Now with 50% more useless text Circulation: 155,374,082 Issue: 216 | 11th day of Storing, Y7
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Blessing: Part One

by numbertwelve


"Mom! It's not that far!" the petite white Acara moaned.

     "All the same dear, I suggest you take a few sandwiches and a map of the woods."

     "But mom!"

     "No buts dear, I made you the sandwiches and I packed the map in your sack..."


     The day started off as it always did for young Allara. Her mother refused to believe that she could make it safely through the woods without that silly map and more sandwiches than she could eat in a lifetime. No matter how many times she returned safely, her mother would not let up on her demands. And so it was that Allara set out on this day, no different from any other day, into the woods surrounding her Meri Acres Farm.

     "Tra la la, the forest is calm, tra la la, it's almost dawn!" she sang as she made her way along the marked path. The same path she followed every single day. The path that would lead her to the market where she could pick up all the supplies her mother needed for dinner.

     It was a rather crisp midmorning in the month of Gathering but Allara did not mind the breeze, nor did she complain when the rain came, falling all around her, catching the rays of the rising sun as it crested the horizon.

     She always enjoyed the rain.

     "Beautiful..." Allara said, slipping into a daze as she marvelled at her surroundings. She was never more at peace than on her morning treks to the market and this day was no different. With a smile on her face and a tune on her lips, Allara skipped the rest of the way through the woods and was soon making her way into the bustle of the Meridell Market Square.

     "Hello!" she called to many a passer-by as she made her way towards Tomi Greentooth's fruit stall. The surly old Draik was always happy to see young Allara and the two had become close friends over the few years that she had been running errands for her mom.

     The massive Draik flashed her a toothy grin as she made her way up to his stall. "What'll it be today, lass?"

     Allara returned his smile, handing her mother's list to Tomi so he could gather up her purchases for the day. "Nice to see you, Tomi," Allara said politely, noting that Tomi seemed less and less 'lively' of late. Her mother had told her not to worry about it; that everyone got old, but for some reason Allara thought something was the matter.

     "Nice to be seein' you too, lass," Tomi replied, never really looking Allara straight in the eye. She decided not to press the issue, knowing that she would see Tomi the next day and the day after that so there was no rush. She always loved talking to the big old Draik, but she didn't mind that he wasn't in the mood to talk today, he could regale her with one of his stories, of days gone by, another time.

     "Here are your things," Tomi said once he had collected all the necessary supplies. "That'll be 230 Neopoints."

     Allara smiled. That was the Tomi she knew. The items were at least twice that price, but Tomi had always had a soft spot for Allara and his prices seemed to consistently be dipping lower and lower each time she visited.

     She handed him the 230 Neopoints and smiled warmly one last time. Tomi returned the grin and waved to the departing Acara as she skipped back across the market.

     Allara was just edging out of the market when she stumbled over something she had not noticed.

     "Oooof!" the tiny creature exclaimed, pulling itself to its feet. The Miamouse shot her a scolding glance, shaking a tiny fist in Allara's general direction.

     "Oh my! I am so terribly sorry!" Allara replied sincerely. She would never hurt a fly, let alone a beautiful Miamouse from the great Faerie Cloud Kingdom.

     The Miamouse muttered something but knowing that the clumsy Acara had not meant any harm, decided to let the mishap pass without any hard feelings. The apology did not mend the bruise, but it would suffice.

     "Squeak," the Miamouse purred after a short pause, extending one tiny hand up towards Allara. She reached down with one massive paw and shook the tiny creature's hand. Gently.

     "Nice to meet you," the Acara replied, "my name is Allara." The young Acara had always wanted a Petpet of her own, but her mother had never had the money to afford such extravagant things. Miamice were a very expensive Petpet indeed and, seeing the saddened expression on its tiny face, Allara decided to invite the creature to come along with her for the day.

     "Would you like to come with me for a walk? You could meet my mom! It would be so much fun!" Allara joyfully exclaimed, pouring the thoughts from her head as quickly as they came to her.

     The Miamouse looked somewhat afraid at first, but the tiny Petpet's expression quickly softened as it stared into Allara's kind, honest eyes.

     It squeaked softly and moved close to Allara, wrapping its tiny arms around her leg.

     And with that Allara, with the Miamouse in tow, made her way back towards the Meri Acre Woods. Allara talked about anything and everything as they travelled, neither noticing that the marked path was slipping further and further away.

     By the time Allara stopped to look around they were utterly lost and to make matters worse, they could hear a strange voice not too far away.

     The Miamouse shot a concerned glance at Allara while the Acara's own thoughts were settling upon the same question she saw in the Miamouse's eyes. "Where are we?"

     Allara simply shook her head, reaching into her pack to pull out the map her mother had given her. She hurriedly looked it over, trying to discern where they could have wandered. But her search was cut short as the voice came ever nearer.

     Her mother had always told her not to talk to strangers and Allara was not exactly thrilled at the thought of meeting a stranger while lost in the woods anyway.

     "We have to hide," she whispered, grabbing the Petpet's tiny paw and dashing into some thick brush at the side of the path. She crouched low, waiting for the stranger to come in to view.

     They sat for a long while, waiting, listening, but there was nothing but silence in the Meri Acre Woods. Not even the normal chatter of birds interrupted the noiselessness...

     Suddenly the Miamouse screamed and Allara whirled around to find a rather rough looking Kougra holding the poor creature upside down by its feet. He was clad in rather peculiar leather garments and had an eye patch over his left eye. His fur was matted and his body was riddled with strange markings.

     Tribal Markings? Tattoos? Scars? Allara couldn't be sure what they were. The only thing she was sure of was the aura of evil that the Kougra exuded.

     The Kougra eyed Allara dangerously, swinging the helpless Miamouse back and forth before him.

     "Put. Her. Down," Allara warned, stooping quickly and picking up a rock. She waved it menacingly as if meaning to throw it, but the Kougra seemed unconvinced.

     "Try it," the Kougra challenged. Defeating any courage Allara could have hoped to muster at this point.

     The tiny Miamouse had been completely silent since her initial scream and now she hung, upside down, a look of sheer terror etched across her tiny visage. Allara felt the warmth of a tear forming in the corner of her eye as she looked at the helpless Petpet. She decided she had to do something. She couldn't bear to watch the little creature suffer.

     "Put. Her. Down!" Allara shouted again with all the authority she could manage. The Kougra rolled his eyes, turned, and fled off in to the forest.

     Allara wasn't sure why she felt so responsible for the fate of that little Miamouse, but whatever the reason, she found herself running as fast as she could through the forest after it.

     It was not long before her breaths came in gasps, her lungs threatened to burst, and still Allara continued her dogged pursuit of the Kougra and his captive. She could hear his breaths coming in ragged gasps as well and knew that the chase could not go on much longer. That thought alone spurred her on, pushing her legs to impossible limits.

     She burst into a clearing, the Kougra only a few steps ahead of her, and she let the rock fly, catching the surprised creature in the back.

     He spun around, fire burning in his eyes. "You have no idea what you are getting yourself involved in, you silly little child!" he roared, his voice seeming surreal, overwhelming and terrible all at the same time.

     Allara shrunk back against the sheer power of the Kougra's voice, falling to her knees and clapping her hands over her ears to deny the power of the its roar, but it made no difference. There was a strange magic about this creature that she could not even begin to comprehend.

     "This ends here."

     The words hit her like a herd of stampeding Tonu. Her hands dropped from her ears as she watched the horrible display before her. The 'Kougra' began to shimmer and then to melt away, stretching and distorting oddly as it changed into something much more sinister, like something out of her worst nightmares.

     The abomination that stood before her now was like nothing she had ever seen before. Its strange flesh twisted around itself, as if fighting to maintain its shape, while wretched wings spewed forth from the creature's monstrous shoulders.

     "" Allara stammered, every bit of reasoning in her body willing her to wake up from this awful dream. But when you are already awake, what do you do?

     Allara screamed. The Miamouse cried out. The abomination chuckled; a dull, roaring sound that shook the very earth Allara was kneeling upon.

     "I am the remnants of all that is evil in Neopia. I am a Fallen Faerie. A Dark Faerie as you common-folk refer to us. Far more foul than that though! I am hate. I am fear! That fool Fyora will regret the day she banished me from the Faerie Kingdom..."

     When the Miamouse heard the name of her Queen, the great Fyora, she squirmed violently to break free of the creature's iron grip. But there was no escape.

     The Fallen Faerie charged towards Allara, its flesh twisting, writhing with each step as it neared. Allara's mind raced as the creature approached. There was nothing she could do. She was only a child! She was helpless. Her thoughts went to her mother.

     "Mom!" she cried, "I need you!"

     The creature was only a few long strides from her now.

     Allara screamed, but found herself rising to her feet, a strange feeling welling within her. She clapped her hands together before her, and wished with all the strength she had left in her shaken body that this foul abomination would leave her in peace. Though the beast was only a few steps away, Allara did not flinch, but instead, held her position with unwavering determination.

     Suddenly, a massive flash of light streamed forward from the Acara. A pulse, so incredibly bright that she knew she just had to close her eyes. Yet she could not. They were forced open, forced to take in all that was occurring before her.

     The abomination screamed as the wave of light hit it. The Miamouse flew from its grasp, falling hard on the ground but rolling safely away. The creature's charge slowed abruptly and then stopped altogether as the wave of light continued to explode forth from the Acara's rattled frame. And then, in an instant, the Fallen Faerie vanished into nothingness.

     Allara collapsed to the ground, her body shaking from the exertion. She had no idea what she had just done, or what was being put in to motion as she lay gasping upon the ground. But for whatever reason, she knew that for the time being she was safe. She felt the soft form of the Miamouse pressing up against her side and gently wrapped her arms protectively around the tiny creature.

     The tiny Miamouse purred something softly into Allara's ear. It sounded like words, but Allara was too drained to understand their meaning.

     Her consciousness waned. She was not sure if it was a trick of her mind or the breeze, but as she faded into unconsciousness, she heard the Fallen Faerie's voice...

     "This is only the beginning..."

To be continued...

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