Scarblade's Pearl: Off To Altador - Part One
Before the story begins, I would like to dedicate this to the user anna_invincible. Anna, you are the one who inspired me to write. If not for you, Princess__Nira would never have become the pirate she is today, going on adventures with the mighty Captain Scarblade on her tail. I have also completed a novel, which I hope to publish, also inspired by your incredible little short stories about your Shoyru. Wherever you are, Anna, thank you.
It's been four months. Nira has settled into life with Lightning. The kind island Eyrie loves Nira's company. In the mornings, before Lightning heads out to spend time with her friends, she and Nira share breakfast. Lightning also has her morning cup of coffee, but Nira prefers her orange juice. After that, she leaves Nira to her own devices. Nira still hasn't regained her memory, but she is slowly finding out what she can do, which she must have know how to before.
It took a little while, but gradually Nira has acquired quite a few friends and more than a few admirers. Soon after coming to live on Mystery Island, she had enrolled in the training school. Lightning had generously offered to pay for the training one day, as Nira had looked longingly at some of the students practicing outside the school. The moves they taught seemed to come naturally to her, and she quickly became the best student in her class, and then the whole school. No one, not even Nira, could explain it.
“Maybe I was a good fighter before I lost my memory?” she would suggest. Most pets would nod their heads in agreement. And of course, training school was where she had acquired most of her admirers and friends. They all wished they could learn the way Nira did. It was almost like she could memorize a move after seeing it only once. An excellent skill to have, that was certain.
One day, when Nira and Lightning were eating their breakfast, Lightning seemed more distant than usual. She was also quiet. Too quiet. She took a long sip of her coffee and set the cup down slowly. The look she gave Nira made the pirate Shoyru nervous.
“Nira, I think you need to leave the island,” she said slowly. Nira gaped, dropping her fork-full of eggs.
“Leave the island?!” she exclaimed fearfully, thinking Lightning was kicking her out. Lightning quickly raised her hands to stop Nira protesting further.
“Not forever!” she reassured. She sighed and fingered the handle of her coffee cup.
“I just think you should get out and explore a bit. Maybe something will unlock your memory, you know?” she went on softly.
Nira instantly calmed, realizing Lightning wasn't trying to kick her out at all. Lightning had been worried about Nira's lack of memory from day one. Although the local healer assured Lightning that Nira would be fine whether or not she recovered her memory, the island Eyrie still worried.
Nira looked thoughtful, considering Lightning's statement.
“I guess I could... but I don't have any neopoints of my own,” she replied, picking up her fork and sticking the eggs in her mouth.
Lightning shook her head, smiling.
“The cost of a ferry ride to Altador or Neopia Central isn't too bad. I could pay for it,” she said cheerily.
Nira nearly choked on her eggs. Quickly she swallowed them and gaped at Lightning again. A ferry ride would cost at least 3,000 neopoints!
“I can't let you spend that kind of money on me!” Nira replied hurriedly. She already felt guilty with Lightning always paying for her training. Lightning smiled and laughed a tiny bit.
“It's okay, really. I don't have much else to spend my 'points on. Why not let someone else gain happiness with them?” she asked.
Nira still looked uncertain, but she knew Lightning wouldn't let her change her mind. Both pets were stubborn, but Lightning had a strange way of turning things against you.
“Oh, fine,” she sighed, giving in.
Lightning beamed, then stood and began picking up her dishes.
“I'll give you the whole day to decide where you'd like to go. Tomorrow I'll be sending you off for a week,” she chimed, putting her dishes into the sink.
Nira groaned and finished her breakfast. When Lightning made a decision, you either went along, or you went along.
When she'd cleared the table and washed the dishes, Nira headed out. Today school was out, so she instead headed for “the meeting place”. It was really only the back of the training school, but it was where all the students met and hung out on off days. The teachers didn't mind, so long as no one got into any mischief. When Nira came into view, the attention of the whole group changed to her. Soft exclamations could be heard.
Nira pasted on a smile and moved through the pets, locating her small circle of “friends”. Nira didn't really call them friends because all they did was follow her around, but she liked them more than most of the other students. It made her a bit nervous, though, being among everyone else as well.
“Nira!” one of them (a green Lenny) gushed.
“We were beginning to think you weren't coming today!” said another with a pout. She was a blue Aisha.
“Sorry, I had to discuss something with Lightning,” Nira replied.
“What did you discuss?”
“Was it something important?”
“Oh, Nira, please tell us!”
The pleading came from all directions. Nira felt cornered. She was about ready to explode from claustrophobia.
“Alright, ALRIGHT! I'll tell you!” Nira shouted above the pleads.
The group instantly quieted. They watched Nira expectantly. The Shoyru was trying desperately to keep her cool.
“Lightning thinks I should get off the island and explore. That maybe I'd remember something if I did.”
The pets surrounding Nira all exclaimed their agreement, crowding closer. Practically everyone on the island knew of Nira's strange memory loss.
“What a great idea!”
“You should definitely go!”
“Oh, I wish I could get off this island, too!”
Nira was becoming afraid. She hated being in the middle of all these pets. It was almost like she had a fear of large groups. She wondered why. A repressed memory most likely. One thing she knew for sure, she wouldn't last in this crowd much longer. She felt like they kept crowding, closer and closer. They were walls, now, pressing her in. Her breathing became a bit labored.
The green Lenny and yellow Aisha, along with an orange Wocky, seemed to notice Nira's growing discomfort. They quickly formed a circle around her, linking arms to shield their friend.
“Okay, okay, back it up!” said the Wocky.
“You're crowding poor Nira!” said the Lenny.
“You'll make her upset!” said the Aisha, pouting.
The pets, eyes widening in surprise, quickly backed off. Nira instantly felt better. The Aisha, Wocky, and Lenny herded Nira away, to a quieter spot.
“You okay, Nira?” asked the Lenny, eyes wide with worry.
Nira nodded her head, forcing herself not to shudder. She was still a little shaken, but she'd be okay now. The crowd wasn't pressing in on her. The walls were gone.
“Yeah, I'm fine,” she said slowly.
“So where are you going?” asked the Wocky, eyes wide with curiosity.
“Lightning told me I could pick between Neopia Central and Altador-”
Nira hadn't even finished the word “Altador” when the three pets squealed in delight. Nira looked at them like they were insane.
“What?” she asked.
“Haven't you heard?” asked the Aisha, bouncing.
“There's supposed to be a pastry chef out in Altador. Just moved in,” exclaimed the Lenny.
“Everyone we've talked to from Altador says his pastries are the best in all of Neopia!” squealed the Wocky.
Nira made a face.
“Pastries? I don't much like sweets,” she said quietly, even though she knew she loved them.
The Aisha gaped and tugged at Nira's arm.
“You WILL like his! I just know it!” she exclaimed.
“You've just GOT to go to Altador, Nira!” the three exclaimed together.
“I'll think about it,” she muttered. The three pets squealed their delight as if she'd said yes already.
“So, have you decided?” Lightning asked when she and Nira were sitting down to dinner.
Nira shrugged, picking up her fork.
“Some of my friends were saying I should go to Altador. Something about a new pastry chef there with amazing dishes,” she muttered, poking at her food.
“Oh, I've heard of him! I believe his name is Povoy,” Lightning chirped happily.
“Povoy, huh?” Nira grumbled.
Lightning nodded, sipping some water from a glass. She didn't seem to noticed Nira's grumbling.
“Yes, all the visitors from Altador go on and on about him.”
“And apparently everyone on the island, too,” Nira muttered to herself.
“So what will it be? Altador or Neopia Central?” Lightning asked, ignoring Nira's muttering.
Nira sighed and shrugged her shoulders.
“Altador, I guess.”
“Great! I'll buy the ticket in the morning!” Lightning cheered.
Nira finished her plate and got up to put it in the sink.
“Don't forget to pack your things!” Lightning called as Nira headed for her room.
“I wont,” Nira called back.
She shut the door to her room and went over to her bed. A large suitcase was sitting on it, waiting for her. Lightning had probably left it there. Nira had to wonder if she'd bought the suitcase today or used an old one. From the looks of it, it was brand new. Nira groaned and ignored it, flopping onto the bed sideways. She still wasn't sure about all this. She didn't really want to leave the security of Lightning and their island home. After all, Lightning had taken care of her since that day at the beach. Why would she ever want to leave, even just temporarily?
But the idea of exploring more of Neopia... it excited her more than she would have expected. The idea of possibly getting her memory back was another factor. She couldn't ignore the fact that she wanted to know who she used to be. She knew there was no backing out. Even if Lightning had given her a choice, Nira wouldn't have been able to resist going. Sliding off the bed, Nira opened up the suitcase and began packing. For the first time that day, she found herself smiling.
To be continued...