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A Hand to Guide You: Part Two


by spunkyclaire

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When I awakened, for apparently I had passed out, I was in the hospital in Neopia Central. The familiar green gelert doctor was standing with his back to me at the chart nearby, and Bee was looking out the window. I could see the lines of worry by her eyes, which were also very bloodshot. I had no idea how long I had been unconscious, nor did I comprehend why I was here. My memory was foggy as the clouds that surrounded the top of the distant Terror Mountain. I didn't say anything for a moment, simply sitting and quietly observing my surroundings. Many flowers and cards sat on the stand next to me. There was green and white tile on the floor, white walls, and everything was immaculate. Nothing new, normal for any hospital. But why am I here? I thought. I racked my brain as to why I was in the hospital. Where had I been, what was I doing? I seemed to remember something about Spring Break, then a vacation, and then a tidal wave of memories flooded my mind, washing away the dense fogginess. I remembered everything in fast forward mode, scenes and memories flashing before my eyes. The trip to Mystery Island. Entering the Island Mystic's hut. The wind, the chanting. The pain. I suddenly remembered the sharp, cutting feeling I had felt on my skin. Why had it hurt so badly? I wondered. Cautiously, I lifted an arm from under the covers. Crimson cuts formed an intricate design in my skin. It was thin, delicate, and yet very deep. Sweeping lines encircled my arms. There must have been a dozen separate lines flowing over me, all ending the tops of my hands. They came together in a coiling symbol, a twisting circle. What did it mean? I thought.

      I gave a sigh, and Bee quickly turned around. She looked drained but relieved to see that I was awake. She came over and gave me a gentle hug, sitting down on the bed at my side. The doctor also came over and looked over her shoulder.

     "How are you feeling, Anika?" she said sweetly.

     "All right, I suppose." My mind was bursting with questions I was dying to have answers for. I flipped through them, trying to decide which one was most important. I settled on one, all-encompassing query: "What on earth happened to me?"

     Bianca took a deep breath. "Well…as you know, we went to see the Island Mystic. He told you that you were to be the "Guide", and then after he pointed his stick at you, you fell to the ground…" Her face paled as she remembered the incident, "and you passed out. The Mystic didn't ever think that would happen, he told me, and the wind died down. I rushed you to the harbor, where we quickly got you on a boat and sailed here. The Mystic came with us. He watched you and gave you some healing herbs." At the mention of the Mystic, I took on a look of disgust. Bee noticed, and said, "I really think he is quite sorry for what has happened to you. He never meant for you to react like that. He feels very responsible for you now."

     "How long have I been here?" I asked curiously.

     Bee answered, "Three days. The doctors found nothing wrong with you except for your strange cuts, which should heal in time. However, they say you'll always have the scars."

     I looked again at my hands. The strange symbols were oddly comforting. Bee continued, "The Island Mystic still stands by his claim that you are to the Guide. He has offered to take you in and prepare you. I feel that what he says is true. I have accepted his offer. You will go and live on Mystery Island to learn about your destiny."

     This hit me like a train. I had never expected something like this. I've barely woken up, and now I'm going to live in some madman's shack to learn how to be some mystical protector? Was Bee really buying all of this? As these thoughts traveled through my mind, I remembered the feeling of truth I had felt when the shaman had first told me I was to be the Guide. Bee would never make me do anything she didn't think was best for me. Maybe I should trust her judgment, I thought. Maybe… I sighed and nodded my head.

     Bianca smiled. She seemed very pleased. "I know it'll be hard, Anika, but I know you can do it. You are a special Kougra, no one else but you can be the Guide. You have great potential."

     Memories of our talk, what seemed like years ago, rushed to me. I accepted my fate. I would be the Guide. I would go and train with the Mystic. I would take on the responsibility.

     They both left to give me time to rest. As I lay there in bed, I thought of all the crazy things that had happened to me in the last while. Three days ago I was a normal, average Neopian. Now I was this "Guide", off to go do who knows what. As I reflected on the events in the shaman's hut, I remembered those glowing eyes…what did they mean? Obviously, someone else knew what I had been called to do. And whoever, or whatever, they were, they didn't seem too happy about it. I didn't know if I was either.

     Several weeks later, and many sleepless nights, I prepared to go to Mystery Island. I gathered the necessary items I would need, as well as my most treasured belongings: my Water Faerie Snowglobe and a picture of Bee and me in Faerieland. That vacation, which we had taken only two summers ago, seemed like ages in the past. Such good times we had. But how incredibly different things would be for me now. I really did not have any idea of what was in my future, how things would turn out, what would happen to me. These feelings weighed heavy on me, like giant blocks of stony uncertainty. I felt like I was moving in slow motion, my limbs numb, my brain groggy. I placed all my things in a small purple suitcase, shut the lid, and closed the clasps. I got up, walked to the door, and turned out the light in my room. I walked slowly down the stairs, staring blankly at the home I knew so well, as if in a daze. I went to the front entrance, took one last look behind me, and closed the door on everything I had ever known.

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      A full account of my training would be terribly boring to read, not to mention quite difficult to explain. It consisted mostly of meditation, physical endurance, and mental tuning. Many painful years did I spend in solitude, trying to hone my powers, realize my full potential. The Mystic did not tell me much about what my task would include, only vague concepts of valor, benevolence, and love. He coached me in the ways of focus and concentration, and sent me off to the Training School to learn the arts of combat and self-defense. It took what felt like nearly an eternity to master them, with constant criticism and discipline that I had never experienced the likes of before. Finally, I was ready. I set out on my own, living the life of one who is free of restrictions. I ate what I could find; I slept wherever there was space to lay my head. No one was my master, no one controlled my life. I was truly alone. I slowly made my way back to Neopia Central. Wanting a peek into the life of the normal, I ventured to the marketplace. There were all sorts of people, all kinds of pets. No one noticed me, for I had learned the art of invisibility. You could still see me, of course, but I looked nothing out of the ordinary. But I was certainly not ordinary.

     During my free time, I strolled about, went wherever I pleased. Sounds luxurious, doesn't it? No, for my time was filled with emptiness. For my first few months, I felt as if my life was without purpose. You have no idea what it is like to have absolutely nothing to do. Nothing at all. It is torture. My life was inexplicable boredom. All day, I simply wandered. I always felt lost. So, I'm supposed to be the guide of the lost, I thought. Why am I the one who is lost? Is there no one to guide me? I thought. But deep in my heart I knew my time was fast approaching, so close, yet just out my grasp. I still was somewhat unclear about what I was supposed to do, exactly. How I was to guide "the lost" was not something the Mystic had trained me in, whether he knew how or not. He had just said it was something I'd have to "figure out in my own time".

     One day, in late spring, I was again on Mystery Island. The sun was just beginning to set over the ocean, and the water shimmered with its orange radiance. I was ambling along the beach, occasionally stopping to sit near a palm tree. Exactly when the sun touched the sea, I looked into it. I felt a powerful connection with the great star, giving light to all us poor creatures on the lowly earth. A sudden jolt passed through my body, an electric charge that ran through my scars like they were wires, the scars I had received exactly three years prior to that day. I had returned every year during the spring to Mystery Island, visiting with the Mystic for further training, and to commemorate the great change that had taken place in my life. As that great power ran through me, I realized that this was my time, the time I had been anticipating for three long, tedious, strenuous years. As the charge continued to electrify me, it lit up the lines on my skin I had been so keen to forget. They became bright blue, and glowed with magnificent brightness. The symbols on my hands grew especially bright, and soon were nearly blinding. (This all seems very lengthy when written, but in reality occurred very rapidly, all in a matter of seconds.) A whirring noise filled my ears, as if I were being sucked into a vacuum, and the feeling of being inside soon followed. An enormous, mysterious force grabbed me, taking hold of my hands, and I was ripped from the sand into the great vortex of time and space, but not before I saw a strange creature come out from the trees, barely too late, and look up with evil, yellow eyes.

To be continued...

 
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