Faerie Best Friend: Part One
“Are you staring at him too, Skye?” Filly asked from the seat behind me.
I raised my head off my paw which I had been leaning on at my desk. I sighed and nodded as I glanced back at her. Indeed, he was a sight for sore eyes. His name was Luke; a fire Lupe with glistening black fur and bright green eyes. He sat near the front of the class, so Filly and I had a perfect view of him from our seats in the back. He sat with the popular group, the painted pets like Glinda the rainbow Cybunny and Shen the glowing Aisha. They were very exclusive, of course, and never hung around with anyone that wasn’t in their clique. This included pretty much anyone who wasn’t painted, themselves, such as Filly and me. She, being yellow, and myself, a dull shade of blue, no one in the painted group ever risked being seen with us. In fact, even as we stared at him longingly, I couldn’t recall a time when Luke actually spoke a word to either of us.
“Ehh, let’s forget about him,” Filly said, breaking my concentration on Luke. “It’s not healthy to obsess, you know. Especially over someone you know would never talk to us anyway!”
She smiled her warm Ixi smile at me and I laughed. “Yeah, you’re probably right,” I replied, turning to face her. “So, did you get any new cards today?”
“Naturally,” she replied, pulling a handful of collectable cards from her binder. She smirked and shuffled through the deck, setting several of them aside. I picked one off her desk to look at it as she continued searching.
“You have the Rainbow Fountain Collectable Card?!” I exclaimed, flabbergasted.
“Haha!” Filly laughed. “You should have seen yourself just now! Your floppy Gelert ears went straight up on that one!”
“But how...?” I stammered, still shocked. “You hardly have any neopoints, and this card is at least 40k at the shop wizard!” Filly chuckled.
“You have to hear this, it was so cool,” she started. “I was walking through the bazaar yesterday, on my way to the card shop, right?”
“Yes, like always,” I said. Filly laughed.
“Anyway, when I got to the shop, I saw that the Rainbow Fountain card was in stock! I tried to buy it, but someone snatched it up before I had a chance to. I was so angry! I had just enough neopoints to buy it too, if I haggled enough...”
“Bummer, I said. “So how did you manage to get your hands on it?”
“Well,” she continued, “I was just about to go home when I suddenly got a random event. It said that the Rainbow Fountain collectable card had magically found its way into my neodeck, and when I looked through it, it was there! It was such a strange coincidence!” She waved her hands over her head dramatically.
“Wow...” I said, a bit envious. “How lucky is that?”
I sat there for a bit and stared at the Fountain Faerie card in my hands. Filly started telling me about the other cards she happened upon recently, but I wasn’t really listening; this card had definitely taken the cake. It was both her and my favorite collectable card; we’d both been trying forever to get it for our own neodeck, but it cost so many neopoints, and that was one thing neither of us had. If we had neopoints, we’d have both been painted and hanging with the popular group instead of sitting in the back discussing collectable cards...
“Skye! Filly! Turn around and pay attention, will you please?” Mrs. Werdingham, our irritable green Kyrii of a teacher, tapped her foot impatiently and glared at us from the front of the room.
“Ugh, here we go again,” I mumbled to Filly as I turned in my seat.
“And put those silly cards away, girls! If I see them out one more time, I’ll keep them ‘til the end of the year, is that clear?”
“Yes, ma’am,” I said, sighing. Snickers came from the other side of the room where the painted pets sat and I felt the blood rush to my cheeks.
And there was Luke. He said nothing as he stared in my direction, but I could tell he was looking at me like he would look at a dried up worm on the sidewalk. I heaved another sigh and laid my head down on my desk. As Mrs. Werdingham continued her lecture, Filly tapped me on the shoulder.
“She must have had too many dung muffins this morning,” she whispered. “She’s in an even crummier mood than usual.” I giggled at this. Filly was special in her ability to cheer people up. Whenever I was down, she always said something that made me laugh.
When lunchtime rolled around, I couldn’t have been more glad. Despite the fact that our cafeteria served nothing but strange, and sometimes even frightening foods, I felt relieved to be out of the classroom. I couldn’t stand being around those obnoxious students and that downright nasty teacher. In fact, the only reason I didn’t switch classes was because I didn’t want to leave Filly behind. That, and the fact that I got to stare at Luke all the time.
“Ugh,” I said, spotting the menu on the wall. “Tongue with veggies again. Why can’t we ever have anything edible?”
“In our cafeteria? Gimme a break,” Filly responded. “At least the drinks are relatively normal.”
“Yeah,” I said. “Neocola is the only thing that gets me through the day.” Filly reached into the drink rack and pulled out a can of grapefruit neocola. She looked closer at the rack and winced.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“It looks like this is the last neocola,” she said apologetically.
“OHEMGEE!” I exclaimed. “So totally lame!” I always thought Filly was lucky beyond reason. No matter what it was, I seemed to be the brunt of fate, while Filly skipped away unscathed.
“Well, there’s Achyfi...” Filly said, still sounding disappointed for my sake.
“No way,” I said. “I hate that stuff.” I sighed. “I guess I could just get milk or something...” I said, and Filly set her neocola on my tray.
“Oh, no,” I said. “You don’t have to give me yours. I know you like neocola as much as I do...”
“Yeah, well, I can’t really enjoy it with you dying of thirst right next to me,” said Filly.
“Are you sure?” I asked, feeling suddenly guilty.
“Yeah, but only under one condition,” she said. “You have to promise not to say ‘ohemgee’ anymore.” I laughed.
“Sorry,” I said. “I must’ve been spending too much time on the neoboards lately.”
We sat down at the first bench we could find and proceeded to discuss our cards from that morning in more detail. As we shuffled this way and that through our decks, Glinda and Shen walked past our table. They were gossiping excitedly until they saw us, at which point they stopped and smirked at one another. I watched them out of the corner of my eye as Filly droned on about her cards, unaware as to what was going on.
“...yeah, and it’s totally hard to find, too,” Filly continued. “It’s probably the rarest card I’ve ever had in my deck, besides this new rainbow fountain card, of course. I’m still aiming for a few other rare ones, but they won’t be easy to come by...”
At this, Shen and Glinda giggled obnoxiously. It was as if any conversation that didn’t revolve around boys and makeup was completely alien to them, overloading their fragile little minds and making their brains short circuit, thus causing them to go into involuntary fits of laughter. Or at least that’s what I wanted to believe...
I growled deep in my throat. Filly looked at me with concern in her eyes.
“Please try not to let it upset you, Skye. To tell you the truth, it doesn’t bother me that much.”
I tried to let this in, but I could not stop glaring over my shoulder as they walked over to sit with Luke. As if their life wasn’t perfect enough already, they felt the need to entertain themselves at our expense! It made me so angry that my fur frizzled out.
Filly watched me quietly as I indignantly took a sip of the neocola she had so generously given to me. She sighed.
“But seriously, Skye,” she said quietly. “You really shouldn’t let stuff like that get to you.” She paused. “I figure it will be worth it in the long run, anyway; sitting in nice, cozy neohomes, earned by working hard and using our brains, which we’re fortunate enough to have. And all the while, we’ll throw scraps to people like them, who will crowd around the Money Tree looking for half-eaten berries to keep themselves fed.” She smiled and sipped her drink. I chuckled. I wasn’t sure if that would happen or not... all I knew was that I envied Filly’s strength.
After school, Filly met me at the front door like she always did. I trotted up to her, ready to walk home from another tiring school day.
“So, my house, as usual?” I asked, pulling my neodeck out of the pocket of my book bag. I always pulled them out so we could look at them as we were walking home.
“Sorry, I can‘t come over tonight,” replied Filly, glancing at me. “Apparently my owner’s taking me to the Lost Desert. She says there’s some stuff she needs to pick up there... That, and she wants to try her hand at the fruit machine.”
“Hah!” I laughed. “I’ve never won anything from that thing. Well, maybe a baggus or two, but other than that...”
“Hehe, I know. We’ve never won anything, either. I don’t know why she even bothers trying, really.”
“Well, it’s not like it costs anything, so it’s worth a shot, I guess. Tell her good luck for me.”
“Oh, I will. See you tomorrow, Skye!” Filly waved over her shoulder, and I walked down the creek to my house.
The next day, I took my seat at the back of the classroom. I couldn’t wait to show Filly the new cards I got while she was in the Lost Desert. Of course, none of them would compare to the cards in her deck, but I knew that she would fawn over them all the same, just to make me feel good. She was such a good friend... If there was one thing that kept me going every day, it was that I knew that would never change.
As I shuffled through my cards, an unfamiliar neopet walked through the door and looked around. She had the most beautiful shade of lavender fur I had ever seen, and was perhaps as glossy and well-groomed as Fyora, herself. She had hooves that shined metallic purple, as well, not to mention the dazzling, translucent faerie wings that would make any girl neopet jealous... And I had to admit, I was very jealous.
Turning, I noticed the entire class was staring wide-eyed toward the front of the classroom, including Shen and Glinda, who were whispering to each other conspiratorially. Even Luke, who probably hadn’t been aware of what was going on around him since day one, took the effort to glance at the new student. I couldn’t say I blamed him... she was very pretty. She glowed in the comparatively dull classroom, even more than Shen, whose glow seemed dim infinitesimally.
“Why, hello, my dear!” Mrs. Werdingham said in the most pleasant voice I’d ever heard her use. “A new student, have we? A sweet, young Ixi like you should make up for some of the, shall we say, less desirable students in our class.” She shot a sly glance in my direction and I snorted.
“Um... Mrs. Werdingham,” the Ixi started. I noticed she was starting to blush under the gaze of my classmates. “It’s me, Filly. I’m not new... I just got painted, yesterday.”
I just about had to pick my jaw up off the floor.
To be continued...