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A Wish for Bravery: Part One

by shadowninjawarrior


Chloe walked miserably on one of the footpaths of a very busy street in Neopia. The Shadow Kyrii thought of what had happened that day again and big, fat tears leaked from his white eyes as they had done every time he did.

      Why did everybody call him a coward? It wasn't his fault he was a little afraid of everything. And then there was Dan, the large Skeith who just couldn't get tired of bullying him and challenging him to do things he, himself, was afraid to do. Couldn't everyone leave him alone? Even his teachers were all fascinated by his fear of petpets and couldn't stop pointing him out when he started shuddering because of something he was phobic to.

      Today had been the worst day in the entire history of Chloe's bad days. He could write a whole book about the humiliation he had had to suffer. It was all Dan's fault. He had tied him to a tombstone when they had been taken on their School Trip to the cemetery. The Skeith knew that Chloe was afraid of tombstones and cemeteries more than anything else. He had called his entire class to where he had been fixed to the grave. He had made everyone laugh at him. Even the teachers had chuckled and had watched him sweat and stutter and swoon without helping him. Every day of his life, the poor Kyrii was called names including: 'coward' and 'weak-heart' but this was the height of it.

      Walking through the crowd, Chloe looked around. Everyone's expression was the same; excitement in their laughing eyes and a malicious grin on their faces. Every face seemed to be sneering at the Kyrii. This was too much for him. Chloe looked at the glass windows of some shops on the opposite side of the street. They were selling all sorts of petpet items. Petpets. He shuddered at the very thought. He didn't know why he didn't like them, with their small beady eyes, blank expressions and plotting looks…

      Chloe tripped over something someone had thrown on the ground. It was an empty can of Achyfi. He kicked it. As soon as his foot connected with the metal can, a feeling of joy erupted within the Kyrii. He was channeling his anger out of his body and was using it up when each time he kicked the can, thus, making his anger go away. Chloe kicked the can again and again and again. Then he kicked the poor can of Achyfi so hard that it crashed into a brick wall with such a force that it instantly became a twisted pieces of metal. Now it was just like Chloe, himself, felt.


      "Great," thought Chloe. "What now?" Just as he felt something might be working well for him…Whoosh - something would happen to it. Just as he thought that the situation couldn't get worse - it did. For running along the adjacent footpath of the very busy road was a large and heavy green Skeith who was known as Dan.

      "Hey weak-heart," shouted Dan across the street. "How's your life going on, sweetie? Do you need more humiliation? No? Just a bit? Yeah! Okay! That's the spirit." After saying those highly elaborated words, the huge Skeith crossed the road and came to Chloe's side.

      What happened next happened so fast that passers-by would have thought it to be a small whirlwind of muffled yells and fists. What had really happened was that Dan had caught Chloe from the behind in an attempt to give him one of his Super-Painful-Extra Painful-Ultra Powerful-Sooper-Dooper-Atomic Noogies (something too painful for words). The second Dan touched Chloe, something inside the Kyrii snapped. He could take this humiliation no more. Chloe wouldn't let the bully walk all over him. He would retaliate. Chloe, in turn, caught Dan. Then the fight began. Punches, kicks, thumb jabs, eye pokes, high-jump kicks, spinning kicks, karate chops; everything painful was used…

      At last, Chloe was on top of Dan, who was lying on the ground, sweating and panting. As soon as he caught up with his breath, he curled his remaining hand (the one that wasn't pinning Dan) into a balled fist and waited…He waited for his feelings of hatred and anger take their peak within him so that it would feel better when he hit him. And then they started rising. He felt his face burning with violent energy waiting to be released. Chloe looked in his victim's eyes and saw something.

      It was Fear.

      Suddenly Chloe's hatred vanished and shame erupted inside him. How could he hit someone who was scared? It was true that he wanted to avenge Dan for his own humiliation but this wasn't the most dignified thing to do. Unclenching his fist, he let go of the Skeith. For a moment, it looked as though Dan would thank the Kyrii, but then the moment passed and Dan returned to his usual sneering self.

      "What's wrong, weak-heart? Can't even punch someone?" asked Dan, sneering with smugness. "You chicken? Yeah! That's it! CHICKEN!"

      That was the last straw! Chloe had saved Dan's neck and now - now this - more humiliation and insults? Then he did what he had to - he ran; past the boulevards that formed the arteries and veins of the heart of Neopian Central, past the cozy Neohomes flourishing in the suburbs, past the large lush green parks and into the forests that surrounded Neopian Central. He was heading for, there was no doubt about it, the Secret Place.

      The Secret Place was a small clearing in the middle of the forest where Chloe used to go during his most miserable hours. It was a place where no one would tease or pester or further discomfort him… It was a place where he could lie about for hours, telling the ever-listening trees about his day. It was a place where the wind would whisper words of comfort into his ear. It was a place where the roses would cheer him up with their sweet smelling fragrances. It was his Sanctuary.

      Chloe scampered through the dense and dark forest, dodging this way and that, looking at familiar trees and undergrowth so that he could navigate himself. At last, he came to the Place. The bright, crisp sunlight fell on the Kyrii's face. The Secret Place was just as it had been every time he had come there; untouched. The trees made warm gestures of welcome as they swayed with the wind as it blew the tall, green grass. In the middle of the clearing was a water body, too small for a lake, too big for a puddle and just right for a pond. It was the clearest pond he had ever seen.

      Lying down on the grass carpet, Chloe released his emotions. He cried but the trees hushed him. He spoke his story but the wind embraced him. He looked into the pond and his reflection made funny expressions so that he laughed and it laughed with him. This was all he could wish for…

      The word 'wish' echoed many times in his heart. An idea struck him. It wouldn't be surprising if it didn't work out but at least it would take Chloe's mind off Dan. But then again, it could work and if it did, then, oh, then he would show him…

      The Shadow Kyrii leaned on his knees and joined the palms of his hands as when a servant begs for mercy from his master. He closed his eyes and spoke softly, "I wish, I wish with all my heart to be given bravery and courage."

      The wind blew through the clearing and it almost sounded as though it was saying, "Courage."

      The hairs at the Kyrii's neck prickled as he felt the queer feeling that was only felt when someone was watching you.

      Chloe made a three hundred and sixty degree turn and saw nothing peculiar. It was just his imagination.

      It was getting late and he had a long way to go so he decided to get going but something caught his attention. Among the shadows of the forest was a shadow darker than any he had ever seen. Chloe's curiosity got the best of him and he marched towards the shadow to find out what was causing it. Just as the Kyrii took a step forward the shadow moved too. Maybe it was his shadow. He waved his hand to see if it moved, but it didn't. He took another clumsy step and the shadow moved again. Feeling reckless, Chloe ran towards the shadow - after all, what could a shadow do?

      The shadow fled, only to be tripped by a piece of rotting log. Now was the time to see what was causing the shadow. Standing less than a foot away from it, Chloe realized that it was not a shadow at all; it was someone - or something - wrapped up in a black veil. Hot anger erupted from within the Kyrii. No one came here except him…It was his Secret Place! Jumping to conclusions, Chloe figured out that Dan must have been behind the veil.

      The Shadow Kyrii felt the same way he had done back in the busy street but this time he wouldn't stop himself from hitting Dan. Shouting everything he could thing of, Chloe jumped into the air, landed on the black figure and started punching and kicking it as hard as he could.

      "STOP!" shrieked a sound so shrill that it felt as though the very air had been sliced into many pieces. It came from within the fold of the veil. "I mean you no harm." It was a harsh yet beautiful voice, unlike Dan's whose voice was husky and reminded you of grindstones being rubbed against each other, and, also unlike Dan, it was a feminine voice.

To be continued...

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