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Grey to Green

by clytiashoria


She bent down gingerly, picking up something on the ground. Straightening her back again, she looked at her new treasure. It was a small red comb. The red paint was cracked and faded, and part of the handle was broken. Some of the comb's teeth were missing, but she did not care.

     Slightly hesitant, she ran the comb through her grey hair. The remaining teeth on the comb were fairly strong and in good condition, but they broke abruptly. Tears formed at the back of her eyes, filling them up and threatening to spill over. Her hair lacked moisture and was nothing but a mass of grey tangles, a far cry from how glossy and lustrous it had been months ago.

     Comparing the state she was in now and her situation some time ago, she was simply pathetic. Randomly picking out a Neohome by the street, she stared at it blankly.

     The Neohome had a large garden with two ponds. White lulus, bluebells, orb plants and mistletoe plants which filled the air with sweet fragrances were planted everywhere, such that it was impossible to walk in the garden without trodding on some of the plants. At one corner stood an exquisite pebble patio table with a watering can on top.

     Her thoughts wandered back into the past, digging out the memories that were once reality. Her garden up in the clouds had snow sculptures that never melted, jolly gnomes, tall, willowy trees and fragrant flowers. Butterflies and bees used to visit her garden every day, and birds perched on the trees and sang songs in their high pitched voices all day. She had been an expert gardener, an odd talent for someone of her kind, but still a talent nevertheless.

     She could not bear to look at the Neohome anymore. Dragging her jaded eyes away, she walked dejectedly towards the woods. The woods was the place where she sought solace. It was the only place where she was not shunned. Even though the birds flew away at the sight of her, at least no one swore or spit at her. It was a quiet place.

     Upon reaching her destination, she found that her right hand was throbbing painfully. The reason was simple - she had been clutching the broken red comb tightly all the while. The tears that had been dangling at the edge of her eyes finally fell. Using all the might she could summon, she flung the broken object away. It hit a tree trunk nearby and ricocheted off, hitting her on the shoulder.

     "Even a broken red comb despises me!" she whispered to herself with disbelief. Somewhere, someone laughed. It was not a mocking laugh. It was a gentle one that tinkled and lingered in the air. As if in reply to the laugh, the birds chirped in bewilderment. There was a rustling of leaves, then silence. It seemed odd, hearing birds chirp all at the same time.

     Then she watched in utter amazement as a small bird flew down from high up a tree and landed beside her. It watched her with quizzical blue eyes, eyes that were free of fear. She was astounded to meet a creature that wasn't afraid of her. Usually, everyone and everything either shrank away from her or cursed at her. She looked back at the bird with her pearly grey eyes, now wide-eyed with surprise.

     For a few moments, it was like a ribbon of trust had joined her and the bird. One look at her told the bird that she was a lonely creature, in dire need of acceptance and friendship. It was amazing how animals could understand others without much effort.

     She then watched with little surprise as another bird descended from a tree. The other bird with blue eyes seemed genuinely happy to see it. The two birds fussed about each other while chirping lustily.

     Then came that laugh again. She felt as if something were approaching, but she could see nothing, save for the birds. Something soft and invisible stroked her face, and the birds gazed at something invisible to her with wonder. While the invisible person was present, she felt something stirring inside her. She had not felt that emotion for a long, long time. She thought that it had deserted her, leaving her alone, an empty shell.

     As soon as it -whatever it was- had come, it was gone. There was again that gentle laugh, and the rustling of leaves, and once again, silence.

     At last, she understood. Being a grey faerie, she was despised by most of the community, but there would always be someone -or something- there for her. Happiness had not deserted her at all. She had just let herself be snatched away by unhappiness. Happiness had just been lost in some part of her mind, fighting to regain possession of her. She had been so carried away in wretchedness that all its efforts went down the drain.

     What was happiness, really? To experience happiness was to feel contented, she concluded. It did not mean possessing beautiful things or living in luxury, as she used to in the past. By leading a wretched life and to feel depressed every day, she could not achieve happiness. She was only depressed because she allowed herself to be depressed. If only she would open her eyes wide, and see beyond the horrid side of people, to see the light at the end of the tunnel, her happiness would know no boundaries. She slept in the streets because she allowed herself to.

     Once she was turned into a grey faerie, she had given up on life. Still, she discovered, one could still lead a decent life, even if one was a grey faerie. They only difference was the appearance, but the character was still the same. By wallowing in self-pity and despair, she only made things worse. Born a faerie and still a faerie, she was made to help others.

     Pleased with the grey faerie's enlightenment, it had left her a precious gift. It would not allow her pure soul to live the rest of her life as a grey faerie. She did not know it yet, but she would soon.

     She sat at the foot of an ancient oak tree. The birds had since retreated to their nests, and she entered the world of memories.

     She remembered Jhudora, the cruel dark faerie. Once she had been a beautiful air faerie, stubbornly opposed to Jhudora's evil ways. It was her stand against Jhudora that put off the dark faerie, who had in turn transformed her into a grey faerie and threw her out of Faerieland. It only served to deepen her hate for Jhudora.

     Why didn't Fyora punish Jhudora? She had constantly asked herself that question. She had been Fyora's bosom friend and advisor, so why didn't Fyora punish Jhudora? Surely she would be filled with anger, since Jhudora had practically killed her best friend? But no, she hadn't even batted an eyelid.

     She felt betrayed. For years, she had been faithful to the faithless Fyora. However, all her efforts to force herself to hate Fyora had been futile. She had not been born to hate. She had been born to love. Her friendship of many years with the faerie queen had not been forgotten. She and Fyora were born only two hours apart, Fyora being the older one. They had played in the fields on Meridell together, browsed the petpet shop without really buying any petpets, shared hamburgers, nursed injured animals, get school girl crushes on the guys at school, and...

     She did not want to think anymore. Those memories would only increase her longing for her old home, and deepen her hate for Jhudora. It was not a nice thing to hate. Hate filled the heart with bitterness, and corrupted the mind.

     It was only then that she realised how thirsty she was. Stumbling wearily to a nearby lake, she slaked her thirst. It was only then that she saw her reflection in the water. Gasping with disbelief, she splashed water on her eyes, rubbed them, and pinched herself, after which she looked at her reflection again.

     It had not changed. She stared in wonder at her new self. Her hair, which used to be grey, was now a rich chestnut brown with streaks of green. Her grey tinged skin was now a tanned light brown. Her tattered and torn wreck of wings were now beautiful green, leaf-shaped ones. Her eyes - while they were once a dull shade of grey, were now misty green.

     That laugh rang through the woods again. "Guardian of Meridell..." it whispered gaily. "We have a new Guardian of Meridell..."

     Her now green eyes were now fixed on her ripped grey dress. It slowly transformed into a clean, green one which ended slightly above her knees. A golden coloured belt encircled her slim waist.

     She was now an earth faerie, like she should have been from the start. Since it discovered how she and the earth seemed to merge as one, it knew that making her into an air faerie had been a mistake.

     Confidence renewed, Illusen set off. She didn't know where she was going, but all she had to do was to follow the sound of the laugh.

     Illusen the Earth Faerie, Guardian of Meridell.

The End

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