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The Hero of the Glade


by moonea123

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I looked about, my eyes wandering everywhere, dark clouds hanging over Illusen's Glade. I'd forgotten how beautiful it was, even when it was in ruins, like how it was thousands of years ago. My long ears drooped, and my paws clasped together. This place was full of gloom, and there was no hope, no light, nothing that could penetrate her dark magic.

      Still, it caused me to think about my past, and how I coped with it before. It was very hazy before, but now it was as sharp as the point of a pencil, the people that existed before running around the Glade. The sky was full of light clouds with a brilliant blue sky. Everyone was running around with long planks of oak and pine, holding it this way and that, stone splinters holding the soon-to-be stage in place. It was a stage for the dance of the New Year, and created the most commotion in the Glade.

      Even Illusen herself would appear sometimes, although it was very rare. She would use magic to hold up an unsteady board, or get wood; every little bit helps. Even I did my part by making stone splinters. But what I really wanted to do was dance.

      Once I saw my first festival when I was four, I always wanted to dance on the special stages during a festival. I practiced every move, stumbling and tripping in my dirt lined hollow. Still, nothing would hold me from my potential.

      I would often climb a large tree that my home was built within and survey the work, dancing along the thick branch. The tree itself had stood for hundreds of years; it was a lovely tree, and one I practiced on quite a bit.

      I often took myself into a new world with every dance. The weather of my dance never changed, as Illusen made a barrier to keep out the cold of winter and the absolutely unbearable heat of summer. It kept out excess rain, but would create all the rain we needed. It never snowed here. Still, it felt that every day brought changes. It was a mystical feeling, and with the feeling on dancing, I often took it quite seriously.

      Once, I took myself just a tad too far. I tripped and flipped through the air, my hands grabbing everywhere, hoping to catch a branch. Thankfully, I fell into the water and I floated back to the surface. Sitting on the edge of the pond was one of the dancers, who had had her attention sidetracked from watching me up on the high branch.

      She looked at me for a brief moment before turning her head away. "Must be nice to be that serious about dancing." She sighed, and then turned to me. "What's your name, kid?"

      I blinked, and looked at the red Aisha dancer. "My name is Sasha. A pleasure to meet you."

      She gave me a warm smile as I wrung out my long Cybunny ears. Water dripped off my beautiful dancing dress. "Since you're so good at dancing, do you want to dance with us at the festival? We'd be most delighted for someone as great as dancing as you are to join us, you know!" She winked at me before pointing up at the tree branch I was on just minutes ago.

      "Well... sure! I'd love to come!"

      "Just be on the stage before the festival starts. You'll knock their socks off," She giggled. "Even if they don't have socks!"

      I smiled back. "Thank you so much!"

      Instantly, the bright, cheery winter day faded back into the gloom of the dark magic. I wandered over toward a hollowed out tree stump. Wiping Werelupe dung off of it, I looked up into the tree-top village. I could see a small green glow where Illusen now hung under the magic's power. How I wanted to free her.

      But that was not my job at the moment. I didn't really need to be here. It was just how much I missed my old home, my old family, my old life. Still, there were always the memories. Like the time that I was invited to join a young Lupe on a quest to found a city of his own, and the 12 of us doing so... and this happened because of it.

      A rather large red-colored brute stared at me. I simply turned away and returned to the pleasantness of my memories, to forget about all the horrible things right now.

      The light filled my eyes once more as I saw the stage right in front of me. An hour more of work at it would be complete. It was only a few more hours until the festival, and barely much longer after that that I would begin my first dance upon stage! It was one of the most exciting moments of my life that I would ever experience, and exactly what made me what I was today.

      The Aisha dancer, who I learned was named Ina, walked up to me. She smiled warmly again, and her red fur seemed to glow. "Shall we practice?" she asked me. "I mean, we'll be dancing soon... "

      We began to walk toward the lake to practice, but Illusen buzzed by our heads, headed for the stage. "He's coming!" she cried breathlessly. "It's the Werelupe King - He is coming!"

      At least half of Illusen's people began running around and screaming like young children, most of which actually were young. I was frantic. Not tonight - any night but this! "What do we do?"

      "We hide," Illusen said firmly. "We must go into underground safety. There's no holding him back." Illusen motioned for all of us to follow her.

      She lifted up into the air and flew wildly around tree after tree before pushing one over. Underneath where the tree had been was a large tunnel.

      "Everybody, in, now." Her words were short and few as beads of sweat dripped down her forehead. Everyone in the town ducked into the hole, the young children first, followed by almost everyone else. I was the last to go in, besides Illusen, who pulled the tree back over our cover.

      Those few hours of the sound of wrecking and howls and barks were what I thought to be the worst of my life. I was wrong. But that was another memory.

      When the sound cleared out, Illusen pushed the tree out of the way and walked out into the open. I followed, with everyone bustling to get out.

      What I saw devastated me. Trees were lying everywhere. Some of them crushed homes. Others were raided. There was rubble everywhere. Illusen's treetop village was completely shattered. Woodchips and pebbles littered the ground. A silent gloom lingered everywhere.

      Many little kids sat crying next to the dry bushes. Some farmers watched their Negg plants wither into nothingness. Even others looked toward the stage.

      Or, rather, what had been the stage.

      The stage was in complete ruin - floorboards were everywhere, nails littered the ground, and even still, the festival couldn't be held.

      But I had waited to dance for everyone long enough. Even if it was gloomy, I knew what I had to do.

      I began spinning and twirling like no other dance. A small glow echoed around me, and spread out, almost like magic. With every step, a blade of grass righted it self, a seed re-rooted, and plants bloomed before our eyes. The rubble in the ground disappeared. Although the homes and tree were still in ruin, everyone had a smile on their faces. They clapped, and some joined in.

      Shortly after my dance was over, we began to clear trees and fix homes. A short while later, maybe 5 years or so later, just after the Festival of the New Year, a Lupe came to see me. He offered to join me on his quest.

      The memory faded into nothingness, but I had a renewed hope. Even though I couldn't do anything, I could always remember the good times here.

      And right where I had danced thousands of years ago, I danced again, better than before. A glow echoed around me, and I smiled and spun happily for the first time in many years.

The End

Author's Note: If you're reading this, I've gotten yet another piece into the Neopian Times! Neomail me comments!

 
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