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Just One Little Question


by x_icecap

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Elelea's petite body was lying in front of the fireplace. Her red Shoyru skin reflected the heat of the fire, (a special thing only red Shoyrus can do) and it warmed the entire room.

     "Whatcha doing, Lea?" Sphooner, Elelea's younger brother flopped down beside her. He was a handsome white Eyrie, and people often mistook him as older than Lea.

     Sphooner stood back up, as he realized his sister was reading. There was no distracting her at this time. Bored, the Eyrie left the room, happy to depart the hot room. Lea stayed, engrossed in her rather long book. When she was done, it vanished, just as all Neopian books do. The Shoyru stood up. Suddenly a thought hit her. Why do books vanish when you read them?

     When Elelea got a question stuck in her head, it stayed there until she solved it. Naturally, she went up to her owner (who was in the same room) to interrogate her.

     Ellipse was leaning back in the reclining chair. Her long black hair hung over her shoulders, and instead of her glasses she was wearing contacts. Her eyes were beautiful, a lovely shade of green. She was often told that she could win any beauty contest, as long as her eyes and shiny black hair were in plain view. No one had ever complimented on her fair china-white skin, or her long slender legs, or even her small delicate nose. Her eyes and hair were most certainly her main features.

     Ellipse had a book in her hands, holding it just as Elelea had earlier, with a firm grip, yet loose enough as though not to tear the pages.

     "Ellipse, why do books disappear when you're done with them?" Lea asked her question. Ellipse looked up from her book. No doubt about it, the Shoyru had gotten her love of knowledge from her owner.

     The girl stayed silent for a moment. The room was very cozy, very warm, very quiet. The Neohome was often peaceful like this when Sphooner was out, and this was one of those very rare moments when he was in, yet the house was quiet. Finally, Lipse answered.

     "I don't know, Angel. Why don't you find out for yourself? You seem to be very good at things like that, you know."

     Lea waited for some more words to come out of her owner's mouth. After nothing did, and Ellipse was once again engrossed with the printing of her beloved book, Elelea left the room.

     She went into her sister, Suede's, chamber.

     Suede was lying down on her bed, twirling her long fur around one of her fingers, and listening to her Yes Boy Ice-Cream music. As Lea entered, she reached out her paw to the knob on her boom box, and blared the music.

     "TURN THAT DOWN!" Lipse yelled angrily from the living room. Suede aversely rolled her eyes, but gradually turned the volume down on her mother's command. There wasn't another word from Ellipse, as far as Lea could tell.

     "What?" Suede said in her normal grouchy voice. The sun from the window shined down on the skunk Kougra's eyebrow ring, and the rays glowed through the room.

     Elelea said nothing.

     "WHAT?" Suede said, this time much louder and angrier, Elelea was surprised Ellipse hadn't heard it.

     "You've read a book... I think," Lea started. "Do you know why they disappear in a poof of smoke when you're done reading it?"

     "Ask me anything about Yes Boy Ice-Cream, and I'll know. Ask me about books, and my mind is left blank." Suede narrowed her eyes. "Now, leave!"

     Obviously Elelea wouldn't find an answer here. One place she could go was the Neopian Bookshop.

     The red Shoyru yelled to Ellipse that she was going out, then opened and shut the door, but not after grabbing a scarf and some mittens. The crisp winter air blew at her face as she stepped out. She was glad she was dressed warmly.

     Some leaves still lingered almost wearily on the ground. No snow covered Neopia yet, but the forecast predicted some... at least that's what Lipse said.

     Elelea walked down the path to the street. Luckily the bookshop wasn't far from her Neohome, yet she enjoyed the walk, passing the other stores that hung around her.

     After my question has been answered, I might stop by another shop and get myself a new Usuki doll, Lea thought to herself. Of course, I'd buy it with my own NP.

     In a minute she reached her destination.

     She entered the shop, and was immediately greeted by great warmth. The bookstore owner, a blue Nimmo, leisurely looked up at his guest.

     "Hello? How may I help you?" the Nimmo asked. His words were obviously repeated more than needed, as he sounded like a robot.

     "I have a question..." Elelea said uncertainly. "Um... why do books just disappear when you're... when you're done reading them?" She knew she sounded nervous.

     The Nimmo smiled. It had seemed kind of icy in the warm atmosphere, but it quickly warmed up and Lea felt more welcome.

     "One little question can go a long way," the blue Neopet said. He stood up and set down the book he had been reading before the customer had entered. He walked across the room in long, elegant, strides.

     Elelea liked the way he walked. She watched as his legs moved very gracefully across the floor. They were much more graceful than her own, somewhat stubby legs.

     The Nimmo pulled out a book with a gray cover. POOF! how was the cover read. Lea had never seen the book before.

     "This book is special," the shopkeeper explained. "That's why you never see anyone reading it. Only a lucky few can get knowledge out of this book. For some reason, it NEVER disappears. A reason I'm sure you won't be able to handle..." A mysterious glint appeared in his eyes, but then it disappeared, just as quickly as it had come.

     Lea gaped. How she'd love to get her hands on a book like that! It was very thick, and if she had it, she'd have it forever.

     The shop owner blew away some dust that had settled on the cover. The book was no longer gray; it was a light blue, Elelea's favorite color. He opened it and skimmed through the crisp pages. They were yellow with age.

     "Sometimes a question can never be answered, no matter how simple it may seem. There are many of these questions in this world... very sad really. It just happens that this question, your question is one of these. I'm sorry, maybe you'll find the question out yourself. It's a shame some pets are so curious. You know that saying, curiosity killed the Wocky. Evidently it also hurt the Shoyru." The Nimmo blew a long stream of the dust that was in his hand because of the book, and it scattered over Elelea's red body. She felt herself... dissolving... almost like a book. Her question would finally be answered...

     Lea smiled for the last time, then disappeared, never to be seen again.

     The shopkeeper smiled and sat down at his chair, reading through his little book of magic. No one would ever find out, he was sure of that.

The End

 
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