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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 22nd day of Hiding, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 52 > Continuing Series > Fields of Green: Part Three

Fields of Green: Part Three

by gzusgirl

Teaching Above Your Station
    
Time seemed to slow as Alex ran. It seemed to him that he had never gone slower in his life. He couldn't move two feet to push Jackie out of the way. Jared seemed to be moving faster than light, while Alex was going slower than a turtle.

     But then Jackie's challenging smile flashed into his mind as she jumped up and slammed the edge of her palm against where Jared's neck connected to his shoulders. He fell in a heap onto Jackie, but he had dropped his sword.

     Time went back to normal.

     Alex fell to Jackie's side, "You killed him!" he shouted. He couldn't believe it actually sounded like an accusation.

     "Nah... just knocked him out for a few hours."

     "He really hates you!"

     "Yep. Oh well. Doesn't matter."

     "What'd you do to him, out of curiosity?"

     Suddenly Theo and Arcane were hoisting their leader upon their shoulders and taking him inside.

     "Man, oh man! They are so LOYAL to that guy!" She sighed, "But they don't know that he wouldn't give a tiny copper coin for them, do they?" She looked sadly at Alex.

     "No, they don't, but you're avoiding my question."

     "What I did to him? Oh, sorry. It's kinda embarrassing."

     "How can it be embarrassing?"

     "I didn't think it would work. That's HUMILIATING to me!!"

     "Why?"

     "I think you're avoiding your own question now... if that's possible, that is."

     "I think it is. What'd you do to him?"

     "Well, I sneak into the palace library every night. Don't tell your parents, though."

     "Don't the guards stop you?"

     She giggled, "Nope! I give them some of Gigias blueberry muffins every night, and they let me in without question."

     "Who's Gigia?"

     "One of the messengers. She sneaks into the kitchen every night, too. I let her practice her recipes in there, in return for a few muffins. That way I can give them to the guards, so I can go read the books there."

     "Interesting cycle there. So what about it?"

     They were walking back to the palace now, "Well, I read a story in there about a girl who was a warrior. One of her secrets was to hit a person in that little corner of the neck and shoulder, and PALOINK! Out they go!"

     "So you were just testing things out while your life was at stake?!?"

     "What's the big deal? If you had stayed put, I would've just blocked him with your sword, but noooooo... you had to MOVE!"

     "Back to the topic. Why did you know to do that?"

     "Well, I figured I had about three seconds to live, so I might as well TRY to survive. It was the first thing that came to mind. Come to think of it, pushing you out of the way would've been more efficient, but oh well."

     "Why push me out of the way? He was going after YOU..."

     "Oh, no, see... if I had just dodged, you would've been hit, because you were in front of me. So I just had to push you out of the way, and he would've run into a tree or something."

     "Wouldn't he just stop?"

     "An object in motion tends to stay in motion... especially big objects."

     They both laughed.

     "Jackie, can I ask you something?"

     "Sure, what?"

     "Why were you, um, COLLECTING (I think that's the best word for it) their swords?"

     "Oh... heh! I'm a scavenger, that's why."

     "What's that mean?"

     "It means that I don't let things go to waste. If I'm out walking and I see something that I think is interesting, I keep it. If I just came out of a battle, I would go back and take all the shields, swords, and armour."

     "Weird."

     "Well it might be for you! You don't sit in your room and wonder if you'll still be employed tomorrow!"

     "You do that?"

     "Uh... yah!"

     "Why? You do a good job, don't you?"

     "Well... let's just put it this way: If the people here didn't love me so much, I wouldn't be here."

     "I thought you said they don't like you."

     She laughed, "That's what the government WANTS you to believe, Alex. They love me. Every time I come running in (late) for my kitchen duties, everyone looks up and says (almost in unison) 'Oh, it's just you, Jackie.' but they all are smiling. Most of them sit there and watch me. It's kinda scary when you think about it."

     "You are the direct opposite of me. You have people who love you pretending to hate you, while I have people who hate me but have to pretend to love me just so they aren't destroyed."

     She shrugged, "You could always use that to pull WONDERFUL pranks, you know."

     He gasped in horror, "I would NOT use my power to do ANYTHING like that."

     She shook her head and laughed, "You've gotta lighten up, Alex."

     "No I don't. You need to be serious."

     She looked him over and laughed, "You're right. We're opposites."

     "Well, you know what they say... opposites attract. That's probably why we're friends."

     It was all Jackie could do not to stop dead in her tracks and scream for joy. She'd never had a friend before. Never. Ever. NEVER IN HER WHOLE LIFE! She wanted to fling her arms around Alex and laugh hysterically, but she didn't want to scare her friend away. She settled for, "I've never had a friend before."

     "Me neither."

     Jackie couldn't stop herself. She stared at him, blinking. "YOU never had a friend? Why not?!"

     He shrugged, "People are either mean (like Jared), or too formal (like the rest of the world). No one is real with me. You act yourself around me, or at least I think you do..." He cocked his head and looked at her sceptically.

     She smiled wide and spread her arms out wide for examination, "This is me." Then for added measure she made an ugly face and crossed her eyes, then puffed out her cheeks and tried to make herself look fat, "And this is Jared."

     Alex laughed. If she was yellow and had a curly tail, she might've looked just like him, "That's Jared all right!"

     Jackie enjoyed making her new-found friend laugh. She looked serious and walked stiffly, "Hello. My name is Theo. I do whatever Jared wants, what? Coming Jared!" she said in a bored and flat voice.

     Alex laughed again, "I don't know how they do that. I don't know how they don't see that Jared doesn't care about them! When he gets in trouble, he lets them take all the blame, but yet they come to his rescue constantly!"

     "Yah. It's almost sad that the goons... erm, Theo and Arcane... don't know that he calls them names behind his back!"

     "You call them goons, too?"

     "ALL the servants call them that. It's Jared and his two goons."

     Alex laughed, "He calls them his followers."

     She shuddered, "Weird."

     "How'd you know he calls them names behind their backs?"

     "Because his maid tells your maid, who tells the guard, who tells the cook, who gossips to the other cook, who is eavesdropped on by... ME!"

     "There is a vast network of communication between you guys, isn't there?"

     She laughed, "The only interesting thing about working in the palace is all the gossip. Whatever you say is listened to by the workers around you, who will most definitely gossip about it to someone else, and by noon the whole palace knows about it!"

     "You guys don't tell that stuff to my siblings, or the nobles, right?"

     She shook her head, "Even if we tried, they wouldn't listen."

     He nodded, "So when you think you'll be able to give me my first lesson?"

     She thought about it a moment then said, "I dunno, really. Hmm... OH! You'd better go back now. Your parents are probably worrying their little royal heads off because you've been gone so long. Shoo!"

     "You're avoiding my question!"

     "No I'm not. I told you I'd tell you when I could! Shoo!"

     Alex started to leave, then stopped when Jackie called out, "Don't tell anyone we're training together!"

     "Why?" He turned around to face her.

     "Because it's dangerous on my part. I could be arrested."

     "What! Why?"

     "For teaching above my station," she said, stepping past him and walking toward the palace.

     Alex opened his mouth to say something, but decided against it and scurried off to his room. He knew his family wouldn't worry. They knew where he was. The whole PALACE knew where he was.

     He wondered as he scurried. He wondered if Jackie really COULD get arrested for teaching above her station. Everyone who watched the fight KNEW that Jackie was good, and that she was going to train the prince.

     The thought of Jackie being taken away scared Alex. It scared him more than anything he'd ever been scared of before.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Fields of Green: Part One

Fields of Green: Part Two

Fields of Green: Part Four

Fields of Green: Part Five

Fields of Green: Part Six

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