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||You are on Week 442
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 Forty Two Ends Thursday, December 31
The Christmas tree was truly a sight to behold. Silken ribbons of red and gold festooned its dark green branches, and delicate glass ornaments seemed to hover beside candles that made them glitter and gleam. This is really going to be the best Day of Giving ever, Jian told herself, standing back to admire her work.
It had taken the Aisha hours to decorate the tree, but seeing its beauty made all the hard work worthwhile. Thinking of the delighted and amazed gasps of her family and friends when they laid eyes on it, Jian carefully lifted the very last ornament from its box.
Just one more finishing touch, and it'll be all ready. She cupped the ornament almost reverently in her paws. It was a figurine of Queen Fyora herself, only wrought in the most delicate threads of spun glass. This will look perfect on top of the tree, Jian thought as she slowly climbed her stepladder.
As she was reaching out to place the ornament, though, the Aisha suddenly felt dizzy and stumbled, catching herself short of falling onto the Christmas tree and ruining all her careful work.
"Oh dear!" she murmured, pressing one paw to her forehead. "Maybe I've worked too hard. After I put this ornament on, I'll take a rest and have a cup of Borovan."
When she looked down at her other paw, she saw that in her clumsiness, she'd snapped the ornament's whisper-thin glass staff in two. Tears started to her eyes, but she swallowed them down and said to herself, "It'll be just as pretty with my usual Nova ornament on top. But first, I'm going to have that cup of Borovan."
After she had climbed down from her stepladder, Jian stopped for a moment and squeezed her eyes shut, feeling that strange dizziness threaten to overtake her again. I'm just over-excited for the holiday, that's all. Taking a deep breath, she opened her eyes... and found the Fyora ornament in her paw completely whole once more.
"What on Neopia...?" Her eyes wide, Jian looked up. The tree in front of her was only half-decorated, boxes full of ornaments clustered at its base. Shocked, the Aisha stumbled backward and collapsed into an easy chair.
She blinked slowly in disbelief. This time, when she opened her eyes, the tree was completely bare! "It's less decorated than ever!" she cried. "What is going on here...?"
Author: Relax... it's just the holidays|
Date: Dec 21st
Silence was all that answered.
Jian took a deep breath and rubbed her knuckles against her forehead. She... she must've fallen asleep. That's it. Yes. And she was just dreaming about decorating her tree, breaking the violet doll's staff. Dreaming standing up, but dreaming nonetheless.
Jian slowly opened her eyes. That cup of Borovan sounded better than ever right about now, but the tree was not decorated, and she had to bake the cookies and finish wrapping the gifts and...
Breathe, Jian. One thing at a time.
Cup of Borovan, and then she could worry about all... that... best not dwell on it.
She stood up, and carefully made her way to the kitchen, placing the Fyora ornament on the chair and sidestepping the tinsel that littered the floor. She stopped abruptly when she ran into the table.
"Ow," Jian hissed, even though it didn't hurt that much. Her eyes narrowed at the table... since when did she move her table there?
Come to think of it... was that even her table?
Her heart started to race, uncomfortably loud. That wasn't her wallpaper. Or her carpet. She didn't have a window there. And those smiling faces in pictures above the fireplace... fireplace? Even the decorations on the tree were different: clumsily crafted figurines (handmade?) with stitched smiles and strangely unnerving button eyes instead of her pretty, delicate glass spheres and snowflakes. In fact, the only thing she recognised was the Fyora ornament, smiling at her with amethyst eyes and glittering hair.
Jian's knees felt weak. This wasn't her house.
She searched for a chair to collapse into, but none were close enough, so she fell to the floor instead. "What is going on here?" Jian wondered out loud for the second time, more to see if she was still capable of speech than anything else.
And while it wasn't exactly an answer, it was a start, as a sudden sound shattered the silence of the still room: footsteps, and the turning of a door handle...
Date: Dec 21st
It was enough to spur Jian to pick herself up and look for a hiding place. It seemed right, after all. What would the residents of the house think and do if they suddenly saw a very unfamiliar Aisha in their humble abode?
Just as the door swung open, she ducked behind the tree, trying not to look at the ornaments, with their freaky, beady eyes that seemed to stare at her so. But her gaze flicked briefly to the Fyora figurine at the very top before she focused once more on hiding -- and figuring things out.
"Haien, I'm home!"
A rather sturdy red Bori walked inside. Jian had expected him to be the typical Christmas shopper, arms full of wrapped boxes. But instead, he clutched only a small bag, which he dumped unceremoniously onto the table.
"Haien?" he called out again, throwing his coat over the chair -- which, Jian noticed, was the one where she had put her (unbroken) Fyora ornament.
"I'm here, Houden," came a faint female voice. The speaker's words were punctuated by a loud cough.
Houden hurried over to her, his face now a mask of worry. From Jian's hiding place behind their tree, the Aisha tried to follow him with her eyes and wondered if she should use more than just her eyes.
Luckily, she didn't have to. Houden reemerged into view, supporting a smaller faerie Bori.
"Are you all right? Did you take your medicine this morning?"
"I'm sorry, Houden..."
"It's gone... I took the last of it yesterday. I thought we had a new bottle, but..." Haien's body shook with another bout of coughing, and she wheezed before continuing. "Are those..."
Houden nodded, but his smile was obviously forced. "We'll make ornaments again tonight and sell them. Then we'll have enough Neopoints not just for your medicine, but also for a Christmas Eve dinner. You won't have to sell your -- huh? I thought you put that on the tree already."
"I did, see?" Haien pointed to the Christmas tree, to where their Fyora ornament was standing tall, also unbroken.
Jian's heart stopped as the red Bori picked up the Fyora ornament she had left on the chair...
Date: Dec 22nd
Houden approached the Christmas tree slowly, his eyes the whole time on the Fyora at the very top. He reached out gingerly, touching the glass faerie's glittering wings with a blunted claw. Carefully the Bori took the second ornament and held it up beside the one already on the tree. They were identical. Houden shook his head in disbelief.
"I don't understand, we'd never have enough Neopoints to buy another of these," Houden said, all the while shaking his head. "The first one was a gift."
Shaking in fear of being discovered, Jian was startled when the Bori approached the tree. The branches were sparsely covered in needles; it would have been difficult even for the smallest Neopet to hide confidently behind it. As she struggled to keep her breathing quiet and even, Jian watched the Bori compare the two ornaments. He placed them side by side on the tree, then took them both down and gazed at them in his paws. The entire time Jian feared detection, but even when it seemed he was looking straight at her for a moment, the Bori said nothing, his gaze tired and vacant.
Gently placing the original ornament back in its rightful place atop the tree, Houden was distracted by another bout of coughing from Haien. Turning quickly, he placed the second Fyora on the ground beside the tree before hurrying over to the faerie Bori.
"Haien, no matter how hard you try to show it, I can see you're not well," Houden said, patting the smaller Haien on the back. "I'm going to have to take this wood back, so I can buy medicine."
"No, you can't do that!" Haien exclaimed, attempting to rise from her seat but promptly falling back down as another wave of coughing rattled her weary body. She sighed. "Just think about how crushed the child will be."
Houden refused to back down, pulling the bag of wood and paints toward him. "I can't let you do this to yourself, Haien! I'm sure the little one will learn to understand."
"But, Houden, crafting is your life! If you take those materials back now, we won't have any Neopoints to buy more, and because you need those materials to do what you do..."
Houden hushed Haien as he draped his arm over her shoulders as they were racked by a cough that left the faerie Bori's voice as quiet as ever.
"Please, Houden, do what's best for yourself and the child; forget about me, I'm getting old."
Houden sighed as he stood suddenly and looked directly at Jian. For a moment Jian was shocked, had he seen her? However, even after almost a minute of his staring directly at the Aisha, Houden gave no indication that he could see her.
"Am I... invisible?" Jian murmured to herself, gazing at her arms.
She was still all there from her perspective, but it appeared the two Bori could not see her. She let out a sigh of relief, before she was rattled once more by another thought.
If they can't see me, where am I, what am I doing here, and how do I get back home?
Jian felt a small tear roll down her face, but she didn't stop it. She felt so completely hopeless at this stage, that even as she watched Houden leave once more despite Haien's constant protests, she still felt the most sorry for herself. She knew this was greedy, especially seeing the Day of Giving from someone else's view but... her Day of Giving was ruined too!
I see you're not seeing the point of this yet... a whisper floated up to Jian from the ground nearby, and she found herself drawn toward her Fyora figure, still sitting where Houden had left it.
"What... how..." Jian began, but as she picked up the figure, it was cold and lifeless in her hand.
You're here for a reason...
Somehow Jian was certain this voice belonged to the Fyora in her hand, but the lips never moved. It wasn't possible! A quiet coughing fit from Haien brought Jian's thoughts back to where she was, and as the Aisha moved from behind the Christmas tree and toward the faerie Bori her idea was confirmed. The faerie Bori couldn't see her at all.
You need to see what you were brought here to see before you can go home...
Jian looked down at her Fyora once more, and she figured it out. This voice wasn't aloud, it was in her head! As Jian fought this thought, she lifted the Fyora figure to better view it, forgetting that while the Bori couldn't see her, they had seen the Fyora earlier. Haien's eyes widened in shock as the Fyora ornament appeared to float in mid-air and Jian mirrored that shock when she saw the Bori's eyes follow the ornament's every move...
Date: Dec 22nd
It seemed that Haien was not so weak as she seemed, for her eyes were concentrated deeply on the Fyora ornament. Her face was a mix of understanding and curiosity as she stood up, being careful not to falter.
Reaching out for the ornament, Haien took it out of Jian's hands with a force that she didn't know the Bori had. Thus, the Aisha let her take it, for she knew that Haien wouldn't harm it at all.
Moving in that same dreamlike haze, Haien moved over to the tree and took off the other ornament, comparing the two. Finding no differences between either, she murmured, "I didn't think it would happen so soon." Then she put down both on the table and said to the air, "Go on! Take it! I know you're there."
Jian froze, as if she hadn't been frozen already. Could Haien see her?
No, she cannot, the Fyora ornament said. However, she is a lot wiser and stronger than she looks. She will not be satisfied until she knows for sure that you are there.
But how does she know? Jian asked the ornament.
I'm afraid my sister has told her everything, the glass Fyora answered.
And by sister you mean --
Suddenly Jian's thought conversation was interrupted by the turning of a doorknob and the sound of pealing bells of laughter.
It was the child...
Date: Dec 23rd
Bang! The large wooden door slammed shut. Light running footsteps were heard approaching. When the child -- an Aisha with very big grey eyes -- entered the room, Jian scurried out of its path. It reminded her of someone, but she couldn't put her paw on who.
"Where is Houden going? And what is in that bag?" the child roared in fury with a disgruntled face.
Haien looked only at the ground and began to murmur, "I'm sorry, but--"
"NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!" the child screamed as he stamped on the wooden floor. "This was supposed to be the best Day of Giving ever!" The little Aisha turned on his heels and faced the doorway he had just run through moments ago. A quiet sob was the only sound that could be heard.
"I told him not to... I am so sorry. He insists I take my medicine... please don't cry..." Haien pleaded. Jian stood aside and just watched the familiar figure cry. She finally was considering that this group of Neopets were going to have a worse Day of Giving than she was. She was beginning to feel a twinge of guilt.
Jian tilted her head trying to remember anything about this child. As she was delving into her memories, she realised the child might be able to see her! Ever so slowly, Jian moved to the Christmas tree that had served as a great hiding and viewing place at the same time.
The child stopped crying, turned around as if he had heard something, and looked directly at Jian, huddled behind the tree. Jian ceased her breathing and closed her grey eyes...
Date: Dec 23rd
Haien seemed to realise what the child was looking at and immediately tried to divert his attention.
"Um, I know you're upset, but maybe if we go for a walk around town you'll feel better," she suggested.
"Haien, there's someone there," gasped the Aisha in a poisonous tone.
"Don't be foolish," Haien said with a fake smile. "It's just me, you, and Houden in the house. Maybe you're feeling tired... why don't you go--"
"No!" shouted the child. "Hey, you behind the tree, what are you doing there?!"
He began to approach Jian angrily. Jian looked toward the Fyora ornament in Haien's paw, but it gave her no aid. Jian decided that she would have to make a run for it.
The Aisha hopped out of her hiding place and into the centre of the room. However, the child was chasing after her as well.
"Haien, she's getting away, do something!" pouted the young Aisha.
"Just listen to me--" the faerie Bori began before she burst into another violent fit of coughing.
Jian was almost out the door, but she couldn't bring herself to leave. She glanced at poor Haien who was suffering so much, even though she tried so hard to make others happy.
The angry child had almost caught up with her. Instead of running, Jian slid under her pursuer's legs and toward the distressed Bori.
"Do you need some help?" asked Jian, not knowing if Haien could actually hear her.
"I'll be fine for now, but you need this," she said faintly as she handed over the Fyora ornament.
Jian took it gently, but felt something hit her on the back of her head. The child had thrown something at her and caused her to drop the ornament. Both Jian and Haien reached for it, but it came crashing down on the floor...
Date: Dec 24th
The ornament dropped to the floor and made a loud crash, but it did not shatter into a million tiny pieces, like Jian had expected it would. Jian carefully picked up the ornament and turned it over in her paws. There wasn't even a crack. The staff had not broken, like it had when she had gotten dizzy while climbing the ladder.
Haien and the child both looked shocked. They all had expected it to shatter.
"Haien, what's going on here?" the child asked, his voice cracking.
Haien lied. "I don't know."
Haien didn't meet the young Aisha's eyes. She stared at the ground, playing with her paws.
"You're lying! Just like you always do! TELL ME WHAT'S GOING ON!" the child screamed at Haien.
Jian expected the neighbours to come knocking on the door, wondering what was the cause of all the yelling, but nobody came.
"I honestly don't..." But Haien didn't finish that sentence, as her body was racked by a violent fit of coughing.
Jian felt bad for the poor Bori. Jian could tell she was very, very ill, and on top of that she had an angry child yelling at her.
Why are you showing me this? Jian asked the ornament.
Jian was surprised when the ornament actually answered her. You need to see this.
But, why!? She didn't want to see any more of this. She wanted to leave and now.
Jian slowly turned toward the door, placing her hand on the knob. She turned and yanked it, but the door didn't move. Jian yanked again, then a second time, then a third. But the door wouldn't budge.
You are not leaving until you see what you need to see, the Fyora ornament told her.
"I'm telling you the truth," Haien finally had managed to tell the child.
"AGAIN! More lies! Tell me NOW!!"
Haien could see that the child wasn't buying her lies. "Fine. I'll tell you. The truth is..."
Date: Dec 28th
"The Aisha you see is your sister."
Jian felt like she had been rammed by a herd of Kau; she could only imagine what reaction the unstable child was going through.
He broke out of shock first and said, "I don't have a sister! You're just lying again."
Yet this time he lacked his furious conviction.
Haien continued, "Your mother knew that she could never afford two children, so when you were just an infant I offered to take care of you."
"No, no, nononono!" cried the child. "That isn't true! I have no mother, and I have no sister! I hate you!"
With those last words he charged out the door he'd come in.
"Wait," Haien called but immediately burst into one of her fits of coughing.
Once she stopped, Jian asked tentatively, "This is all a big surprise to me, but can you please explain why I'm here and invisible?"
Haien sighed, then began. "As childhood friends your mother and I both had the same Fyora ornaments. When your mother turned over the child to me, she used a little magic on the ornaments, so that whenever you or your brother needed to see one another, you would be taken there immediately. Although magic is tricky business and often has unintended side-effects, such as your lack of... image."
Jian was still way over her head on all the new information, but she still asked, "But that still doesn't explain why I'm here; I didn't even know that I had a brother, let alone needed to see him."
"Ah, but it's not you that needs this, it's him," declared the old Bori. "He needs your help."
Jian found it hard to believe that anyone could come near that explosive Aisha. She glanced at her Fyora ornament, which seemed to being smirking and giving a slight nod. When Jian blinked it was gone.
"Okay," she sighed, "I'll try to help..."
Date: Dec 28th
Jian strode over to the door, which had opened her to two surprises already that day. "I'm going," she called out to Haien, who just stood there, looking as though she was holding back another cough, wanting to stand tall.
"Good luck," the faerie Bori whispered before the door closed with a short snap.
* * *
The Aisha scratched her head and drew her jacket close to herself as she walked through the neighbourhood, passing by cheery Neopians getting into the holiday spirit. They didn't see her, let alone know why she was marching through the streets with a determined yet still somewhat confused frown -- that they wouldn't even have noticed anyway, with her being invisible and all.
She shook her head. Why hadn't she asked Haien for the child's -- no, her brother's -- favourite haunts, or even his name? It seemed unlike her to just jump into this situation... but a part of her pitied the poor youngster, as well as Haien and Houden, who had taken on the responsibility of caring for him.
Luckily, Jian didn't have to search for too long as she found a gang of Neopets going the opposite direction.
"Hey, isn't that Kiyo?" A Grundo pointed to his left, where the line of houses ended and the park began -- and more importantly, to the distant figure of a small and very familiar Aisha walking toward a large, bare tree.
"Yeah, he makes that face so often that I'm surprised it doesn't stick!"
"Don't be mean, Sander. It's not his fault he and his family are poor. But they make nice Christmas ornaments... my dad..."
As they continued, completely oblivious to the fact that an invisible Aisha had just listened to their conversation, Jian hurried into the park. For a moment, she wondered if anyone would notice the footprints she made in the snow, suddenly forming out of nowhere.
But only for a moment -- before too long, she found the little Aisha called Kiyo, who leaned against the leafless tree, hands in his pockets. He found her too, and scowled as she drew nearer.
"Go away," he grumbled, crossing his arms and trying to speak only from the corner of his mouth. "Haien can't see you, so I dunno if anyone else can. I'd look really stupid talking to no one here, anyway."
"I'm not going away, all right?" Jian answered as he looked away. "Besides, there's hardly anyone here in the park. Can't we talk... Kiyo?"
"No!" He tugged at his muffler and stomped off, deliberately crushing the snow in his path with all his might. "Leave me alone! I don't care what anyone says, I don't care what Haien says, you're not my sister!"
Jian rolled her eyes as she hurried to catch up with him. "Like it or not, I really am your sister!" she shouted, rapidly losing patience. Even though he was her long-lost sibling, he needed to be taught some manners. "And whether I like it or not, you're my brother! So wait!"
"I'm not waiting for anyone!"
"Haien said you needed help."
"I don't need anyone's help!"
The older Aisha gritted her teeth as she got close enough to grab Kiyo's arm. He struggled and growled, but couldn't break free. Kiyo made a move as if to bite her hand, but probably realised that since she was invisible, it most likely wouldn't make a difference.
But Jian had an idea -- and a way to finally blow off some steam. She was getting fed up with this difficult child.
"Fine!" she lashed out, letting go of him so roughly that he nearly tumbled into a snowdrift. "If you don't want me to help you have the best Day of Giving ever, or help Haien and Houden, you can just go on home and be miserable there for all I care!"
Jian thought she made a good, bratty show of herself and marched away, although she slowed down a bit.
For once, Kiyo looked crestfallen as he kept his balance and stood there next to the snowdrift. He bent down and scooped up a handful of snow, his gray eyes livid, but he dropped it quickly, watching Jian's retreating back.
It was his turn to cry out, "Wait!" without the slightest touch of anger or bitterness. Grinning to herself, Jian paused and glanced over her shoulder, satisfied to see the Aisha running toward her. He tripped and fell, but picked himself up instantly and was at her side in no time.
"Haien's sick. Houden's always leaving and going to all sorts of places without telling me. Everyone makes fun of me because I'm poor and I can't have new toys. Haien and Houden are always telling me that I shouldn't do anything because they think they can make Christmas ornaments and buy medicine on their own.
"So how can you help me have the best Day of Giving ever? If you're really my sister..."
Date: Dec 29th
"Kiyo, the Day of Giving is not about getting new toys and other useless stuff; it's about being with your family and friends! So you shouldn't listen to the others who make fun of you!"
Kiyo looked up at Jian, his eyes watery. Suddenly, he kicked the snow and growled, his expression so fierce that Jian blinked in surprise.
"But I can't even spend a nice day with my family! Haien is constantly coughing and Houden is never there when I need him! I hate my life!"
Then, his eyes softened and the tears overflowed, streaming down his face. All the sadness he kept pooled inside him for so long broke through the unbreakable barrier and left him sobbing in the snow.
"Help me have that wonderful Day of Giving, please!"
Jian's heart broke to see him look like such a wreck. This was completely different then the boy she had seen screaming at Haien. The feeling inside of her was one she had never felt before. It felt like cold dark fingers had taken her soul and squeezed it so that now it was nothing more than a dark vortex, so painful it easily overcame all her other emotions. If she'd ever needed more proof that Kiyo was really her brother, that feeling was it.
"Of course I'll help you! This is what family is for!" Her silent misgivings didn't match the cheeriness of her voice, though. How could she manage it? In spite of what she'd said, the Day of Giving just wasn't the Day of Giving without tasty food, good presents, and a beautifully decorated tree like the one she'd left behind. She could do the usual things to help out Haien, Houden, and Kiyo -- asking their neighbours to donate things, helping Houden sell his wares to earn Neopoints -- but the gifts would still be hand-me-downs, and the Neopoints would never add up to much. What I can I do? the Aisha thought, distressed. For some reason, her mind went back to the broken Fyora ornament that had started it all. Maybe, some real magic might be needed...
Date: Dec 29th
Jian took Kiyo's hand, and squeezed it tight. This time, he didn't try to wriggle free, and gazed up at her hopefully, sniffling and brushing away the last of his tears with the back of his free hand.
"Tell you what - let's go home first. I'm going to need some help with helping you have that best Day of Giving you could ever have," she said softly. "Besides, aren't you freezing out here? We can warm up at your place..."
* * *
When the two Aishas returned, Haien looked as if she already got her perfect Day of Giving - most especially when Kiyo ran over to her and gave her a hug. Jian couldn't resist smiling; several minutes ago, she never would have thought that such a wild child was also capable of some degree of affection.
"I'm sorry," he whispered hoarsely. "I'm sorry I yelled at you and didn't believe you about Jian being my sister and..."
The faerie Bori said nothing, holding him close and patting his back. Glancing around, she called out, "Where are you, dear?"
"Right here," said Jian, standing perfectly still. "Beside your tree. Umm... I don't know how to say this, but may I borrow your Fyora ornament, please? I think it might help me... well, help Kiyo."
"Of course." Haien slowly let go of Kiyo, who remained silent. After a long bout of coughing that she had probably repressed to embrace her adopted son, she stepped closer to the tree and reached up. With careful claws she removed the ornament from the zenith and held it out. She nodded when she saw the replica hover out of her grasp.
Jian frowned in thought. "So... this will only take one of us to the other, right?" she asked tentatively. "Can't it bring both me and Kiyo to... well, anywhere else?"
Haien shrugged and cleared her throat. "I'm afraid I have no idea. That was all your mother ever told me it would do."
"That's exactly who I want to see," Jian replied.
"Really?" asked Kiyo. "You want to see your - I mean, our mother? Using that?" He pointed to the figurine of Queen Fyora, his finger brushing the gossamer staff ever so slightly.
And at that moment, the scenery began to change, blurring, dissolving, until Haien, her house and even the tree were no more...
* * *
The first thing Jian noticed as she opened her eyes to her new surroundings was Kiyo latched onto her arms so tightly that it hurt. But when he finally relinquished his iron grip, they got a better look around.
"Where are we?" asked Kiyo. The place seemed new to him - and yet, it had a twinge of familiarity. He had the feeling that he had been here before, but it had been so far back in the past.
Jian, on the other hand, was brimming with nostalgia. The stringent combination of herbs and spices hung in the air, and the shelves were well-stocked with bottles and jars of unknown contents. Other shelves had books or even ancient relics. Some were new to her, but others invoked various memories of her mother.
But her reverie was broken by approaching footsteps, and a voice.
"I've been expecting you..."
Date: Dec 30th
"Mom!" Jian cried with excitement as she twirled around to see a tall, elegant Aisha.
"Mom?" Kiyo asked cautiously.
"Yes, Kiyo, I am your mother," she declared with both joy and sorrow. "I'm so sorry that I could be a better parent for you, but I knew that I would see you again some day."
While Kiyo and their mother reunited, Jian glanced around the house. Her heart nearly stopped when she saw a clock. She had spent the entire day away from her home; she could never get everything ready now. Sure, her house was a lot better off than Haien and Houden's, but it was far from ready. The tree was still unfinished, the food was only half done, and the only decorations were simple candles here and there.
Jian glanced at the Fyora ornament and whispered, "I might still need help."
What now? scolded the ornament. I did what I was supposed to do, didn't I?
"You don't understand; I still need to help my brother," Jian declared impatiently. "I can't give him the Day of Giving he dreams of in the short amount of time I have. I need a dinner, presents, anything that'll make this place more festive... Also I want Haien and Houden to be here. Can't you use some of your magic to help with that?"
You don't understand, child, the ornament sighed. That's not how magic works.
"But there has to be something you can do," pleaded the Aisha. "If I did all the work, Kiyo would still be disappointed. Please, I need something that'll give him some taste of joy."
A long silence filled the room, but eventually the Fyora ornament stated, I can use what is left of my magic to fulfill the fantasies of that child, but I must warn you that there is a consequence. My power is limited. If I complete this task, I will have none left to restore you. You would be invisible to everyone except your family for the rest of your life. Are you willing to make that sacrifice, Jian?
Jian was not sure if she was. But then she thought of little Kiyo who had lived a poor life and never got see any luxury; she thought of Houden who worked hard to provide for his family; and she thought of Haien who was willing to give up her own medicine just to see the child smile. If anyone deserved a happy Day of Giving, it was this family.
She finally answered, "I am..."
Date: Dec 30th
"wait... no, actually, I cant." Jian had wanted to say she would. She wanted her little brother to have a good Day of Giving with his family, but could she really give up that much for someone she had only known for less then a day? Feeling utterly ashamed, she looked at the glass figurine of Fyora, its eyebrows arched in disapproval.
"What are you going to do?" the ornament asked. "You made a promise to that little boy."
"I can hear it speak, you know," Kiyo said coldly. "You aren't going to keep your promise, I knew it!" he cried, tears streaming down his face.
"Kiyo, I--I'll find a different way," she stammered.
"No you won't! You're lying!" he said, running out the door and then slamming it, making multiple potions and glass cases fall from their shelves and shatter on the cold wood floor.
"Kiyo! Wait!" Jian pleaded, carefully stepping over shards of glass, the figure placed safely in her coat pocket. She ran out into a frozen Neopia Central, with tons of Neopets bustling around doing their late Christmas shopping. She examined the Neopets in the crowd but none of the Ashias had the eerie gray eyes or the worn out jacket that identified her brother.
Despite an hour of searching through various nooks and crannies and pleading, Kiyo was nowhere to be seen. Jian gave up and walked into a cafe, not taking notice of its strange interior. There, she was ordering a cup of hot chocolate when a loud voice rang out right above her.
"Something has happened! You find a Pirate Paint Brush on the floor!" Stunned, she looked down at her feet where a paint brush had appeared. Jian picked it up, careful not to damage it.
A mutant Kougra ran up to her with greed in his eyes. "I'll give you 12 mil for it!" he eagerly declared. Jian nodded, seeming slightly dazed by the turn of events as he handed her the Neopionts. She shoved them into her pocket and then handed him the paint brush.
Walking out the door, Jian did not take notice of the Neopets staring at her. When she took out the glass Fyora, she could swear it winked at her. "Thank you," she whispered.
At that moment, she noticed that the figure felt much more delicate and brittle. "You're welcome," it said weakly inside her head. "I'm afraid, however, that my magic is gone now. Goodbye, Jian." With that, the figure broke in two, back to the way it was before when she'd had the dizzy spell.
"Goodbye," the Aisha whispered.
* * *
Kiyo woke up in his bed. Strangely enough, he didn't remember going back home. He then suddenly remembered the previous day's events and tears swam down his face as he thought of how his sister had betrayed him. He then began trudging down the stairs toward the living room. Halfway down the stairs, he let out a gasp of amazement -- there must have been 50 beautifully wrapped presents under the tree! His foster parents were smiling and laughing, looking happy and healthier than he'd ever seen them, tears of joy running down their faces. Rushing in, Kiyo picked up a small note that was attached to the tree.
Merry Christmas, Kiyo!
This was truly the best Day of Giving ever.
Date: Dec 31st
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