Finding Kourage: Part Four
"Thank you so much, Kourage. Everything you taught me will
play a role in my life now. Good-bye." It was an awkward moment just then. She
wasn't sure she should hug him. But her affection for him was friendly; he had
helped her find herself when many doubted the simplest of things of her. Before
she could feel uneasy for another second, Kourage embraced her in a warm, reassuring
hug. She smiled at his wings. They were pink and a clear white that seems to never
let you down….just like Kourage.
"You're welcome. Remember everything I taught
you. After all, "kindness gives birth to kindness" (Sophocles). Have a safe
Maieben had been told that you shouldn't look
back until your departure area is out of sight, but she couldn't help it. She
looked up at the little cottage with warm eyes, smiling eyes and a grateful
heart. Then, she looked towards the ocean. She walked onward.
She was scolded numerous times on her bad navigation
by her map. There was a lot on her mind; she couldn't concentrate clearly. She
decided to sit by the water and take a break. The map scoffed at this, but didn't
object. Maieben approached the water carefully. It called to her. The sun above
it was a flawless ball of orange glory and the ripples were in its spotlight.
The waves wrapped her hind legs in a wet welcome and she proceeded further.
She let the water wash over her and clothe her in the placid coolness and serenity
of it all. She lost all consciousness of the anxieties around her; she felt
only peacefulness and appreciation.
Suddenly, she was jerked back to consciousness
and she whipped around. She saw a red fin circling her. It circled faster and
faster, racing Maieben's heartbeat…she knew what it was. She couldn't get back
to the shore in time! Jetsams were too fast for Aishas. She was frantic. But,
she stayed perfectly still. All of a sudden, it lunged at her, dodging and swimming
and splashing her. She dunked underneath the cold water, now gloomy and reproachful.
And dangerous. She felt her breath leave her. She looked hopefully to the sky
for an answer or instruction, but it was no use. The great sun was now hidden
behind an unwelcoming, pitying, gray cloud.
While she was feeling this way and consulting
her instincts, the jetsam charged and opened its disdainful jaw. She swam as
fast as she could, but her ear caught the jetsam's upper tooth. She cried out
in alarm and flopped onto her back. He whapped her with his powerful tail. Her
stomach took the blow and she doubled over in the water, resulting in sinking.
The jetsam, thinking he had destroyed his prey, took another gold chance to
apply one final injury to his next meal. He put on full speed and bent his head
down, as to spear Maieben with his head-fin. But, one thing Aishas have that
Jetsams don't is cunning. Maieben had barely and painfully swum over behind
the jetsam and helped him along in his terrible antics. Where Maieben used to
be was a large boulder.
A sickening crunch let Maieben know her plan
had worked. She crawled laboriously to the shore. She lay down and opened her
pack. The map gave her comforting suggestions on how to wrap her injuries. Undiscouraged,
Maieben wanted to continue the journey, but Map insisted she rest for the remainder
of the day. They would start fresh tomorrow.
* * * * *
Their 'fresh start' didn't start out so well;
they started early and there was a steady drizzle being upheld. By noon a frightening,
perilous storm was at hand. Large, deafening, pungent claps of thunder rolled
around in the sky. You could feel their echoes bounce off the mountains and
vibrate in your chest. The lightening was so vigorous and prevailing. It lit
up the whole sky with its skeleton and ghostly light. The eccentricity of the
whole trip did not hinder the continuation of Maieben's expedition. Her determined
spirit was her sun, her stubbornness her heat, and her diligence was her blue
She did, however, cease it briefly when her
injuries got the better of her. They stopped in an overhang of towering oak
trees. The formed an awning of leaves and branches. The constant drip, drip
of the water on the leaves played melody to the pitter, pitter, patter, pitter
of the drops overhead. It was a concert of nature just for Maieben. She lay
down on a marshy area of very green grass directly below a protective tree.
There were wildflowers all around the bases of the trunks. There were tiger
lilies, lilac buds, daisies and many more. They surrounded Maieben in a circle
of beauty. She fell asleep instantly.
When she woke up, the rain had quieted and the
thunder had died down. She got up and brushed herself off before beginning her
excursion again. She had only just started when she heard a rustle behind her.
She paused, looked around the clearing and decided she had only imagined it.
Another minute into her trip and she heard it again, closer this time. She tiptoed
to the nearest bush and peeked behind it and found…nothing. She resolved that
she was letting her imagination get the better of her. She had finally thought
she had nothing to worry about when she heard a twig snap. Her heart jumped
out of her throat where it had been pumping dangerously. She examined every
leaf from where she was for camouflaged animals. She didn't see anything. Maieben
was starting to get nervous. She opted to be silent and cautious, chary, fastidious,
and prudent on her ramble. It was getting annoying because she knew she wasn't
THUMP! Maieben whipped around, completely horrified
and impromptu about what to do. This time she did see her "stalker" in the overgrown
remains of a bush. It was an Aisha, sprawled on the earthen floor and very tangled.
She didn't dare help it, it was utterly erroneous, it was…
It was Morella, her classmate. It was the same
yellow Aisha that had tormented, teased, scoffed, laughed at, and shamed Maieben
many times previously without so much as a regret. Maieben stood her ground
and tried to appear her full height. "What are you doing on the floor, Morella?
And better yet, what are you doing here to begin with?"
The tangled Aisha looked up with ostensible
disgust. She chose not to answer.
"Thorns got your tongue?" Maieben folded her
paws across her chest.
Morella finally congregated some courage and
spoke, "What were you doing all week, Meaningless Maieben? Were you learning
how to be normal? Or was this week National Fools' Week? Were you meeting with
some of your idiot friends? Oh, yeah you don't have any friends!" Morella broke
into fits of merciless laughter. Maieben remembered something in the back of
her brain. All the coaching from Kourage had made her conscience more significant
and evocative. It had become more astute, too. Right now it was telling her
that she didn't have to listen to this and that she controlled the things that
happened to her. If she let someone else control her views of herself, she had
given up. By telling Morella what was bothering her, versus telling her what
she was doing wrong, a lot more would be accomplished. Maieben sighed and furrowed
her brow in frustration.
"Morella, I really don't like it when you insult
me like that. It's spiteful and tactless. I really don't like it and I wish
you would stop. I'm not giving you any reason to treat me this way and I want
you to stop…please." She paused and looked Morella full in the face. She tried
to see what was going on in Morella's head. She seemed dumbfounded. But, then
she smiled. It was not her regular, vindictive smile. It was a pleased smile.
It was Maieben's turn to feel dumbfounded. All of a sudden, Morella's form faded
into a larger, unclear form. It was a blue, Faerie Blumaroo with wrinkles and
a knowledgeable face…Kourage! His aged face and his old eyes grinned with the
satisfaction of a Gelert with a new plushie. Maieben's jaw dropped further than
it was meant to. She was shocked, flabbergasted, startled and overjoyed all
at once. Her first instinct was to hug him, then she wanted to question him
and then…she wanted to slap him. She didn't do any of these.
He spoke first, "Do not be grudging with me,
Maieben. This was a test of your progress and your knowledge. You passed and
now you can use Tylorra's magic fully. You also gain the virtue of patience.
This is because you had patience with Morella. You explained your feelings,
not her wrong-doings. Congratulations! You are one of my most successful students
yet…I'm immensely proud. You are wise beyond your years, Maieben." He looked
at her admiringly. Once again, Maieben had the feeling of him looking further
than her immediate features. "You know, someone once said 'inspiration and genius-one
and the same.' (Victor Hugo) I believe he was right. You have both: inspiration:
love and understanding and genius: me." He laughed heartily. It sounded like
deep bells ringing and chirping to Maieben. She liked it. It was very comforting.
"I'm just kidding, darling. The genius that inspires you is the knowledge of
knowing you can do it; it's the feeling of being accomplished and it's the passion
of your very heart."
Maieben looked at him. He was right. When was
he not? She thought he must know everything, or maybe he just loved everything
so he taught it. She asked him this. He answered as he always did: with more
than a simple "yes" or "no" but an entire short speech. "Well, maybe. I know
a lot. That's only because I like to know and I like to find out. I also love
teaching. There's not much better than knowing you helped someone save themselves."
"Kourage, do you have an extra sight or something?
I've felt you look at me with an understanding that I can't name. It makes me
feel…sort of guilty and sort of special. Am I imagining it?"
"You can feel that? Wow. You are much more gifted
then I credited you for. Yes, Maieben I have a type of second sight. I can glimpse
someone's soul for what they yearn for most and then I help them do it. But,
only if they are willing for that kind of help and exposure. I can also take
the form of another in order to help them. They were gifts from faeries." He
gazed into the distance as if to let the hills know his secret.
"You are truly amazing. You are a miracle worker
and I'm glad I met you." She gave him the warmest hug she could physically give
anyone. She felt a salty, tepid tear splash on her shoulder. She looked up at
him. He had his eyes closed and he was smiling silently. But, his emotion was
evident and loud.
"I'm glad I met you, too, Maieben."
To be continued...