Alima's Tales: The Unlucky Day
Also by lady_xayla
Manya shivered as another blast of cold, rain-laden wind whipped through his fur, freezing him down to his bones. The young Island Meerca wrapped his long furry tail around himself more snugly and wished with all his might that he was home already. The unseasonal thunderstorm and furious winds had caught Manya by surprise, so he had no real protection against the downpour. His tail was serving well enough as a shield for his school bag, but it prevented him from running the rest of the way home.
Too intent on hurrying along to watch where he was going, Manya had missed seeing a fallen tree branch lying in the road and tripped over it, falling face-first into a gigantic puddle. Manya couldn't see, as there was water in his eyes, but he could feel his fur instantly soak through. The poor drenched Meerca cleared his vision with a paw, but suddenly cringed as waves of pain crossed his face. Manya gingerly patted himself, slowly tracing the source of the pain to his front right tooth, which he discovered had gotten knocked out of its socket by the fall. Tears welled up in his eyes and poured down his cheeks, mingling with the rain, which was still streaming down around him. Unable to take anymore, Manya grabbed his school bag, which had landed in another deep puddle, and ran for home.
Manya felt like a Meerca-shaped ice cube by the time his house was in sight. Putting on an extra burst of speed, he gratefully burst through the front door. He wasn't even able to register the warmth of the house before he ran into someone. Both collapsed to the floor with loud *SPLAT*s. Manya shook his head to clear it, then realized that his day had just gotten a whole lot worse. His sister, Tolli, a Pink Bori who was very meticulous about her appearance, glared back at him, her neatly styled fur matted down with the water that had been soaking Manya's own fur just moments before.
"You jerk! Why do you always have to run everywhere, smashing into people? I'M TELLING MOM!"
Before Manya could shoot back a retort or even defend himself, Tolli had scrambled to her feet and run off. Manya sighed deeply and dropped his school bag unceremoniously on the floor. The latch keeping the bag closed broke and his waterlogged books spilled out, along with a soggy lump of ruined assignments. Manya choked back a sob and ran to the upstairs bathroom to wring out his fur and warm it with a double dryer.
Manya scowled as he stomped back downstairs, taking care not to brush his now slightly singed tail against anything. He had never burned himself while drying his fur before. Why did it have to happen today, after so many other things had gone horribly wrong?
As he approached the kitchen, Manya's nose twitched. It smelled like his mother had made his favorite, cream of tchea soup. Manya hurried into the kitchen. Sure enough, a pot of fully prepared soup was sitting on the stove. Manya's heart sank as he saw Tolli already sitting at the kitchen table, breathing in the steam from her soup. She must have already told their mother what had happened. He'd just have to sneak some up to his room.
With a quick glance at his mother, who was washing dishes in the sink, Manya snuck over to the cabinet which held the bowls and got one. The sound of the running water covered any trace of his presence as he ladled some soup into his bowl. Manya stole a glance back at Tolli, who was blowing on her soup to cool it. Breathing an inward sigh of relief, he turned to open the drawer with the spoons and felt his fingers brush against something furry. Startled, Manya dropped his bowl, which smashed on the floor, splattering hot soup everywhere. He vaguely heard Tolli's shriek of surprise as he shamefacedly looked up to see his mother's velvety green Ogrin paw still on the drawer's handle and an expression of concern on her face.
Tears of pain and frustration welled up in Manya's eyes. He knew he was going to get it now. Unable to see through his tears, Manya felt himself gently being guided over to the sink, where a cool wet towel was applied to the places the soup had burned him. His vision cleared as his mother wiped away his tears and sat him down at the kitchen table next to Tolli, who wasn't bothering to repress a triumphant smirk. Their mother gave her a stern look and the smirk vanished. Manya watched quietly as his mother wet a new towel in the sink and began to clean the soup out of her own fur. After a few moments, she asked Manya gently, "Down on your luck?"
He couldn't answer. The words choked in his throat. Manya stared down at the bowl of soup in front of him, willing himself not to cry again. His sensed his mother walking behind him and out of the corner of his eye, he saw that she was carrying a mop. "It was a beautiful morning in Faerieland," Alima began as she started to clean up the puddle of soup on the floor.
"But there was one faerie who wasn't in the mood for cheerful days. Jhudora sat on her throne, brooding angrily about Illusen's latest triumph.
"I know what I'll do. I'll get one of those hapless little creatures she cares so much about! The thought caused a horrible smirk to flit across her pale purple face.
"With a snarling cackle, she bent over the green and purple basin next to her throne. Swirling in the water in the basin with one long bright green fingernail, she smiled evilly. Within the basin, a grumpy orange Yurble appeared and grew large. She considered his visage for a moment, then with a shake of her head, he disappeared. Pets wouldn't do... for this occasion, she needed something smaller and more innocent. Her power refocused on the petpet beside the Yurble. The Vaeolus sulked beside his owner, with a disgruntled look on his face.
"'No, no, he won't do!' she cried aloud. 'He's already grumpy. I need to choose someone who is happy!'
"At her words, the water swirled and refocused on a pampered Kadoatie, who was currently being fed a Vinarok. Jhudora flapped a hand at the image, dismissing it completely.
"'That's too happy!' she snarled. 'Any discontent would be immediately eradicated!'
"Once more, the waters swirled and coalesced, forming into the vision of a small Spardel, who was busily sniffing the bushes along one of Neopia Central's roads. Intrigued, Jhudora watched the tiny blue form for a moment. A slow sneer formed on a corner of her blazingly green lips.
"Him! That is the innocence I shall destroy! The thought resounded victoriously in her mind as she sent a sizzling blast of power through her scrying basin, directly to the completely unsuspecting mind of her chosen victim. Let's see how happy you can be while cursed with bad luck, little one, Jhudora smiled wickedly to herself. Satisfied, she forgot all about the little Spardel."
Alima finished cleaning up the broken bowl and joined her children at the table before continuing her story.
"At that moment, Tabor the Spardel yelped as a Moquot stung the back of his head. Shaking it off, he whirled around, but spied nothing close to him. The incident was quickly forgotten as he spied another flower to sniff. He bounded over and lowered his sensitive nose to the flower. Abruptly, he took a nose dive straight into the mud puddle hidden behind the flower. After a long moment of stunned confusion, the little Spardel sat up, and looked cautiously around. Spotting nothing out of the ordinary, he grinned, and shook himself quickly. With a pleased grunt, he trotted off to the closest water source.
"Finally, the water puddle came into view. He began to run quickly, enjoying the moment. With what sounded suspiciously like canine giggles, he launched himself into the air and landed with a resounding splash in the middle of the puddle. At that exact instant, a grey petpet paint brush fell from the sky, out of a small bundle being held by what looked uncannily like the Pant Devil. The small paint brush fell with impeccable accuracy directly at Tabor. With a pronounced thud, the paint brush landed directly on the Spardel's head, sending him and the paint brush fully underwater.
"Tabor's tail surfaced first, wagging furiously. Soon after, the rest of him appeared, his muzzle spouting water in a way that resembled a small fountain. His paws went into overdrive, sending him speedily to the nearest bank. Once on dry land, a shudder went through his tiny body, removing all excess water. Content at being clean once more, he discovered a scent that promised to be very interesting. His nose was so firmly settled on the the trail, busily tracking the most interesting fragrance that he didn't notice the low hanging Cirrus directly in front of him.
"With a surprised 'woof' his head made contact with the Cirrus, and sank partially into the fluffy substance. He jerked his head out, trailing wisps of green cloud, and stared thoughtfully at the startled green Cirrus floating in front of him. He whined a soft apology, and tried to lick the Cirrus. A moment later, his paws were trying to remove green trails of fluff from his tongue without success. The small Cirrus bounced around filled with giggles, and nudged the Spardel gently toward a patch of soft dirt.
"Using an amazing amount of skill, the Cirrus managed to spell his name using carefully placed water droplets, the bits of rain proclaiming him to be Corwin. Tabor used his claws to return the favor, etching out his name below the watery letters. The new found friends romped happily, then set out to find something to do. Tabor took a snickering belly dive into the nearest puddle, splashing enough to douse the little Cirrus almost completely. Corwin bounced with chuckles and took his revenge by using that same water to shower the Spardel's head. As the water trickled over the little canine's head, Corwin noticed a drop, then two, of grey water sliding from the Spardel.
"A muffled bulb momentarily lit up inside the Cirrus as he came to the realization that the Spardel's cheerful attitude and the grey paint sliding off the pup most likely meant that his new found friend wasn't used to being grey. In fact, Corwin started to wonder... did Tabor even know he was grey? With that thought uppermost in his mind, he hovered over a tiny puddle until Tabor came to see. Corwin bobbed over the puddle until the pup looked down into the puddle's reflection. Tabor caught a glimpse of his grey self and woofed in surprise. The little Spardel puzzled over it for a moment, as he was certain he had been blue that very morning. Tabor's eyes fell upon his reflection once more, and saw his already drooping ears fall lower as he realized how sad he looked. He moped away from the tiny pool of water and lay down on a patch of grass, whining softly.
"Corwin winced at being the one to have revealed the depressing truth to Tabor and decided make up for it by finding a way to cheer up his friend. He found a silly daisy sitting in a field nearby and set about absorbing it to carry to his friend. A few moments later, the little Cirrus was hovering slightly over the ground, and slowly made his way to Tabor, who was lying listlessly on the ground. Corwin set the small daisy on the ground, and nudged the Spardel slightly with a bit of green fluff.
"Tabor opened an eye and grunted at the daisy, unimpressed by the goofy look on the tiny face of the flower. The little Cirrus thought for a moment, then nudged Tabor once more. When the pup opened his eyes, his gaze fell upon a most ridiculous sight. Corwin and the silly daisy held the exact same goofy expressions. It was too much for Tabor. His muzzle opened, and he rolled onto his back, canine howls of laughter pouring from his small belly.
"The little Cirrus was so pleased with himself that he began to emit small sparks of lightning as he flitted in a circle around the laughing Tabor. The sight of Corwin sparking up a tiny storm sent Tabor into a fresh fit of canine giggles. When they finally passed, he sat up and gave his best doggie grin to his bestest green friend. That's when Tabor realized that it didn't matter what color he was on the outside, or even what happened to him. Corwin was his friend, and he was happy - grey, blue, or any color of the rainbow - and no matter what transpired in the future, he would still be happy, and Corwin would still be there with him. Though he didn't know it, with that realization, Tabor broke Jhudora's curse of bad luck. The little Spardel gave his fluffy friend an air lick, and off they trotted, bound for many more exciting adventures."
Manya's mother gazed at him and his sister. Manya swirled his soup around in his bowl with his spoon, not wanting to make eye contact. "So you see," his mother said softly. "Even the worst of days can bring happiness."
"Not this one," scowled Manya. "I'll remember it for the rest of my life." He showed his missing tooth to his mother. "See? I'll always see this when I look in the mirror. And it still hurts! What if it never stops hurting? I'm cursed!" Manya slouched back into his chair, trying not to feel comforted that Tolli's expression actually appeared sympathetic.
Unbelievably, his mother smiled. What could there possibly be to smile about?
"Manya, that tooth was one of your baby teeth," she said.
"So?" he fumed.
"So, it was almost ready to fall out on its own. Very soon, a new, permanent tooth will replace it," she explained. "The reason your mouth is still hurting is because the new tooth is already poking through your gums."
Manya stared at his mother, dumbfounded. He got up to look in the nearest mirror, but stopped when he saw that Tolli was holding up her pink meepit mirror for him to see his reflection. Sure enough, his mother was right. A small bit of white tooth was poking through. Manya was flabbergasted. How could he not have realized it sooner? Manya beamed happily at his mother and sister, then hugged each in turn. Maybe he wasn't having such an unlucky day after all.
"As much as I love a good story, can we eat now?" Tolli asked impatiently. Manya's stomach rumbled in agreement.
"Of course!" chuckled their mother with a fond smile.