Never fear the shadows. They simply mean that
there is a light shining nearby.
"Where are we going, Mommy?"
It was night. Two figures could be seen walking
down the street. One was a woman wearing a black shawl. The other was a very
young Faerie Gelert, scrawny and dirty.
The Gelert tugged at the end of the woman's
shawl causing it to fall. The woman quickly picked up the shawl to cover her
long dark hair and purple eyes. She looked down at the little Faerie Gelert
and observed the panic in the Neopet's green eyes. "Somewhere fun."
She walked away and the Gelert struggled to
keep up on her short legs. The woman sighed in frustration. She grabbed one
of the Gelert's paws roughly and continued walking.
"Where are we going?" the Neopet repeated, a
tiny hint of fear in her voice.
The woman didn't bother to answer. She walked
even faster, dragging the Gelert along. The Neopet gave a suppressed cry of
pain as she stumbled on a rock. The woman pretended not to hear.
"Can't we stop?" the Gelert whined, wincing
as she walked with a wounded paw.
The woman halted abruptly and let go of the
Gelert's paw. They were standing in front of a white building. "Alright, stay
here. I'll be quick." She entered the building.
The Gelert sat on the sidewalk, nursing her
injury. She looked around furtively and wished her Mommy would hurry up. She
could see trees with gangly branches and shaggy green fronds. They seemed to
be closing in on her without a sound. She hated the silence. The Gelert saw
a shadow approaching from the trees. Her fur stood on end. Fear seized her.
She squeezed her eyes shut.
"What's a youngster like ya doin' out here in
th' dark?" a deep voice asked.
The Gelert opened her eyes. Her good paw immediately
reached for the key hanging on a ribbon around her neck. "Go away! My Mommy
will be here soon," she said in a shaking voice.
The voice that had spoken earlier belonged to
a stranger. He was a Yellow Chia wearing faded denim coveralls and a straw hat.
He looked at the Gelert with kind, blue eyes and smiled. "She must be one heckuva
gal to leave ya out 'ere."
The Gelert stared at the stranger's blue eyes
and felt herself relax. "She's good, my Mommy. She went in that building."
The Chia let out a noisy laugh. "She'll return
alright! When m' Floating Cactus Flower sinks, I'll believe ya!"
She frowned. The Gelert looked confused. "What
do flowers have to do with my Mommy?"
The Chia snorted. "C'mon, lil' one," he said
offering his paw. "Have a cup o' hot Borovan at m' place. Or mebbe a glass o'
Apple Cider soothes ya more."
"Mommy says I shouldn't talk to strangers,"
the Gelert replied haughtily.
"I'm Chill. Pleased to meet ya, miss," the Chia
said. "There. Now, we ain't strangers no more. C'mon."
"My name is Sprite." The Faerie Gelert shook
the Chia's outstretched paw. "I'll go with you but you have to bring me back
here after. Mommy will be waiting for me."
"Sure, sure," Chill agreed. "But first, I'll
find a bandage for tha' wound o' yours. Thought ya could hide it from me, eh?
Besides tha', ya have to take a bath. Phew, what a stench."
"Hey! I don't smell."
Chill smiled and lunged at her. While Sprite
cried in protest, Chill carried her in his arms all the way to the Chia's home.
Neither of them looked back.
"Chill, could you stand still for a minute?" Sprite stared at her canvas with
intense concentration. She dipped the tip of her brush in blue paint.
The Chia stopped what he was doing and let out
his signature guffaw, the guffaw that Sprite had learned to love these past
four months. "I'm a plantin' Perfume Mallows 'ere. Ya expect m' to stand still?"
Sprite made a face at him. "I'm almost finished
with this painting. I have to get the color of your eyes right."
Chill looked at her fondly. The Gelert stared
into his blue eyes and mixed a bit of white paint to the blue. "There! I finally
got the exact same shade as your eyes."
The Chia's eyes twinkled merrily. He bent down
and continued planting Perfume Mallow seeds on the fertile soil. Sprite began
painting Chill's eyes on her painting.
"So, ya finished with th' books I bought ya?"
"I'm finished with The Big Book of Karma, In
The Dark, and Rainbow Painting. I only have one book left: All About Dark Faeries."
"Wal, I'm gonna buy ya some more when I finish
Chill had a humble Neohome in Neopia Central.
He had a wonderful garden he tended to everyday. He gave Sprite everything a
growing Neopet needed without spoiling her. Well, spoiling her too much, at
least. Sprite had taken a liking to reading and painting. The Chia tried to
give her books and art materials whenever he earned NP's.
Does she think about tha' owner o' hers?
Chill thought to himself. She neva mentions 'er. Mebbe she's forgotten about
The two of them had returned to the NeoLodge
(the white building) to wait for Sprite's Mommy. She never came. The Gelert
wanted to stay there but Chill would hear none of it. He persuaded Sprite to
come with him and she submitted. Not without a fight, though.
"You're a comin' home with m' 'cause there's
choclit gum waitin' fo' ya if ya do," he had said as a final resort.
"Chocolate gum?" Sprite said with curiosity.
She followed m' home. Sprite had grown
a few inches and gained some weight since then. She was a homebody who would
rather watch Chill's plants grow than meet other pets in the neighborhood. Chill
wondered when the Gelert would make friends. There's no time like th' present.
"I have a friend from these 'ere parts," Chill
ventured. "Ya wanna go over to 'er place n' play with 'er Neopet?"
Sprite wasn't listening. She was too busy adding
the final touches to her painting.
"She's an Aisha, I hear, with a passion fo'
"Chocolate gum?" Sprite repeated vaguely. She
grinned. "Ah, my painting's done."
"Good. Now, ya head fo' Purple's place, d'ya
Sprite placed her painting where a patch of
sun could dry it. "Why am I going to Purple's Neohome again?"
"'Cause there's choclit gum a waitin' fo' ya
if ya do."
"Is that a bribe?" The Gelert hid a smile with
"Wal, ya have to go out into th' world a bit.
Tha's why ya have to go."
Sprite noticed the worry lines on the elderly
Chia's face. Chill had grown older and thinner. His once vibrant golden skin
had been reduced to pale yellow in just a short period of time. "I'll go, then.
Would you like me to bring something?"
"Here," said Chill giving her a pack of chocolate
gum. "Ya give tha' to 'er pet."
"Okay. I'll be back before sundown."
Witch woke up to the sound of a song from her Jazzmosis Seasonal Album. She
stretched her arms and rubbed her eyes lazily. She sighed and got up from her
"Morning," she greeted herself in front of the
full-length mirror. The white Aisha in the mirror gave her a crooked smile.
Witch brushed an imaginary wrinkle out of her
black Twisted Roses shirt. She reached for her black lipstick and applied some
on her already dark lips. Slipping on her Jazzmosis Hat and Shades, Witch grabbed
a piece of Chocolate Gum from a cluttered table. As she slipped it into her
mouth, someone knocked on the door.
"What?" the Aisha shouted in her raspy voice.
Currant, her Zomutt, rushed toward the closed
door and pounded against it. He barked continuously drowning out the reply of
whoever was outside. Witch rolled her eyes and gave Currant a spooky doughnut.
The Zomutt promptly stopped barking and proceeded to munch on the treat.
She heard a tiny voice from the other side of
the door. "What? Can't hear you!" Witch reached for the doorknob and opened
it with a bang.
"I SAID I'M SPRITE AND CHILL SENT ME HERE!"
The White Aisha was greeted by a high-pitched
yell. Perfect soprano, she thought. "You are?" Witch asked aloud, giving
the Faerie Gelert in front of her the once-over. She could see nothing of interest
on the Neopet except a rather ancient-looking gold key with a ruby in the middle.
It hung on a velvet ribbon around the Gelert's neck. Stylish, she thought
"I… I…" Sprite stammered. She tried not to gawk
at the white Aisha. A very outrageously dressed white Aisha, she corrected
herself. She looked at the Aisha's black claws and lips. Eww… The lips were
moving. Probably chewing on something horrible. Sprite immediately wondered
why Chill would want her to be friends with a... well, with a Neopet like this
one. "I'm Sprite."
Witch could hear the forced cheerfulness in
the Gelert's voice. "Witch," she replied without offering her paw for Sprite
Sprite's jaw dropped. "Who are you calling a
WITCH?" she said, outraged.
Witch smothered a chortle. "Not you. I'm
"Oh." She paused for a few seconds. "I'm looking
for Purple. Chill said to give her pet… erm… you this." Sprite brought out the
pack of Chocolate Gum.
"Purple's out. Won't be back 'til later," Witch
replied, still chewing. She snatched the pack from Sprite. "Thanks for the gum.
'Bye." She slammed the door.
Sprite blinked. She looked at her empty paw,
dumbfounded. Suddenly realizing what had just happened, Sprite frowned. "How
RUDE!" She stomped away angrily.
Sprite began walking the way she had come. The
sun had already set. It was dark now. Chill will be worried about me.
The Gelert could see no moon and no stars. She shivered, looking at the trees
with gangly branches and shaggy green fronds. They seemed familiar, somehow.
She could hear light footsteps from behind her.
Sprite turned around hastily and glanced around. No one. The Gelert walked
more rapidly, pretending not to hear the footsteps. She thought she saw a shadow
but she acted as if she didn't notice.
"Sprite…" someone hissed.
The Faerie Gelert stopped in her tracks. The
voice. She knew she'd heard it before. "Who's there?" Sprite said in a quivering
voice. She looked carefully at the trees.
Out of the dark, a woman materialized. Her long,
dark hair reached the ground and her purple eyes flashed with evil. "It's time."
"Mommy?" Sprite whispered. She stood, transfixed,
at the woman she had been trying to forget for four months. "You've come back."
"I said I'd return, didn't I?" the woman snapped.
"This would have been much easier if you WAITED for me!"
Sprite trembled. "I'm not coming with you,"
The woman sighed exasperatedly and tapped her
foot. "Stay here if you want. Hand over the key."
Instinctively, Sprite reached for the key and
closed a paw protectively around it. Something inside her told her not to give
it to her Mommy.
"No," she said firmly.
"I GAVE it to you, didn't I?" the woman cried
out with such force that the ground shook. "It BELONGS to ME!"
"No," Sprite repeated, trying to sound brave.
Her legs felt wobbly but she forced herself to run.
"You won't escape me!"
Sprite felt herself getting weaker with every
step. It was as if something was weighing her down. "Help!" she screamed with
a gasping breath. "Help…" She fell to the ground.
The Faerie Gelert's eyes seemed to be weighing
down, too. Sand. There's sand under my eyes. She compelled herself to
open her eyes and they did. Sprite knew that she couldn't hold on for much longer,
though. Help! she screamed mentally.
Suddenly, she was blinded by light. Someone
seized one of her paws. Panic ruled Sprite's mind. She struggled and kicked,
hoping that her captor would let go. The Gelert screamed and screamed. Please,
somebody hear me!
"Stop kicking! Making it hard for me."
Sprite did stop, realizing that the voice she
heard wasn't her Mommy's voice. She opened her eyes and moved her legs without
difficulty. "I'm okay!" she yelled happily.
"Alright, already. Stop screaming in my ear."
Sprite looked at Witch, her rescuer. The white
Aisha was holding a Moon Staff, its light making everything glow. "Did you see
where Mom… erm… the woman went?"
"What woman?" Witch asked, baffled. "Found you
Sprite frowned and looked around. They were
in front of the NeoLodge. Where did Mommy go? She clutched the key, relieved
that it was still there. Why did she want the key?
"What are you doing out here?" Sprite asked
Witch looked embarrassed but she quickly regained
her composure. She looked at Sprite wearing her usual expression. "Pretty creepy
out here at night. Wouldn't want anyone to get hurt. Followed you when you left
to make sure you get home safely. Brought my Moon Staff with me. Heard you screaming.
Thought the Pant Devil appeared or something. Went here and saw you…"
Sprite was touched by this unexpected act of
kindness. She didn't know why the woman suddenly disappeared when Witch arrived
and why she wasn't able to get the key. Some other time.
"Dun' judge a flower by its seed," Chill had
said one day when he was planting Instant Rose Seeds. Sprite had said that a
beautiful rose could never come out of an ugly brown seed.
"Would you mind having a cup of hot Borovan
at our place? Or maybe a glass of Apple Cider?" Sprite suggested, inspired.
"Wouldn't mind," Witch replied with a crooked
smile. "Wouldn't mind, at all."