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A Hand to Guide You: Part Four

by spunkyclaire


I really did feel sorry for Kenzie, obnoxious though she was. The poor little Aisha had never been taught how to care for herself. The simplest task seemed monumental for her, and she whined indefinitely. If she wasn't accusing me, babbling on about nothing at all, or crying on my shoulder, she was moaning and complaining. Always going on about something. If it wasn't that the stew was too cold, it had too many carrots or peas. If she wasn't griping because she didn't have a comfy bed, she couldn't sleep because she needed a drink of water. Never satisfied, Kenzie. She would always find something to gripe about.

      It was about three days from the night of the fire, and I was trying my hardest to find some trace of Kenzie's parents. We had traipsed all around the Meridell countryside, visiting every farm. We had searched thoroughly through every town, knocking on every door and inquiring at every tavern. But it seemed as if the Tumerculoniouses had dropped off the face of the earth. No one had heard of two high-class citizens traveling through the area. I asked nearly every person in the whole of Meridell, but not a single trace of Kenzie's parents. It was nearly nine o'clock, and we were just finishing soliciting people at a local inn for any clues. Kenzie was settling into her normal routine, most unfortunately for me.

     "Anika, are we almost done yet?" she asked in her most irritating tone. "I'm so tired, I wanna go to bed. Anika, come on, let's go!"

     "Almost, Kenzie, almost," I said through clenched teeth. I struggled to resist the so very inviting temptation to explode in her face. "Just a few minutes longer, and then we can go. Just try to be patient"…"if you even can, you little brat," I added under my breath. Oh man, if I EVER get out of here, I will make sure I never, ever, do this again, I thought. No more demanding, snotty, cheeky little monsters for me, if you please. Never again.

     However, immediately after thinking this, I felt bad for doing so. I could only imagine how horrible I had been to Bee so many times. Wonderful, patient Bee… Oh, how I missed her sometimes… I don't know how she put up with my smart-mouthed attitude. I guess now I was getting a taste of my own medicine. Kenzie was terrible, but beneath all her insolence, she really was a sweet little girl. But I could only just catch glimpses of her true character, before she reverted back to her normal bratty attitude. However, every time I thought I should just give up and leave her there, I was stopped by a sense of something more, that what I was doing was going to affect something higher than just this little waif. Whatever it was, I knew I had to do my duty, however trying it may be.

     Buying a loaf of bread from the old, wrinkled Usul at the food stall alongside the dusty road, I took the impatient little pet's hand and set off toward the nearest grove of trees. I barely had enough neopoints to feed us, so lodging was out of the question. I felt bad, putting Kenzie out into this harsh world she knew so little of, but I had no other option. Still, I thought, I ought to do so much better. Some Guide I am… I laid the tiny, tattered blanket I had managed to find out over Kenzie, propping her head up with a pile of dry, brittle leaves. I just slept on the hard ground beside her, an arm extended around her delicate body. She shivered in the crisp autumn air, and I held her against me for warmth. But the biting wind still claimed control. There was nothing I could do to make her comfortable. Some Guide I am… And with that bleak thought drifting through my mind, I slumped into a fitful sleep.

      I awoke next morning a dreary drizzle. The weather matched my mood: gray and no sign of clearing up. Everything in the meager camp I had set up the night before was soaked, the rest of the bread a mushy slop. Still in a daze, I turned around and picked up the threadbare piece of cloth that Kenzie had slept under last night. Kenzie! In my sleepy stupidity, I hadn't noticed she had disappeared. How could I lose her?!? I thought. What am I going to do? I thought frantically, trying to figure out where on earth she could have gone.

     Running desperately through the nearby forest, I hastily scanned everything for a sign of the tiny Aisha. Finding nothing but more worry, I returned to camp in despair. A slight breeze brushed my face and attempted, but did not succeed, to dry my forming tears. However, the wind did succeed in one thing: a rustling noise and something fluttering in the corner of my eye directed my attention to a crumpled piece of parchment pinned down by a rock on the ground, not ten feet away. In my alarm I had entirely missed this odd addition to the camp. Hoping the best, a note from Kenzie saying she had just gone off to collect some rocks, and dreading the worst, I cautiously bent down to read the message. It was written in lacy, yet menacing script, and it bore the most horrible of news:

     "To Anika, the Guide:

     As you have most certainly noticed (although in your case, as likely as not), your charge Mackenzie Winifred Georgina Tumercolonius has been so kindly relieved from your hands. She is our most responsible care, and quite safe, we assure you, until of course the time comes when for the sacrifice to ensure that my plan, which requires a specific person be offered to bind the spell that will spread darkness and confusion over the whole of Neopia. And I know that you will be quite happy to know the "brat" is no longer your responsibility. Oh, and one more thing. If you do happen to want to save Ms. Tumercolonius, and as it so happens, the world as well, you would be well advised to come straight away. I'm sure you'll know where to find her, for it is where we first laid eyes on each other. And I assume you, of all people, won't need any guidance on how to get there. Do hurry, the lunar eclipse is tomorrow, and as it only happens in the circumstances needed to perform the spell every 106 years, I certainly won't be happy if we are late in our offering. Besides, I'm sure you are just dying to see me. I know I am.

     Best of luck,

     The Guardian of Darkness, Hassuano

     A wave of panic-stricken guilt washed over me as I realized my total and utter failure. Nothing could have been more devastating than this; anything would have been better than my charge, my responsibility getting snatched away and be used as the instrument to destroy Neopia as we know it. This "Guardian of Darkness"…It was creepy how well he seemed to know me. So he was going to spread confusion over the world, and the missing link in the plan was Kenzie. How convenient that I had let her slip through my fingers.

     After much head-bashing on a nearby tree, I came to this conclusion: The only way to save Kenzie, and the world, was to use my powers. That revelation was totally impulsive and unexplained, (although I do suspect it had something to do with the head-banging) but that was a pretty normal way of life for me these days. And although it was somewhat of a breakthrough, I was still facing the enormous brick wall of not-really- knowing-how-to-use-your-powers. So I was back to square one, sitting there on the cold rocky ground, rain just beginning to pour down on my equally damp spirits, and not knowing in the slightest what to do.


      It seems that in my greatest times of need, my supernatural abilities always kick in. While I was sitting and reflecting on possibly the worst predicament I had ever gotten myself into, that odd blue glow on my skin ignited once more, and a strange familiar feeling told me I was in for another wild ride through the fourth dimension.

     With a whiplash-like energy I was snatched off the ground and thrown into the chilling experience of unworldly travel. However, this time, instead of landing on the green rolling hills of Meridell, I was transported back to the sunny island that I had spent so much time on not so very long ago…but where it was now was anything but sunny. The muggy, mosquito-infested air was like molasses in my lungs, and as I was thrust back down to the earth in the middle of an oppressive jungle, it felt as though someone had stuck me upside-down in a bowl of maple syrup. I staggered to my feet and tried to catch my breath, or as best as possible in this impossibly humid air. Sweat trickled down my face as I stood and surveyed my surroundings. Pretty rotten, I'll tell you. This must have been a side of Mystery Island tourists had never seen, for if they did, I'm not sure they would ever some back.

     All this unpleasantness aside, I was here for a reason. The note had said I would find her where I had find laid eyes on this Hassuano. Laid eyes on, I thought…and then it hit me: (I'm sure you figured it out ages ago, but I'm a little slow, ok?) This had to be the creature with the evil glowing eyes I had seen before, the monster that had followed me so many times. So that means I have to go the Island Mystic! I thought to myself. It all fit together. Except, however, for one thing: I was hopelessly lost. In this foreign humid jungle I had no idea where to go, or how to get to the Mystic's hut. But instead of sitting on the ground and moping, like I had a few hours ago, I knew what I had to do. I was the Guide, I could find my way, and I could step up to the challenge. I had to keep all of Neopia from becoming what I was sworn to protect- weak, wandering, lost, and confused. No longer did I shirk from responsibility: with a sudden renewed sense of hope, and my skin shining bright blue, I simply knew that I had to only follow my instinct, walk forward, and I would go in the right direction. I was off to do my duty, to save Kenzie, and the entire world.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» A Hand to Guide You: Part One
» A Hand to Guide You: Part Two
» A Hand to Guide You: Part Three
» A Hand to Guide You: Part Five

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