To Be A Master: Dreams - Part One
To be understand this story, read the previous To Be A Master series' in
She was standing on a sea-cliff, one that she knew well.
It had been the site where her old Master had bestowed that last title on her
before he had taken his leave of Neopia, as well as his last resting place.
Many times had she made the trek from her training hall in the depths of the
jungle to pay her respects to the old Kougra, who had guided her along the path
to becoming a Neo-Kido Master on so many levels, and with so much care and kindness.
She gazed up at the sky, wondering if it was
his gentle amber eyes she was looking into, high up among the twinkling lights.
She had missed him so much, especially these previous days...
Those days had been short, but it was as if a
thousand years had gone by; so much had been altered in her life. She had always
been surrounded by love, had never been exposed to real hate. Of course there
had been conflict in her past. Fights, too. But never hate. Certainly, she had
never encountered a hatred as blasting and condemning as that that smouldered
in the blazing eyes of Horak, that old Techo, Head Champion of Neo-Rak, martial
art of violence.
The Neo-Rakarr. Despite the Aisha's normally
rather passive and gentle nature a knot tightened in her stomach as she thought
of them. Their philosophy of selfishness and cruelty had haunted her ever since
she had returned home. She thought of poor Otau, the young Nimmo they had rescued
from that dreaded place, remembered his fear, his pain... She thought of the
Neo-Rakarr whom she had tried to reach through her lifeforce energy...remembered
that it was as if they were on the opposite side of a closed, locked door, shutting
out their feelings... She remembered the old Techo, how he had exulted as she
and Otau were led to what would have been their deaths...
The Neo-Rakarr had taken her away, mistaking
her for someone else. The old Techo himself had thought she was someone else,
someone he hated. He had danced around her, mocked her, spat at her, hated her...
And he would have disposed of her, too, and Otau
along with her, without a second thought. She had mentally chided herself so
many times since then for letting herself be captured, for risking both hers
and Otau's lives, for wanting to know why the Neo-Rakarr had wanted her so badly.
If it hadn't been for Kokyu...
The thought of the blue Aisha gave her temporary
relief from the hardness in her gut. He had been such a friend over the past
few days. He had taken over the class for the previous few days following their
return from the Forgotten Mountains, leaving her to her own thoughts in the
spare dormitory. The times that he did run into her, perhaps when she left for
a slow stroll outside to think or mull over events, he always had a smile and
a friendly pat on the shoulder for her, his lifeforce energy flowing into her
with his touch, reassuring her that he'd be there if she needed him. And how
He had taken care that she was left by herself,
both by the rest of the training hall - Marko, the Senior Kougra, the curious,
anxious white-belts, the rowdy Petpets - and himself. Though she had appreciated
this for a time, she found herself wishing that she could see them all again.
Otau was the only pet she had spent any proper
amount of time with for the past few days. He and she were alike: they both
knew the true nature of the Neo-Rakarr. Though the Nimmo was gentle and soft-spoken
to the rest of the training hall, he nonetheless harboured inner scars from
his time with the Neo-Rakarr, which flared up from time to time. She helped
ease his pain, pushing her soothing lifeforce energy into him, burning away
the bad memories with its cleansing fire each time they returned. She, too,
found comfort in this exercise; it was as if she was purging the poison from
her own scars by cleansing Otau's. But perhaps the pain would always return
to haunt them both, even after the wounds had long faded and healed over by
All of a sudden it became clear to her that she
missed spending time with all she held dear... with Kokyu, with Marko, and with
the white-belts - no, wait, they would be blue belts now. Kokyu would have distributed
their new belts already, knowing him. She hadn't been for the presentation ceremony,
hadn't watched the students she had trained with her own paws receive their
first belts. She hadn't even seen Nage, her faithful Meekins, for so long. She
would have to get back to them. She would go, now. Her time of segregation in
order to contemplate what she had seen had finally run its course. Now she must
get back to her responsibilities. She turned, to make her way back into the
depths of the jungle.
A cool breeze played about her ear-stalks. As
she walked purposefully down the sandy path, it picked up, slowly. First it
was a breeze, then a wind, and then suddenly it was a gale of such a force she
had not encountered since the Forgotten Mountains. Yet it wasn't a fierce gale.
It was so powerful, so powerful and strong, and somehow more gentle than the
lightest and smallest of feathers falling.
It whirled her off her paws, carrying her along
in its passing. She was startled, but oddly unafraid, and she flew with it as
it lifted her higher. Higher, higher, up past the moon-tinted clouds, up to
where the stars laughed and danced…
And then she was in the midst of them in the
black velvet sky, as they whizzed around her like so many dynamic little sparkling
suns. She floated, enthralled, watching them at their play.
Several of them were drawing together now. They
were forming a shape... it was an Neopet of some kind, a sinuous, slender one,
and it burned with the fire and energy of the stars, bold stripes of diamond
brightness shimmering along its sides...
She gasped in astonishment and disbelief. It
was the shape of a Kougra. A Kougra she knew.
The iridescent starry creature turned its face
to her and smiled; spoke her name in a voice that echoed throughout the endlessly
vast night skies.
And then she fell to earth.
Kokyu burst through the screen door, his eyes
wide with concern.
"Aihami! Are you alright?"
The red Aisha groggily wiped a paw across her
eyes. She was lying on the hard wooden floor of the spare dormitory. "Kokyu?
He ran to her side, offering his paw. "You must
have fallen out of your hammock...did you have a bad dream or-"
"Naro-Master!" Aihami burst out suddenly. She
leapt to her feet.
The Blue Aisha looked at her in shock. "Naro-Master?"
"My Master, Kokyu," Aihami breathed, regaining
her composure. "My old Master. I saw him."
"Saw him? What...where...when?"
"My dream, Kokyu. He was there...It must mean
something is about to happen…"
She broke off, remembering. "What time is it?"
"The sun's been up for quite a while. We were
just about to start class when I heard…"
"Good. Today, I'm joining you all."
Aihami grasped his paw. A new and purposeful
brightness was shining from her eyes. He could feel her lifeforce surging under
her skin, with more vitality than he had felt from it for so long.
"Kokyu-Master," called Marko's voice from the
training hall. There was the scuffle of paws, and presently the Kougra's blue,
dark-striped head appeared around the screen door, followed by a gaggle of curious
Junior Students, as they should be called now.
"What's the matt... Aihami-Master!"
A ball of apricot fur bounced past the throng
into the room, squeaking wildly and happily, and leapt up to Aihami's shoulder,
nuzzling her cheek with a quivering nose.
Aihami smiled widely at all of them, as she
reached up a paw to scratch Nage on the head. "Come on, all of you. Let's get
this class started."
With whoops of joy, the Juniors made their noisy
way back to the training hall. Turning her smile upon Kokyu, Aihami tugged on
his paw with all the eagerness of a kit.
"Let's not keep them waiting, Master."
Joy and relief flooding his being in a welcomed
torrent, Kokyu let himself be led to class.
Late that night, after the Juniors had gone to
bed, Aihami and Kokyu sat up talking in the training hall.
"You really saw your Master?"
"Yes, Kokyu, I did. I know I did. Even though
he was all made out of stars, and he looked like some kind of strange new faerie
creature, I knew it was him. I'd know Naro-Master anywhere. You know, the funny
thing is, it didn't feel like a dream, somehow, at least not like any other
dream I had. I know it's crazy, but it felt...real."
"Maybe he wants to tell you something? Maybe
there's something we should know?" Suddenly he snapped his paw.
"The red-clothed pets...the Neo-Rakarr, did you
call them? Maybe it has something...to..."
"Yes, Kokyu. Maybe it does."
She rose, her face solemn. "Well, let's get to
sleep. Maybe he'll come again tonight..."
To be continued...