Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 157,654,463 Issue: 272 | 29th day of Celebrating, Y8
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Cylara's Journey: Part One


by doughnut215

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Also by denimsweetheart

It was dusk, and the warm golden light had begun to fade away and sink below the horizon, tingeing the many clouds in the sky with shades of candy-floss pink and muted orange as it passed them. A cool breeze chased the multi-coloured clouds across the sky as though they were mere playthings, although as always in Faerieland, there were some clouds that could not be moved by even the strongest or most playful of winds.

     It was the same golden light that swam in through the small window of a largely unnoticed pale coloured tower close to Queen Fyora's residence. A slim, majestic figure standing close to the little window was bathed in the soft light, and it darkened her usually pale violet wings and hair tones to shades of a darker purple than she would usually be associated with.

     The expression on her face was strong and concentrated, capable and resolute, yet still gentle... The faerie remained motionless for quite some time, her eyes closed and her lips murmuring spells that could not be heard by any living creature, nor by any clever contraption of her adversaries. They were secret words that she alone could know. The small silver tiara resting softly upon her head shone merrily in the light from the window.

     The last dredges of light had long since faded into the silvery half-dark of moonlight before the faerie stirred. Her gown, now seemingly white in the moonlight, shimmered as she gracefully moved closer to the window. Smiling softly, she looked out on the calm haven that was Faerieland, and later, up to the stars singing sweetly above her.

     Meanwhile, far away, a purple and orange coloured Skeith named Keija tossed and turned in a rather uncomfortable bed somewhere close to the Haunted Woods. It had been a difficult few weeks for Keija, and she was reaching a point where she desperately needed something to turn her fortunes around before things got even worse. It would be fair to say, however, that her situation was in truth entirely of her own doing. Indeed, it was Keija's own personality and choices that were responsible for the creation of the mess in which she was currently stuck. Oddly enough, the split-coloured Skeith did not regret any of these choices one little bit, nor did she blame herself for her situation.

          It was at approximately the same time that the faerie was gazing up at the stars that Keija suddenly sat bolt upright in bed - instantly awaked from a very odd dream - with a rather different type of smile dawning upon her face.

-

     "Do we have to, Cy?" asked a very tired and likewise bored baby Kougra by the name of Tuari.

     "You can stay outside if you really want, Tuari. I'm just going to nip in, I promise I'll only be a moment." Cylara spoke in a softer tone, as if scared that someone would overhear her. The spotted Uni shuffled her hooves nervously.

     "Fine with me!" beamed Tuari, thrilled to be getting his own way.

     His older sister, Cylara, slipped into the small, familiar shop. Outside, it was nearing evening and the sunset had already begun. The sky was draped with shades of red and gold, making Cylara's honey coloured spots appear rather more radiant than they normally would.

     The timing for her visit was not accidental by any means. Cylara hoped that there would be very few other customers in the book shop - she preferred it that way. As she slipped inside the stone-walled building, the orange Ixi in charge of the shop flashed Cylara a friendly, welcoming smile giving evidence of long association. Timidly, Cylara returned it and rushed behind a bookshelf. She gave a sigh of contentment as she lost herself in the fascinating collection of tales, epics and legends in front of her. The slightly musty smell of worn paper filled her nostrils along with the crisp sweetness of new as she browsed the many books on offer. Eventually, she came to a decision, and made her way towards the Ixi to pay.

     She smiled to herself. She had meaning to buy such a book for a while now, but her owner did not like her straying from Meridell to visit the slightly larger town of Brightvale too often. It was only as Cylara stepped out into the street, long since bereft of sunlight and now almost empty, that she realised something was wrong. She looked right, and then left, yet she could not see a Kougra, let alone a baby Kougra, anywhere. The bench upon which she had left her brother was now quite empty, save for a Mortog seemingly belonging to no one.

     "Tuari! Tuari! Where are you, Tuar?" she called in a louder voice than she was used to using. Her usually soft, downcast eyes began to show signs of worry and anxiety as he did not leap from behind the bench shouting and laughing at having upset her.

     It did not take long for her to realise what she must do. The very thought made her feel strangely nervous. Cylara was timid, shy- she didn't like talking to people other than her family, especially complete strangers.

     Cylara agonised only for a moment. A fond memory of Tuari, about a year ago, and herself, playing together in their garden together, laughing, ran through her head. She frisked her long golden-brown tail worriedly, and gathered her courage about her.

     Full of worry for her baby brother, Cylara set off, heading towards the Brightvale Armoury. She usually kept as far away from the place as possible- it was almost always packed no matter what time of day. In the darkness, she knew from experience, there would be no one at all around the bookshop. Darkness. Tuari had always been a little afraid of the dark. Cylara shivered.

     Brightvale looked quite different, in the night, although it was not the first time she had been out alone after sundown in Brightvale. Quite often when she came, in fact, she would remain at the book shop until very late.

     Presently, she arrived at the armoury, and, gathering her courage, approached the first pet that she saw. He appeared to be a rather cheerful looking blue Chia.

     "Excuse me, err, sir? Have you seen my, um, brother? A baby Kougra. I'm terribly worried…" But the Chia didn't even open his mouth. He shook his head and walked off.

     Cylara desperately asked a few others milling around in the crowd, but to no avail. They were all too busy, she thought, too concerned with their oh-so-wonderful weapons, to be bothered about her little brother.

     It was cold by this time as well as dark, but Cylara remained undeterred. Her conversational skills had never been that great, she had always much preferred to be reading rather than socialising. Trying to suppress her panic, Cylara forced herself to think what any self-respecting heroine would do at this point. Deciding that a search of the town would be the next option to take, she promptly set off.

     Cylara braved the crowds in the Scrollery, and searched behind the Wheel of Knowledge. She walked to the Brightvale Glaziers, and in the dark of night stealthily searched the premises for her brother. Tuari had always been fascinated by the pretty things made there. But still there was no sign of him.

     She looped back towards the Potionery, then the Motery, and finally the Fruits shop by the stream, a ribbon of rushing whispering silver in the moonlight. Her voice was hoarse from calling him; it had been a while since she had used it for such a long period of time.

     By now, Cylara really was panicking. What in Neopia could she have been thinking, leaving him alone like that? And being silly enough to stay in the bookshop, not thinking to check on him… Now if he was gone, it would be all her fault! Silent tears began to stream down Cylara's face as she walked, until eventually she could go no further. She was frozen, exhausted, terrified, and utterly drained.

     She collapsed on that same bench, distraught. Where could Tuari be? Was he okay? What could she do next? The town was deserted, there was no where that she had not looked. Realising that her owner would also be growing worried, Cylara dragged herself up and turned to go home, but stopped before she'd really started out. She hadn't seen it before, but there was a dirty scrap of paper caught under the bench legs. Leaning down, she tore it away from where it was crammed and squinted in the dim light of a nearby lamp to read it. She could not have said why exactly it caught her attention, nor why exactly she decided she must read it.

           Owner/Guardian of the Kougra,

     We have taken your baby Kougra to a lair far from these miserable parts. If you want him back you must obey the conditions set out within this note. You must buy a Honey Potion and bring it to the Haunted Woods. North of the Brain Tree you shall find him, if you can make it in time, of course.

     S.

          The 'S' was signed with a flourish. Cylara stared at the note, utterly horrified, her mouth agape. 'S'… That could be anything, or anyone. Anyone at all.

To be continued...

 
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