...The streets of Neopia Central were completely empty by the time Griden and the mysterious hooded figure arrived. The townsfolk had all taken shelter from the heavy rain and thunder. The air was thick and humid, but Griden still felt a chill; it was eerie to see such a typically cheery and bustling marketplace so gray and empty.
Griden followed clumsily behind as the cloaked figure lead the way, occasionally splashing through the odd puddle that had accumulated on the pathways. His fur was completely soaked in a matter of minutes, but he barely took note.
After a long time of running around the various shops, the mysterious stranger came to a sudden halt near the Money Tree, which was completely empty for the first time Griden had ever seen. He was so in shock that it took him a moment before he'd realized the two of them had even stopped moving.
"I don't know where else to look," the hooded figure said, exasperated. "We've already been everywhere. There can't possibly be a worse storm than this in Neopia right now."
Griden sighed and loosened his grip on the Usuki. "I wish we could just find Baelia already," he muttered.
Without realizing what he had said, Griden let go of the Usuki in surprise as it began to emit a warm, bright light. In his confusion, he did not hear the hooded figure call for him to watch out. Someone -- or something -- tackled him to the ground. His surroundings were consumed by the Usuki's magic light and the world slowly began to fade from underneath him.
Griden awoke in a mysterious forest glade, with jagged pieces of stormy sky peeking through the canopy overhead. Confused, he looked around to find the mysterious figure beside him, along with a Chia Griden recognized as the one who had offered to him at the marketplace. They both appeared just as bewildered as Griden was.
"I see you are awake," a calm voice said from in front of them. They looked up to see Baelia sitting cross-legged in the grass, holding the Usuki in her lap.
"Why did you bring us here?" the Chia demanded. "I was so close to getting that doll! I could have been rich!"
"You know of the story behind the doll?" the figure asked, surprised.
"I do now, loudmouth," the Chia scoffed. "After overhearing you tell this clueless idiot about how it granted you so many Neopoints, I followed you to Neopia Central, hoping I could steal it for myself. However, there was a flash of light and then... I don't know."
"It was not me who brought you here," Baelia said. "This 'pet wished aloud to find me, and so the doll brought him to me in order to fulfill his wish, as is its purpose. The doll's magic was so strong that it just happened also to pull in those who were closest to him at the time."
Griden hung his head in shame. "I guess I wasted my wish, then... I'm sorry."
"No, wait," the hooded figure said. "You could have more than one, remember? Baelia can--"
He trailed off as he saw the grey faerie shaking her head. "I enchanted this doll to grant only one wish per Neopian, without exceptions."
"That's ridiculous," the Chia scowled. "Why?"
"For the same reason you are standing here right now. One wish is enough to ruin one's life forever, as I am sure those who have wished for treasure, riches, and fame have come to realize."
The cloaked figure bowed his head as if to hide his already-concealed face.
"I blessed this doll a very long time ago, when I was angry about the suffering of the unfortunate. I intended it to be a gift for poor Neopets, sad Neopets, sick Neopets; a gift that would bring infinite joy and love and happiness to all. When it was lost from my sight, though, it brought only chaos and greed, and tore apart families and friendships. I must thank you for bringing it to me, even if it was for your own selfish intentions."
"Why's that?" Griden asked.
"Now I am able to seal it away forever."
Baelia vanished in a cloud of gray smoke, and along with her, the Usuki doll.
Disappointed, Griden and the figure trudged along in the opposite direction, too dismayed to say much at all.
"I can accompany you on your way home if you like," the hooded stranger mumbled.
"Thanks," Griden sighed. "Maybe you can help me make something up. Amy's going to be so mad when she sees how soaked I am."
The Chia laughed at the two of them. "Yeah, yeah, what a bunch of sore losers! Too bad you don't have the sense to stick around this hidden part of Neopia Central. It's probably an abandoned faerie glade! Who knows what kind of treasure could just be sitting around?!?"
Griden rolled his eyes and continued forward as the Chia ran off. "Some folks will never learn."
After walking for a few moments, the Chia had quickly grown bored of his treasure hunt and decided to turn around and find his way back to Mystery Island. However, he found that no matter where he turned, he only seemed to end up deeper and deeper in the forest.
He eventually found an old fallen tree trunk and took a moment to sit, tired of the endless walking. With the absence of the constant shuffling sound of his feet against the forest floor, it was completely silent. Silent enough for him to hear a faint hum coming from somewhere nearby.
The hum grew louder and louder as he paced along the log, until eventually his eyes caught sight of a faint sparkle through a pile of twigs. He quickly knocked the branches away, almost salivating at the thought of treasure in his hands.
The twigs cleared to reveal an old Quiguki doll shimmering mysteriously in the light of the forest....