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||You are on Week 420
Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...
We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!
Story Four Hundred Twenty Ends Friday, July 10
Sujung kicked the door shut behind her and rested against it for a second with a sigh, closing her eyes. Her arms ached from carrying the heavy grocery bags all over Neopia Central, and her hooves were just as sore.
"Hi, Sujung, is that dinner you've got there in those bags?"
The Ixi opened her eyes to glare at her cousin, Tavo, who apparently hadn't budged from his spot on the couch since she'd left to go shopping four hours earlier. Well, maybe he had moved a little, because the rug around the couch was now littered with empty crisps bags.
"Tavo, haven't you done anything today?"
The Skeith sat up, dusting crumbs off his belly. "Sure, I did. I stopped by the Soup Kitchen and got a bowl of soup, and then I went and played Dice-a-Roo with some friends."
Great, thought Sujung, but have you done anything useful? Instead of speaking her thoughts aloud, though, she just went into the kitchen. The Ixi had been biting her tongue for weeks about how she really felt about her lazy cousin, who seemed to do nothing but snack and play games all day, while Sujung did all the chores and cooking and Sujung's mother did any odd jobs she could to scrounge up extra Neopoints.
"Why can't he go to the Faerieland Employment Agency and get a job?" Sujung asked angrily.
Her mother gave a sad sigh and shook her head. "Tavo says that the last time he worked, he got Neezles."
"He could at least go to the Money Tree and try to pick up some spare Neopoints! He's eating us out of house and Neohome!"
Sujung's mother just smiled tiredly and patted her daughter's hoof. "He's family, Sujung. We have to help him out."
In spite of her mother's words, Sujung couldn't help but resent her Skeith cousin. He followed her into the kitchen and watched as she unpacked the grocery bags, never lifting a paw to help.
"What're we having for dinner?" Tavo picked up a potato and glared at it. "I had potato soup for lunch. Why can't we have Negg Noodles?"
"I don't like Neggs," Sujung replied through gritted teeth as she sliced a Bluchard Root.
"How could anyone not like Neggs?! By the way, you're doing that all wrong," Tavo said. "I'm from Shenkuu, you know, so I know about Bluchard Root..."
The Ixi slammed down her knife and turned on her cousin. "That's it! I can't take this anymore..."
Author: Clinically Fed Up!|
Date: Jul 6th
A pair of innocent yellow eyes blinked back at her.
"Was it something I said?" Tavo queried, his stomach rumbling noisily.
"You know what, Tavo?" snarled Sujung. "I think you can prepare dinner for a change. I'm going out!" With that she grabbed her umbrella and stomped out of their Neohome, in the direction of Neopia Central.
As she walked, rain burst from the sky, turning the lanes into muddy streams. Sujung trudged against the bitter winds unaffected, even as they whipped her fur into frenzy. She walked until her hooves ached and her anger had abated. When at last she paused to catch her breath in the Neopian Plaza, her eyes widened as she realised how far she had walked.
Huddled under a tree to shelter from the rain, she searched the area for something to occupy her time. No doubt Tavo and her mother would still be furious at her for walking out. She considered the Vending Machine, but had to remind herself that she had no Nerkmids. The Kadoatery? Far too chaotic, and she didn't have any food. The Pound? As if they needed another mouth to feed...
Eventually her eyes rested on the small stone well nestled among the shrubbery. The wet slates of the roof twinkled in the sunlight as it broke through the departing clouds. Sujung watched the queue lining the path to the well, her eyes unconsciously following the snake of Neopets edging their way closer to the small landmark. Sujung saw each Neopet close their eyes as they reached the well and toss a sparkling gold coin into its watery depths.
"I wonder," she murmured to herself. "I do wonder..."
She glanced nervously around her as she approached the queue, as though ashamed of being found there. She shifted her weight impatiently from hoof to hoof. The red Blumaroo in front of her in the queue was still making his wish. His eyes closed in serenity, he leaned over the well as the coin landed in the water with a gentle plop. As he walked off back to the busy town, he was still whispering excitedly to himself.
Sujung stood before the well, frowning in concern at the coin in her grasp. One hundred Neopoints could mean a day's meal to her family... did she dare to spend it? She banished the guilty thoughts from her mind and flung the coin impulsively into the air. It twirled and glittered in the air, catching the light as it plummeted into the well...
Date: Jul 6th
Just something decent to eat, Sujung wished to herself as she squeezed shut her eyes, an action which forced bitter tears of frustration to spill down upon her furry cheeks, cheeks which now burned with shame. The Ixi opened her eyes again when she heard the distinctive plash sound of her coin breaking the surface of the water deep within the well, and, looking around to ensure she had not been caught crying, Sujung discreetly swabbed at her cheeks and shook her head to clear it of unbidden emotion.
She waited for something to happen. Anything. But there was no magical appearance of food, gourmet or otherwise, not so much as an unwanted Negg that she could bring back home to satisfy her cousin's epicurean tastes. Oh, home! Sujung privately despaired. How can I go home again and explain to Mother that I threw away 100 Neopoints like that?! And us with that extra -- giant-- mouth to feed!
Sujung took a hesitant step away from the Wishing Well and turned her face to the skies in an effort to fight back the tears that she felt were threatening to burst now from her eyes like a garden fountain. As she paused, her breath hitching with hiccups in her burning throat, a curious sight played out before her vision: as the storm clouds continued to break and move apart and the sun retook its rightful place of prominence in the heavens, a multicoloured arc appeared, faintly at first, and then growing stronger in light and hues. A rainbow! A rainbow that began far beyond the limits of Neopia Central and terminated within the Wishing Well at her side. As sure a sign as the Ixi had ever seen had suddenly appeared, dispelling her shameful tears and indicating the fulfillment of her wish lay within the well itself.
Although the ghost Krawk directly behind her had begun to approach the well to make his own wish, Sujung nodded and smiled her apology as she quickly retraced her step to regain her place at the front of the line. The Ixi drew even nearer to the well, and mindful of the growing impatience of those in the queue behind her, Sujung rose to the tips of her hooves to peer into its shimmering depths. The placid surface of the water betrayed not what lay beneath, what untold hordes of coins had accumulated over the years. The only thing that Sujung could see in that liquid-looking glass was her own face as a horrible idea passed across it, an idea that carved the corners of her mouth up into a leer of greed and drew her black brows down to where they blocked out the playful twinkle in her naturally affable eyes.
"Aunty, I don't really mind waiting for Sujung to come back home before we eat," Tavo lied. His lips trembled and sweat broke out on his broad forehead as the aroma from the Bluchard Stew he had made continued to fill the small kitchen where he sat with anticipation at the checkered table, thoroughly impatient with his act of patience.
The Acara standing at the window sighed heavily and turned toward the Skeith with a forced smile painted on her tired face. "No, you go ahead, dear. It isn't like Sujung to run off like that. I'm sure she'll be back soon with some treat and a tale for all of us." She turned back toward the window and relaxed her face back into the countenance of concern that she had been trying to shield from her nephew. As the Acara studied the lane in front of her house for any sign of her daughter, a scream behind her forced her to turn with alarm.
"What? What is it?" she demanded of the Skeith who stood now at the counter, eyes wide with horror.
"There's no bread!" Tavo bellowed. "How am I to eat stew with no bread?" As though to demonstrate his point, the Skeith lifted the breadbox from the counter and sprinkled its meagre, crumbly contents onto the Acara's formerly pristine floor.
Breathing deeply to repress her mounting temper, the Acara replied, "Then please fetch some from the baker. There are some coins in my bag by the door."
With a snort of contempt, Tavo begrudgingly made for the doorway, scooping up all of the coins in his aunt's purse when her back was turned to him once more. If I must get the bread, then there will be cake as well, the Skeith said to himself happily.
The thought of stew with bread, followed by cake in his room at some later, more private moment, fully occupied Tavo's mind. So fully occupied was he that it was very easy for someone to jump out at him from the hedgerow, and with a restraining hand over his protesting mouth, growl into his ear, with a barely recognisable voice, "Come with me. I've got a plan..."
Date: Jul 6th
"Sujung?" Tavo asked, quickly shoving his hand in his pocket to keep the coins there from jingling too loudly.
"No, it's the Tooth Faerie," the Ixi said, gritting her teeth. Idiot cousin, who did he think it was? "Come on, I need your help!"
"But I haven't had dinner yet!" Tavo complained as his stomach gave a well-timed rumble.
"Ohh, the horror. Would you just shut up and think past your greedy ways for half a second?" Sujung snapped. "Now, move."
Confused, Tavo frowned. He didn't understand -- Sujung was normally so nice. "...Wha?"
"Please," she added hastily. Maybe she'd gone a little far, exploding her frustration like that. "Oh -- just -- come on Tavo, please, I need your help for a little and I'll buy you all the chocolate sweets or pizza or hot dogs you want after, okay?" Dripping with sickly sweet persuasion, Sujung's new tone wasn't much better.
Tavo slowly pulled away. Promise of food was nice, but the Ixi was starting to scare him, something about the crazy, possessed look in her eyes, like the way he looked in front of a candy shop window. "Um, well, thanks but no thanks, Su. I was just out for a, er, walk, and I'll just go, uh, walk back to dinner now. You should come too; Auntie's waiting."
"It'll be quick, I promise! Tavo, please, please, please, I really need your help."
Just as the Skeith turned to walk away, Sujung grabbed onto his arm and yanked him back. Tavo stumbled, tripped, fell, and the fat golden coins from his aunt's purse rolled out of his pocket.
I will not get angry, I will not get angry, I will not get angry, no, no, Sujung repeated in her mind over and over. "Are those all of our savings?!" she burst out.
"Aunty told me to get some bread, and, and, and..." Tavo stammered.
"How DARE you take all this money?! Have you any idea how hard my family worked so YOU could sit around all day stuffing your face?!" I will not get angry, I will not get... oh. Too late. Something inside Sujung snapped, bringing to a boiling point all the anger and frustration and annoyance and general feelings of UGH!
Tavo slowly backed away from the red-faced Ixi.
"Oh no, you don't. You are coming with me," Sujung snarled, grabbing his arm again and pulling him along.
Mopping a bead of sweat off his rotund face, Tavo asked fearfully, "You -- you're not taking me to Aunty, are you?"
Sujung remained dangerously silent as she yanked the Skeith down the road to the Wishing Well...
Date: Jul 7th
They might have been a comical sight, the small and frankly scrawny Ixi towing a much heavier, thoroughly intimidated Skeith. But the set fury in her face made the fear seem more serious, and several Neopets and even a wandering faerie walked slightly farther away and avoided Sujung's gaze.
Tavo had a distinct hoofprint on the skin of his arm by the time they reached the line. Sujung tapped her foot impatiently as the queue crawled forward, her mood growing darker every time Tavo's apparently cavernous belly rumbled or he voiced a complaint... and both were frequent. Take their savings, would he? Everything they'd scrimped for? "You're not taking me to Aunty, are you?" he'd said -- that just confirmed he was a thief, that her mother never would have given him that much money, that he hadn't planned to share.
Her sense of guilt, at least toward him, faded steadily. It was a good idea. It was. The rainbow had shown her. They'd finally have something worthwhile.
There weren't many Neopets behind them in line; it was late in the afternoon, and most were heading away to prepare or eat dinner. (Tavo's stomach gurgled again. Sujung elbowed him to be quiet.) Sujung let a few of them ahead of her, smiling in what she meant to be a friendly manner as they edged nervously past, until they were at the very end of the line. She glanced nervously over her shoulder as the last one ahead of them tossed a coin in and walked away, looking so carefree she wanted to grind her teeth.
"Tavo," she said, gritting out the closest approximation she could manage to a sweet tone and coaxing him closer, "I want you to climb up on the edge of the well and look in."
Tavo frowned and pulled against her grip. "I don't want to. I hate climbing. I want to go have dinner. There's stew at home, you know, and Aunty gave me the money for bread."
"Bread doesn't cost that much," Sujung hissed, then sucked in a deep breath and tried to get herself under control. "Look. Tavo. I -- I wished for something really good to eat earlier today. And I think I got my wish! I could see something -- not very clearly, but it was something in the well. You have better eyes than I do. It's, uh -- it's all those games," which she really thought were ruining his vision, "they make you good at spotting things!" A little flattery never hurt, right?
Tavo frowned. "I didn't think wishes appeared in the well. Wouldn't everybody just pull them up in the bucket? Maybe somebody already got yours."
Sujung wanted to scream. "I don't know, Tavo. I never got one before. It's not like we have a lot of spare money to go throwing down wells. Please look?" She scrambled up herself, balancing somewhat precariously on the edge and peering downward.
Tavo sighed. Some really good food would be nice, even if he couldn't imagine what it would be doing down a well. He didn't think he could balance on the narrow stone wall built up around the well, but he leaned over it anyway. "Couldn't you have brought a light?"
Sujung's hooves skittered sideways, scuffing and slipping a little on the rock. "I didn't have one. Are you sure you can't see anything? Is that something?" She pointed.
Tavo squinted, then groaned and heaved his belly over the wall so he could lean farther, trying to figure out what she was talking about. Something brightly coloured glimmered in the water. "I -- maybe --" He peered more closely.
Sujung swayed and grabbed at him, and suddenly Tavo was overbalancing, his legs waving wildly as he tipped forward and plunged shouting down toward the depths of the well.
Sujung jumped down, shaking, and slid down to sit beside the well wall as if she were just hanging out somewhere pretty. She had faked the unsteadiness and slipping on the wall; Ixis were almost invariably surefooted, and she wasn't one of the exceptions. Her Skeith cousin was gone. Maybe the well would accept him. A whole Skeith was a lot more valuable than a hundred Neopoints, wasn't he? And if he escaped, if he came up with some of the treasure that had been dropped down there over the years, then their problems would be solved too. Maybe there wouldn't be enough to make them rich, but at least maybe he'd move out.
If he didn't come out, he wouldn't be eating their food anymore. She wondered where the well went.
She didn't think about whether Tavo could swim, or whether she cared.
Her gut roiled and gurgled, gnawing at her.
There was only silence from the well. She hadn't heard anything since the splash.
After a while, she got up and peered into the well. She didn't see Tavo. Strange. Bulky as he was, she knew he floated in water -- he was so buoyant, his attempts to dive were about the hardest she'd ever seen him work.
She was so hungry. And thirsty. Maybe a little water. There was a bucket down there, wasn't there...? She reached up and started turning the crank.
Tavo plunged downward, yelling, and hit the surface headfirst, sending up a splashing gout of water. He choked, having hit with his mouth open, and kept going to a considerable depth before he started bobbing back up. It was a bit tricky to turn around in the narrow confines of the well, but there was just room, and he burst to the surface and spluttered the water out of his throat. "Sujung!" he yelled. "I'm okay! Help me out, will you?"
He scowled. "Sujung, get me out of here! I'll catch cold!" He punctuated this with a loud sneeze, mostly from the power of suggestion. He probably would, in the shadowed water, but right now the coolness actually felt good.
Still no answer.
"Sujung, this isn't funny!" The opening above him looked awfully far away. The water had seemed much closer, from up above. He could see a rope, but there was no way he could climb that. He was rather surprised he hadn't bashed his face into the bucket on the way down, but oddly, the well seemed wider than before. Tavo scratched his head, baffled. His stomach growled. Well, maybe he could find that food Sujung had been talking about. Maybe then she'd pull him out. He'd eat it on the way up, that would show her.
He turned himself about and dived, finding that the water streamed past him with unexpected ease....
Date: Jul 7th
Each turn of the handle brought about a new, delicious thought into Sujung's mind. A delectable abstraction of all the wonderful foods she could eat without that greedy Skeith to take it all first. No more of those horrid Negg Noodles, and as many chocolaty treats as she could stomach. Potato soup would be on the menu every -- Oof!
Sujung was woken from her blissful reverie by the well's bucket, which had reached the top and swung swiftly into her chest. Uh-oh, she thought, I'm even beginning to daydream like Tavo. The Ixi grinned, figuring that she deserved it -- when Tavo was around, she never got the chance to think about food.
Letting go of the crank and grabbing hold of the bucket in one quick motion, Sujung glanced into the pail, licking her lips at the thought of what kind of wonderful food could be inside it.
Disappointment rushed across her face as her eyes brushed over a bucket full of water with a few coins glittering at the bottom. Sujung sighed, dipping a hoof into the water -- which was much colder than she anticipated -- and recovered the coins. She figured if she wasn't going to get any food, she might as well get some Neopoints; surely they were rightfully hers, after delivering the well a Skeith.
Her final act with the well was to lift the bucket up to her lips and take a large gulp of its water. She immediately wished she hadn't. The icy-cold liquid stung her throat as it slid down, causing her whole body to shiver.
"Hello. Is something the matter?"
Sujung jumped at the sudden voice and dropped the bucket. It hit the wall of the well, and then proceeded to fly back down the structure, turning the crank around at an alarming speed.
The Ixi turned to find the speaker, just before the bucket hit the water below with a rather loud splash.
Sujung laid eyes on a Blumaroo -- the same Blumaroo who had been in front of her earlier, who had looked so excited about his wish.
"I was just wondering if you were finished using the well," he said, looking hopeful about his latest wish. In truth, what he really wanted to know was why Sujung had had the bucket in her hooves. Of all his years wishing at the well, he'd never seen anyone raise the bucket, until now.
Sujung frowned. "What does it look like?" she snapped irritably. The Blumaroo winced at the sudden burst of anger, before taking a step backward dejectedly.
Sujung couldn't determine whether it was the freezing water, the timid Blumaroo, or a combination of both, but something inside her began to stir.
What have I done? she asked herself, with eyes bulging. She'd just pushed her cousin down a well and was happy about it. He may have been an annoying, greedy, lazy Skeith, but he was family. And what would Mother say when Sujung told her?
Sujung turned to the Blumaroo, who got ready to wince at another outburst. But what he got instead, was a tiny, regretful squeak.
"I've done something terrible..."
Tavo had seldom been swimming. It was a form of exercise, and he despised exercise and everything it stood for. He'd rather just be happy and full of food than sweaty and tired.
But in the well, swimming under the water to the depths below was a lot easier than he'd thought it would be. He was gracefully paddling forward, excited and scared about what awaited him below.
Tavo was sure that Aunty would punish Sujung for not helping him out of the well, and reward him with tonnes of treats once he'd found a way out -- the well had to lead to somewhere. He hoped it was somewhere with a food shop.
However, Tavo's lung capacity didn't do justice to the size of his belly. He was running low on air and didn't know how long it would be before he'd reach the surface again.
The large Skeith began to squirm, desperately clawing at the water to try and swim in the direction he thought was up.
Soon light came into view, and Tavo paddled faster than ever to reach it.
He got to the surface a few seconds later, coughing and gasping for as much air as his greedy lungs could contain.
But something was wrong. This wasn't the bottom of the well...
Date: Jul 8th
"W--What?" the Skeith stammered, baffled. Why was it broad daylight? Where had all those trees come from? And most importantly, how had he gotten to the lip of the well already?
"Hello?" he called out hesitantly. He extended a claw, grabbed the edge of the now-shallow well, and slowly hauled himself out into the open. He looked around. "Sujung?"
It was all terribly wrong. He appeared to be in the middle of a forest, and his cousin was nowhere in sight. Tavo galloped around anxiously. "Anybody?"
His stomach rumbled loudly.
"Aww!" he groaned, hugging his middle painfully. What was the food Sujung had promised? Where was his dinner?
He collapsed on his side dramatically. He had come all this way for nothing?! No food, not even Neopoints?
"Foood," he whined to the empty air. "Where -- is -- my --"
"--dinner?" Tavo's eyes widened as he examined the warm slice of apple pie that suddenly appeared on top of his stomach. "Hello?"
The dessert glittered.
"I need to rescue him," Sujung finished desperately, tears streaming down her face. "I-I can't believe what I've done!"
The Blumaroo patted her sympathetically as the Ixi broke down. "There, there," he said soothingly. "I know how you feel."
Sujung's shuddering slowed as she registered what he'd said.
"You... you do?" she squeaked.
The Blumaroo slowly nodded.
"What... what happened?" the Ixi wanted to know.
The other Neopet shifted his gaze and sadly stared at the well. "My... my brother fell in there when he accidentally dropped a thousand Neopoints, and I was too afraid to go after him."
Sujung gasped. "What happened to him?!" she asked, but she quickly wished she hadn't.
"I wish to know that every day," the Blumaroo replied frankly, looking at her again.
The Ixi dropped her gaze. "I'm so horrible," she murmured brokenly. "I can't go into that well because I can't swim, so now I've lost my cousin. Why, why did I push him in there?!"
She again burst into tears. Her Blumaroo companion smiled gently. "There, there," he said quietly, smoothing her fur. "It'll all turn out, Sujung," he reassured her.
The Ixi stopped and blinked at him in surprise. "H-How do you know my name?" she asked, frightened.
The Blumaroo gazed at her peacefully. "My name is Ferrid," he said instead.
Wow! Tavo thought excitedly as he stuffed his mouth with sweets. This is awesome! It's heavenly! Wait... I didn't die, did I?
"Hello," said a voice.
The Skeith nearly leaped out of his scales. "ARGHHH!" he screamed, scattering bits of food everywhere. He raced up a tree and clung to a branch, glaring at the intruder. It was a serene-looking blue Blumaroo. "HEY!" Tavo yelled to him angrily.
"I was going to advise you to slow down eating, or else you could choke," the Blumaroo told him. "But I suppose I should have introduced myself first. I'm Ferrid."
The Skeith glared and bared his teeth threateningly. "Tavo," he replied with a growl.
Ferrid slowly nodded. "Yes... I know. Your cousin Sujung was looking for you."
Tavo suddenly felt elated. "You know where she is? Hey! You can tell her to come here and get all this great food! We can live here forever!"
The Blumaroo agreed somewhat bemusedly. "Yes, but I'm afraid that neither of you would really belong here," he said. "You see..."
Date: Jul 8th
"This is the Land of Unmade Wishes.
"Everything here is a unmade wish, manifested in physical form. And every time you make a wish... something disappears. No matter can be created or destroyed; when something new appears, something else must disappear. Don't you see now? Our land is dying."
Tavo could only look at Ferrid with scorn. "Huh!" he snorted with contempt. "How could it be dying? Everything here is great!" He gestured at the lush grass and towering trees.
Ferrid gazed calmly at Tavo, his unblinking black eyes oddly unsettling. The Skeith squirmed uncomfortably, the silence pressing down with a heavy sense of guilt.
And when Tavo felt bad, he also felt hungry.
"I want pie!" he whined desperately, not wanting to believe the Blumaroo's words.
A steaming slice of pie appeared on the branch next to Tavo. He grinned triumphantly at Ferrid.
"See? Nothing died."
But Ferrid was as calm as ever as he uttered only two words: "Turn around."
And Tavo, his smug grin wiped away, felt a feeling of dread as he slowly turned around.
And since he was sitting so high in the tree, he saw it.
He saw where the verdant forest ended and transformed into a virulent wasteland. He saw the parched, empty ground, completely devoid of life. He saw how thousands of greedy wishes had completely desiccated this land.
He saw, but did not want to believe.
Because he saw so much more than just the empty land -- he saw his dreams of endless food and an easy life disappear. He saw the angry, tired face of Sujung. He saw the desperate, old face of his Aunty. And he saw how his own selfish wants and desires had completely destroyed the family, just like the wishes that had shrivelled this once beautiful land.
He couldn't believe it. He wouldn't believe it. He did not want to believe the consequences of wayward greed.
"NO!!! You're lying, aren't you?" Tavo yelled, his eyes wild and filled with the pain of want he just saw. "I'll prove it. Nothing is wrong! I wish for a thousand pies! A grand feast! Nothing will die, nothing will disappear, and when Aunty and Sujung see all this food, they will love me forever!" Tavo cried with desperate, crazed hope.
But as the thousand pies began to pop into existence, Ferrid, who had calmly watched the whole rant, began to disappear.
"You forget", he said sadly, as his form began to fade, "that I am part of this land too..."
Date: Jul 9th
Sujung had been talking to Ferrid for several minutes, but one question remained in her mind. At last, she voiced it:
"Your brother. How exactly did he fall into the well?"
"Like I said," replied the Blumaroo calmly, "he had dropped in a thousand Neopoints, and--"
Sujung snorted and scuffed her hoof against the ground. "I may not be the smartest pet around, but I can tell a lie when I hear one. What really happened?"
Ferrid took a deep breath and sighed. "You wouldn't understand."
"Try me," said Sujung coldly.
"Very well," the Blumaroo said placidly. "First, you should know that I am not an ordinary pet. I am a... guardian, of sorts. Long ago, when Neopia was young, I was entrusted with guarding this Wishing Well. Back then, it was far more powerful than it is today: it would grant any wish to any pet, no matter how extravagant. Obviously, this was far too much power to be left unregulated. And so the faeries who had created the well appointed me, and blessed me with eternal life."
"Sounds like a good deal," interrupted Sujung.
"You would think so," was all Ferrid said in reply before continuing his story. "The faeries had hoped that the well would end the strife that plagued Neopia even back then. It would provide food for the hungry, wealth for the poor, sustenance for the needy. But nothing comes without a price. I learned that very quickly. For every wish that is given, something must be taken away.
"I've never been exactly sure what that something is, but for some reason, I've been able to feel it. For every wish that was granted, I felt a twinge of loss somewhere deep inside. A feeling that, somewhere, something had died. It was unbearable.
"I went to the faeries and pleaded that they relieve me of my duties. But they refused. I then begged that they destroy the well. They refused again. The one concession they made was that wishes need be granted only a few times a year, to only the very lucky. But still, it has been torture to me. For every pet who got a shiny new bike or ten thousand Neopoints, I felt a part of me stolen away."
Ferrid paused and looked off into the distance sadly. Sujung hesitantly touched his shoulder. "What happened next?"
Ferrid sighed, then looked Sujung in the eye. "I decided to go to the source of the wishes to try and stop them.
"It was a reckless plan, and not very well thought out. But that didn't make me pause. I took a deep breath, and plunged into the Wishing Well. And then, something inexplicable happened: I split in two. A part of me remained in this world, a part of me was transferred to another."
"Is that what happened to Tavo?" gasped Sujung.
"I doubt it," replied Ferrid. "Like I said, I am no ordinary pet. I suspect that your cousin was simply carried to the other world, which my other half inhabits. But lately, I have felt my double growing ever weaker; something bad is happening in that world. I fear we must rescue Tavo before it vanishes completely..."
Date: Jul 9th
Sujung felt the familiar anger stir up again. "I know what is happening," she said with a bitter laugh. "He's consuming everything there. Just like he did to me and my home." She struggled to hold her hooves still. "I... don't know how we could feed him here, even if we manage to bring him back. I've tried so hard to share. It never worked." Tears slid down her face. "What should I do, Ferrid? Let him stay there and eat and eat until no wishes can be fulfilled anymore? Until you and that magical world are gone?" She pictured Tavo accepting his hunger, all the desire gone out of his eyes. "What is the alternative? More poverty, more strife? Sometimes I hate Tavo so much, Ferrid, but it's not his fault that he is always so hungry, and he ceased to be apologetic a long time ago..."
The mystical Blumaroo regarded her sadly. "There is too much scarcity in Neopia," he murmured. "I feel it with every wish. However I know that the first option you have identified, the option to end all hope, is not the answer. I would not mind sacrificing myself -- I have done it so many times, I have come to accept it as my fate. But I know that hope, even with all its pain, is the greatest strength to be found. It will sustain you through hardship when no abundance will. To kill that hope, to let all Neopia know that the magic of wishing is extinguished forever... that I cannot allow."
Sujung stared into the well. The water, glimmering so quietly there, looked like a pool of tears.
Ferrid touched her hoof. "We must go to the source of the wishes," he said. "I must reunite with my other half, and you must reunite with your cousin."
The Blumaroo's face was calm. "Let your heart lead you."
Tavo watched in terror as Ferrid faded before him. The Blumaroo appeared to be in tortuous pain, but his eyes were closed and he showed no signs of struggling against it. Pie after pie appeared on the empty ground.
Tavo clutched a pie. It was so fragrant, so good, and the hunger was eating at him from inside. He needed the pie. All his life, the only thing he had ever wanted was to fill up that deep, inner pain, that fire that seemed forever unquenchable.
He couldn't stand to watch Ferrid fading into nothingness before his eyes, though. Guilt, which had long ago been felled in his heart, wrenched it to life once more. Reality washed down upon him like blazing sunlight, and he cried, "No, Ferrid! No, I can't! I can't let you and everything around me die, for me."
He put down the pie and ran up to the pale, fading apparition. "Please come back! I'll... I'll give this all back! Take all the pies back! I'm not hungry anymore..."
Suddenly the Blumaroo's outline crystallized, and Ferrid opened his eyes, blinking. Next to him Sujung appeared, panting heavily, as though she had been holding her breath underwater for a while.
"This is incredible," Ferrid said slowly, looking down at his body and moving it experimentally. "I am whole again."
Around them, the grasses were growing, and flowers peeped shyly out of their petals.
"Wha?" said Tavo, but couldn't finish expressing his astonishment, for he suddenly found himself clamped in a hug by his scrawny Ixi cousin.
"Come back to us," said Sujung fiercely. "And we'll work together. We'll work for what we want. There will always be something, as long as we're together. You understand now, don't you?"
The large Skeith was humbled. "Yes, I'll come back with you. I'll make sure to do my part."
Together, they stepped into the horizon.
Ferrid watched them go with a smile. "Despite all the scarcity in the world," he nodded knowingly, "love will always keep it whole."
Date: Jul 10th
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