"HEY EVERYBODY," Jason hollered up the stairs, "COME
TO THE LIVING ROOM! WE HAVE NEWS!"
The Shoyru, having successfully called
his siblings, plopped happily onto the couch as the thumping of feet began to
sound. TaipeiSS hummed a tune to herself as they awaited the arrival of the
others. A Christmas Gelert soon appeared at the foot of the stairs with her
little sister riding on her back.
"Daine, I really don't see why you have
to hitch a ride on my back. You're Halloween. You can FLY."
But the Ixi paid no attention to this suggestion.
"Giddyup! To the couch!"
They had just cleared the ground floor
landing when a Faerie Kacheek swept down the stairs. Also arriving on the landing,
she turned to the bay window to survey her garden for a minute. Pleased with
her findings, she hopped down the step into the living room. A vocal commotion
followed, consisting solely of the Ixi and Shoyru. They chattered away loudly
about random things, not make very much sense at all. Taipei cleared her throat.
"AHEM! May we get started, you two?"
Jason and Daine grinned widely and nodded.
"Thank you. It's year six now, and there's
lots to be expected. One of the things we may have to expect is another war.
History has shown that practically every year has heralded in a new war into
Neopia. This year, my dearests, this year we shall be prepared."
"We're stockpiling bottles of water and
digging a shelter to hide in when Neopia goes 'KAPLOWEEEE' so we can be the
last Neopians in the world? OH NO! We're going to be the LAST Neopians in the
WORLD! AAAHHHHHHHH!" Daine clung to Taipei's leg as she screamed. The others
were silent and merely watched her until she had finished.
"Are you through, Daine?" Taipei asked
her, an eyebrow raised.
"Uuuummm... YES! I am quite finished. Thank
you, darlings!" She took a bow, then hopped back onto the couch next to her
brother, who was trying to muffle his laughter.
"To answer your quite, erm, delusional
question, no. We aren't going to do any of that stuff. This," Tai pulled out
a flyer and pointed, "is what I'm talking about." She passed the flyer around
to let everyone get a look. Jason continued the explanation.
"You see, the pirates have noticed that
a war might come on Neopia, and they've decided to help out. They're recruiting
pets from all over to train with them on the high seas, and if the menace decides
to attack from the water, we'll be the first there to defend!"
Daine thought for a moment. "Soo... we're
going to throw things at them? OOH! How about rotten omelettes?! We coul-"
"No," Jason interrupted, "Ver, Dainey brainy
baby, I've joined the pirate armadas! Isn't that the coolest?"
Daine seemed a tad bit surprised. "Yeah...
I guess. So how long's it gonna take you to train with them? A few days, a week
"Erm, Daine? Now that I've joined, I'll
probably be gone for, um, well," Jason couldn't bring himself to say it, so
Taipei came to his rescue.
"Months, Ver. And if he's needed to fight
at sea for the war, he'll be in for longer." The girl's voice was soft, knowing
that this might be a sensitive subject for the Ixi.
"Isn't it cool, though?" Jason tried to
be cheerful for his sister, her face already falling. "Yeah, I'll be with the
pirates! And, and I can say 'Argg, mateys' a lot, and call you all 'landlubbers'
and all that spiffy stuff! I'll be getting stronger, too! Isn't it awesome?!"
"Sure Jay," the Ixi muttered, "it's just
splendid." With that, she beat her wings and sped out the front door. Taipei
"Oh no, where's she going? I'm going to
follow her, guys, and..."
"No, Ma, I think this is my job," the Shoyru
said as he stood and walked to the next room. "I know where she'd go anyway,
so you guys stay here, and I'll talk to her. Everything'll be fine!"
"Yeah, I hope so," Thayet wished softly.
Zel nodded and began to color a picture in her sketchbook. Tai just sat on the
couch and tried not to look too worried.
The Shoyru sped through the skies, his Rainbow-colored wings flashing in the
sunlight. Veralidaine was nowhere in sight, but he knew where she had gone.
Meridell was always her escape when things were too serious at the house for
her liking. She'd go back and spend the day laughing at whatever was there.
No doubt she had gone there this time! The only question was where in
Meridell she had gone.
He sighed and pushed thought out of his
mind, allowing himself to enjoy the flight. The icy, January air nipped at him
as it slid past, while the toasty sunlight warmed him at the same time. The
air was fresh and clean as he sped towards Meridell.
He came into the medieval land later in
the afternoon and, after descending, approached the nearest castle guard that
stood on duty.
"Hello, sir? I'm looking for my little
sister. She's a Halloween Ixi."
The Draik snorted, hardly looking at Jason.
"Son, we see a lot of Ixi around here."
"Oh, well, um, the charm on her collar
is a star. Her name is Lil_Veralidaine, and I'm pretty sure she has an Airax
with her. She's about this tall," he said, motioning, "and she's normally pretty
"Well, I did see a little one who matches
that description, although she didn't talk at all. Seemed a bit... dismayed.
She was kinda sniffling a bit. Headed towards Ultimate Bullseye."
"Oh, thank you sir!" Jason sped off towards
the archery yards, winding around the inhabitants of Meridell as they went about
their business. She probably went to watch, he thought to himself, and
since she likes fire, I'll bet she enjoys the arrows flying through the fiery
hoops. Oh, I hope she's okay, and I REALLY hope she doesn't bother anyone.
Daine and Jason were known to wreak havoc practically anywhere they went.
When the Shoyru arrived at the yards, they
were practically deserted. He narrowed his eyes and scanned the area for his
little sister, and was shocked when he saw her, for she wasn't watching anyone
shoot. No, it was she who brandished the bow, and a handful of people leaned
against the fencing to watch her. He approached her quietly, watching as she
deftly loaded an arrow, drew it up a bit, and let it fly. It hit the bullseye
squarely, thwanging a bit as it shook. Daine felt his presence, but didn't turn.
Instead, she loaded another arrow before she spoke.
"Well well, you found me." Her voice was
cold and sharp, quite unusual for her wild and open nature. She tugged the string
of the bow, and the arrow shot out in a perfect arch. It landed just outside
"Wow Ver, you're really good at this,"
Jason admired softly. "I'd have to say you're even better than Mom at this."
"I'd hope so," Daine muttered in the same,
stony voice, "considering that I'm the one with Meridell blood running through
"Yeah, I know, but you'd just think that
hooves would make it harder or something, you know?"
Daine, exasperated with side-stepping the
topic, sighed and turned around to face the Shoyru. "Look, Jay, just say what
you want to say."
"Daine, you know that you're the greatest
little sister there is. You're my best friend! I just... I thought you'd understand
what I've planned for my future!"
"And don't you understand, Jay?
Don't you understand how I feel about all of this? Yeah, you're my best friend.
You're awesome. You've been around since the day I was born! And now you're
just going to pick up and leave me?"
"Ver, you act like I won't come back!"
"That's cause you won't, Jay, you're not
coming back. Instead, I'll have some stuffy older brother who can't spare a
moment to not be serious. You're not going to have a sense of humor," Daine
informed him, her voice cracking, "and you'll have too many things on your mind
to hang around me anymore. I've heard about other pets who've done this, Jay,
and even they can't admit that they're the same."
"But Ver! They aren't me! I'll always be
there for you! A few months isn't a long time!"
"Four months, four years, I really don't
see a difference." Daine, filling with emotion, quickly turned to loose an arrow.
It, again, hit dead center.
"Look, Ver, it won't be so long! I'll come
back and be able to protect all of you, and it'll be great. Yeah, it's choppy
waters ahead, but after that Ver, it's smooth sailing for us!"
"OH! REAL smart, Jason," Daine cried out
in rage. "YEAH! You're just GENIUS, using euphemisms that have to do with pirates,
and the sea, and"
She whirled around again, sending three
arrows soaring into the air, one after another. They all landed either in or
near the bullseye. Calming a bit, she spoke again, her voice quivering.
"Jason, you mean everything to me. You're
my older brother, and you're always there to watch out for me. You're my best
friend too. I tell you about everything. Sometimes I feel like you're my only
friend. My Petpets, well, they're pets. As for Thayet, and Zel, and Mom, well,
they're not like we are. They've got their own worlds, and their own things
to do. I mean, yeah, they love me and they'd love to be around me, but there's
nobody like you, Jay! Who am I going to have once you're away? Who's going to
pull me through stuffs?" She sank into the grass, the bow and quiver of arrows
falling softly to her side. Jason sat beside her, and she leaned over to rest
her head on his shoulder.
"I've never seen you this serious about
anything before, Ver," he whispered.
"I've never felt this strongly about anything
before, Jay." She sniffled as a tear dripped onto the grass.
"You know I'd take it back for you if I
could, Ver. You make me not want to go. Now that I'm in, though, I can't just
say I don't want to do it anymore."
"Yeah, I know," she sighed softly, "and
I don't want you to either. I mean, I don't want you to go or anything, but
I don't want to come between you and your future. I guess it just has to happen
this way, hmm? Who knows, maybe I'll start doing other things."
Jason smiled. "What, besides pulling pranks
on Ma and helping me dice Thayet's plants into bits 'by accident?'"
Daine laughed. "Yeah, but I'll be sure
to eat one of Zel's pastels from time to time, just for you."
The two headed home soon, the light of dusk guiding their way. Taipei was overjoyed
to find that they were okay, and she only hoped that they were okay inside,
"Yeah, Momma, I'm fine. It's going to be
okay." Daine hugged Tai and Jason, then headed to bed.
"I sure hope so," the Shoyru whispered.