Note: You'll have to read the previous story in order to understand the plot
of this one.
day when I first met Boochi… Now that's a day I'll never forget. The mystery
and tragedy that lay behind those sinister eyes is something few will ever see.
He wants it to be that way. After all, what's the point in wearing a mask of
evil if people see what is behind it?
I just never thought I'd see him again.
I was in Tyrannia with RubyRainbow333,
my Uni, who was now painted rainbow. How she loved that rainbow coat! Vibrant
and flashy, but extremely expensive. Exactly how much sweat, tears and frustrating
rounds of Meerca Chase had gone into that coat was anyone's guess. But it was
a lot. And it was worth it.
Also, my blue Eyrie SapphireCloud777 was
with us. Although she wasn't painted, she still took pride in her appearances.
Strong and swift, the most majestic of NeoPets. "Darn it! The Techo's sold out
of Twisted Roses Tickets," she groaned. "What do you want to do now?"
"I don't know," I shrugged. Suddenly,
brilliant blue and pink lights seared across my vision, blinding me and knocking
me over. For a few moments, all I could see was the Tyrannian dust, swirling
like a reddish-brown tornado. All the while, those lights kept flashing in the
back of my mind. Where had I seen them before?
When the dust finally cleared, Boochi
the baby Bruce was aiming his ray gun, one eye closed and the other open, focused
intensely on Ruby's head. Ruby was facing Boochi in a fighting stance, horn
lowered and ready to cause some major damage. Behind Ruby, a small puff of yellow
feathers trembled in fear. Its paws were over its head, and it was nestled in
a dip in the ground. Cautiously, I approached the yellow fluffball and pulled
one of its paws off of its head.
It was Sapphire. My little Sapphire, proud
and magnificent, reduced to this trembling little hatchling. "Widagiwl?" she
said, looking up at me with those innocent, sweet eyes I could not mistake for
anyone's but Sapphire's. "Wida? What happened? Why am I tawking wike dis?"
Wordlessly, I pulled an Aisha compact
mirror out of my green backpack and let Sapphire have a look at herself. "I…
I'm a baby?" she whispered, stumbling back in disbelief. Then, she broke out
in baby's tears. "WAAAAAAAAA!"
"Ah, pipe down you little hatchling, or
the pony'll get a taste of your fate," Boochi threatened, ray gun still pointed
at Ruby. "In fact, the gun is almost finished recharging right now. It'll be
back to full power in about a minute. In the meantime, I suggest you don't move.
I have other weapons up my sleeve, y'know."
"You haven't changed much, have you?"
Ruby scoffed, voice level and firm but eyes betraying her fear as she watched
the power gauge rise steadily.
"Nope, pony. And you haven't changed much
either. Still cockier than a pack of Lupes against a Chia infant," he sneered,
his eyes keeping a close watch on the power gauge too. "But you won't be so
cocky when I'm done with you. You'll lose that pretty rainbow coat of yours,
yes you will. In fact, you'd've already lost the coat if that dag-blasted Eyrie
hadn't of gotten in my way."
"Dag-bwasted yourself," Sapphire muttered.
"Let's get two things straight," Ruby
interrupted as I put my hand over Sapphire's beak to keep her quiet. "One: My
name is not 'pony'. It's Ruby. Two: You keep your little flippers off of my
sister, Ridergirl, and my coat. Got it?"
Boochi just chuckled as the gun chanted,
"Full power in fifteen seconds. Fourteen. Thirteen."
"Life ain't that easy, Ruby. You can't
just order me away, no ma'am. Not after you and your faeries-cursed owner printed
this about me in the Times." He held up The Neopian Times Issue 75. "It ain't
true. Not a word of it, d'you hear me? You were just a-making up lies to get
"Five. Four. Three. Two. One…"
Swift as rainbow lightning, Ruby darted
out of the way of the pink and blue beams. "It's not lies!" I hollered. "You
said it! You told us it was true!"
"Yeah!" Sapphire agreed.
"No!" Boochi cried as he watched Ruby
dart away and hide behind a nearby boulder. "I need to let this thing charge
up again! No matter. Remember what I said about having other weapons? I'll just
knock you out with those." Grinning devilishly, he pulled from his diaper something
that looked like an extremely sinister… rattle?
My doubts evaporated as he sent the rattle
crashing on Ruby's head, causing a fair chunk of damage. Unprepared for this
type of attack, it took Ruby a few seconds to process what had happened. Those
seconds gave Boochi time to pull out other weapons in his infant arsenal, including
an Ultra Bubble Beam and a terrible ray gun, not dissimilar from the ray gun
that had gotten us into this mess in the first place. Ruby responded by pulling
out her Wand of the Light Faerie and her Orb of the Fire Faerie, her two most
powerful weapons. "I'm warning you, Boochi," he whispered. "I've defeated worse
than the likes of you. I've beaten the Drackonack and the Pant Devil and the
Boochi gave a bored yawn. "Yap on, pony.
She didn't. She attacked.
It was all over in a few seconds. "I can't
believe you beat me!" Boochi wailed. "I'll never be able to show my face in
front of my master again!"
"Save it, Boochi." Ruby growled, nursing
an injured hoof but otherwise okay. "So this trip was about revenge, huh? For
'making up lies' as you put it."
Boochi nodded. "But they weren't lies.
I did say it. I just didn't think she'd publish it!" He spat out the word 'she'
as though it were acid on his tongue.
Boochi whirled towards me, beady black
eyes reduced to narrow slits in his rage. "I entrusted you with a secret, girl.
And you go and publish it for all of Neopia to see! The most painful memories
of my life, in print and on the newsstands. Because you were so cruel to me.
I despise you almost as much as I despise that greedy oaf Balthazar. Like him,
you played off my emotions for your own benefit. You're so cruel…" Tears started
to form at the corners of his eyes. He concealed them with his flipper.
I flinched as though I had been struck
with that rattle myself. Feeling my face go pale, I stepped back and sat on
the ground, baby Sapphire in my lap looking up at me with forlorn eyes. "Say
something Wida. Deny it. You didn't do anything wrong."
"Wida?" Sapphire's eyes began to well
up with tears also. I placed a trembling hand on her head.
"Sapphire my girl, I think I've made a
terrible mistake," I whispered in a voice so soft that the Tyrannian winds threatened
to blow it away.
"You sure did," Boochi said, trying to
"Boochi… I'm so sorry." I ran over to
the baby Bruce to console him. "Is there anything I can do to make it up to
Boochi looked up from his flipper. "Well,
there is one thing…"
* * *
"Remind me again why you talked me into this!" Ruby hissed as we crept along
the shadows of the Haunted Woods by night.
"I owe Boochi," I said simply.
Ruby scoffed, "But you don't owe him this
much. Skulking around Neopia's most dangerous forests on the night of the new
moon, when ghosts and WereLupes and goodness-only-knows-what-else is just waiting
for a piece of grilled Uni and a side of mashed owner."
I responded by putting my finger to my
lips, telling Ruby to be silent. Balthazar's den was in sight.
The entrance was humble, only a hole in
the side of a rocky hill. But the hill was covered in many craggy trees making
it look so foreboding. The trees seemed to whisper to each other and raise their
wooden arms to scratch my back, tearing hole in my sweater and catching my hair
and Ruby's mane. (Sapphire and Boochi were still in Neopia Central shopping
for a blue paint brush to make Sapphire normal again.)
Swift and silent as shadows, Ruby and
I crept into the hole and down a sloped tunnel. Several times in the tunnel
I had to have my hand in front of my face to make sure I wasn't going blind.
That's how dark it was. Groping along the walls, I discovered that the tunnel
branched off to the left. "Psst," I hissed to Ruby, touching her flank gently.
"WHAT!" she yelled, jumping nearly a mile
and hitting her head on the tunnel's ceiling. I giggled.
Ruby just grumbled, "Rider, that wasn't
"Whatever," I replied, starting down the
left fork and hoping that it was the correct fork to take. For what seemed like
an hour (but was, in actuality, 5 minutes) we walked through twisting tunnels,
going left and right, swerving and darting and retracing our tracks. Finally,
we reached a chamber that must have been…
"Balthazar's dungeons." A cave, made out
of almost solid granite. A single torch burned in the center of the room, illuminating
the sorrow surrounding it. Piles of water bottles placed in seemingly random
locations, reflecting the torch's flickering light. Some of the bottles were
empty. Some contained faeries. My heart broke for them, defenseless creatures
held captive by such a ruthless enemy.
An enemy that you've been compared
to, a voice in the back of my mind whispered.
"Shut up," I said to it. "What? What did
I say?" Ruby asked defensively.
"Nothing," I said hastily, trying to cover
up the fact that I converse with my conscience. I took a few steps forward and
Metal bars stretching from the ground
to the ceiling, creating a small cage for a single green Bruce -- Georgina.
"Georgina!" I cried, racing over to the
trapped Bruce. In my haste to get to her, I didn't notice the small stack of
water bottles in front of me.
CRASH! Shards of glass littered
the floor, making a sound like a thousand cymbals! Luckily, I was unhurt but
the noise had attracted the attention of a Kyrii in the tunnels who I assumed
was one of Balthazar's minions. "INTRUDERS! INTRUDERS CAME TO STEAL THE FAERIES!"
He held up a pointy object that looked suspiciously like a spear, but I wasn't
going to get close enough to find out. Slapping my Uni on the rump like a cowgirl
would slap her horse, I started dashing towards the exit.
"RUN RUBY!!!" Needing no further coaxing,
We darted past the Kyrii before he could
use his spear. But his cries had alerted a dozen other minions. They pursued
us, coming form every direction at once. We just ran past them as fast as we
could. The five minutes it took us to exit the cave seemed more like a week!
At least on the way out, we had the torches of the guards to light our way.
Out of the cave we flew, sheer panic giving us bursts of strength and speed
we never knew we had. Never looking back to see if they were still following
us. Finally, we collapsed on the edge of the Haunted Woods, gasping for breath.
"Let's… never… do that… again," Ruby panted,
laying down on the soft grass and wiping sweat off of her face.
"I… hear you," I replied, doing the same
thing. "But… what'll we tell… Boochi? We never… rescued Georgina… as we promised."
"He'll… understand," Ruby replied. "Besides…
we weren't going… to stay around to be… skewered. Turned into… Uni and owner
I nodded. "I still feel… like we let him…
Ruby gave me a gentle smack on the side
of the head, too weary to put any effort into it. "Get some… flippin' sense
Ridergirl. We could have… died. Yes, and brought… Georgina down with us. We
did her… and Boochi a favor… by not rescuing her."
Silently, I nodded. Weariness overcame
me and, forgetting about the minions who were after my Uni and I, I drifted
into a dreamless sleep.
* * *
I awoke the next morning, safe and sound. Miracle upon miracles, the minions
had not found us. Relieved, I mounted Ruby's back and flew with her back to
Neopia Central. Needless to say, Boochi was disappointed when he found out that
I couldn't have Georgina. But he was grateful to me. And he was relieved that
his sweetheart was okay. He left us that evening.
Sapphire was back to her normal, majestic
blue Eyrie self -- although it took a few days for her to get rid of the accent.
And after a few days, being called "Widagiwl" started to get on my nerves.
I never did repay Boochi for all of the
pain I had caused. According to Ruby, risking life and limb in Balthazar's den
was payment enough, but I disagreed. Our risks had no results. Georgina was
still imprisoned and Boochi was still enslaved. We knew nothing of Balthazar's
motives for turning NeoPets into babies, although Boochi hinted that Balthazar
might be out for world domination. And babies are (for the most part) much easier
to defeat than fully-grown Neopets.
Now, whenever I see him in the news or
just roaming the streets of Neopia, I am reminded of my errors in the past.
And I take pity on him. Although I never spoke to him again, he was a constant
reminder to me that words can cut as deeply as knives.
But greater than the power of words and
hurt is the power of forgiveness.