The Glittering Visitor
It was evening. UnaRae had finished the marketing and was bringing home some groceries for dinner. The Neohome was quiet, but nothing was unusual about that. Una set her basket on the table and went to hang up her hat. When she returned to the kitchen, an astonishing sight met her eyes. The basket was empty!
"Hey, what..." The startled Koi looked at the basket, then she opened the door of the fridge. All the food was on the shelves, or inside the drawers, placed there by goodness only knew who.
Una looked around. "Is someone there?" she called out timidly, feeling somewhat alarmed. There was an invader in the Neohome, she was very certain of that. Una felt her muscles knotting up, and she knew she could take action if need be. She had trained well under the tutelage of the Techo Master, indeed. Yet, could her training defeat an unknown enemy?
"Hi, UnaRae!" came a voice from above her head. Una looked up, and cried out in alarm, then she fainted and knew nothing more for a while.
Just as Una screeched, Zadar and Ccaenine were returning from their own various activities elsewhere in Neopia. Hearing the screams, the boys looked at each other, then dashed into the house, ready to protect their sister.
Zadar was the first to see Una lying in a heap on the floor. Nearby, looking very much alarmed, was an Ogrin. The Ogrin was flying. Zadar rubbed his eyes and took another look at the intruder. He then noticed the pair of filmy orange wings coming out of the Ogrin's back. Zadar gave out a warning snarl, and the Ogrin noticed the furious Mutant Kyrii staring at him.
"Hi, Zadar!" the Ogrin said, feeling the sweat forming on his brow. He landed on the ground next to Una, then used a bit of magic to lift the unconscious Koi and set her onto a chair. The Ogrin looked uncertainly at Zadar, who looked ready to fight him, but at that moment, Ccaenine came to the rescue.
"Huxley? Is that you? Zadar, WAIT! I know that Ogrin!" Ccaenine hopped forward, a big smile on his face. Huxley, the Ogrin, wiped his brow, then nodded. He gave Ccaenine a hug and a high five, then turned to Zadar.
"NovemberHuxley?" Zadar said, recognition dawning as he stared at the Ogrin. The huge, wickedly-clawed paw lowered, and at that moment, Una opened her eyes and moaned. Zadar turned his attentions to his sister, and went to fetch an ice-pack. Una smiled weakly at the Ogrin, whom she had finally recognised as one of the Meridell cousins.
"I'm sorry I screamed like that," Una apologised as she held the ice-pack on a swollen spot by her dorsal fin. "I had no idea that you were coming for a visit. Oh, wait a sec. I did hear our owner say something about a visitor, but the thing went out of my memory. It must be my advanced age, I guess." She gave her cousin a rueful smile. "In any case, welcome to the Haunted Woods home! I hope you'll enjoy your stay with us!"
"I'm sure that I will," Huxley replied, fluttering his glistening wings. "I hope you'll allow me to prepare the first meal, to make up for my unannounced arrival. In fact, I'm certain you'll be glad that I came, once you see what I can do. We faeries are magical, after all." His amber eyes twinkled with an unknown warmth, and Una nodded. He turned and proceeded to create a delicious dinner, proving himself adept in the matter of cooking.
Zadar stood back and watched his cousin work some magic, yet he felt reluctant to give any praise to the handsome Faerie Ogrin. Long ago, when he was new to Neopia, Zadar remembered some things about the faeries that made him very doubtful, and ultimately untrusting toward them. Una read the emotions in the young Kyrii's face, and went over to him.
"It's alright, Zadar," she whispered to her brother, looking over at their cousin. "Huxley is a Faerie, but he's part of our family, too. Be kind toward him, would you? Please try, Huxley is our cousin, even if he is magical. He won't hurt any of us, I know."
Zadar relaxed visibly, and gave Una a nod, then he went away to his room to rest until dinner. Ccaenine set the table and chatted with Huxley. They were better acquainted, specially since Ccaenine had gone to the Meridell family for a month. Weeto had gone there, actually, which was why Huxley had come in the first place.
The dinner that Huxley produced was delightful, as well as delicious. Even Zadar was pleased with the turkey and potatoes, and the dessert, Tchea Fruit Pie, was superb. Una's eyes lit up; she was particularly fond of Tchea Fruit, no matter how it was served.
After dinner, Una swept the table and Zadar cleared away the dishes. Huxley helped with the washing-up, and attempted to converse with the silent Kyrii who stood next to him. Zadar gave curt answers and brief replies, and went away as soon as the last dish was put away. Huxley stared at his cousin, feeling a bit hurt, and slipped his hands into his pockets, wondering how to make amends. Una saw him, and put a fin around his shoulders.
"I suppose you should know that Zadar is not very kind toward the faeries," Una said gently, as they sat down on comfy chairs in the sitting room. Ccaenine joined them, though he played a game of Solitaire whilst his sister and cousin chatted in confidence.
"Una, why is Zadar so hesitant around the faeries?" Huxley asked in a quiet tone. Una rose and turned toward the fireplace, and told Huxley an old story from several years before, when she and Zadar had visited Faerieland for the first time, and spun the Wheel of Excitement.
"Zadar's spin won us a small sum of Neopoints. We were both jubilant. Then my turn came. On my spin, I ended up getting struck by a bolt of lightning. Zadar was horrified by what had happened to me. He never truly forgave himself for what had happened, even though it was my spin, not his. It turned him away from the faeries, I think. He never fully trusted them again, after that day."
Huxley was quiet, thinking about that. Then he stood up and yawned. "Wow, I had no idea about that! Una, I'm glad that you told me about what happened. I'll do my best to not annoy Zadar too much. Forgive me, but it is late. I feel the need for sleep. I'll see you all in the morning." He turned and flew away to the guest room that was ready for him. Ccaenine put his cards away, then he hopped over to his sister.
"Una, I hope Zadar won't be too rough with Huxley. He's really not too bad. He can plant a field of potatoes faster than I can!" The jolly Blumaroo gave Una an encouraging smile and hopped off to his own room, leaving Una alone to her thoughts. She banked the ashes and retired, herself, grateful for Huxley's visit. In time, perhaps Zadar's trust in the faeries would return, so she hoped. Time would tell.