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The Star of Friendship


by ezparanza

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Queen Fyora paced in her private chambers. Mauve walls surrounded her on all four sides. Her purple faerie wings fluttered every once in a while, and her violet hair was only slightly disheveled. But this was only on the outside. Inside, the Faerie Queen was furious.

     She was furious at life in general. And of course, it didn't help that it was the Month of Celebrating. Christmas was almost upon Neopia, and all of the Neopians were rejoicing.

     All of them except her.

     She sighed wearily, seating herself on her silken lilac coverlet. One fair, slender hand caressed the soft, smooth cloth; the other was on her forehead, which was creased with anxieties and worries. She should be celebrating; instead, she was agitated and nervous, always casting furtive glances at the swirling silver portal in the corner of her room. Altador was another problem… they seemed peaceful enough, though…

     Queen Fyora gazed absently into space. She remembered the time when she was only a princess, carefree and joyful. She wasn't worried about ruling Neopia at that time… Her mouth was slightly agape, and her hand ran over the silkiness of the coverlet again and again as she immersed herself in her memories…

     The timid tap at her door was soft, but it brought her out of her reverie. Another sigh escaped Fyora as she got to her feet, opening the door.

     A young Zafara stepped in. She was clothed in the deep purple of Fyora's ladies-in-waiting. She bowed her white head.

     "Milady."

     "Yes, Rianna?"

     The Faerie Queen was irritated, and Rianna sensed it. Hastily she whispered, "A young female Lupe is here to see you."

     "What does she want with me?" Fyora demanded.

     "Just to speak with you. Her parents filled me in: she's got a horrible case of Neomonia. The doctor couldn't cure it, and it's caused her to go blind. They say," here the Zafara dropped her voice to the merest whisper, "they say her time will be up before the new year begins. Her parents told me that her final wish was to speak to you."

      The Queen scowled, but nodded shortly. "Send her in," she commanded.

      Rianna was back in a few minutes with the Lupe. Her amethyst fur was dull, and her sightless white eyes bore through the Faerie Queen. Fyora asked Rianna briskly, "Her name?"

      "Aiya, Your Majesty."

      "Aiya. Very well, Rianna, you may leave us."

      The Zafara merely bowed her head and murmured softly, "Yes, milady," before exiting. Fyora studied the blind female before her.

      "Well?" she asked testily. The Lupe made no reply. The Queen tapped one foot, encased in lavender silk, impatiently, waiting for Aiya to speak. But she didn't.

      Suddenly, finally, the usually calm, self-composed Faerie Queen snapped. "Well, this is just excellent!" she shrieked. "I have millions of problems on my hands, problems concerning the whole of Neopia! And then Rianna tells me about you. I decide to take pity on you. I invite you to my chambers. And what do you do? Thank me? No! You just stand there. You wanted to speak to me, speak to me!"

      When Fyora finished her rant, she eyed Aiya intently. When the purple Lupe still did not speak, Fyora screamed vehemently, "I hate you!"

      She waited to see what kind of a reaction this would bring from Aiya. But the blind Lupe was silent. The Faerie Queen was already regretting her furious outburst: the young Lupe did not deserve her wrath. She was beginning to think that Aiya might be mute as well as blind when Aiya spoke.

      "Why?"

      "Excuse me?" Fyora wasn't trying to be snappish: she was simply a little fazed by all of this.

      "Why?" Aiya repeated in a soft, musical voice. "Why do you hate me?"

      "Um… well…" The Faerie Queen was flustered. Her usually fair face had acquired a tinge of rose. "Um… well…" she said again. Aiya observed her stonily.

      "I know why." The blind Lupe spoke again. "You are angry. You have a right to be. We all do. But I have done you no wrong. If you do not wish to converse with me, you may tell me to exit your chambers and I shall oblige."

      "Oh… no. No, I don't want you to leave. It's just one of my bad days," Fyora replied wearily. "Come, come sit beside me." The Faerie Queen rose to guide Aiya over. But the blind Lupe carefully made her way over to the bed to stand beside the Queen. Aiya leapt onto the bed silently, seating herself beside Fyora and wrapping her plumy tail around her forepaws.

      They talked in earnest for several hours. Each shared with the other their hopes, their dreams and their fears. Each told the other of their families. When Aiya left Fyora's chambers in the evening, they both had broad smiles on their faces. A beautiful friendship had just begun to blossom.

      Two weeks later, they met again. However, their reunion was grave and sorrowful. Aiya was dying. Fyora had cancelled all of her plans for two weeks and spent all of her time by Aiya's wasted body, praying.

      Her prayers were in vain. Late New Year's Eve, Fyora was called to Aiya's house in Neopia Central. "She wants to say goodbye," Aiya's mother had explained in the letter. "She's asked for you numerous times. Please do come."

      Before Fyora departed from her palace, she rummaged around in her bedside table. She withdrew a many-faceted crystal bottle from the drawer. It was her last resort, and Aiya's last hope.

      As Fyora knelt beside Aiya and looked into the face she had come to love, she was seized by a wave of terror and panic. But she forced her voice to stay calm and her features to be natural as she showed the bottle, filled with clear amber liquid, to Aiya.

      "This potion will make you immortal," the Queen explained. "It's exceedingly rare, Aiya; I got it from the King of Altador. You know where Altador is, right?" Aiya nodded weakly. "Well, he gave it to me as a gift, between friends. If you wish, I can give it to you."

      She held back the tears that were threatening to pour down her pale face. Not Aiya, not the gentle and caring Lupe she loved… no, she didn't deserve it, she deserved to live…

      Aiya's sightless eyes searched the Queen's violet ones. "No," she murmured, her breath no more than the sigh of wind. "No. I want to know what it is to see again. To know that you are whole… again. You, who have never been sightless, never been crippled… you have no idea, what it means, to be whole again…" A gentle smile was on her tired, lined face: peculiar for one so young.

      "I will miss you, milady. Please remember me," Aiya whispered.

      "Please… call me Fyora," the Queen whispered back.

      "Fyora, then. Please don't forget me." With a soft sigh, Aiya closed her eyes. They would never open again. Aiya, the light of Fyora's life, was gone.

      "I could never forget you, Aiya," she murmured as she stroked the Lupe's lavender fur.

      The Faerie Queen tried to hold back her tears as she journeyed back to her palace. When she reached her chambers, she flung open the windows to rid herself of the sorrow that surrounded her. The clocks outside chimed twelve times, signaling the arrival of the new year. In the first hour of the new day, the new year, Fyora glimpsed a bright star shining in the deep blue sky.

      "Aiya," she whispered. "You've come back. You've come back to me."

      "Yes, Fyora," the star seemed to say. "I will always be with you; now and forever."

The End

 
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