Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 186,904,174 Issue: 325 | 11th day of Sleeping, Y10
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Tales of Cadmium, Athena, and Saffron: The Fight - Part One

by rainpaint


Thanks to my neofriends for being so patient! I hope it was worth it. Reviews are welcome!

Moonlight streamed into the window, illuminating the Faerie Peophin. Athena lay sleeping peacefully, her breathing even and calm. All of a sudden, she began to writhe around, twisting her bedsheets and moaning, "No! No!" Panting and wild-eyed, she awoke with a start and sat up straight in bed. "That was the strangest dream I have ever had," she whispered, to no one in particular. Running her hoof through her sweat-soaked mane, she took a deep breath and glanced over at her slumbering sisters, Cadmium the Royal Aisha and Saffron the Yellow Xweetok. Catching her own reflection in the mirror across the room, the Faerie Peophin felt a rush of relief as she realized she looked completely normal. Her mind now at peace, Athena lay back down and fell asleep to much more tranquil dreams.


      Several hours later, Cadmium, Athena, and Saffron sat around the kitchen table, waiting for their owner to bring them their breakfasts. "I trust you all slept well," Elspeth said as she handed her pets their freshly-made Faerie toast and bowls of fruit.

      "I was sound asleep when the Lenny alarm went off. I hate that thing!" Cadmium grumbled. But then she brightened up. "I did have a dream that our dance team came in first at the competition!" A discussion ensued between Cadmium and Elspeth over their excitement at Cadmium's being chosen for this very exclusive dance competition.

      Saffron and Athena listened politely, nodding at the appropriate times, but their minds were clearly elsewhere; Saffron was thinking of her best friend, Brett, the Silver Shoyru from down the street, and wondering if he would want to go to the Neopian Bazaar after school to hang out and get ice cream; and Athena was pondering her nightmare. Finally, Cadmium took a breath, and Athena got her chance to bring up what was on her mind.

      "I had the most bizarre dream last night," Athena announced. The others looked at her expectantly, so she continued. "See, I was on stage with a band."

      "I don't see what's so weird about that. I thought you wanted to be a singer in a band," Cadmium butted in.

      "I think that's so brave! I could NEVER get up on stage in front of all those people and sing." Yellow eyes wide and fearful, Saffy shuddered at the thought.

      A mischievous grin came across Cadmium's face. "Plus, you can't sing!" she teased.

      With a mutinous expression, Saffron kicked the Royal Aisha under the table. In turn, Cadmium ruffled the Yellow Xweetok's carefully brushed fur.

      "Enough! I think Athena was trying to tell us something." Elspeth, seeing the impatience on Athena's face, put an end to Cadmium and Saffron's little tussle. The two sent apologetic glances toward Athena, who continued.

      "Anyway, I was on stage with a band-"

      "We knew that already," Cadmium interrupted yet again. "Please get on with the rest of the story!"

     Athena rolled her eyes and spoke again. "I was getting ready to sing, but then I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the stage."

      "How could you do that? Aren't stages made of wood?" This time Saffron interjected.

      "I don't know, the stage was made of glass or something." Seeing that Cadmium and Saffron were about to interrupt again, Athena held up a hoof and snapped, "It was a dream, okay! Stages can even be made of dung in a dream! Now please let me finish." Cadmium pretended to zip her lip as Saffron murmured her apology. "I looked at my reflection and saw that I was... was... UGLY! I had on overalls and a bone in my hair and I had sticking-out teeth! Then I realized that I was in 2 Gallon Hatz. All of the musicians were wearing outfits like mine, and the music was all twangy, and... and... it was awful!"

      Cadmium held her hand to her mouth, trying to stifle her laughter. She failed miserably and let out a loud hoot. Tears streamed down her face from laughter as she got a mental picture of what Athena must have looked like. Elspeth looked at her Royal Aisha and Faerie Peophin in alarm: Cadmium looked as if she might hurt herself laughing, and Athena looked as if she didn't know whether to laugh too, or to smack Cadmium. Only Saffron was sitting calmly, completely nonchalant, not a hint of amusement in her big yellow eyes. The clock chimed eight, signaling that it was time for the three pets to leave for school and saving Elspeth from having to intervene. Cadmium's giggle fest stopped as they leaped up from the table, grabbed their backpacks, and ran out the door, throwing hasty goodbyes over their shoulders.


      "You aren't mad, are you, Athena? I didn't mean to upset you." Cadmium leapt down the front stairs of their Neohome to catch up with Athena and Saffron.

      Not even looking back, Athena kept up her furious march.

      "Look, I'm sorry for laughing. Please accept my apology."

      The Royal Aisha sounded so genuinely contrite that the Faerie Peophin felt some of her anger melt away. "I know you didn't mean it. That wasn't exactly the reaction I was expecting, that's all," Athena smiled wryly. "Let's just forget about it, okay?"

      Cadmium nodded vehemently in agreement, and Saffron gave a relieved sigh. "I'm glad that didn't last long. Now let's get to school - " The Yellow Xweetok broke off as, out of the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of silver. "Hi, Brett," she called, a big grin on her face, as the Silver Shoyru flew over to the threesome.

      "Hey, Saffron - oh - and Athena and Cadmium," Brett added hastily. "Is everything okay? Athena, you looked like Jeran on the warpath back there!" The lightness of his words did nothing to disguise the concern on his face.

      Athena nodded sheepishly. "We just had an, um, interesting morning. Nothing to worry about. Come on, Cadmium, let's leave those two to chat." She grinned. The Faerie Peophin and Royal Aisha traipsed on ahead while Saffron and Brett hung back.

      "So, did you do anything interesting this weekend?" Saffron asked, her yellow eyes inquisitive.

      "Not really. My owner decided to repaint my room. I nearly suffocated from the fumes!" Brett mimed being smothered by paint smells, which caused Saffron to break into laughter.

      Cadmium and Athena smiled at the laughter that carried their way. "Our little Saffy and good old Brett - who'd have thought they'd become best friends?" Cadmium wondered as they wove their way through the crowd up the stairs to Neopia Central Junior High. Saffron and Brett raced to catch up with them, and the foursome entered the school.


      In a hurry as usual, Cadmium searched frantically through her locker for her "History of Brightvale" textbook. Muttering under her breath, she shoved notebooks and papers aside and found it under an old purplum and cheese sandwich. "Blech!" Cadmium wrinkled her nose at the Sloth-colored mold that was now growing on the sandwich. Picking it up cautiously and grasping her history book with her other paw, she managed to slam her locker door with the side of her head, only to close her left antenna in the hinge. "Ouch!" Cadmium cried - and thought worse.

      "Hey, Cadmium," a pleasant voice called from behind her.

      Startled, Cadmium dropped everything she'd been holding on the floor. "Oh, hi, Elyse," she stuttered. A blush rose to her cheeks as she hastily gathered up her book, kicked the sandwich underneath her locker, and rose to face the stunning white Kyrii - the extremely popular head of the dance team.

      "Are you okay?" Elyse's expression was completely innocent, but Cadmium wasn't sure what to think. After all, Elyse hadn't said more than three words to her before. Last week, when the Royal Aisha had finally done a difficult dance move, the White Kyrii had congratulated her with a brusque "It's about time!"

      "Y-yeah, I'm fine. So, are you looking forward to the dance competition on Saturday?" Cadmium remembered the dance move incident but figured she might as well be friendly. Plus she wanted to draw attention away from her current embarrassment. If only Royal Aishas didn't blush so hard! she thought, willing her cheeks to turn back to their normal color.

      "Oh, it's going to be so great. We have this competition in the bag!" Elyse gushed as she walked right beside Cadmium, much to the Royal Aisha's surprise.

      Cadmium smiled wryly. "I wish I had your confidence!"

      "You know, if you want to, I could give you some pointers," Elyse offered, sidestepping to avoid colliding with a Gelert carrying an immense volcano model. "Come over to my house after school. Yvette, Tansy, and Jessica will be there as well," the White Kyrii added. In the background there was a large CRASH as the poor Spotted Gelert walked into an open door, fake lava spraying everywhere from his now-demolished volcano.

      Cadmium's eyes widened at the thought of being invited to the very popular White Kyrii's house with her almost-as-equally-popular best friends. "I'd love to! I have to run home and tell Elspeth before I come, of course."

      A flicker of irritation came across Elyse's face at the mention of Cadmium's owner. "Oh, I'll Neomail her for you. I'm sure she won't mind." A dazzling smile replaced the annoyance on Elyse's face. The two of them had reached the classroom door, but before they entered, Elyse leaned closer to Cadmium. The White Kyrii's voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper. "So, what was going on with you and Athena this morning? She looked pretty upset when she first walked out of your house."

      Cadmium shrugged, feeling a slight pang of - something. Caution? "She was mad because I'd laughed at her. We're cool now though."

      Elyse gave a rueful laugh. "So that's all? You're not going to tell me what it was about? I thought we were friends, Cadmium," she coaxed, her gray eyes sincere.

      The Royal Aisha's pulse quickened, thoughts racing through her head. Elyse, the most popular pet in school and captain of the dance team, called me her friend! Athena will understand. Besides, Elyse would never tell anyone... she thought. Throwing caution to the wind, Cadmium told Elyse about Athena's strange dream. "It was just so funny, picturing her with crooked teeth and in overalls! But I shouldn't have laughed at her. So I apologized and, like I said, we're fine now," Cadmium finished.

      The White Kyrii nodded in understanding. "Thanks for telling me. I was worried! I'd hate to think there was anything between you and your sister. Don't worry, her secret's safe with me."

      The two of them took their seats just as the teacher, Mr. McTecho, walked into the room. Elyse caught Cadmium's eye and mouthed, "Sit with us at lunch!" before turning to Mr. McTecho, who was lecturing about the monarchy of Brightvale. Cadmium struggled to pay attention, pushing aside the little voice that told her she'd somehow made a horrible mistake and instead dwelling on the fact that Elyse – Elyse! - had invited her to lunch.

To be continued...

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