A Wish for Bravery: Part Three
The school bell rang again and this time students came
out of the building instead of going in. It was as if a rather destructive earthquake
had hit the area. The ground started to shake as a stampede of children rushed
out, each pet for himself, as all of them tried to get out first.
Among the last people to come out was Chloe.
Everything about him looked the same as ever except his expression. Usually,
he would look depressed but right now he had a comfortable, laid-back sort of
expression. Another thing that was unusual that day was the company he was around.
For some reason, Chloe had been seen hanging around with the sixth-grade bully,
Dan, who happened to have quite a knack for bullying the Kyrii in front of him.
Apparently, Dan was looking at Chloe with an expression of true friendship.
The two pets stopped walking and found themselves
about twenty feet from the Food Shop.
"Do you really think you can do this?" asked
"You bet I can," smirked Chloe. "Boy, I really
like being brave now…"
"Well then," said the Skeith, patting him on
the back. "Go make me proud!"
Chloe ran up to the door of the Burger-shaped
shop and, wrenched the door open and heard a faint tinkle of a bell hanging
at the top of the entrance. Inside, there was, it seemed, no space, even to
breathe. This would be harder than he thought, especially as there would be
so many eyewitnesses.
And so he waited…just as every day, the restockers
would leave as soon as the rare items would be sold out leaving the ordinary
food items for the others. Chloe waited till the last tinkle of the bell.
The Kyrii looked around as if he was interested
in something but actually, he was trying to find something to torture the shopkeeper
Chia with. Suddenly, an idea sprang to his mind. He hurried to the bread section.
All the fresh, newly stocked bread would have already been sold out, leaving
all the hard ones behind. Loaves of bread could be very hard and, unfortunately
for Chloe, he had to learn this the hard way. A memory stirred in his mind and
he remembered the time when he had accidentally bit into a piece of rock hard
Chloe shook his head and grabbed at the hardest
loaf of bread he could find. Then, he went to look for the shopkeeper which
wasn't very hard to do.
"ARRRGGHHH!" screamed the Chia, startled, as
the Kyrii had caught him from behind.
"Give me some neggs!" Chloe whispered into the
"S-security," yelled the Chia.
"Don't fool me," said Chloe, sneering. "There
is no security in this dump. Now gimme those neggs!"
"I don't have any; and it'll take a moment to
restock. Why don't you sit down and relax. We restock every eight minutes or
"I want them NOW!!!" bellowed Chloe, raising
his voice at the last word and brandishing the loaf of bread dangerously.
"Alright, alright…" said the shopkeeper "Just
let go of me, will you"
Chloe did as he was told and the frightened
little Chia went off into the storage room mumbling something about rude customers.
He came back with three Icy Neggs in his hands.
"That will be six thousand neopoints," he said
before adding, "sir."
This time Chloe did hit him. "You expect me
to pay for that? Why would I be hitting you then?"
"NO HAGGLING," bellowed the Kyrii. "I want them
"Well done, Chloe, you've really done well…I'm
proud of you," said Dan affectionately looking at the loot the Kyrii had brought
"Yes well," said Chloe, lifting his glass of
Achyfi, "it all goes to my bravery…To Bravery!"
"To Bravery," chanted the Skeith, lifting his
glass as well, and then drinking deeply.
Both pets drank their drinks and screwed up
their faces in disgust.
"Bleh! How gross," grumbled Chloe.
"Yeah!" said Dan dreamily…Suddenly, he looked
up very important and said, "Chloe, as a token of my appreciation, I will take
you to my friends, the Neopian Central Gruslens."
"The Neopian Central Gruslens ," repeated
Chloe replied the Skeith's dark and meaningful
looks with a puzzled one of his own.
"Never mind who they are," sighed Dan. "I'll
take you to them. Trust me, you'll like them…a lot."
Chloe opened the front door and entered the
neohome as fast and silently as he could. He wanted to reach his home without
anyone noticing, especially Patricia. But all his efforts were unsuccessful;
Patricia was already standing there, with a batch of steaming cookies in her
"You're late," she said smiling. "What took
you so long? I was beginning to get worried."
"You shouldn't worry so much, mom," said Chloe
as innocently as possible. "I was just hanging out with some friends."
"Oh you were, were you?" asked Patricia, happily.
"My little Chloey is growing up."
"Mom," complained the Kyrii, rolling his white
eyes. "How many times have I told you not to call me that?"
"Er, none, I guess."
"Well now I do," said Chloe, hastily putting
his hands behind his back and trying to get away from his owner, and to his
"What have you got behind your back," asked
Patricia, sweetly. It was obvious she didn't suspect a thing. "Is it something
"Er…" explained Chloe in sounds that didn't
make sense at all.
The Kyrii opened his mouth again, trying to
find the right excuse when a walking, talking diversion burst into the entrance
corridor. It was Chloe's little sister, Qilla, the pink Meerca. She was tiny
for her age but one of her stats was really high.
Chloe hadn't even completed heaving his sigh
of relief when flash of pink streaked across the room.
"What's Chloey got behind his back?" she asked,
blurting her words at the speed of sound.
Patricia opened her mouth to say something but
for Qilla, an eternity had already passed and her impatience had taken control
of her so she didn't wait for an answer, rushed into the tiny gap between Chloe's
back and the wall he was standing against and pushed him, holding the hand he
had desperately been trying to hide.
"Lookie here, mommy," she said gleefully showing
the Kyrii's hand in front of her owner. "What a pretty bracelet!"
Patricia looked at the blue loop of ribbon with
fire Gruslen patterns dotted on it here and there.
"What's that, honey?" she whispered eyeing the
Kyrii with horrified suspicion.
"Uh," said Chloe, trying to find the right words,
"it's, er, it's nothing, mom."
"Well then," said Patricia, her face white.
"Who gave it to you?"
"I was given it by the leader of the Neopian
Central Gruslens," blurted out Chloe before he could stop himself from speaking
The effect of the Kyrii's words was instantaneous.
Suddenly, his owner fell down on the ground with her face in her hands, weeping.
Qilla rushed by her side and, though she hadn't understood what had happened,
started speaking words of comfort to her.
"Look what you did to mom," she yelled, looking
daggers at her older brother.
"Where did I go wrong…?" said Patricia to herself.
"I did it for bravery," said Chloe, finally,
breaking the dramatic scene in front of him which he could not bear to see anymore.
"Bravery?" asked his owner, moving her face
from her cupped hands and wiping her tears.
"Yeah…bravery," said Chloe. "Everyone used to
make fun of me 'cause I was scared of everything but now it's time I get some
"And who gave you the respect you wanted?"
"What did you do for him?" Patricia asked the
Kyrii. "And what earned you this respect."
"Well he dared me to do something and I did
it," he replied.
"What?" said Patricia.
"Yes," said Chloe proudly, "I did it."
"No, I meant to say, 'what did you do?'"
"Oh," said Chloe, his smile fading slightly.
"I tortured the Food Shop shopkeeper until 'e gave me a few Neggs for free."
"You what?" shrieked Patricia. "How can you
call that bravery? Bravery isn't doing what someone tells you to do, it's -"
"I know, I know," said Chloe, rolling his eyes,
"it's doing the right thing no matter how difficult it is. But what's the point
of that? I was told to do something I was afraid to do and I did it; isn't the
called bravery?" Saying that he stomped off to his room, angry at his owner
for not being proud of him for what he had done.
The sounds of jostling youngsters filled the
entire corridor lined with lockers. There were still ten minutes for the school
bell to ring so everyone was calm. Sunlight was shining through the huge metal
door which remained open while students trickled into the school building like
water dripping from a tap that isn't properly closed.
One of the last people to come inside was Chloe,
the shadow Kyrii. No one took any notice of him entering the school. No one
had ever done. But he had never cared - except this time he did. Ever since
he had bumped into Vira a few days ago he had changed. He was brave now.
Gone was the ''fraidy snorkle' looser. Chloe wasn't afraid of anything now and
he did care what other people thought of him. He wanted others' respect as well.
Chloe reached for his locker and took out all
the textbooks he'd be needing that day, narrowed his eyes as if trying to find
someone and looked into a large crowd of very talkative and noisy pets. At last,
looking satisfied, he spotted who he was looking for.
Walking into the cluster of pets, Chloe found
Dan, the Skeith, chatting animatedly to Val, another overweight bullying Skeith.
He saw something highly curious in Val's eyes.
It was respect - pure worshipping respect. Val
looked up to Dan!
White, hot, rage filled Chloe's body, blinding
him. What wouldn't he give to be respected that way? An idea sank into the Kyrii's
mind. He would fight face-to-face with Dan and whoever would win would be the
newest and toughest bully of the school.
Running into the crowd, he grabbed Dan by the
folds of his neck.
"Leave him alone," said Val, suddenly. He drew
up trying to look intimidating but Chloe looked at him as if he were a particularly
"Why should I?" asked the Kyrii, sneering.
"'Cause I'm older, and bigger and tougher then
you," said Val impressively stiffening up his muscles. "And," he continued his
speech, "'Cause you should be afraid of my beating you up."
Chloe replied by merely rolling his eyes.
"Y-you aren't a-af-afraid of me?" asked Val,
"Of course I'm not afraid," said Chloe. "Look
at it this way - you're older, but that's only because you fail every year;
you're bigger but I'm smaller, giving me an advantage and you're tougher but
I'm faster so I have another advantage."
"Look's like you're challenging me to a fight,"
"Ermm, something like that, but the only person
I want to fight is him," said Chloe pointing at Dan, who he still held by the
"You want to fight me?" asked Dan. "But I thought
you and I were friends now! Why?"
"I'm fighting you so that, when I win, I get
some respect around here," answered Chloe. "The old Chloe who let everyone push
him around is gone, okay?"
Dan stared at Chloe as if he had been told to
jump into a lake with a rock tied to his belly (not that he needed it).
Punches and kicks blew in every direction as
the fight commenced. Chloe looked at his opponent and snorted. This was going
to be easy. Two days ago he had almost beaten him up but his old goody-two-shoes
self had stopped the fight. As large as Dan was, the slower he was and the smaller
Chloe was, the speedier he was. He ran in every possible direction, including
between Dan's feet in order to get a better aim at him. Every blow he aimed
at the bulking blob was a successful bull's-eye and each time he hit Dan, the
Skeith's groans injected courage into him. Even the crowd of people forming
a ring around the two, shouting, "FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!" was doing him good too.
The fight went on for a few minutes and it seemed
that Dan either could not or would not hit Chloe. The crowd grew bored and the
cheering for the little, brave shadow Kyrii ceased.
Anger flared inside Chloe. Didn't the others
want him to beat up someone larger than him? The anger grew. It was all because
of Dan. The Skeith wasn't even trying to hit him. It's the time to end it,
Then suddenly, as if possessed, Chloe punched
him so hard that he himself felt his own knuckles crackle. Dan flew a few feet
above the ground and landed with a heavy thud.
The crowd groaned and so did Dan.
But it wasn't over yet…
"Get up," growled Chloe.
The Skeith didn't move.
"I said, 'UP'," roared Chloe.
Dan was still unmoving - he was unconscious.
Suddenly, all the violence trapped inside him
melted away and Chloe found himself feeling exactly the same way as he had done
on the last fight with the Skeith. What had he done? He had hurt a fellow living
being just to show his bravery.
"But is this really bravery?" a part of him
"Of course it is," said another voice within
him. "Bravery is doing what you're afraid to do."
"No it isn't," argued his conscience. "Bravery
is doing what's right."
A piercing scream erupted from Chloe's lips.
The agony was painful. It was as if he had been torn in two. Half his body wanted
to continue the fight while the other wanted to stay. Both the opposing forces
had taken control of his body, leaving him to suffer the pain.
"Bravery is doing what's right…"
Chloe opened his eyes, panting. He knew what
to do now.
With his paw, he reached his chest and pressed
hard and willed for it to reach under his skin. Familiar white light blinded
him. Pain blinded him too. Voices whispered into his ears, telling him to stop
what he was doing.
Suddenly the voices vanished, the light subdued
and the pain disappeared.
Chloe felt something heavy in his paw. It was
the Heart - except it wasn't bright, soft and pink. It was black and crumbled,
like something carved cruelly out of stone. He understood. It was all Vira's
doing. The Heart he had received from her made him think that doing all the
evil things in life was a sign of bravery. To his surprise, the heart turned
into a black goop that he couldn't contain in his cupped paw. It fell to the
ground and started frothing. With an evil hiss, it turned to smoke and blew
away. Chloe's true bravery had destroyed Vira's magic. Patricia had always been
right about bravery and now he would never forget this.
Dan moaned, sat up and blinked; he didn't know
what had happened.
"Let's start our friendship afresh," said Chloe,
lending out his hand to Dan, to help him up, smiling.