"Nobody messes with family"
Sabreur and company did show up after a couple days.
Ragged, tired, and triumphant.
"You did it!" my brother exclaimed, hugging
me hard enough that my ribs felt like they were ready to snap.
He wasn't the only one. A wild party soon ensued
at my house with Aldrai at the center. All he wanted to do was apologize, though.
To Terraile, to Un-eairkagh, to everyone. And especially to Netsuko.
We let him. And we forgave him. And bit by bit
Aldrai started to let go of his guilt. But he did not bring his angel wings
Days passed and turned into weeks. Life had
returned to normal, as normal as it could be that is. And I was learning how
to cope without the Essence. True, it was hard. So much had changed. But every
morning I looked in the mirror and saw only my brown hair with a single white
streak. I was just a normal girl. A normal girl with normal pets. Part of me
missed the power I held. I ached to fly again, to feel the very life-force of
Neopia around me. But another part was grateful for the freedom. No more danger.
No more foolish quests. No more stares from people on the streets. Neopia was
not resting on my shoulders anymore. I was free.
Over a month after we left the underground I
was going to head over to Sabreur's house. No particular reason, I just wanted
to see my bro. Finding something to wear each day had become a difficulty as
all my shirts had holes in them to allow for wings. MoonFall had been patching
them back up but I really did need to go on a shopping spree. On that particular
day I pulled out a spaghetti strap shirt instead of a tee-shirt. It was blue
and low cut in the back for my wings. I rarely wore it.
"I'm heading out!" I called to my pets as I
hurried through the living room.
Aldrai was on the couch, a furry red blotch
that still made me do double-takes. His fearsome appearance was set off by his
gentle and understanding eyes. Something resided behind his gaze, a terrible
knowledge and wisdom earned only through suffering. It was the same look the
dragon held when he gave me the crystal, the same eyes Shi'tri held when they
stripped me of my power, and the same gaze I saw reflected in the mirror.
MoonFall gave a strangled gasp as I headed for
the door. I paused.
"Kiddo…" she said weakly, "what on earth did
"You're back," Aldrai whispered, a trace of
disbelief in his voice. "What happened?"
"Whadya mean?" I asked, a tad irritated.
Just then Un-eairkagh showed up.
"KIDDO GOT A TATTOO!" he howled.
"WHAT?!" I screeched and ran full speed for
By twisting around I could see my shoulder blades
in the mirror. Sure enough, two black marks rested exactly where my wings used
to be; like little wings etched into my skin. I hadn't noticed them in all this
time simply because I never wear anything other than tee-shirts.
"Ohmygosh," I gasped.
"What are they?" MoonFall asked from behind
"I have no idea," I replied, "but could you
get me a button-up shirt from my closet? I'd rather not show these off to the
She nodded and left, returning with a shirt.
I put it on and frowned at the mirror.
"It seems the Essence has marked me again,"
I said to myself. "First the white streak and now this."
"But this is all you will ever have," MoonFall
I nodded and again headed for the door. No one
stopped me this time although Un-eairkagh giggled insanely as I passed.
I drove to Sabreur's house. I was almost there
when a magnificent explosion echoed across the neighborhood. I slammed on the
brakes as a fireball burst out from my brother's house. I shrieked and leapt
out of the car, running pell-mell for it. Fire was everywhere. All the windows
had blown out and flame engulfed the walls and roof. My heart was in my throat.
Then I saw my brother staggering away from the blaze with Infernus at his side.
And behind him, just out of the fire's reach, was a teenage boy with fiery red
hair and freckles.
I ran to my brother first.
"I'm okay, my lab just exploded," Sabreur coughed.
"See, that's why I built my house of stone. It'll be fine once the fire dies
I turned my attention to Shi'eus.
"What are you doing here?" I demanded.
He grinned and pointed to the inferno.
"I can appear where there is an excess of power.
And Sabreur here…"
My brother was now staring at the element with
a look of confusion.
"Do I know you…?" he questioned.
"The fusion claw incident? Your energy beam?
That force field generator?" Shi'eus remarked with a grin.
"Ooohhhhhhh yeeeeah… that's right…"
Shi'eus then turned to me. Behind him the remains
of Sabreur's lab burned merrily.
"So Kiddo. We never would have guessed you could
pull that off."
"You underestimate me."
"So we did. But then again, we are not human.
We do not know just how powerful a single human soul can be and how strong the
ties of love can be."
"They are powerful enough to save a pet that
has been lost."
He dipped his head in agreement.
"Yes. Apparently so."
"Now…" I said, "What the heck is on my back
and how do I get rid of them?"
My brother looked blankly at me and Shi'eus
burst out laughing.
"Ah yes. You're stuck with them I'm afraid.
They are magical markings that signify you at one time held the Essence."
I sighed. Great. Just my luck.
"So what happens now?"
"You live a normal life. Nothing more will happen.
We have the Essence and the Elemental Spear in case they are ever needed again.
But your part is done for now. We elements will still keep an eye on you though…
Shi'tri seems fond of you for some reason. We can contact you if need be. Take
care of yourself, alright?"
I looked up and caught his alien eyes.
"Sabreur, I'll be seeing you again…" he murmured
as he bowed and vanished.
"I summoned the element of fire," Sabreur said
with a note of awe in his voice, "I summoned him and didn't even realize it."
I didn't reply, just stared into the sky and
listened to the approaching sirens of a fire truck. Just a normal girl. Just
a normal life ahead of me. And just Neopia's greatest family by my side.
To be continued...