A Dung Faerie Christmas
“I am not a baby,” insisted Fantasyland_Feline, the Baby Acara, as she pounded her pink paw on the banquet table. “If you will remember, I am exactly seven hundred and seventy-seven days older than you are. If anyone here is a baby, it’s you!”
Ezrionne, the Baby Skeith, rolled his eyes and replied, “But I’m not the one who believes in Faerie Tales. When will you believe me that there’s no such thing as the Dung Faerie?”
“Never!” screamed FF, as the Acara was known. “And... and you’re one to talk. You still believe in the Tooth Faerie.”
Ezrionne began to laugh and replied, “That’s because I saw the Tooth Faerie. She handed me 225 neopoints for my first lost tooth. See?” The Skeith opened his mouth and lolled his tongue around until it was pointing at the obvious gap. “I believe in what I can touch and see. Period. Stamped it, double-locked it, no take backs.”
“Well, Mr. Smartie Pants, if there’s no Dung Faerie, then where do all the gifts come from at the Meridell Rubbish Dump?”
“Tell me you’re not serious?” replied Ezrionne, laughing harder now. “You think it takes a magical Faerie to make dung appear at the dump outside of Meri Acres Farm?”
The Acara took a deep breath to control her emotions; the last thing she wanted was to give the Skeith the satisfaction of knowing he was upsetting her. “Then tell me, who presents the gift of flight to the pets with the purest hearts? Who, if not the Dung Faerie, rewards the true believers?”
Ezrionne was now the one pounding the table with his fists as he laughed and mocked the Acara. “Oh, the gift of flight for the pets with the purest hearts. You hardly look like you were built for flight, FF; where are your wings? Ha ha ha, you really do live in a fantasy land, don’t you?”
FF felt so frustrated every time she tried to talk to Ezrionne, and it was the same every year; their moms insisted on holding a Guild Christmas party every Christmas Eve in Brightvale, and expected all of the pets to somehow get along. As FF looked around the Guild Hall, she saw many unfamiliar faces, even a pair of Maraquan Grarrls who frightened her, and she wondered how their moms expected these strangers to automatically become her friends, her family. Just as the Acara felt hot and hopeless tears starting to well up in the corners of her big, lavender eyes, a soothing voice joined the fray.
“What’s going on here? You two getting along OK?” Cavillace, the Mutant Draik, had a gift for showing up at just the right time and knowing what to say.
“Ezrionne says there’s no such thing as the Dung Faerie, Cavillace, tell him he’s wrong.” FF looked up at the big Draik hopefully.
Cavillace looked over the heads of the two Baby pets at Chef_Boy_Harley, the Snow Chomby who was her closest friend among the Guild pets, and they exchanged a wordless look of concern. The Draik decided to proceed cautiously.
“Well, it’s true that no one has actually ever seen the Dung Faerie...”
“Aha!” said Ezrionne triumphantly.
“But,” continued Cavillace, “I do believe in magic. There are some things you can only feel with your heart, the things you accept on faith, and that is exactly how I think about the Dung Faerie.”
“Aha!” responded FF, but she couldn’t tell if Cavillace had actually agreed with her. She watched as Chef_Boy_Harley leaned toward Ezrionne and whispered conspiratorially in his ear.
The Chomby straightened up and said, “I know that I believe in the Dung Faerie. Don’t you think there’s even a chance she’s real, Ezri?” The Chomby nudged the Baby Skeith, who rolled his eyes and said, “Yeah, sure, I guess it’s possible.” As the Chomby and Draik exchanged satisfied smiles, FF watched as Ezrionne discreetly stuck his tongue out at her.
Fantasyland_Feline did not want the others to see the tears that she felt she would now be helpless to stop, so she excused herself from the table and walked across the large Hall. When she was sure that no one was watching her, she slipped out the door and ran toward Meridell, chanting to herself, “I believe, I believe, I believe...” ***
Fantasyland_Feline stopped to catch her breath as soon as she was past the sleeping Turmaculus. The Rubbish Dump was straight ahead, and if the legends were true that the Dung Faerie would appear there to the faithful when Kreludor rose full on Christmas Eve, then she didn’t want to appear dishevelled and out of breath. Licking first one paw and then the other, she groomed her fur and ears and tail, purring with satisfaction and anticipation. When she felt more composed, FF took a deep breath and walked the rest of the way.
Entering the Rubbish Dump, the Acara was surprised to see that she was alone. Not only were there no other Neopians waiting to meet the Dung Faerie, but even the Blue Kacheek who tended the garbage pile had obviously left early for the holidays.
“No matter,” said FF to herself, “I’ll just wait here alone then.” She turned her little pink nose up slightly at the enormous pile of Rotten Berries, Rusty Old Cans and Rockfish, but found a Pile of Wooden Planks that looked clean enough to rest on. She sat down and took out her pink Diary from her Faerie Backpack. Flipping through her pages of doodles of how she imagined the Dung Faerie would look, FF fished her pen out of the bag and began writing in her most careful script I believe... I believe... I believe... With a glance toward the horizon to monitor the rising of Kreludor, the small Acara yawned and rubbed her eyes sleepily. “Maybe I could just rest my eyes before the Faerie gets here,” she said to herself, and soon she was fast asleep.
The next thing FF knew, she had the unmistakable sensation of breaking free from gravity and rising through the sky. She felt the rush of air upon her blue fur, thrilling and electrifying to her skin. With great excitement, she opened her eyes and looked down upon the sights of Meridell rushing past beneath her body -- the Ultimate Bullseye and Turdle Racing, the Mortog, the Food Shoppe, and to her right, Meridell Castle looking ever so slightly less imposing from this new vantage. FF also became aware of protective arms holding her around her middle, and she looked up with a smile of vindication, but was horrified by what she saw: Instead of the beautiful face of the Dung Faerie, the smile returned to her was that of Cavillace, the meddling Mutant Draik.
The Acara began to squirm and claw at the Draik’s arms and shouted, “No! No! You have to put me back. She’s coming, I tell you, the Dung Faerie is coming and I NEED to see her.”
Cavillace tightened her grasp on the small pet and told her, “We have been worried sick about you, FF. Everyone has been out looking for you – Ezrionne and Chef_Boy_Harley, Hana_Cat and Irrillia, even maraquanmaneater and FortunesLost the Maraquan Grarrls went to look for you beneath the seas. Then I realised where you must have gone, and all because you hoped for some legendary gift of flight. You could have caught Neomonia sitting out here at night!”
Fantasyland_Feline began to shake her head and her body racked with sobs. “I wanted to meet her, Cavillace. Not just for the gift of flight, but to prove that she exists. That I’m not a baby for believing.”
Cavillace held her tighter as they flew over the treetops of Brightvale, closing in on the Guild Hall where the others were waiting for her return. “I don’t think you’re a baby, FF. I think that you have a pure heart and a beautiful gift for seeing the good, a gift that is based on faith, not proof. You might be surprised to know how many of us envy you your innocence.”
As she finished speaking, they arrived at the Guild Hall and Cavillace landed in front of the door. As Cavillace opened the door, Fantasyland_Feline was swept up in the surge of pets of all colours, sizes and species who had been worried for her welfare. They wrapped her in Warm Green Blankets and brought her Peppermint Cocoa, her favourite. As the Acara basked in the love and concern, she noticed that her friend, Ezrionne the Baby Skeith, was discreetly wiping tears of relief from his eyes. As he noticed her looking at him, he composed himself quickly and stuck his tongue out at her. And the Acara laughed.
Christmas morning was a blur of wrapping paper and ribbons, of plushies and garlands and Smiley Pancakes. After the present opening and breakfast were over, Fantasyland_Feline sat happily playing with her Usuki Dream Castle playset. Cavillace, who had been tidying up around the Gigantic Decorated Christmas Tree, approached the small Acara with a Beautifully Wrapped Present.
“I found one more for you, FF, back behind the tree.”
Surprised, FF gratefully accepted the present and carefully unwrapped its bow and paper. She revealed a box, and taking off its lid, she was stunned by what she found inside. Never could she have dreamed that someone would have given her Wings of Dung, her most coveted item in the NC Mall Wishbook. As she removed the delicate wings and placed them on her back, she spotted a note inside the box which read, I believe in you, too.
The Acara clutched the note to her heart and ran to the Wooden Bay Widow at the front of the Guild Hall. Pressing her small, pink nose against the frosty glass she scanned the skies and whispered, “Thank you.”
Meanwhile, in the opposite corner of the Hall, a small Baby Skeith, squeezed shut his eyes, and with his hands clutched in front of his chest, chanted over and over, “I believe, I believe, I believe...”