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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 6th day of Running, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 64 > Short Stories > Colour Identity Crisis

Colour Identity Crisis

by terrabondayle

"Twenty seven... twenty eight... twenty nine... THIRTY! Ready or not, here I come!" Raigara Ranailez shouted to her bond-brother, Devlin, who was currently hiding somewhere in the forest of Meridell. The two pets were playing their daily game of Kacheek Seek, and like always, Devlin was not very hard to find.

     Raigara crept slowly behind the bush where Devlin's black and white fur peeked out. "FOUND YOU!" She shouted at the top of her lungs, and barged into the plant, sending twigs, leaves, and squawking Eyrie in the air.

     The green Uni laughed as Devlin landed with an indignant ruffle of his wings. "That was a bit uncalled for, wouldn't you say?" he muttered irritably.

     "Of course, dear 'bond-brother,'" she replied mockingly, with a snicker. "But it does get rather boring playing Kacheek Seek with you when you are so easy to find."

     The Eyrie harrumphed. "It's not my fault Catriona (Terrabondayle) decided I should be skunk. Why, if I had a choice, I would have asked to be green! Then I could camouflage in the trees and bushes just as easily as you!"

     The Uni raised a sceptical eyebrow. "You have enough brains to hide in a spot that's the same colour as your fur? Incredible! His mind is actually expanding!"

     Devlin let out a screech as Raigara tried to gallop away from his sharp but deft claws. Sitting at a (relatively) safe distance, Catriona watched as Devlin leaped into the air and began a tail-chase after the guffawing Uni. She shook her head, leaned back on the tree and returned to her book. I wonder if Devlin was serious about what he said. If he did not want to be coloured skunk, why didn't he say anything? It's not as if I forced him to be skunk, and at the time he seemed delighted...

     By now, Devlin had finally come within tackling distance of the mischievous Uni. Beating his wings vigorously, he slammed into her, sending them both crashing into a tree. Catriona winced, but the skunk Eyrie cried out triumphantly, with his wings spread out to guard his defeated prey. For the first time in history, Devlin had won Kacheek Seek.

***

Grey clouds blotted out the sun as Devlin flew towards Meridell. Spotting Illusen's Glade, he banked towards it as a few drops of rain dripped on his fur.

     "Ah, Devlin!" the Earth faerie greeted him warmly. "You have returned. Have you brought the item I requested?"

     "Yes Illusen," the avian replied and handed her the organic carrot."

     "Excellent!" Illusen smiled and with a gesture of her arm, a novel appeared in her hand. "Here's a little something for you. I know you and Raigara like to read." The Eyrie showed no reaction causing the faerie to frown. "What's wrong, Devlin? Why are you so downcast today? I thought you loved rain."

     "I do," the Eyrie spoke without lifting his head.

     "Then what is bothering you, my dear?"

     "Oh, Illusen, I want to be painted green!"

     The faerie blinked. "Don't you like being painted black and white?"

     "Well, yes, but I can't quite remember the reason behind it. I have reasons why I want to be coloured green, but it seems like there are none on why I wanted to be painted skunk. Would it be erroneous to want such a thing? To be painted green?"

     "There's nothing wrong with that. Green is the colour of trees, leaves, and much more. It's a splendid colour."

     "Indeed it is," the Eyrie sighed. "But Illusen, is it the right colour?"

     "Only you can answer that, Devlin. I'm sorry I can't help you more than that."

"Thank you anyway." With a small nod of his head, the skunk Eyrie took off into the skies.

     The rain dropped steadily as Devlin fought against winds that were growing stronger by the minute. His thoughts wandered but the same unanswered questions continued to plague in his mind. If I were green, I could direct earth magic better, and I would have just as many advantages as Raigara--not only in Kacheek Seek, but everywhere! Then what is holding me back? Why does my heart keep refusing? How does--

     "--Watch out!"

     A fire Pteri with a bucket in its beak came hurtling in to Devlin's side causing the two to tumble towards the ground. After what seemed like an eternal fall, the Eyrie hit the ground and was welcomed into the darkness.

***

Devlin woke hearing a groan before realising it was he who had just made the sound. He lay in the grass just outside Neopia Central and closed his eyes, trying to remember what had happened. The Eyrie sat up slowly but regretted it instantly. His head felt like a swollen ptolymelon and hurt like he had just been hit with the Sword of Domar.

     He heard a sudden screech and spun around quickly, suppressing the pain in his head. A fire Pteri hopped about groggily, and screeched again when he saw Devlin was awake.

     "Oh, apologies, good sir!" It cried in a shrill voice. "I couldn't see where I was going with the sun blocked and all, and your black and white fur didn't help very much--no offence meant of course--and I was in quite a hurry to bring back this bucket to the Wishing Well. I am terribly sorry, Sir Eyrie. I hope you are not hurt too badly...?" The Pteri tilted his head to the side and examined Devlin with sharp yellow eyes.

     "Err, no, I'm fine thank you. Wait... no. I do not thank you, because that fall has given me a lump on my head the size of a ptolymelon! Indeed, I am quite angry that you, a Pteri of all pets, and one of the most skilled flyers, would be careless enough to crash into me! You expect to win the Pteri Flying Championships with that kind of performance? I bet my bond-sister Raigara could beat you, and she's a Uni!" Devlin did not raise his voice, but his fur stood on end, and his feathers were ruffled to appear much larger than usual. His amber eyes glared with a sudden light, and the Pteri backed down visibly.

     "Please Sir Eyrie, it was an accident. I... I must go now! It is almost dusk, and I am very, very late." The Pteri jumped and lumbered into the air, wings flapping furiously.

     Devlin snorted before walking in the opposite direction. As he passed by the bookshop, he noticed his petpet, Calanthil, hurrying out the door. The poor Crokabek screeched Devlin's name urgently without noticing the Eyrie standing right in front of him. Calanthil launched himself into the air, but forgetting to flap his wings, crashed into the window of the nearby Guild Headquarters.

     "DEEEEEEEEEVVVVVLLLIIIIIIIIINNNN!!!" Devlin was startled that the petpet could still manage a cry with his head flattened by the window.

     "I'm right here, Calanthil. What is so important that you need to go crashing into windows and running into bookshops just to find me?"

     The Crokabek blinked in surprise at seeing the skunk Eyrie before him, that he was speechless.

     "Well?" Devlin said impatiently. "Out with it."

     "Um... I forgot," mumbled Calanthil sheepishly.

     "No big surprise," the Eyrie snapped. "Crashing into windows must have damaged half of your brain." Seeing the Calanthil sinking lower into the ground with dejection, his voice softened. "I'm sorry Calanthil. Maybe you'll remember on our way home."

     With a sudden jerk, the petpet jumped onto his shoulder. "Of course! I remember now! Raigara went to Krawk Island for training and has not returned. Catriona told me to go find her and I saw her swarmed by Pteris! One of them--a fire Pteri--kept mumbling "Sir Eyrie" quite angrily. He had Pteri sword held in one wing. I told this to Catriona, and then she told me to go find you."

     "Oh wonderful," Devlin muttered sarcastically.

     "You know him? Is he your friend?" The Crokabek jumped up eagerly.

     "Don't speak such nonsense Calanthil! Come on. We are going to Krawk Island.

***

The avians blended into the dark sky as they flew swiftly to the pirate isle. Rain poured from the clouds and soaked their fur, but they pressed on.

     Devlin shivered suddenly but it passed quickly and he ignored it. "Where did you see them last, Calanthil?"

     "At the buried treasure house. Oh! They're still there!" Calanthil looped in the air excitedly.

     "And the Pteris are surrounding her," Devlin muttered. Calanthil prepared to dive towards Raigara who was surrounded by Pteris but Devlin grabbed him before he could fold in his wings.

     "Don't be a fool. They will attack us for sure that way. I bet if we hit that fire Pteri, the rest will back off."

     "But I thought he was your friend, Dev--" The rest was muffled as the Eyrie placed a paw over the Petpet's beak.

     "Be quiet Calanthil, or they will hear us. Here, take this Improved Lightning Beam and shoot it--around them mind you, not at them! They will hopefully be confused, maybe even frightened enough to back off, and that is when I will strike. Do you understand?" The black petpet nodded, took the weapon, and flew off into the clouds.

     Right. Now what am I going to do? Uh-oh... did I tell him when to start shooting?

     On cue, bolts of lightning came from above and--miraculously--struck around the flock of Pteris, causing all but one to fly away in fright. Without time to think, Devlin plummeted towards the remaining Pteri, who had feathers and fur the colour of fire.

     "Come back you cowardly excuse for Pteris! We are not done! Cowards!" The Pteri raised his head to the sky. "I know you're here Sir Eyrie," he cried mockingly. "You think you can stop me from taking your sister's money and items? I'd like to see you try!"

     "Humph, he doesn't know very much, does he?" Raigara muttered. "Not only am I not a 'sister', but he's been begging for me to give him the money this whole time."

     The skies echoed a battle cry and the malicious Pteri turned around, only to see a streak of white plunge from the darkness. Pteri and Eyrie clashed as lightning continued to strike the ground from above. The green Uni immediately remembered what had happened in their game of Kacheek Seek with the tree, but this time they were on an island. "Devlin! Watch out for the water!" Raigara's cries were lost in the crashes of lightning and heard only a splash for reply.

     "Devlin, you fool Eyrie! You can not swim!" The equine rushed to the edge of the water, but no matter how hard she squinted, she could see nothing. She thought she caught a faint glimpse of a drenched fire Pteri struggling to fly in the distance, but the Eyrie was nowhere to be seen.

     "Devlin! DEVLIN! You feathered dolt, where are you?! How am I going to ex--Ahh!"

     Surprised by the sudden impact, the Raigara lost balance and tumbled into the shallow waters. Through the roars of thunder and lightning, the Uni thought she heard a chortle. "Oh, bond-sister, that was carried out so marvellously, you would have thought it was rehearsed!" The skunk Eyrie doubled over until he fell on the ground, rolling around with laughter.

     Raigara, however, did not find the incident funny. Salty water soaked her main, and her wings drooped like leaden weights. "I suppose this is your means of revenge, dear bond-brother. Just remember Devlin, when you are painted green, you'll have the same number of advantages as I."

     "Oh, but Raigara, did I not tell you? I no longer want to be painted green. I think staying skunk may give me even more advantages than you."

The End

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