Grey to Green
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
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
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
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
Illusen the Earth Faerie, Guardian of Meridell.