Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 110,063,438 Issue: 169 | 10th day of Celebrating, Y6
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A Desperate Situation


by dogzruleyeah330

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High above Neopia, the clouds of Faerieland glittered majestically. It was a land that seemed untouched by sadness; busy, happy pets carried out their jobs at the Employment Agency, rich individuals flush with cash from the stock market perused the wares of the Hidden Tower, and the Wheel of Excitement was packed with people, either waiting patiently to test their luck or counting their winnings. Without a doubt, Faerieland was the place to be if you wanted to, literally, walk on air.

Yet in the southwest corner of the Faerie City, near the Healing Springs, was a face that did not wear a smile. In fact, the owner of this face, a little girl, could barely remember a time when she had felt worse.

Most of the other patrons of the Springs were only there for minor problems. Their pets had problems that were, in the brisk winter weather, common: runny noses, coughing fits, or lethargia. Their visit to the Water Faerie was more of an annoyance than anything else. Sadly, this was not the case with the little girl and her beloved pet, a Baby Gelert named Daisy.

As the other Springs-goers slowly thinned out, taking their now-cured pets off to participate in all that Faerieland had to offer, the girl, who went by the username Pixee, wondered if the kind faerie could really help her. Living in Neopia Central, Pixee had employed every other resource to cure Daisy before coming here. She had seen the Gelert Doctor at the hospital, dropped by Kauvara's Magic Shop, and even sent letters to the famous Kaelyn of Meridell, among countless other things. This was truly her last resort.

Then she looked down at Daisy, who was asleep in her arms. For the past three weeks, the little pet had been terrifyingly sick. She coughed so much that she could barely eat; all she could do was drink milkshakes and smoothies. She suffered alternating bouts of chills and fever, and mostly sat either in front of the fireplace or the refrigerator. Perhaps scariest of all, her fur was falling out in places. She had once been a winner of the Cutest Pet award in Pixee's guild; but now that her illness, which had not yet been given a name, had gotten a hold on her, she looked like a runaway who fed off of scraps from the Money Tree.

"Next, please!"

The Water Faerie's voice startled PIxee from her thoughts. It was her turn. She hurried up to the magical waters.

"What seems to be the problem?" asked the Faerie, her voice soft and sweet.

"My Baby Gelert is sick," explained Pixee, talking very fast. "I've been everywhere, every doctor, every potion shop, and no one can heal her, no one can even tell me what she has..." her voice trailed off, and she simply offered the sleeping Daisy to the Faerie.

"Hmmm," mused the Water Faerie, taking Daisy. She reached down, took a handful of healing water, and sprinkled it over the Gelert's face. Nothing happened.

"Odd," she said, sounding confused. "They usually show signs of improvement after touching the water."

A slight frown on her face, she pulled out her wand and waved it over Daisy, murmuring a few magic words. The Gelert showed no signs of changing, for better or worse.

Just as Pixee was starting to panic, the Faerie snapped her fingers. "I know! I'll use my custom-made potion. Nobody else in all Neopia sells it. It can cure anything."

She quickly dove into the water, then surfaced a few seconds later with a small vial, filled with a blue liquid. It appeared to be glowing.

Carefully, so as not to wake her, she opened Daisy's mouth and administered a few drops of the potion. The sick pet swallowed in her sleep, and then shivered a bit, but otherwise, she still looked very ill.

The Faerie's jaw dropped. "I can't believe it," she said. "That potion is the finest ever made. Just one drop contains the remedy for every disease in Neopia. I've never seen a case that wasn't completely healed after drinking it."

"Does this mean you can't help her!?" cried Pixee, her voice rising.

"I'm very sorry," said the Faerie apologetically. "But I'm afraid I can't."

Tears stung Pixee's eyes as she walked away from the Healing Springs. Why was this happening? Daisy was the best--and only--pet she had ever had. Before coming to Neopia, she had been unable to have a dog, a cat or even a goldfish. Ever since she had adopted Daisy a year ago, she had had a friend, one who would love her no matter what. Now it was all falling apart before her eyes.

If only I could find the right potion, Pixee thought frantically. And the right person, and the right price...Augh, this is impossible! She racked her brain, mentally listing all the regions of Neopia and all the shops, searching for one that she hadn't checked yet, one that might be able to help her. As she was debating whether a trip to Peopatra's Petpets for the rumored healing powers of Wadjets would be worth the strain a journey would put on Daisy, she was once again shocked back into the real world.

"Hey, watch it!"

She had bumped into a tall lady. On closer inspection, the woman turned out to be a Dark Faerie.

"I'm sorry, miss Faerie, I didn't mean to--"

"Yeah, yeah, that's what they all say," the Faerie snapped bitterly, waving her hand dismissively. "Look, I don't care what you meant, you don't bump into Mervulee the dark faerie, got it?"

"Please, I won't do it again, but I really need to get going--" Pixee trembled as she spoke. Mervulee was at least six inches taller than her.

"You'll go when I say you can go!!!" Mervulee exploded, grabbing Pixee's arm angrily. The motion startled Daisy awake, and the small Gelert gave a pitiful yelp. The dark faerie immediately drew back her hand, as if it was struck by lightning. "What's wrong with your pathetic little pet, girl?"

Filled by a sudden and uncharacteristic bravery, Pixee narrowed her eyes. "Daisy is sick. She's always cold or hot, she can barely breathe, and even the water faerie's miracle potion doesn't help. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go so I can look for a cure."

Pixee had expected Mervulee to become enraged and curse her or something similarly horrible, but instead the Faerie simply nodded dumbly and stepped aside. "Um. Yeah, whatever. Look, just forget this ever happened and go, OK? I'm letting you off easy."

Shocked but more so confused, Pixee rushed on by without another word. Once she was a good ten yards away, she chanced a quick glance over her shoulder and realized that Mervulee was still standing rooted to the spot, looking like a Bat Boy that had just rushed out in broad daylight--uncomfortable, confused, and frightened.

Okay, that was...weird. But at least she moved...now, where was I? Right, Wadjets. Well, I guess it's worth a try...better than sitting around doing nothing...

Three Days Later....

"Are you serious?" Pixee asked the Gelert Doctor, her hand over her heart. "You've ruled out every other possibility?"

"Absolutely," responded the green Gelert in the white lab coat. "Daisy's illness is the result of a curse. Once you know what to look for, all the information we have points straight to that answer."

"A curse," repeated Pixee, trying to calm down. "OK. How do we fix it?"

The doctor shook his head. "Unfortunately, this revelation only gives us one new option, and I'm afraid it isn't pleasant."

"I'll try anything," pleaded Pixee. "Just tell me what it is."

"The cure for a curse is a powerful potion made by Jhudora herself. It works amazingly, but the side effects are...grim."

"What do you mean, 'grim'?"

"Every pet that has used it so far--and there have been quite a few--got a completely changed personality."

"Can I have some examples?"

"Well, let's see." The doctor tapped his claw on his clipboard. "An Eyrie from Happy Valley turned from sweet and happy to rude, nasty and bitter. Eventually he ran away. A Shoyru from Meridell had always planned to join the Meridell Army when he grew up, but once he was cured he ran off to Darigan Citadel, where he became a powerful warrior and slaughtered dozens, including some of his own friends who had joined the army. And a friendly Korbat from right here in Neopia Central abandoned her entire life and went to serve Jhudora. There's more, but I would bore you with all their stories."

Pixee put her hand over her mouth. "So, this is what will happen to Daisy if I give her this potion..."

"Yes, it's pretty much guaranteed." The doctor looked at his paws. "I won't pressure you. This should be your decision to make."

Pixee shook her head, her short brown hair hanging lank from lack of care over the last few weeks. "You're wrong. This is Daisy's decision." She looked down at the motionless Gelert, who had been lying on the bed in the room the entire time. "If you don't mind, may I have some time alone with her?"

"Of course. Just call me when you've made up your mind." He padded softly out of the room, leaving pet and owner alone with the deafening silence.

After a few moments, the tension was broken slightly by Pixee's deep breath. "Daisy, you heard that, right?"

Daisy's eyes shifted to her owner, but she didn't make a sound. Pixee was pretty sure that it was too painful to talk.

"Okay, just blink once for yes, twice for no."

The weary eyelids slid shut, then opened again, once.

"This decision will affect you most, Daisy. It's yours to make."

The Gelert's expression changed from pained to completely miserable.

Pixee blinked fiercely, then pretended to have something in her eye, quickly wiping the tears. She spoke slowly, so as not to reveal the huge lump in her throat.

"Do you or do you not want to take the potion?"

Daisy blinked once, and for a moment Pixee thought the answer was yes. Then her pet blinked again.

"No, then. A-alright. You're sure?"

In reply, Daisy actually managed a nod.

Pixee walked to the door. "Doctor, Daisy has made her decision..."

Two Days Later....

One tear splashed down to join the waves. Then another. And another.

I wonder if this entire ocean was made out of tears? That would explain why it's so salty...

The lonely little girl was sitting on a rock beside the beautiful ocean, trying to make up her mind whether the decision she made was best, when the tears she had held inside for weeks had just begun to fall. And now they wouldn't stop.

Two days ago, after the decision not to take the potion was made, the doctor had suggested that Pixee take a vacation to Mystery Island. At first she had refused; the idea of leaving Daisy in this condition was unthinkable to her. But Daisy herself had agreed with the doctor. By pointing to letters on a chart intended for teaching young Neopets the alphabet, she had conveyed that she didn't want her owner to see her like this.

So after a day of soul-searching, hand-wringing, and making of mental pro/con lists, Pixee had packed her bags, kissed and hugged Daisy to death, and gotten on the ferry.

But this was, without a doubt, the worst vacation ever. Rather than taking her mind off of Daisy, everything on the island set it right back to the sick pet. After all, the long beaches were perfect for fetch, the wagons on the Tiki Tour just the right size for a Baby Gelert, and the pure strangeness of the Haiku Generator and Island Mystic was the kind that could make Daisy laugh for hours.

Don't be stupid, Pixee. Daisy wouldn't be able to enjoy this place even if she had taken the potion.

Pixee pounded her fist on her knee in frustration. Why did both choices have to be so terrible? Why couldn't there be a logical, safe solution to every problem? Why!?

"Hey, you! You!"

The little girl didn't respond. She figured it was some happy tourist calling for a friend, or maybe one of those rabid tropical fruit vendors.

"I'm talking to you, girl-on-the-rock!"

She turned around. Who could be calling her?

There, behind her, was a tall dark faerie. The faerie's face was nervous. "Look, you probably don't remember me. Fine. I don't blame you. But the situation is urgent, and I don't care."

Pixee cocked her head. Five days seemed like an eternity, what with all that had taken place, but she did recall meeting a dark faerie. Back when the Healing Springs had still held promise.

"Mervulee? I bumped into you in Faerieland, right? But...why are you here?"

Mervulee rolled her eyes. "You humans can't deal without a full explanation, can you? Alright. It's a long story, but I'll give you the short version."

The little girl raised an eyebrow. "I...um...Ohhh..kayyy..."

The dark faerie began talking a mile a minute, gesturing wildly with her hands. "I used to go to the Faerie Academy. But I found the work boring. So I joined Jhudora instead. I learned all the stuff I had always wanted to; curses, hexes, all kinds of evil magic. After a while, I was given a 'final exam' of sorts. I had to curse an innocent pet, to prove my allegiance."

Pixee inhaled sharply. Her heart felt like it was swelling; her whole body felt hot. "Are you...are you saying...what...what I think you are?"

Mervulee nodded eagerly. "Yes. But I--"

The range was welling up inside of her now, scalding her like a hot shower, threatening to blow like a cork in a shaken champagne bottle. "You...how could you...you evil little..."

"Wait!" Mervulee's voice was desperate. "Please listen to me. I can help your pet--I mean, Daisy. I don't want to be evil anymore!"

Pixee held the cork in place. "You can help Daisy? I'm listening."

The Dark Faerie's speech became even faster, if that was possible. She held out her hand to Pixee. "This is my magical ring. Every Faerie has one. It gives us our wings, our magic...in essence, our Faerie-ness. Only its owner can remove it, and only of her own free will."

"What do you intend to do with it?"

"If you melt it down and have Daisy drink it...she will be cured, with no side effects."

"But what about your...Faerie-ness?"

Mervulee shook her head. "I don't want to be a dark faerie anymore. I've never done anything but evil as a faerie, and up until five days ago, I thought that it was fine. But when I saw you with Daisy...the bond you shared...I realized that I had to stop." She smiled tremulously. "I want to become an owner...and find a pet to bond with, just like you have."

Pixee just stood there for a few moments. All of this new information was a little much to take in. But one thing just kept echoing in her head, over and over: Daisy could be cured. Even without everything else, this alone was enough to tell her exactly what she should do. "So you'll give me this magic ring?"

"Yes. It's yours."

The faerie grasped her ring with her opposite hand. She closed her eyes, paused for a moment, and then pulled.

There was a flash of violet light. For a second, Pixee couldn't see a thing, and the only thing she heard was a loud pop.

When the light cleared, it was as if nothing had happened. Everything was the same; the ocean, the tourist, the hot sun. Yet Mervulee was gone. And the ring lay in the grass where the Faerie had stood. Pixee quickly picked it up. Then she took a deep breath, preparing to shout.

"Does anyone know where I can get a ferry right now?"

Two Months Later....

Pixee and Daisy walked down the street, heading home from the Toy Shop. Daisy clutched her brand new dark faerie doll in her mouth. Pixee looked at the people they passed, all so happy and carefree. She and Daisy were happy, that was for sure; but ever since the illness, they had been just a hair less than carefree.

In the sea of faces, one in particular caught her eye. The girl she was looking at was tall, at least six inches taller than her. She had dark hair, and was dressed in violet and black. Next to her was a cheerful-looking yellow Gelert. As the girl passed right by Pixee, a snatch of her conversation with the pet could be heard.

"Where shall we go next, Petunia?"

"Can we go to the Battledome, Merv? I want to beat up lots of enemies!"

The owner smiled and laughed. "Okay, we'll go there. But just make sure...that you never strike before you get struck."

The End

 
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