End Game. Continue?
Waterlily leant over me. "Chrissy? Are you okay?"
I didn't reply. I didn't know what to say.
We'd been back on the Archangel for about an
hour. I hadn't moved or spoken. I didn't want to.
You're probably all mad at me for that complete
and utter lack of drama. You're probably all yelling 'Yes, but WHAT OF IT? You
just LEFT Anuina when you promised the Snowager you'd kill her? What about Nightwing?
The spirits just LEFT like that? When all you had to do is tell them to go?
HUH? WE WANT ANSWERS!'
I don't have any answers. Believe you me, I did
not just get bored and write a bad ending. It was harder writing the truth.
Everyone expects everything to end with a big bang, not a whimper. It was rather
an anticlimax. You get left in shock, just like I did. But I'll try to answer
those questions, just for the sake of it. That's why I'm writing this, after
I'm not a murderer. I think I knew, all along,
that I wasn't going to kill anyone. I couldn't kill Anuina, just like that.
I've given her another chance. I don't know if she'll take it, or that I've
done the right thing. I just have to hope.
Nightwing, or Benjy as Fabialla now tells me,
is another matter altogether. I hope I don't see him again. I've not got high
hopes for him turning around and starting handing out sweets. Those kinds of
people don't change for something less than revolutionary. But we can hope.
As for the spirits, I think if I'd just yelled
at them to leave at another time they'd have ignored me. I think the fact that
all five of them were there at once helped. I think Waterlily helped, even though
she doesn't know it. I think being a little outside of reality helped. I think,
in a strange way, that even Anuina helped. It was just a freak set of circumstances.
I hope they don't come back.
I'm placing an awful lot of faith in hope.
"Chrissy? Christina? Please wake up. Please."
I sighed, finally, and blinked my eyes open.
Waterlily burst into tears.
"I thought you were going to stay like that
for ever!" She hit my arm. Rather hard. "Don't DO that ever again! It's not
funny. You scared the life out of us!"
I smiled weakly, pushing myself into a sitting
position. They'd carried me to a bunk in one of the living quarters, so at least
I had blankets. Blankets. Proper blankets. I hadn't slept in a bed with proper
blankets for, oh, a long time.
But it wasn't my bed.
"Waterlily." My voice was cracked and rather
shaky. "I want to go home now."
She helped me out of bed, ferreting in one of
the cupboards for my shoes. "We'll go home, Chrissy. But first, there's someone
wants to see you."
I blinked, nonplussed. "Who?"
"Apart from everyone on this ship, you mean?
No, seriously, though, this is going to take a bit of explaining…"
* * * * *
I paced backwards and forwards relentlessly in front of the Science
"So what you're trying to tell me," I asked,
for the seventeenth time. "Is that Loki is… alive?"
"And Malania." Fabialla was fidgeting. None
of the other pets were quite sure about her, except Waterlily, who treated her
like a third sister. "And… and Mercedes and Danno."
The door swished open. Luna padded out, wiping
her forehead with a tired sigh.
"We did the best we could."
I swallowed hard, and led the pets into the room.
Ramei made a strangled noise like a Poppit being
trodden on, and then pounced on an oddly familiar looking blue Eyrie who was
blinking a bit more than was entirely necessary, like she wasn't quite sure
whether she was asleep or dreaming.
"Mercedes!" Fabialla shot past me in a blur
of flame and tackled a small yellow Uni to the floor. "You have NO idea how
good it is to see you again…"
"Argh! Stupid, you're crushing me! Ach! Cut
Despite her protests, Mercedes didn't really
seem to mind much. Ramei dragged a slightly dazed Malania across the floor.
"Malania, this is Chrissy, who fought off five
millennia old spirits all by herself, and THIS is Immacolata, she's real smart,
and THIS is Waterlily, she can hurl a sunbeam like no one else on this planet,
and THIS is Hina, who talked the Snowager out of one of his teeth! And THIS
is Elenna, she knows more about RPGs than any person I've ever met and has the
most AMAZING luck with the dice, not to mention she comes up with the most FANTASTIC
I jumped like someone had touched a live wire
to the base of my spine. Very, very slowly, I turned around, not entirely sure
I wanted to. There was only one person in the world that would use my code name
at that particular moment.
Sitting on a bench, rubbing his head with a bemused
grin, was a small blue Shoyru. For a moment, I just stood there. Then, I reacted
basically the same way as Ramei and Fabialla had, and swept him up for a bone-crushing
"Ouch! Chrissy, Shoyrus might have strong ribs,
but they really aren't designed for that kind of pressure." Loki sat back and
stared at my face for a long time. "You look terrible."
I grinned. "You wouldn't believe how much I've
missed you. Come on, I've got to introduce you…"
Solar grinned at the reunions going on. "Just
one more. He was a bit tricky."
"I hope Danno liked Shoyrus a LOT." Luna added.
Mercedes raised both eyebrows but Fabialla frowned deeply.
"Because," Solar explained, "Now he is one."
She pulled back the blanket over a small, sleeping
red Shoyru. Luna chipped in again.
"Sorry about this, but we couldn't bring him
back as a human."
"It just isn't possible."
"So we decided to bring him back as a pet."
"It's better than nothing."
As if on cue, the Shoyru blinked his eyes open.
Very slowly, a la Frankenstein, he sat up.
"Fabialla." His voice wasn't quite like a Shoyrus;
it was deeper and had an accent. "Where am I?"
"That's Danno, alright." She chortled happily.
"Always the cliché."
"Yeah." He scratched his head, staring around.
"'What am I doing here', 'how did I get here', 'who are all these people' and
'why am I a Shoyru' also figure high on my list of questions right now."
"It's going to take a lot of explaining and
there isn't really time right now." Fabialla glanced around the room. "Midnight
said we'd be landing soon. We're going home!"
* * * * *
"Hey everybody, look at this!"
Waterlily's yell broke my concentration and I
fell six feet, bruising my tailbone.
"Ouch! WATERLILY! I was getting good at that!"
I got to my feet painfully. The Ixi was grinning
from ear to ear, stifling a giggle.
"Go get washed up, anyway, it's almost time
for your birthday tea." I brushed dust off my new t-shirt, trousers and gloves,
a 'thank you' present from Fabialla and co., and then followed Waterlily out
of the dojo, where we had been practicing. Catching sight of my reflection in
the mirror that hung by the door, I stopped, slightly surprised as always by
how I looked.
A month had changed me more than the last year
had. After a long bath, a change of clothes and a healing potion, most of the
grime and blood had gone. The cut on my forehead had scarred, just as I thought
it would, but luckily my eyebrow had grown back over it and it was barely visible.
My face and limbs looked a little thinner, there were lines around my eyes that
hadn't been there before, but there wasn't much physical evidence that our adventure
had ever happened.
The one major difference, however, was that one
body couldn't hold five powerfully magical spirits without absorbing a little
itself. Although light magic was utterly beyond me, Waterlily had taught me
a good few tricks. One of my personal favourites at the moment was levitation,
although as you can see, I wasn't very good at it.
Although my house was a little cramped for it,
all of our new friends had decided to stay. Danno was still a little miffed
about being a Shoyru, even though Mercedes and Fabialla had done their best
to cheer him up, and after about three days I had finally worked up the courage
to ask them all that, you know, if they wanted to, they could hang around for
a while… maybe even permanently. But only if they wanted to. Even though it
had meant forgoing their painted coats in favour of the original four colours,
Malania, Ramei, Perilo, Kunila, Keeragh and Lu had all chosen to stay with me.
A few days later, Mercedes and Fabialla had made the same choice. It took Danno
a few hours of sulking to accept that if he was going to be a pet, he might
as well stay with me for a while. For Loki, of course, there had been no question
of him leaving.
Outside, the garden was covered with decorations.
It was Waterlily's long awaited first birthday party, albeit a little late,
and all the pets were clustered in the garden, chatting loudly and eating everything
they could get their paws, hands or hooves on.
"Alright, alright, settle down!" I yelled, dropping
into a seat. "We might as well open the presents now, before Waterlily dies
The Ixi had the decency to blush, but practically
leapt into my lap when I picked up the biggest parcel.
"This is kinda from all of us. Call it a replacement
for your glider." Believe it or not, Waterlily had only been back two days before
she crashed her glider a fifteenth time and damaged it beyond repair.
Almost drooling, Waterlily tore the parcel open.
"CHEESECOOKIES!" Her jaw dropped and she pulled a Halloween Paint Brush out
of the box. "You got me… you got me… a Paint Brush… Hallow… cheesecookies… I'M
Immacolata laughed so hard she fell off the edge
of her chair. I just grinned. "Do you want to open your other presents, or do
you want to go to the Rainbow Pool now?"
"NOW! I mean, I can open them later, honest!"
she grinned. I considered the option of trying to levitate down to Neopia central,
and then gave it up in favour of my glider. It had barely survived our adventure,
the only one that actually had, and was probably only marginally safer.
Lu jumped strait onto Malania's back, and Perilo
and Hina were offered seats by Mercedes and Fabialla. Kunila, of course, rode
with Keeragh. Danno and Loki didn't need a ride but also weren't really able
to carry anyone. Waterlily glanced around, suddenly realising she and Immacolata
were the only ones without a ride.
"Hang on a minute," I paused. "Where are Elenna
and Ramei? ELENNA? RAMEI?"
The two pets were already flying side by side,
and didn't seem to hear me. Waterlily was frowning, as though she was suspicious
"Nevermind," said Malania, flexing her wings.
"I can carry Waterlily and Lu a short distance, and Immacolata will have to
go with Chrissy."
We took off in a jumble of feathers and admittedly
a few muttered curses on my part, and caught up with the Uni and the Eyrie very
quickly. Elenna seemed surprised when Waterlily took a flying leap onto her
back. It appeared she hadn't seen us coming.
"Why do you and Elenna keep wondering off all
the time, anyway?" Lu frowned, leaning on Malania's neck as Immacolata leapt
clumsily onto Ramei's shoulders.
"We just like the same things…" he replied uncertainly,
but Waterlily suddenly burst out laughing.
"Yeah right! Elenna, you've got a BOYFRIEND…"
Suddenly the Ixi squeaked loudly as the Uni, blushing furiously, folded her
wings and dove towards Neopia Central below us. With loud whoops, the other
pets followed, racing each other through the air.
I just laughed, watching them. This is my family,
and no one will ever take them away from me. I pity anyone who tries.
Folding the wings of my glider, I closed my eyes
and for a moment I just floated gently on the breeze. A second later I was plummeting
towards the ground and had to open the wings again.
"Sweet mother of wombats, maybe I should try
Authors note: The thrilling conclusion! I want to thank all my readers
for sticking with me through over a hundred (Blimey) pages of drama, heroics
and the occasional giggling fit. You all know the drill, I'm sure… If you liked
it, didn't like it, think it was too long, think it was too short (I doubt that),
love the characters, love the action, love the jokes, want to see a sequel,
want to be my neofriend, want to worship me (Hey, I can hope!) etcetera, then
just neomail me. I like getting neomails.
I'll cut this short before I plough strait into my Academy Award Acceptance
Speech, but I'd also like to thank my pets for their support and for occasionally
cooking dinner when I was too busy writing, my current neofriends for ideas
and critiques, and occasionally dragging me away from the writing, the editors
of The Neopian Times for publishing this and, of course, The Neopets Team themselves,
for coming up with a website so cool it kept me glued to the keyboard for several
months writing a fan fiction. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, and good night.
P.S. Believe it or not, as many people who know me can confirm, I actually
do have a scar over my left eyebrow… *X-File theme tune*