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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 14th day of Storing, Yr 20
The Neopian Times Week 2 > Short Stories > The Circlet of Glory

The Circlet of Glory

by aera_eaglewings

Screpp woke early, before sunrise in fact, to start packing for the day's job. He didn't know quite how long it would take, but experience had taught him to always be prepared. Of course, that experience came from years of being a thief in the streets of Sakhmet.

A thief he was, and a good one at that. The red Gelert could have practically anything he wanted, from the glittering gold vases of the Sakhmetian rich to the clothes off of their very backs. There was only one thing that he had not yet obtained the courage to steal: the Circlet of Glory.

This Circlet was one of the legendary artifacts of the Lost Desert, and it was made even more so because it had been forged eons ago, even before Dr. Sloth arrived on Neopia. Legend said that the being which had forged it was stronger than even the Faerie Queen, and that the power of the Circlet was immense. In fact, legend said that the Circlet could be used to grant the bearer everything he desired.

That was just what Screpp wanted: a way to get fame, fortune, friends--and to lose the need to ever steal again.

After spending months researching it, he had come to the conclusion that not only was the being which had created the Circlet gone, but that the Circlet was hidden right under the noses of the citizens--somewhere around or inside King Coltzan's Shrine.

So that was where he was heading now.

***

After a three-hour trek through the desert, Screpp was ready to give himself up for lost. Fatigue, though it had been kept at bay for a while, had finally crept up on him. As he collapsed in the sand, he saw some kind of movement in the distance. It was a mirage--it had to be! But no… the thing behind the movement was not a sand dune… it was the Shrine of King Coltzan! He had made it!

Screpp hauled himself up tiredly and set off towards the Shrine. As he got closer, he realised that although the movement beside the great pillar was only that of heat waves, the Shrine itself was real. And beside it ran a small stream that wound around the Shrine and disappeared into the desert.

Thanking the Faerie Queen for this fortune, he took a long drink from the stream. Then he faced the Shrine. What do I do now? He wondered. He reached up and touched a rune engraved into the glossy surface…

…and fell through a huge void. He landed on some hard stone, he couldn't see a thing, and he felt extremely tired. He just wanted to go to sleep…

Suddenly there was light. Screpp opened his eyes and saw that he was in a long, shadowed passageway. And there, before him, stood the Faerie Queen! In her hand she held a circle of light. Screpp gasped; few ever seen the Faerie Queen in person.

She spoke. "Screpp. I know what it is you seek, and I know where it is, for I am its guardian. But there is one thing that you must do to achieve your goal. You must past the Test of Truth, which determines whether you are worthy of taking the Circlet of Glory."

At this Screpp jumped. He had forgotten all about the Circlet. Now it was time to see if he was actually worthy of taking this incredible object for himself.

He stood up shakily and looked squarely at the Faerie Queen. "I'm ready for any test you give me."

"Very well then," said the Faerie Queen. She raised her hands, and Screpp felt himself being pulled forward…

…He landed on a small and sunny hill. As he looked around, he noticed two roads right beside him, leading in opposite directions. If he squinted just enough, he could see that one road led to a small village, while the other--he saw a flash of gold--and then the Gelert realised that the other road led to a huge mound of gold. Instantly he started off towards that pile, but then he realised that someone in the village below him was crying. He wasn't sure what to do--should he head down the path that led to perhaps everlasting riches, or should he go to the village and see if he could help the person in trouble?

Another wail shook the air, and Screpp's mind was made up. He headed away from the mountain of gold, towards the small hamlet, determined to help the person in distress.

As he neared the first houses, he could make out a figure sitting in the village square. He hurried towards the figure and then saw that it was in fact a dirty yellow Chomby.

"What's wrong?" he asked. The Chomby continued to wail. "Really, what's happened? Why are you crying?"

"I-I-ohh, it was awful!" the Chomby cried, distraught.

"What was?" Screpp asked.

"The G-g-grundos," hiccuped the Chomby. "They came, and everyone…" He trailed off. "This used to be a wonderfully rich and great city, with all the buildings made of gold. We were all wealthy and had no needs. We took all of our riches for granted… Then the Grundos came. They attacked us, took all our wealth, our homes, our lives. They left us with nothing, made us flee into the forest--and all this because we were too wealthy and too proud..." The Chomby trailed off and started walking towards a nearby forest.

Screpp followed the Chomby into the woods. With every step he took it felt as though there was an invisible barrier holding him back. Walking became harder and harder. Screpp was aware that he could still turn back, back to the mound of gold, but he was determined to help out the suffering Chomby… he couldn't see anymore, the pressure was so great… he was in the void…

He was in the tunnel again, and the Faerie Queen was floating before him. She was smiling, but Screpp felt very confused. "What's going on?" he asked.

The Faerie Queen's smile grew. "You have passed the Test of Truth. By deciding to help the Chomby, you have proved that you are unselfish and deserve the Circlet of Glory."

Screpp had felt dazed throughout most of this, but when she said that he could take the Circlet for himself… all that glory, all of those riches… all his…

He shook his head. "No. I cannot take the Circlet. After what I saw back there in the village--everything destroyed just because its people were too wealthy and too proud--well, it made me think that wealth and fame isn't everything. Some have it, and that makes life easier, but that's not what you should be proud of having. What's important is that you feel proud of yourself, even if you aren't wealthy and grand. That's true pride."

Suddenly he felt himself rising into the air, and then he was floating next to the Faerie Queen. Her smile had become so bright that he was almost bedazzled by it. "Then you have earned something that is far more important than the Circlet of Glory," she said. "You have learned to respect everyone no matter how wealthy or important or beautiful or strong they are. There is no gift that I could give you which could equal that." With those words, she disappeared, and Screpp found himself standing once more next to King Coltzan's Shrine. He stood there for a moment, then set off towards Sakhmet City, and home.

These days he still continues to live in the streets of Sakhmet as a thief. But he looks at people differently, thanks to the lesson taught to him by the Faerie Queen.

The End

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