Absolute Reality: Part Three
"Obliterate!" Kali cried, pointing the star at the monster.
The bracelet glowed violently, and a burst of flames rapidly flew towards the
monster, engulfing it. They watched as the monster shrieked, enveloped by rose-colored
flames, and finally was sealed away in a thick pillar of smoke.
"Awesome," Theo whispered, staring at the place
the monster had stood just a minute ago. "I could never do that..."
The Kougra fell down on his knees, exhausted
from the adventure they had rushed into. It took some minutes for him to recover
from the trauma, but finally he got up again and took a look at the Shoyru.
"You okay?" Theo asked.
"I should be the one asking you that," Kali said.
He took a look at his bracelet. The nine-pointed star was as bright as ever,
and it seemed to glow in happiness because he had used it. The Kougra certainly
didn't feel heroic, just tired. But now the item wasn't just a stupid bracelet
that did nothing. No, it was a weapon, magnificent with lots of power that could
"That was really amazing!" the Shoyru exclaimed,
having regained his energy. Theo was flapping his wings excitedly, eager to
have a look at the precious item. Kali happily handed it over.
"By the way," the Kougra said, "we didn't get
to finish that translation."
"Oh, you mean this?" Theo asked, pointing at
the inscription. "That's simple. It's in the old language, its meaning long
forgotten to those who forget... But what it says..." The Shoyru looked at Kali
as if he was looking for something. He seemed to have found it in Kali's face
when he continued. "It means 'Reality is a Gift. Reality is Absolute.' I think
that's about it."
"I've heard of the Wand of Reality," Kali muttered,
remembering how his friend had so devastatingly defeated him two months ago
with that weapon, "but never a Bracelet of Reality..."
"It holds a surprising amount of power," the
Shoyru commented. "But really... You seem to dislike reality."
The little pet frowned. "Reality is so boring,"
he complained. "Well, at least my reality... But this," he spread his arms around,
"This is just cool!"
"Reality is that which our imaginations build
upon. Without reality, nothing would exist, and we would not be able to be here,
experiencing things we would normally not do." The other pet smiled.
The Kougra choked on the next few words, amazed
at the sentences that had flown out of his mouth. What was going on? Why were
he and Theo acting out Liza's story? He looked at Theo, who looked as surprised
Theo was the first one to speak. Grinning, he
said, "Well... I must admit that I have a thing for fancy words. Let's get going,
I suppose you'll want to go to your reality." The Shoyru looked up, as if he
could see someone unseen, and added, "Yes, I've learned my lesson, thank you
"What was that?" Kali asked, confounded. "And
how did you know...?"
"It isn't that hard to figure out," the Shoyru
said. "You see, a while ago I was most displeased by my own reality, and I tried
to change it by a wishing ring..." He held up a golden item with a glow that
was similar to Kali's item. "And then I ended up here, adventuring and stuff..."
"I think that they do this for overly bored pets
who sit at home, whine and want an adventure. Of course, only a few actually
dare to stare the adventure in the eye. Most of them just pop off home and read
a book instead..." Theo grinned. "But you didn't. You tried hard to defeat that
monster, and you tried to be brave..." He looked at the Kougra, who looked back
with eyes that were glum from disappointment. "Don't look like that," he said.
"You tried, and you'll be rewarded. If we get there, of course..."
"There?" Kali asked, surprised by the knowledge
that his companion held. He had not expected Theo to be this wise, though he
figured that the Shoyru was probably pretty intelligent.
"That's another story. Well, we're going to go
to the person who created these things in the first place, or so I suspect.
I believe you would like to go home, yes?"
Home? Kali hadn't even thought about that. He
looked around. This place wasn't like his boring home, like his reality, dulled
down and everything... No, despite the bleak colors and the deadly shade of
night that hung in the air, this place was exciting. After all, he had just
battled a monster!
Once again the Kougra walked forward to touch
the trees. This place was unfamiliar... It wasn't his sunny, everyday life with
Green Apples and Cups of Water, but something else. Did he want to be here,
adventuring and beating more monsters?
Yes, Kali's heart replied. But did he really
want to stay here?
"I see that you are dealing with a character-versus-self
conflict," the Shoyru declared with the voice of a teacher. The Kougra couldn't
help but to laugh at that thought, how Mr. Lown (the L.A. teacher) would classify
his current confused state of mind as such.
"I'll have to think about that," the Kougra told
"Take all the time you like," the Shoyru said
kindly. "There is no need to hurry."
"But you..." Kali said, growing curious. "You
chose to stay here?"
Theo smiled, a genuine smile that reached to
the bottom of his heart. It erased some of the chill that the Forest of Alstair
gave Kali. "Yes, I chose to. I chose to be the Guide here, instead of returning
home like all those other pets."
"All the others?" the Kougra repeated, dumbfounded.
"There were others?"
"Well," Theo said, "Did you think you were the
only one?" His face displayed a faked haughty look. "Those items are magical.
If you think you found it by accident, think again. They choose who they meet,
and they're the ones affecting you and not the other way around."
"S-so... You mean, the item manipulated me?"
Kali asked, looking at the bracelet with disgust. How could he not have seen
it earlier? "Then, what about the inscription?"
"I believe those are words of power," the Shoyru
said thoughtfully. "But you know, they're different from pet to pet. Yours are
the ones most directly hinted to reality... That tells a lot about you, for
"Really?" The Kougra stared wide-eyed at the
stupid item he held in his hand. Then he laughed, realizing his use of words.
"I really do look at 'reality' too easily..."
"Every place is a 'reality', in a sense," Theo
said. "But every place is different, and so is 'reality'. We both have different
views of the world, and our own realities. The reality that you live in is a
bit different than mine, though in the end it's the same because we usually
see the same things... But in a sense we don't, because we're different. It's
like a paradox... You see it, and you don't."
"I don't really get it," Kali said plainly. "But
it doesn't matter, does it? If I know what I want, then I can attempt to achieve
it. Like how my will brought me here..."
"There you go! Your will was channeled into the
bracelet, who brought you here with its magic. If you hadn't spoken out, then
it wouldn't have done anything..."
"I see," the Kougra says. "That's why all those
psychologists say that it all starts with you."
"Yeah," nodded Theo. He made a gesture towards
the heart of the forest, opening his mouth again. "We're really talking away
all this, while we can be on the way to her..."
"Elycia the Air faerie," the Shoyru said. "The
one that I talked about earlier... the creator of these golden items. You do
want to meet her, don't you?"
"I guess..." Kali trailed off, noticing the enthusiastic
look on the Shoyru's face. Theo grabbed his paw, and quickly they strode to
the center of the forest. "So the great rumor was about her? The faerie in the
"Kind of," the Shoyru said wryly. "You see, she
doesn't like to be disturbed, and there are lots of curious pets roaming around
here besides the monsters. Only a lucky few get to the center where they can
have a glance at our beautiful little faerie, the Queen of the Forest of Alstair."
In silence the two pets trotted off, and very
soon they had reached an open glade, where bright sunlight streamed in. It was
quite a change from the dark, dank forest they had been walking around in for
the few hours or so. Kali smiled when the sun greeted him with its brilliant
rays. Suddenly he wondered why a faerie would bother to live in the woods like
this, especially with those creepy trees and monsters, but he decided not to
think too much about it.
No, he had to decide now... The Kougra was fully
aware of the Shoyru's intentions. It was now or never. He was probably allowed
to stay here, just like Theo, if he wanted, and the Shoyru wasn't such a bad
companion. This whole place seemed rather adventurous... Then again, Kali gulped,
remembering his home. What about Liza? What about school? Leaving that old,
safe life behind, to trade for this one, to be a hero and an adventurer? No
one had ever heard of a proper hero having an owner...
"So this is our little guest?" a melodic voice
called out, and Kali spun around to find a beautiful faerie clad in sky-blue,
pale garments to smile at him. "I am Elycia the Air faerie... I reign over my
humble abode over there," she gestured towards her small cottage, with a smile
sparkling in her eyes. "Your name is Kali... Well, Kali, welcome to my reality."
Kali was stunned at hearing the word 'reality'.
Never had he imagined that he would end up like this. "M-miss..." he said, quickly
handing over the bracelet. "I believe this is yours."
"Thank you," she said, picking it up deftly and
placing it on her head, as if it was a circlet. It certainly fit, and as now
Elycia really looked like a proper queen. "Your bravery will not go unnoticed,
and I hope you've learned your lesson."
The Kougra, remembering that Theo had muttered
something about lessons, threw a quick look and received a grin in return. "Yes,
I have," he replied as graciously as he could, trembling in the presence of
such a magnificent creature.
"So, have you decided? Will you stay here in
my reality, or will you return to your own?"
That lovely, pure voice asked the question he
had been preparing for, yet he was struck with horror and fear. He had thought
it through, but it was hard to reach a decision... "I-I," he stuttered, looking
at Theo for help. The Shoyru shook his head, as if he told him that no one could
help him with this.
"Things may be more real than you think," the
faerie added, with a small smile on her lips.
The word reality... His had been shattered, his
dull life swept away by the appearance of the bracelet. But he didn't really
like this place either... It was all adventure, all excitement, everything he
could yearn for, but it was all too much. Kali had to admit that Liza was right
when she said that too much of a good thing was a bad thing.
"I don't have a reality," he finally replied.
"Everything is as real as it can be, and right now I'd like to go home." The
Kougra had already admitted that he would miss his old life very much if he
stayed here, and he had often wondered how the Shoyru managed during this trip.
Perhaps Theo's life hadn't been as good as his...
"I see," the faerie smiled. "You've learned the
lesson. Everything is absolutely real... Then again, it really isn't." Her serene
lips twisted into a grin, much like the one Theo usually wore. "Don't worry
your owner too much, and visit us again when you feel bored."
"Thank you," Kali said, as a gust of wind lifted
him high up into the sky and carried him off. "I'll come back and visit sometime!"
As he uttered those words, the Kougra wondered
if he really meant it. Could he really come back? Wasn't this just his imagination?
With questions that confounded and confused, Kali landed right in that old,
familiar bed in his home with a soft plop.
Kali jumped up, hugging the bedposts and the
toys in his Toy Corner. Everything was real! He looked at his room appreciatively,
remembering the cold forest he had been in. This life wasn't so bad, after all...
"Kali!" he heard Liza call out. "Come down...
I have something to tell you!"
Quickly the Kougra jumped down the stairs, taking
three steps at once with his powerful, sleek body.
"Kali!" Liza entered his view to hug him, waving
with a newspaper in her left hand. "Look! I got into the Neopian Times with
my story about you!"
"Story about me?" Kali mumbled, surprised. He
snuggled close to his owner, realizing that he had forgotten how wonderful Liza
smelled when she came back from a day of restocking in the Bakery. How could
he have ever considered leaving all this behind?
"Yeah! I just took the new, cool, tourist attraction,
placed you in there with some other characters... Oh, Kali! I'm so glad, I got
in!" She grinned happily, showing him the page where her story was printed.
Immediately the Kougra's eyes fell upon the familiar
lines he had read earlier in the day. "Is this the story... the story about
"How did you know?" his owner asked, appalled
by the question. "Did you read my draft?"
"Not really..." Kali said elusively. "But tell
me, is there really a Forest of Alstair?"
"Of course!" Liza exclaimed. "That's the newest,
coolest tourist attraction for everyone who wants a good scare! Rumor says there
is a special thing in the center of the forest, and there's a kind guide who'll
help you on the road..."
Kali blinked, as his owner kept talking about
the forest. Was it really real? Did the forest exist? Here in Neopia? The Kougra
shook his head from old habit, now realizing what the faerie meant. That forest
was real! They were real! And he really could visit them again...
"I'd love to pop over there sometime," Liza finished,
"After we've completed the Paint Brush collection, of course. That'd be a lovely
place to escape to... Somewhere to get imagination, ideas..."
"It's real," Kali said bluntly, looking at his
owner with very serious eyes. After all, he had spent the last few hours of
his life in that place, a place he thought he had willed himself to, a place
of his fantasy. "Trust me, it's real." Taking a deep breath, he started sharing
the amazing story he had been part of with his owner with a smile.