A Waffle Paradise Circulation: 90,554,371 Issue: 172 | 7th day of Sleeping, Y7
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Parade of Light

by shadowcristal


"Listen up, girls!" Miss Terra said to the six pets sitting in the classroom, "You all know that our winter music show is coming up, and the all-girls choir has to perform something? Well, we're doing a little parade!"

"That's cool," Alisa, the Desert Aisha, said.

"Cool," her three followers echoed. Nathalie pondered for a second, then joined in since she didn't have anything better to do.

"Good," the Kau teacher said and smiled. "Now we'll just have to decide who will be first. Mind you, to be the lead, you have to be dedicated and willing to work hard since you will be singing a couple of solos."

"Me! Me!" the Aisha waved her hand frantically in the air as she glared at the other pets. Nathalie shuddered and looked at Lucielle, the Elephante. Good to know that she wasn't alone. The Faerie Zafara pondered for a second, then raised her hand too.

"Yes, Nathalie?" Miss Terra asked.

"Do we volunteer or do you pick you someone to be the lead?" the Faerie Zafara asked. She got an icy glare from the Desert Aisha, who was mouthing, "Don't ruin this or you'll pay."

"Ah, I see," the Kau said, "I don't think it's fair either way, so why don't we let fate decide?"

Alisa's groaned loudly as the teacher continued. "If you do not wish to participate, please raise your hand."

The Desert Aisha was still waving and two of her followers were too. The Yellow Elephante looked down. She wondered if she even had any chance, with those beautiful painted pets competing...

"That's three," Miss Terra said. "Good, then there's only Lucielle, Nathalie and Emma left." The teacher scribbled the names on a piece of paper, then tore it into three parts and put it in a plastic cup. "You can pick," she told Nathalie.

The Zafara smiled. Maybe she had a chance to be the lead! That'd be real fun. Nathalie closed her eyes, wishing the hardest she could and picked a piece of paper.

"So, what does it say?" Alisa demanded.

"Lucielle," Nathalie whispered. She was quite disappointed that she wasn't picked out by fate, but at least the lead didn't go to Alisa and company. If any of them got it, they'd just let the role go to Alisa. The Zafara shuddered as she was reminded of how horrible the Aisha was at singing.

"That is so cheating!" the Aisha screeched as her group repeated the same thing.

"Now, Alisa, behave," Miss Terra said, "or I won't let you be in the parade at all. The parade of light is a privilege, not a right."

The Faerie Zafara glanced at Lucielle, who was trying not to smile too hard. Nathalie thought for a moment, then decided on it. She gave a thumbs-up to the Elephante, who was smiling even bigger now.

"That's it for today. Here are the three songs you'll need to memorize and sing when we practice next week." The Kau handed out some papers to all of them, and an extra big stack to the Elephante.

When they left the room, Nathalie noticed that the Aisha was boiling with anger. This wouldn't be good. But it would be interesting.


"That's it for songs today... Here's the dress for lead," Miss Terra said as she held up the white dress. Then the teacher put it down on the table so everyone else could see. The dress was made of soft, silky material that shone in the light and felt smooth. Twinkles had been added at the bottom of the hem, and there were many laces. It simply looked stunning.

"And don't forget the accessories!" The Kau held them up as the girls ran over and looked.

"Ooh... Pretty," Alisa murmured as her friends nodded. Nathalie noticed that she was grinning evilly for some reason.

The Zafara turned around just in time to see the Elephante approach the dress. Lucielle looked like she was in the presence of something great, and touched the dress with care. Nathalie could hear faint whisper coming from there.

"It's so beautiful," the yellow Elephante whispered.

"Well, hate to break up this party, but I've got to do it sometime," Miss Terra said. "Girls, you can stay here and practice the songs. I'll have to take your lead to train the solos." The teacher grabbed Lucielle's shoulder and they left quickly.

Nathalie wondered if Miss Terra had done that on purpose, as she sensed that trouble was brewing. The atmosphere in the room grew intense as Alisa and her followers glared at the Zafara.

"I'm not taking sides," the Zafara whispered. She knew that Alisa and those pets weren't so great, but being outside like Lucielle might be even worse. She knew her options, but she needed time to decide...

"What an ugly dress!" the Aisha exclaimed.

"But... it's pretty," Emma said.

"Clamp it or she'll get mad," a Faerie Meerca named Mindy whispered to the Wocky.

"Why?" Emma asked.

"Don't say..." Mindy whispered but Alisa had already heard it.

"It's ugly! If I say it's ugly, then it's ugly!" she shouted, stomping around. Suddenly the Aisha stopped, grinning mischievously. "And it doesn't belong here..."

The Zafara stood up, sensing that something unpleasant would begin very soon.

"Need this?" a Green Uni asked, holding up a pair of shiny scissors.

"Perfect!" the Aisha exclaimed. "Just what we need to demolish this ugly dress!"

"You're kidding," Emma whispered, staring in shock.

"Quit talking and start walking!" the Aisha demanded.

Nathalie shuddered, ready to run. Even if she wanted to belong, she had her sense of justice. The Zafara didn't want to take any part in this.

"Look! There's a Thyora's Tear out there!" Nathalie pointed as she flew by them and out through the door. She started running blindly, not knowing where she would go...

"Get her!" Alisa shouted as her minions started running after the Zafara.


"In deep, dark midwinter night, here she comes, our queen of light," clear notes echoed in the halls as the Zafara ran. That pure voice rejuvenated Nathalie as she continued running, trying to suppress the event that had just occurred.

"Get her!" the Aisha had shouted as she was trying to get away. The noise of scissors rang in her mind, again and again. Four medium-sized pets had grabbed her, and after a petty fight she had gotten away.

The Zafara sighed of relief as she saw the end of the hall. She was sure that they couldn't find her here. Nathalie found a dark corner, then sat down to rest.

"I haven't run like this in ages," the Zafara thought as she looked around. Her eyes widened as she saw what she held in her hands. The dress!

"Did I get it from them after all?" Nathalie wondered as she looked for a place to hide it. Uh-oh. This wasn't good... Something moved behind her back. Scared, the Zafara slowly turned around and saw that it was a loose piece of the wall. There was a nice little hole inside, covered with plastic films and everything. Nathalie smiled as she slowly put the beautiful, snowy dress into the hole and covered it with the plate.

Fatigue overwhelmed her as the Zafara sat there, trying to regain her energy and courage. This had to be the most outrageous thing she had done! Now it would be difficult to join Alisa's group...

"Who cares? They aren't good anyway!" Nathalie consoled herself as she listened to more of that beautiful singing. "I wish I could sing as good as that. Now that's beautiful." The Zafara almost dozed off while resting...

A small creak woke her up. Nathalie looked up and around, alert. A door opened slightly. The Zafara's ears could detect a few tones, and she realized that it was the person inside the room who was the singer.

Excited and all awake, the Zafara peeked inside. She gasped at what she saw. It was Lucielle! The whole performance was mesmerizing, the Elephante standing up there and singing...

I never knew she could sing like this, the Zafara thought, swallowing down some tears. The melody was very sad, and the Elephante wasn't just singing it, but also feeling it. Inside, Nathalie was waging a war. When Lucielle reached the highest note and the song carried to the sky, the Zafara reached her decision. She smiled as she listened to the rest of the show.

Someone was applauding. The Zafara poked at the door and saw Miss Terra.

"Very good!" Miss Terra said. The Elephante almost looked embarrassed as she nodded and withdrew shyly to the shadows.

"Will... I...?" Lucielle asked, staring at the floor.

"You'll be a great lead!" the teacher said enthusiastically. "Now, if only the other girls could think so too..."

The Zafara felt great pity for the Elephante that seemed so tiny in front of the others. I have to help her... she thought as she waited by the door.


"You were really great!" Nathalie said when the Elephante finally left the room. Lucielle looked surprised.

"Y-you heard?" the Elephante whispered.

"Yeah! And it was good! You really deserve being the lead," the Zafara added happily as they walked down the hall.

"Really?" Lucielle seemed to doubt her own abilities as they continued talking. When the Zafara had told her, the Elephante smiled.


"What do we have here?" Alisa asked as she saw them coming.

"Two little pets," Mindy said, stopping them.

"Fool! That was a rhetorical question!" the Aisha snapped as she stopped the two pets. "Hi Nathalie. Running away like that, we've been waiting for such a long time...You've made a big mistake, and now you'll pay," she hissed at the Zafara, "But I think I'll let you go... if you assist us." The Aisha smiled slyly.

The Zafara looked at the Elephante for a second, then nodded.

"Your honor," the green Uni told Nathalie sarcastically.

"Here's a box. Put her in it," Alisa said when Emma and Mindy arrived with a big container. They dropped the box and grabbed the Elephante by her ears.

"She doesn't deserve the lead! I do!" the Aisha shouted as the two pets dragged Lucielle over to the box.

The Elephante was close to tears, and Nathalie felt pity bubbling inside her. However, this was one of those times to obey...

"Help!" Lucielle cried out. "You're my friend, Nathalie... Help me!"

"If you help her, you'll be going down the same road," Alisa said coldly.

"Right!" the other three said. Nathalie pondered. It took some time to sort out her conscience. But finally she decided.

"Well?" the group asked menacingly.

"Fine," the Zafara said curtly and helped to stuff the Elephante into the box.

"What a good girl," the Aisha said as they closed the box, ignoring Lucielle's muffled shrieks. "Now you dispose of it," she pointed towards the Faerie Meerca.

"Oh woe! Why me?" Mindy said. "Why not let the newcomer do this instead?" the Meerca said malevolently, giving Nathalie a sinister glance.

"I'd be happy to," the Zafara replied through gritted teeth. She took the box and measured. It would be fine, no, perfect...

"Hey, there's a bag of Neopoints flying outside!" Nathalie said, pointing to the window.

"Where, where?" Alisa and the rest looked out. The Zafara grinned. This was her chance. She took out a piece of paper, scribbled on it and dropped it inside the box. Then she measured and pushed the Elephante off to the end of the long hall.

"Not that old trick again?" the Aisha asked exclaimed they realized that they had been tricked.

"Too bad, so sad. Anyway, I finished the job!" the Zafara exclaimed, pointing at the box sliding down the hall.

"Good job," Annabelle said.

"Let's go and parade!" Emma exclaimed cheerfully as the five pets walked off.

I'm so sorry, Lucielle. I hope you saw the note, the Zafara thought as she walked off with the group.


"In this time of darkness, we bring you light..." the choir sang. Nathalie couldn't help but to feel a little bit depressed, though the parade was supposed to cheer one up. She sighed.

Miss Terra had been shocked when Alisa reported that Lucielle was gone. But contrary to what she thought, the Aisha didn't get the lead. The teacher said they would just have to do without the lead, and she would announce the disappearance to the audience when it was time for the solos. The Zafara thought of her friend, stuck in a dark box without help. She sighed as she looked at the shadows...

"Pay attention!" Emma poked the Zafara.

"Oh, thanks." Nathalie could still picture how desperate Lucielle had looked when they dumped her in that box. She closed her eyes, inhaled and sung the last line with all the strength they had. Now it was time for the lead's solo, or it would've been.

The guests all sat in silence, waiting for the next song. Miss Terra walked sadly up on the stage, and took the microphone. But just then, in the corner, something glowed.

Bam! A box exploded, torn into tiny fragments as something rose from it. It seemed like an angel of light, hovering above the stage. That luminous figure cleared its throat and soft, sweet notes echoed in the room.

"In deep, dark midwinter night, here she comes, our queen of light," it sang. The audience gasped, delighted at this surprise.

Nathalie smiled as she looked at the flying pet. It was Lucielle, singing her heart out.

"Oh... I guess she really deserved it," Emma murmured, amazed.

"Grr... You little..." Alisa pinched the Zafara, but this performance was worth it all.

Let your voice reach every corner of darkness, and banish it, Nathalie thought. Everything's fine now. She applauded with everybody else (except for Alisa), but they were interrupted by the Elephante's cough. When the whole room had quieted down, Lucielle spoke.

"Here is the last song. I dedicate it to a great friend who's been helping me through, all the way... Thank you, Nathalie! Now, please enjoy 'Midwinter Night'!"

The End

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