Stand behind yer sheriff Circulation: 115,191,906 Issue: 230 | 9th day of Running, Y8
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Dreams: Part One


by laurel146

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Introduction: Milana, the Dreamer

"Why can't I get that new flower they have at Gardening Supplies?" I asked Ranea. "They say it looks like a cloud when it's grown up!"

     We were walking back to the boat that would carry us to our neohome on Mystery Island. We were doing our weekly shopping in the bazaar and main shopping area. Since I was just a baby Aisha, I wasn't allowed to go on my own without my owner, Ranea. She had adopted me when I was in the pound. I didn't remember who my previous owner was, or why I was in the pound, but I was grateful that Ranea rescued me.

     My silvery dress swayed along with the wind, as did my pure white hair. I've been told too many times that with hair like mine, I looked like Isca, of course, if she was a baby Aisha, or I a Maraquan one. The sun was shining brilliantly - though it was almost sunset - and made my dress glitter as if tiny specks of diamonds were sewn into it. Though at night, it glimmered in the moonlight, moving and looking like waves of water as the night breeze softly blew past it.

     Ranea shook her head, her ponytail of reddish brown hair moving along with her. She said in her soft voice, "I would love to get it for you, but I told you, we're running very low on neopoints. We can't buy things we don't absolutely need. I wish I could do something about our neopoint problem." Ranea sighed. "But I've tried everything, Milana."

     I wished I could help. I hated seeing Ranea unhappy. I sighed sadly, wishing I could get the flower, but mostly because I felt like I was the one causing her neopoint shortage. It cost a lot to buy food for me, not to mention all the other things I needed.

     Soon, we reached the boat. It was a bit shabby looking, but it was all Ranea could afford that had private rooms, since it would take until next morning to get back to our neohome. Ranea and I stepped onto the makeshift bridge, with her holding my hand, for she was afraid I might fall off the thin, wooden plank.

     A creaking noise broke the silence that surrounded us as Ranea opened the door to our cabin. The inside wasn't very clean, but it was neat enough for use. Two beds sat in the room, dusty and worn, the small tears in the blankets were visible, jumping in and out of the moving shadows that were cast from the single window near the door.

     Ranea closed the door after we had both gotten in and set down the several bags she was holding onto the floor. I put the bag I was holding next to hers. We had spent hours shopping for enough food and other needed things to last for a week, no longer, since we were going to return a week later. Ranea, exhausted from the day's events, hopped into one of the two beds and soon, her slow, steady breathing indicated her slumber.

     I peeked out the door and found that the boat was just about to start for Mystery Island. I pushed the door open a bit further to look around and I felt a cold breeze blow past me. I shivered and closed the door and went to get my pink and blue cotton jacket. The bell on my neck jingled as I slipped the jacket on. It was a special bell I got as a present from an air faerie on my first birthday. She told me to always wear it, so I've never taken it off. I learned to always listen to faeries, except for dark ones. Besides, I never liked wearing my pacifier much, especially since I didn't even use it.

     I loved looking at the blue and white pattern of the sparkling bell in the mirror because it reminded me of clouds. And clouds reminded me of dreams. I had dreams every single night and I never had nightmares. Even if I had a bad day, I'd always be happy because I would just look forward to the next dream I would have.

     After getting my jacket I stepped out of the cabin, gently closing the door so I wouldn't wake Ranea. The boat had started moving. They were a while away from land now. I decided to explore the boat and see what was on it.

     I walked towards the back of the boat and gazed up at the clouds in the sky. They were so peaceful looking. Suddenly, as if simply looking at clouds caused it, I felt tired. The day had worn me out, just as it did with Ranea. My eyes slowly closed as I started falling asleep. The last thing I saw were the clouds, slowly moving to change shape and playfully floating around in the sky.

     A field of clouds lay before me. I reached out to touch the soft, white ground, but I couldn't move. As I tried to figure out what had happened to me, an Aisha stepped onto the cloud field. I had never seen the Aisha before, and yet he or she looked familiar somehow. The Aisha raised a long, thin object and aimed the point of it in front of her. It was too far away for me to see what it was. It looked to where the Aisha was pointing the object. A black…something was across from the Aisha. It was like a cold, dark shadow. The shadow-like thing moved. It grew arms, legs, and a tail. It started to grow a head as well. I gasped as I realized it was…

     "Wake up, little Aisha."

     I yawned and slowly opened my eyes. The sky had grown dark and stars were starting to appear. I looked around but no one was there. Did I imagine someone talking?

     "Is anyone there?" I asked. The darkness had made the air colder and even with my jacket, I was cold. The night was silent, save for the rhythmic splash of oars pushing the boat forward through the dark blue water.

     "Down here."

     I blinked and looked over the boat and found myself looking at a water faerie, swimming after the boat as it smoothly sailed over wave after wave.

     "Hello, little Aisha," the water faerie said cheerfully. "Would you mind getting something for me?" Her voice was calm and reminded me of smooth running water when she spoke.

     "You mean you're giving me a quest?"

     "Well it's called many things, but yes, it's basically a quest."

     I had never gotten a quest from a faerie before and the thought of completing my first one ever made me eager to ask, "What do you need?"

     The faerie paused for a moment, as if considering the question. "A simple apple will do."

     I nodded and ran to my cabin. Ranea was still sleeping. I crept inside and found an apple in one of the bags. I tiptoed out of the cabin and as quietly as I could, shut the door. I happily ran back over to the water faerie.

     "Here, is this apple good?" I asked, reaching over the rail to hand it to her.

     The faerie nodded and took the apple from the hand of my outstretched arm. "Now I have a surprise for you. Close your eyes."

     I did as she said. I wondered what a faerie couldn't have that would surprise me. They always have secrets they never tell.

     "Now open them!"

     I opened my eyes and uttered a gasp in amazement. The ordinary water faerie that was just in front of me had turned into… "The Fountain Faerie!"

     "Surprising, isn't it?" she said, with a small laugh. "Here, take this," she said, handing me a white bag with a light blue string tying it at the top so whatever was in it didn't fall out. "It's a bag of exactly enough neopoints to get to Faerieland and back. Whenever you're ready, come to Faerieland over to my Rainbow Fountain." She turned around, as if planning to depart, but then paused and faced me again. "One more thing, don't tell anyone."

     I blinked, surprised. "What? Why can't-"

     But she was already gone.

     I walked back to the cabin and crept over to my bed, careful not to disturb Ranea, despite the bed's creaking and groaning under weight, even that of a baby Aisha. I looked for a place to hide the bag of neopoints. I looked down at my silvery blue dress, remembering it had a hidden pocket somewhere. I found it near my right knee. I slipped the bag into the pocket. The pocket bulged, but not enough for it to be noticeable.

     I sat down in my bed. I wondered how I could get to Faerieland without Ranea knowing. I suppose I could sneak out or something, I thought, but it'll have to wait until some time when Ranea isn't home and doesn't knowI snuck out. But who knows when that'll be…

     I closed my eyes, still pondering all the ideas whirling around in my head. Eventually, I brushed the thoughts from my mind and waited to fall asleep, not even aware of the faint glowing of the bell around my neck.

     I stood, saying goodbye to Ranea. She said she'd be gone for about a day. Several minutes after she left, I fiddled with the window lock and jumped out the window. I looked up at the sky, smiling at the clouds. I said something, but it sounded like mumbling. I realized I was dreaming then…

     I opened my eyes. I immediately closed them as sunlight shone in them. I sat up and rubbed my eyes. I looked around. Ranea was collecting the shopping bags off the floor, holding four in one hand and picking up the rest with her other. She smiled at me when she saw me jump off the bed. "You woke up right on time; we just docked at Mystery Island."

     I crawled across the floor with a yawn. I didn't normally crawl like normal babies, but I was too tired to do anything else. I opened the window and stuck my head out. I could see the sea splashing foamy water on wet sand, and there was a thick aroma of flowers and tropical fruit in the air. I was happy to see the island again.

     I thought about the dream I had. I pondered what it meant. Still lost in thought, I picked up two bags off the floor - just about all my small Aisha body could manage - and told Ranea I'd go to the house by myself.

     I grabbed all my things - my jacket, my small purse, my favorite handmade toy, a shirt and a pair of jeans - ran out the cabin door, and off the boat. As my feet landed on the cold, wet sand, I realized I left my shoes on the boat.

     Ranea waved to me through the cabin window and held up my sandals. "I'll bring them with me!" she yelled. "Make sure you don't step on anything sharp!"

     I nodded, smiling. I ran along the beach for a few minutes, watching the waves crash onto the shore and then get pulled back out into the ocean. I watched as several pets swam in the water. Some were climbing on their surfboards and getting ready for the next big wave.

     I looked at the clouds floating high above, seemingly unreachable. I smiled and turned back to the island and ran down the familiar path leading home.

To be continued...

 
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