No Height, No Weight, No Problem: Part Five
Just as they had done for the last four nights, Ruach brought out Peo's journal and the family settled down as their owner began to ask story questions.
"Who can tell me what happened?"
Ruach summed up everything in as few words as possible, eager to hear more of Peopeo447's journal. "Peo is a Ghost Peophin. He saved some Faeries from poachers. One of the Faeries, Fae, lost a wing and was dying. He took her home and Auntie Healing Spirit, his owner, made her well, but she couldn't do anything for the wing. The little grey Faerie couldn't fly, you see. Rachna, a wild Spyder from the garden, spun a new wing for her and that allowed her to fly a little, but only when the wind was blowing. Fae convinced Peo to bring her back to the Deserted Tomb in Geraptiku on Mystery Island where she was held captive. She wanted Peo to bring the scary ghost of a Faerie who died there to live with them. Turns out she wasn't a scary Faerie after all. Peo foiled some poachers again with the help of a Lizark named Zak, robbed the thieves of a sack of rare, stolen Draik eggs, and headed home with the Ghost Faerie."
"Couldn't have summarized the journal any better than that," Mama, their owner, admitted proudly and began to read:
We landed in Aunt Kitty's song flower garden, the place that my Cybunny sister Phan loved so much. Rachna crawled out of my backpack, stretching each of his eight legs, one at a time. He promised to stay with the Ghost Faerie until it was time for me to introduce her to the family. Logically he knew that a spirit didn't need protection, but he wanted to watch over her and she was happy for the company. A ghost needs no sleep, of course, but the pleasant hum of the yellow flowers enchanted the Faerie who'd had an eventful day, and she immediately fell asleep in the warm sunshine.
I took the sack of Draik eggs to Mama and promised to explain everything soon.
There was still something I had to finish. I flew as quickly as I could to the Training School and implored the Techo Master to enlist the aid of his advanced students and help me nab the mutant Skeith captain and his henchmen. All were captured, including three profoundly unhappy Poogles in need of various degrees of medical attention. You see, the Skeith was not amused when he saw that the boulder had been moved and learned that the treasure of the tomb was nothing more than fool's gold. His Faeries had been stolen once again. The Draik egg shells on the ground beside the unconscious Poogle put him over the edge. He pounded unmercifully on the two Poogle brothers and secretly wished the third would never wake up.
Zak told me that the Deserted Tomb's secrets had been passed down from generation to generation in the genes of his family. The Lizark knew instinctively how to set and disconnect each trap. It was he who pressed the secret stone that opened the treasure trove and ultimately trapped Pete, the Poogle poacher, with fool's gold as old as the tomb itself. It was he who slipped unnoticed onto the pirate ship when all hands were ashore, found the Draik eggs hidden under the Skeith captain's cot, and added the sack to the treasure.
By the time I arrived back home, the Defenders of Neopia had responded to Mama's Neomail and sent an agent out to Aunt Kitty's house to retrieve the precious Draik eggs. My sister Ally was terribly disappointed. "I've always wanted a Draik for a brother. I'd gladly trade a Chomby for one of the eggs," she told the agent seriously. My brother YB was not amused and neither was Mama.
It had been a long day. After supper, Mama gathered us all up and we sat around the fire talking about all the excitement.
"There's something I didn't tell you," I began. "Wait here." All eyes followed me as I approached the outside door, willed the knob to turn, and floated out to the garden. I heard Mama call after me, "Please, Peo. Leave the Spyder outside."
I found the Ghost Faerie under the song flowers and the watchful eyes of our wild Spyder friend.
"Would you like to come in and meet the family?" I asked her.
"They all believe that I'll steal the breath out of their bodies as they sleep," she fretted. "Fae must have told them what I said."
"Oh, you'll take their breath away alright," I replied with a smile and took her hand.
When we came into the room, everyone was speechless.
"Everybody," I began, "I'd like you to meet a friend of mine."
"Thank you all for inviting me over," the Ghost Faerie said shyly. "I hope you'll like me." Then she turned to Fae. "I'm so sorry I scared you before. I was trying to keep you safe."
"Oh, my," said my owner in amazement. "Would you like to sit down beside me here by the fire?" She rocked herself onto her knees and used her hands to push herself up to a standing position. Then she walked over to the Faerie and graciously reached out her hand. The Faerie took it as only a ghost can and smiled. Mama said it was like touching cool silk. After Mama settled back down by the fire with the Faerie, Phan and Ally scooted closer to them.
"Well..." Phan paused. "My name is Phan and I'm a Cybunny. This is my sister Ally. She's an Aisha. YB is a Chomby. He's mad at me right now and you already know Fae. Oh, that was so obvious." Phan blushed. "Of course you can see what we are. What I mean to say is welcome to our family."
"What's your name?" asked Ally gaily.
"It's Bronwyn. I used to be an Earth Faerie. It was lovely in Faerieland. I miss it so much." She looked over at Fae, and then lowered her eyes.
"Children, it's been a long day," Mama said at once. "I'll take Bronwyn and Fae with me. Let's turn in now."
Reluctantly the family got up from the fireplace and got ready for bed. It had been a most unusual day.
Mama drew a warm bubble bath for Bronwyn and laughed as the Ghost Faerie jumped into the bubbles and started to play with them. Fae found the softest towel in the house and dried the Ghost Faerie with it. Then she combed Bronwyn's long silver-blue hair. Mama donated her best blue nightgown and pair of matching slippers and helped the little ghost dress. They weren't sure what, if anything, the Ghost Faerie would feel, but they enveloped her with friendship and kindness and hoped it would suffice. Mama turned down the covers of the other coral bed and beckoned Bronwyn to lie down. Then she pulled the covers up to the little ghost's chin. Fae settled down in the cot and Mama tucked her in too. Mama opened a window so that the scent of garden flowers and a pleasant breeze filled the room. Finally Mama lay down and wished both little Faeries a good night. Ghosts don't have any need for sleep, but that doesn't mean they won't nestle under soft covers, close their eyes, and dream contentedly when the opportunity presents itself.
The two little Faeries awoke at sunrise the next morning while Mama was still asleep. They grinned at each other and raced for the open window. Bronwyn easily sailed out and waited for Fae. Fae caught a gentle breeze and took it as far as it would go. Then she gracefully floated to the ground. They landed in the gnome garden. It was heavenly. They chased each other around a red Chia gnome and stuck their tongues out at the rude daffodils like the cheeky blue Acara gnome did. Bronwyn began to sing a Faerie song and Fae joined in. It was the first bit of Faerieland music she'd remembered and singing it with Bronwyn brought her immense joy. Then they lay on their backs in the dewy grass, looked up at the clouds, and giggled.
When my owner called their names, they raced back to the house. Fae had Faerie pancakes for breakfast; Bronwyn looked on with longing. I took a bit of pancake smothered in syrup and brought it up to Bronwyn's nose. She stuck out her tongue and pretended.
After breakfast, Bronwyn pleaded with me to teach her what I knew about being a ghost. I have to be truthful and admit that I really know very little in the way of the ghost world. We focused on manipulating objects and carrying them. My brother, sisters, and Fae watched with delight as Bronwyn, after trying twelve or fifteen times, floated a feather in the air. She scrunched up her Faerie forehead and mustered all her thought processes and any residual magic she might still possess to do it. Then she levitated a pencil I was holding and a button Phan had in her hand. Fae ran up to her and grabbed the Ghost Faerie's hands the only way you can grab a ghost's hands, and Bronwyn jumped up and down in triumph.
The next task was to levitate an object, choose where you wanted to set it down, and reach your target. This was more difficult and Bronwyn mastered it with great effort. I kept encouraging her to pretend the target was a Poogle poacher and I think that helped her concentration. She levitated a pencil and set it down on Ally's outstretched palm. As a final test, Bronwyn raised Fae up and gently set her down on YB's shoulder. Fae didn't even flinch. Bronwyn then picked Fae up again and set her down on the ground to a round of cheers. As a ghost, she was a natural!
1st day in the month of Celebrating
This is my favorite time of the year. We have so much to celebrate. Aunt Kitty convinced Mama that we should stay here on Mystery Island until after the Month of Celebrating. She and Aunt Dendrobium and all our cousins plan to spend some time with us. That amounts to three adults, twelve neopets, twelve Petpets, and two Faeries. This is going to be the best month of Celebrating EVER!
YB and I put up tinsel garlands, bell garlands, popcorn garlands, and even snowflake garlands. Mama bought a sparkly decorated tree, so of course Ally and Phan decorated it some more. Everyone is brimming over with happiness.
15th day in the month of Celebrating
Bronwyn is a quick and eager student. Once she mastered what I felt were the basics of being a ghost, we worked together on things I hadn't mastered yet. We spent days by ourselves trying to make our hands pass through a pencil without breaking it. She can dress herself if it doesn't involve buttons. She can even open a backpack, stock it, and carry it on her little ghost back by sheer will. We still can't walk through walls, but we will one day. We have forever to practice.
I've been busting my ghost brain trying to think of presents I can get everyone. There isn't much time and I don't have any Neopoints. If I had art supplies, I could make everyone Christmas cards. Oh how I wish we'd saved one of those Draik eggs for ourselves!
20th day in the month of Celebrating
Fae and Bronwyn have been whispering to themselves all week. When any of us come near, they abruptly stop and pretend they're looking at nothing in particular. Mama's been busy secretly wrapping and hiding gifts. Phan and Ally have been locked in their bedroom sewing. I wish I could pass through my sisters' bedroom wall and sneak a peek. As for my Chomby brother, he's been washing produce and stocking shelves at the Island Market for weeks now and saving all his Neopoints. He graciously gave me my Christmas present early (after I'd begged and pleaded). I've almost finished Christmas cards for everyone including all the Petpets and Rachna and Coiley too. I splashed on sparkly paint and pasted things I found in the gardens. I used golden glitter glue to stick on some tiny shells I found at the beach. As soon as I finish the cards, I'm going to make envelopes and decorate them with red glitter glue ornaments and gold stars. Maybe I'll use green glitter glue and draw Christmas trees on the envelopes and stick gold stars on them. This is great fun!
24th day in the month of Celebrating
My Aunt Kitty and her family arrived last night. Aunt Dendrobium and my other cousins arrived this afternoon. Ally and Phan are sharing one Nimmo pad bed; Ruach and Jenn are sharing the other. The two Peophin girls don't see each other very often, but they've always been best of friends. Galadriel, Tonnie and Misty are camped out on the floor of Aunt Kitty's stained glass workshop; Mama swept up really well so that not one shard of glass would be on the floor. Mama, Auntie Kitty and Aunt Den are having a wonderful time sharing a bedroom the way they did when they were young. Vaenth, our Koi cousin, is hanging out in the rose garden in the stylishly simple pond. It's really pretty there. As for us men, Splash, YB and I have parked ourselves in Splash's old bedroom. YB has one of the zen beds to himself, of course, and Splash and I are sharing the other one. Jewels is enchanted with our Faeries and they feel the same about the baby Uni. They're cuddled up by the fireplace in the living room singing and giggling.
Late this afternoon, we made a little party in the kitchen for all of our Petpets. Mama baked three dozen delicious flower cakes and everyone had a wonderful time. It's nice that the Petpets get along fairly well. Robofishydude, Vaenth's Flipperbot, made everyone laugh. Mama set out soft blankets so they could all sleep in a pile together, but by nightfall, they were all snuggling beside their owners.
Under the lighted Christmas tree, there must be at least two hundred presents!
25th day in the month of Celebrating
Early this morning, Mama handed out presents to each of us. There were so many, I can only write about a few of them.
Phan and Ally sewed fragrant sachet balls for each of the girls and our owners. They used fabric from an old, torn grey silk dress that Mama was going to discard and filled the balls with dried flowers from the garden and a few drops of Mama's lavender perfume. They bought a few packs of snuffly markers and divided them among the guys, saving Rachna and Coiley's markers for a later date. They gave each Petpet a few organic red grapes. Everyone watched the flipperbot spin around and happily squish his.
My handmade cards were a big success. Mama told me she'd keep my card forever. Aunt Kitty told me I showed promise as an artist. Wow! Galadriel, the real artist in the family, suggested we do a mural together someday. Gala is the most beautiful Peophin I've ever seen. Her fur is a deep shade of green and her hooves are snow white. She has a sprig of holly in her mane and a large red Christmas bow around her neck. She makes me smile inside.
YB told me that he wanted to buy Mama a silver heart charm bracelet, but there was no way he could earn that many Neopoints. He bought her a beautiful bottle of lavender-scented perfume instead and she was delighted. He held two identical boxes behind his back, one in each hand. Ally chose the right hand and got an Isca music box. Phan chose the left hand and received a Caylis music box. Ally kissed the Chomby's right cheek and Phan kissed his left. Then they switched presents and both were content. YB already gave me what I wanted, so I didn't expect anything more. Instead, he handed me an empty box with a note inside:
The bearer of this note is entitled to one trip to Tyrannia with his favorite brother to see a really awesome band. (Remember to let me know when you want to go so I can get tickets!)
I couldn't have asked for a better brother!
Everyone made certain our two Faeries received wonderful gifts too. My cousins bought Fae a cloud jewellery box. When she opened it up, to her delight she saw a pink heart bracelet, a colourful charm bracelet, vintage gold earrings and a vintage gold necklace. My sisters sewed a new outfit for her made out of a lovely pink and white cherry blossom silk dress Aunt Kitty couldn't fit into any more. They even decorated the wing-holes with pieces of lace. Mama and her sisters bought her a golden heart necklace too; Mama contributed what few Neopoints she could afford. YB got her pretty blue stationery with gold stars on it and I made her the best Christmas card I could.
No one was sure what to buy Bronwyn, her being a ghost and all. Once, when she and Fae were in the garden singing, I heard her mention that she wished she still had her lyre. Mama consulted the Shop Wizard and found a lovely eight stringed gold-colored one on sale and she and YB bought it for the Ghost Faerie. She also got fiery cologne from the cousins because it smells outstanding and the flaming cap won't hurt her. Someone bought her a soft rainbow brush. Ally and Phan sewed a beautiful yellow dress for her too from a shawl Aunt Kitty found at an auction many years ago. The dress was as light as gossamer and as soft as a summer breeze. Aunt Kitty and Aunt Dendrobium gave her a golden heart necklace too. This was done on the assumption that if Bronwyn concentrates, it won't fall off her ghostly neck.
After all the gifts were unwrapped, our Faerie friends invited us to find a place to sit so that they could give us their present.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you all for opening your home and your hearts to me, to us," Fae began. "I never imagined you would give me such precious gifts."
"When I lived in Faerieland," Bronwyn said quietly, "I would sit at eventide under the stars and play my lyre." She held up her gift for everyone to see and beamed. "I'm deeply thankful for such a magnificent gift and touched that you would all welcome me into your family. I promise to practice long and hard to regain the musical skills I lost when I..." She looked down at the ground for a moment. "For today, though, I'll play you a song I learned when I was very young. I hope you like it."
The Ghost Faerie caressed the lyre and gently fingered its strings. In a moment a sad and beautiful melody filled the room. Then Bronwyn began to sing and her voice transported us all to Faerieland. The last note faded away and she put the lyre down gently on the floor. In a moment the two Faeries floated toward the ceiling singing, dancing, laughing and delighting the hearts of everyone in the room. Their present to us was truly magical.
I don't think I could ever have a Christmas as wonderful as this again.
2nd day in the month of Sleeping
This is my first journal entry for the New Year.
It was wonderful staying at Aunt Kitty's classic Neohome on Mystery Island, but we couldn't stay there forever. We're back in Maraqua in our humble, but comfortable Neohome shaped like a houseboat. Cousin Galadriel's new Neohome is in Maraqua too, so she swam over to visit and brought me a Maraquan Acara Notebook in a waterproof case she made herself. The notebook cost a lot of Neopoints, but she got two for Christmas so she thought I'd like to write in one of them. The Acara on its cover has this crazy yellow-eyed stare that means, "Don't go reading my journal without permission!" I love it!
At supper tonight, the little Faeries weren't their usual animated selves. Mama was worried that Fae might be ill, but that wasn't the case. She had something on her mind.
"We've been talking about this a lot," Fae began. "We love you all very much." Bronwyn nodded solemnly. "It's just that we feel that we each have a path we must follow." She paused, lowered her head, and bit her lower lip. "You call me a Compassion Faerie, but I haven't really done anything to help anyone." She looked deeply into my owner's eyes. "I hope you don't mind my calling you Mama, do you? Mama, you've told us all stories of what it was like to be a vet in the Pound when you were young. It broke your heart to see all the suffering and not be able to alleviate so much pain and gloom. If I am a compassionate Faerie as you say I am, I should be there. I've decided to move to Neopia Central and ask Dr. Death..."
We all shuddered at that name and our eyes widened.
"I've decided to ask Dr. Death," Fae continue "to allow me to visit the Neopets abandoned there and bring whatever hope and cheer I can to them. I'm going to ask the Soup Faerie to let me live with her, and if she won't, I'll ask Aunt Dendrobium. Jenn, Mist, and Tonnie are so nice. I'm sure they'll let me share a bedroom with them. In my spare time, I'm going to go from shoppe to shoppe and ask, no... demand, that all Faeries be freed from their bottles. I'll speak to anyone I can to convince them that the sale of Faeries should be illegal."
She looked at each of us, one by one, secure in the knowledge that her way was clear and her destiny awaited her. You can image how we all felt, loving Fae the way we do.
"Now my turn," Bronwyn stated before anyone could comment on Fae's life choice.
"You've shown me that I can still be loved and accepted. I can still care for others, make friends, and have fun. I can't do the things I used to do, being dead and all, and that makes me very sad. I know that everyone whose life ends doesn't return as a ghost, but I did and Peopeo447 did. There must be some reason for that." She paused, lost in thought for a moment. "My home is in Faerieland so I'll start there. I'm going to petition Queen Fyora to allow me to conduct workshops for any Faerie who wants to learn to protect herself. I spoke to the Techo Master before we left for Maraqua. He's offered to train me himself so that I can train other Faeries the right way."
It's funny how your life can change in such a short time. Just a few weeks ago, I never imagined one day I'd have Faerie sisters or make friends with a wild Spyder or help solve a crime.
I wonder if any of this would have happened if I hadn't decided to start to keep a journal.
To be continued...