The Star of Friendship
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
A young Zafara stepped in. She was clothed in
the deep purple of Fyora's ladies-in-waiting. She bowed her white head.
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
"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.
"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
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,"
"Please… call me Fyora," the Queen whispered
"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."