Dusk in Tyrannia: Part Seven
Chapter 7: Can You Be Homesick When It's Not Your Home?
The first day of school in the Month of Gathering was
kind of a letdown. I was used to my freedom to see the sights, and I just didn't
want to have to sit still in a classroom when I could be diving to the bottom
of Kiko Lake hunting clams. Or hunting down ingredients for Edna, the witch
in the Haunted Woods. Or scratching off Scratchcards in the Ice Caves. Or...
well... ANYTHING else.
I sat on my seat, chin cushioned on my paw in
utter boredom as students filed in and jabbered to one another while waiting
for the bell. And I wanted to shiver... It was terrible. I wasn't cold, but
the inside warmth I had gotten so used to just wasn't here. I felt cold inside
and I just wanted to wrap myself in blankets and huddle. I felt a stab of almost
physical pain as I saw some poor social outcast get knocked down in the halls.
Some girl behind me was in total valley girl
mode, "Like, OMG... I got this deal on Shadow Usul Black for my nails and it's
just... totally my color!"
Shudder. Darigan save me from shallow people.
Lunch proved to be better as those of us who
had gone on a trip last year kind of gravitated toward one another and began
sharing stories. We explored and commented on how we had changed since our trips.
"I can hardly believe I miss it," I sighed to
a Zafara, sporting Faerieland Pastel Purple highlights in the tuft of hair on
her head and along her back. "I mean... It was miserably hot, blindingly bright,
the language was difficult to learn and the furniture was extremely hard. And
yet... " I growled in frustration and ran my claws through my head fur.
"It was so terrifying." A Peophin shivered, making
her witch hat fall askew. "The darkness in the Woods had more things creeping
around in it than here. And not every pair of glowing eyes belonged to a Lupe
or Kougra. But now... I dunno, it just seems like the shadows here are empty.
There's no thrill."
"Can you feel homesick for a place you were only
visiting?" A Lupe sighed, idly tracing electric blue swirls in his fur and sending
his Maractite accessories jingling.
"Those trips sure made us 'worldly' all right,"
the Zafara groused. "So worldly, I really don't want to be home. I miss racing
across the clouds."
We all murmured in agreement, each reliving something
we had loved about our temporary home.
"You can't fall when you're underwater." The
Lupe smiled reminiscently. "You could dive as deep as you want, then go exploding
out of the water and land with a major splash."
"The food was always fresh." I smiled a little
sadly as I plucked the last leaf from my Farn Plant and popped it in my mouth.
"And everybody there was so open and honest. You never had to worry that someone
would shove you around."
The Peophin adjusted her witch hat. "I got to
meet a real live Werelupe. He was big and scary looking but when he and his
pack howled... it was almost like music."
As the bell rang, telling us that lunch was over,
we all reluctantly broke up and went our separate ways. I resumed my bored pose
in my seat, only half listening to my teacher droning on and on about Long Division.
A mildly interesting spark came when a Hall Monitor
slipped into the room and handed my teacher a slip of paper.
"Is there a 'Dusk' in the room?" she asked, peering
over her spectacles at the lot of us.
Curious now, I raised my paw.
"Dusk, the office wants you to go outside. Apparently
there's a Tyrannian transfer student that needs guidance and they think your
skills with the language will be a big help. Go on, just be sure to get the
homework assignment from one of your classmates later."
I scrambled out of the chair and raced down the
hall, ignoring the "Hey! No running in the halls!" that a monitor shouted after
me. Obsidian kept pace with me, a happy expression on his face at the unexpected
but welcome sprint around campus.
Could it be?! Even if it wasn't... I remembered
my first day. And the school was as inefficient as ever, waiting until after
classes started to send help to a poor, confused...
I skidded around a corner, sprang over a low
fence, dodged the Gardening Club in their field and came into sight of a rather
Migga was standing in front of the building,
trembling as she looked at the forbidding building before her and darting frightened
glances into the dark shadows that pressed in on every side.
"Migga!" I shouted happily. "Ugavu ugg! You're
Obsidian gave a "Rrrowl" and sprang neatly onto
Migga's back, where he proceeded to knead her mane happily with his claws.
Relief flooded Migga's face as I hugged her muscled
neck happily. ^^Oh Dusk! I was afraid I was at the wrong school. I only understand
half of what's said around here, and that's only because I learned it from you.^^
^^Don't worry.^^ I smiled warmly. ^^We'll get
Together, we made our way into the Mugga, I mean,
the Office to get her set up. The principal greeted her in his pompous, deep
voice and loomed over her. "I am not sure what kind of racket you are used to,
Missy, but I will warn you now we will not tolerate any disruptive behavior.
If you start running around smashing things, I will suspend you immediately."
Confusion washed over Migga's face like a tidal
I whapped a paw over my eyes and clenched my
teeth angrily, fighting back shame at how he was treating my friend. I hadn't
received any prejudice whatsoever in Tyrannia. It just wasn't fair that Migga
did in mine. I was grateful that she didn't understand most of what he said...
^^Dusk? Dusk, what is it? I know he seems stern
about something but... Please translate?^^ Migga was looking at me worriedly.
^^He... Oh Migga, he's not being nice at all.
He's threatening to expel you if you run around smashing things like a barbarian...
^^ I was almost afraid to look her in the eyes, fearing I would see the hurt
and rejection in her expression.
To my surprise and a great deal of relief, Migga
smiled and stood tall, tapping her chest formally with her chin and meeting
the principal's eyes evenly, ^^Sir, I assure you I have no such intentions.
I came to your magnificent school to learn from your teachers and your students.^^
I translated her words, as literally as I could.
The principal's lip curled into an almost sneer
and eyed me suspiciously, "You aren't putting words into her mouth, are you,
I shook my head, "No sir."
"Humph. We'll see... Very well, off you go. Get
her painted a proper color before school tomorrow. I won't have some shaggy,
shedding Mountain Zebie in my halls."
I bit my tongue, fighting back a biting remark
about exactly who was acting civilized and who was not. How dare he!
^^Dusk? Dusk come on, it's okay. I'm not surprised
at all that there are prejudices toward my people.^^ Migga laid her head over
my shoulder reassuringly as we walked away.
^^Oh Migga.^^ I fought tears. ^^Our home has
been through two wars, faced countless prejudice wherever we go and still we
treat everyone else like trash. Your people were so kind to me and this is how
my home repays you... ^^
^^Heeeeyy, come on.^^ She shook me lightly by
pressing her shoulder against mine. ^^Come on, if there's one thing you should
have learned it's that we're a strong people. That goes emotionally as well
as physically. Anyway,^^ she changed the subject, ^^I have this list of supplies
I'm going to need. Let's go shopping and you can tell me hour your summer vacation
Slowly I brightened up as we made our way off
the school grounds. ^^Okay. Fist rule of thumb here is; it never gets light.
We have Dim, Dark, and Pitch Black. Likewise, temperatures are Cool, Cold, and
Icy (in winter).^^
We made a brief trip down to Neopia Central to
get her painted Darigan; her school had given her plenty of Neopoints as well.
That was a relief... I just couldn't imagine having to convince that grumpy
old Skarl clone to spend precious Neopoints on a 'barbarian.'
I introduced her to the foods we readily had
available and she became fascinated with the vegetables, berries, cheeses and
meats that we always got shipped up from Meri Acres. I warned her ahead of time
to never touch the cafeteria food; it was usually just on the threshold of turning
moldy and rotten.
That evening, I took her on an easy trek (walking
speed only) to teach her how to see in darkness and get around without tripping
^^Light is your enemy when you're trying to see
in the dark,^^ I told her, guiding her away from the dim street lights that
the tourists clung to. ^^Every time you see a light, your eyes will try to adjust
to it, and ruin your ability to see in the darkness.^^
Migga listened intently as we walked, shopped
and explored. I added a Quick Reference Dictionary to her sack of supplies and
chuckled when I saw that Migga now had Murrov's "Speak Tyrannian" book so she
"I am looking forward to this semester, Dusk,"
Migga said slowly in Common Neopian that night.
I smiled warmly and hugged her close. Well now,
this year would be 'gedd' after all!
From the author: Wheee! It's such a rush to finally finish this mini-epic
story. Questions and fan mail are welcome. Flames will be fed to the Delete
button as I laugh manically in the night.