Vai shoved someone's paw out of her face, and groaned.
"Seven pets crammed into a one-seater. This
From all around her came the exasperated chorus
of "Vai, be quiet!" she scowled, but closed her mouth. Flame, who was growling
curses under his breath, started the ignition and opened the hatch doors. The
collective screams of seven terrified adolescents reverberated off the walls
of the craft as it plummeted out into space, buoyed by antigravity. Flame tried
to ignore his ringing ears as he switched the ship to 2 engines, and set a course
for Neopia. It didn't help his nerves that every few second someone was complaining
"Do you smell that? It sure wasn't me."
"I can't feel my toes…"
"Ub, Keeg? Would you bind geddid your foot oudda
"I think I just swallowed someone's tail."
Flame ground his teeth, and tried to tune them
out as the little one-seater craft sailed through oblivion towards home.
They landed easily enough, but it wasn't exactly
the ideal location. The center of a lake is rarely considered a good place to
fly an interstellar craft into. Luckily, the hatch was facing out of the water,
and the five pets were able to clamber out. Then Keagn had a revelation;
"Guys… this is Glade Lake."
Everyone stared at him, and then at Flame.
"Nice aim, bro," Bahamut grinned.
Flame shrugged. "What can I say? It comes naturally.
He looked out over the lake, trying to figure
out the distance between them and the shore.
"Me and Warblade can fly, and obviously Torpedo
will swim it. I think Bahamut can get to the other side, but you three…"
Flame looked at the Keagn and Vai, and Katanya
who was still sleeping.
"I think I can get Kitty across with me," Keagn
said thoughtfully, "but Vai's terrified of water."
"So what?" Vai snapped, blushing.
Keagn shot a conspiratorial wink at the others.
"No, it's all right. You can just stay here
for a few hours until we can get someone to come rescue you."
Vai looked down at the rounded surface of the
ship. It was metal so it wouldn't take long to heat up in the sun, and unstable.
Vai peered over the edge at the water below, slapping peacefully at the ship's
edge. A few minutes in there sounded much more appealing than sitting on a steel
buoy for the next six hours.
Vai whimpered softly, held her nose, and slid
into the water. Immediately the lake swallowed her, and she swam up to the top,
gasping. Torpedo, Bahamut and Keagn were already slipping away, Katanya resting
on Keagn's back. Vai groaned, and began paddling.
After a solid 10 minute swim, Vai collapsed onto
the shore. Her black hair was covered in sand, along with everything else. Breathing
heavily, she rolled over, and stared into the violet eyes of Fyora the Faerie
Queen. Vai knew she was seeing things now. It was no more use trying to stay
awake… there was a fizzing greengage breeze waiting on the beach with her name
on it, and she didn't feel like passing it up.
The sun is so warm… like a quilt, except made of sunbeams. And this chair
is so soft, so comfortable. I wonder when my next drink is being delivered…
Vai blinked, her green eyes adjusting to the
bright electric light. She was in her own bed, her head resting on her own pillow,
in her room…
And looking up into the worried faces of twelve
"GAH! Keagn, Mom… Fyora? Holy…"
Whisper hushed Vai, tousling her hair. Despite
the heavy lines under her eyes, whisper hadn't changed much; same crooked smile,
same unruly black ringlets, same Whisper.
Along with Whisper, the other ten occupants
of Vai's room included Keagn and Katanya, Fyora, Illusen, Railene StarFlame,
a Fire Faerie Vai didn't know, hiker52's pets, and a dark haired boy in the
back Vai guessed was Hiker himself.
"Happy late birthday, Annie-V…" Whisper grinned,
using her pet name for Vai. Fyora placed a hand on Whisper's shoulder. "I'd
better tell her now, Eleni. I don't know if she'll listen afterwards…"
"What? Tell me what?"
"You know, the stuff you DIDN'T tell me…" Keagn
muttered. The Fire Faerie elbowed him in the ribs, and he shut his mouth. Fyora
sat at the foot of Vai's bed, and asked,
"I'm sure you heard from Sloth, the story of
who you are. About the sacred Order?"
Vai grimaced as she sat up further, cross-legged
on her mattress. What were they playing at?
"It's not true. He's crazy, it was just some
story he invented. Sloth is a maniac."
Fyora sighed, and shook her pretty head.
"Did it sound like raving to you?"
Vai averted her eyes, but said nothing.
"Anevai, look at the back of your hand."
Still confused, Vai glanced down, and did an
immediate double take. Emblazoned on the skin, Vai saw a familiar shape; the
3 green leaves joined at the petiole. Vai gasped, and glanced around, panicked.
She was waiting for someone to burst out laughing, to say it was all a joke.
But no mirthful faces met her gaze; only solemnity.
"You have a responsibility now, Vai," Fyora
whispered, "the other Elements need you to bring them together, and return what
"N-no!" Vai choked, her eyes brimming, "I'm
not, I won't be…"
The Fire Faerie, seeing her blatant distress,
said in a soothing voice, "Vai, it's all right…"
"IT'S NOT! STOP SAYING THAT!" Vai scrambled
out of bed, kicking off the quilt that had wrapped itself around her ankle.
She stumbled into the corner, breathing quickly, tears sliding down her face.
Choking on her own sobs, she slipped down the wall, her hands dragging across
the wallpaper as if grasping for a nonexistent handhold.
Hugging her knees, Vai buried her head in them,
shaking. "It's… not true. I'm just a normal Aisha, with a normal life… Please,
don't do this to me."
Whisper, her hands clasped and her face anxious,
sat next to Vai and put an arm around her shoulder.
"Come on, Annie V. This isn't the brave Aisha
you were when I left…"
Vai looked up at her owner, her face red.
"I don't know who I am anymore. Yesterday I
was Vai, now I'm someone else. But I don't know who that is…"
Katanya looked at Keagn, her eyes beseeching.
Keagn nodded at her, and she bounded off to Vai, clambering on to the top of
her head. She ducked over, staring upside-down into Vai's tear-streaked face.
Vai sniffled, and looked up into concerned blue eyes.
"Hey Kitty. I… Wha?"
Vai was staring at the golden Nerkmid shaped
charm that made up Katanya's collar, onto which Vai's address was engraved.
"Momma, did you…?"
Whisper nodded, smiling broader now.
The Aisha threw Katanya into a tight hug, tears
still running down her face. But these were different… the ones before had been
self-pitying, fearful tears; these were mirthful.
There were a lot of things Vai could have been
thinking about just then; the quest which had been set before her against her
will, who she really was, what she was going to tell them… but instead, all
she could think was;
I have a sister, I have a sister…
Last Authors note: Yes, I know it is a total cliffhanger, but dun
worry, the sequel to this is being written as we speak. I tried to cover most
of the basic questions, but a lot more will be explained. First, I'm going to
work on another series I started a while ago, and the sequel won't be out until
after that gets done.
For now, all feedback will be gold-leafed, framed, and hung on the wall
of my 2-room Neohome before being replied to ^^. By the way, hiker52( a.k.a
Punchbag Panz) is a real person, and one of my really good friends. Feel free
to pester him with Neomail until he bites my head off.
Uber-much thanks to Zeph (shadowillusen), Talina (amethyst_02), Sarah (moonchik224),
and Panz for being the best friends I've ever had, and bearing with me every
time I sent you this story(e.g. way too much). And extra special thanks to Tomi
(neo_tomi), because without him I never would have gotten this far. *hugz* You