all the noises that I had forgotten were there.
The rustling of the leaves in the trees, the quiet murmur of the gnomes talking among themselves, even the bugs with their infernal buzzing were always there.
But when Della says that, it all stops. For a long moment, it seemed as if time had stopped for a moment.
Then it all came crashing down. A single question bounces through my head. Over and over again, on repeat. Why I don't realize that it had popped out of my mouth until Della starts cry-screeching. "I don't know, I don't know I don't kn-"
I run away from her, heading straight into the house. Down and down hallway after hallway, heading towards Fitz's room. I'm going to get my answers, even if I have to fight for them.
At last, I screech to a stop in front of a sky blue door. I don't hesitate, just grab the knob and twist.
Alden and Elwin stare at me in horror, both with elixirs in their hands. Alden starts. “Biana, get out of this ro-”
But all my attention is on Fitz, who's humming and staring out the window.
"Fitz" I whisper, not ready for what he says. He looks at me with a smile on his face, his eyes brighter then they had been since the murder. "Hello," he says, "Who are you again?"
I sit on the couch, stirring a concoction Alden gave me. It's almost positively filled with a sedative, or that weird happy elixir Sophie told me about.
It took me 3 minutes and 45 seconds to get out of Fitz’s room. When he said that, that sentence, I could feel my mind splintering. I fell to my knees, only to have Alden pull me up again, begging me not to break.
And I didn’t. I stayed there, shocked and angry and sad and millions of other emotions, but I didn’t break.
Sophie would've been proud.
Alden comes up to me, disappointment on his face as he sees I haven't taken the elixir. I hand it back to him, only to have him push it back.
“You’ll want to take that. It will dull the...pain.” He says, grief dripping off every word.
I shake my head so hard one of my earrings go flying across the room. “No!”
He flinches back, almost tripping over the coffee table. It's something Sophie would have done. Funny how all of her traits seemed to have gone to us after she died.
I lower my voice. “I don't want the pain dulled. I want the truth, and I want it now.”
Alden nods slowly. And then takes a deep breath. ‘We found him, by a vial of...something. He took it, and it attacked the neurons and nerves of his brain. He’s forgotten everything, including who we are. We found out how the vial was delivered, through his locker at Foxfire. There even was a note, Forget everything, and you will never have to see her face in your nightmares ever again.”
I stare at him, trying not to giggle like a maniac. My brother, Mr. Caution, took a random vial of who knows what, to forget?
Alden sighs at my disbelieving face. “I know. It doesn't make sense. We’re having the note lab-examined right now, we think it has something to do with Sophie’s murder. In the meantime, Don't take anything that was given to you, or wasn't sealed. Only eat things that have been taste-tested by that.” He points to a machine that looks like a telescope, except with a dull point at the end.
I nod slowly, still in disbelief.
He looks at my anguished face and calls Elwin. They both regard me sadly. Then Elwin shoves a needle in my arm. I look up at both of them, betrayal written across my face.
“It's for your own good,” Alden promises as the world begins to tilt.
I try to say “I hate you,” but before I can, the world goes black.
He carried his plate up to his study, placing it on the oak table. A single glance at it told him it was some sort of plant, with an appetizing smell coming from it. It was a dish he had eaten for years, at least once a week. But as he sat down, he shrewdly picked up a single leaf that did not belong. He didn't blame the gnomes for that mistake, everyone made mistakes.
And she was his biggest one yet. He took a bite, pushing 2 cognate rings and some mechanical pieces to the side. He suddenly got up.
I need to see her again
He lifted a crystal from his pocket and lightleaped to Everglen. He ducked behind a tree as he saw her run up to her crying mother. She talked to her for barely a minute, before running into Everglen.
He smiled. Now he could go back to his home in peace. But before he left, he whispered a few words. "Don't worry, Biana Vacker. You will soon take her place."
And with that, he lightleaped away.
Fitz started at the vial in his hand. He wanted to forget, so badly. But he really wanted to tell his dad, tell anyone of what he saw.
He slammed shut his eyelids are images flashed through his head. The light leaving Sophie's eyes. The moment where she knew she was going to die. She looked so peaceful. The stress lines on her forehead had eased, and-
No, he thought.
He opened his eyes, panting hard. He glanced at the other note he had received.
Drink this or else we will kill everyone you love.
He would die to let anyone know about Sophie's murder and murderer. But it wasn't fair to make that choice for Della or Alden or Biana.
His hands shook as he burnt the note, and as he tipped the vial to his trembling lips.
And as he lay on the floor, shaking from the memory withdrawal, he never saw the person who slipped through his window and placed another note near the vial. He never saw them as they slipped his cognate ring off his finger, just as they had done for Sophie.
I open my heavy eyes, confused. I know something happened to me, and a lingering feeling of betrayal rests inside me. I try to get out of bed, but a handcuff attached from the bedpost to my wrist stops me. As soon as I look at it, everything from the previous day clicks into focus.
Anger rushes up through me, rising like a volcano about to blow. I am about to scream for my dad, my brother, my mom, really anyone who’s in the house. But I stop myself at the last moment.
Do this the smart way.
I take a few deep breaths and examine the cuff. It’s silver, with a single keyhole to open it. The chain is gleaming and heavy, and both look brand-new. There’s no chance of me breaking it, but I can still get out.
I comb a hand through my hair, looking for the object Dex had given us months ago. At last, it fell into my palm.
It looks normal enough, a silver pin, with a tiny gem on the end. It’s quite pretty, as well. But don’t let that fool you.
It's a shim, a tool used for opening locks in case we ever got captured. The gem is actually a light leaping crystal to a Black Swan Hideout. Basically, everything I need to escape.
I recall Dex’s instructions on how to pick locks as I slip the shim into the keyhole. The trick is to find both bolts and push them one after another.
I wiggle the shim until I hear one click, then carefully move it to the other side before hearing the second click.
The cuff falls off my wrist.
I quickly place the cuff chain under a pile of pillows which I covered with a blanket. It looks nothing like me sleeping, but hopefully, it will fool them long enough for me to escape.
I crack open the window, and raise the crystal to the light and leap away from my broken family.
But when I get there, all there is a table surrounded by trees, not the dirt walls of the hideout. I walk towards the table, slightly curious and slightly scared. There’s a note on the table. I pick it up and read it aloud.
Don’t look so sad about her death. It was all for a reason. And soon you will be the new Moonlark. Very, Very soon.
I felt anger. Pure anger. Anger at this Rigante for killing Sophie. Angry at Fitz, for leaving me when I needed him most. Anger at me, for letting Sophie die.
It rises up through me till I was practically shaking with rage. I barely knew what I was doing as I ripped the note into itty-bitty little pieces. They floated to the ground, before resting in the thick mud.
I knew I couldn't go back to Everglen, not after all of that. Alden would keep me in there, trapped, by my own choice or not. But now I had a lead, one I was willing to follow until the end of the world.
Because I would do that for Sophie, and she would do it for me. I thought about that, till it filled me with emotions so strong that they could drop someone to their knees.
If Keefe was here, he would probably be on emotion overload. Thinking about makes me laugh, bringing some much-needed joy to me. I crack my knuckles and examine the place I’m in. There’s just a ring of trees around me, and on the table, there’s a rock paperweight in a pyramid shape. I scoop it up and feel it's oddly shaped sides. It's interesting, but it doesn't look that important.
Until I see the familiar glimmer of a crystal as the capstone.
I let a smile overcome my face as I raise my prize to light and leap away.
My feet thump against the luxurious carpet, and I examine where I am. I walk to the glass wall, and peer outside it, clutching the paperweight in my hand. I saw the twist streets of Atlantis below me, and the rest of the clues fall into place.
This is Livvy’s apartment, obviously. The decor is studded with gems, her signature style. I find the door at pull it open, only to find a surprised Livvy.
“Yeah, I need to tell you something. A lot of something...”
I spill everything from Sophie’s funeral to coming to the apartment. It spills out of me, like a river over flooding.
Livvy nods as her face hardens. “I need to tell Mr. Forkle about the note. Come in the kitchen to grab a bite.”
I follow her and sit down on one of the barstools. Livvy pushes a plate of mallowmelt and a bottle of lushberry juice towards me. I sip the lushberry juice as I plop the paperweight on the counter. Livvy’s eyes flash. Odd.
I absentmindedly trace the paperweight, thinking about it. Hiding the crystal as the capstone was smart, and the rock is-. The last of the clues fall into place. I feel so stupid, how could’ve I missed it all?
I say in a whisper. “I know who killed Sophie Elizabeth Foster.”
“It was Tiergan,” I swallow the lump in my throat. “Rigante. It’s an anagram. For Granite, which is an anagram for Tiergan. And the pyramid, it’s made up out of granite. Tiergan’s been in Fitz’s mind, so he would know how to erase his memories.”
I look at Livvy, waiting for a sign of belief or disbelief.
She just stands there, her mouth in a perfect O.
I grab the pyramid and take out my crystal to Everglen. “I need to tell Alden,” I say, turning away from Livvy.
I hear a quiet click behind my head.
“Not so fast, you’re not going anywhere,” Livvy says.
I turn around slowly, only to see Livvy with a melder pointed at my head.
“Why?” I choke out, mentally screaming.
Livvy tilts her head, and the light catches the beads in her hair, making them glitter. “Why? Because there are some things you don’t know that you should. Things that the Black Swan has been keeping from you. Sit.” She gestures to the plush couch.
I sit down and clench my fists, trying to keep from punching her. I was so close, yet so far.
“So do tell,” I say, managing to conjure up some of Keefe’s snark.
Livvy sits down across from me “It’s better if I show you.” She presses one end of the melder to my head and places 2 fingers on my temples. I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding in a whoosh of air as the memories embrace me and I sink into them.
Mr. Forkle frowns at the papers laid out in front of him. “That doesn’t make sense,” he mumbles. Calla comes up from behind him. “What doesn’t make sense?”
Mr. Forkle swallows. “There seems to have been a mistake. According to this, our moonlark has a high potential for psychiatric illness.”
Calla gasps. “The moonlark can go mad?”
“No, according to this, she will go mad before she turns 16,” Forkle said, running a hand through his hair.
“That’s impossible,” Calla said, “After all of our careful planning, this can’t happen!”
“We won’t let it.” Forkle soothed. “I assure you, we will do everything in our power to make sure it doesn’t.”
The memory changes, this time to Livvy and Tiergan inside Tiergan’s office.
“She’s not going insane!” Livvy shouted. “It’s not possible!”
“Livvy, you’ve seen the brain scans. She’s going insane, what do you think happened to Iggy? No imp just disappears without a trace. How long till she turns on her friends and family?”
“B-but,” Livvy said, fight clearly leaving her. “There has to be another option.”
Tiergan pulled her in for a hug. “If there was, I would take it, but there isn’t. We had to do this.”
Livvy nodded weakly as Tiergan kissed her cheek. “I’m sorry, Sophie,” she says in a paper thin voice.
I’m shoved back into my body, and Livvy pulls her hand and melder away from my head. She still points it in my general direction though. She looks at me, head tilted, waiting for a reaction.
Unfortunately, I channeled too much of Keefe’s snark. “You and Tiergan are in a relationship?”
Livvy flushes scarlet. In all fairness, it definitely wasn’t the answer she was looking for. “That's not important.”
I shrug and look at my feet. If the memory was the truth, Sophie really was going mad. But Iggy was still at Sophie’s house, so how could Sophie do anything to him?
Livvy sees the question on my face. “When she saw what she did, she was horrified. She went and found another imp and gave him enough elixirs to look like Iggy.”
I nod slowly. Sophie had kept all of this away from us? I couldn’t blame myself for not believing it.
I speak slowly. “S-So were you going to keep this a secret from the rest of the world?”
Livvy takes my hand in hers. “That’s the thing Biana. We need another Moonlark. The public couldn’t bear Sophie’s death.”
“They have,” I snap, “What do you think has been happening for the last few weeks!”
Livvy pulls out a crumpled piece of paper and hands it to me. I scan it, looking for anything that seems important.
Sophie Foster can’t be dead! Join the Find Sophie movement in Shady Plum Park, to find Sophie Foster and bring her back to the world!
I stare at Livvy. “How long has this been going on?”
“Since she died. The Council won’t show them Sophie’s body, and they take it as proof she’s still alive.” She says, eyes glittering with unshed tears.
“Why do you need another moonlark? The Neverseen are gone!” I say, hating the edge of hysteria in my voice.
Livvy turns away abruptly. “They were never the only problem. Sophie was the reason for the elf-troll alliance, and the elf-ogre one. What would happen to those?”
I stay quiet, the storm raging inside of me.
Then she says the iron words. “What would Sophie want you to do?”
I can’t stop the floods, the waterworks, and as tears run down my cheeks, I say the words. “I will do everything in my power to help the world.”
That was probably a horrible decision. Livvy light leaped me to Tiergan’s as soon as my tears stopped, and it took all my willpower not to strangle him.
He and Livvy explained my story. I was the real Sophie Foster, and the body that the Council had wasn’t me, but a proxy. A group of rebels were targeting me, and the Black Swan made the proxy to protect me while I went into hiding.
In my opinion, it was a stupid backstory. Livvy said that the people would be grateful to swallow down any backstory and that the Council would be just as eager.
“We do have the support of the Black Swan, right?” I ask Livvy as she prepares a drink of different types of appearance-altering elixirs. It looked like a gloopy brown sludge that looks uncannily like - You know what I mean.
Livvy wipes her hands on her apron. “The Black Swan is...divided. We have a good portion of them on our side, but others are in the dark. And don’t even think of telling anyone, even your friends.”
I am saved from answering as she shoves the giant tube in my hand. I uncork it, and almost keel over. It smelled exactly what it looked like. I suck up my courage and take 3 quick gulps.
It tasted like what I assumed it would taste like. After my initial gross-out, I look in the mirror as my brown hair turns blond, then straight. My skin tone turns from its pale color to Sophie’s olive-like tone. My eyes turn from deep teal to a deep brown, sparkling with gold.
I admire the accuracy of the change from me to Sophie as Livvy examines my reflection.
“The eyes were the hardest part,” She admits, “the gold was hard to get right.”
“You did a good job,” I assure her, checking back in the mirror. It surprises me how fast I get over Sophie’s murder. I understand why, but I can’t help that tiny part of me that feels sad. Just like I can’t deny the part of me that feels happy. I always wanted to be like Sophie, and now I am. And that part scares me the most.
Tiergan barges in as I mull this over. “The Council wants to see her. Now.”
I look at Livvy, who looks shocked. Tiergan grabs my wrist and we lightleap away to the Councillors’ Palaces.
My feet slam on the ground, and I look up, hesitant. All twelve Councillors stand before me, looking ever so regal in their jeweled crowns and long capes. I dip into a curtsy, stumbling a little.
Oralie looks at me, disbelief plain on her face. “Sophie?”
I nod, afraid my voice would give me away.
Bronte squints at me. “How are you alive?”
Tiergan saves me before I have to answer. “Give the child a break, she’s been through a stressful experience.”
Alina steps forward and grabs my arm. “How do we know it's really her? It could be a Neverseen decoy. And he-,” She points to Tiergan, “could be a Neverseen decoy as well!”
Tiergan looks at her dismissively. “How do we know you’re not a decoy?”
Alina’s mouth opens and closes like a fish, once at a loss for words. I fight the urge to cheer.
All the other Councillors gawk at me. “Show us your abilities.” One of them commanded.
Tiergan steps forward. “Okay Sophie, just show them your enhancing ability.” In one smooth move, he slips a bracelet on my wrist.
I hide it under the ruffles of my coat and step in front of Oralie. I slip off the glove Livvy gave me and grasp her hand. Oralie gasps.
“I can feel everyone’s emotions without even touching them!” She says, surprised. I let go of her hand and slide back on the glove, feeling thankful for elven technology.
Tiergan looks at the Councillors. “Can I take Sophie back to her parents? They don’t know she’s alive yet.”
Emery speaks. “We have to show her to the population.” Without even discussing this with Tiergan, he and another Councillor grab my wrist and open two, wide, jeweled doors. They push me outside while someone announces, “The great Sophie Foster is alive!”
At first, I’m blinded by the bright sunlight, but the world comes back into focus. I see hundreds- no, thousands of elves looking up at me, some crying with happiness.
I should be happy, but I feel nothing more than an imposter.
But sometimes we have to do what we have to do. Right?
Or is it?