Stand behind yer sheriff Circulation: 90,554,371 Issue: 172 | 7th day of Sleeping, Y7
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by _peregrintook_


The branches of the willow tree blew softly in the calm, evening breeze. Lovely pink flowers adorned the long, hanging leaves, masking the outside world. I sat silently on a branch, listening to the soft sounds of nature around me. The willow tree was the only place where I could draw comfort, where I could be at peace.

     Beyond the safety of my willow tree, war raged. The Thieves Guild was fighting with the Hannah Supporters, causing all of the Neopets to be sick. It was pointless. Why encourage suffering among all of the pets of Neopia? Why did everybody send their beloved pet to fight? Not only that, but most people's Neopoints were being spent on training and Battledome weapons, that most pets were starving, as well as sick. It was disgusting. I knew what it felt like to be starving. What it felt like to have to worry about the possibility that I might go with out food for days. What it felt like to have an empty stomach all day, every day. All of that was behind me now. But I couldn't forget. Not after what I had been through.

     All pets strong enough and of age were forced to fight in the war. I was a year too young to enroll, which I am very grateful for. Many Neopets my age lied to fight for either Hannah or the Thieves Guild. It was all pointless. Why would one wish to leave to a foreign country, only to argue and fight? They all said that it was because of honor. Isn't there more honor in being strong and taking a stand against war and fighting and standing up for peace? It takes more character to stand up for what they believe in, not flow with the crowd.

     The war was also causing controversy among all of the Neopians. The war encouraged opposite sides to argue about anything and everything, making the situation worse.

     I flew down from my branch, to a small, crystal clear pond in the center of the willow tree's branches. I stared at my reflection in the pond. Bright, sea blue eyes gazed back at me. I was a purple Shoyru, young, but brave. I had been that way since birth. I have never been afraid to stand up for what I believe in. That thing I believe in is peace. Ever since I was young, I have had close contact with violence. My old owner, an arrogant, self-absorbed girl, had been obsessed with the Battledome, almost to the point of insanity. Every day, I would be forced to fight, even if there was no possible way that I could walk away victorious. When I lost, I was punished. I was deprived of food for a week. I do not know how I survived that period of my life, how I did not just collapse and give up. But I pushed on.

     Soon after, I was thrown into the pound, rejected by my maniac owner. The conditions were a lot better in the pound, at least I was fed every day, but the loneliness was disheartening. To spend your days alone, in a stone cold cage, waiting for an unknown person to pick you up is more dreadful than starving. I learned that the hard way. I waited and waited, but the day of my adoption never came.

     So, I had to take matters into my own hands. I formulated a plan - a plan that was not to fail. When Dr. Death opened my cage, another pet would cause a distraction. It would only cause Dr. Death to look away for a moment, but a moment was all that I needed. I darted out of my cage, away from my life in the pound. Away from the loneliness. I have lived in Meridell ever since.

     "Why do you fight so hard for peace, Antikia?" they would ask me when I expressed my opinion of the war. "Why don't you just help Meridell and fight?" I would always reply that peace was better for all of Neopia. All they did was laugh.

     "Antikia…" The wind seemed to whisper my name while it rustled the willow leaves. "Antikia…" I looked up into the tall willow tree. I flew back on to the branch I rested on before, relaxing in the cool night air. "Antikia…" This time it sounded like a human's voice. I jumped so high that I could have been flying. My eyes darted left and right, before resting on a little woman, a ring of pale and endless light surrounded her. Gorgeous gray eyes rested on a slim face, topped with long, golden hair. She wore a simple gown of bright yellow, seemingly fragile wings jutting out of her sides. I gazed in awe at her, trying to sum up the courage to speak. Before I could think of anything to say, she spoke to me.

     "Greetings, young Antikia," her voice was smooth and soft, I was discouraged to hear. I must look scratchy and horrible beside this extravagant faerie. If my face betrayed any of my thoughts, the faerie gave no sign of noticing. "Why are you miserable, young one?" I was hesitant at first, unsure whether I should answer this majestic creature. Unsure if she would support my ideals, or only laugh like all of the other Neopets.

     "I'm tired of this war," I blurted out, wanting to make her understand. My voice sounded rough and scratchy compared to hers, but I didn't care. Not at this moment. Tears started to roll down my cheeks as I finally voiced my thoughts. "All war is endless fighting and suffering. All pets seem to be against peace. It is completely pointless! Why throw your life away for something ridiculous? They don't realize that life is possible without fighting!"

     The faerie looked bewildered, as if she didn't expect to hear what I had said, but she recovered from the shock quickly enough. "Well…" she said in her musical voice. "Most Neopets have forgotten what peace is like. Perhaps if you could show them what peace is like, they wouldn't oppose it."

     "Oh, but how?" I cried out desperately.

     "It is simple. Be nice to them and never argue. Try to brake up small arguments between other pets. In time, they will notice that no arguing will allow them to lead better lives. Sooner or later, you may find some who would aid you in your quest to stop the war." With these words, she disappeared, in a puff of yellow smoke. The ring of pale light went with her.

     I felt renewed, somehow braver than before. It was not a foolproof plan, but with time, and careful planning, it might just work. "I shall follow the faerie's advice," I said to myself, feeling more determined with each passing minute. "I shall stop the war." I declared this with determination. "The war shall end."

     I flew out of the tree, past the serene shelter of the branches. "I will make peace possible, I will make peace possible…" I repeated to myself as I disappeared into the horizon.

The End

Author's Note - This is my first submission to the Neopian Times (and if you're reading this, it made it in!). Thanks to everyone who has supported me with my writing! If you have any questions, comments, or criticism, feel free to send me a Neomail!

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