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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 19th day of Running, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 127 > Short Stories > The Bee's Sting

The Bee's Sting

by laurensama

The hot vapor wafted off the glistening dark surface while the steam of the hot chocolate swirled and misted above it. A large gray paw grasped the cup by the handle fashioned like an Aisha’s ear, gently bringing the mug to her furry lips while her eyes stayed fixated to the book before her. It would have perhaps been wise to take notice of the hot chocolate in her paw, but Kuriiro was simply to engrossed in this novel to look away.

     Her eyes whizzed across the page, interested in nothing more than the printed word at the moment. It seemed almost as if the hero was completely trapped! How could he possibly escape? The entrances were surrounded and he was already quite battered… how could he get out?

     “Good book, Kuraiiro?” a voice asked. The mutant Cybunny tore away from the novel and smiled at the sunshine colored Shoyru next to her. Brushing an ear out of her eyes, Kuraiiro gave a nod and a smile in response to the question.

     “Yeah, it really is, I can’t put it down! Could you possibly bring me another hot chocolate? I may be here a while,” she inquired of the coffee shop owner, who gave her a short nod and broad grin.

     “Of course! Another one comin’ up,” the Shoyru announced, gently padding away to the back of the crowded nook. The coffee shop buzzed around Kuraiiro with both the fashionable and erudite filling up the chairs beside her, discussing the many issues of the day. From here she could perhaps listen in on conversations of the latest styles in the beauty shops, or the ongoing debate of who would lead the Darigan people now.

     But Kuraiiro’s interest in her surroundings soon faded as her thoughts traveled back to the violet leather-bound volume in her paws. She would have returned back to her book, until a certain conversation seemed to break past the other mumbles and hums to her floppy ears.

     “Tch, mutants.”

     “Why do they allow them in Neopia? It’s not bad enough that they’re already ugly, but to buy that horrible stuff, it’s so Sloth-like!”

     “I heard that all mutants are Sloth’s agents, like that horrific looking Cybunny over there. I bet you anything she works with Sloth. Probably reporting everything she sees to him so he can take over!”

     “Urgh, traitor!”

     “Disgusting!”

     “I feel ashamed to be on the same planet with something like that!”

     The Cybunny froze, staring straight ahead in pure shock. She quietly turned around towards the owners of the voices, a small gaggle of pets which sat at a rickety table on the other side of the shop, each of them glaring in turn at her. Though they were making no attempt to come up and bother her, Kuraiiro simply did not feel safe around them. Tossing a few Neopoints on the table, she dashed out of there before the other hot chocolate could arrive.

     She always thought that she was used to it, but she never ever was. There was always something wrong with her, be it either her yellow teeth, her big blue nose, the claws jutting out from her paws, or her rat-like tail. What was it that always caused others to look at her with such extreme disgust? She never did anything to them, yet she was always thought to be something apart from their society, the trash which no one wanted to look at, and everyone longed to ostracize.

     Silently she treaded down the beaten path of the shops, trying to find somewhere to hide from the prying eyes of others. A few people didn’t pay any heed as she passed them by, but even more wrinkled their noses in disgust at her. Kuraiiro wondered in her mind what they have to say to her. What cruel sentiments could they impart on her? What horrible darkness was she guilty of helping? How did she muck up their beautiful world?

     “Tch, a minion of Sloth.”

     “Contributing to the decline of our society.”

     “Delinquent. Just plain filthy and disgusting!”

     The shining claws clattered again the dirt as the civilization faded into the back. This was how she preferred it, alone and devoid of the critical eyes of others. But the silence didn’t heal the wounds, instead giving her time to realize her own hurt and loneliness.

     She wished that perhaps she could find someone to simply understand it all, and though she knew people who were kind and generous, able to look past her mutated visage to see the true Cybunny she was. But even in a field of beautiful flowers, a bee’s sting still hurts.

     “Hmm, it can’t always be like this, running away. It’s got to get better one of these days,” Kuraiiro muttered. She flopped down on the grass and looked around, perhaps just willing herself to find a friendly face among the emptiness; however the only thing which greeted her was the silence of the expansive fields. Though beautiful as they were in their simplicity, it was still deafeningly silent and empty, causing the mutant Cybunny to shiver slightly.

     Through the emptiness she could hear a steam gurgling somewhere off in the distance, the lone sound reaching her ears…yet there was also another sound which she caught faintly, and seemed to slip out of existence every now and then.

     It was an odd noise at that, Kuraiiro simply didn’t know what to make of it. It peaked and then was swept away by the wind to the farthest reaches of Neopia. Although she had no idea what to make of it, Kuraiiro’s curiosity was simply to know what in the world it was.

     Hop by casual hop Kuraiiro fled across the plain, eventually reaching the small forest on the side of Neopia Central. It was only a few feet from the Haunted Woods, yet for some reason this forest was entirely untouched by the evils of its sister forest. As Kuraiiro stared into the dark trees the cry was still heard, still sounding still as alien and mangled as before.

     “Weird,” she muttered, following it still though the journey proved difficult. Big feet and a chubby body don’t allow for an easy time through dense underbrush. Yet she was persistent, driven by the remaining embers of anger and sadness over the last few hours. And so among the leaves, mud, and the rocks that dug into her feet painfully, she trudged on.

     The gurgling grew louder, increasing to a deafening howl that crashed through the forest. Slowly, Kuraiiro crawled down to the level of the rapids, keen to the perils of this area. The river itself was very infamous to the natives of the Neopia Central, for many a pet has been foolish enough to play among its banks, and many still were mercilessly swept up into its icy cascading folds.

     “Hello?” Kuraiiro cried out, her voice barley climbing over the sound of the water. She tried to discern any noise from among the sounds of the water, but the cry never came again, gone for perhaps all eternity. Dejectedly the mutant Cybunny plopped down on a log, her thoughts turning back to the days events…

     Until…

     “Help! Please... I’m so tired... I can’t swim…” a voice whispered, amazingly weak and broken. Kuraiiro’s ears flopped up in attention. The sound was definitely close! She knew it!

     “Hello!? I can hear you! Whoever you are, are you okay?!” Kuraiiro hollered, looking down into the river. Panic began to overtake her. What if someone had fallen in? What was she to do? She was not a strong swimmer… she didn’t think she would be able to save them…

     “Mommy? Daddy? Is that you? I’m sorry, I can’t hold on any longer…” the voice sniffled, dangerously weak and in danger of being swallowed by the din. Kuraiiro rushed along the bank, panicked and looking around the swilling waters. It was then in the middle of the river she saw it, a small blue Kacheek clinging helplessly onto a stick, jutting out from the river. Kuraiiro’s eyes shrank in horror as she ran towards the Kacheek, stopping just short of the water itself.

     “Hello!? You out there? Are you okay? Ju—Just hang on!” she called out. The Kacheek seemed to barley notice her, engulfed with complete fatigue, limply hanging on out of simple routine.

     It was then that Kuraiiro had to make a choice; it was either swim out and risk it all, or sit there, and let it happen. She couldn’t swim; she was a land dweller with horribly big feet! She wished at that moment that she perhaps cold have been born with fins.

     But it was now or never, and Kuraiiro didn’t believe in putting things off until tomorrow...

     Narrowing her eyes the Cybunny dove into the icy waters. They pushed and pulled, willing her to go one way, to meld with it, confirm, but she wouldn’t, she refused. She clawed her way through the freezing water, loosing the feeling in her exhausted legs. She was so tired…she just wanted to close her eyes and drift off forever…but she couldn’t, he needed her help!

     “Hey! Hey! Grab my hand!” she called, struggling to hold her position in the river, reaching a desperate claw out to the Kacheek. He looked over at her balefully, the tears still in his eyes. He reached a paw out to her, shivering in the cold water. Kuraiiro seized it and begun to swim towards the river bank with a strength to perhaps even rival that of her much stronger brother. She never wavered in her strength, never faded, stopping only when she hoisted the small, shivering Neopet on the ground.

     “Are you okay?! Say something!” she cried worriedly, trying to poke the violently shivering Kacheek into answering. He looked up at her, as if seeing her for the first time, his eyes growing wide with shock.

     “I don’t want to be a mutant. Please don’t take me to Dr. Sloth,” he said silently, looking at her with complete earnest. Kuraiiro’s heart broke at this, but she still smiled, relived that he was alive.

     “Okay, sounds good,” she smiled. “What’s your name little boy?”

     “Thomas.”

     “Thomas,” Kuraiiro said thoughtfully. “Wonderful name. How old are you Thomas?” Kuraiiro asked trying to see if he was still thinking and lucid. Thomas’s shivering subsided a bit as he meekly held up a paw and extended three fingers.

     “Three? Wow, are you going to fight the Snowager soon?” she cooed, finally earning a smile from the sweet little Kacheek. He gave a meek smile, but it soon vanished as he looked around.

     “Where’s mommy?” he asked

     “Umm... err…” Kuraiiro looked around. She hadn’t thought about that at all, however perhaps Thomas did...

     “I don’t know… do you know where they are?”

     Thomas thought for a bit and looked around, finally settling his bearings as he pointed north.

     “We’re camping over there. We’re from Mystery Island. I was wandering around and got here. I didn’t know that the river would do that…” he said, starting to warm up to Kuraiiro as he chatted about. The mutant Cybunny hoisted him on her neck as she began to walk towards the direction where Thomas pointed.

     “It’s okay, a lot of people don’t know about the river. My brother once wandered into the river and got stuck there for a day. Poor Tahoshi had to stay there for five hours until the police could rescue him,” Thomas giggled in delight at the story, patting Kuraiiro on her fuzzy mane.

     “I like you, you’re funny,” he giggled. Kuraiiro smiled and gave a sad sigh.

     “I think you’re maybe one of the few people who do, Thomas,” Kuraiiro said, walking along the beaten bath. A Beekadoodle twittered a sweet melody above, while the wind whistled through the trees. The sky grew darker and darker with each step they took in silence. It was Thomas who broke the silence a few minutes later.

     “Why don’t people like you? You’re nice and you save people,” he said innocently, not understanding. A wind blew past the two, chilling the damp Kuraiiro to the bone, but her heart slowly grew warmer.

     “Thomas, you know it — it’s because of what I look like… because I’m a mutant,” she said the last bit with sadness. Thomas continued to stare down at her, blinking slowly as he tried to comprehend it.

     “My mommy and daddy say that mutants are mean pets who work for Dr. Sloth. Daddy says that they like to take kids and give ‘em to Dr. Sloth… but I don’t believe him,” he said solemnly, looking at the sky as a lone Faerie floated by. Kuraiiro’s heart leaped at these words while she quickly stopped, staring only straight ahead. Never had she heard such a thing, such a kind and sweet thing before. It struck her heart in perhaps a place it had never been struck while gratuitous tears leaked out of her eyes.

     “Oh, I’m sorry, did I say something mean?” he asked, noticing the tears in Kuraiiro’s eyes. She wiped a tear out of her eyes and continued to walk as the sizzling smell of cooking stew reached the noses of the two.

     “No Thomas, you’ve made me happy, so thank you,” she smiled.

     “You’re welcome Miss Cybunny, you’re really nice! OH!” he cried out as the pair crawled over a log to reveal the hidden clearing. The clearing was full, filled with camping gear and cooking food which sizzled perfectly. A large family sat assembled, bickering about mostly likely about where Thomas must have gotten off to. However at the tiny Kacheek’s squeal they all stopped, running forwards to hug him in turn.

     “THOMAS!” a pink Kacheek yelled, grabbing him off the ground and hugging him tightly. The father also rushed forward, gently ruffling his son’s fur.

     “Oh, you’re soaking wet! Where have you been young Neopet?” the mother snapped, her joy quickly turning into anger. The tiny Kacheek pointed over at Kuraiiro, a smile on his face.

     “I got lost and fell in a river, but that nice Cybunny saved me mommy! Can she stay and play with me?” it was the first time that the family had taken notice of Kuraiiro and perhaps it would have been better if they had not. The mother and father held their son close while a few other relatives gave disturbed gasps. They all looked at Kuraiiro as if expecting her to attack, but it didn’t matter to her. She gave the blue Kacheek a jaunty wave (which he eagerly returned) and disappeared through the brush into the pitch black forest.

     The bee has stung, and it was painful, Kuraiiro had to admit. But it didn’t matter this time, for the flower which she found was the sweetest of all, and its scent alone was perhaps worth bearing the stingers of thousands of bees, if only to have known that it existed.

     And so, shivering slightly, Kuraiiro continued on her way home, no longer seeing the bees which glared at her on the streets, but the beautiful flowers which colored her wonderful world.

The End

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