A Complete Christmas: Part Two
"The Neopian Times is out!"
April burst into the Neohome, waving the latest
edition of the Times in her wings.
"I wonder if my story got in!" The Pteri was
more than exhilarated. Flipping the paper faster than she could read anything,
April searched frantically for her story.
"NO!" Andrea was shocked. How did April manage
to get it first?
"No?" April stared at her sister, wide-eyed.
"Um, I meant, can I read it first?" Andrea stammered.
"Sure, but make it quick, though!"
Andrea quickly retreated to her room. Her heart
pounding in her chest, she opened up the Neopian Times and hurriedly scanned
through the different authors…but none of the names belonged to her. Could it
be, that April's short story failed to meet the mark? Andrea's mind began to
race as she neared the end of the paper. It might just be a good thing that
her sister's story didn't get in - that way, she wouldn't have to hide the paper
Just as the Kau was about to flip the last page
of the paper, something distinct caught her eye. It was a picture of a Kau,
painted in gaudy, striking colours. Her eyes instinctively glanced over to the
author's name…and there, sitting in between the title and the story itself,
were the words "Andrea the Kau".
Andrea was stunned for a moment. She could not
comprehend what was happening before her. But soon she came back to reality,
and slowly, a wide grin broke out. It turned into a simper as the Kau realised
what had happened.
Yet the glory was short-lived. Andrea soon realised
that she had to hide the paper and her trophy from her sister before she found
out what her trusted sister had done.
"Andrea! Are you done with the Neopian Times?"
The shrill voice of the Pteri broke Andrea's
train of thoughts. Fumbling, Andrea acted before she had time to think about
what she was doing. She tore out the page which contained April's story and
conveniently slotted it under her bed. Then, with her hands still trembling
with nervousness, she exited her room and placed the Neopian Times in front
of her sister, who was seated on the sofa.
The Kau looked on anxiously as her sister searched
the paper for her story. Would she discover the tear? What would happen to
me if she realised I stole her story? What about the trophy? Wild thoughts
ran through the Kau's head.
"It's not in," April said, obviously disappointed.
After all, she had put in all she had into the story - it was such a let down
that it didn't get in. "Oh, well. I guess it just wasn't good enough." Although
she sounded as if she had submitted to her fate, April still found it hard to
believe that her story had not made it into the newspaper.
The guilty Kau heaved an inaudible sigh of relief,
tried to look sad that her sister's story had not been chosen to appear in the
Times, and picked the newspaper up. It was a good think April hadn't realised
that one page of the paper was missing, she thought, though she could not
deny a strange sense of guilt stabbing at her heart.
"Well, so much for my effort."
April was with Andrea in the latter's room, fluttering
around, tossing her lucky coin from wing to wing, and looking deep in thought.
The Kau could only shrug callously, and remain quiet.
"Hey, do you remember how this coin came about?"
April changed the subject all of a sudden, holding the golden coin in front
of her sister's face. "I think it was this time last year, when the both of
us bugged Harriet for a 'good' Christmas present, because all we've ever got
were cheap Advent Calendar giveaways. Come to think of it, it was really generous
of Harriet to splurge on two custom made gold coins for the both of us."
Just then, April lost her grip on the coin and
it fell to the ground, rolling under Andrea's bed. Andrea did not have time
to react (she had been daydreaming yet again), and before she knew it, her Pteri
sister was sticking her wing under the bed, trying to reach for the coin - but
found a crumpled piece of paper instead.
"No, not this!" Andrea tried to snatch the piece
of torn paper from her sister's wings, but April was faster. She had found out
what had happened.
"Andrea…" April breathed. Hot, angry tears came
spilling out of her eyes, as the disappointing realisation slowly sunk in. "How
could you do this to me?"
The guilty Kau was lost for words. Now that
she had found out… But she felt more than just the anger of being discovered
of her actions. Somehow, she could sense the disappointment, amidst the anger,
in her sister's voice. In sheer regret, she broke down in front of the Pteri.
"I just thought - I mean, I've always wanted
to be like all the other famous writers…I just wanted to be well-known by all
"And you want it so much that you are willing
to betray even me?" April screamed. "To think I trusted you with all my heart!"
With that, she flew out of the room, the Neohome, and out of Andrea, her shamefaced
Though she wanted to give chase, Andrea felt
something tugging at her heart. Perhaps it was her immense guilt. She felt she
simply could not face up to April. Perhaps she didn't want to take more lashings
from her sister. Perhaps she thought the problem would be easier to sort out
when April cooled down. Whatever the case, she did not pursue her sister.
Slowly, the Kau picked up the bits and pieces
of the torn newspaper page.
"My Beloved Sister", read the title. It brought
stinging tears to Andrea's eyes as she read on. It was a story about how a fictional
character - a Pteri - loved her younger sister, though the both of them were
from different backgrounds before coming to an adopted family. At the end of
the story was an author's note - "This story is dedicated to my most beloved
sister, Andrea. I just want you to know that I'll love you always!!!"
The smiley face at the end of the note only brought
about more tears to invade the Kau's puffy red eyes. The Pteri in the story
must be April, and the sister must be…herself.
It was more than she could take. So she collapsed
and cried, once again.
It did not take long for Harriet, their owner,
to realise what had happened. She had noticed no sign of April, while Andrea
was weeping in her room. Upon some questioning, her pet Kau spilled everything
There was an intense silence as owner and pet
huddled together for a long time. Gradually, Andrea's tears subsided, and confessed
about how guilty and remorseful she felt.
"Oh, Andrea. If you knew it was wrong to do this
then why did you -"
"I don't know either! I must have been devoured
by my hunger for fame at that time. Consumed by my own greed. I'm so sorry,
Harriet, I'm so very sorry!"
"But what is the use of saying that to me?" The
owner stroked the soft hairs on the Kau's head and continued. "How many times
have I taught you about humility, honesty, and that fame and fortune could drive
one to self-destruction, and so never pursue them? Fame and fortune…what are
those? Without your sister, you're not complete, Andrea. You love your sister,
Andrea nodded vigorously.
"Then you must be strong and be brave, to apologise
and ask for forgiveness from her. It is no use just sitting here and weeping,
and leaving the matter to rot on it's own. One must always make the effort to
restore broken relationships, because you did do wrong, and because you still
Andrea was quiet, as she slowly chewed and digested
that thought. Harriet was right, she finally decided, and the Kau went forth
to search for her beloved sister.
"Ouch!" A shriek rang out as April accidentally
knocked into another Neopian at a street corner.
At that moment, April noticed the all-too-familiar
white gloves, silk and satin clothing…and the inimitable pure white gown.
It was The Editor of the Neopian Times! April
was on cloud nine. Imagine - to meet The Editor herself twice!
"Oh! It's you!" Snowflake recognised the Pteri!
April started to do a strange Pteri dance that she always did when she was in
high spirits, and The Editor chuckled at her innocence. "Well what are you doing
here? It's all cold and snowy already, you know. Besides, it's Christmas in
a few days' time. Don't you have to go home to your family?"
"My family." April's smile instantly disappeared
as she was reminded of her sister. "Sure I have a family - it's just that…I
don't want to go home."
Snowflake started to look concerned. Here was
a young Pteri who did not have any winter clothing on to defend her feathers
from the freezing cold, and even worse, who ran away from home.
"Well, tell me then, where is you Neohome?" Snowflake
smile, tickling the Pteri under her chin. "We'll walk you home as we talk. Maybe
we can figure something out by the time we get back to your house."
April was reluctant at first, but her adoration
and trust for the Editor got the better of her, and she agreed.
"So…what's your problem? Would you like to share?"
The Pteri was quiet for a while, but soon she
started narrating the entire incident. Agitated tears rolled down her red cheeks
while she spoke, but even in her anger there was an obvious hint of sheer disappointment
in her sister more than anything else.
"Oh, so you were the one who wrote that story
about a pair of sisters. I was just wondering about something that was very
strange, which I noticed - the author was Andrea, and she mentioned that she
had a sister named Andrea! That was not too common a thing to happen, so it
caught my eye. By the way, that was a very memorable story indeed."
"Thanks," April replied, shyly.
"Since Christmas is just around the corner, I
have a little question. What is Christmastime to you?" Snowflake said, abruptly
changing the topic.
April was slightly taken aback by the question,
though she answered nonetheless.
"Um, Christmas is about giving and receiving,
as well as being a symbol of love and life…and the Advent Calendar?"
"To me, Christmas means a time of giving, a time
of sharing, a time of loving one another, and…a time of forgiveness," Snowflake
said. "What good would it do for you to bear a grudge against your sister? You
know what I mean. And I have read your story - it was one of the most truthful,
honest, unpretentious piece I had ever read. That can only mean one thing -
that you love your sister beyond any doubt, and your affection for her is unconditional.
Is that going to change? Just because of this one mistake that she made - and
she may not even know what she was doing at that very moment - you are going
to bear this grudge and destroy your love for her for the rest of your life?
To hate her forever? And throw out of the window everything else she has done
for you? And ignore the fact that she is your most beloved sister?"
Snowflake stopped walking. April was silent.
Taking a long, deep breath, she pondered upon what the Editor had just said.
It was very true - she should indeed forgive Andrea, not because it was Christmas,
nor because she felt a compelling voice within her telling her that things must
always end in a happily-ever-after fashion, nor was it because her most admired
person told her to do so.
It was because of her simple, pure love for Andrea.
The Pteri stopped flapping her wings and rested
on the shoulder of Snowflake. She noticed that they were already at the front
door of her Neohome.
"Thanks, Snowflake. I know what to do now."
The Pteri exchanged smiles one last time with
the Editor, and flew into the house…just as Andrea was about to step out.
"April! I was just about to go look for you!"
Andrea exclaimed. "Oh, April, I'm so sorry I did that to you. I'm so sorry,
really. It was a moment of foolishness, and I promise you it will never happen
"It's okay, Andrea…it's all okay. No one is perfect,
right? Tell you what - if you ever need help with your writing, I'll always
be there for you. Just remember never to do this sort of thing ever again."
At this, Andrea felt a sudden warmth in her heart.
A gap inside her filled up when the both of them reconciled. She looked up at
her owner who was standing behind her, and grinned.
"Fame and fortune, what are those? Without my
most beloved sister…I will never be complete."