The inside scoop on Jelly W-argh! *choke* Circulation: 102,279,292 Issue: 202 | 5th day of Hiding, Y7
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The Wishing Jewel: Part One

by nut862


"Will somebody go with me for a walk?" the little Cloud Kiko called through the house. Mitara stood by the door, waiting for one of her sisters to appear. Neither of them did.

     Instead, Mitara heard loud voices coming from her older sister's bedroom. Lyshee and Julan were arguing again. Of course, they were arguing about money.

     "It was only 45,000 Neopoints. How do you expect me to win in the Battledome without the proper equipment?" Julan was saying loudly.

     "I thought we agreed that you would spend only 4,000 NP a week on equipment," the older Gold Uni's high-pitched voice complained. "This will throw our budget off-balance for a week!"

     "I never agreed to spend only 4,000 NP a week on weapons! That's just plain ridiculous! Besides, I don't see you saying that your massive purchases of beauty products ever threw the budget off-balance!" her sister yelled.

     Mitara sighed. Her sisters were completely absorbed in their own interests, as usual. Lyshee was obsessed with her own beauty, and money. Julan was an avid Battledomer whose thoughts were consumed mostly with beating the next tough opponent. Lyshee was constantly getting angry at Julan for buying weapons with money that could be used for more skin crèmes and fur shiners. The three sisters weren't rich, but considering how many purchases Lyshee and Julan made each month, it was rather amazing that they still managed to buy food.

     Mitara knew that she was going to have to break up her sisters' argument, as usual. The Cloud Kiko wove her way through the halls into Lyshee's room. She had been there so many times that she could find her way past the walls even in the dark.

     The gold Uni and the green Acara were arguing louder than ever. Mitara stood in the doorway and coughed. "Will you please stop arguing? I want to take a walk outside."

     Her sister turned around and looked at her. Lyshee sniffed. "If you don't mind, we're in the middle of something here. Can you wait?"

     "I'll take you, Mitara," Julan said, stomping over to the doorway and grabbing the Kiko's fin in her paw. She made a face at the Uni as she dragged Mitara out of the room. "Where do you want to go today?" she asked Mitara through clenched teeth.

     "Let's walk along the edge of the forest," Mitara said as they walked out the door. She loved to stroll along the fields and hills of Meridell, where they lived. Mitara loved sunshine, and the song of Beekadoodles in the trees. She loved to take walks and feel the gentle breezes on her face, and smell the many wildflowers of Meridell as she passed by.

     Sadly, the Cloud Kiko could not see the wildflowers, or the Beekadoodles, or anything else that would be found on one of these walks, for Mitara was blind. She had been born with no sight in the large blue eyes that shone with gentleness. Julan or Lyshee always had to accompany her whenever she went out, so that their guiding arms would keep her from danger that she could not see.

     Outside, faint rays of gentle morning sun warmed Mitara's face, and she smiled. The sounds of a busy day in Meridell reached her ears. The Meridell Foods Shopkeeper was calling out, "Get genuine ye olde foods here! Buy now!" An arrow flew with a resounding twang into a target nailed up on a post at the Ultimate Bullseye archery range. Whinnies' hooves clopped noisily down a cobblestone avenue.

     "Let's get out of the city," Mitara said. "I want to go to the quiet places near the woods. We'll cut across the field over there," she said, pointing to an open field with waving grasses, a field that she knew was there only because she had crossed it before, for all she saw of it was darkness.

     Julan obliged, leading Mitara through the field. The noises of the city slowly faded and were replaced by the wind's gentle whispers through the grasses. The grass felt cool and slightly dewy under Mitara, and the breeze was a bit damp. "It's going to rain by tonight," she commented.

     Julan looked up at the thick gray clouds rolling in from the south, blocking the sun from shining at its full strength. "Yes, it's definitely going to rain," she said.

     Julan was taking Mitara on this walk partly for Mitara's sake, and partly so that she would have a chance to cool off from her argument with Lyshee. She was still angry with their older sister, but she wasn't going to say anything to Mitara, because the Kiko disliked hearing her sisters fight. So the two walked on, Mitara enjoying the stroll, and Julan trying to forget about her older sister.

     "Oh, these rowzez smell delightful!" Mitara breathed, inhaling the delicious sweet scent of the large pink flowers that sprang up in a patch in the field.

     They reached the edge of the forest after an hour or so, having been walking very slowly across the field. Julan's thoughts had by now shifted to the Battledome. The new weapon she had bought that morning would help, but she still needed more if she wanted to be the strongest Acara in Neopia.

     Julan said aloud, "I think I'm going to buy several new single-use items for my next battle. I've outgrown Snowballs. I should be…" She stopped short and gasped.

     Not far ahead, Julan saw four shady-looking Kacheeks crouching behind bushes. The four pets' eyes were trained on a tall Gelert who was walking down the field, unaware of the apparent ambush that was about to occur.

     "What is it?" Mitara asked, noticing her sister's gasp.

     "There's a guy up there…I think he's going to get attacked!" Julan said.

     As the Gelert passed by the bushes where the Kacheeks were hidden, the four pets jumped out at him and quickly surrounded the surprised Gelert. Two of the Kacheeks drew knives and waved them in the Gelert's face, threatening, "Give us your money and your items, and we'll let you live! Otherwise, you're never going to get beyond this field!"

     The frightened Gelert began rummaging around in his pockets, but one Kacheek said angrily, "Don't give us your pocket change. We want what's in your money sack!" He pointed to a large, heavy bag slung over the Gelert's shoulder. The Gelert looked scared, but kept searching through his pocket. A Kacheek grabbed his paw and dragged it out from the pocket, telling him to listen to them.

     Julan watched the Kacheeks angrily. "I'm not standing around listening to this," she said. Turning to her sister, she ordered, "Mitara, you stay here! I'm going to take care of this!"

     The Acara charged off towards the ring of Kacheeks. Julan drew a gleaming sword out of a sheath around her waist, the one that she had bought that morning for 45,000 NP. She thought of Lyshee, imagining her sister's reaction when she found out that Julan had become a hero with the weapon that Lyshee had complained about her buying. Raising the sword, Julan ran towards the Kacheeks, crying, "Leave him alone!"

     The four Kacheeks turned in surprise. Seeing Julan charging with the sharp sword aimed directly at them, they gave a frantic cry and dropped their knives. The would-be thieves fled into the forest, leaving the Gelert standing in the middle of the field, looking gratefully at Julan.

     The Acara smiled and slid her sword back into the sheath. She had scared the Kacheeks off too easily. Julan picked up the two knives left by the Kacheeks, intending to report them to the king later, and turned to the Gelert. "Are you all right, sir?"

     "Yes, yes, I'm fine," the Gelert said. "I really appreciate your protecting me from those robbers, although it was a dangerous thing for a young lady like you to be doing. Why, they could have turned on you and attacked, and then we would have been in a mess of trouble."

     "Oh, I know what I'm doing," Julan assured him. "I'm a Battledomer."

     The Gelert blinked. "Are you, now? Well, that's nice, although I never did like fighting, myself. I was going to make those thieves go away myself, but they wouldn't give me a chance to get my jewel out of my pocket."

     A distance away, Mitara, hearing no more signs of battle, crept forward cautiously in her darkness. She followed the trail of crushed grass where Julan had stepped as she ran towards the robbers, until she reached her sister and stood beside her.

     Noticing Mitara, the Gelert stepped back, a bit startled by the sight of the Kiko's clouded eyes. "Why, what's wrong with your friend, miss?" he asked Julan.

     "Oh, she's my sister," Julan said. "She can't see."

     The Gelert looked at Mitara sorrowfully. "I'm terribly sorry to hear that."

     "I know. It's too bad. But anyway, what were you saying about a jewel?" Julan asked curiously.

     The Gelert nodded. He put his paw into his pocket and took out a large, pale purple gem, sparkling in the light. It was polished clear as lavender crystal, and light bounced off of it in every direction. Julan gasped in awe.

     "The Faerie Queen gave it to me after I helped her out a bit," the Gelert explained. "It's a wishing jewel. I realize it sounds like a faerie tale, but this jewel grants wishes," he said proudly. "It had ten wishes in it to begin with, but now I've used seven of them up, and I'm the happiest Gelert in Neopia because of it. I didn't know what to do with the other three wishes, but when those Kacheeks came and surrounded me, I thought it was a good time to use one. Of course, I didn't need to, since you came." The Gelert leaned down to look at Mitara. "Would you like me to wish that you could see, little girl?"

     Mitara was too surprised to answer. She had never thought that there was a chance that she would not be blind. She had never known anything but darkness, her whole life. It didn't particularly bother her, either, for she had never known what it was like to see. How could she know if she wanted to see or not? This was how she had always lived.

     Before Mitara could answer, the Gelert stood up and declared, "I need to reward this young Acara for saving me, even if it wasn't necessary. I'm giving you this jewel." He pressed the shining lavender gem into Julan's surprised paw. "You may use it however you like, but be sure to make a wish for your sister. I must go now," the Gelert added, straightening his money sack and heading back across the field towards Meridell.

     Julan was too stunned to say anything at first. Mitara, though, called out after him, "Thank you, sir, but we really don't deserve it! We're happy as we are, and I'm sure we couldn't think of anything to do with three whole wishes. Maybe you should think about it a little m…"

     Julan clapped her paw over Mitara's mouth. "Quiet," she said. "He gave us this jewel, and we are going to use it!" Julan's green eyes glowed. "Three wishes! Do you realize what this means? We can have anything we want! And I can be strong, like I always wanted!" Julan closed her eyes and clutched the jewel. "I wish I were the strongest pet in the world!" she whispered.

     She opened her eyes. The jewel was still sparkling, as before.

To be continued...

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