The True Face of a Faerie: Soup Faerie
An alluring smell wafts down the confining alleyways, the
only pleasantry to the area. The ashen buildings jostle each other for space.
The melancholy windows tolerate little light through their panes. The grass is
spiritless and the building materials wretched. Shop's owners harshly shout their
wares, well aware that on the 'largest shop' list, theirs is far from the top.
A few shop owners scrutinize the dusty, populous
streets. They can tell that the roads are so crammed because the pets and their
owners are in a line. Most know that this line is not just any line - it is
the line to the Soup Kitchen. For those thousands of pets, waiting in this line
was their only chance at food for the day. They voyage to the Soup Faerie's
small cauldron-shaped kitchen.
Irritable pets glance at their watches, plodding
through the dusty ground beaten flat by many. They grimace as dust flies through
the air to land on their noses.
Average pets speak to their owners comfortably,
for they are, if not bloated, at least not hungry. They chat aimlessly to pass
the time. Others aren't so lucky.
The unlucky ones trod the earth alone, without
an owner or companion. But these are the most patient, and the most desperate.
They stare fixedly at their destination, wavering not at all.
The wind whistles through the throngs of people
without a care to their troubles.
* * *
Angelstarr_103 glowered as she squeezed past
the suffocating buildings. How she loathed this daily trip! But she loved her
pets more than she despised the journey. And so she found herself faithfully
visiting the Soup Kitchen each and every day. She and her two pets were only
a drop in the bucket of Neopians who did the same. As pets salivated when tempting
scents breezed past, owners sighed and wished they had a steady income.
* * *
The Soup Faerie glanced at the Fire Motes dancing
about her head. The Fire Motes provided light and companionship to the Soup
Faerie. As the sun emitted breathtaking bursts of garnet and coral and cream
streaking across the sky, she knew that her light hours were soon coming to
a close. Judging by the lack of a conclusion to the line, this would be another
all-nighter. She crumpled at the sight of every grungy pet without a home. She
served them to help. But … She was tired. Oh, not tired in the physical sense.
She'd pulled so many straight all-nighters that she was numb to the awareness
of fatigue. Her job wasn't strenuous, but it was mundane and lifeless.
She watched the Fire Motes again as she held
saucer after saucer for starving pets. The Fire Motes weren't very helpful,
but she had little need for them. She could perform her duties in her slumber.
The Soup Faerie groaned, sending a small jade
Kacheek scurrying away with a bowl of soup in hand. "How can I even think
of sleep?" she whispered. "I still have so much to do…"
She knew she was tormenting herself with her
thoughts. She sighed and rubbed her eyes, spilling some of the soup of a red
Lupe. A particularly strong gale breathed a paper into her face. She ripped
it out of the air and glared fiercely at it.
The Soup Faerie blanched. It was the very same
page of a book she had ripped out of the Neopedia yesterday and crushed beneath
her shoe. The Neopedia article on… 'The Soup Kitchen.'
"It's all lies!" the Soup Faerie murmured, "None
of it's true!" She continued this way and before she knew it, it was the dark
hours, and all her customers had vacated. The Soup Faerie glanced up at the
glaring moon before retreating inside. She reread the article in bed under the
unpredictable light of her Fire Motes.
"Firstly, here it says, '…and no pet has ever
dared to complain or reject the charity of the Soup Faerie,'" the Soup Faerie
read aloud to her patient Fire Motes. "Hah! As if I don't get hundreds of complaints
daily on my soups and stews."
"Here - '…she is very good friends with the
Faerie Queen.' All's the Faerie Queen does is come by on her daily rounds to
make sure I'm not out of supplies - she doesn't even make idle chat!"
"Oh, another one," the Soup Faerie seethed.
"'…dedicated to helping stone-broke owners and their skinny Neopets…' Many of
my customers are people who have moved their money away (or into items) simply
to get the avatar! Oh, but I never reject anyone. I will always help those who
have fallen on hard times."
"But still … look at this!" She held the paper
out to her Fire Motes. They began spitting cinders at it and the Soup Faerie
hastily pulled it away. "'…Pets and Owners to come together with the Soup Faerie
and give a helping hand…' Most of the ones who try to give a 'helping hand'
to me interfere by favoring the pets that are better groomed. Those that truly
help me are such a rarity. It's just me and you guys, usually." The Soup Faerie
affectionately patted her Fire Motes, not even wincing when her hand burnt.
"Finally, they have this! 'The Soup Kitchen
is kept running by donations from the Money Tree…' I don't see a Neopoint of
that! I get supplies from Faerieland and my land's rents (Fire Motes, don't
act so surprised. I have to pay rent because I'm on Marketplace grounds
without selling anything.) are paid by Faerie dues. No, the Money Tree isn't
helping." The Soup Faerie tried to stifle a yawn, but failed. She slumped over
onto her side and, in her weariness, fell asleep in minutes.
* * *
The Soup Faerie stretched, enjoying sleeping
in. Today was one of her twice-yearly days off. This day alone she could leave
the kitchen and go to Faerieland.
The Soup Faerie paused. Turning, she invoked
a Fire and Earth spell to self-serve soup all day. The Fire kept the soup warm,
while the Earth gave the pot knowledge enough to self-serve soup. After a few
days, the pot went a little off, so she always immediately deactivated the spells
when she returned. While out, she trusted the Fire Motes to burn greedy Pets.
* * *
The Soup Faerie parted the clouds like cloth
and entered Faerie City. She stared up at the spires, recognizing the emotions
she felt every time she visited. It was a pity that long-time Faerie City dwellers
lost the awe and wonder at the architecture. Feeling acutely embarrassed and
out-of-place, she noticed that no Faeries looked like her. That is to say, no
faeries bore the mark of charity - unadorned hair, common clothes, and a lack
of accessories. This was important in distinguishing faeries who helped for
something in return and charity faeries who helped for nothing in return. The
current non-Charity Faerie fashion was a very made-up look. The Soup Faerie
wore her Charity look proudly, but still felt slightly embarrassed. She found
that genuine beauty came from within, a lesson she knew was easy to say, but
difficult to realize.
The Soup Faerie continued on her way, buying
tiny magical trinkets on her small allowance allotted to her because she had
no income source.
* * *
The next day, back at work, after seeing the
superficial faeries snub her because of her appearance, the Soup Faerie showed
special kindness to those worse off than she was. Reflecting on her bitterness
of two days previous, the Soup Faerie realized that her job wasn't perfect.
She wasn't in love with what she did, but she knew she was doing something for
Author's Note: Thank you to those who suggested the Soup Faerie. I have
nothing against the Neopedia - I just wanted to show the Soup Faerie clearly.
This is a continuation of the Fyora story in week 148. Would anyone read a story
about Charity Faeries? The next story will be the Space Faerie … if this
gets in. Thank you Snowflake for all of your hard work!