teh 1337est n00zpaper Circulation: 113,881,443 Issue: 159 | 24th day of Gathering, Y6
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Finding Kourage: Part Four

by larenbeka


"Thank you so much, Kourage. Everything you taught me will play a role in my life now. Good-bye." It was an awkward moment just then. She wasn't sure she should hug him. But her affection for him was friendly; he had helped her find herself when many doubted the simplest of things of her. Before she could feel uneasy for another second, Kourage embraced her in a warm, reassuring hug. She smiled at his wings. They were pink and a clear white that seems to never let you down….just like Kourage.

      "You're welcome. Remember everything I taught you. After all, "kindness gives birth to kindness" (Sophocles). Have a safe trip!"

      Maieben had been told that you shouldn't look back until your departure area is out of sight, but she couldn't help it. She looked up at the little cottage with warm eyes, smiling eyes and a grateful heart. Then, she looked towards the ocean. She walked onward.

      She was scolded numerous times on her bad navigation by her map. There was a lot on her mind; she couldn't concentrate clearly. She decided to sit by the water and take a break. The map scoffed at this, but didn't object. Maieben approached the water carefully. It called to her. The sun above it was a flawless ball of orange glory and the ripples were in its spotlight. The waves wrapped her hind legs in a wet welcome and she proceeded further. She let the water wash over her and clothe her in the placid coolness and serenity of it all. She lost all consciousness of the anxieties around her; she felt only peacefulness and appreciation.

      Suddenly, she was jerked back to consciousness and she whipped around. She saw a red fin circling her. It circled faster and faster, racing Maieben's heartbeat…she knew what it was. She couldn't get back to the shore in time! Jetsams were too fast for Aishas. She was frantic. But, she stayed perfectly still. All of a sudden, it lunged at her, dodging and swimming and splashing her. She dunked underneath the cold water, now gloomy and reproachful. And dangerous. She felt her breath leave her. She looked hopefully to the sky for an answer or instruction, but it was no use. The great sun was now hidden behind an unwelcoming, pitying, gray cloud.

      While she was feeling this way and consulting her instincts, the jetsam charged and opened its disdainful jaw. She swam as fast as she could, but her ear caught the jetsam's upper tooth. She cried out in alarm and flopped onto her back. He whapped her with his powerful tail. Her stomach took the blow and she doubled over in the water, resulting in sinking. The jetsam, thinking he had destroyed his prey, took another gold chance to apply one final injury to his next meal. He put on full speed and bent his head down, as to spear Maieben with his head-fin. But, one thing Aishas have that Jetsams don't is cunning. Maieben had barely and painfully swum over behind the jetsam and helped him along in his terrible antics. Where Maieben used to be was a large boulder.

      A sickening crunch let Maieben know her plan had worked. She crawled laboriously to the shore. She lay down and opened her pack. The map gave her comforting suggestions on how to wrap her injuries. Undiscouraged, Maieben wanted to continue the journey, but Map insisted she rest for the remainder of the day. They would start fresh tomorrow.

      * * * * *

      Their 'fresh start' didn't start out so well; they started early and there was a steady drizzle being upheld. By noon a frightening, perilous storm was at hand. Large, deafening, pungent claps of thunder rolled around in the sky. You could feel their echoes bounce off the mountains and vibrate in your chest. The lightening was so vigorous and prevailing. It lit up the whole sky with its skeleton and ghostly light. The eccentricity of the whole trip did not hinder the continuation of Maieben's expedition. Her determined spirit was her sun, her stubbornness her heat, and her diligence was her blue sky.

      She did, however, cease it briefly when her injuries got the better of her. They stopped in an overhang of towering oak trees. The formed an awning of leaves and branches. The constant drip, drip of the water on the leaves played melody to the pitter, pitter, patter, pitter of the drops overhead. It was a concert of nature just for Maieben. She lay down on a marshy area of very green grass directly below a protective tree. There were wildflowers all around the bases of the trunks. There were tiger lilies, lilac buds, daisies and many more. They surrounded Maieben in a circle of beauty. She fell asleep instantly.

      When she woke up, the rain had quieted and the thunder had died down. She got up and brushed herself off before beginning her excursion again. She had only just started when she heard a rustle behind her. She paused, looked around the clearing and decided she had only imagined it. Another minute into her trip and she heard it again, closer this time. She tiptoed to the nearest bush and peeked behind it and found…nothing. She resolved that she was letting her imagination get the better of her. She had finally thought she had nothing to worry about when she heard a twig snap. Her heart jumped out of her throat where it had been pumping dangerously. She examined every leaf from where she was for camouflaged animals. She didn't see anything. Maieben was starting to get nervous. She opted to be silent and cautious, chary, fastidious, and prudent on her ramble. It was getting annoying because she knew she wasn't hallucinating…

      THUMP! Maieben whipped around, completely horrified and impromptu about what to do. This time she did see her "stalker" in the overgrown remains of a bush. It was an Aisha, sprawled on the earthen floor and very tangled. She didn't dare help it, it was utterly erroneous, it was…

      It was Morella, her classmate. It was the same yellow Aisha that had tormented, teased, scoffed, laughed at, and shamed Maieben many times previously without so much as a regret. Maieben stood her ground and tried to appear her full height. "What are you doing on the floor, Morella? And better yet, what are you doing here to begin with?"

      The tangled Aisha looked up with ostensible disgust. She chose not to answer.

      "Thorns got your tongue?" Maieben folded her paws across her chest.

      Morella finally congregated some courage and spoke, "What were you doing all week, Meaningless Maieben? Were you learning how to be normal? Or was this week National Fools' Week? Were you meeting with some of your idiot friends? Oh, yeah you don't have any friends!" Morella broke into fits of merciless laughter. Maieben remembered something in the back of her brain. All the coaching from Kourage had made her conscience more significant and evocative. It had become more astute, too. Right now it was telling her that she didn't have to listen to this and that she controlled the things that happened to her. If she let someone else control her views of herself, she had given up. By telling Morella what was bothering her, versus telling her what she was doing wrong, a lot more would be accomplished. Maieben sighed and furrowed her brow in frustration.

      "Morella, I really don't like it when you insult me like that. It's spiteful and tactless. I really don't like it and I wish you would stop. I'm not giving you any reason to treat me this way and I want you to stop…please." She paused and looked Morella full in the face. She tried to see what was going on in Morella's head. She seemed dumbfounded. But, then she smiled. It was not her regular, vindictive smile. It was a pleased smile. It was Maieben's turn to feel dumbfounded. All of a sudden, Morella's form faded into a larger, unclear form. It was a blue, Faerie Blumaroo with wrinkles and a knowledgeable face…Kourage! His aged face and his old eyes grinned with the satisfaction of a Gelert with a new plushie. Maieben's jaw dropped further than it was meant to. She was shocked, flabbergasted, startled and overjoyed all at once. Her first instinct was to hug him, then she wanted to question him and then…she wanted to slap him. She didn't do any of these.

      He spoke first, "Do not be grudging with me, Maieben. This was a test of your progress and your knowledge. You passed and now you can use Tylorra's magic fully. You also gain the virtue of patience. This is because you had patience with Morella. You explained your feelings, not her wrong-doings. Congratulations! You are one of my most successful students yet…I'm immensely proud. You are wise beyond your years, Maieben." He looked at her admiringly. Once again, Maieben had the feeling of him looking further than her immediate features. "You know, someone once said 'inspiration and genius-one and the same.' (Victor Hugo) I believe he was right. You have both: inspiration: love and understanding and genius: me." He laughed heartily. It sounded like deep bells ringing and chirping to Maieben. She liked it. It was very comforting. "I'm just kidding, darling. The genius that inspires you is the knowledge of knowing you can do it; it's the feeling of being accomplished and it's the passion of your very heart."

      Maieben looked at him. He was right. When was he not? She thought he must know everything, or maybe he just loved everything so he taught it. She asked him this. He answered as he always did: with more than a simple "yes" or "no" but an entire short speech. "Well, maybe. I know a lot. That's only because I like to know and I like to find out. I also love teaching. There's not much better than knowing you helped someone save themselves."

      "Kourage, do you have an extra sight or something? I've felt you look at me with an understanding that I can't name. It makes me feel…sort of guilty and sort of special. Am I imagining it?"

      "You can feel that? Wow. You are much more gifted then I credited you for. Yes, Maieben I have a type of second sight. I can glimpse someone's soul for what they yearn for most and then I help them do it. But, only if they are willing for that kind of help and exposure. I can also take the form of another in order to help them. They were gifts from faeries." He gazed into the distance as if to let the hills know his secret.

      "You are truly amazing. You are a miracle worker and I'm glad I met you." She gave him the warmest hug she could physically give anyone. She felt a salty, tepid tear splash on her shoulder. She looked up at him. He had his eyes closed and he was smiling silently. But, his emotion was evident and loud.

      "I'm glad I met you, too, Maieben."

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» Finding Kourage: Part Three
» Finding Kourage: Part Five

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