Sea and Sky: The Story of the First Faerie Peophin
Azera swam quickly through the cool aquamarine waters. The day was tropically hot, and the sun shone so brightly it almost hurt her eyes whenever she dove in and out of the waves. The striped Peophin was very happy to be allowed to play close to the surface of the water. The sun felt good on her short, sleek coat, especially after being stuck beneath the surface for the past few days. Storms had been battering the coastline of Mystery Island during that time and it was unsafe for anyone.
Just before she drove straight into a rising wave, Azera thought she heard a sound. Deciding not to ignore it, she brought her leap to an abrupt stop so she could listen. Above the sound of waves crashing to the beach, she could hear a soft cry. As she swam closer to an outcropping of rocks fringed by berry bushes, the cries got louder. After searching around the boulders for a moment, she finally discovered the source of the sound. A snowbunny, soaking wet, was perched precariously on a rock not far from the shore. It became clear to Azera how the situation had come about when she saw a scraggly berry bush growing from between the cracks of the two largest boulders. The snowbunny was barely clinging to his perch, and it took some encouraging before Azera convinced him to climb on her back. When he did climb onto her striped back, he clung to her mane tightly as she carefully made the journey to shore. He hopped off of her back, tired, but also relieved, as soon as they reached the beach. Azera folded her legs carefully under her on the sand and glanced around.
"I wonder where your owner could be?" she wondered aloud. The snowbunny didn't answer; he was busy munching on some scrappy beach grass.
"Well, you must belong to somebody," she decided, "You're too expensive for anyone to just abandon you. And you're obviously not a native."
She was getting rather worried; if the white petpet's owner was too far away from the ocean, Azera was going to have trouble locating them. However, she also didn't want to leave her new friend alone. He might very well wind up back in Mystery Island's beautiful, but unforgiving, waters.
"Jacen!" The shout startled both Azera and the snowbunny. While she whipped her head towards the noise, successfully getting a mouthful of her own mane, the petpet raced off down the beach. Azera started to shout and call him back but stopped when she saw an electric Shoyru land just before the petpet and scoop him up in a hug. The Peophin mare sighed in relief. This had to be her sodden snowbunny's owner.
"Did you find Jacen here?" The Shoyru had walked towards her, carrying his petpet. When Azera nodded, he grinned. "His coat is all soggy."
"I found him; he had fallen off the rocks and was about to be swept out to see," she explained. The Shoyru had a very friendly face, with bright sapphire eyes to match the electric pattern of his coat.
The Shoyru nodded, petting a much livelier Jacen. "That sounds like him. I'm so glad you found him, though. He's been my only friend ever since I moved to Mystery Island."
"You just moved here? I can show you some of the sights. Well, there actually aren't that many I can go to, but if it's near the water, I'll be happy to show you around," Azera offered very quickly. She understood the Shoyru's loneliness. Her fellow Peophins did not understand her love of playing in the sun. They preferred to stay below, keeping with the mysterious Peophin stereotype.
The electric Shoyru's smile now broadened even more. "That sounds great. My name is Flint, by the way."
"Azera." She gave her name happily. Saving Jacen had worked out well for the both of them.
Azera and Flint became fast friends. After a while, neither seemed to notice that Azera had fins and Flint was winged. They played together and explored just the same. Jacen, of course, came along as well. He rode in a sling Flint had fashioned for him so that he could ride on the Shoyru's back. Before long, Azera was spending every day with Flint, but each day, they seemed to find something new to do or see. Neither of them had ever been happier.
However, a few months after the grand rescue of Jacen, Azera received the most horrible news. Her pod, the other Peophins she lived with, were preparing to venture to their other home, near the mountains of Altador. They always lived out half of their year there and half in the waters of Mystery Island. This was to ensure that their supply of food had a chance to replenish at each location. Even though she realized the necessity of the move, and had done it several times before, Azera was devastated.
Flint did not take the news any better than Azera had. Immediately upon finding out, he wanted to come with her, but there was no place for a Shoyru on the sheer rocks that met the Altadorian waters. They both cried bitterly, it did not matter to them that Azera would be back when the food supply was replenished. They would still miss each other terribly. Both would also be back to their previous states as outsiders.
That night, as Azera curled up in the small cavern she called her home, she prayed for a miracle. Luckily, the water faerie just happened to be sitting around, quite bored, when Azera voiced her wish. The somewhat fishy faerie perked up with interest and immediately performed a speak-spell. This was something that required the faerie-queen's magic.
"What?!" Fyora's face appeared in the mirror-like bubble the water faerie had created, "I hate it when you interrupt my writing time!"
The water faerie barely stifled a laugh. Fyora was an aspiring romance novelist, not necessarily good, but aspiring. However, one should never tell her that her efforts were anything less than amazing. There's a reason that Jhudora's cloud always smells of rotten eggs.
"Forgive me, my good queen. But I think one of your subjects requires a bit of assistance." Fyora frowned when she received the image of the striped Peophin that the water faerie had sent.
"This is one of yours- can you not handle it?" Fyora fiddled with her pen grumpily.
"She wants wings, Fyora, so she can be with her best friend, a Shoyru. Only you have strong enough magic for such a feat." Flattery never hurt, right?
"And you can choose her new colors," the water faerie wheedled craftily.
Fyora never could resist a chance to 'decorate'. After closing the connection with the water faerie, she set to work on Azera's new wings. The mare's striped coat became purple, Fyora's favorite color. Her mane and hooves she fashioned to be pure silver, to reflect the clouds that she would soon soar through, and the light flashing off the waves that would still be her true home. Finally, her wings were a beautifully pale, iridescent pink. By the time Fyora returned to her novel, she had created Neopia's very first faerie Peophin.
Azera woke with a heavy heart. Today was the last day she had here at Mystery Island, with Flint and Jacen. She swam to the surface slowly, ignoring the rest of the Peophins, who were already gathering the foals and petpets, preparing to depart. Azera shared none of their anticipation.
Flint was already waiting for her on the beach when she broke to the surface. At first, his expression matched her feelings, dull and gloomy. Then, once he saw her, his face changed abruptly, erupting into that wide grin she knew and loved so well.
"How can you possibly be happy?" she asked as she reached the sand.
"Zera! Look at yourself!" Flint exclaimed ecstatically. She had never seen her friend so giddy,
Slowly, Azera glanced down. At first she thought she might have some sort of disease, for her coat was a deep lilac. Her hooves and mane shone silver. What had happened to the striped coat she had possessed when she had fallen asleep last night? Best of all, a pair of delicate wings fluttered at her shoulders. She gasped in awe and surprise.
"What happened to me?" she asked aloud, almost afraid to look away from her beautiful new wings; they might disappear.
"A miracle, I think," Flint said happily. Not wanting to jinx this wonderful occurrence by over-discussing it, her started to walk down the beach. "Come with me, Zera, I'll teach you to fly."
Azera started to follow him but paused for just a moment and murmured a thanks to the faeries.
This made Fyora very grouchy, because she had very nearly had the perfect ending for her novel, until Azera's message had shaken her out of her train of thought.