Second day of Eating, Year 7. The day of my family reunion. I was sweeping leaves out of the carport of our Neohome, pretending I was on a daring adventure. By chance, or by fate, I had stumbled upon the Lost Desert and had been hired by Advisor Wessle to be a maid in Sakhmet Palace.
"Aw!" I groaned as a gust of wind blew all the leaves back into the carport. If only a passing air faerie would be kind enough to carry a breeze in the direction that would benefit me. But she wouldn't. No faeries ever came to me. It was a fact that puzzled me. Why? What didn't the faeries like about me? The only faerie who had ever helped me was Illusen, and I had to ask her for a quest!
Well, this family reunion meant all my aunts and uncles and cousins would come to our house, including my cousin Alquice. Alquice and I were the supreme lovers of faeries in the family. But how I envied my little cousin. Faeries danced around her bed at night, but not even the Tooth Faerie would visit me, and I'd lost sixteen teeth! Was it because she was a Wocky and I was a Shoyru? Was it because I was eleven and she was seven? Was it because I was an adventure-loving tomboy and she loved pink? I didn't know and didn't expect to find out. I continued to sweep.
"Hey, Myirlte!" I heard my dad call. "Come around back!"
"Okay!" I shouted back, shaking the thoughts of faeries from my mind for a while. I started to run as fast as I could to the backyard. Flying would have been much faster, but I couldn't fly. Not since the accident.
It was a long time ago, when I was only six years old. I was playing around on Terror Mountain, when I saw the Snowager's lair. Being the fun-loving sneak I was, I decided to go see if I could make off with a Negg or two. The Snowager was asleep. I looked around at his magnificent hoard and soon, a strange potion caught my eye. It was a beautiful shade of lavender with wispy blue swirls floating around in it. It was so lovely I was struck with awe for a moment. The Snowager started to move. I grabbed the potion and quickly began to fly away. The Snowager was fully awake by now. I started flying as fast as I possibly could. I heard the Snowager shoot a blast of ice shards after me, but I didn't look back. I only flew. Then, with the few seconds remaining between the flight and the fall, I drank the swirling potion. I didn't know what it would do, but I hoped it would help. The potion bottle fell to the ground with a horrible crash, and I went as limp as a wet noodle. My head drooped and the first ice shard hit. That was the last thing that I remembered, until all faded into nothingness.
When I awoke, I felt a sharp pain in my wings.
"Aah!" I cried out when I started to sit up. I quickly lay back down.
"Good, you're awake!" a voice said. I winced as I turned over, and was surprised to be looking at the Scratchcard Kiosk Wocky.
"What? Huh? What happened?" I asked, quickly regaining by senses.
"I saw you going into the Snowager's cave and I heard him blast you. Of course, that happens a lot around here, but when you didn't come out for a while, I started to get a bit concerned." the Wocky said. "So I decided to go see what he'd done. You were in pretty bad shape. Almost ripped your wings clear off! But after a few days and healing potions, you'll be fine."
"Potions," I said slowly, trying to remember. "Potions! I drank a potion before the Snowager got me!"
"Really? What did it look like?" the Kiosk Wocky asked impassively.
"It was really light purple, with little blue swirlies in it." I squinted, trying to remember.
"You DRANK that?" he asked, eyes wide.
"What? What is it?!" I shouted, suddenly very frightened.
"Poison, to use in the Battledome! No WONDER you're so torn up! I'm surprised you're conscious at all!" he said, pacing back and forth. A pained look came upon his face and he stooped down to where I lay. "Oh, no… Um…" he hesitated to speak, "I'm afraid…uh... about... oh, dear... about... your wings…"
"Tell me!" I cried, almost in tears.
"I… don't think you'll ever be able to fly again." he said quietly, looking at the ground. "If you hadn't drunk the potion… you'd be fine. The poison went to work right away and, well, it made the attacks worse for you," he continued. "Why did you drink it?"
"I thought it would help me!" I said, now sobbing.
After a long pause, he said, "Well, ah... I suppose you should be going back to your Neohome now." By how quickly he was shooing me off, I could tell he'd never done anything like this before and was quite uncomfortable.
"My name is Myirlte." I said, swallowing tears. "I'll walk and show you where I live, but it's pretty far away. In Neopia Central,"
"That far, huh? Maybe we should wait."
"No, let's go now." I insisted.
When we finally arrived home, my parents were completely shocked and absolutely distressed. They were worried, scared, sad, and happy all at the same time. Worried about me, scared for me, sad that it happened to me, and happy to see me. I didn't think I could ever get used to life without wings, but that was then and this was now. I missed flying terribly, but had learned to cope without it.
When I arrived in the backyard, Dad told me I had done a good job and he would blow the leaves off the driveway with the leaf blower. I thanked him, and went inside. My mom was putting a green tablecloth on the long table in the kitchen.
"Hi, Mama! Do you want some help?" I asked.
"Sure, Myirlte, you can go to your room and put up some things you don't want the girls playing with." she replied.
"Okay!" I said, rushing down the hall to my room. I put up my sewing basket, my tin whistle, (ever since Alquice played it, my mom's Meowclops has been terrified of it!) my little chest of Neopoints, my Goldy's fish food, and my most special plushies. I pulled out a box of Usukis from under my bed that I never played with. My cousins would. They liked things like that. I liked to play with toy swords much better than Usuki dolls.
When I came back into the kitchen, my mom said, "I'll make you a grilled cheese, but we have to go to the store and get bread."
"Okay! That sounds good to me!" I agreed. My mom, being a Draik, (a green one, if you would like to know, with the name "Seriphe") flew over to get her pocketbook. She opened the door and yelled, "Tevret!" as loud as she could. My dad, Tevret, was using the blower and couldn't hear a thing over the racket it made. Finally, he noticed us, when we were two feet away from him. "We're going to the store and we'll be back soon." My mom stated.
"All right." said my dad. "See you soon!" With that, the blue Nimmo returned to his noisy work.
When we were at the Food Shop, I asked my mom if this sandwich would be real cheese, or the Vegan cheese we had tried once.
"Real cheese," she said.
"Hmm... I like the fake cheese better." I declared.
"Really?" my mother asked. "We can get some if you want."
If Alquice had said that, it would be the talk of the get-together. I could just hear my mom now.
"Oh, Myirlte, I've got another Alquice story for you! Ikora" (who is Alquice's mom) "was at the Food Shop buying bread to make grilled cheeses for the girls' lunch," ("girls" meaning Alquice and her sister Graevia) "and Alquice asked if this was going to be a real cheese sandwich or Vegan cheese. Of course, Ikora told her, 'Real cheese.' and Alquice said, 'Hmm… I like fake cheese better.'"
And I would laugh. I loved Alquice stories, but why was it only for her? I guess that people saw me as some sort of superior, older, more mature and adult-like person. I hated, truly HATED being thought of like that. Alquice, on the other hand, was never thought of like that. She was a cute little kid, silly and sweet and naïve to everyone. I was positive that everyone would be rambling on about "fake cheese" if Alquice had said that. Why? My mom and dad were always talking about Alquice and how funny she is. Always quoting her and chatting about how sweet and hilarious she is. I didn't mean to be jealous, but it was so hard since I wanted to be just like her.
When we got home, I made my final preparations, and it wasn't long until the first guests started to arrive. Alquice, her sister Graevia, Ikora, her mom and Koerm, her dad, came first. I ran out to meet my cousins, and Alquice and I quickly scurried off to my bedroom to talk about faeries. We closed the door so Graevia, who did not really love faeries (I could say "didn't believe", but it is extremely hard not to believe in faeries in Neopia) wouldn't come in. Graevia was eight, one year older than Alquice and three years younger than me. Perhaps she thought she was too old and superior to fancy about faeries, but she did admit that she liked the Tooth Faerie. Alquice and I were putting on faerie jewelry, when Graevia hollered from the other side of the door, "Errine's here!"
Alquice and I rapidly scampered out of my room to go meet Errine. Errine, a blue Usul, was another cousin of ours. She was seven, and never thought much about faeries.
"Come on!" exclaimed Alquice. "Let's go play!"
We hurried to my room, and soon started chasing each other around and around, brandishing (toy) bow and (toy) sword! Alquice and I pinned Errine to the ground, and started to tickle her while Graevia struggled to get into the middle of our pile.
Meanwhile, other guests had started to arrive. Errine's mom, Merisse, who was a green Cybunny, was chatting with her sister Jeissa, a green Kougra, when my cousins Crav, a blue Lenny, and Ancla, a groovy Disco Eyrie came in. Next came Uncle Seldrach, a blue Skeith. Aunt Andeen would have been there, but she had done something a bit... erm... extreme. She used to be a red Gelert, but she painted herself Grey, and now she was a little too depressed. Aunt Lucira, a brilliant red Bori was here soon, too, and that totaled out the guests.
All of us were playing dress-up in my room; I had on a brown and green dress that I had worn at Halloween to be Hannah, Alquice had a blue feathery dress on, Graevia wore a red ball gown, (her favorite color was red, and she was a red Kacheek) and Errine wore a white dress with silver sleeves. We were all laughing and having fun when my mom asked us to put on our normal clothes and come eat supper. We did, and ran down the hall after each other. Alquice immediately started banging on our piano when we entered the living room.
"Alquice!" came Ikora's voice. The orange Aisha walked into the room. "No. Your dad has a headache."
Alquice looked down and frowned.
"Oh my gosh! I am so embarrassed!" squealed my cousin Ancla. "I can never pronounce your name!"
"It's okay. Nobody ever can." I replied, as I washed my hands in the sink, "It's my-YEERL- tee."
"Thank you so much!" she giggled. Sometimes I wondered why she and Crav had ever gotten married. They were so... different! Crav was smart, delighting in the gross and bizarre. (Although, never say "gelatinous" around him, it makes him sick.) Ancla, on the other paw... well... she loved to talk. She loved to talk for HOURS about all sorts of grownup stuff. I chuckled to myself as I dried my hands on a paper towel.
All the kids ate in the living room, while the grownups were in the kitchen. Alquice asked us all for our Funnydew melon slices, and Graevia and Errine gladly gave theirs. I, though, would not be so easily shaken.
"No way! I love Funnydew melons!" I stated. Actually, Eitchtwoos were my favorite, but I loved Funnydews, too.
"I hate Funnydew melon!" said Graevia.
"I'm with you, girl!" Errine agreed. Alquice and I went on to eat our melons.
After supper, Crav and Koerm hid the Easter Neggs. We found almost all of them... a few are still out there somewhere... Graevia and Errine continued to search, but Alquice and I blew bubbles.
"There are bubble faeries here," whispered Alquice.
"Yeah..." I said, staring off into the distance. "I know there are faeries out tonight." I said with confidence. There was a moment of magical solitude, in which I pondered the wonder of faeries, but that moment certainly didn't last for long.
By the time we were back inside, my room was the hectic-est place in all of Neopia! (And possibly in Kreludor and the Virtupets Space Station) Graevia was jumping on the bed, knocking down my plushies from their net on the ceiling, Errine was shooting my toy bow and arrow, and Alquice had her paw in my Goldy's bowl! My mom's poor Meowclops was hiding, trapped under my bed, with nowhere to go. I couldn't take it anymore. This was more than I could handle; my room was a wreck, my petpets were terrified, chaos, mayhem, confusion, pandemonium! I had to get out. As quickly and as quietly as I could, I flitted out of the room, almost as if I could fly again. I slipped through the living room unnoticed, and burst out the front door. I ran to the garden without looking back.
When I finally came to the garden, I sat down on a bench, and stared at my feet in the grass, green like me. The sun was just beginning to set. I was thinking about so many things, how I wanted my cousins to leave, how they were demolishing my room, and how much I loved them, nonetheless. I was sighing, thinking that I was weak, that I had failed, that a bunch of little cousins had conquered me... when I saw a glow. My feet and hands had a purplish glow, not the kind that you get at Coltzan's Shrine when he doesn't help you, but a soft, violet radiance that made you feel hope. I looked up, and saw what I had only seen in books... a faerie. Not just a faerie, but against the rich hues of fuchsia, gold, and pink in the sun-streaked sky, stood Fyora, the Faerie Queen.
"Queen Fyora!" I stammered. "Wh... oh, no, I can't believe this! You... you're the Faerie Queen!"
Fyora bent down to my level and handed me something.
"Use it well." came her clear voice. And with that, she rose, and soared away into the twilight. I thought I heard her say softly, as she flew into the sunset, "One or the other takes flight."
I was baffled by this enigmatic phrase, but it didn't matter for long.
I gaped at the object I held in my hands. An amazing gift, a ticket to the sky, a Faerie Paint Brush! I wanted to thank Fyora, but she was gone. Straight away, I began to run. I ran away from our neohome, off our street, out of our neighborhood! I ran until I got to the Rainbow Pool.
I stopped and gazed at the spectrum of colors reflected in the pool. Then I looked back, at my own shredded, useless wings, which looked much like a normal Shoyru's after an unsuccessful fight in the Battledome, and after that, at the paint brush. I was ready. I was. I really, really was! Five years without flight, and it would all change now! I would do it. I would fly again... I would fly again? This was it? I looked longingly at the paint brush. I had been visited by a faerie. Not just any faerie, but Fyora, the Faerie Queen. Wasn't that what I wanted? I suddenly knew what Fyora meant when she uttered that mystifying phrase, "One or the other takes flight." This brush didn't belong to me. "Use it well." she had said. I knew what I had to do.
"Myirlte, where were you? We were looking all over for you!" my mother exclaimed when I appeared in the living room, where all the grownups had now migrated.
"I was outside in the garden." I answered.
"Oh, well, that's good. We didn't know where you'd gone. Now go back to your room and play with the girls, they've missed you!" Mom clarified.
I plodded off to my room, the paint brush cleverly hidden under my arm.
"Where were ya?" asked Errine, looking at me with a mock-irritated look on her face.
"I... went outside!" I said, smiling and plopping down beside her on my bed.
"Well, c'mon, let's play!" she shouted. I secretly slipped the paint brush under my pillow, and went on to play with the girls.
Before long, my mother made another announcement.
"Come in the kitchen, we're going to eat dessert now!"
"Dessert" was all we needed to hear. With Alquice in the lead, Errine and Graevia darted down the hall. I needed a bit more time. When Mom was gone, I took the paint brush and positioned it carefully under my arm, so I could run down the hall without fear of it falling out.
When we all had eaten our cake and ice cream, I asked Alquice if she wanted to go outside.
"Hmm... no, not really." She said, and started to walk off.
"Wait!" I shrieked, grabbing her by the shoulder. "Come on, just for a second!"
We walked out onto the carport (still clean and leaf-free) and I said quietly, "This is for you." as I placed the Faerie Paint Brush in her paws.
Alquice gasped long and loud. "This will turn me into," another gasp, "a Faerie! Oh, I'm going to be a faerie! A faerie! " She was jumping up and down. Ikora opened the door and said,
"What are you do... wha... oh, my goodness... where did you get that?" she asked, amazed.
"Myirlte gave it to me!" Alquice exclaimed. Suddenly all eyes were on me.
"Where did you get that, Myirlte?" my mom, who had just stepped into the doorway, spoke up.
"A faerie came and... gave it to me..." I said, staring off into the distance.
Everyone was now in the door, and were they astounded! The chatter that followed was enormous. No one, not even I could believe what I had just done.
We all went down to the Rainbow Pool to watch Alquice get painted. The stars were out as some walked, some flew, and some hopped to the magical pond. Alquice was holding her paint brush tenderly, still looking in wonder at it, as she walked with her red Kacheek sister, her orange Aisha mom, and her yellow Tonu dad. Ancla, with her dizzying disco patterns, flew with the natural blue Crav and Uncle Seldrach, the blue Skeith, flew in front of them. Aunt Lucira swished her brilliant red tail and strode along, as the two green sisters walked beside her. I walked alone. I had started with my parents, but I broke away. I would do this alone.
When we arrived at the pool, Alquice stepped into the cool, clear water with her paint brush. We all watched eagerly as her yellow fur changed to a purpley-pink and beautiful wings folded out of her back. As I watched my cousin become a faerie, I suddenly remembered a poem that an old Neoschool teacher had written for me once:
A girl named Myirlte,
This song for her I sing.
I have seen her fly,
She has special wings.
I have to admit, I still felt a bit jealous watching my favored cousin fly, but the poem was true. As I thought this thought, watching from the sky, not watching Alquice, but watching me, were faeries. And in their sight, I was flying.