Beautiful Brightvale: Here's to Eleven Years!
With great thanks and credit to Jay (misshamsterlover) for much inspiration! And to TNT for 11 years of Brightvale! :)
Ok. It’s ok! Don’t panic, Nequl. You can do this. Just breathe.
I took a peek behind the red velvet curtain to see a vast crowd, all peering anxiously to get a closer look at the stage. My heart sank. If I’d have known this many people were going to show up, I’d have pretended I was sick. People are always getting NeoFlu nowadays, aren’t they? Or chickaroo... it wouldn’t be that hard to pretend I thought I was a chicken for a few nights. Too late now. Plus, Trixitootoo, my closest friend and dance partner, would go crazy.
“Nequl?” I jumped in surprise and turned around quickly. It wasn’t the voice that startled me, Trixi had a soft voice, barely an octave higher than a tweeting Pteri. I just didn’t expect anyone to be there. She stood with an amused smile on her lips, in a very pretty dress, and her hair curled elaborately for the occasion.
“Hey, Trix, you ok? Is that your outfit?” I asked, giving her the once-over while trying to avoid her gaze. She’d be able to see I was nervous.
“Did I startle you?” she asked, ignoring my questions. I could hear the amusement in her words.
“No.” Oops, said it a bit too quickly.
She laughed out loud. “You’re worried, aren’t you? Nequl, why?” she sounded exasperated. “I’ve told you a thousand, no, a million times! There’s no need to be nervous. We’ll be great at this, Nequl.”
Ha. No. There’s her mistake- right there. She’ll be great at this; I’ll look like a fool trying to keep up with her steps.
“Sure,” I said. I couldn’t quite force the tremor out of my voice. I turned away from her.
“Nequl.” She walked over to me, and put her hand on my arm. “Please, please, stop worrying. You’ll make yourself ill!”
“Then will they let me off the show?” I asked hopefully.
She laughed her tinkling laugh. What, I thought to myself, I was being serious!
“We’re all prepared. Nothing can go wrong. Okay, let’s go through what we’re going to do...”
She dove into a full recount of the planning conversation we’d had last night, and kept asking me questions about the steps, if I’d remember them.
The show was for the annual celebration of the Discovery of Brightvale. Trixitootoo and I, being Royals and distantly related to King Hagan, had been asked to open the festival with a traditional ballroom dance. I would have told them I’d rather eat a thousand Slimesicles than do their fancy, girly, twirling dance, if only Trixi hadn’t looked so incredibly excited at the opportunity. I couldn’t let that face down. Ok, well, I had memorised the steps, and I wasn’t scared of the crowd per se, I was just scared about what the crowd would think. All the guys I hang out with, well, I’d deal with that when the time came. I know my mother’s immensely proud... she hasn’t talked about anything else since. Together, Mel, my mom, and Jay, Trixi’s mom, came up with our outfits. They’d been working for days and nights, and the outfits looked great. Trixi’s dress in particular. It was a long dress, made of silk in the most beautiful midnight blue. My tailcoat suit matched it perfectly.
“Neq. Nequl! Are you even listening to me?” I looked up to see Trixi glaring at me impatiently. I hadn’t realise I’d been staring into space.
“Wha? Yeah of course! Plans... The plans!” Oops, what about the plans?
“Right. Well. We’re up in five,” she said, tutting at my vacant expression.
“Five? Five minutes?” I almost shrieked. I gazed at her in horror.
“Yes. Five minutes,” she said curtly, before she turned on her heel and flounced out of the room for her final make-up check.
Right. Ok. Don’t panic. Don’t panic.
“Nequl?” I turned around again. It wasn’t Trix who stood there this time, but it was a friendly looking green Draik in posh robes. I knew him! He looked after the wheel of knowledge and he was good friends with King Hagan, I’d heard.
“Yes.” I managed to smile at him.
“We want you by the stage now. You all ready to go?” he asked, beaming at me.
“Yeah. Yes... I’m ready.” I took deep breaths as he lead me out of my dressing room, round to the side of the stage.
“Right, wait here. When the music starts, you’re set to go. Your partner will be opposite you. Good luck.”
He smiled quickly, and turned around.
Sure enough, I saw Trixi on the other side of the stage, looking immaculate. I grinned at her, and she gave me a small wave and stuck her tongue out at me.
Wait, why was I nervous, again? I’m sure we’d practised this like a million times already. My grin got bigger, and the music began to play.
The curtains opened to thousands of Neopets, all cheering, all smiling. They didn’t seem at all intimidating. I found myself walking towards Trixi, I took her hand and we started the dance. How exhilarating! How amazing! We were twirling gracefully to the rich, powerful music. And the crowd loved it! They cheered along, and they knew the music. This was Brightvale at sunset, the large and beautiful castle towered over us, as grand as ever. King Hagan could be spotted on a raised platform above the crowd, singing along. He caught my eye and as I grinned, he gave me a little nod of thanks.
As the music came to a close, our dance began to slow, until we finally stopped and were congratulated by thousands of clapping hands, and a cheer of joy. We bowed deeply, and I turned to look at Trixi. She gave me a little wink. Aw, I hate it how she always must be right! She said I’d enjoy it in the end.
As we carefully walked down the stairs to join the massive crowd, and free the stage for the next acts, we were enveloped in hugs from our families. I heard Mel saying, ‘So proud, so proud!’ over and over, and Jay shout, ‘Oh Trixi, your beautiful dress!’.
Ixvy, my little Kacheek sister, patted me on the back and said, “Your friends are over there, Neq, they looked pretty excited.” I followed her eager gaze to see the whole crowd from work rush forward to gather round me. Next thing I knew, I was on their shoulders, being raised in honour. They were chanting something congratulatory. Laughing, I pushed my way back down, thanking them all. They just grinned and said, “Well done, man.” I excused myself, still laughing, to try and find Trix.
“Trix!” I shouted over the roaring noise of the crowd. “Hey, Trix! Well done!”
“No, well done you!“ She grinned, pushing herself forward. “I told you you could do it!”
“You’re always right,” I laughed easily, as she gave a smug smile and a little nod.
We turned to face the stage to watch the other acts, but not before I felt a little tug at my elbow.
“Nequl!” Ixvy’s little head appeared at waist-height.
“What’s up, Ix?” I asked, craning my neck to see her face; she looked troubled.
“Shoulders, please. I can’t see all the way down here.” She looked up at me with pleading eyes, and lifted her arms up in expectancy.
Roaring with laughter at the expression on her face, I pulled her up so the whole family could all enjoy the wonderful festival.
Here’s to eleven years of Brightvale!