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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 21st day of Sleeping, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 140 > Short Stories > Nathan's Song

Nathan's Song

by tree_rhymer

"Get up, boy! There's work to be done!"

     Nathaniel groaned, opening his sleepy, gold-green eyes to greet another sunrise on the quaint little village that was his home. The small Ixi shook the cobwebs out of his head and stood up on short, stocky legs. His green fur was matted and stuck up in funny places where he had slept on it.

     Nathan looked up shyly to meet the cold, gray eyes of his owner. Their poor family worked as a team to run their house, which served as a Bed-and-Breakfast for traveling passersby on the dusty road to Meridell Castle. The town was small, consisting of a few houses and abandoned barns, with rolling, green hills in all directions as far as the eye could see.

     Nathan and his three brothers worked for their owner, who was a hard master in many ways. His short temper and greedy personality resulted in his pets underfed and overworked lives. Nathan was the youngest of them all, so he was the one most picked on and given the most time-consuming tasks that his brothers thought they were too important for. They called him 'Baby' and 'Runt' because he was so small, and he was often pushed around.

     His owner turned a blind eye to all his older brothers bullying because he did not care how he got his Neopoints, or how the job was done, only that it was done.

     Nathan trotted to the kitchen, his tiny hooves clopping on the cold, stone floor. His job in the mornings was always the same, repetitive job as it always was. Nathan actually didn't mind his jobs that much. He was very quiet, and he hardly ever spoke. When he did speak at all, it was only to sing. Singing was Nathan's favorite thing to do, but he only did it when no one else was around. Being so shy and reserved was how he dealt with all of his emotions. He kept them inside until he had a chance to sing again.

     He sang of many things, it just depended on his mood. If his brothers had been picking on him, he sang a sad song, one of longing for a better life. But if he was happy, his sweet melodic words would fill the fields with his joy. When Nathan was singing, he was so caught up in what he was doing he never noticed the way all the creatures within hearing distance stopped what they were doing to listen. Or the way the little Whinnies in the field next to his would crowd around their fence, aching to get nearer to him and his sweet voice. Nathan knew nothing of his mysterious power over every being who heard him sing.

     Life in the small village was very dull, doing the same exact things over and over again the next day. They rarely got any interesting customers at the Bed-and-Breakfast, only dusty, old travelers and passing soldiers headed to the castle. Due to all of these things, Nathan woke up expecting nothing more than the usual chores and uneventful day. But that was not what he got.

     Nathan scrubbed a pot at the sink, balanced on two hooves on a little stool so he could reach it. One of his older brothers came in, his tail flicking back and forth by itself. The blue Eyrie was obviously smug.

     "Hey! Runt! Did you know that after you went to sleep we got a customer? Master was so flustered; he didn't know what to do! We finally got her room set up upstairs, no thanks to you. You're so lazy!"

     Nathan's ears perked up, but he kept scrubbing the pot, looking like he was ignoring his brother, but really hoping his would continue describing their visitor.

     "I guess you'll never know what she even looks like, runt! She just left! Ha ha!" his brother said as he walked out, very proud of himself, slamming the wooden door of the kitchen behind him.

     Nathan hung his head miserably. He knew he couldn't leave the kitchen to go and catch a glimpse of the guest. A tear slid slowly down his cheek. Things just weren't fair for him. He never got to do anything exiting of worthwhile. Nathan thought about how his brothers picked on him just to make them selves feel better. Then he began to sing, hoping no one could hear since the door was closed. His mournful voice slowly raised in volume, until the very wood floors hummed in time with his song.

"The mocking bird cries mockingly,

At the pain upon my head

The hawk above, the sighing dove,

Not joy, but grief instead.

I deal with a loss that no albatross

Could ever expect to bear.

The blackbird and the bluebird know

The bruises still are there.

Cardinals are red with blood

That came from my bleeding eyes.

With cranes and crows and condors

Filling their mouths with lies.

Vultures fly right over me,

Circling in for the kill

Owls could certainly save me,

Even though none of them will."

     Unbeknownst to Nathan, the guest from last night had not left as Ben had told him. While his brothers and master were busy, the traveler had been drawn to the kitchen door by his singing. She stepped softly, not knowing where she was going. The beautiful Aisha's ears twisted as they heard the song, starting faint, but growing as she came nearer to the source. Her silky yellow coat of fur was smoothly brushed, and she wore fine garments, marking her as high-class, or even royalty.

     Her blue satin dress matched a veil and headband, and glittering jewels sparkled in the weak candlelight of the house. She pressed her ears to the kitchen door, listening in wonderment.

     Myrah was a handmaiden for the Princess of Meridell. She was sent away from the castle to get a very rare and expensive type of perfume for her Princess. She went alone so no one would suspect anything, and she had a fake story to put off any questioners she encountered along the way. Myrah was also a very trusted advisor for Princess Ethema, and one of her good friends also.

     Myrah gathered up her courage and pushed the door open.

     Nathan didn't realize she was standing in the door way as he let the last note ring in the air until she started clapping madly. He jumped so high in the air in surprise one could have mistaken him for a Cybunny.

     "Oh, bravo! Bravo! That was wonderful! You have an excellent voice! I've never heard anything like it!" she said excitedly.

     Nathan scrambled away from his stool, tripping over himself in his haste. He leapt up and backed away, eyeing her like she was going to attack him.

     The Aisha stepped toward him, a kind smile on her face.

     "Oh, please don't be scared. I didn't mean any harm. I'm sorry I startled you," she spoke gently.

     Nathan blushed, looking down at the floor and drawing little circles in the wood with his hoof nervously. "It's okay," he mumbled.

     Myrah knelt down in front of him, holding her paw out to shake. "Hello, I'm Myrah. What's your name?"

     Nathan hesitated, and then carefully gave her his hoof to shake. "I'm Nathan. Nice-Nice to meet you." He smiled hopefully up at her, and she beamed back.

     "You know Nathan, you have a very extraordinary voice. Why are you here washing pots and pans when you could be out in the world, making Neopoints with that voice?" She said, sitting down on the floor so they could talk.

     "M-Make Neopoints?" he squeaked. "I had never thought about that…"

     "Oh, yes!" Myrah gushed happily. "Why, you could even sing at court! Like for banquets and royal balls, that sort of thing. I know for sure that the Princess would be happy to employ you for the job!"

     Nathan gaped at her. "The Princess? Are you sure?" he had never even dreamed that his voice could make him prosperous. His owner frowned upon silly things like daydreaming of riches and a better life.

     "Of course! I assure you, Nathan, there will be an open spot at the castle waiting for you, if you ever decided to get out of here." Myrah stood, dusting herself off, glancing at the door. "I have to go now, but I promise that if you come to the castle, you will get the job. When you show up, just ask for me, okay? The guards will let you in."

     Nathan's eyes glowed with wonder. He hadn't ever thought something this good could happen to him. The idea of an adventure exited him.

     Myrah walked out, hoping the little Ixi would take up her offer and come to the castle. She packed her things and stepped out the door, but she hesitated for a moment when she heard tiny hooves scrabbling madly for a foothold as Nathan came galloping down the stairs, a small sack full of his meager possessions on his back. As soon as he regained his balance, he trotted up to her, a huge grin on his face.

     "I thought you might want some company for the trip back to the castle, Myrah."

The End

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