Daydream fluttered down gently, bobbing right next to
the Neopian hospital swinging doors. NSQ hopped off and flung one of the doors
open. Inside the reception room, Dr. Felicity Milnyk, the green Gelert doctor,
was handing a red Kyrii a few sheets of paper. She turned when she heard NSQ.
"Why hello!" she said conversationally. "What's
wrong, NSQ? Has Neofaerie gotten Ugga-Ugga while adventuring in Tyrannia again?"
"Much worse!" cried NSQ, and at that moment,
Daydream drifted in, with Neofaerie lying motionless on her back.
At once, a change came over Dr. Milnyk. She immediately
became more business-like, and called out, "I need a stretcher to room 16!"
in the brisk, curt tones that NSQ knew she only used when there was an emergency.
Two Nimmos rushed over, bearing a white linen
cot. They set Neofaerie down on it carefully, and carried him into a room.
NSQ made to follow them, but Dr. Milnyk stopped
her. "Just hold on a minute," she said warmly, "you will be able to see him,
NSQ. Now, how did you say this happened?"
"Well, too make a long story short, he fell into
some lava in the Tyrannian volcanoes."
"I see. How long did he stay in?"
"Umm, under one minute, I think. It wasn't very
long." She added to herself, 'Although it seemed to take forever.'
"I see," repeated the Gelert.
"Doctor, will he be okay?" asked NSQ with concern.
"The truth, please."
Dr. Felicity Milnyk paused. Doctor, will he
be okay?. She was asked this, or something like it, at least once a week.
Usually, the answer was yes. Someone new to Neopia had gotten their pet a bit
scratched up in the Battledome, or by the Snowager. And so the answer was yes,
their pet would be fine. But for NSQ…
"We'll do all that we can," she said honestly.
"But, NSQ..." she placed her paw consolingly on the girls hand, "if you want
the truth, it looks like a pretty desperate situation."
NSQ nodded understandingly, and fought to keep
her face straight. She knew that Neofaerie was in bad condition, but to hear
it said out loud like this, by one of Neopia's best doctors…
"If you'd please sit down over here," said Dr.
Milnyk, guiding her over to a pair of hard backed chairs with thin, red velvet
seats. "We'll call you when you can come in and see Neofaerie."
"Okay," replied NSQ, her voice sounding very
faint. She gripped the chairs edge tightly, gazing at the tiled floor. Dr. Milnyk
gave her a kind smile, and then bustled off to room 16.
A few minutes later, the door opened again and
Happiness bounced inside. The Cybunny took a quick look around, and then rushed
over to NSQ and leaped into her lap.
"Hi, NSQ! Where's Neofaerie? Did he go buy food?
I'm starved, how long has it been? I know we just set out for Mystery Island
3 days ago, and Sloth gave us some food, but I'm still hungry! What's Neofaerie
NSQ felt tears coming at the way that Happiness
was talking, as if everything was alright. She made a quiet sobbing noise, and
pulled the confused Cybunny into a hug.
"Come, Happiness," said Neoangel quietly, picking
the Cybunny up. "I believe Hubert is giving away free hotdogs at his stall."
Happiness's ears perked up, and she hopped out the doorway. Neoangel sat down
in the seat beside NSQ.
"So, how is Neofaerie?"
"The doctors said that they'd do all that they
could," answered NSQ.
"They said… it looked like a pretty desperate
situation." NSQ ran her fingers through her hair vacantly. "What happened when
we left? Did you find out who Denriada was?"
Neoangel paused. NSQ had been truthful with her,
but somehow Neoangel felt like she should keep this to herself. So she merely
replied, "Denriada will not be bothering us again, I think."
"Just another villain, then?"
Neoangel, a bit uncomfortable with all this lying,
replied, "You could say that."
They waited for a few minutes in silence, mute.
Happiness came back and announced that Hubert wasn't giving away free hotdogs.
Neither Neoangel nor NSQ was very surprised at that. They waited another few
minutes, before Dr. Milnyk came out of the room. NSQ stood up hastily.
"Go home now," said Dr. Felicity Milnyk gently.
"I will send word of Neofaerie tomorrow morning."
"C-can we see him?" asked NSQ.
Dr. Milnyk paused. "Well, alright," she said
reluctantly. "Follow me."
They entered the room silently. Dr. Milnyk had
to go check on another patient, so she left them alone in the room.
NSQ shuffled up to the white hospital bed that
Neofaerie was lying unconscious on. She looked around, and then sat down timidly
on a small wooden chair. Happiness hopped onto her owner's knees, and looked
curiously at Neofaerie, her small paws holding herself up on the mattress.
"NSQ?" she asked innocently. "Why is Neofaerie
The girl didn't reply. Happiness tilted her head,
and then her ears drooped with sudden understanding. She leaned back and pushed
herself into NSQ's lap, as if trying to make herself as small as possible. "Oh,"
she said very, very quietly.
Neoangel stood on the other side of the bed,
looking at Neofaerie calmly. A faint trace of a smile played on her lips and
she patted Neofaeries paw gently.
Dr. Felicity Milnyk looked back into the room,
and her heart sank. NSQ was sniffling, her eyes blurred by tears. She coughed
and choked, and dry sobs escaped her mouth. Happiness, who almost never cried,
simply because she was so optimistic, had a trickle of glistening tears rolling
down her furry face. Her ears were not straight and erect like they always were;
instead, they hung down, practically covering her face. Neoangel, on the other
hand, had an unruffled look on her face that showed nothing of what she might
Finally, Neoangel spoke. "Neofaerie will be fine."
NSQ rubbed her eyes roughly and sniveled, "Yeah,
you're right. Sorry, being stupid…" She took a napkin from a box on Neofaerie's
bedside table and offered it to Happiness. "You're so composed, Neoangel," she
said, "I guess I just need to be strong like you." She stood up with Happiness
in her arms and said, "Well, I guess we should be going now. Nothing to do but
"You go on," said Neoangel, "I'll just be a minute."
"Okay," said NSQ numbly. She ambled out looking
very lost, and almost walking right into the wall.
The Zafara took NSQ's abandoned seat. She drew
her knees up, and wrapped her arms around them. She rested her chin on her arms,
watching Neofaerie. Then, she buried her face in her arms, and began to weep
softly, her tears soaking into her soft white fur.
It was a long night. The family stayed in the living room. NSQ sat curled up
in a squashy Furry Arm Chair, gazing at the empty Red Brick Fireplace with glazed
over eyes. Happiness was fast asleep in her lap, a serene look on her face.
Neoangel was sitting cross-legged on a Nova Rug on the wooden floor, her eyes
half-open. No one spoke; NSQ felt extremely alone, even though she was close
to her two female pets. She had no idea what time it was when she finally fell
asleep. If she had had to guess, she would have said 2:00 in the morning.
In the morning, NSQ rubbed her eyes blearily
and opened them. At first, she paused, confused; then she was startled. She
dimly registered that there seemed to be a white feathery curtain hanging in
front of her. NSQ reached out uncertainly and raked her fingers against the
odd curtain. A few of the feathers ruffled, and then the curtain parted so that
NSQ was faced with the familiar sight of the fireplace.
She twisted around in her chair and saw what
the curtains had been. Neoangel was sitting on top of the armchair. Her wings
were still unfurled, and NSQ guessed that they had stretched around the full
length of the armchair to shield her, sort of like the magic dome shield that
she had used before.
Happiness, still in NSQ's lap, sat up and hoisted
herself up to see Neoangel. "I didn't know your wings could extend that far."
"Neither did I," said Neoangel, looking thoughtful.
NSQ yawned and stretched. "What time is it?"
"7:00," replied Neoangel.
A blue Pteri appeared on the windowsill, a bag
of letters hanging about his neck. He tipped his small brown hat to the family,
and then dropped a letter onto the floor before flapping away.
NSQ dove for the letter. She picked it up, her
fingers fumbling clumsily, and read aloud off the envelope, "to the Neo_1 family:
neo_star_queen, NeoAngel_1, NeoHappiness_1…" she flipped the envelope over and
scanned that side, as if searching for something. "Neofaerie's name isn't here,"
she said shakily, "does that mean he- already…?"
"It's because he's still at the hospital," said
Neoangel gently, flying over. Happiness hopped over to them as well. "Open it,
"Right," said NSQ, nodding dazedly. Her thumb
paused on the envelope flap. "I- I can't open it."
Neoangel slit open the envelope and handed the
letter to NSQ. "Read it," she said encouragingly.
NSQ took a deep breath and read out, "to the
family of Neofaerie_1, regarding patient 27A… Neofaerie is awake, please come
down to see him!" gushed NSQ, throwing the letter into the air with a happy
shout. "He's okay!"
NSQ picked up Happiness by her paws and swung
her around joyously. Neoangel picked up the letter, skimmed it briefly, and
smiled wisely. Then she called over NSQ's cheering, "let's go see him!" NSQ
dropped Happiness, who shook her head to clear the dizziness before hopping
onto NSQ's back.
As they stepped into the hospital, NSQ clamped her hand around Happiness's
mouth and whispered loudly, "shhhh!" A few pets looked up from their seats and
NSQ grinned at them. Most couldn't help but smile back.
NSQ led the way to room 16. When they entered
and saw Neofaerie propped up against his pillow, calmly reading a book, NSQ
was the one who needed a hand clamped around her mouth. "Neofaerie!" she cried
in delight, and immediately rushed over to his side with Happiness dangling
from her shoulder.
"How are you?" demanded NSQ, before Neofaerie
could even greet her, "are you doing okay? Does it still hurt? What does the
"Hiiiiiii big brother!" said Happiness brightly,
dragging out her words. Neofaerie smiled and waved.
"Oh, good to see you," said a voice behind them,
and NSQ turned to see Dr. Milnyk. "NSQ, may I talk to you for a second? Out
here?" she said, waving one paw over to the door.
NSQ nodded and Neoangel stood forward and said
from over by the wall, "I'll come as well."
They followed the Gelert outside, and she closed
the door carefully. "Well," she said, "I must say that Neofaerie is very luck
to have survived this."
"How is he?" asked NSQ.
"He is perfectly fine. He should be able to leave
the hospital in 3 days, and he will have fully recovered in 2 weeks."
"And by fully recovered you mean-?"
"He'll be absolutely fine. Just like nothing
ever happened at all. Not even a scratch!" She lowered her voice and said, "I
was most surprised, and that's why I wanted to talk to you. To tell you the
truth, we weren't expecting him to live to tell the tale. You see, we found
that there was a large amount of dark magic poured into the lava… even with
regular lava, it would have been hard, but to survive this! How do you think
such a miracle happened?"
"Neoangel," said NSQ promptly, "she did some
magic healing thing, and…"
Neoangel shook her head. " I knew about the dark
magic from the start. And…" she sighed heavily. "I didn't put as much energy
as you thought I did into him. I was too afraid. I wasn't brave enough to take
that much strength away from myself; or maybe I was just too selfish."
"Not true," said NSQ quietly. "If I didn't stop
you, you would have just kept going."
"Either way, I only did enough healing to get
rid of what the normal lava would have done to him. So where did the dark magic
Dr. Milnyk listened to all of this and said,
"Whatever it was, it saved Neofaerie. Tell me if you ever find out, okay? It
could be useful to future patients."
NSQ nodded and opened the door, just a crack.
Happiness was sitting on the bed and saying cheerfully, "of course I knew you'd
be okay, Neofaerie! The thought that you might not come outta this 100% A-ok
never, ever, ever occ- occurred to me! But now, I have a really big problem.
You were supposed to buy food and you didn't! So what do I eat? Ehh? No, Neofaerie,
I just told you, I knew that you'd come out of this perfectly fine! Everyone
else had their doubts… what? What do you mean the doctor said I was crying?
I was just pretending…"
Dr. Milnyk paused. "Could it have possibly been…?"
NSQ shook her head. "What do you think, Neoangel?"
The Zafara opened the door and stepped in. Over
her shoulder she murmured, "Maybe, maybe not."
To be continued...