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Wager's Curse


by twilight_zelda

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"Miss, um, Miss Faerie?" a quiet voice called. The Soup Faerie looked around until she felt a tug on her apron. Looking down, she saw that the voice belonged to a little striped Korbat.

      A smile spread across the faerie's face. "Yes? Looking for some soup?"

      "No ma'am, my owner keeps me well fed," she said shyly. "I was jus' wonderin'… Well, I've heard you're good friends with the great Fyora, and I'm hopin' you could tell me how to fin' her. I've got a question for her, see?"

      The Soup Faerie suppressed a giggle at the Korbat's adorable way of talking. "Well, Fyora's a little hard to keep track of. I might be able to answer your question, though. What's your name, little one?"

      "My name's Elinaria, but everyone calls me Ellie 'cause Elinaria's a mouthful."

      "Well, it's nice to meet you, Ellie. What's your question?"

      "Well, the other day, I was just wonderin' where exactly the Snowager came from," Ellie blurted.

      The Soup Faerie let out an involuntary gasp. "Wager," she breathed.

      "You know the Snowager?" Ellie squealed.

      "I knew him. I knew him before he was known as Snowager."

      "Really?" the Korbat asked, her eyes wide. "What was he like?"

      "Well…"

      * * *

      "Hi, Wager! I haven't seen you for a few days. Have your fortunes finally improved?" The Soup Faerie beamed, handing a large bowl of hot steaming soup to a small blue Hissi.

      "I got a new owner again," the Hissi answered in a depressed voice. "She had too much money to let us eat here, but she always forgot to feed us… or just didn't want to take the time. Now she's broke."

      "Don't worry, Wager, I'm sure your luck will turn around soon."

      "I've heard her talking about putting me up for adoption," Wager grumbled. "I know I wouldn't keep getting abandoned if I wasn't so ugly."

      "You're not ugly. You're just… unique," the faerie said, putting a hand on his head.

      Wager shrugged it off. "I am ugly. Why else is there no one else that looks like me? Why am I the only Hissi?"

      The Soup Faerie searched her mind frantically for a good answer. "You… maybe… more are coming. Do you remember where you came from?"

      The Hissi shook his head in silence.

      She gave him a sad smile and gently lifted his chin up with her fingers. "Keep your chin up. This can't last forever. Just don't forget to come and visit me when you're rich and famous."

      Wager gave her a shaky smile and handed her his empty bowl. "Thanks. I won't ever forget you."

      * * *

      The next day, a little blue Hissi slithered to the Soup Kitchen as fast as he could, unable to contain his glee. In his excitement, he almost knocked the Soup Faerie over.

      "You were right! My luck's finally changed! I got a new owner and he's really nice. He bought me a new toy! I've never had a toy of my very own before! And, and, and he said I'll get to meet my brother and sister soon! And we have a Neohome! And he showed me this really cool place called the Money Tree and I got something from there! My owner says I'm really fast…"

      The faerie laughed. "I'm glad you haven't forgotten me in all your rich and famousness."

      Wager scrunched his nose up. "Well, I'm not really rich… or famous… But, oh, I've always dreamed of an owner like this!"

      "Well, I'm just glad you're happy, little one."

      "I will be rich, though. You'll see. My owner says that since I'm so good at getting things there, we'll be rich in no time," Wager said with a determined nod as he scurried off again.

      * * *

      Once again, about a week later, the Soup Faerie saw the little Hissi speeding towards her, this time with a bag gripped in his mouth. As soon as he reached her, he released the bag, spilling its contents at her feet. She picked up one of the items; it was a Baby Blumaroo Plushie.

      "What's all this, Wager?"

      "It's my loot." He smiled. "My owner's been taking me to that tree a lot. He said I could keep some of the stuff that wasn't worth as much."

      Wasn't worth as much? the Soup Faerie thought. That plushie has to be worth almost 50,000 neopoints!

      "Well, are you here for some soup?" the faerie asked.

      "Wow, I am pretty hungry. I don't think I've eaten since last time I was here. My owner has kept me busy. I'd love some."

      The faerie quickly spooned some into a bowl, a worried frown beginning to take shape on her face.

      "Oh, wait," Wager said with a grin. "I'm much too rich to eat here. I'll just go ask my owner for some food."

      The Soup Faerie stopped. "Oh… alright… if you're sure..."

      But Wager had already left.

      * * *

      It was a few weeks before the Soup Faerie saw Wager again. Only this time, he wasn't hurrying and it seemed like moving was a big effort. When he finally got closer, she saw that he was pale and skinny from lack of food.

      "Wager! How long has it been since you've eaten?"

      The Hissi replied with a hardly visible shoulder shrug. The faerie scooped him into her arms and placed him in a large bed inside the kitchen. She sent for someone to bring him a bowl of soup and set to nursing him back to health.

      Soon, Wager was able to sit up and explain what happened.

      "After I saw you, I went back home for some food. My owner said I could have some if I got more things from the Money Tree. I did, but I never got any food, and he stopped letting me keep anything. Then, when I got to weak to get anything from the Tree, my family started talking about abandoning me. I couldn't stand being abandoned again. I could end up with an even worse owner. So I ran away. I took as much stuff as I could carry and came here."

      "Oh, Wager, I'm so sorry-" the Soup Faerie said sympathetically.

      He stopped her. "Don't be. My owner taught me something important: don't trust anyone. Depend only on yourself. I don't need him, I don't need anyone. Well, I still need you, you have to feed me. I have the Money Tree for anything else I want."

      Had it been anyone but Wager, the Soup Faerie would have been livid at the thought of being used like that, but, she felt so sorry for the unlucky little pet that she ignored it. She had no idea how much she would regret it later.

      "Don't worry, Wager. I'll take care of you," she said as he closed his eyes to sleep.

      * * *

      As soon as he was well enough to leave, Wager headed back out to the Money Tree. The Soup Faerie saw him every day, when he came for a bowl of soup. Right before her eyes, she saw her favorite little Hissi transform into a greedy monster.

      And every day, she put on a fake smile and handed him another bowl of soup.

      Finally, on the day she tried to see what he was collecting from the Tree, she saw what a beast he had become. She knew she should have done something, but by then, it was too late.

      "What's in your bag, Wager?"

      "Oh, just today's loot. I keep all the rest hidden in Terror Mountain," he replied with a smirk.

      "Well then, what's today's loot look like?" she asked, opening the bulging bag. Inside, she saw piles of codestones, bottled faeries, neggs, and various other items worth even more. Her eyes widened as she reached in to pull out one of the faeries. Suddenly, Wager's tail came crashing onto her hand. She pulled away in shock.

      "What was that for?"

      "No one's allowed to touch my stash," he replied with a glare.

      A tear formed in her eye, not from the pain, but for what he had done. "Well, I think you have plenty of money to buy food with. You won't need soup here any more."

      Wager fumed. "Fine." He finally spat. "I might be back to visit. If I have any time."

      After he left, the Soup Faerie looked at the hand that he hit. It still held the bottled light faerie. She pulled out the stopper and released her, watching her fly to freedom.

      He never came back.

      * * *

      "Fyora! What are you doing here?" the Soup Faerie asked in surprise. The Faerie Queen rarely came to the soup kitchen.

      "It has to do with a certain light faerie. She claims you released her. And she carried news of a pet taking everything the Money Tree gets. She says you might know something about him."

      The Soup Faerie looked at the ground, unable to meet Fyora's eyes.

      The Queen sighed. "I thought so… Do you want to tell me anything about him before I… deal with him?"

      The Soup Faerie looked up, a mournful look on her face. "Please. It's not his fault. Don't-"

      "I have to do something. I'm sorry. The Money Tree has tried to talk to him twice. He won't stop."

      "Please."

      "I'll do what I can, but I can't promise much," the Queen apologized, turning and flying away.

      Unknown to her, the Soup Faerie followed silently behind.

      They flew into the Terror Mountain Ice Caves and found Wager hauling another load of items to his hoard. The Faerie Queen flew down in front of him while the Soup Faerie hid behind a nearby boulder.

      Wager's eyes filled with anger at Fyora's descent. "What are you doing here? Come to steal my loot, I'll guess."

      The Queen met his glare. "No, I have not. You've just showed me what I came to see. You're completely heartless, obsessed with money and items. Become what you really are: a cold, heartless monster. From now on, you will be known as Snowager."

      The Soup Faerie watched in horror as her friend was surrounded in a purple glow. He grew and his blue skin turned to ice. "NO!" she screamed, stepping out from hiding.

      Snowager and Fyora both stared at her in shock. The Queen finally spoke. "It's too late. He's forever cursed to sleep three times each day, unable to protect his treasure, and watch it get taken, little by little. There's nothing you can do."

      The Soup Faerie burst into tears. "I'm sorry, Wager, I'm sorry."

      The Snowager gave the Soup Faerie a look full of uncertainty, almost regret.

      "But," she addressed Snowager. "Because of your friend, you don't have to stay like this forever. If you ever truly change, if you start caring for others, you'll become Wager again."

      As Fyora flew off, the Soup Faerie walked up to Wager and placed a hand on his cold side. "I know someday you'll be my little Wager again."

      * * *

      "I don't understan'. How d'you know he won't always be the Snowager?" Ellie asked.

      The Soup Faerie gave her a small smile. "Because he's Wager."

The End

 
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