The Mirror of Memories: Part Eleven
All four of us started to run as fast as our legs would carry us. I ditched the pink slippers and got on all fours, sprinting down the street as fast as I could. Malin was hopping a little behind me, and Enzie put us all to shame as she tore past us, holding Kin in her mouth as she ran. Then she flipped him up into the air and he landed right on her back.
It was pretty much the coolest thing I'd ever seen.
I knew we could never outrun an Eyrie in flight, but we still had to try and get away from Cel. I was running so fast I tripped right in my tracks and fell on my face. Malin passed me and paused for a moment, looking back at me worriedly.
"Malin, what're you doing?!" I panted, getting to my feet. "Run!" This was no time for her to be dawdling. I glared at her, and she bounded off down the road again after Enzie, who was still quite a bit ahead of us.
The giant Darigan Eyrie passed me, a great thrust of air blowing past. He was gaining speed, just right behind Malin. I started to jog after them, now way too tired to be sprinting. In the distance, I saw Enzie turn to the right off the road and jump off of a large hill out of sight. Malin kept running straight like no tomorrow.
Cel and his Eyrie minion glided through the sky and went over the hill Enzie had jumped over. I ran up to the edge of the street and looked down around the large open fields for any sign of Enzie. The grass was thick and long, swaying in the soft breeze. Enzie was probably hiding somewhere in the grass. I tried to climb down the steep hill very carefully, but just ended up rolling down it uncomfortably. I reached the bottom and got to my feet, exhausted.
"Enzie..." I breathed, running into the field. Cel and the Eyrie were circling above the giant field, looking down for any sign of Enzie. I ran into the field through the grass and found it hard to move around, as the grass was taller than I was.
I started to dig a hole in the soft ground, and thanks to my Bori claws, the job got done rather quickly. This would give me lower ground to hide in. I sat down in the hole, looking up into the blue sky. It was no longer raining. The clouds had all moved on, and the sun was shining brightly.
Every now and then I'd see Cel fly past me. He continued his search for about five minutes or so, but then I heard a loud flapping noise, and some rustling. The Eyrie had landed.
I stood up and looked over the top of the grass for any sign of them. The Eyrie towered over the grass, and he was only about one hundred feet or so away from me. I moved closer so I could hear what was going on.
"Listen, girl, tell us where the ruby is," I heard Cel demand. Obviously the little pipsqueak was out of sight, but I could see the tips Enzie's ears poking out of the grass right next to the Darigan Eyrie.
"I don't know!" Enzie shouted, taking a few steps back. The grass was all smashed down in that area, and I moved closer, bending down the grass in my path so I had a full view of what was going on. I don't think it really mattered that I was watching, anyway. Cel didn't seem to be interested in me, or even Enzie for that matter. All he wanted was the ruby.
"Hey," the Darigan Eyrie said coolly. He had an evil-sounding voice as well. Who the heck were these guys?! "Just tell us and everything will be fine. Otherwise, who knows what might happen to you and the baby. And your other friends, too," he added.
Enzie sighed loudly. "I'll NEVER tell you psychos! Now just get lost!" She attempted to run away, Kin still on her back, but the Eyrie grabbed her back leg, holding her in place, preventing her from moving. She fell to the ground, groaning loudly.
"Tell us where it is." The Eyrie's voice was serious and dangerous sounding. Enzie looked up at him, glaring at him the same way she'd glared at me a million times.
"I don't know..."
The Eyrie just yanked her leg, pulling Enzie closer to him. The Kougra yelped in pain, clearly trying not to cry. I wanted to do something, anything to save her, but I didn't stand a chance.
"Okay, okay, I'll tell you..." she breathed. "Only Malin knows..." Enzie let out a weak cough, and Cel hopped onto the Eyrie's back once again.
"Malin? You mean that Cybunny?" Cel inquired, his voice high-pitched.
Enzie nodded weakly, and the Eyrie took flight. I ran over to Enzie and Kin as fast as I could. The Kougra slowly got up to her feet. She was shaking, probably scared to death about the whole thing.
"Are you all right?" I asked timidly, frowning a bit. I didn't want to hug her or get too close or anything. That would have been weird. I mean, it wasn't like we were actually friends...
"Yeah. Thanks..." Enzie smiled gratefully. "But... what about Malin?" She looked down at Kin, who seemed to be just fine.
I looked up into the sky. "The best bet would be to follow Cel." I spotted the Eyrie flying off to the north, and I started to run through the grass, pushing the long stalks aside as I swam through.
"Maybe it'd be best if I cleared the way," Enzie suggested, moving ahead of me. She sprinted through the grass, leaving a bended trail behind her. I slowly jogged after her, feeling like a fatso.
Enzie stopped at the end of the grass field, looking straight up into the sky. Cel was circling around, once again.
"Great," she groaned, "what's he want now? Look's like he's looking at us again."
I rolled my eyes as I kept running, finally catching up to where Enzie was standing. I almost gasped when I saw what was right in front of us.
A stream. A gentle stream was flowing right past us. Was this the same stream I'd waded through that night I found Malin's journal?
Was this where it would all end?
I looked around, and I spotted a tall oak tree on the other side of the stream. A lone tree, out in the middle of nowhere. It looked exactly like the tree I'd seen that night, the night I'd found Kin curled up in a ball under, out of the rain...
I blinked, shocked. Malin was hiding up in one of the branches, looking down at Enzie and I worriedly. I quickly looked away, trying not to look suspicious and give Cel any ideas of where Malin might be.
But he probably already knew.
The Eyrie descended and landed on the ground a ways away from us. Cel jumped off of his ride and glared at us angrily. The baby Quiggle then turned and started to walk towards the tree Malin was hiding in, the Eyrie following close behind.
Enzie gasped, and I started to panic. Please, don't do anything to Malin... I thought, wrinkling my eyebrows in horror as Cel looked up into the tree. Malin glanced down at him, sticking her tongue out.
"I'll never tell you where it is!" she yelled, ripping a small branch off of the tree and throwing it down at Cel. The baby Quiggle merely stepped out of the way, and the branch fell beside him. He raised an eyebrow and looked up at her pathetically.
"Very well." He glanced over at the Eyrie. "Dune? Get the baby."
Dune nodded, and he flew across the stream, landing in front of Enzie, Kin and I. He grabbed Kin with his sharp claws and then flew up into the air where we couldn't reach him. Dune swooped down and Cel jumped on his back, grinning evilly. "If that's the way you want it, fine. All I was asking you for was that jewel. That's all. I can't believe you'd give up a helpless little baby for a stupid ruby. Oh well," he sighed. Dune spread his wings out, preparing to take flight.
"WAIT!" Malin yelled. Dune stopped and turned around.
"What is it now?" Cel sighed, rubbing his forehead impatiently.
Malin was hesitant. "I... I... Don't take the baby. Take me, instead."
"MALIN!" Enzie screamed, clearly appalled. "Don't--"
Cel smirked. "Fine, then. Dune?"
The Eyrie just looked down in his claws at Kin, who appeared to be choking on something. The baby Ogrin coughed and gasped, kicking his legs around like he was going to die.
"Kin...?" I breathed, wondering what on Neopia was happening. Would he be okay? The baby Ogrin began to heave in and out deeply, still kicking his legs around while Dune held him out, looking at him weirdly.
And then, all of a sudden, a shiny red jewel covered in saliva slipped out of Kin's mouth and tumbled all the way down to the ground. Everyone gasped as they watched it fall. I caught a glimpse of Cel, whose already too-big eyes were so wide they were basically popping out of his head.
That moment felt like a million years, like the jewel was falling in slow motion. Malin and Enzie bounded towards it as it fell, while Cel hit Dune on the head, and the Eyrie started to fly down to the ground. I just stood there like an idiot.
The jewel fell into the stream with a plop, sending splashing water into the air, and Malin hastily jumped right in and dunked her head under, searching around for the jewel like a little kid trying to get the last Easter egg. Enzie and I looked at each other, with the kind of expression that would say, "What the heck just happened...?"
Dune landed on the ground and Cel jumped off of him, straight into the water. Being a Quiggle, he was at a fairly high advantage compared to Malin. Enzie jumped in the water and pushed him out of the way while Malin was still looking around for the ruby. What was taking so long?
"Get outta the way, you big fat jerk," Enzie spat, glowering down at Cel as he resurfaced. He angrily dove back down into the water, and the reappeared only seconds later, holding the ruby in his hands. My jaw dropped, and Malin came back up to the surface, gasping for air.
"What?!" I shouted, glaring at Malin. "How'd he beat you to it?!"
The Cybunny just treaded through the water as fast as she could, shoving Enzie out of the way. She glared down at Cel, who was admiring the jewel he held in his hands as he hopped on Dune's back.
"It's miiiiine!" he shouted, giggling evilly. "It's all mine!"
"Hey, buddy," I said, jumping straight across the stream in one leap, landing right next to him and Cel. I picked up Kin off the ground, and as Dune was spreading his wings, getting ready to take flight, I threw the baby Ogrin up into the air, and he bit the end of Dune's tail like it was a long piece of purple licorice. Dune yelped, flapping his wings harder. The extra weight, even if it was just a little, was weighing him down. "Go, Kin!" I cheered.
The baby Ogrin climbed up on Dune's back and punched Cel in the stomach with his hard hoof. The baby Quiggle stumbled backwards, stepping on top of Dune's head. The Eyrie flapped his wings around confusedly, probably wondering what was going on on his back. He must've been pretty stupid. Kin then bit Cel's arm and then snatched the ruby away from the Quiggle.
The next thing I saw was a great flash of red light.
Malin, Enzie and I all shielded our eyes. The explosion blew past us, and a few seconds later, the red light was gone, replaced by a coat of thick black smoke.
Nobody said anything. We didn't hear anything, either. We just waited for the smoke to clear.
It seemed like forever, and my heart was beating faster than it had ever thumped before. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't say anything. All I could do was watch.
A baby Ogrin stumbled out from the black smoke, his fur burnt and black in some places. He smiled weakly, and then collapsed, falling down on the soft grass. I ran over to him, scooping him up in my arms. He seemed to be all right, just worn out. I hugged him, and he smiled as I held him, opening his big yellow eyes slowly.
"Shh..." I said softly, shaking my head. "Rest your eyes."
The smoke cleared.
And there was nothing. No Cel, no Dune. Just the ruby.
It was sitting there in the grass, untouched, innocent. Malin and Enzie walked over to it and picked it up, smiling at each other broadly.
"Let's get rid of this stupid thing," Malin said, tossing the ruby up and down in the air as if it were a baseball.
I looked over at the large tree Malin had been hiding in before, and I spotted her umbrella case lying on the ground at the base of the tree. I pointed over to it.
"Wouldn't want to forget your umbrella case."
Malin went over to it and picked it up. "Thank you. So, how should we destroy this thing? Smash it up into a million pieces?"
"Whatever; it doesn't matter," said Enzie.
"I think Sepra should have the honors, don't you, Enzie?"
Enzie nodded, and then smiled at me.
I returned it.
"What are you going to do after this, Sepra?" Malin questioned, as she dried Kin off with her ugly brown bathroom towel. The baby Ogrin had just enjoyed a nice bubble bath in Malin's freaky bathtub.
I shrugged, kicking my legs back and fourth as I sat on the edge of the bathroom counter. "Who said I was leaving?"
Enzie was leaning against the wall, her arms crossed over her chest coolly. "Nobody... it's just, you've got to go back to where you came from someday."
I nodded slowly. "Yeah, yeah... I did what I came here to do, anyway."
Malin and Enzie looked at each other in confusion.
It was true -- I had accomplished what I had come here to do. I wanted to find out what happened to Malin. And thanks to Kin, I had prevented that horrible thing -- whatever it may have been -- from happening.
"W-what... do you mean?" Malin questioned, folding the wet towel and hanging it on the rack to try. Kin smiled up at me, looking as good as new.
I sighed. "I guess I can't keep this from you forever." Taking a deep breath, I began. "Well, I... I came here... through... this mirror." I turned around, pointing at the bathroom mirror right behind me.
Malin raised her eyebrows. "What?"
"There's this mirror I found, and well, it's a long story, but I went through it and ended up here."
"Wow..." Enzie chuckled. "That's the saddest lie I've ever heard in my life."
"No, I'm serious," I told them, standing up on the counter. I poked the mirror with my claw, and it softened, rippling at my touch. I stuck my arm through the mirror, and Malin audibly gasped.
She climbed up on the counter with me, looking at it up close. Enzie decided she had to take a look herself.
"See? I wasn't lying."
"So... where exactly are you from?" Malin asked, and I could see she still didn't believe me completely.
"The future. Twenty years from now."
Enzie and Malin exchanged glances. They didn't say anything at first, but after a while of awkwardness, Malin said, "You know... I think I believe you."
"Yeah, me too," Enzie admitted. "It sounds really stupid, but really, you actually sound like you're telling the truth. Before it was really obvious you were lying."
I was shocked they accepted this so easily. They must have really believed in magic and all that little-kid stuff. Just to make sure they knew I was telling the truth, I got down on my knees and opened the bathroom cupboard, pulling out the journal from the future.
"Here's proof." I shoved the journal at Malin and she flipped through the pages, shocked. Her eyes widened as she read her entries, and then she found the picture of Enzie and her that was tucked inside of the pages.
"Wow... remarkable." She hurriedly went into the kitchen and came back moments later, holding the other copy of the journal. "This is crazy!" The Cybunny showed it to Enzie, who seemed to be impressed as well.
I then explained the whole thing more thoroughly, telling them every single detail about how Nera had told me the story of how she ran through the Mirror of Memories when she was a kid, and how I read about the mirror in a book a while ago. I also told her how I found her journal, and that was what got me to go through the mirror in the first place. They began to realize that anything was possible, especially in our world of Neopia.
"So... when are you going back?" Malin asked timidly. She sounded afraid to even ask, afraid that my answer might be ‘today.’
"Er..." I frowned a bit. "I think I should get back as soon as possible."
"Aww..." Malin whined, puffing out her lower lip and looking at me with her huge glossy eyes. Her Cybunny ears drooped down. Enzie looked a little sad, too.
"I mean, I can't keep Kin away from his parents forever."
"Will you come back?" Enzie questioned, her face lighting up.
I shrugged. "Honestly... I don't know. The Mirror is in Nera's attic, and it's not like I can just go to her house and barge upstairs whenever I want..."
Enzie looked genuinely blue, now. "Oh... I see."
"But don't worry... I'll see you guys again someday. I promise."
After a few more minutes of talking and saying our goodbyes, I decided it was time for me to go. I had seen everything I had wished to see, done everything I wanted to do, and now it was time for me to take Kin back home.
"C'mon, Kin," I said. The baby Ogrin jumped up on the counter, wagging his tail happily. I picked him up, putting one leg through the mirror. I looked back at Malin and Enzie, who were both wearing disappointed smiles. "Hey, Malin," I started, looking at the worn-out copy of the journal, which was lying on the counter next to me. "Can I keep this journal...? You know, just to remind me of you guys? I won't read it or anything."
Psh. Yeah right.
Malin nodded. "Sure, Sepra."
I grinned, picking the journal up. "Well, I guess it's time for me to go."
"Bye, Sepra." Enzie waved at me. I smiled back at her.
"Bye, Enzie. Bye, Malin. I'll miss you guys."
"Good-bye, Sepra," Malin whispered, tears forming in her crystal blue eyes. "Thank you for everything you've given me."
I shook my head, feeling close to tears myself. I was embarrassed, I usually never cried about this sort of thing. "It's nothing," I replied, my voice hoarse.
Malin nodded, swallowing hard, and then she said very slowly: "...I'll never forget you."
And then I stepped through the mirror, never looking back. I ran as fast as I could through the bright swirling hallway, clutching Kin tightly. I saw the tall Mirror of Memories at the end of the hall, and I ran even faster. I was excited to go back home, but at the same time, sad that I had to leave behind all that I'd experienced in the past few days.
I ran through the Mirror of Memories and tumbled across Nera's attic floor. I got to my feet and ran through the dark attic towards the exit. I opened the door, perking my ears up, hoping to hear the sound of people downstairs talking.
And that's what I heard. There were people downstairs; doing the exact same thing they had been doing when I left. I sprinted down the marble stairs, Kin at my heels. I couldn't wait to see my mom or my dad, or Lawne... I reached the bottom floor, and I felt out of place once again, thanks to my pink slippers. Before venturing into the sea of people, I heard a voice.
I spun around, looking for the person who had spoken. I saw a disco Chomby in a beautiful white dress, grinning at me from across the hallway.
"Lawne!" I shouted, running over to her. I hugged her around the neck, squeezing her tightly, as if I hadn't seen her in years.
"Whoa there, what's the big idea?" she asked, pushing me away. "You're not the mushy gushy type. What'd you do with the real Aina?"
I glared up at her, a smirk on my face. She stuck her tongue out, and then we both began to laugh.
"Where have you been all night?" Lawne asked. "Everyone's been looking for you!"
I smiled. "I was... doing some things. Now, if you'd excuse me, I have a baby to return to his parents..." I bent over and picked up Kin, then ran through the crowds of people, trying to locate his parents. At last I found them -- they were talking to my own parents in a corner of the room by the large fireplace. I eagerly walked over to the four of them, holding Kin out.
His mother, a rich and beautiful green Ogrin, held out her arms and took him from me. "Oh, thank you so much for watching him the entire night!" she said, patting me on the shoulder.
My mom nodded. "Yes, Aina, that was a really big help to the Mister and Missus."
"Yeah, yeah, I know..." I told her, and I could feel myself blushing.
"Here, Anna," Kin's mom said, digging around in her diamond purse. "I must pay you for your excellent babysitting abilities... Kin seems to be very happy."
I cringed at the fact that the lady had butchered my name, but I forgot all about that when she grabbed a small sack of neopoints out of her purse. She handed the brown bag to me, and I took it graciously.
"Thank you..." I murmured, looking down at the small sack. Who knew how many neopoints were inside? I looked up at my mom and dad, unable to wipe the stupid grin off of my face. "I think I'm going to go back home and get a start on my homework. Tell Nera's parents 'thanks' for the party."
I went back to the front of the house, and the pink Lenny maid opened the door for me. I stepped out into the cold, opening the sack of neopoints as I walked down the steps of Nera's mansion. There was a single coin inside -- I grabbed it, pulled it out, and squinted at it in the dim light from Nera's house. It was a fifty thousand neopoint. I almost fainted right then and there. Fifty thousand neopoints! And it was a single coin, too! Only extremely rich Neopians had those. I couldn't believe it. It was just enough for a Blue Paint Brush.
I got to my house and went straight to my room, setting the sack of neopoints on the nightstand next to my bed. I sighed, lying down on my rock-hard mattress. It was good to be home.
I flipped open Malin's journal, and I was shocked to see that it was now actually full. Every single page had been written in. Tons of pictures fell out of the journal as I flipped through the pages. Some were of Enzie, some were of Malin, and some were of just plain weird things.
I had really done it. I had changed the past.
I had saved Malin.
I closed the journal, deciding to save it to read for another night. I then reached across the bed and grabbed the book I had been reading before I left from the party, which was, unfortunately, When the Wind Blows. I opened it and started to read, and unlike when I had tried to read it before, I could actually read a page without losing my mind or getting bored to death.
Tonight, I would fall asleep reading the book. In the morning, I would get up after sleeping in, eat a nice big breakfast, and then go down to the shops and buy myself a Blue Paint Brush. Then I'd get Lawne to go to the Rainbow Pool with me so she could see my transformation from an ugly orange Bori to a non-hideous blue one.
And then, I am going to go see Malin and Enzie.
After all, they haven't seen me in twenty years.