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The Believer


by horsesrocktkw

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I had always believed in water faeries, unlike everyone else. And looking back, I guess that I didn't have any evidence to support my belief, having never spotted a faerie of this sort. I had seen every other faerie variety, but never one with a tail or one who swam through the waves with grace. I hadn't believed that the myth of the water faerie was just that - merely a myth. There was such a thing as a water faerie. And even my peers at Neoschool couldn't convince me that I was wrong. I wanted so desperately to prove my point, to be the Kacheek that discovered the water faerie.

      It had been a warm summer day on the shores of Mystery Island. It has always been a favorite place of mine, and still is to this day. I loved the feel of sand between my toes, and the water splashing at my ankles. I would find a comfortable spot under a shady palm, spread out my towel, close my eyes, and dream. My dreams didn't consist of an endless supply of Neopoints, or scoring the winning goal for my Yooyuball team like the dreams belonging to the regular Neopian. My dreams always consisted of being able to breathe in the water, and be fortunate enough to come across a water faerie.

      I was so envious of the pets that had the ability to survive under the sea. And every time my best friend, Jalil, would see me, she would rave of her adventures under the sea, where she made her home. And today would be no different.

      The purple Peophin waddled down the beach and waved a flipper in my general direction. Meekly, I waved back and again rested my head on my towel.

      "Savarna, Savarna," Jalil cried excitedly, "I have got to tell you about what happened yesterday. You see, I was at Kelp and-"

      "I am going into the water," I interrupted, rising to my feet and brushing the sand off of my blue fur, leaving a confused Jalil behind.

     I knew that I was being rude, but I couldn't stand hearing about something that she could do and I couldn't, especially something I loved and wanted to do so badly. I wasn't a jealous person, nor was I greedy. But every time that I thought of Jalil, I thought of her aquatic abilities and couldn't help feeling a wave of greed wash over me.

     I ran down the beach until I met the water, and I greeted her with a grin. I sloshed around for a minute, smiling all the while, and then begun to wade further and further away from the shore. Jalil was just a tiny plum-colored speck on the crowded horizon when I looked back at the sand.

     The water was up to my chest now, occasionally spraying my face with the salty water. I laughed each time it did so, enjoying the feeling of refreshment from the scorching sun. I floated on my back a while, the sun beating down on my torso. My eyes began to close, and my mind began to drift to dreams of the sea; dreams of the water faeries.

     Suddenly, I was pulled under the waves as one crashed on top of me. I was thrust under, and waving my arms was no match for the powerful water. I couldn't reach the surface again, and I hadn't taken a very big breath. I struggled to keep my eyes open despite the sting that they were enduring.

     Again I flailed my arms to try to get above the water, but it was no use. I was still being pounded by the pressure of the waves, which were much stronger than me.

     "I am a Kacheek," I said to myself. "I can't breathe under water! I need the air. Yes, I must get to the surface!"

     I opened my mouth and gaped, which was quite stupid. But when you are suddenly under the water, fighting for yourself, all reason seems to be left back at the beach. I continued to gape... wait... how was I still under the water, breathing? Excited, and a bit scared, I wondered how it could be so. What was going on?! I couldn't breathe under water! I am a Kacheek, for Fyora's sake!

     After a moment of pondering the strange situation, I decided that I should embrace it. I began kicking my legs and moving my arms to propel me through the water, a smile of pure happiness still plastered on my face.

     Unlike I had expected, the water was dark and not a clear azure color. It had a certain foggy haze to it, making it difficult to see where I was going. Not that it mattered, really. What would be down here besides a few Maraquan pets and the rare patch of seaweed?

     I had a knack for predicting incorrectly, and yet once more I had astonished myself. Squinting through the mist, I saw a castle - similar to the castles in the rolling hills of Meridell, or amidst the lush gardens of Brightvale! But this castle was the color of the sky, and made of shells piled on top of each other. Around it were hundreds of faeries. Water faeries! I couldn't believe it. I rubbed my eyes to make sure that they weren't deceiving me.

     Some were picking the seaweed and dumping it in baskets, just as one might garden above the water. Others were polishing the shell castle with grimy rags. The younger citizens were racing each other, competing to see who had the fastest scaled fin, giggling as they went.

     I saw one faerie that was resting on a mossy rock, not noticing me. She was laughing at a game that was being played by two of the other faeries, just a little way ahead of her, and her head was propped up my her hands, layout casually on her stomach.

     "Excuse me," I said softly, approaching her, and tapping her lightly on the shoulder. She cast me a strange look, almost like she had never seen someone like me before.

     "Y-yes?" she stammered.

     "Can I ask where I am?" I inquired politely, giving her the biggest smile I could muster and ignoring her stuttering.

     She ignored my question, and instead responded with one of her own. "How did you get down here?"

     "I... I... swam..." Now it was my turn to stutter.

     "You found us," she whispered. Now the expression on her pale face told me that she was frightened.

     "I just wanted to go for a swim. I am sorry. I didn't mean to find you, or your city. I was just swimming in the waves when I got pulled under." My voice was shaking with embarrassment, and I felt the color rise to my cheeks.

     The faerie ran a finger through her golden locks, obviously confused by my arrival.

     "Well, then. Let me be the first to welcome you to our humble little city. I am Nereid." She stuck out a hand.

     "You're the Nereid? The faerie that I have read about in books?" I gasped, knowing that I looked foolish.

      "I don't know about books, but I am the only Nereid around these parts. Who are you?"

      "Savarna, or Sav. Sav from Mystery Island." I mimicked her gesture by shaking her hand with my paw.

      "I am very curious about you, Sav," Nereid stated quietly. "You must come with me."

      "So it isn't just a legend," I mumbled as I followed Nereid towards the castle.

      She abruptly stopped swimming and turned around to look at me, her face looking a bit red, eyes glowering down at me.

      "Don't tell me that you don't believe that we are a legend!"

      I stared at her. "Of course I do! But for years I have been trying to prove your existence, and for years I have failed to do so."

      "Forever you shall fail to do so," she said haughtily, "You can not try to convince others that we live. They must figure it out on their own, without help."

      I nodded, not wanting to anger her. Nereid started swimming again and I followed. In several minutes, though, I couldn't help but ask another question.

      "Why was I the one to discover you?" I asked as we reached the castle's entrance.

      "Don't you see? Sav, you were destined to. There is something about you that makes you special, unique. You were supposed to find us."

      "Me?" I sputtered.

      Nereid nodded. "You."

     For some reason that is still unknown to me today, I felt special knowing that I had something that I was supposed to do. And furthermore, that I had accomplished it. I had seen a water faerie, talked to one, touched one. That was good enough for me.

      ******

      Today, many years later, I am not sure if all of this actually happened. For a few minutes later, I had awoken to find myself buried under my sheets. In my Neohome. In my bed.

      Maybe it never did happen, and maybe it was all just a dream of a foolish child. And maybe it did really happen. I don't think that I will ever know.

      Every day I think about my adventure of so many years ago. And now, everyday, I revisit the beaches of Mystery Island, because it holds so many memories for me.

      I suppose that I must look a bit weird when I go on my daily beach walks. I would think it strange if I saw an elderly Kacheek, with grey streaked fur, splashing about in the waves and hobbling down the shoreline with a wooden cane in hand.

      Oh look! A glass bottle. I pick it up and examine it. There seems to be a piece of paper in it, with something written down on it in a curvy scrawl. Uncorking the bottle, I pull out the yellowed page of parchment. The ink is smeared a bit, but I can still read it:

      Savarna, or Sav. Sav from Mystery Island,

      Never forget your adventure that you had when doing what you were destined to do.

      Your friend,

      Nereid

The End

 
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