... spirits, and all around the land, translucent buildings appeared in the same white-blue glow.
The spirits took on the image of Neopets, of all ages and colors. Some of the spirits seemed confused, especially the younger ones. However, most of them had a somber look, yet... hopeful? Relieved?
One stepped forward to Donovan, bowed his head slightly. "Traveler... Thank you for setting the city of Kinshu free."
Donovan stared at them, puzzled and frankly, overwhelmed. "What?" He blurted, his voice contrasting with the gossamer illusion before him.
"We were waiting for a traveler with courage and compassion to set us free." The spirit replied. He was an older looking Gnorbu. "I am Akiaro, the elder of the city."
"Okay..." Donovan blinked and shook his head, trying to wrap his head around what we was viewing. "Your city.... you... You're all ghostly!"
Akiaro nodded solemnly. "We were cursed."
Donovan, unable to lie to himself, grew more interested in this entire situation. A curse? He was a traveler- an explorer! Not only did he discover a new island in Shenkuu, but he also discovered a cursed city? Full of cursed residents? "So, what's your story?" He stated. At this point, many of the city's people had surrounded them.
"The land," Akiaro looked around, gesturing to the island, "The land itself has always been blessed. Blessed with good fortune, blessed with good soil, resources, riches... Anything one could ever want. This gift our people received, this land, proved too much. It corrupted us. We grew greedy and selfish."
Donovan was entranced with the story.
"When an outside found our land, we... acted poorly." Akiaro admitted. "We found ways to drive them away. We did not want to share our wealth nor the beauty of this land with anyone. One day, a Xweetok found our land. She claimed to be lost, hungry, and in need of shelter. She asked us if we could welcome her in."
"But you didn't let her." Donovan whispered.
Akiaro shook his head. "Not only that, but we played a nasty trick on her. We agreed to give her what she needed, but instead locked her up and dumped her at the cave... The one you were just in." He paused, looking at the spirits all around them. There expressions were ashamed.
"She transformed into an earth faerie... And she was very unhappy with us." Akiaro murmured. "She claimed she was the one who had blessed this land, and thus had blessed us, and we had mistreated her gift. She gave us a choice. If one person were to step forward and claim the blame for our city turned sour, she would punish them alone and leave the rest of us to try again."
"Not one of us stepped forward, for we were all too selfish to take a punishment for all of our misdoings. She became wrathful- unlike any earth faerie you have seen before."
Donovan could imagine it. He wished he had been there to witness the event himself... Although, maybe not to be punished as well.
"She cursed us, to be trapped in a spirit world, a sort of between place. She proclaimed that we would be stuck here until someone with compassion for the less fortunate and bravery to be accountable came in to save us. We were allowed to take on the form of Belonthiss to hopefully guide such a person here. And today..." Akiaro bowed his head to Donovan once again. "You have come to finally set us free." The rest of the spirits also bowed their heads in Donovans direction.
Donavon's mouth was agape. "So... How do I help?" He whispered, looking around him.
"You have already done what you needed to." Akiaro raised his head to look into Donovan's eyes. "We will now finally move on from Neopia and go where we are supposed to be. And you, if you wish, can set up a civilization in this land."
Donovan's eyes widened further, if that was possible. "But..."
Akiaro nodded. "It is still gifted land, and thus, due to Neopian-nature, is still cursed land."
Donovan nodded thoughtfully, and was quiet for a moment. "Then I think we will leave this land to the flowers and the petpets."
Akiaro smiled faintly. "Not only are you brave and compassionate, you are also wise. Thank you adventurer, you have done my people a great service."
With that, Akiaro and the other spirits faded away, as did all traces of their wondrous old city, to leave Donovan alone with the natural beauty of the island.
Donovan stayed the rest of the day to play with the Altachucks and Dofreys, and to watch the sunset, before he went off to his next adventure.