Never Ever Forget Me
The sun had just risen over Shenkuu. The early-morning mist had caught the golden rays of light, causing their wispy forms to glimmer. The dew was dripping from the delicate petals of blossoms, falling to the ground like rain.
Kentari was whistling as he finished polishing the blade of a lightweight katana. Satisfied, the Shoyru grinned and held it up at arm’s length, admiring the silver blade as it reflected the early-morning light that streamed in from the wide window. A surge of unexplainable joy flowed through his soul as the blade gleamed with the morning sun.
Everyone knew that Kentari took great honor in owning the weapon’s shop. It was a noble profession, and he took great pride in presenting the works of art that were displayed on the shelves. Before the shop would open, he polished every last piece of equipment he had; never satisfied until the metal seemed to cast a glow of its own. Katanas were his favorite. He had loved the slim swords ever since he was little, and he always saw something thrilling about watching the blades dance in the hands of a skilled warrior during a Battledome fight.
He set it gently on the shelves, then sighed and looked around the small room. He frowned at the clutter that claimed at least twenty percent of his floor-space. Boxes filled with his personal things, bamboo mats rolled tight, and many of his prized possessions sat mostly in a corner to the left-hand side of the door, but a few others had been pushed against the other walls, some of their contents scattered nearby. Orrin had always teased him that if he kept one more box of stuff in this room his customers would trip over everything, which probably wasn’t a good thing for a shop filled with swords. Kentari sighed.
“Maybe it is about time I cleaned this place...” he mused to himself. “Heck, I’ve got nothing better to do.” He rolled up his sleeves and set to work.
After about ten minutes, Kentari was about halfway finished with moving everything to a small room in the back of his shop. As he was pushing a box across the floor, something under the counter caught his eye.
Dang! I missed something, he thought to himself. Getting on his knees, he crawled under the counter in hopes of retrieving it. It was incredibly dusty in the small space, and Kentari sneezed at least three times before getting a hold of what he had been searching for. Feeling his fingers grasp it, he sneezed and backed out from under the dingy space to examine his prize.
It was a green Gnorbu plushie with shiny black buttons for eyes and a pink, felt tongue poking out of its mouth. The fabric was worn in a few places, its soft, squishy form hung limp with age in his hands, and its tail was missing. A faded red ribbon was tied around its neck.
“Hey!” Kentari said in surprise. “I missed this old thing...” The Shoyru patted it on the head, coughing as he inhaled part of the cloud of dust that was thrown into the air. He regained control of himself and looked back at the plushie. He had it ever since he was a young child; it was a gift from a childhood friend... The Shoyru held the old toy close to him, taking a seat on a box as a memory unfolded in his mind. “Mira...”
Mira, a green Gnorbu, was Kentari’s childhood friend. The two of them always had something to do. They’d race through the grass in the summer and have snowball fights in the winter. When it got dark, they’d hunt for little faeries and try to catch them. They keep them in a jar with air holes to show their parents, then let them go before bedtime. Sometimes, when Mira let one go, Kentari would race after it and try to catch it again. She’d always run after him in an attempt to catch it first. When it was too cold for faerie hunting, they’d go inside and play games. But no matter what they did, they did it together, and that’s how it stayed...
Until that dreadful day...
Kentari tried to push the memory out of his mind, but it came anyway.
An eight-year-old Shoyru is sitting in a field, watching a few faeries dart between the long leaves of the golden-green grass. A tiny faerie flies around him. He squeals with delight when it lands on his hand.
“Kentari!” a young girl’s voice calls. Startled by the loud noise, the faerie flies away. The Shoyru looks up as his name is called. He sees a green Gnorbu running towards him, the ribbon in her hair streaming out behind her like a banner.
“Mira!” he shouts, waving to his best friend. She stops in front of him. She is bouncing with excitement.
“Kentari! Guess what? I’ve got something really, really cool to show you!” she squeals, tugging at his sleeve. The Shoyru blinks, curious as to why she is so excited.
“Show me!” young Kentari replies, almost as excited as she is.
“C’mon then, you lazy bum!” she exclaims. They race towards her house.
Why did I even go? Kentari asked himself, wincing as the memory continued.
Mira climbs onto a chair and retrieves a note from on top of a table. Jumping down, she shows Kentari proudly.
“I asked someone to read it to me!” she says.
Young Kentari reads aloud. “It says ‘It has recently been proven that you are of royal descent and are the rightful heir to the throne of Shenkuu’...” Young Kentari is puzzled. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Mira points to the Imperial Seal at the bottom of the page, her eyes shining with excitement.
“It means I’m a princess...”
“And that’s why she’s gone,” Kentari mumbled to himself. He fought back tears as his last memory of his friend played in his mind...
Little Kentari is hugging his new plushie. It is a green Gnorbu; Mira’s favorite ribbon is tied around its neck. She has just given it to him as a ‘goodbye’ present. They are standing by the palace gate. Everything else is moved in, she just needs to walk through the gate.
“Will I ever get to see you again?” young Kentari asks.
“I don’t know,” Mira replies, “but can you do one thing for me?” He nods. “Good.” She takes his hand in both of her hands. “Kentari... never ever forget me," she pleads. “Promise?”
“I promise...” Kentari found himself saying.
Mira waves goodbye as she walks through the gates. Young Kentari clutches his plushie.
“Don’t forget me either!” he cries after her.
“I won’t!” she promises as she walks through the gate. They start to close behind her, finally shutting with a loud clang.
And for the first time in his life, little Kentari is heartbroken...
Kentari opened his eyes and looked at the floor. Ever since then, things changed in Shenkuu. To the people, ‘Mira’ became ‘Shenkuu’s Princess’ and it stayed like that. No one even called her ‘Princess Mira’. Kentari felt like he was the only person who remembered her name.
He changed after that too. Ever since she left, he could never find anyone to play with anymore. No matter whom he tried to get along with, it never made him happy. They weren’t Mira. He also began to grow fond of sword fighting. He and Mira had played ‘warriors’ before; fencing each other, using sticks for swords. After she left, he decided then to take it a step further. When he was sixteen, he began training himself to use a katana.
Even Mira changed a lot, and that’s what irritated him most. Now when she walked through the market, she seemed more arrogant than ever. She greeted and visited a few people on occasion, such as Orrin or Linae.
Not once had she visited Kentari.
Kentari always greeted her when he could, but not once did she ever reply back. It was almost like being slapped in the face.
“She never kept her promise,” he growled. The Shoyru looked down at the Gnorbu plushie. He didn’t want it anymore; not if Mira was going to be like this.
He threw it out the window as hard as he could.
Kentari stayed inside all day. Orrin became worried that he was ill because Kentari hadn’t stopped by for lunch (as usual.) Most of Kentari’s customers noticed how surly he was that day. They thought he was just a bit cranky that day, when inside, Kentari was kicking himself.
“I’m such an idiot!” he snapped that afternoon. No one else was in the shop, so he took this time to yell at his foolishness. “I just got rid of the only thing left of the old Mira!”
Kentari was silent for two seconds, and then he broke down and started to cry. No one else was around, so he didn’t really care. After about five minutes, Kentari heard a knock on the door. He looked up and had a flashback of a time where he and Mira had made a fort. They called it their secret castle and no one could come in without the password. The rhythm of this person’s knock reminded Kentari of the code they had come up with to get in. Kentari started to ponder this, but decided to ponder later; the person was waiting. Standing up, he wiped the tears off of his face with his sleeve, then got back behind the counter.
“Door’s open,” he called in a dreary voice.
A slim, robed figure stepped into the shop, its face covered with a hood to hide its identity. Kentari could only see the figure’s eyes, which were hauntingly familiar. It walked over to the counter.
“What’s the best tool to use for climbing mountains?” the figure asked. The voice was feminine, and Kentari could have sworn he recognized it. There was a gleam of sorrow in the figure’s eyes as her gaze fell upon the crestfallen Shoyru. Kentari ignored the sympathetic look.
“A grappling hook,” he mumbled, retrieving the only one he had.
“Perfect,” she breathed when he laid it on the counter. He heard the jingle of coins as the figure prepared to pay him. Something struck him.
“You can keep it,” he said, meaning it. He looked into her confused eyes. “You don’t have to pay me for this.” Her eyes twinkled with a warm familiarity.
“Oh, but I insist,” she replied, setting a box on the counter and laying her neopoints on top of a note. Before Kentari could ask, she said, “It’s from a friend.” Then she took the grappling hook, slung it over her shoulder, then left.
Kentari took the neopoints and put them away with the day’s profits, trying to ignore the present. He just wasn’t in the mood for a present. But after about a half-hour, curiosity got the better of him. Taking a seat on a chair by the window, he set it on his lap, and opened the box.
Inside the box was an old Gnorbu plushie. His plushie...
Kentari reached into the box with shaking hands and picked it up. He held it for a long while, cradling it as if it were flesh and blood instead of fabric and stuffing. The Shoyru then read the note that was sitting on the box:
Found this outside your shop’s window. I think you may want it back.
It wasn’t signed.
Kentari sat by the window of his shop. The sun was beginning to sink down below the horizon, and breezes blew through the open window. He watched the faeries flutter amongst the golden-green grass as it danced in the wind. A sad memory played in his mind, and his heart began to fill with sorrow.
The Gnorbu plushie was sitting in his lap. He let his hands stroke the worn, fuzzy fabric until he felt a piece of paper. He looked down and found a note tucked under the ribbon around its neck. Kentari slipped it out from its hold, unfolded the note carefully, then read it.
I was walking outside and I found this plushie. When I picked it up, I almost cried, for the first thing that came to my mind was a memory of a little yellow Shoyru, clinging tightly to a plushie, asking his best friend if they would ever see each other again. Sound familiar?
The memory also made me begin to feel guilty, for it reminded me about a promise that I made to a friend long ago. I’m rarely ever allowed to be outside of where I live, and most of the time, I have to sneak out. I try to find friends from my past (which I miss terribly). So far, I have succeeded in visiting all of my friends, but one...
It makes me sad, because I know if I start to converse with a certain Shoyru, I’d be talking all day, and if I’m caught outside with him... you know the rest. So I try to prevent it before it starts. Now that I think back on this method, I can’t imagine how hurt he must feel when I act like I don’t even know him. I wish there were an easier way...
I also have to be careful which shops I go into, for if I’m caught outside, I may get the shopkeepers in trouble as well. My father thinks that I mustn’t be trained to use any forms of self-defense. They believe that I must not learn to guard, but be guarded. Well, today, I’m going to prove that I can be tough. I’m going to climb to the top of the mountain that warriors train on. However, I’ll need a grappling hook. I think I know where I can get one... but that may be risky, because I’ll need to go to the weaponry shop. I know there’s at least one in there...
I better wrap this up, but please remember: even though it looks like I’ve changed, I haven’t forgotten the promise. I will never forget you, and I hope you never forget me.
A very close friend...
P.S. Doesn't anyone still remember my real name?
Kentari was speechless, but yet, something inside of him felt warmed. He looked out the window at the mountain, its peak shrouded in mist. He held the Gnorbu plushie close.
“Go for it, Mira,” he whispered, “I know you can make it.”
And for a moment, right near the top of the mountain, he thought he saw a flash of sunlight being reflected off of a grappling hook.
I believe there is a story behind every person, every neopet, every being. And I believe that Kentari needed a story. ^^