Miraja was getting a bit twitchy. The War of the Obelisk had proven to be a bit too brief for her liking, and the skirmishes following were merely a diversion from the same old, everyday hum-drum Neopia's fallen victim to. She idly ruffled through her long hair with her fingers before yawning. "Hunter, do ya think we could actually, I dunno, do something this year? I mean, Skarl's gonna give one of his stupid speeches, so..."
"I wish I could, Miraja." Hunter adjusted his reading glasses, busy filing ideas for the upcoming celebration. "Ashlynne's up in the Citadel with Darigan ensuring that the Thousand Year Treaty remains in effect, and Sirocco's up there spying on any Kass loyalists." The White Lupe Knight tapped his quill pen on his desk. "I've heard word that the largest Loyalist faction has become more and more aggressive in the past year, and that a shadowy Eyrie has been seen looking down on passersby from the rooftops –"
"Yes!" Miraja jumped in the air and pumped one of her fists triumphantly. "If Kass is back, we can go kick his tail from here to Krelud-"
Hunter shot Miraja an angry look.
"Wha- Oh, right. He's the reason your father's, yannow..." Miraja's tail went limp in shame.
"I... I'm sorry I got so cross with you, but I'm glad you understand." Hunter removed his reading glasses and got up. "I suppose writing a speech for Skarl can wait, though. Thing is, I don't know what we could do-"
"CHEESE ROLLING!" Miraja's eyes lit up. "I bet I can roll a cheese wheel faster than you!"
"I don't know... Roquefort's cheese wheels are usually a bit runnier than I like them. He's a nice Techo, but he kind of needs to make some cheese that's up to current regulations." Hunter shrugged. "Back when I was a pup, I loved going berry picki-"
"Nah, that's boring." Miraja yawned. "Maybe we could head over to the Marketplace in Neopia Central? We might find some pretty crazy stuff there, like Angry Meepit Eyes, or a Magma Blaster like Vulcan's, or an Altador Cup Fanatic Bobblehead, or maybe-" Miraja kept prattling on excitedly. Eventually, her speech became so fast that Hunter couldn't understand what she was saying.
Hunter laughed to himself and smiled at Miraja. "That's not a bad idea! I guess writing Skarl's speech can wait..."
"Great!" Miraja smiled back at Hunter. "I'll go grab some gold coins and maybe some stuff to trade over at the trading post and we'll be on our way!"
No matter how many times the two of them went to Neopia Central, they were always awed by the crowds. The sound of the crowds drowned out any meaningful and could easily accidentally cause them to be separated, so Hunter nervously took Miraja's hand.
"What's up? Afraid of losing me?" Miraja gave Hunter a knowing look.
"N-no, I don't do well in crowds." Hunter sheepishly looked down. "I'm just used to wide open spaces, you know?"
"So am I, but it doesn't mean I can't handle a crow- LOOK OVER THERE!" Miraja practically dragged Hunter to an open stall in excitement! "Look at all those weapons..." Miraja looked longingly at a three-barreled Moltaran Magma Blaster, a huge cutlass that was easily bigger than she was, and even a Super Attack Pea.
"Erm, Miraja? I don't think these are for sale." Hunter picked himself up and dusted himself off. "This looks more like a gallery than anything."
"Yeah, I guess you're right. Still, doesn't hurt to go window shopping, you know?" Miraja sighed – she wished she had enough gold to buy at least one of those weapons. "Hey, I think that's the guy who owns this shop!"
"I can easily point you to my actual shop, Miss pink hair, and – YOU!" The Yellow Chia glared at Hunter angrily, his cheap handlebar mustache shaking with rage.
"Oh, great... THIS guy again..." Hunter remembered when he tried to buy a gift for Miraja from this Chia's shop a few years ago. Naturally, since Chias and Lupes don't quite get along, Hunter slapped his paw to his forehead. "Please, my friend here just wants to buy something – "
"NO!" The Chia's toupee almost fell off due to him visibly shaking with anger. "Now, go away or I shall taunt you a second time! I blow my nose at you, you silly Meridellian K-nigh-t!"
"HEY!" Miraja grabbed the Chia by the end of his mustache. "Nobody talks to my best friend like that, you understand?!"
The Chia nodded, and decided to guide them to the shop, talking in his ridiculous pseudo-Brightvalian accent. "Over here, we have weapon, like bows, axes, maces, flails, spears, blasters imported straight from Kreludor, and the ever popular swords– some of which come from the Lost Desert. Have you ever seen warriors from the Lost Desert? They have curved swords. CURVED. SWORDS." He then gestured over to the other side of his shop. "And over there, we have numerous defensive tools. Shields, force fields, armor, and magical amulets."
Miraja rushed around the store, eagerly looking at and testing every weapon and armor she could find. The Chia shopkeeper's eye twitched, but he was too afraid to anger the Striped Xweetok after the way she put him in his place. Miraja finally walked to the register, holding a huge pile of swords, spears, and shields. "How much?"
"99,674 NP! Take it or leave it!"
Miraja swiftly placed a bag full of exact change on his desk, and then stuffed all the weapons and armor in her Bag of Holding. "This is fun!"
Hunter, who had just been standing in the corner dumbfounded at how crazy this day was becoming, cleared his voce. "Erm, Miraja?"
"Yeah?" Miraja made for the door."
"You do realize that's almost all the NP we brought here, right?"
"... Darn, darn, darn, DARN!" Miraja slapped her paw to her forehead as the two of them walked out of the shop.
"Don't worry, Miraja." Hunter smiled weakly, trying to cheer up his best friend. "We kind find something else to do, all right?"
Miraja sighed. "Right. I just... I really love weapons, okay?"
"I know." Hunter nodded knowingly. "At least the crowds cleared out. After all the time we spent in there, the sun's just about to set in a few moments. Want to go see it?"
"Of course!" Miraja grinned. "Let's find the tallest hill and watch it from there!"
"You know..." Miraja said as she and Hunter watched the sunset. "The sunset always reminded me of my mother. When my father was out protecting Shenkuu..." She leaned against Hunter and closed her eyes. "My mother and I would always go out on a tall mountain and watch the sun set over the palace." She opened her eyes, looked at Hunter, and smiled.
Hunter smiled back at Miraja. "Looks like we're going to see two things that mean a lot to us." Hunter turned around and gestured to the stars. "My father always told me that the stars are the souls of the greatest and kindest heroes of the past." A single tear rolled down his muzzle as he remembered his father. "Every night, he and I would look up at the stars and he would take about his father, Uther Penn, and how he was a great hero in his time." Hunter and Miraja took in the beauty – the stars rising in one half of the sky, and the gorgeous setting sun on the other half.
Hunter smiled and pointed to the sky. "See that constellation? That's the Dancer." He then pointed to a constellation shaped like a bow-and-arrow."That one's the Hunter..."
"Pfff, doesn't look like you!" Miraja chuckled, hoping Hunter would laugh.
Even though it was a pretty lame joke, Hunter laughed. He then looked up and pointed to another constellation. "I've... I've never been able to figure this one out. I mean..." Hunter scratched his head. "I know the Gladiator, but that's a shield..." Hunter sighed. "I've been trying to figure out who the sword's supposed to be-"
"It's your father." Miraja sat up with a grin on her face. "I mean, c'mon – he told you about the heroes in the stars, he's said he'll always be there for you... He's probably watching the two of us sitting on this hill right now."
Hunter smiled back at Miraja. "I did have a meeting with his spirit a few years ago, and those were the stars that shined brightest after that shooting star streaked by..." Hunter got up and gave his hand to Miraja. "I think we should head home."
"Yeah." Miraja nodded after yawning. "I'm tired from buying all those swords an' stuff!" She laughed as she and Hunter walked down from the hill to take the long road towards Meridell.