Dusk in Tyrannia: Part Six
Chapter 6: School Daze and Summer Fun
As the semester drew to a close, and my report neared
completion, I found myself almost regretting going home. I was used to the bright
sunlight and the delicious food. With some hinting and a few Baby Kougra eyes
(once I did the research and practiced in front of a mirror), I got an arrangement
with some farmers to keep a steady shipment of Farn Plants coming to my home
up in the Citadel. I couldn't help it! I was hooked!
When the day finally arrived for me to go home,
I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry. To tell the truth, there wasn't a dry eye
between us as Migga and I embraced, then tapped our chests in farewell.
Migga managed to smile as I picked up my bags
and set Obsidian on my shoulder. ^^In Tyrannia, we say 'Until we meet again.'^^
^^Until we meet again, Migga,^^ I said, wiping
my eyes, then repeated it in Common Neopian. Migga carefully returned the farewell
in my language and then I was off.
I was once again painted Darigan, and it felt
good to have my wings back. But I couldn't let go of a Paint job with such good
memories easily. I accidentally-on-purpose missed a few spots, leaving a streak
or two of tawny yellow in my face as a reminder of the land that had welcomed
me so easily. A Darigan Eyrie gave us a lift. Obsidian was less than thrilled
to be flying, and yowled for several minutes before simply shoving his muzzle
into the Eyrie's neck fur and closing his eyes.
Lands passed beneath us and I peered down at
them hungrily. As I'd been less than happy going on my trip, I hadn't paid much
attention before. Now we passed frozen mountains, seeing Neopians romping in
the snow; Terror Mountain. We soared over Meridell and Brightvale, the colors
of the kingdoms a swirl from way up here. As the Eyrie gained altitude toward
our darkened Citadel, I spotted a flash of the Haunted Woods far off in the
distance, and a little closer in another direction, Neopia Central. I wasn't
even home yet and my feet itched to start exploring.
"We're about to land, Miss Dusk. Please stop
craning your neck like that..." The Eyrie turned his head and fixed a deep crimson
eye on me..
"Sorry," I apologized, swallowing a sigh as I
settled back into place.
In moments we had landed in the Citadel's perpetual
evening and I had to wait for several minutes for my eyes to grow used to the
dim light once more. Slowly my eyes readjusted and I spotted several citizens
slinking past in the shadows, out and about on errands that made up daily life
Obsidian's ears perked and he hopped down eagerly,
staring with glowing purple eyes into the shadows and purring. He dropped into
an instinctive crouch and circled our landing site while I gathered up my bags.
I knew he was raring to go exploring and I admitted I missed just taking off
into the shadows and seeing where my paws would take me.
Once I dropped my bags off at home, we took off
into the darkness together; crouching in shadows, leaping onto fences and low
walls, and racing across rooftops. We quickly became a team; Obsidian scouting
ahead quickly, and then slipping back as quiet as a shadow to guide me to the
next route. Finally, late that evening, we returned to my home and curled up
together. Tomorrow... I would return to class.
School felt so different now. In Tyrannia, everything
was so open and casual. There was never a concern that someone would compare
you in ways that made you feel bad. Everyone spent time helping the community
and earning Neopoints on the side.
Here, there was a level of tension between Neopets.
The fashion hungry fretted and worried in the bathrooms to make sure their fur
was styled and their nails were manicured. The sports happy built up muscles
and showed off to girls. The Nerds huddled in their corners, tapping on their
calculators and muttering equations. Nasty snickers and vicious pranks were
scattered here and there. I sighed. I never would have thought I would have
missed that dry, overly bright world, but I did.
I snagged a passing Gelert nerd and pulled him
into a shadowy corner. He resisted, but wasn't remotely strong enough to stop
me. His eyes widened in fear and he clutched his books possessively; afraid
I was going to steal them and dump them in the mud. I touched a paw lightly
to my lips, shook my head at him and peeled a 'Kick me' sign off his back.
He sagged, looking resigned and tore the sign
"Uh... thanks," he murmured.
I simply smiled back and walked to my own classroom.
Murmurs spread through the room as I walked quietly through the door, Obsidian
riding my shoulder to avoid getting stepped on. At first I thought it was my
petpet and ignored them. Everyone gets excited when they see an out of the ordinary
petpet on school grounds. It wasn't until I dropped my backpack with a bang
that I realized the issue. Everyone fell silent as I dropped it; loaded with
all six hefty textbooks and a binder full of paper.
I'd been carrying it like it was a featherweight.
And compared to Destruct-o-Match II, it was! To drive the point home one of
the sports lovers staggered in, dragging his backpack on the floor while he
hauled on the straps. I smiled at the memory of my difficulties at the beginning
of the year; unable to carry more than two textbooks at a time.
The bell jangled and our Darigan Lenny teacher
swept into the room with high steps. "I hope you folks have been toiling extra
hard," she croaked past her oversized beak, "because today is the start of your
oral reports on your assigned lands."
A collective groan swept through the classroom.
"Don't complain!" she barked. "You've had the
entire semester to work on it! Today, we'll start with volunteers. Those who
do it now, can get it over with quickly and don't have to worry about matching
quality with several others."
Obsidian gave a bored little yawn and I smiled.
"I'll go first," I offered to the dead silence.
I carried my report up to the front of the class
and began setting up. With a signal from me, Obsidian sprang from my shoulder
onto the table with feline grace and waited. Everyone stared at him, and he
strutted back and forth, enjoying the attention. When he decided he'd had enough
he sat down and began washing his paws with his tongue, ignoring the fascinated
I tapped my chest with a paw and rumbled, "Uga-drecka-ugg.
Uga a-ugga Tyrannia... Translation: I have arrived here. I traveled to Tyrannia."
I smiled, feeling a bit stronger as I faced the class, remembering how I had
stood up on that stage and danced for hundreds of Neopians. "Allow me to teach
you the wonders of Tyrannia. Meet Obsidian." I stroked down his back and was
rewarded with a pleased purr.
"Now, let's have a brave volunteer," I repeated
Kiara's mischievous words and grinned wickedly as several paws shot into the
air. My, my. I could see the appeal of this trick... "Who wants to give Obsidian
a good brushing?" I held up a Red Long Hair Brush...
My report went really well. After scaring them
with Obsidian's 'playfulness' with the brush, I showed them a few tricks he
had learned, taught them how to pick the right Gruslen for themselves and how
to care for them. I taught them how to greet Tyrannians, gave them advice on
playing Destruct-o-Match (showing off a bit by gathering up several backpacks
loaded with textbooks and holding them in my arms while I demonstrated), and
then passed out Farn Plants. Several looked wholly uninterested in even trying
the fresh plants. But some tried them and approved.
As I sat down to general applause, several gave
Obsidian appraising looks while they slowly savored their Tyrannian snack.
More reports were read out loud. I got to try
out foods from all over Neopia, though we thought the Jelly foods were a joke
and by unanimous vote, we all decided to pass on the gross food.
Things were mostly over for us by the end of
the week. Our reports were our final projects, so once those were done, we were
granted our wonderful two months off for summer vacation. Obsidian and I made
our usual rounds in the evenings and during the days we took excursions down
to Meridell and Brightvale. Hearing about those places got my feet itching to
explore. By the time summer vacation was nearly over, I had explored everywhere
except for the very highest peaks of Terror Mountain. The foods I had tasted
were astounding and varied. I admit we were never able to confirm or debunk
the whole Jelly idea, though both Obsidian and I had a lot of fun listening
to 'true' stories.
To be continued...