Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 139,341,920 Issue: 290 | 4th day of Hunting, Y9
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Faith in Fate: Part One


by flittingshadow

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A passerby would find this an odd sight, a little Grundo sitting in a tree, looking at Kreludor and the stars around it. But for Kzonal, the greeting of the stars was a ritual. And it also had a different purpose...

     Kzonal dropped to the ground. This was a bad sign...

     Ribo Nucleic Acid the ghost Gelert was stirring a big pot. Suddenly, Nitrogen, her Airax, screamed. He wouldn’t be quiet, and was flapping around the room, shrilling in a most distressed way.

     Cheetahatheart, a poet in the making, dropped her quill. The green Xweetok had never been so clumsy; whatever had caused it? A... disappearance, of a presence she had known all her life. Her eyes widened in shock as she realized what she had felt.

     All three neopets rushed to the secluded stone room full of Tiger furniture. The bed was overturned, and a thickness in the air, and shimmers of silver, turquoise and black suggested the use of magic.

     All three neopets huddled together, and Kzonal confirmed everyone’s fear.

     “Flittingshadow is gone.”

     **********

     Flittingshadow had appeared in Neopia only three months ago, but she was successful, making a small fortune where others struggled with the concepts.

     She was a normal weight, and almost surpassed average height. Her blue eyes were soulful. She let her hair down past her shoulders by more than two inches. Her features were refined and feline, but she wasn’t a cat girl. Once Cheetah, the oldest, thought she saw slender, feathered dragon’s wings on Flittingshadow’s back, but then she pulled a shirt on and they disappeared.

     RNA thought she had seen a tail’s tip peak out from the bottom of her owner’s jeans.

     Riyotou, the island Bori, who was currently away at a friends house for two weeks, was sure he had seen her bare her teeth at an opponent and show curved fangs.

     Kzonal was a private creature, and didn’t pry. But the Grundo had thought she had seen something, too, but never shared.

     All in all, Flittingshadow was an able being. She was always there for her pets, supporting them in hard times. Cheetah had learned poetry from her. RNA had a brilliant mind. Kzonal was very elusive, so know one knew much, but people suspected Flittingshadow when all the neopets bullying Kzonal came home with changed hearts.

     “She can’t be... gone, can she? She just left, used magic, and accidentally overturned the bed with the resulting power surge, right? She’ll be home with the groceries, right?” RNA whimpered.

     The pets were all in a huddle. Like most neopets nowadays, they walked on their hind legs. RNA sniffled into her sleeve, and Cheetah shed a few tears.

     Kzonal did nothing. She was the youngest in days and weeks, but emotionally, she was... older.

     “We took her for granted,” Cheetah cried, and she and RNA burst into tears. Kzonal stood, unmoving.

     “What’s the matter with you?” RNA demanded furiously. “Why do you just stand there, hm? Our mother is GONE, you dumb alien!”

     “I’m planning,” Kzonal said blandly.

     “Planning WHAT?” Cheetah said hostilely.

     “The way to retrieve Flittingshadow,” the purple Grundo said calmly.

     **********

     “Come again?” said Cheetah incredulously.

     “Rescue Mom,” the answer came.

     “But how? How do we find her?” RNA was wide-eyed, stroking her Airax and listening intently.

     “Faerieland. We go to Faerieland.”

     **********

     Faerieland, the land upon a cloud. The magical Faerieland, where all the Faeries reside.

     “How do we get up there, KZ?” Cheetah was using Kzonal’s nickname. Kzonal was voted leader, no contest.

     Kzonal apparently wasn’t listening. She was fishing around in her backpack.

     “Got one,” she said triumphantly. A gorgeous emerald leaf thrashed in her hand. Kzonal said something much like a spell, and the leaf disappeared. Suddenly, a great winged cart appeared. It was pulled by faerie Meercas, Moehogs, Bori, and Tonu.

     Kzonal led the mystified neopets inside. They were greeted by a faerie Wocky who chirped a greeting.

     “Your rooms are on the right, and all the other rooms you’ll need on the left. Please enjoy the day-long flight to Faerieland!” Cheetah was too tired from shock to think that a day was too long. She entered a room without registering that it was her name on the plaque. She entered and gasped. The room had everything she liked. RNA stumbled in a side door, wide-eyed.

     “Yours too...” Cheetah croaked. RNA’s room was full of chemistry stuff. Her Airax was croaking happily on the floor.

     Cheetah frowned. “But we didn’t bring Ni...” She broke of as Cerbie, her Bearog, crawled out from under the bed and panted.

     “No way...”

     “C’mon, let’s look at KZ’s room.” At home, Kzonal’s room only had a bed. They were eager to find what Kzonal wanted to have.

     The room was bare. There was nothing at all on the floor except Spotty, Kzonal’s snarhook.

     “Hello,” Kzonal said placidly. “Do you like your room, too? I like mine.”

     “But... but... it’s so BARE!” Cheetah said.

     “I like it that way.”

     “You like...” Cheetah trailed off. She obviously did.

     **********

     Faerieland was perfect. They found a small, unnoticed little motel and checked in. When the innkeeper, a gorgeous faerie Blumaroo, saw them, he gasped.

     “You want to lodge in my humble inn?” he asked, eyes bulging. “I don’t want any payment. I make a living fine. You’re good.”

     Cheetah was flustered at this odd behavior. They took room keys and left the desk.

     Their rooms were all copies of the ones in the cart. This didn’t register with Cheetah or RNA, as they fell asleep when they hit the beds. Only Kzonal stayed awake, staring out the windows and crooning an odd tune to Spotty.

     The next morning they went clothes shopping. Flittingshadow’s pets were proper creatures that WOULD wear clothing and WOULDN’T run around in nothing but their fur.

     They found a small clothing shop. A faerie JubJub ran it. Almost all the neopets here were faerie. When the JubJub saw who here customers were, she paled.

     “May I help you?” she asked.

     “No, I think we’re fine,” Kzonal grinned at the JubJub, as if they shared some joke. All the clothes were “Guaranteed stain, tear, and age proof! Will always fit or your money back! You’ll never have to wash your clothes again!” RNA wandered over to a rack of shirts. She found an amazing black shirt with red trim and pink stripes. She loved it. She also found a pair of green pants with brown trim. No shoes. Unlike the other pets, she always went shoeless if she could avoid it. Happy with her choices, she sat down to wait for the others.

     Cheetah had discovered the magic earrings. They would pierce your ears without pain, and always went into the hole you were looking for. Cheetah had seven studs of different colors, a reddish hoop, and an odd dangly earring. RNA almost turned around to see the expression on Flittingshadow’s face before she remembered: She was gone.

     Cheetah proceeded over to the shirts. She found a light blue-gray shirt with pale turquoise trim and a pink smiley on the front. Her pants were shorts that were a darker gray with white trim. Her shoes were green sandals.

     Where was Kzonal? She was nowhere to be seen. RNA walked over to the counter. There Kzonal was, emerging from the back room.

     “I settled our tab,” Kzonal reassured RNA. RNA was amazed at how little she knew about her own sister.

     Kzonal picked a pair of red shorts and a gray top. Her sandals were also gray.

     RNA was mystified. She looked at the price tag and almost yelped: her outfit cost 3000 neopoints per clothing article. Cheetah’s entire outfit cost 10000. Kzonal’s only cost 1000, but they were getting off paying 17000 neopoints! How did she DO that? RNA thought as she stared at Kzonal’s back. Who IS she?

     **********

     Back at the motel, the neopets dressed. Cheetah marched all nine earrings up her left ear. She looked ridiculous, but it wasn’t a stupid ridiculous. It was a, Wow, that’s funny ridiculous. Kzonal had left for more “provisions”. RNA and Cheetah were alone.

     “Who is she?” RNA asked no one in particular. “Why can she do these things? And why do we keep getting free stuff?”

     “I don’t know,” Cheetah said. “You’re the smart one here. You tell me.”

     “I am smart, and that’s why this is making me mad! I have no idea why she can do these things, make people give us stuff, be so... so EMOTIONLESS!”

     “I think we should take anything life hands us,” Cheetah said. “That’s what Fli...”

     She halted.

     “I miss her,” RNA confided softly. “I miss her, and I’m scared for her and for us.”

     “I remember Christmastime...” Cheetah began. “Of course, you don’t, because you weren’t born yet. But I woke up and knew what to expect. I crept to Mom’s old room.

     “She wasn’t there. There was no sign of her anywhere. I ran around and called her name, but she didn’t answer. I was... scared, like you are now. But I still looked for her, and most of the house was still lot, so I banged my toes and scraped my knees. But I didn’t see her anywhere. I crept back to the house and went into my bedroom.

     “There she was, with a bunch of presents behind her. Somehow, she had set it all up while I was gone. It wouldn’t have worked if I had stayed there. That was my first notion that she was different. That she knew what I was going to do.

     “Then she scooped me up in her arms and told me that, no matter what it seemed, she was there and waiting for me. Wherever she or I went, we were connected by our love.

     “Then I realized I hadn’t gotten her anything, and as if she read my thoughts, she hugged me tight and said the only present she needed was me for a daughter.”

     “Wow,” RNA breathed. “She really was that devoted to you?”

     “Yes, and that’s why we have to find her,” Cheetah said. “We can’t let her down. We can’t break her faith in us.”

To be continued...

 
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