No Height, No Weight, No Problem: Part Two
"Would you hurry up already?" Jewels was impatient. Her eyes had been closed tightly for what seemed hours, but was only a few minutes. Ruach was in the bedroom feeling around under her mattress for Peopeo447's journal. Her brother, Splash, and sister, Galadriel, were sitting up in their beds with their eyes closed too. They'd all had large portions of seafood pasta salad for dinner and were immensely ready to relax and listen to a continuation of the story Ruach started yesterday.
"Patience, children!" Ruach moaned . She had hidden the turquoise Water Faerie notepad for safekeeping just last night, but it was gone and she was becoming agitated. Thinking it had perhaps fallen from its hiding place, she floated to the floor and peered under the bed. At that exact moment, Splash grabbed the pilfered journal from under his blanket and tossed it onto Galadriel's fuchsia-colored pillow.
A startled Galadriel opened her eyes. "Ruach, here's the journal. SOMEONE just threw it at me!" She gave her big brother a long, hard Peophin stare.
"Splash, why are you so mean lately?" Ruach asked and shook her head. Of all of them, Splash was ordinarily the peacemaker.
Splash looked down and bit his purple Peophin lip. "It's just that it's not fair," he stated grudgingly. "I'm older than Peo, but he's out on his own and I'm not allowed to do anything."
"He's a ghost, you twit!" Ruach said gently. She loved her brother and understood his desire to broaden his horizons. "You'll get your chance too. We all will. Gala, bring me the book."
Galadriel carried the book ever so carefully between her silky white hooves and ceremoniously presented it to her big sister.
Ruach opened the journal to the 9th day in the month of Swimming and asked Jewels to sum up the story so far.
Jewels took a deep breath. "On the first day he was created, Peopeo447 was left to die at the Pound. That was a terrible thing for his owner to do and I hate her... or him... so much! Why would anyone do that?" Her beautiful blue eyes began to tear up.
"Jewels, continue with the story please, OK?" Ruach prodded the baby Uni gently.
"OK. Anyway, when Auntie Healing Spirit adopted him, he didn't have any height or weight and he was kind of dead, like a real spirit or something. He has a heart-light we can barely see so that makes him a special ghost and I really, really want to have a heart-light like that too and..."
"Jewels, the story..."
"Right! Well, one day Cousin Peo was supposed to be training at the Swishbusher's Pirate School."
"Swashbucklers Academy," Splash corrected.
"Yeah, that one," Jewels acknowledged. "He decided to go exploring instead. He thought there would be something awesome out in the water and..."
"Jewels, would you mind if I took a turn?" Gala asked. Otherwise, they'd never get to Part II of the story.
Jewels gave up her recitation much easier than anyone thought she would and Galadriel continued the tale.
"Peo had an idea that there would be an extraordinary cave at the point exactly in the center of the three islands, Krawk Island, Mystery Island, and Maraqua. He traveled out there, but didn't see anything. He was seriously disappointed and feeling sorry for himself when he spied a boat and decided to follow it. It led him to the Lost City of Geraptiku to a tomb filled with booby traps. The sailors in the boat were poachers. They were transporting stolen Faeries and storing them in jars in a secret chamber in the tomb. Peo hid in an abandoned hut and watched them make dozens of trips. Finally they left and Peo entered the tomb and set all the Faeries free."
She paused to collect her thoughts and began again. "He took one last look around and found two more jars. One was smashed and the Faerie inside was dead. The other had cobwebs all over it and the Faerie inside was curled up in a ball. He opened that jar and saw that the Faerie was barely alive. He put them both in his backpack and headed back home as fast as he could. That's where the story left off."
"What about the demon?" interjected Splash.
"He wasn't really a demon; he just looked intensely scary. He was a super nice lizard who brought the Faerie water and juice."
"Lizark, not lizard," stated Splash firmly, "and I know he wasn't a demon. Lizarks make awesome Petpets, not that I would EVER give Blueberry away." Blueberry was his beloved old Puppyblew who at that very moment was rubbing one ear against Splash's gold-colored faceplate and purring loudly.
Just then their owner came into her young Neopets' bedroom and sat down beside Galadriel on an antique four poster bed. Ma's hair was short and totally grey, but her eyes were youthful and her smile was inviting. Ruach handed her the journal and showed her where she'd left off the day before. Ma's voice was low and pleasant to listen to. "It's still the 10th day in the month of Swimming."
I know that the Abilities HASTE or FLIGHT the Air Faeries bestowed upon me when I freed them wouldn't work outside the Battledome, but I never floated so smoothly so fast. I sped over rolling waves and whitecaps with one dead and one dying Faerie tucked safely in my backpack. I can swim faster than I can float so I swam most of the time. Luckily my backpack is waterproof so air can stay in and water stay out!
I live on Kelp Square in Maraqua. The lower floors of our home are under water, but air-tight; the top floor windows are open to the sea air. We call our Neohome our houseboat. Our owner rescued all of us from the Pound and healed us back to health so occasionally we call her pound_vet, but her real name is Healing Spirit. Almost always, we call her Mama. She's a lot older than most of the other owners and tells us she doesn't have the cleverness or speed the others seem to have in order to earn Neopoints. What she does have is a love for us that never ceases to amaze us, and a deep fondness for the world in which we live.
After traveling for what seemed to be forever, I reached our Neohome. I dove from the air right through the open window of my sisters' bedroom and gently lowered my backpack onto one of their soft Nimmo pad beds. Then I lay down beside it exhausted. Fortunately, both my sisters were there to help. Ally is a Shadow Aisha. She pricked up her antennae and ran to get our owner from the kitchen. Phan, my other sister, gently removed the unconscious, grey Faerie from my backpack and held her in her soft Christmas Cybunny paw.
"I never knew a Faerie could be so small," Phan murmured to me. "She must have been a newborn. Do you think she's too far gone to be saved?"
"Mama will save her," I answered adamantly. Truthfully though, I didn't hold out much hope. I was ashamed to admit that deep down I wished that the Faerie would become a ghost like me. I swore to myself that she and I would be great friends for all eternity. It was supremely selfish of me, I know, and cruel.
"Phan, put her down," Mama exclaimed. "Get me an eyedropper and a vial of pure water. Oh, and get me the warmest blanket you can find."
Mama's hands were covered in drying bread dough. She broke all hand-washing records. It took only a few minutes for Phan to cut and stitch a piece fuzzy pink blanket into a pint sized sleeping bag for the little one. My brother, YB, took all the Neopoints we had in the house and shopped for whatever Faerie foods he could find. He brought back chocolaty delicious earth Faerie brownies and Faerie toast with butter. The only Faerie drink he said he could find was rainbow colored fountain Faerie fruit punch. He did manage to bring back half a strawberry Faerie sundae. The other half was on his lips and in his rotund Chomby tummy.
While Mama was tending to the barely-breathing Faerie, my sisters, brother and I gathered up the Faerie that would never breathe again and buried her in our underwater garden in a lovely small box my sisters quickly and skillfully decorated with tiny matching pastel shells. We placed a rainbow paving stone over her and gave her the best burial we knew how to give.
My owner rocked the baby Faerie through the night. During the day, she carried her as though she were a baby Blumaroo in a pouch my sister Ally made. Mama straightened the one remaining wing and bandaged it with healing gauze pads from our medicine cupboard. Every so often, she would coax the sleeping baby to open her eyes and then put a few drops of water between the little one's lips. After the grey Faerie began to accept the water eagerly, Mama would soak a bit of Faerie toast in warm milk and urge the grey Faerie to eat. After a while, the Faerie would smile and contentedly fall asleep in her fuzzy pink sleeping bag tucked inside the soft, warm pouch Mama wore.
25th day in the month of Swimming
Finally, after two weeks of constant love and care, the grey Faerie poked her tiny head out of Mama's pouch and inspected the world around her. Then Mama introduced each of us to her littlest charge; she hadn't let us near the Faerie until that moment.
"What's your name," Ally asked the Faerie.
"Donnknow," was her reply.
"What kind of Faerie are you?"
"Do you remember what happened to you?"
"What do you know?" I asked jokingly.
"I know you're funny looking," she replied and laughed. Her laugh was the sound of the purest little bell. Although her hair was ashen and her skin a dreary grey color, her lips were slightly pink and there was a hint of pink in her cheeks. It was her eyes though that reflected her deep-rooted sadness. They were swollen and teary, but no one ever caught her weeping; she made sure of that.
The innocent little babe had mesmerized our entire family. Phan sewed the Faerie a sweet little orchid-colored dress. Ally insisted her sister take the fabric from her cherished Fyora doll.
Mama called the Faerie "Fae" and that became her name. "It doesn't matter what kind of Faerie our Fae used to be. She's a Fae Faerie now and that's the best kind."
"I'll let you know what kind of Faerie I am," Fae asserted with a sigh and cuddled once more inside Mama's pouch.
20th day in the month of Hiding
My sisters and brother are excellent swimmers and divers. That's a necessity for living in Maraqua. Fae, however, can't swim, and isn't strong enough yet to learn. She's grown quite a bit and walks and runs and skips and twirls for short periods of time. She still tires easily. She likes to sit by an upstairs window and watch the water. In truth, Fae needs to be outdoors to thrive and our houseboat Neohome doesn't afford her the opportunity to do that.
Ma paused a moment in the reading of the story. "This is one of the parts where your cousin Peo writes about us."
Aunt Kitty and our Neopet cousins built a brand new Neohome here in Maraqua. They swam over to visit us several times since Fae arrived. They all love her as much as we do and she delights in seeing them. Aunt Kitty graciously offered to lend us her classic Neohome on Tiki Tack Street until Fae was completely healed. Today Mama announced that we would be traveling south to Mystery Island. She decided that it was essential our Faerie Fae have lots of fresh air and sunshine. Phan and Ally secretly hoped we'd travel to Neopia Central instead. They really wanted to attend the annual Usuki Doll Convention. Fae is a little apprehensive about leaving the safety of our Neohome, but smiled when I mentioned she would soon be walking barefoot on soft, green grass.
The Mystery Island Catamaran came to Maraqua to pick us up courtesy of Aunt Kitty whose friend works at the Harbour. The boat's bright red, yellow, blue and green sail billowed in the breeze. We each carried a small suitcase packed with a favorite toy, clothes, a toothbrush, and whatever else we could stuff inside and, of course, we brought our Petpets. Fae delighted in feeling the sea spray her Faerie face. The rest of us had a great time jumping off YB's back into the water and then racing to catch up to the boat. When YB tired of playing with us, he lay down on the deck with his four big Chomby feet in the air and blissfully fell asleep. Mama wrapped her arms around little Fae and both closed their eyes in contentment. We arrived on Mystery Island early in the afternoon and raced each other down Tiki Tack Street all the way to number 6344, Neopets and Petpets running or floating in joyous anticipation of what was to come.
21st day in the month of Hiding
Today was a day of surprises. We explored every inch of Aunt Kitty's home and gardens. Ally and Phan couldn't get enough of the song flowers; they sat on the grass and tried to teach them some of their favorite melodies, but ended up humming their tunes instead. Fae's favorite garden was the Pretty in Pink one close to the Neohome's entrance. She giggled as she bounced up and down on a jelly trampoline; it made her feel as though she were flying. After a while some of us played Kacheek Seek. I hid in the barrel of an ornamental cannon covered with flowers and no one could find me. Fae lay down on her back in the grass and watched the clouds.
After lunch Fae sat on her knees in the garden diligently picking out dozens of little stones that were clogging up a patch of daisies. I was sitting close beside her lazily watching her efforts and contributing none of my own. Unexpectedly, a Spotted Hissi slithered up ever so quietly behind us. In an instant, a spark of electricity shot out and hit him squarely on the cheek; the pile of stones Fae had just gathered up began striking the unsuspecting Neopet mercilessly.
"Stop," he yelled, hiding his head under his tail. "I didn't mean to trespass. I was just taking a shortcut through your yard. I never saw a Faerie or a Ghost close up. Sorry if I bothered you. I'll leave the way I came. Just stop pelting me."
"We're not doing anything. It must be the weather or something. I'm Peopeo447 and this is Fae. We're staying at my Aunt's for a while."
"Yeah, Splash told me about you," the Hissi said to the Peophin, "but he didn't mention a Faerie. Please, Faerie, I didn't mean to scare you. My name is Coiley." He turned and proudly showed them the four coils on the tip of his tail. "I'm not dangerous, just nosey." With that, he flashed them both a joyful grin. He was a nice spotted color of black, tan, and beige. "I was heading into town. Want to come on a Tiki Tour with me? You'll be home in time for dinner."
"Sure. Come to the house. I'll get the others." Ally, Phan, YB, and I went into town for a little while with Coiley, but Fae decided to stay behind and help Mama. Coiley is lots of fun to be with. Not everyone is comfortable around a ghost, especially strangers, and Coiley made the most of it. We scared a whole bunch of people. I think Mama and Aunt Kitty going to hear from some of them.
Just before we arrived home, Fae was sitting on the kitchen table batting an ice cube with a blue straw she took out of her lemonade. Mama had instructed her to watch the spaghetti sauce and let her know when it started to boil. From the corner of her eye, she spied a wild Spyder creep across the floor. She'd never seen one before, but she instinctively loathed it. For such a fat, disgusting creature, it moved quite quickly toward the stove. Fae surmised it liked that distinctive tomato smell. She silently watched it crawl up the front of the oven onto the ceramic handle of the pan. Then the Spyder stopped in horror. A large glob of steaming spaghetti sauce had bubbled up from the pan and landed squarely on his shiny black back. The pain was maddening. The Spyder rose up on four of his rear legs, screamed, and fell to the floor. Without a moment's hesitation, Fae jumped off the table with the ice cube in her hand and placed it squarely on the Spyder's burn. He lay there quivering with pain and fear. His legs were curled up under him. His multiple eyes filled with tears.
"Stay here," she instructed the Spyder. "I'm not going to harm you. I have to find some salve for your back. You'll feel better very soon." She ran into Aunt Kitty's bathroom, took a dark blue jar of Erisim Unguent, and made her way back to the kitchen.
The feral Spyder was delirious with pain. When Fae approached him, he displayed two large poisonous fangs. Instinctively, Fae tapped him on his nose and said, "Stop that! I'm trying to make you better." The Spyder immediately closed his mouth and did as told.
Within a few moments, the Erisim Unguent's magic began to take effect and the wild Spyder relaxed as best he could. "It's in my nature to bite you," he told the Faerie seriously, "and given the chance I will." He was larger than the garden variety Spyder and much fiercer. He would be a formidable enemy.
"It's in my nature to squish you," replied Fae, "but I'm mature enough to know I shouldn't." Then, thinking it over, she continued, "If you bite me, though, or bite anyone I know, I'll put you back in the spaghetti sauce and that's a promise." Then she shouted as loud as her little voice would carry, "Ma'am, your spaghetti sauce is ready."
"Truce then," promised the Spyder, holding out one hairy leg. "Truce," agreed Fae hesitantly, taking the leg between her thumb and forefinger and shaking it once. An unlikely friendship was formed that very moment.
1st day in the month of Gathering
My family once consisted only of my owner and me. Mama had so much love to give that she adopted a sick Cybunny, an ailing Aisha, and a queasy Chomby and nursed them all back to health. Our family increased by two recently when I found a one-winged grey Faerie and the Faerie found a wild Spyder. The Spyder elevated our "ugh" factor considerably, but family is family.
Rachna the Spyder, Fae the Faerie, and I were sitting in the garden in the gazebo this morning enjoying the smell of the newly mown grass. Rachna was wrapping a sticky strand of Spyder silk around an unlucky fly. Fae's sad eyes filled with tears. She swore she could hear the fly begging for mercy.
"If I were a real Faerie and not just a hollow shell of one, I'd use my magic to save that fly."
"We are what we are, little Faerie," Rachna told her. "Your magic might save the fly, but I would die without insects to eat."
"You like spaghetti sauce right enough," she said petulantly.
"Wrong, my lovely," he disagreed. "It wasn't the sauce I wanted. I thought the bubbles were insects hopping around. That's what attracted my attention." He went back to his prey.
Just then I had an idea, the most profound idea any Peophin in all of Neopia sitting next to a wild Spyder could ever have thought up. I couldn't speak. I had to wrap the idea around in my mind to make sure it made sense. When I did so, another idea sprang up. Did both ideas make sense? Oh, yes. Oh, wow.
"Fae, I know what kind of Faerie you are. In all of Neopia, you are unique. You might have once been a Light Faerie or a Dark Faerie, a Fire Faerie or a Water Faerie, or maybe an Earth Faerie. That doesn't matter anymore. You are more than that now. You are a Compassion Faerie. Your heart is so big that you can barely contain it in your chest. You are pure love, pure care, pure sympathy. Your path in life is to bring hope to those who are in despair."
"Your 'see-through' friend is right, Faerie," Rachna agreed. "If there is such a thing as a Compassion Faerie, it's you."
Fae took in our words and smiled in her sad little way. It's true her eyes were swollen, but there was a glow in them I'd never seen before. She now had a path in life, a reason for being. She was the one and only Compassion Faerie in all of Neopia. She thanked us both and ran into the house to tell Mama, the one being in all the world she felt closest to.
As for my second idea, I needed to speak to Rachna alone. We kept a civil distance from each other. I don't think he could hurt me and I'm sure he knew I wouldn't hurt him; we just didn't want to find out for sure.
"Rachna, most male Spyders don't spin webs, do they?" I asked.
"That's true. We're too busy catching our dinners. Some of us young ones still spin though. I, myself, on occasion have spun one or two dazzlers. My spinneret glands are on the bottom of my abdomen. Wanna see?"
"No thanks. I believe you. Here's the thing. I'm glad Fae went in because this concerns her." I paused, trying to think of exactly the right way to say what I had to say. "Rachna, can you spin a wing?"
"Huh?" the Spyder asked. "What's spinawing?"
I tried again. "Fae lost one of her wings. Can you spin a new one for her?"
"I don't know," said the fat Spyder slowly and thoughtfully. "I can spin sticky silk to attach a wing to Fae's body and I can spin the lightest, nonsticky silk so that the wind can catch it and nothing will adhere to it. I can spin a beautiful pattern on it too. It's just..." He stopped. He didn't want to put into words what the real problem would be.
I finished the thought for him. "It's just that you don't know if she'll be able to fly."
"It would break her heart if she couldn't," the Spyder admitted, "but I can try. Should we tell her?"
"It's up to you. You're the artist. It will be your creation."
"Then I'll spin a wing, the greatest wing in all of Neopia. I'll take a good look at the wing she does have and try to spin one that matches. Then, when I'm finished, I'll weave something artistic in the center that she can't help but admire."
For the next few days, the Spyder fixed his attention on his Faerie friend's remaining wing. He'd always respected the notion of personal space, but a couple of times he reached a hairy leg over to her wing to feel it and measure it. Fae sat completely still when he did that, afraid to breathe. She respected Rachna, but still feared him.
Then Rachna disappeared. Mama feared he was hiding somewhere in the house and opened closets and drawers cautiously whenever she needed something. Ally and Phan had trouble falling asleep and there was at least one Spyder in each of their dreams. Fae took to sleeping in Mama's bed with her. No one knew what might have made the Spyder angry enough to leave without saying goodbye. Only I knew, but I couldn't say anything.
1st day in the month of Collecting
I know I should be writing in my journal more often, but I get involved doing other things and forget, so I've decided to write about just the important things that happen to us.
Rachna and I were in Fae's bedroom when she awoke this morning. The Spyder had carried his precious package in his two front legs and laid it on the table, careful to keep the sticky silk from touching anything. The Faerie opened her puffy eyes wide and nodded solemnly when I explained why we were there. She walked over to the spun wing and glanced down on it. She wasn't able to clearly see her remaining wing so she didn't know how precisely this one matched, but it did. It was truly an artistic achievement of the highest caliber. An exquisite filigreed heart was woven into the wing's center.
Fae's little chest heaved and she began to sob. Rachna lowered his head and started to crawl away. He'd expended most of his energy for an entire month on the formation of the wing, neglecting even his need to hunt for food. He was afraid he would die before he completed his masterpiece. He hardly had the strength to carry his prize to the little maimed Faerie. He couldn't comprehend why she hated it so. He wished only to crawl away and die.
"It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen," Fae exclaimed through her tears. "What a wonderful friend you are, Rachna." Fae turned around, but she didn't see him.
The wild artistic Spyder didn't have the strength to come. He lay on the floor famished and semi-conscious.
I tore through the house and found my brother and sisters. "Go into the gardens. Take bowls, pots, anything. Find as many live bugs as you can. Bring them up to Fae's bedroom. NOW!"
Within a few minutes, Rachna was satiated with insects. He fell asleep where he lay. We watched over him and his masterpiece all day and night. When Mama came into the bedroom, I explained everything to her and the others. As expected, she was amazed at Rachna's skill and friendship, but there was concern on her aged face in direct contrast to the smiles we all sported.
"Children, be still a moment. Fae, come here dearest. You've been granted a priceless gift from an extraordinary friend, someone we, I'm afraid, judged rather harshly. However, you must be prepared if Rachna's wing, beautiful as it is ..."
"Mama, I know. The chances of my flying again aren't good. I'm just delighted to be able to look like a real Faerie with two gossamer wings."
Rachna, the wild Spyder, woke up to a room full of true friends. It wasn't in his nature to have friends, but it certainly felt right.
Mama spoke first. "Rachna, you are truly an extraordinary creature. We are honored to know you."
Rachna bowed his head. If he hadn't been such a deep black color, he might have blushed.
"We all understand that Fae might not be able to fly even with the wonderful new wing you made for her. She'd like to try it on though if you'd be so kind as to attach it on her."
Rachna approached the wing. Being extra careful not to touch the sticky part, he picked it up in his front legs and carefully made his way to Fae. Fae sat down on the floor near the poisonous Spyder with the trust only a true friend could feel.
"May I have your permission to crawl onto your back?" asked the Spyder solemnly, certain of her answer.
"Of course you may. I'll sit still and try not to cough, sneeze, or burp," Fae replied jokingly.
Rachna attached the sticky end of the silken wing to the Faerie's little back. When he was done, he requested she wait a little while to make sure the wing adhered. Fae sat motionlessly and waited. Finally the Spyder asked her to move her wings. One moved as nature intended; Mama had mended it well. The other moved with help from the muscles in Fae's little back and shoulder.
Cheers filled the little bedroom.
"Way to go, Rachna!" exclaimed YB gently lifting the Spyder up to Chomby eye level. "You are a true master."
"Fly, Fae! Try to fly!" encouraged Ally.
"NO!" Rachna and I exclaimed in unison. We were both pretty sure that if she had any chance of flying at all, she would have to catch the wind to do it. "Come outside, Fae. Wait 'til you feel the wind. Then try to fly."
We all made our way outdoor into the rose garden and waited for a good breeze. The scent of the rose trees was intoxicating. When the wind came, Fae flapped her lovely wings and hovered a few inches from the ground. When the wind stopped, she slowly lowered herself to the grass and waited for the next air current. When it came, she lifted up again and flew small circles around all of us until the wind ceased. Then she slowly sank back to earth and landed on her tiptoes. "Wow," she exclaimed, then bent over Rachna and kissed him on his forehead. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
Was it the flight that transformed her? Was it the kiss? We watched in amazement as the little grey Faerie's irises turned a beautiful shade of violet. Her body lost its dull, grey color and took on a silvery cream-colored hue. Her soft, ashen hair sparkled with the loveliest copper colored highlights. Her cheeks and lips became a healthy, cherry blossom pink. She was unlike any other Faerie in Neopia. She was Fae, the Compassion Faerie, and she glowed with loving kindness.
To be continued...