I Spy Something... Speckled?
Miru walked down the small road slowly and sadly with her sister. She didn't want to go to Neoschool today. She didn't want to go to Neoschool any day! Miru honestly didn't believe there was any point in going day after day just to sit there and pretend that she wasn't really there, but her mother must have been hoping for her to suddenly like learning all about Neopian History.
"Miru, let's skip," her sister said as they trudged down the road, but Miru didn't quite understand.
"Skip? What does that mean, Tae?" She looked at her sister wanting to know more but afraid to be dragged into another scheme.
"It means that we say we are going to Neoschool, but we don't! No one will ever know, and we won't be in trouble!"
"What about when the teacher checks attendance?"
"When she checks attendance and we aren't there, she'll just assume that we're late today, of course!"
What Tae said didn't make sense, but Miru desperately wanted to believe her. It didn't sound like a terrible scheme that would cause something terrible to happen.
"Yeah," said Miru. "Let's skip! No one will miss two little Blue Aishas."
Miru and Tae ran off of the road, so they wouldn't be spotted. Miru wasn't sure where they were going, but she kept following Tae through the meadow... through a Petpet store... and into the woods. Wait! Into the woods?
Their mother had specifically warned them both against going into the woods. They could easily get lost! Miru was about to remind her sister of what their mother had told them several times before, but Tae turned to tell her that they were only taking a shortcut and wouldn't be in the woods for long. Miru let it go for the time being and continued to follow Tae. Perhaps that wasn't the best idea, though.
Tae was starting to look awfully confused and lost, but Miru didn't say anything about it for a while. She didn't want to offend her slightly older sister. When she did say something, Tae pretended not to hear her and just kept walking, but she really should have listened to Miru. They should have turned around because something terrible wasn't too far ahead of them.
"I spy something green," Tae began the game of I Spy to pass the time. She didn't know of what was not too far in front of them...
"That shiny green apple... With a big bite out of it?" Miru said, wondering how long it had been there. Not too long, surely. It was still green. "I spy something blue."
"Me!" Tae laughed before they continued their game. "I spy something.... Speckled?"
Miru and Tae stopped in their tracks to stare at the small bit of Speckled they could see through the branches of a nearby bush. It was definitely Speckled all right... The two little blue Aishas moved in to take a closer look. What on Neopia could it be?
"It would have been best for the two of you to keep walking," the Speckled something said to them, and they jumped back, surprised.
"Wh - who are you?" Tae stumbled over her words as the figure stood up and turned towards them. It was a Speckled Xweetok.
"Xandra," she said. "And, since you are just a couple of Neoschool skippers, you can go. Run along now and get to class."
Miru would've done as this Xandra had told her, but she really couldn't move her feet at all.
"But, we don't want to go back! It's boring doing the same stuff every day! Our class is making stupid pies for the stupid Faerie Festival today!" Tae exploded on this stranger and surprised both Xandra and Miru.
"Stupid Faeries, you say? Why, I think I quite like you..." Xandra said with a very suspicious look on her face. Miru had once again been dragged in the middle of something. She could feel it.
Miru just wanted to go back to class now. Pies were fun to make and very yummy. But, for some reason, Miru got this feeling that they weren't going back to Neoschool. Maybe, they would never go back...
"Come with me," Xandra said as she looked down on them, and Tae pulled Miru along with her. Miru would have let Tae go by herself, but she worried for her sister. And, she had good reason to be worried.
Miru had paid very close attention to where they were going and everything that the mysterious Speckled Xweetok had said to them. Apparently, she wanted to turn the Faeries into ice, but she didn't know what to do about making everyone else think that she hadn't done it. Tae seemed to think that Xandra was all talk and agreed to help her think of something. Miru, however, could feel how serious Xandra was about it.
"Wait a minute, why would you turn the Faeries into ice? They would just melt back to normal! Why don't you turn them into stone?" Tae blurted out, and their little group came to a halt as Xandra turned around.
"That is a brilliant idea! I wonder why I didn't think of that..."
"And, while you're at it, turn those pies to stone, too. I hate those pies. They are the same every single year. Our teacher could at least let us choose what flavor of pie we want to make."
"I can't make any promises about the pie, but I'll try to get one or two of them," Xandra said to her, and Tae seemed pretty happy about all of this. She must have thought they were cosplaying or something. Why didn't she see what Miru saw in this Xweetok? Not only was she following Xandra, but she was supplying her with terrible ideas, too?
Miru tried to think of a way to covertly tell her sister that they needed to go back. She needed to be subtle about it because she wasn't sure about Xandra or what she might do, so Miru squeezed Tae's hand. When Tae glanced at her, she pleaded with her eyes, "Tae, please, can we go home?"
But Tae just turned back to Xandra and continued to help her brainstorm. Miru sighed. What were they going to do when Tae finally realized that it wasn't a game?
"I know, you could make it look like somebody who has already done some evil things turned them to stone. Like the Darkest Faerie, maybe," Tae continued excitedly.
"No, it couldn't be the Darkest Faerie. First, she's already been turned to stone. Second, we don't want to leave any Faeries left. Not even evil ones."
"What about... Hubrid Nox?" Tae asked her. She was clearly running out of ideas since Xandra had shot most of them down.
"Nox?" Xandra laughed out loud. "He's not smart enough to tie his cape! Much less do something this extraordinary."
"I don't know then," Tae told her. She looked really sad that she couldn't help her out any more than that. "I'm sorry."
Tae's apology made Miru very angry. She shouldn't apologize for not having evil ideas!
Xandra was lost in thought. Maybe, she should have thought all of this out a little bit better.
"I just won't accuse anyone else. I'm too proud to hide behind a more well-known name," she said.
"And, it was absolutely grand to meet the two of you! You've been a bit of help to me, and, when the deed is done, look closely at the news. There will be a shout out just for you," Xandra told the two of them as she went on her way. Her way being straight towards Faerieland.
"She could have told us how to get back," Tae said. "She seemed pretty creative, huh?" But, Miru wasn't talking to Tae. Tae had made her really mad, and she didn't talk when she was mad.
They made their way back through the woods. This time Miru led Tae who had been too preoccupied with stone pies to pay any attention. She was a NeoBrownie Scout just like Miru, so she should have known to pay better attention.
And, she definitely should have known not to talk to strangers, but apparently she didn't learn a thing from all those NeoBrownie meetings. Tae hadn't learnt a single thing from it.
The thought of all this made Miru even madder at Tae, but by the time they got back home it was late evening. With school out, Miru and Tae had to be home quickly, or they would be in big trouble. Miru's anger slid away as she focused on this new development, and the two of them headed home.
It had been over a week since Miru and Tae had skipped Neoschool and met Xandra, and every single day Tae suggest skipping over and over again. Miru, however, took Tae's hand, every single day, and led her straight to Neoschool. No more adventures for a while for them.
It was the week of the Faerie Festival, and Neopets everywhere were excited. Miru and Tae's class were especially excited about all of the pies they had sent to the festival. Also, the one Lutari in their class had just found out that Lutaris could now be painted Faerie, and he was very excited...
But, what was this on the front of the news as Miru and Tae arrived that morning? They couldn't see the paper lying on Mrs. Gnorbu's desk because all of the other students were already crowded around her. They were mumbling all about the Festival and something terrible and... Miru and Tae's hearts stopped almost completely when they heard them more clearly.
"Stone! The Faeries have been turned to stone!" one of their classmates and a fellow NeoBrownie shouted.
But, the teacher didn't think it was possible. "They've simply been painted Relic in some freak accident that attempted to bring the Relic Paint Brush back. That's it! Just some accident. They will be back to normal before you can say 'Fyora Queen Doll,'" the teacher kept repeating.
"Tae," Miru whispered. "Tae, it's our fault."
"You mean my fault," Tae told her. "If I hadn't made you skip with me, if I hadn't started that I Spy game, if I hadn't have spied something Speckled... We would have never met her. Miru, I'm so sorry. I thought she was one of those over-imaginative roleplayers that Mother meets on the Neoboards!"
Miru hugged her sister and told her that it wasn't her fault. Okay, it was kind of her fault but not completely. "We should tell somebody about Xandra," Miru said. "I think that would be best."
As they headed up towards the teacher who had sent all the other students away from her desk, Miru and Tae saw the picture of the Faeries. They were completely turned to stone. Along with one pie. One of the pies that their class had sent.
Miru and Tae looked at each other and went to sit in their desks. They couldn't talk. If they did, Xandra would know it was them who had tattled. She was going to make it known that she had done it anyway. Besides, it's not like Faerieland was going fall and crash or anything...
Terrible things have happened before, and everything turned out just fine. So, maybe, they didn't have anything to be worried about.
"Maybe, someone will figure it out. Someone like... a random thief!" Tae said.
"A random thief? Thieves are thieves, Tae. That really pretty Brightvale Captain will fix everything!" Miru told her quietly.
"Please. She isn't as awesome as you think. Besides, she can't be too awesome if no one even knows who she is besides you," Tae teased.
And, so, the two little blue Aishas were able to laugh off the whole incident and act like everything was normal.
"Miru, Tae, I'll need an excuse from your parents about why you weren't here last week. I keep forgetting to ask you, but please bring one," Mrs. Gnorbu told them