Preparing Neopia for the Meepits Circulation: 135,120,767 Issue: 265 | 10th day of Storing, Y8
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Silver Flames: Part Two


by scar19

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I began to walk towards them, wondering where I had heard the voice before. Her Techo companion noticed me and pointed to me after whispering something to the Kyrii. Immediately, they turned and walked down a hallway. I followed, curious. Soon I was right behind them and I called, "Hey, wait! Who are you?" I was shoved into the wall by the Kyrii.

      "What're you doing?" she hissed while the yellow Techo stood a stride away and eyed me suspiciously. "Following me?"

      Then I realized where I'd heard her voice before. She was the person that had shoved me to the ground earlier and had told me to leave.

      "Who are you?" I asked stubbornly.

      The Kyrii hissed in annoyance as we all heard foot steps approaching me. They were too heavy for them to belong to anybody from my family. It was a green Ixi, clad in a deep black cloak and pants and a shirt similar to the Kyrii's and Techo's but modified to fit her species. She glared at the Kyrii and I for a moment before asking, "Who is she?" Her voice was soft but still held strength and irritation. It took me a moment to figure out the Ixi was talking about me. In the meantime, the Kyrii let go of me, and I fell to the floor without grace.

      Peophins on land have very good balance in order to stand on their two legs, but when tossed or shoved, it's difficult to stay on our hooves. Trust me, I know from experience.

      I got to my hooves and saw the Kyrii's annoyed expression change to cool and virtually emotionless. I could not read her expression, and I assumed that the Ixi couldn't either.

      "A new recruit, Sylva," the fire Kyrii answered swiftly. I was a bit suspicious, but I almost believed that she planned to make me a part of their cloaked club. Maybe that was what she planned. If that wasn't the case, she seemed to be a very good liar. "If you don't mind, I'd like to be the one to make sure she knows how things work."

      The Ixi, who I assumed was named Sylva, snorted, pausing for a moment as if not sure whether to believe the Kyrii was telling the truth. She turned to the yellow Techo. "Blane?" she asked. "Can this Peophin be trusted?"

      Clearly, the Techo was trusted by the Ixi, but I knew he was lying and covering for the Ixi as he answered, "Yes, of course. I trust Akiri's judgement and from what I've seen, the Peophin can be trusted." He was not as good a liar as the Kyrii, but apparently Sylva couldn't tell.

      "Her name?" Sylva asked, casting her forest green gaze towards Akiri and me. She still didn't seem to trust me, but she didn't question Blane the Techo.

      Akiri obviously didn't know my name, but I didn't want her in trouble despite how roughly she handled me. I answered quickly, "Mage."

      Sylva nodded and walked down the hall and disappearing into one of the many rooms, not satisfied but deciding to take the chance.

      Before I could say anything, the Kyrii spoke to me, "Do you wish to join us? I am Akiri and this is my friend Blane." Her expression had turned softer and almost friendly as she spoke to me, but this illusion was quickly broken when she expertly covered her expression once again.

      "Who are you?" I asked, wanting to know what I'd be getting myself into. They looked like a pretty secretive group, and I wasn't sure if it was a group I wanted to be a part of.

      "The Silver Flames," Blane sighed as if he were regretting lying for Akiri and me.

      "We're an organization of spies and defenders. Among other things," added Akiri with a mischievous grin I wasn't sure I liked. "We were a branch of the Defenders of Neopia a long time ago, but we eventually grew apart from them to form our own group because we like to do things more secretly. The Defenders make a show of their work, and most of us don't like it."

      "All of the larger and more popular towns and cities know how to reach us when they need our help, but otherwise we like to stay unnoticed," Blane said. "Right now, we're tracking the Shadow Usul, who has been making trouble around here a lot recently."

      "So, want to join us, Mage?" Akiri asked. "It's not often that we ask random Neopets to join us, but if you work hard enough, we might be able to make an exception."

      I hesitated for a moment, unsure if I wanted to commit myself to the Silver Flames. I knew that if I refused Akiri and Blane would be in trouble with Sylva, and I didn't want that. And tracking that Shadow Usul would be an adventure. It sounded like fun. I nodded. "Okay. I'll do it."

      "Great," Akiri said quickly as she began to usher me out of the hall and back towards the main area of the dining room. Was that a smile she flashed at me? "Come meet us tomorrow night in the lodge at the room number on this card."

      Blane handed me a piece if paper and held out a golden coin with a flame embossed in the center. He seemed to have decided that he had gotten himself into this mess and might as well make the best of it.

      "Show this to whoever is guarding the door to the room," he added, smiling warmly.

     ***

      When I returned to our rooms, Ora looked up from where he was sitting and smiled his greeting to me. He was never been much of a talker and rarely spoke unless he had something important to say. He then looked back out the window at the lake.

      Era poked his head through the door that connected the main room to his, Ora's, and Kiah's room. Because Scar and I were girls, we shared a separate room. There was also the main room connecting them which served as a kind of living room where we could all sit together.

      "Where've you been?" the mutant demanded the moment he saw me.

      "Oh? I took a look around. I got a little sidetracked," I answered, deciding that it wasn't a complete lie.

      Now Scar poked her head through the door at the opposite side of the room that connected the main room to our room. Not wanting to be left out, Kiah came through the door from the boys' room and flopped down onto the sofa.

      "Guess what?" Scar asked us, obviously pleased with herself.

      "You know I'm not any good at guessing games," Era replied with a frown. He was actually very good at guessing games, but everybody knew he hated them anyways.

      "Ooh! I know! You decided that we all needed new haircuts, so you set up an appointment for us to get one," Kiah guessed. Unlike Era, he loved guessing games. He was also horrible at them.

      "No, keep guessing," Scar encouraged.

      "You got a faerie quest from Queen Fyora?" the Gelert guessed.

      "Nope."

      "You've decided that omelettes were too fattening, so you're going to let us eat good food for a change?"

      "Not that either."

      "Too bad. I'm sick of omelettes."

      "Just tell us," said an annoyed Era.

      "Okay, fine. I booked a glass bottom boat tour for us, and afterwards we're going to get to go swimming with all the fish. Did you know that bread fish, water fish, scrawny fish, and even butter fish live in these waters? We go to the docks to meet our boat tomorrow morning."

      Everybody nodded their approval, thinking that it sounded like a lot of fun. I wasn't so sure about it. I had a secret. I didn't know how to swim. So far I had avoided telling my adoptive family by avoiding water. I was embarrassed by the fact because all the Peophins I had ever met swam very well.

      It is a common misconception that Peophins live all their lives in the water and are unable to move around on land. This is certainly untrue because I had never ever been in water deeper than a bathtub. It is true that some Peophins never set hoof on land, but I, a Christmas Peophin, can move about easily on land and can do almost anything land Neopets can just as well or better.

     I felt humiliated at even the thought of telling them. What if they laughed at me?

      That night everybody went to bed looking forward to the boat ride and swim. I was dreading it. I didn't want to tell them I didn't know how to swim, but I could see no way to get out of it. I lay awake in the soft green blankets and thought about the next day, anxious to find out what would happen. But after such a busy day, I didn't have much time to brood. After a while, I fell into a deep sleep.

     ******

      I groaned as I was awakened by a claw prodding me gently in the side.

      "I don't wanna wake up, Era!" I said to my brother, who was obviously the owner of the claw, and I pulled a pillow over my head.

      "Oh, c'mon, sleepy-head. We're all going to breakfast and want you to come with us," said the mutant Lupe's amused voice.

      "Fine," I grumbled to him.

      The mutant led me down the stairs and out of a back door, where we found Scar, Ora, and Kiah waiting for us. I shrugged, not feeling terribly excited about breakfast. I had never been a morning person, and today was no exception. We set off in search of a good place to eat breakfast.

      When we finished breakfast, toast shaped like Kikos and a variety of fresh fruit, we began to make our way towards the dock where the glass bottom boat and its captain were supposed to be waiting for us. I had butterflies in my stomach. I did not want to get in the water. I had no problem with boats, but I found that I was scared that I might get into the deep water and fail to swim. I had no doubt my family or the captain would rescue me if that happened, but I knew that I would embarrass myself terribly if I tried.

      My three brothers and Scar boarded the boat, and I reluctantly followed. I could think of no good excuses not to come with them at the moment, so I had no choice.

      "Good morning, Nineteen family," greeted the captain, a fat purple Kiko. "We'll start our tour of Kiko Lake, and afterwards you'll get to go swimming with the fish that live here. Let me go over our rules..."

      After explaining the rules to us, the wind caught the small sails and we began to float out into the lake. The entire family crowded themselves around the glass bottom, pointing out different fish to each other. After about twenty minutes, I was actually enjoying myself. Maybe things would actually turn out alright.

      It was time for the dreaded swim. Although the captain offered flotation devices for those who couldn't swim, I refused them and so did my family. The rest of my family all eagerly jumped into the water and began to swim around, taking a look at the fish with their goggles and snorkels. I stayed on board. Maybe if I just stood here, nobody would notice I wasn't swimming.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Silver Flames: Part One
» Silver Flames: Part Three
» Silver Flames: Part Four



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