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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 23rd day of Eating, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 51 > Continuing Series > Follow the Stars: An Aisha's Story - Part Four

Follow the Stars: An Aisha's Story - Part Four

by muas

Picking up the Quill

THOUGH I WAS quite enthusiastic about the Defenders, and got constant encouragement from Reizend (who insisted it was "my destiny" to be a Defender), I slowly became aware that there was more to life than my job, glamorous though it seemed. I was missing out on my family's experiences, and I felt left-out. My siblings insisted to me that they were fine, but I knew they just wanted me to continue on.

     QVL gave me one last assignment, one he knew meant a lot to me: capture the Pant Devil, once again. I succeeded, in a quiet meadow near the home he'd recently burglarised. And so I began and ended my career with a small blue urchin with a fetish for pants.

     At home, I was welcomed with open arms; my family had always been supporting, even if they didn't agree with my decisions. Reizend had taken up drawing (and had pretty much stopped reading his extensive collection of books), Juega exploring and gathering artifacts, and Klaue training. He'd always been rather obsessed with his stats and didn't want to let them "go to waste," as he said.

     I found myself with nothing much to do. I tried drawing with Reizend, but I couldn't even draw an acceptable smiley face. So I joined Juega on some of her hunts, but I accidentally broke a priceless Maraquan piece of pottery. Training with Klaue was likewise unfortunate, though not because I was bad; because I was too good. He was getting jealous at the skills I'd learned through the Defenders.

     At one point, I was crossing through Reizend's room to get to the kitchen when I noticed, truly noticed for the first time, his library. Books of all sorts lined the shelves, almost hidden under the general disarray Reizend was so fond of. I'd known, of course, that he was previously a voracious reader before starting his art, but I'd never actually thought about his books before, nor figured that they might be interesting. I'd borrowed that fateful Neopian Deaths book from him, but that was it.

     I stopped walking and began to examine the shelves, looking for a book I might be able to borrow from him. Why not? I thought. I've tried everything else to pass the time.

     Eventually, I found a rather interesting tome entitled Watch Out!, about the villains of Neopia. Quickly, I realised that I could have used this while I was a Defender, and wondered why it wasn't required reading for all "newbies". A quick call to QVL--who owed me a few favours collected over the years--remedied the situation.

     As soon as Watch Out! was finished, I moved on to Life Behind the Bow Tie, Caring for Your Neopet (all volumes), Maps of Neopia, Loyal Lupes, Golden Shoyru Book (Reizend's prized possession; I had to beg for it), Popular Neopian Stories, Time Travel, Book of Bizarre Tales, Theories of Physics, Uni Myths, Neopia's Past, Snowy - A White Kougra Story, and all the others in his extensive collection.

     I soon found that reading could make the time fly and I was no longer bored. My siblings began to call me Bookworm, and they made jokes about always finding me reading, but I didn't mind. My head was filled with strange and wonderful ideas that I'd never encountered before. I learned new concepts and ideas, and taught myself many more things. Sure, I had got along fine before, but somehow this seemed superior. Reizend grinned every time I brought this up, and he said the same thing had happened to him. It was amazing.

     Eventually, I had read the majority of common and some uncommon books in Neopia. Muas was only too happy to buy them for me, and was very glad I'd found something to amuse myself with. Unfortunately, though, there was a limit to our funding, and she couldn't buy me the rarer books. I slumped back into boredom once more, until one fateful day.

     I had just finished reading a story about Eyries when I thought of a possible plotline for another Eyrie book. As I thought about it more, I realised I could easily write it. Why wait for another author to come up with the same idea? Why bother? Before I forgot it, I ran to my desk, picked up the quill pen I kept there, and started writing. And before I realised how long I'd been writing, I had an outline for the story completely mapped out. All that remained was to write it...

     ...and write it I did, working morning till night for a week. I edited, revised, and bugged my siblings about every paragraph. They still recall me asking, "Does this sentence look OK? Would it sound better reworded? Does it evoke emotion in you?"

     Finally, I was confident that the story was the best it could be. Everyone gave it a thumbs-up. I sent it in to the Neopian Times early one Thursday morning, thinking that it was too late to get published in Friday's issue. To my surprise, though, when I opened the newspaper the next morning, there my story was:

The Impossible Dream

by Muasaum

The first time I'd ever seen my name in print was a joyous one for me. I showed everyone the copy, and ordered dozens more. I couldn't resist saying "I was in the Times, you know," and polishing my golden quill trophy every day. I was falling victim to a massive ego, and it wasn't even justified--all I'd written was this one short story!

     Muas was the one who brought it to my attention, gently, by taking me to visit a few much more famous Neopians and Neopets who didn't act quite so bigheaded. That certainly calmed me down; I stopped bragging and started working on my next essay.

     Halfway through, however, Muas hit some financial problems. I never really understood, but I got the gist of it: Muas, while helping out some other Neopians, had brought our bank account down to about 1,000 Neopoints--not enough for four pets and a human to eke out a living on, even with omelettes and games. We all gathered in the living room to figure out what to do.

     Unfortunately for us at the time, publication in the Times was not profitable; no one made any money off of it; none of the things my siblings did would gain us any NP either. After a bit of hard thinking, I latched upon an idea: a store!

     "We have all of those books," I said, motioning in the general direction of Reizend's room, where our books were still kept. "I've read them, Reizend's read them, and Klaue and Juega have read the ones they want. We don't have to keep them. They're probably worth a good deal of money, especially Golden Shoyru Book.

     Muas, you wouldn't have to do any of the work. I'd love to do it, since I could write in my spare time."

     "That sounds like a great idea," said Muas, "especially if you could do it. Reizend, are you OK about selling your books?"

     "Sure," said Reizend. "I don't read much anymore, anyway."

     I set to work carting all the books to Muas' shop, which she was letting me turn into a bookstore, the next day. Juega and Klaue helped briefly, but mostly, it was my work; I didn't mind. I cleared out the old items there, and set the books up, dusting them and the shop itself until they all shined. And then, the next day, it opened.

     The flood was immense. I suppose people had come by, seen the shop, and then realised they would want to check it out when it was open. At any rate, I almost sold out in the first few hours and found myself low on stock by the end of the day. Muas used half of the money from the till to buy more books for the next day.

     Of course, the business tapered off, but it was steady for many days. I worked on my articles between customers and got more done than I'd ever thought I could. After a month, we had enough Neopoints for me to open another shop in Faerieland, selling not just Faerie books, but books of all shapes and sizes; from childrens' simplistic little stories to gargantuan epics even the most learned of Neopians hesitated to try.

     And I kept writing. It became the love of my life. I wrote fictional stories, mostly--stories about the Defenders, about adventures, about simple little acts of kindness; and people loved it. One fan wrote me, "it was in your stars to write." I was amazed that people thought my work was of such high quality.

     One day, I sat down, parchment in front of me, quill in my paw, and thought of what I could write. I decided that my life might not seem interesting to me, but I should preserve it for others. And so I began to write... this story.

The End

Previous Episodes

Follow the Stars: An Aisha's Story - Part One

Follow the Stars: An Aisha's Story - Part Two

Follow the Stars: An Aisha's Story - Part Three

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