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Coming of Age


by evumeimeidingzai

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Nari, a quiet island Uni, huddled in the corner of the Neoschool playground. Two boys, a Grarrl and a Skeith, stood over her, laughing as she struggled to stand. "Please," she said in a quivery voice, "Go away. I did nothing to you, my owner never challenged yours. Stop."

     The Grarrl, the leader, laughed. "So? Nobody knows your owner anyways. We need to brush up on our skills, and you're easier to beat than Punchbag Bob."

     "Then try me."

     Nari's older brother, a mutant Lupe named Morrell, glowered at her tormentors, who took one look and scurried away. He kneeled. "Are you all right, little sis?"

     She shook her body off. "Of course I am."

     He stood. "Then we'd better go home. Mom has news."

     They rushed to their Neohome in the Lost Desert. Nari got there first. She burst in the door, hurtling herself onto her favorite blue and orange rug. Morrell was much calmer. He walked in calmly and sat on his stone chair.

     Nari's younger brother, a baby Zafara named Jack, lay in his bed. Nari had been a baby, too, and was recently painted. Finally, the oldest of them all, Lena, a spotted Gelert, arrived. She gently settled in front of Nari.

     They waited quietly for a few moments. Finally, a soft female voice spoke. "I have information on your next assignment." A screen appeared, and Nari shifted, trying to get nearer. "I need one of you to go to Roo Island. A young female Blumaroo, one of King Roo's family, is being haunted by Count Von Roo. She needs a protector."

     "I can't go," said Morrell. "I stick out too much."

     "Neither can I," Lena said. "I got a quest from Queen Fyora. Shouldn't I do that first?"

     "Well, then who?" asked Morrell. The two thought.

     "Jack can't," Lena said, as though it weren't painfully obvious.

     Nari became angry. They always forgot her! "Me! I can!" she practically screamed. "I've been of age for a month now, and I've never gone on an assignment! Ever! Let me!"

     Lena and Morrell just stared, but the voice said, "Nari, your boat leaves from the Mystery Island harbor tomorrow morning at eight. Good luck, and I love you."

     She smiled. "Thanks, Mom."

     Nari loved the Mystery Island harbor. It was beautiful. Palm trees and exotic plants lined wide pathways. Kougras in grass skirts sold coconut milk and other sweet drinks. Lupes with painted faces sold wonderful flowered leis and woven straw mats. She wanted to stop to buy something, but she had no time. She had no money anyways, except for a little to buy food with.

     The boat itself was wonderful, too. It was a Roo ship, meaning ornate carvings and bright colors. On the deck, a blue Blumaroo waved at Nari. When she reached the deck, she spoke. "I'm Nari. I'm going to be your protector."

     "Hello, Nari. I'm Princess Bella Roo, King Roo's niece." She was young, only a little older than Nari, and seemed shy.

     They stood in silence. Then Nari asked, "Why is Count Von Roo haunting you? It doesn't seem right. You don't seem like you would do anything to him."

     "Oh. That." She stared at the floor. "I was playing Gormball and stumbled on his lair. I didn't know any better and woke him up. Now, he's so angry at me, he wants to m-make me into a v-vampire like him!" She was crying now. "I'm so scared!"

     "Don't worry. He won't touch you," said Nari fiercely.

     Nari slept in Bella's room that night. She was on the other side, near the door. She lay in the darkness thinking about her charge. She had been shocked at the obvious dislike the king showed Bella. He had welcomed Nari graciously, and she had always heard he was kind. His unkindness towards Bella made her wonder . . .

     The window near Bella's bed creaked. Nari got to her feet. The count entered, and walked to Bella. Nari crept quietly towards him.

     "Where?" That simple word froze Nari. It was a question, an inquisition, not a threat, as she expected.

     To her surprise, Bella pointed to her. The count swept upon her, and walloped her in the head. She passed out.

     When she awoke, she was very careful. Her brother had taught her well; she didn't open her eyes. Maybe she could find out more by pretending to be asleep.

     An Island Uni! I told you, I needed a mutant or a Lupe or a Gelert!" The count's voice was harsh.

     Bella's voice sounded pouty. " I tried to get a mutant Lupe, or even a Gelert, when I asked Elenoi for a protector! I got this weak, worthless Uni instead."

     "Then we'll just hold her. Make those two come and get her." He paused. "Such a worthless pet. Nothing extraordinary. I can't believe such a pathetic, useless thing is pert of the great Elenoi's Army."

     Fire flared inside Nari. In a flash, she was on top of Count Von Roo, hooves nearly crushing his windpipe. "I AM NOT USELESS!" she screamed. She brought her horn down on his head and spoke the words her mother had taught her. He struggled, then he was defeated.

     Nari whipped around and saw Bella. She wore vampire clothing, and she was trying to get away. Nari chased after her.

     They reached the ridge that looked out onto the ocean, which lay fifty feet below. Bella stopped and turned to see an island Uni storming towards her in fury.

     "I am not weak," she said, and lunged.

     The next day in the Neopian Times:

      COUNT'S PLOT UNCOVERED!

     Roo Island-Last night, Elenoi's Army prevailed once again when first time Army fighter Nari, an island Uni, foiled the plot of the infamous Count Von Roo. He was discovered to be in cahoots with Bella Roo, the niece of the king, to make her a vampire and conquer Neopia.

     Bella Roo allegedly wrote to Elenoi to obtain a bodyguard. She told her uncle that Count Von Roo was 'haunting' her. She wanted one of the two senior members of the famous group for a sacrifice to make her a vampire. When Nari appeared instead, the pair kidnapped her instead. The Uni managed to defeat him, then went after the princess.

     Nari had Roo trapped. She took her down and brought her in front of the king, who sent the princess to jail for life.

     There will be a ceremony today honoring Nari for her bravery. There, she will be presented with an award from the entire Roo Island.

     Nari smiled as she read the article. She couldn't remember that night very well. In fact, she could barely remember it at all, even though it was only a week ago.

     Jack came in. He stroked his new starry fur and said to his sister, "Nari, we'd better hurry. Mom has an assignment."

     They rushed into the Assignment Room. A screen appeared, and a soft female voice spoke. "In Merridell, Vira is terrorizing a pair of Acaras. They need someone to protect them."

     "I'd scare them," sighed Morrell.

     "You sent me on a job already," said Lena.

     Nari just smiled. "I'll take the job."

The End

 
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