Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 102,279,292 Issue: 202 | 5th day of Hiding, Y7
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by shadowcristal


"Promise me... The faerie Pteri spread her wings out and looked at her best friend. "If we'll never meet again... Then promise me... Promise me a last battle."

     "I promise," the yellow Meerca, said solemnly. "But you know, the movers came a little bit early... This is our last farewell..."

     "T-hen..." the Pteri gasped. "But Jane, you're my best friend..."

     The Meerca named Jane hugged her best friend. "I promise you a battle." She smiled. "In five years."

     "Five years?" The little faerie pet raised her eyebrow. "It's a long time..."

     "Yes, but we don't have time right now." Jane tapped impatiently with her tail. "How about meeting in the Battledome five years from now, exactly this time?"

     "Three in the afternoon, exactly five years..." muttered the Pteri. "Okay. It's a promise. You'd better be good, and we'll have to do our best."

     "Deal," the Meerca said and hugged her friend again. "Even though this is hasty, I won't forget you!" As her owner came and dragged her away, Jane threw an item at the Pteri. "And you'd better not forget about me!"

     "Jane..." the little pet whispered as she watched her friend disappear out of her life. Then she took a look at the item. It was a beautifully polished bottle, a marvelous, splendid Honey Potion!

     "Jane," said the Pteri again. Moved, tears fell from her eyes, for the first time she ever heard of her best friend moving to that distant land. She clutched the Battledome item tightly as she started walking home. There was nothing she could do now, but to practice. Practice until she met Jane again.


     Ivona the faerie Pteri had just finished the last round of her practice battles in the Battledome. For her opponents these were serious fights, but for the Pteri they were not. The time would soon come when she would meet Jane again.

     It was in the Battledome they had met. Their first battle ended up being a one-hit knockout for both sides when they punched each other really hard, but after that they quickly became friends. When the other girls had raved about concerts, the two friends were busy battling. They traded techniques, went to the Training School together and were best friends in no time at all.

     Then, one day, she went away. For some reason, Jane's owner just had to move and of course her best friend wouldn't think of leaving her owner. The Pteri held the Honey Potion that her dear friend had given her as a last memento tightly as she exited the battle arena.

     Scanning the area which was known as the 'waiting room', the Pteri suddenly felt her stomach lurch. What if Jane had forgotten? What if she had forgotten the promise? Ivona started to feel kind of stupid, until she spotted a green ribbon on something yellow.

     There was no mistake. The faerie Pteri elbowed herself through the crowd to get a better look, and gasped when she saw her old childhood friend.

     "Jane!" she cried out and jumped onto the Meerca, who reeled back.

     "W-who are you?" the Meerca muttered, obviously confused.

     "Don't you remember me?" the Pteri asked. "I can't believe it! It's you, Jane..." She took a look at the large clock and smiled fondly. "You kept your promise... Now let's battle!"

     "W-wait a second..." the yellow Meerca mumbled, but was way too hastily dragged into an empty arena.

     "We promised each other to meet here again..." Ivona said. "And here you are! I'm really happy that you showed up..." She dropped her best friend on one side and flew to the other side, breathless from excitement.

     "And I'm just confused," the Meerca muttered. "Then again, she promised me a battle..."

     "Don't tell me you forgot, Jane," the Pteri commented when she saw her friend's confused look. "Anyhow, didn't we promise each other to try our hardest and see which one of us is the best? How much have you improved?" Ivona looked the Meerca in the eye. "Jane, are you gonna chicken out?"

     Something snapped inside Jane. The Meerca jumped up, got all her weapons in order and almost yelled, "Chicken out? I'll never chicken out as long as I can fight!"

     "That's the spirit," Ivona grinned as she got her weapons. "Let's keep our precious promise, shall we?" She started by running towards the Meerca and raised her wing, but as she had expected, Jane tilted backwards and hit back.

     "You haven't changed at all," the Pteri whispered as they kept trading punches. Every move that the Meerca made felt so familiar, yet very much improved. Ivona could just remember the day when she and Jane had discovered that technique. But all masters invent a counter. The Pteri grinned and ducked, seeing through the attack.

     "I'm not gonna lose," the Meerca said as she held out a helmet. Ivona gasped. The feared H4000 helmet, able to freeze her for one turn! She could feel the cold spread from tip of her wings to her stomach. How typical of Jane to use such a trick...

     After having a bunch of hit points taken away, the Pteri regained control over her body and started going on the offensive again. "Let's battle to our heart's content," Ivona said as she unleashed one of her special attacks. That boring rainy day had led them trying out something new, and this was the developed and perfected version of that attack they had created.

     The Meerca tried to get out of the way, but was hit and lost a few hit points. The way Jane was standing in that half-crouching, half-attacking position reminded Ivona of the day those annoying concert girls had dubbed them the 'battle girls'. The Pteri giggled a little, but stopped quickly. She analyzed the battle. Jane had used so many moves; it was almost like the old times... But still, Ivona felt that she had glimpsed a little bit of the new Jane. The Meerca that had given her the Honey Potion that day was not this Meerca in front of her.

     Jane had changed. And Ivona yearned to know how and when, but she also knew that the battle was the most important thing right now. As she moved onto more advanced attacks, blocks and techniques, she could see that her friend was trying hard too.

     Suddenly she spied an opening. "Too bad," the Pteri said when she attacked and hit. Until now, the battle had been pretty even and they had lost about half of their hit points. But that sneak attack had turned things in Ivona's favor.

     She had to give credit to Jane, who was keeping up with the attacks. Finally, when Jane's hit points were almost depleted, the Pteri received her biggest surprise. Suddenly her best friend seemed different. Ivona had never seen Jane like this before, and part of her was eager to continue the fight.

     What came next was something that truly shocked the Faerie Pteri. Rapidly the Meerca charged towards her and attacked her all-out. Weapons and punches were flying in the air, and surprisingly all of them hit. Jumping, ducking and dodging, Ivona managed to avoid some attacks but lost a lot of hit points. She tried to counterattack, but Jane quickly moved out of the way without taking any damage at all.

     Ivona retreated into a corner, this time breathless from the battle. She tried to go through the last events that had happened in her head as she warded off any further attacks. She managed to defend herself pretty decently, but could not think of a good method to attack.

     Jane was this good? Suddenly the Pteri felt self-conscious. She had been training hard, all right, but never had she encountered someone attacking all-out in some kind of hyper mode. Ivona felt like she was going to give up when she remembered the promise. Five years ago...

     She had promised to give it all, so she had to. Suddenly Ivona saw her chance. She grabbed the Meerca's tail that was about to attack and whirled the pet around in the air before releasing with careful precision at a certain moment. It worked. Jane landed in the far corner and stayed there.

     The Pteri raised her eyes. No. She mustn't let her guard down yet, even though they would both pretty soon run out of hit points. She waited. Jane didn't get up for a few minutes, and Ivona was declared the winner.

     Fulfillment filled her heart to a certain extent, but after that first rush of joy had settled down the Faerie Pteri actually felt somewhat disappointed. Sensing that Jane perhaps might not have tried her very best, Ivona approached the Meerca.

     "Good battle," Jane said. "You're really good. Pretty amazing that you managed to dodge my attacks, almost as if you knew how I was going to move." They walked out of the arena and into the 'waiting room'.

     This weird sensation grew stronger. Would Jane really say those things? The Pteri put her battledome items in her bag and looked at Jane. The Meerca really looked like Jane, though...

     "By the way, who are you?" the Meerca asked as they reached the doorway.

     "Who are you?" Ivona replied, shocked. Didn't Jane remember? But she had showed up here, keeping the promise... "Jane!" The disappointment in her grew stronger as she scrutinized her friend.

     "It's kind of odd that you'd call me Jane," the yellow Meerca stated plainly. "Only the real Jane does that..."

     "The real Jane?" The Pteri was appalled. Creepy images filled her mind, but she forgot all about them when she heard a familiar voice behind her.

     "Ivona!" a yellow Meerca exclaimed, panting and gasping.

     "Jane?" the Pteri asked, looking at the newcomer. "Are you the real Jane?"

     "Yes..." Jane smiled and hugged her friend. "Is it really you, Ivona? I haven't seen you since, like, forever!"

     "Then..." Ivona pointed to the other Meerca.

     "I'm really sorry about the promise. I had to go for a check-up at the hospital right about that time and my owner just dragged me off. But if you want, we can settle it here and now..."

     "I'm confused," the Pteri said out loud.

     "That's Janie, my little sis. She's currently learning how to fight in the Battledome from me." The real Jane smiled. "By the way, I usually call her Jane, or mini-Jane."

     "You two look like twins..." Ivona stated after looking at the two identical Meercas.

     "Sorry for the confusion," Janie said shyly. "I was kind of confused about the battle, but when you started teasing and calling me chicken..."

     "Anger management, Jane," Ivona's childhood friend said, shaking her head. "Anyhow... about that promise... I'm really sorry..."

     "It's okay," the Faerie Pteri lied. She knew that Jane was usually the one to be kind and forgiving, and even though it hadn't worked out like she thought she would have to be nice, just like Jane. Still, she couldn't help but to feel a sting of disappointment.

     "We can fight tomorrow, can't we?" the real Jane said. "Why don't you stay with us tonight? I'm sure there are lots of things we'll have to talk about!" She smiled.

     "Promise..." Janie muttered and looked at her sister and Ivona. "Wait! Doesn't that mean you double-booked us? You know, you promised me to battle this afternoon..."

     "But you got a fight anyway, didn't you?" Jane said and patted her sister's head.

     "Promise me..." Ivona said suddenly, "Promise me that we'll fight tomorrow! And don't be late this time..." The sad and ugly feelings about that weird battle diminished. The Pteri thought about the things she'd talk about with Jane. They had been separated for so long... Quickly Ivona realized that this was what she wanted to do in the first place. She wanted, most of all, to renew their old friendship. Overwhelmed with feelings, the Pteri grasped her friend's hand, never letting it go.

     "I promise," Jane said.

The End

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