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The Price of Faith: Part Eleven


by mutedsanity

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Saved mere feet from crashing into the ocean, Lyth and I now hovered side-by-side, caught motionlessly in the air. The cold spray of the ocean brushing our skin blatantly reminded us how close we had come to nearly certain death. And as we both stared wide-eyed, breathing heavy, hearts pounding like thunder, Lyth and I both found ourselves staring out past the pale lavender light that held us up to the figure standing on a rock formation nearby.

     Waves parted on either side, crashing and foaming, the wind ruffling her purple gowns and silky hair. She held her staff in one hand, though it was now devoid of the Crystal that was meant to sit atop it, and the sunlight caught on her crown in a most dazzling way. But despite her beauty and majesty, all I could see were her eyes, frowning and staring straight at us, as deep and stirring as the ocean itself. Fyora.

     I had called her name, but was now dumbstruck, staring in utter shock. Lyth was no better off than I. But whereas I was overwhelmed with a flooding relief and gratefulness for our Queen, Lyth was heaving with dread and terror. For several long seconds, nobody spoke. But Lyth was the first to break this trance.

     "Wh-how did you--?" she stammered, her voice cracking and stumbling over itself before she knew what she was doing.

     But Fyora's remained just as smooth and even as always. "My Council and I began to notice that you were missing. Without warning, without explanation. But I knew where you had gone." The knowingness in her eyes again managed to stir a frightened wide-eyed stare out of Lyth and a hopeful gaze out of me. "Care to explain?"

     Lyth's mouth hung open, as though it wanted to form words, but nothing came out. She could not think of an excuse fast enough. Again, I was grateful for her carelessness and pride.

     "Very well." Fyora's lips thinned. "Then it seems Pandora will have to speak for you." Her eyes shifted to me, and I could have sworn I saw them sparkle.

     I was quick to jump on it. "Your Majesty, I have retrieved all but two of your Crystals, and I have them here - all but the Water and Air shards. I found Lyth here, out on the rocks closer to the shore, and she had the Water shard!" I could see Lyth out of the corner of my eyes, gaping in terror at me. So perhaps she hadn't known I had found nearly all of them. Perhaps she simply did this to ensure I would always be short one and thus never complete my task. "She gave it to a Peophin, and told him to drop it out in the water where nobody could find it. I heard everything! But it wasn't his fault, Fyora! She lied to him!"

     I was struck with a sudden twinge in my heart. Where was the Peophin now? What had he done with the Crystal? But - more importantly - where was Radom? Before Fyora or Lyth could speak, both now looking quite shocked, I blurted out, "Fyora, we have to catch him! Radom - he's out there! He chased to get the Crystal for me! But - but he - he could drown out there! We have to find him!"

     "Who--?" Fyora began, but stopped. She rounded her gaze back on Lyth, who was now struggling against Fyora's magic that was holding us in the air. "Lyth, if this is true, do you realize that you have committed a serious crime against me?"

     Lyth froze, like a frightened creature caught in the spotlight, ceasing to breath for a moment. I could feel the both of us slowly begin to drift forward toward Fyora. The Faerie Queen fluttered her beautiful lavender wings and gracefully floated up into the air.

     "Let's go find your friend and my Crystal, Pandora." And with that, she took off. She couldn't risk releasing either Lyth or me, as either could be to blame at this moment, and either could escape. So her magic pulled us along behind her, she gliding ahead, Lyth and I not needing to so much as beat a wing, carried in two separate spheres of purple.

     As we glided swiftly across the water, Fyora gazed directly below, and I was looking wildly every which way. My eyes danced like a frightened Cybunny across the water, but all I could see on all sides were crashing waves folding in upon themselves and up against the rock formations that littered this deep, salty water.

     The farther we got out into the ocean, the more frightened I became. Soon Mystery Island was so far behind us that it seemed only a tan strip of sand on the horizon littered in green blotches. My mind raced with horrible possibilities. At this moment, the fate of that Crystal and where the Peophin had gone was far from my mind. All I could think of was Radom. What if he was hurt? What if he was... was...? I couldn't even think of it. Hot tears began to well in my eyes before I could stop them, and I cried out his name.

     "RADOM!"

     Lyth jolted and looked at me at my outburst, but Fyora hardly seemed to hear me. I could only see the back of her head, so I had no idea what was on her face at this moment. Lyth, however, even now would not give up.

     "What's the matter?" she hissed, her voice carried to me like a stinging wind. "Afraid you'll lose your little pet? Ooh, then who will get the Crystal for you?"

     "Shut up!" I barked, causing her to jolt again. She had never seen me like this before. "Don't you DARE talk about Radom like that! If he's hurt - you--" I was glaring daggers at her through my blurry tears that threatened to spill over. But I didn't need to finish my sentence. If something had happened to Radom - well, I didn't care about Faerieland anymore - without him, I would have nothing. Nothing to live for, nothing to lose. And Lyth must have known that she would be the one who I would lose it on.

     Before she could say anything else, I abruptly jarred for her in anger, surprising the both of us when I caused the lavender glow around me to flicker as though I had almost broken through it. Lyth yelped and jolted to the side, staring at me in horror, and even Fyora looked back at me sharply. But I was restrained once more.

     "What is the meaning of this?" our Queen called through the wind rushing all around us.

     But suddenly I saw something in the water. At first I couldn't be sure. But as I looked closer, Fyora's gaze followed. "There!" I pointed at what was most certainly the Green Peophin streaking through the water, his fin occasionally breaking the surface as he looked for a good place to drop the Crystal Lyth has given him.

     "He has my Crystal," Fyora uttered, gradually cresting down toward the figure below and ahead of us.

     But my eyes were no longer on him. As they flew wildly about, my tears burned trails down my cheeks when not a spot of brown could be seen anywhere in the water. Where was Radom?

     As we gained on the Peophin, nearly upon him, my mind was suddenly flooded with Fyora's voice from that day I had been cast out of Faerieland. Pandora... trust your instincts. My eyes opened wide. And suddenly, the rest of the world seemed to have flushed out from around me.

     It was as if time had slowed. Fyora had nearly swooped down to the Peophin, who was just now beginning to notice her, and Lyth was simply stricken with panic. Everything seemed silent. As though the waves ceased to crash, as though the wind failed to howl. All I could hear was my heartbeat now. But with it, I could have sworn I heard it beat with another. And before I could think how or why I knew where to look, I had turned around and my eyes had gone straight to a single rock, a frail thing fighting to stay above the waves.

     The planet had gone black and white. All I could see now was a single brown spot standing out against a colorless world, all I could hear was a heart beating deafeningly over mine, and all I could feel was an overpowering rush of emotions sweep over me. Fyora, Lyth, and the Peophin seemed to fall away. There was nothing but that figure clinging to the rocks.

     And suddenly, it was as if everything in me had thrown itself out to him. I knew nothing else. I didn't know my power and strength, my will or emotions, all I knew was him. And the next thing I knew, I had rushed forward and broken through Fyora's hold.

     She and Lyth alike were surged briefly forward by it. I had left them behind, staring after me in utter shock, and was now flying faster than I had ever thought possible. The world rushed back around me like a sudden waterfall crashing down into once motionless waters.

     I was once again swept with earsplitting roaring waves and howling wind that fought me as I sliced through it, blinded by light and color, burning with adrenaline. And before I knew it, there was Radom.

     He clung weakly to the rock, his paws clawing desperately on the slippery, wet surface that was constantly overcome with waves. He was only halfway on it, unable to pull himself all the way up, and waves would sometimes sweep over him and nearly pull him off once more. He was soaked to the core, gasping and choking and fighting to stay above the water, and I could see that he couldn't hold on any longer.

     He made one last attempt to scramble onto the rock, but his hurt paw finally gave way under all the stress he had put on it today, and he collapsed. His paws slipped off the rock, and the water instantly grabbed him, wrenching him down like a hungry beast greedily snatching its prey.

     But just as he went under, I had thrown myself down onto the rock, defying all the laws of flying I had ever known, and I had plunged my upper half down into the water and grabbed whatever part of him I could. For one terrible second it felt as though the waves would take me too, and we would both be lost. But then I lurched back up, gasping for air and footing on the rock, now on my knees and soaked through and through by the waves. But I had dragged Radom up with me.

     We both instantly collapsed on the rock, coughing and sputtering, me clinging to him for dear life. We lay side-by-side, but the waves kept coming, dragging over the rock as though they were desperate to have us. I rolled onto my stomach partially on top of Radom, so that I could cling to him and keep him down on the rock while I clung desperately to the stone as well and kept us both from being taken under. Each wave that passed over the rock felt like it would sweep us off, and each time it passed we were both left gasping for air.

     I couldn't fly away, because I couldn't take him with me. And he was too exhausted to swim now. So we had no choice but to cling desperately to that rock-- But I didn't have to hold on like this for long.

     I cannot explain my relief when I felt Fyora's magic overtake me once more. I forced my eyes to open a crack and found myself surrounded in glowing violet once more, Radom and I slowly being lifted into the air. Radom was completely disoriented and panicked, as one can rightfully assume, and now in this moment of confusion he began to struggle and fight against this bizarre sensation.

     "Radom," I whispered, hardly able to find breath. I clung to him tightly, holding him against me. "It's alright... I'm here..." He was tense for a moment longer, and then slowly began to relax in my arms. His breathing was labored, eyes closed tightly, but I thought I saw him mouth my name.

     We both let Fyora guide us now. I saw her drifting in the sky far above the waves, slowly making a sweeping motion with her arms as though beckoning us to come, pulling us gently up to her. We were safe now.

     Dripping and heavy with water, never once letting go of Radom, I lifted my head to face her as we stopped to hover in front of Fyora in the air, unable to move much against her magical bubble. She was staring at me with an unusual blend of shock and relief on her face. Lyth was still caught in her own magical bubble behind Fyora, and the horror on her face was unbeatable. I could tell by the way she was struggling now that she had lost this battle, and now perhaps the war.

     I could have asked Fyora if she had gotten the Crystal, or what we were to do now, or what would happen to Lyth, or anything at all. But what came out was a breathless, "Thank you..." If Fyora wasn't there, Radom and I surely would have been lost forever. She saved our lives. But... more importantly... "You... saved... Radom... I... I wish I... could tell you how... how much I..."

     She lifted one hand, and I fell quiet. "No, Pandora," she replied softly, her eyes pooling with the kindness I had always seen in them. "You saved him. I have never even imagined you could do such a thing. I don't know how you found him or rescued him. And I have absolutely no idea how you could have broken through my magic like that. But..." The soft smile that graced her lips made me want to laugh with joy. "But it seems... your love for this precious friend is stronger than magic."

     The magnitude of my actions hit me all at once. And I think it caught every one of us off guard. I had never so much as had a true friend before in my life. I was just the lowly Darkness Faerie, weak, alone. And now... now look at me. I had defied what everyone had ever dreamed could be possible. Not only had I proven my strength and will on many occasions, helped people, and retrieved nearly all of the Crystal, but now... I had saved Radom's life. And that hit me harder than anything else. Only then did I truly realize how I had changed. Only then was I a changed person. And we all saw that now.

     I stared at Radom, leaning against me in my arms, and I saw the Lupe who had altered me so. His eyes slowly opened, and despite his weakness, he smiled in a way that has never left my mind since. "Thank you," he whispered.

     I couldn't hold myself back any longer. The tears came freely now, and I didn't care who saw me. Not Lyth or the Faerie Queen herself. I embraced Radom tightly, holding him against me and rocking back and forth gently with him. I buried my face in his fur and just let it all out. I had never been so relieved in my life. I had almost lost him again. But this time I had saved him. I sobbed into his fur, cried in all the terror and anger and dread that had built up, but even more so the joy. He was alright...

     The others were silent for several minutes, as we all hovered stationary above the water. Fyora was the first to speak. "Pandora..." I slowly lifted my eyes to meet hers, warm and brimming. "Let's finish this... at home."

      ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

     I don't think I had ever been so stunned in my life.

     One moment I was clinging to Radom in a drenched, shivering mess above the ocean, and now... well, I was still clinging to Radom in a drenched, shivering mess, only now we had been teleported right into Fyora's castle by the queen herself. It all hit me at once. Faerieland. Sprawling hallways and breathtakingly furnished rooms, Faeries milling about here and there, and outside all of this beautiful world in the clouds carrying out just as it had the day I left.

     Radom and I sat on the ground in a daze, making a salty puddle beneath us on the glossy floor, both no doubt looking remarkably alike with our huge eyes and hanging jaws, silent and frozen. Fyora stood over us, smiling faintly, while Lyth was still trapped in a magical force field behind the queen, and now was desperately fighting against it, struggling and terrified. She knew that she had lost.

     "Well then," Fyora spoke softly, gently beckoning for Radom and I to get up. "Perhaps it is time that Faerieland sees the truth."

     I had scrambled to my feet in a moment, helping my teetering Lupe companion along with me, where he leaned against my leg and continued to stare in awe around at the inside of the castle. "What - what are we going to do?" I stammered, staring at the Queen in shock. What did she have planned? "And Lyth--?"

     I paused when my eyes clicked with hers. The Light Faerie tensed and returned my gaze with one of utter loathing. And at that moment I didn't care what happened to her. Not one bit.

     Fyora simply offered a tiny nod in my direction. "Come along." She swept around, her billowing gowns and hair of matching lilac tones shimmering in the radiance of her castle. Without another word, she started down the hallway, pulling Lyth after her inside the purple magic without so much as looking back.

     I quickly followed, Radom at my side, and we were both awed into a hush as she led us through her castle. I had an idea where she was taking us, but if I was remembering correctly, it was toward the front of the castle. We passed several Faeries through the corridors, and each stopped in her tracks to stare in shock at the four of us. Their own Lyth was in trouble with the Queen? There was some ragged Lupe wandering in the castle? And - PANDORA was back? Their cries of spreading the news trailed after us the whole way. I found myself becoming more and more nervous. I hadn't completed the Crystal yet, after all. And would they believe us about Lyth?

     Radom, however, was staring up at me, of all things. "You used to live here?" He sounded breathless and awed.

     "Yeah..." I forced a weak smile. "It sure beats Terror Mountain, at least..." I glanced at the staring faces uneasily as we passed. "I don't think either of us are supposed to be here, though..." But it was the Queen who brought us here, after all.

     That sideways smirk of his put me more at ease than any means of reason could. "Well, that's never stopped us before. Why start honoring boundaries now?"

     I chuckled weakly, but it died out when I saw Lyth glowering at me out of the corner of my eye. She wasn't giving up yet. I could feel it. I looked away, but found my gaze was simply met by a few other Faeries who had stopped in their tracks to gawk after us. Many tried to ask what was happening, but Fyora wouldn't even acknowledge them. The closer we got to the front of the castle, the more the news spread.

     So by the time we reached our destination... half of Faerieland seemed to be standing in waiting. Fyora brought the three of us out onto the vast balcony overlooking the Faerie city from the front of the castle, and I couldn't choke back my gasp when my eyes fell on the blurred sea of color below us. There must have been thousands there. Mostly Faeries, but Neopets too, and even a few curious humans that happened to be there. I could hardly see the pale white beneath their feet, just a mass of mingling colors and upturned faces, murmuring and gasping when they saw Fyora appear on the balcony with Radom, Lyth, and yours truly.

     The crowd burst into exclamations of shock and indignation at the sight. It was all just one roar of noise that sent me staggering back a pace and left Radom staring still and wide-eyed down at them all. "What are you doing?!" I hissed, turning a wild gaze to Fyora.

     But I knew I had to trust her. And all she had to do now was lift her hand, and the crowd gradually softened until Faerieland was cast in a watchful silence. "My people!" Fyora cried, her voice resounding mightily over the heads of all the spectators. "I'm sure you all recall the misfortune that befell this castle several weeks ago! My Crystal was stolen, and this Darkness Faerie was cast down to Neopia to retrieve it on the charge of stealing and breaking it!" I recoiled with a wince when she gestured to me. "The Crystal had been shattered. All seven pieces were scattered across Neopia, each returning to their original element. We all know what may have happened if they had fallen into the wrong hands. But Pandora Hawthorn--" She suddenly seized my arm and pulled me forward to the very edge of the balcony, so that I had to brace myself on the railing and found myself staring down at hundreds of staring faces. "IS INNOCENT!"

     A rumbling murmur pulsed through the crowd once more. "Allow me to explain," the queen continued, stepping forward. "Pandora, give me the Crystal."

     I immediately pulled it out of where it had been tucked in my clothing, glossy with water, and set it in her extended hand. She held the Water shard out in her other. "Pandora has traveled throughout Neopia, braving perils and many times risking her own life. She has collected five shards up to now. But the Crystal is not complete. This is the portion created by Water. There is one remaining." She held the two glowing pieces together. Suddenly the balcony was overtaken in a blinding flash that left Radom and me cringing and caused another ripple of noise to stir the onlookers. When it cleared, Fyora held one nearly complete Crystal in her hands, now just about the right size save for one curved portion missing, all glowing a gorgeous mix of blended colors.

     After a moment of silence, with the Crystal held above her head, Fyora slowly lowered her arms. "But it seems we have wrongly judged. Let this be a lesson to all of us. We judged Pandora because of what she is, not who she is. Because of the past, not the present. Because we could not bear to see the truth. But all the while, the real culprit has been right under our noses. I was just on Neopia, and I have found more than enough proof. The real one to blame here is one of our own, a Light Faerie, Pandora's own adopted sister - LYTH!"

     An eruption of noise burst forth. Everything from gasps to shouts to words called out. But my own gasp came for a different reason as I looked over my shoulder. Lyth... was gone! Where she had been sitting was now unoccupied, Fyora's spell apparently broken, the Light Faerie nowhere to be found.

     "She's gone!" Fyora cried, abruptly turning back to the edge of the balcony where I stood, the both of us wildly looking about. The crowd was hysterical.

     Radom had leapt up onto the balcony railing, rigid and alert, his ears perked and wide eyes flicking through the crowd. "THERE!" Fyora and I both turned to follow his gaze. There, to the side, the crowd was stirring. And there she was. Lyth, shoving aside anybody in her way, sprinting through the crowd in one last wild attempt to escape.

     "TRAITOR!" Fyora cried, pointing for all the crowd to see. "She has betrayed us all! Do not let her fool you again! SEIZE HER! THAT'S AN ORDER!"

     For one terrible second, I thought that perhaps Lyth would escape. Many of the surrounding crowd hesitated. But then, as if working as one, they stopped her. At first just a few, the ones directly around her grabbing her arms and trying to drag her to a stop. But then the numbers began to grow. More took hold of Lyth, more restrained her, until it seemed there was just a huge mass on top of the one now defenseless Light Faerie struggling in vain and screaming in rage.

     I stood on my toes as I tried to see what was going on. There was a lot of movement. Then another gasp swelled through the crowd, and a Fire Faerie shot up through the mass, all eyes on her. She had one arm extended over her head, and in her hand she held something small and glowing. "LYTH HAD THE AIR SHARD THIS WHOLE TIME!" she bellowed, waving the Crystal piece for all to see.

     That was more than enough for them. Our word was one thing, but genuine proof right under their noses was another. Proof of how they had been used and betrayed. Proof of just who Lyth was. Proof of everything. Everything I had been through these past weeks had been summed up in this one moment.

     And the rest seemed to unfold like magic. Fyora stood stunned for but a moment, while I felt as if I had known all along, and Radom had hopped off the stone railing to stand beside me once more as the Fire Faerie flew up to the balcony, followed by the cries of the enraged others as they started passed Lyth through the crowd toward the castle. It seemed that every last body in that mass was helping now.

     The Fire Faerie drifted in front of the balcony and bowed her head as she handed the queen the last piece. "Thank you, my friend," Fyora said softly, accepting the shard with gentle hands. The other nodded and drifted back down to the ground. The Air Crystal glowed a pale blue and was in a mildly swirling shape.

     "My friends!" Fyora cried, holding the last shard up as if it were a trophy of our victory. "The final piece! Our quest is complete!" Without hesitation, she cast her gaze out toward where Lyth was being dragged struggling and screaming toward us. "Hold her in the castle until we decide what to do with her! Her punishment will be fitting for her offense against all of Faerieland!" she announced, her order resounding around us all as Lyth shrieked in horror. A group of Faeries forced her into the castle, and just like that... I was finally free of her.

     I could have fainted there. And yet Fyora was not done. "Do you all see now? We were wrong. But we have righted it now. All is well once more." I didn't know what was going to happen to Lyth. But I honestly didn't care anymore. All I knew was that the Crystal was where it rightfully should be now, and my journey was finally complete. "My friends, I give you the hero of us all - PANDORA!"

     I froze at her words. Every eye in Faerieland must have been on me at that moment, and after there had just been such an abrupt commotion, now all was dead silent. "Pandora..." I forced myself to look at Fyora as she spoke, my heart pounding in my ears. She was holding the Crystal and the last shard out to me. "Please do me the honor of completing my Crystal."

     My hands slowly lifted to accept it, shaking slightly. I felt lightheaded and beyond astonished as she placed the Crystal in my palms. It seemed so much heavier now, warm and shining brightly. With the last shard in hand, I slowly turned to face the crowd. Fyora grabbed my arms so that I lifted them and held the Crystal high for all to see as the last piece took its place.

     The light that enveloped Faerieland was beyond words. In my hands, the Crystal felt warm and heavy and complete. I closed my eyes against the brightness and allowed a smile to overtake my face as I basked in the radiance. As it faded, my eyes slowly opened, and again I could see the ocean of viewers gazing up at me in utter silence. The Crystal in my hands was the punctuation at this end of this fairytale.

     The silence was deafening. Right before my eyes, memories spun through my head with enough force to practically knock me off my feet. I was alone on a frigid mountain. But there was Radom. I was careening out of the Ice Caves with the first Crystal. And there was Radom. I was escaping a dungeon in Meridell with the second piece. There was Radom.

     Someone below me began to clap.

     I was scrambling through the Haunted Woods with the third piece. There was Radom. I was holding the fourth piece in hot desert sands. There was Radom. I was gliding over the ocean toward this final stretch and the last two pieces. There was Radom.

     And another. And... another. And suddenly, I was snapped out of my nostalgia by a sudden roar that spread through the entire crowd and drowned out all else. They were all... clapping.

     Shouts and whoops burst forth, and suddenly all of Faerieland was cheering for me. Fyora was at my side beaming and positively glowing with joy. But above all else I could hear Radom's ecstatic howl piercing through everything. I was... beyond stunned. Beyond speechless, frozen with shock, staring wide-eyed at the elated swarm. I could feel the color rising in my face, and I was shaking, but I hardly noticed.

     In one impulsive motion, I had handed Fyora her Crystal and my knees had given way beneath me. I crumpled over and felt the familiar warmth of the brown Lupe as he caught my fall, my arms instantly tightening around him. I took one look at his face, amber eyes glittering beautifully with bliss, a grin so wide it could just about leave his mouth, and I burst into tears.

     All I could seem to say was "Thank you," muttering it over and over as I embraced him tightly.

     "You did it," he whispered by my ear.

     "No..." I slowly met his gaze, grinning with everything in me through my tears. "We did it."

     Radom's eyes widened for a moment, and then he abruptly nuzzled his head against mine. I could feel him shaking slightly in my arms as I hugged him. And when he lifted his head once more, his eyes glossy and bright, I realized that he was crying too.

     After few minutes of basking in the sounds of cheering all around and Radom in my arms, I felt a light touch on my shoulder. I looked up to see Fyora glowing down at us. "Faerieland will hold a party in your honor," she said softly, slowly reaching a hand out to me. "I thank you, Pandora, for everything you have done." I slowly took her hand. For a moment, we simply held hands. And then she shook mine briefly, a lovely smile gracing her features. "You have completed your task. Welcome home, my dear... welcome home."

     I bit my lip through my smile, my eyes brimming with tears of joy. I had done it. WE had done it. And now I could go home. Home...

     ...Home...?

     I halted. All my life I had thought of this beautiful place as my home. It was where I was born and raised, it was where I grew up, it was where I lived. But now I realized... That wasn't what made a place home. "This was my home..." I replied softly, slowly shifting my gaze across the palace wall. "But... not anymore..." Because... a home was where you felt safe and comfortable... and happy, and... loved.

     Fyora drew back in surprise, but my eyes fell on Radom. His own gaze was wide and teary, his mouth slightly opened. "I..." My voice raised suddenly, strong and certain and unfaltering; I had never been more sure of anything before in my life. "I want to stay on Neopia with Radom."

     He could only stare. I do believe that my smile at this moment came close to bringing justice to the joy I felt beneath it. And perhaps his matched mine as we both welled with fresh tears. He tried to say my name, began to mouth something, and then stopped trying altogether. All he got out was one elated bark of laughter and he nearly bowled me over when he leapt on me, into opened arms.

     "Pandora--" Fyora began in a shocked undertone, but stopped suddenly when our eyes met. Slowly, framed by the delighted uproar of the crowds below us... Fyora smiled. "You are always welcomed here," she said softly, reaching for my hand once more.

     "Thank you," I whispered, and reached up to take her hand.

      ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

     The warm evening breeze fanned out across the tops of palms that waved in greeting, the smells of salt and cool mist clinging to the air. The sun was beginning to set, painting the sky in brilliant contrast to the still ocean it stood over, carving a road of crimson and pink across the glittering surface. It looked as though we could walk across the water straight into the sun.

     He and I sat perfectly still on the beach, side-by-side, the wind caressing my messy purple and black hair and his muddled brown fur. All was silent. All was calm. All was right and perfect. I slowly reached out to place my hand on his side.

     "Where to now?" he whispered.

     "I don't know... And that's the beauty of it, isn't it?"

     I could hear the smile in his voice. "It looks like our adventures are over..."

     "No... I think they're just beginning." In a display of the new talent Radon had given me, I grinned. "To live... to live will be our biggest adventure yet."

The End

Author's note: First of all, I would like to thank you all for reading my first series. I know it was long-winded, but I sincerely hope you all enjoyed it. A great big thanks to TNT for bearing with me - you guys rock - and to the rest of you for supporting me by reading this. I hope to write a lot more in the future! Feedback is always greatly appreciated! You're all fabulous, darlings!

This is dedicated with all my adoration and gratitude to Wednesday and Melissa. You know who you are. Thank you both for being the Radoms in my life. I'd have been buried in the snow from the very start if it wasn't for you two.

And with that, I tip my hat and take a bow. Cheers. ---mutedsanity

 
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Other Episodes


» The Price of Faith: Part One
» The Price of Faith: Part Two
» The Price of Faith: Part Three
» The Price of Faith: Part Four
» The Price of Faith: Part Five
» The Price of Faith: Part Six
» The Price of Faith: Part Seven
» The Price of Faith: Part Eight
» The Price of Faith: Part Nine
» The Price of Faith: Part Ten



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There's something awfully fishy about that stuff...

by dogsndragons



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