The Water Faerie Necklace: Part Seven
Nereid was sitting down in her house, brushing her golden hair. She had not a care in the world. Every now and then, she would dip her index finger into a small pool of water, mesmerized by the water’s cool texture and the circles that her finger made in the water.
She heard a knock on the door. She was expecting Illusen to come over because Nereid had invited her for tea, so she opened the door with a smile on her face. Her surprise was great when she saw another good friend of hers, Taelia the Snow Faerie, at her door. She had not seen Taelia in a long time, but they Neomailed each other often.
“Hello, Taelia,” said Nereid. She laughed awkwardly. “What a surprise. You know, I was expecting Illusen around this time. Have you seen her?”
“No,” Taelia said. She fanned herself with her hands and took off her parka. It was the first time Nereid had seen her with it off. “Actually, I am here on a whim. I met a few Pets today and they would like to speak with you. In fact, so would I.”
Taelia called in her new friends. Bryce and Julie appeared on Nereid’s doorstep simultaneously.
“Good afternoon,” said Bryce, even though he knew that it was not his turn to speak. He could already see Nereid’s eyes fixed on Julie’s collarbone.
Nereid could not move a muscle. Her rosy cheeks were pale white and her blue eyes were unable to blink. She dropped the brush in her hands and it crashed onto the floor. “W-Where did you get that?” she stammered, pointing to the necklace Julie was wearing.
“I found it,” Julie said. “Or, it found me.”
Clenching her fists, Nereid said, “But I hid it away from the world! Nobody was supposed to find it!”
“It probably found me, then,” said Julie, staring at the ground. She could not look into Nereid’s eyes. They were turned red with anger. “Taelia said that the necklace’s power brought me to it so I could be punished.”
“Then why are you here, then?” Nereid asked. “I promised myself that I would never have anything to do with that horror ever again, and yet you are here.”
Slowly, Julie said, “I kind of wanted you to release me.”
“Release you?” Nereid repeated. “I am not the releaser! You are the one who releases yourself. You... what is your name?”
“Julie,” Julie replied. “And this is my friend Bryce.” Immediately, Julie felt sorry for Bryce. He was dragged along on her journey with nothing to do with her or her necklace. She had only met him a half hour ago, and yet she was calling him her friend!
“You, Julie, need to apologize for whatever you have done. Then you will be free.”
“I have done nothing!” Julie snapped. “Nothing could have brought me this punishment!” She wondered again why ultimate power was, in fact, a punishment. She wondered why she called it a punishment if she did not think it was one. She wondered most of all why she had not felt the power of the necklace yet, why the ultimate power had not come to her.
Nereid folded her arms. “Everybody has done something in their lifetime that is bad. Nobody is perfect, not even a Water Faerie.”
“Well,” said Julie, “I guess in my lifetime I have done bad things, but not recently!”
“I’m sure you have,” said Nereid. “Even just now, when you lied to me.”
“I was not lying!” Julie cried. “I cannot believe you would accuse me something that I did not do!” She turned to Bryce and said, “Will you please fly me back to Neopia Central?”
Bryce flapped his wings to test them out. They were still sore from the flight from Terror Mountain to Faerieland. “Okay,” he said.
The two Pets exited, and Nereid and Taelia were alone in Nereid’s house.
“She was lying, you know,” said Nereid.
“I guessed that,” Taelia replied. “But how do you know what she did wrong?”
“I don’t,” Nereid admitted. “In fact, I had doubts about her wrongdoings until she denied it again and again. I don’t know why the necklace found her, or why she found it. Maybe the necklace has more power than any of us know, or maybe it is sheer coincidence that she came across it, and the clasp is stuck.”
Taelia laughed. “So you do not know if she needed the punishment of the necklace or not?”
“Oh, I know she needed it,” said Nereid. “Everybody needs it. I just don’t know why it was her, one of the millions of visitors to the Tiki Tack shop, who found it. I also wonder how she is going to take it off.”
“You said that she needed to apologize for her wrongdoings and then it would come off,” said Taelia, a bit confused.
Nereid nodded. “That is how it has happened for the people I personally punished. But the necklace was the one who punished her, and it plays by its own rules.”
Bryce landed safely onto Neopia Central soil. He massaged his sore wings and joked, “This is a nice exercise program. I’ll lose weight in no time.”
Julie could not laugh. She was sad, and even sadder because she did not know why. Exhaling, she said, “So, I guess this is it, huh?”
“Yeah.” Bryce winced when his hands met a very sore spot on his wings. “I’m really glad you got me out of Meridell for a day. I had a lot of fun.”
“Thanks,” Julie said. Just a few moments before, she was feeling sorry for Bryce because he was a tagalong. Now, she knew that he was ecstatic just to have an adventure. She blinked. “I really am going to miss you. You know, I really don’t have many friends at school, so this was a nice change.”
It was Bryce’s turn to say thanks. “Maybe I’ll see you soon,” he said. “You can Neomail me too, if you want.”
“I will,” Julie promised.
Bryce braced himself, and soared into the clouds. “Good-bye!” Julie called. She wiped a tear from her eye and looked away, not wanting to see Bryce leave.
“Hello, Kaleigh,” Julie said. She had made it back to her Neohome before dinner. Two of her sisters was gone, but Alexandra was seated at the dinner table.
“Hey, Julie,” Kaleigh said, placing a Tropical Fruit Slice Pizza on Alexandra’s plate. She normally got pizza on the weekends. “Did you have a nice day?”
Julie nodded, fingering the largest stone of her necklace. “Kaleigh, I-I need to talk to you. In private.”
Kaleigh looked at Alexandra apologetically and led Julie into the family room. “What is it?” she whispered.
“I-I...” Julie thought of her conversation with Nereid. She was her own releaser. She was the only one who could get herself out of the necklace. “I just wanted to apologize. For skipping school. Now I know what I did was wrong.”
“Julie,” Kaleigh said.
At first, Julie thought she was in trouble again, but she saw the smile on her owner’s face.
“That really means a lot to me,” said Kaleigh. “Really, it does. I think you are really growing up.”
Julie gave Kaleigh a wobbly smile and dried her eyes. It was the second time she had cried that day. The two of them hugged, and Julie did not want to let go.
“Let’s have dinner, okay,” Kaleigh said. Julie could see her chin quivering and was taken aback. She had never seen her owner cry before.
After dinner, in the solace of her very own room, Julie pulled at the clasp from her necklace. It wouldn’t budge. She tried cutting it off with a pair of scissors, but it was no use.
“I thought apologizing would make things better!” Julie yelled, but it only came out as a whisper. She stopped. Why did she want the necklace taken off? Why was ultimate power a bad thing? She still did not understand.
Kaleigh knocked on Julie’s door. “It’s time to go to bed,” she said.
“Okay,” Julie replied. Maybe a good night’s sleep would make everything better.
Julie woke up the next morning and, by force of habit, reached up to toy with the stones of her necklace. All she could feel was flesh. She looked down and saw nothing on her neck.
She wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. She was upset because she had never actually felt the power of the necklace, but happy because it was finally gone. She had apologized to Kaleigh.
She wondered, though, where the necklace had gone. Julie searched her room and turned it upside-down, but she found nothing.
Confused, she sat down to write a Neomail to Bryce, telling him of the news. When she sent it, she immediately got it back saying that no Pet of that name existed.
She was very puzzled. What was the true name of the Pteri she met in Meridell? Suddenly, a thought crept into her mind. What if there was no Pteri she met in Meridell? What if she had never received a scroll? What if there was no necklace at all?
Julie smiled. She knew that she needed to get answers. However, it was a school day. She got dressed and packed her books and realized that she did not need to get answers at all. It was not important. Even if the necklace was real, she apologized to Kaleigh and finally earned her trust. She had learned what was right.
She walked out the door to go downstairs, almost tripping over a crumpled blue ribbon.
I hope you all enjoy my first entry! Be sure to see more of me soon!