Preparing Neopia for the Meepits Circulation: 118,221,339 Issue: 237 | 2nd day of Hunting, Y8
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by kia_shadow


Some claimed he was a curse. Others said he was a gift, and without him, the world would be a whole lot different.

      What did Kanrik mean to me?... Well, I guess you'll have find out soon enough...

      Let's start at the beginning. Kanrik and I were both born into a small village perched in the high mountains of Mystery Island. I was born a male yellow Gelert, and was given the name Vitani. Kanrik was born a few weeks after me, and everyone seemed to make a bigger deal about the birth of the handsome blue Gelert than about me. Often times, I would grow to be extremely jealous of Kanrik's popularity when he had done absolutely nothing. What made him so much better than me?

      As Kanrik and I grew older, we also grew closer. We had been friends for a very long time. We seemed to be very alike, yet so different. We both liked to play in the mud and throw rocks in the river. However, I was quiet and shy, and also liked to read books. I was always an outcast, and Kanrik had always been my one and only friend. Kanrik, however, was quite outgoing and wild, and seemed to have an enormous crowd of friends. I always ignored the fact that he was much more loved than me, and simply stayed to the fact that I was lucky to be the best friend of the most well-known Gelert in the village.

      One thing that usually bugged me was that it was always 'Kanrik and Vitani.' Why not 'Vitani and Kanrik?' Although I had surpassed most of my jealousy of him, I was still angry about him always being praised, always being loved, always being the center of attention. All the while, I would be standing in the corner, watching as he lived his life full of joy, while I lived mine as the most unliked, least known Gelert ever.

      Then, something happened one day. It all seemed regular. I had woken up early, finished my daily chores, then walked outside and searched for Kanrik. Usually he was near this huge field full of wildflowers, bounding after bumblebees and chasing butterflies, but he was not there. I wandered towards the top of the hill, where I suspected he'd be gazing out at the sky or rolling down the slope. However, he was not even there. I bounded towards his house, and knocked at the door. His father answered. "Do you know where Kanrik is?" I politely asked, only to have his father tell me that he did not know, but that Kanrik had left the house early in the morning. Confused and worried, I began searching for my friend a bit farther away from the village. I knew that I probably shouldn't have, since my mother always warned me never to leave the security of our village. But I felt as if I had to. Where could Kanrik have gone? It was a good thing I was such a coward, because I began hearing lots of spooky voices and noises. In an instant, I darted home.

      The village came into view, and I made my way towards my house, deciding that maybe I'd just wait for Kanrik to find me. I jumped onto the couch, opened a book, and began to read. Every time I'd turn a page, I'd set down my book, leap onto the windowsill, hoping to see Kanrik. I never did.

      I didn't even see Kanrik when evening approached. I began to get worried, constantly asking his parents if he had come back yet. They always gave me the same answer: no. They started to panic too, and began searching around for their son. At about 8:00, there was still no sign of Kanrik.

      My mother called me home, where I ate dinner, and was forced to go to straight to bed. I laid awake for an hour or so, concerned about the safety of my companion. I eventually drifted into a sweet, peaceful sleep. Well, that is, until about midnight, when I awoke to the sound of 'clink, clang!' at my window. I rubbed my eyes and sat up, gazing out my window. There I saw Kanrik, with a handful of pebbles, throwing a few more at the glass. I immediately pushed up my window, stuck my head out and cried, "Kanrik! I was so worried!"

      Kanrik held up his hand and silenced me, then motioned for me to come out. Not willing to question why, I crawled out my window and raced towards Kanrik. Before I could even ask him where he went, he began running off without me. Puzzled, I followed, unwilling to lose him again. We dashed a little ways away from the village, until we reached a small hill, which out looked the glorious, dark, star-scattered sky.

      I panted, brushing a few tufts of fur out of my eyes, and asked, "Kanrik, where have you been? Everyone has been panicking... We've been looking around for you all day, and..."

      "Shh!" Kanrik hissed, narrowing his eyes at me. "Man, do you have to ruin everything?!" I was surprised at the sudden icy tone in the Gelert's voice. Before I could once again question Kanrik on where he went, he finally said, "Okay, do you promise not to tell anyone?"

      "Of course... Now, where have you been?"

      "Alright..." Kanrik began, taking in a long breath. He looked from side to side, then leaned in closer to me. "I've been talking to these guys who are from this group of thieves. They sound really cool, and they might let me join!" A wide, proud grin stretched across Kanrik's sweat-gleaming face.

      I blinked, still processing what Kanrik had just said. I wasn't sure I heard him right. "You? A thief?" I muttered quietly, trying to lock eyes with Kanrik to see if he was serious. Kanrik never looked at me back. He seemed to become very fascinated with the ground, and acted as if there was no need to look back at me.

      Kanrik's smile fell as he grumbled, "What, you think it's stupid?"

      "Well, um, I, well..."

      "Hey! I've got a great idea!" Kanrik exclaimed, his face suddenly lighting up.

      "Umm... What?" I asked. I knew it wouldn't be something very clever.

      "Hey, you wanna join the thieves with me? It'll be great! We'll be rich!" Kanrik chuckled, bounding circles around me and glancing at me with hopeful eyes. "Please? Please, please, please!"

      "I don't think so, Kanrik," I replied. He froze in place, staring at me with a shocked expression. Apparently it was not the answer he was expecting.

      "Why not, Vitani?" he asked, his voice drooping into a disappointed, distant tone. "I thought we were best friends. I thought we would do everything together."

      I shook my head and stated firmly, "No. I'm not joining those thugs. I'm going home now." It felt good to finally tell Kanrik what I felt. I usually went along with whatever he said, but certainly not that time. I flicked my nose into the air and began trotting down the hill, leaving Kanrik with his jaw open and staring at me with eyes heavy with confusion and anger.

      "Wait!" I heard him suddenly cry. I sighed angrily as I heard his footsteps pounding behind me. Kanrik jumped in front of me and suggested, "Before you make a final decision, won't you please just come and meet them? I'm meeting the thieves again tomorrow night. Please come with me! Then you can tell me what you think. And if you say no, I'll never bug you about it again."

      I stared at Kanrik. I knew he was telling the truth. I suddenly felt my stubbornness fade away, and was replaced with my normal, agreeable self. "I... I guess," I growled, lowering my head. "Tomorrow night. Stop by my house, and we'll tell our parents we're going on a walk."

      Kanrik nodded his head happily. "Yeah, yeah, alright! I promise you won't regret this!" With that said, Kanrik sprinted off towards the village. I sighed, shaking my head in shame for being so gullible. I stared up at the black, star-littered sky, suddenly noticing a shooting star. A star that was falling from its position in the sky, higher than all the others, then suddenly dropping. I knew that I shouldn't have thought about it, but I wished that Kanrik was a falling star.

      The next day came very quickly. The whole day through, Kanrik kept convincing his parents with a ridiculous story that he was dragged down the river and got lost for a really long time. I would simply roll my eyes as I heard his parents coo and tell him that they were 'so sorry that they couldn't have helped.' How did Kanrik find a way to get away with anything?!

      I kept my distance from Kanrik. I stayed with my family for most of the day, just in case I decided to join the thieves.

      Then, the time came. I was sitting on my couch, reading my favorite book for what I thought would maybe be the last time. I then heard rapid knocks at the door. I flung my book onto the floor and sprinted to swing open the door. There stood Kanrik, a huge grin gracing his face. "Ready to go?" he asked, nearly twitching with eagerness.

      "Yeah," I murmured with a nod, hoping to slip out the door without my parents knowing.

      My hope was crushed as I suddenly heard a voice say, "Where are you two going?" My mother stepped out from the kitchen, continuing to polish a plate in her hand with a damp rag.

      I bit my lip, flicking my eyes towards Kanrik. Kanrik simply gestured to respond to her. I turned back to my mother, who was now standing with her hands on her hips. "We're going on a walk, Mum," I replied, trying to act casual.

      "Well, alright. Try not to fall into any rivers, okay?" she instructed, wandering back into the kitchen. Success!

      Kanrik and I dashed out before my mother had a chance to stop us again. We sped out of the village, and down a dirt path. "Where are we going to meet these guys, Kanrik?" I asked.

      Kanrik smirked. "Down over here," he replied.

      My eyes widened. "Are you kidding me? We're still so close to the village! Someone could easily spot us out here!"

      Kanrik shrugged. "So?" he muttered, slowing his pace. I did as well. We approached a small area nestled between two hills. It was tucked very securely, and was shadowed by the hills. Kanrik turned to me and whispered, "Wait here for a second."

      I nodded, though I doubted that Kanrik could see, since it was almost pitch black. Kanrik strode forward, head held high, chest puffed out proudly. Into the darkness he disappeared. I sat patiently on a patch of dew-soaked grass, my ears twitching as they detected some hushed, yet urgent voices. I couldn't tell how many people Kanrik was speaking to, but it probably wasn't a lot.

      Suddenly, I saw Kanrik emerge from the shadows. But he wasn't alone. He was with a Darigan Skeith that held a sword and a grim looking Grarrl. I blinked, feeling scrawny and pathetic compared to the two massive beasts in front of me. It was very silent, and I could feel the Skeith's and Grarrl's eyes pierce into me. I felt nervous and scared.

      The silence was finally broken when Kanrik said, "So, what do you think, guys? Can Vitani join?"

      "I dunno," the Grarrl murmured, his voice low and cracked. It sounded as if he hadn't drunk any water for weeks. He stared at me with his horrifying red eyes, scanning every inch of me. "He looks weak and pathetic."

      "Yeah, he is," Kanrik scoffed, rolling his eyes.

      I glared at Kanrik. "Hey!" I objected, wondering why he was suddenly so cruel.

      "He's actually a real wimp. All he does is read books all day!" Kanrik added, striking me with a taunting smirk. Why was he doing that? I figured it was so he could fit in or sound cool, or some stupid reason.

      The Grarrl stared at me curiously. "Does he really? We don't want no smart alecs in our group." Then he snapped his fingers.

      Before I knew it, I suddenly found myself pinned against the cool grass. The Skeith had his long fingers wrapped around my neck had the sharp, dirt-crusted blade of his sword raised into the night sky. I screamed, kicking my legs and snapping my jaws. "Why are you doing this?!" I whimpered, tears gushing into my eyes.

      "The world has no use for pathetic losers like you!" was the response. At first, I thought the Skeith had said it. Then, I looked over the Skeith's shoulder, to see that it was Kanrik who had spoken. He laughed with the Grarrl, who was standing by his side.

      "Kanrik, you can't let them do this to me!" I yelled.

      "Sure I can," Kanrik replied, a bit annoyed. "I'm tired of talking to him. Get rid of this pest!"

      Down the blade swung. A terrified shriek tore from my lips as I thrashed underneath the Skeith's clutches. Luck must have been with me on that dreary night, as I luckily managed to squirm away just as the glistening blade was sliced against the green grass. I stumbled around for a moment, desperate to regain balance, overwhelmed by how close to death I had just come and how betrayed I felt by Kanrik. When I regained control, I looked questioningly at my so-called 'friend.' Kanrik stood close to the Grarrl, who both stared at me menacingly. I took a few steps back.

      "Get out of here, Vitani," Kanrik finally spoke, briskly and cruelly. "I have no further use for you."

      My eyes widened. "Kanrik, are you kidding me?! You're actually joining these guys?!" I screamed. My heart was beating so fast that I thought it was going to rip out my chest. "They almost killed me! You almost let them kill me! Why do you want me dead?"

      "I don't know. Because you're a loser and I hate you, and you're always holding me back." Kanrik turned his back to me and stood frozen, still. "You can't change me, Vitani," Kanrik hissed. He motioned his head toward the thieves. "Come on, let's get out of here."

      With that much said, Kanrik and the others disappeared into the darkness of the night. Leaving me, alone, crying, screaming about what a fool Kanrik was. I couldn't believe that he was going to simply watch as that Skeith almost cut me to bits. My heart was torn into two; my first, my last, and only, friend had abandoned me. He deceived me. I meant nothing more than just another person in the world to him.

      Weary and weak, I stumbled back to the village, preparing what I would announce to everyone as soon as they realized that Kanrik was gone... forever.

After five years...

      Now, I am much older. Much wiser. I am adopted into a middle-class family, with three other pets, and a kind owner. I still read books, and I have not one friend. It's rough getting through the days. My legs are not what they once were, and I'm practically blind.

      Some time ago, a few months after I was adopted, I was walking through the busy streets of Neopia. I thought I had put my entire past behind me. That is, until a Chia newsboy stepped in front of me and shrieked, "Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Kanrik, the handsome thief, helps Hannah the sly thief in a huge battle that determined the fate of all of Neopia! Extra! Extra!..." My ears perked forward. The name Kanrik instantly struck something in my mind that was so familiar... too familiar. I snatched an issue of the Neopian Times from the Chia's hands and scanned the page. I read about the brave, the daring, the strong blue Gelert by the name of Kanrik, fighting away a band of thieves that he had once been part of. So, Kanrik has not changed one bit, I thought with a grunt. Still betraying everyone who trusted him.

      I crumpled up the Neopian Times as I began reading, in detail, of how loyal and trustworthy Kanrik was to dear Hannah the Usul. "Who knows, maybe Kanrik will suddenly change and deceive Hannah as well...?" I murmured to no one in particular. I shook my head and tossed the paper on the ground and made my way down to the smoothie shop.

      The day was not over, not quite yet. Just a few blocks away from the smoothie shop, there was an enormous crowd of Neopets and humans screaming and hollering a name that I couldn't quite make out. But, of course, I already knew what it was: Kanrik.

      I sprinted to join, and when I came close enough, I saw Kanrik standing in the middle, raising his hands into the air and laughing as a group of female Gelerts screaming, "WE LOVE YOU, KANRIK!!!" It stung my ears as they began giggling and continued shrieking. I stared at Kanrik; he looked overjoyed. He seemed to be doing great without me.

      I shook my head. Why intrude into his simply glamorous life? Everyone loved him. Everyone thought he was so great. Everyone thought he was simply the most amazing creature to exist. Ha. Doesn't anyone stop to think about the past life of the superstars? Hasn't anyone stopped to think about all the people they've hurt and abandoned along their way to fame? Didn't anyone care about me, Vitani? Didn't anyone stop to think about how I was fading away as simply the shadow of Kanrik? No. I'm probably not even good enough to be considered the shadow of that traitor.

      I looked at Kanrik as he flashed the crowd around him a huge smile. I furrowed my brow, spinning around on my heels, and turning my back to Kanrik. Turning my back to all the pain he had brought upon me. The worst part is, he had no idea. If he did know, I doubt he would even care.

      Some claimed he was a curse. Others said he was a gift, and without him, the world would be a whole lot different.

      What did Kanrik mean to me? Exactly what I meant to him.


The End

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