Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 124,395,024 Issue: 250 | 28th day of Swimming, Y8
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So Many Times

by hmlanden


So many times I've tried to tell you. So many things I had to say. Yet something always held me back, although I knew you should be told. And now, even though it's too late, I'm writing to you. To tell you something you should've known an age ago...

     30th Day of Relaxing, Year 8

     Dear Seraphina,

     I don't know what to write. I've written this letter over a thousand times and still the ink won't come out right. I know what I want to say, what I want to tell you, but I don't know how to... say it.

     You remember all those days, right? When you were a great journalist, writing articles for the Neopian Times like it was easier than breathing, and when I was your faithful editor. You remember everything, including the day you snapped your pen in half. The day I told you your articles, short stories, series... everything was dead. You didn't say anything, just broke your pen and left.

     I lied. Oh, Seraphina, I lied. I was jealous of your success. You were everything I wanted to be: an awe-inspiring author with a loving family and absolutely beautiful. Who could possibly not be jealous of a faerie Kougra who could eat ice cream at every meal and not lose any luster in her coat? But I won't make excuses for myself.

     I, Listeria, earth faerie, lied to you. I ended your career prematurely. You weren't ready to quit, not by far.

     You were fresh, and I was dull. I cannot tell you how much I hated you for being everything I couldn't be. I was a faerie. Faeries do not have owners. We can't be recognized for our great works of literature, because we're supposed to be caring for all of Neopia, not writing frivolous tales. I was told I could never dream of being an author, for everyone would scoff at me. What could a simple earth faerie possibly have to write about, other than the consistency of plant growth and flower sprouting?

     That special article you were writing, celebrating 50 issues of the Neopian Times wasn't anything like I said it was. It was magnificent: clean-cut, humorous, and detailed. It was everything the publisher of the Times could hope for. It was everything I could ever wish to be. So I lied.

     Yes, I lied. I watched you day by day. Going around with your owner and visiting exotic places: exploring tombs, climbing mountains, trudging through sand dunes, swimming in the ocean. You even got to fly up to Faerieland, where I have been forbidden to go until my task here upon the ground of Neopia is completed. I wanted what you had, and I ruined both of us.

     I was found out in my deceit, but not by you, obviously. The faerie who had trained me as a youngling noticed a strange gleam in my eyes when she spoke with me a few days later. I refused to tell her what was going on, so she spelled me to tell her the truth. I told her everything: my hatred of you, my deceit, and my happiness over my destruction of your writing career.

     I have tried and tried to forget that day. The disappointment and hurt in my mentor's eyes. I had fallen from grace, and so was stripped of my wings and powers. I became a grey faerie. I cannot describe the terror I felt at what was happening. I was defenseless and alone. There would be no forgiveness. I had done the unthinkable, and I had to be punished. Perhaps they punished me in that way to give me a chance to repent, to see my sins clearly. But I would not see it. In those last moments as a true faerie, I hated you still, Seraphina.

     I was cast into exile, far beyond the boundaries where normal Neopians tread, into the wilds. For a little over a year, I sat there, brooding in the dense black forests of the northern lands. I wanted my revenge. But now, so very much later, I see the truth at last. I don't know what brought me to realize my wrongs, but I see them now.

     I have a million excuses, but none of them matter. Seraphina, you might ask me what changed my mind, what led me to admit my wrongdoing. I was betrayed, in the same way I betrayed you. I found a fellow grey faerie in the northlands. We became very close. Her name was Ghatana. Together we searched for a way to regain our wings. For a long while, I did not dare to hope, for fear of being let down when the stakes were greater than I could bear. Ghatana was always hopeful, even when she shed tears of frustration in the quiet of the night when she thought I was asleep. When I lost sight of any reason to help her search, she would encourage me, even though I knew of her own insecurities. We promised each other that no matter what, we would both regain our wings: some how, some way. But when the day came, when I stumbled upon the ancient manuscript that would solve the puzzle, Ghatana stole it from me and fled. I never saw her again, and my hope for wings went with her.

     It was then I realized what I had done to you, Seraphina. Your writing had been as precious to you as my wings had been to me. It was part of you, the one thing you could always count on to bring joy. And I had snatched that away from you. I had been cruel. Selfish. Ignorant. I hated myself for what I had done.

     And so I write to you, even though it is too late. The day when your wonderful article could've been shown to the world is long past. I'm two hundred issues late. But there is still hope for you. You were the brightest writer I ever had the pleasure of editing; few could compare. Please, I beg of you, begin again.

     I know what I have done is unforgivable, yet I ask the impossible: please forgive me. I have been blind, like so many others. I have no excuses for what I have done; I never did. It was all a bundle of lies, tied up with threads of jealousy.

      I learned something out there in the wild forests. One cannot dwell on past sins forever. You must learn to let go. But I cannot tell you that, Seraphina. What I did to you was unspeakable; you have the right to hate me for the rest of your life. Yet I hope for something I have no right to hope for: forgiveness.

     Seraphina, I do not know how long it will take my letter to reach you, or whether you will want to reply. I remain your humble, repentant former-friend.


     My other impossible hope: my wings. I want them so badly that sometimes it hurts to hope. But if I can ask for forgiveness for an unforgivable thing, perhaps it is not so bad. Perhaps, I can still cling to my dreams. Maybe I can still learn to hope for those things I tucked away, deep inside, and told myself they were impossible. Maybe nothing truly is impossible. Maybe hope is not so foolish after all.

The End

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