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An Evening in the Archives: Part Two

by shadowcristal


Also by precious_katuch14

The Lenny turned around slowly, keeping one eye on the shadow at all times. But he could not watch it without turning a complete 180 degrees turn, and let his eyes leave that darkness for just one second.

     The Xweetok standing in front of him was the cutest pet he had ever seen. Her brown fur was smooth and the blue coat rather shiny. She was sucking on one paw, looking rather forlorn. Her watery eyes had leaked a few, smudged tears, and she seemed to be lost.

     "I guess so..." Finneas trailed off as he observed the child, wondering where she came from. Surely she couldn't have been that sneaky shadow following him? How strange, Finneas thought, I was once lost and scared like that child.

     As if on cue, the Xweetok whined, and the forest seemed to grow darker. The leaves on the almost-bare branches whispered cruelly, maliciously, singing a delirious song to scare any adventurers into insanity. The wind whipped and shadows seemed to appear everywhere.

     The Lenny felt a tug on his wings, and the Meepit plushie fell out of his hands. Suddenly the Xweetok's eyes lightened, and she skipped forward to grab the plushie.

     "Ow!" the plushie exclaimed, as it dangled in the Xweetok's paws.

     "Help me!" it cried. Finneas tried to rescue it by pulling it towards him, but the child held it hard, paws clenching like iron around the Meepit's right arm. As the Lenny increased his strength, he managed to get more and more of the stuffing into his wings.

     "The seams, the seams!" the plushie moaned tearfully.

     Finneas grabbed hold of the arm, securing his wing and pulled hard. The poor Xweetok pulled with an equal amount of force, but her size did not allow her to stay in the same place, resulting in a backwards somersault. She landed ungracefully on the ground, and big droplets ran down her cheeks, smudging the dirt that had been acquired on during that tough trip.

     The Lenny gasped and ran over to the youngster, patting her shoulder and desperately babbling over and over, "Don't cry... please don't cry... I didn't mean it... are you all right?" But it didn't drown out the screams that had begun.

     "All right? Her? Well, what about me?" howled the plushie, which had been dropped onto the ground and left alone as its master tried to stop the Xweetok's tears. "She's not the one with the popped seam, or the one who's had her stuffing literally knocked out of her!"

     "Shut up!" grumbled Finneas as he helped the little one to her feet. "So... are you okay now? Look, I'm sorry, but that's my plushie, and - oh, never mind. You can stand now?" Her wails were reduced to sniffling, and she wiped her eyes with the back of her paw, looking up at him with a wide stare.

     It seemed as though all thoughts of the Meepit plushie were now banished from the blue Xweetok's mind as she asked curiously, "Who are you?"

     But before Finneas or his plushie could answer, they heard another voice ring out through the clearing, making all three of them whip around abruptly. The voice was clear and deep, definitely a strong, male tone.

     "Halt! In the name of the great King Altador the Hunter, I order you to halt!"

     The Lenny reached down and picked up his Meepit plushie and saw the silhouette of a Nimmo emerge forth from the shadows. Its bright gold eyes looked like beacons guiding - or possibly deceiving - travelers. Finneas and the Xweetok froze and listened to the newcomer's footsteps as he drew closer.

     By the little light coming in through the forest canopy, they saw instantly that the cloud Nimmo looked like a warrior of some kind, in a vest over a white, long-sleeved shirt, and black leggings that gave him somewhat the look of an off-duty ninja guardian. To complete the ensemble, he had a long rapier fastened to his belt.

     At first, he said nothing else as he regarded the trio, stroking his chin and nodding to himself before finally blurting out after a long stretch of silence, "What have you done to Elaine?"

     "Absolutely nothing!" the Meepit plushie chose to exclaim at that very moment. "She was the one who pulled on me and almost ripped me apart!"

     "I accidentally..." Finneas started, but was silenced by the glare of the Nimmo, who had narrowed his eyes.

     "You are... you're kidnappers, trying to steal little Elaine away!" he exclaimed, jumping forward with agility. "Trying to extract a ransom by kidnapping the king's favorite granddaughter, eh?"

     "No! You're mistaken, we just happened to pass by..." the Lenny started to say, but was interrupted by the sound of metal. The Nimmo had drawn the rapier.

     "I don't think explanations will get you anywhere," commented the plushie sourly.

     As the warrior advanced on him, Finneas had to give it to his plushie. It didn't seem as if the Nimmo would listen to his pleas, but would rather fight instead. Having spent most of his life in a library, the Lenny had occasionally skimmed through books on the subject, but preferred researching about ancient civilizations and obfuscatory puzzles. He was fully aware of the fact that he was badly equipped going into this fight, but was there any other choice?

     A strong wind swept through the clearing, and the Lenny noticed a hidden, shadowy path to his left. His memory called out to him, telling him that he had a greater power than that of the fighter, but he couldn't remember exactly what.

     Meek, scared noises made by the Xweetok grabbed his attention, and Finneas patted her fur to soothe her.

     "Watch out!" the Meepit cried, and the Lenny dodged, the sharp edge of the rapier missing him by an inch.

     "Daring to touch her... I won't forgive you for such an offense!" the Nimmo shouted, as the rapier flashed and whipped in the air, seeking its target. Finneas threw himself down on the ground and rolled around. A branch poked the tender feathers of his right wing, and the Lenny got up, using it as a crutch.

     Despite the lightness of the rapier, its wielder struck heavy strokes onto the Lenny's weak parries. Finneas had to constantly move backwards and side to side, sweeping the branch to protect himself. A few times the stainless steel edge caught some feathers, and Finneas felt himself beginning to tire. He was no practiced or experienced warrior, compared to this elegant, elite fighter.

     A rusty clang of metal caught the Lenny's attention, and he realized that the Nimmo was bringing out another lethal weapon. Finneas did not clearly see what the ambidextrous warrior was juggling in both hands, but the item had a singing razor-sharp, jagged edge. He had enough information to know that it wasn't anything good.

     "You cannot dodge forever!" declared the Nimmo. With one curved swipe of the longer weapon, he sent his opponent's branch flying over the side. "You will pay for the desecration, the harm that you have caused her!" He gestured towards Elaine the Xweetok with the short blade he had just drawn.

     "Wait..." whimpered Elaine, but her voice trailed off as she found herself staring at the steel point.

     "Oh, great," grumbled the plushie. "He's not just a show-off, but a really skilled show-off."

     Finneas rolled his eyes. "You only realized that now?"


     "Wha - "

     Everything happened in such a quick blur that for a moment, Finneas felt as though the pages in the book were suddenly flipped forward at an amazing alacrity, and all his senses were numbed abruptly. The first thing he realized was that he was on the ground, with the Xweetok beside him. Did he get hit? Was it... over? Was he going to lie there and disappear forever into the book?

     "He wasn't hurting me!" she finally blurted out. "You should be thankful that your stupid dagger didn't get him!"

     The Nimmo was taken aback at her statement. "He didn't hurt you? Then why were you crying? And if it wasn't him... I heard my dagger hit something."

     Elaine felt something at her feet and looked down. She tugged at the Lenny's shoulder, but she didn't have to say anything for Finneas to see.

     His dear Meepit plushie was lying there, disheveled and dirty. The pointy dagger that had been aimed at him was protruding from the soft, stuffy body of the plushie. Its pink head was neatly sliced, supported in place by the arm that the stuffed toy had complained so much about. The seams that made up the mouth were straining to utter some words, but it was as if the knife had pierced the plushie's heart, if it would've had one.

     "You... You took it for me?" Finneas whispered, touched. He scooped the plushie up, its head weakly nodding. And then he remembered.

     "I want to go home," the Lenny mumbled sadly. "This is such a stupid book, and it isn't adventurous at all! Take me home!" he cried desperately, hugging his plushie fiercely.

     A strong light enveloped Finneas, and once again he felt that strong pull, this time pulling him out of the book. Knowing what was going to happen, the Lenny shut his eyes tight and hoped that he would land somewhere soft.

     Much to his annoyance, he landed - hard - on the cold, concrete floor of the Archives, missing the chair by an inch. He had just one glimpse of Elaine and the mysterious Nimmo warrior gazing up at him before they disappeared behind a blur of color, shadow and pages.

     Had it all been a dream? He saw the book still on his table, flat on its spine and open, the way it had been before. The rains continued on, oblivious to what had transpired in the Altadorian Archives, somehow a lot less ferocious than before. Maybe he just fell asleep and toppled off his chair...

     But when he reached out for his plushie, he saw the hilt of that dagger the Nimmo had thrown... that the Meepit had taken for him. If it weren't for that plushie, Finneas wouldn't have returned in one piece, if he returned at all.

     The Lenny gently tried to tug the dagger out from the plushie, but it was in too deep. If he pulled any harder, he might damage it even further. Sighing, he placed the Meepit plushie onto his table, next to the book. But as he did so, he caught a glimpse of the pages of the large tome that had sucked them in.

     There was a picture of a smiling, waving Xweetok, standing beside a Nimmo with a respectful grin, his rapier back in its sheath, beside a short, empty scabbard that had probably held a smaller weapon of some sort.

     It wasn't a dream, surely... But it was too sad to be true, Finneas decided. He remembered the Meepit's words about a seamstress, and felt that he owed his duty to the plushie that had taken care of him. But it felt too personal to let somebody else do it.

     After placing the mysterious book in a dark corner, Finneas picked out a guidebook to sewing. Over the course of the next few days he practiced a lot, and by the fifth day he figured that he was good enough to fix it. As he hummed, and let the needle dip into the fabric, the Lenny felt that he was closing in on this world, returning to reality.

     When he had finished, Finneas inspected his work. The plushie had been patched, the hilt of the dagger stuffing the head to a bigger size than before. The beady eyes were worn and no longer shiny, no matter how much he polished it. The loose arm was now stuffed and firm, ready to move with a powerful swing.

     But a plushie couldn't come alive, could it? As the Lenny put the needle away, he pondered. It wasn't like him to do handiwork like this, yet...

     Finneas retrieved the book that he had so carelessly tossed into a corner, and along with the plushie, he placed it in one of the numerous closets that the Archives held. The plushie had served him well, and it deserved to be retired. The Lenny promised himself to remember the bravery that the small Meepit plushie had displayed, but another part of him just wanted to forget the whole incident. He took a last, remorseful look at it and closed the door.

     With that, a chapter had closed in his life. It was time to move on. He would keep that courage in his heart, and remember to be noble like the plushie had been.

     Sweeping away the books, Finneas put them in their rightful places on the shelves, handling each tome carefully. He would shed some light on Neopia some other time; now it was time to start a new project. Maybe find out more about that mysterious air faerie who resided among the clouds, Psellia the Dreamer?

     * * *

     Many years passed. Finneas was now older, wiser and more sensible. He had lived through several events that had come and gone into Altadorian and Neopian history, and he had tirelessly chronicled them all. However, for some strange reason, he found himself remembering a Meepit and a dagger every now and then as he went through his research, but he always shoved that matter at the back of his head, thinking of how preposterous and fantastic the thought would be. Plus, he had acquired a fetish for Meepit plushies, and began collecting them whenever he wasn't working.

     But one day, as the Lenny combed the bookshelves of the Archives, searching for bits and pieces of information on his next research project, he decided to root through the closets, hoping to make his project as complete as possible. As he reached out and turned the knob of the first cabinet, he saw something that seemed to awaken a dormant part of his mind.

     The closet was bare except for a mop and a rusty bucket, but beside those cleaning materials were two things that really struck his attention.

     Finneas bent down and picked up the dusty Meepit plushie that was sitting on top of an old, thick tome that looked as though it had not been opened for a long time.

     He touched the head of the plushie, and his neck prickled as he felt something hard and firm underneath the cloth and stuffing, and it was shaped oddly like the hilt of a blade.

     For the first time in years, he let his mind wander back to that fateful, rainy night.

     Maybe some things were indeed possible.

The End

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