Everyone Needs Freedom
The little red Xweetok walked around the Neopian Plaza carrying a plastic bag with a box of Pizza in it. She walked past other shops, glancing at each item they were trying to sell. She stopped at one stall, staring at the particular item that caught her eye. It was a small glass bottle with a little yellow light inside it. Her curiosity was overwhelming her, so she asked the shopkeeper about it. “Excuse me, sir. What kind of item is that?” She pointed at the bottle sitting beside a blue shoyru plushie. The shopkeeper looked up from the newspaper he was reading and looked at where Xin was pointing.
“Oh, that, my friend, is a light faerie bottle. Magical powers are held inside that tiny bottle.” The shopkeeper was a blue Chomby in a polo shirt with an orange and purple striped tie. He folded his paper and picked up the bottle. “When you uncork this bottle, the faerie inside it will be free and will bless you with powers only she can give.” Xin liked it even more as the Chomby described it, so she asked how much it was. She dug through the pockets of her skirt and counted the money she had. She had enough money to buy the item and handed it to the Chomby for the purchase.
She skipped toward their neohome with a smile on her face, her purchased items bouncing every time she skipped. She walked on the paved stones that led to their door, then twisted the knob and opened it as wide as the door could go. “I’m home!” she bellowed at the empty hallway. A human came out from the east side of the hallway and greeted her.
“Welcome home, Xin. How was your shopping trip?” she asked. The human was her owner, named Keziah. She wore a red hoodie with a snoogy on it with matching a red skirt and black leggings.
“I bought pizza, asparagus and yoghurt, and I also found this.” She held up the bottle for her to see. Her owner came closer and handled the bottle with care.
“It’s a bottled faerie.”
“Yep, that’s what the shopkeeper told me. He also told me that when we pull out the cork, it will bless me with powers.”
“Yes, it does. But even if it didn’t have those kinds of powers, would you free it anyway?” Kz handed the bottle back to Xin and took the pizza box from Xin’s other hand.
“Hmm... I don’t know. If I freed it even if it didn’t have powers, the money I spent on it would be wasted.” Xin turned the bottle around her paws to look at each of its angles.
“I wouldn’t say that; if I had bought that bottle and freed it even if it had no powers to give, I’d still think it was worth it. After all, the creature inside it has a life. Nobody wants to be trapped in a cold prison forever,” Kz said, biting into a slice of the pizza and resting the box on the coffee table in front of their TV.
“Maybe you’re right.” Xin held her hand on the cork, and paused to look at her owner chomping away on a slice of pizza. “Umm... Kz.”
Her owner turned her around to look at her.
“Can we open the bottle together?”
Her owner smiled and clicked the power button on the remote and the television screen went black.
“Sure.” Kz patted the space on the couch beside her, gesturing for Xin to sit on that unoccupied space. Xin sat on the comfortable spot, still holding the bottle in her paws. Her owners hands joined in holding the bottle and with Xin’s right paw and Kz’s left hand, they pulled the cork together. A great amount of light poured out from the bottle and a light faerie fluttered about, celebrating its freedom.
“I will grant your pet the Magic Torch,” the faerie said, and it disappeared into a puff of yellow smoke and glitter. The girls stared at where the faerie had disappeared and looked at each other.
“Cool,” they said simultaneously.
The next morning, Kz whistled as she waited for the timer on the oven to go off. She heard Xin’s bedroom door upstairs opening.
“Good morning, Keziah!” Xin greeted.
“Well, good morning, Xin. How was your sleep?” Keziah sipped hot chocolate from her favorite mug.
“It was fine.” Xin walked down the stairs and stopped a bit to sniff the air. “Is that breakfast I smell?” She ran down the stairs, perked up like a giddy school girl.
“Yep, and it’s your favorite.” The timer in the oven went off. Kz put down her mug and snug her hands into mitts. She opened the oven door and the smell of doughnuts filled the whole house.
“Chocolate doughnuts, my favorite!” Xin jumped up and down and settled herself on a chair.
“Now, all we need o do is spread the chocolate icing on them. Oh, I also bought some sprinkles if you want some.” Kz took out a little jar of sprinkles from one of the cupboards. This excited Xin even more; she placed a doughnut on a saucer, topped it with chocolate and sprinkled it with sprinkles.
“Oh yeah, Kinzhu and Zennie invited us for lunch today,” she said as she took a bite on her doughnut.
“Oh, you mean my sister. You better hurry up and get ready to visit your cousins.” Kz made her own doughnut and sipping some hot chocolate on the way.
“I will, after I devour this five-star breakfast!”
Xin and Kz walked on the cold Terror Mountain sidewalk, giggling and eating snowpuff. They stopped in front of a house surrounded by blue rose buds. They walked up the stone path and rang the door bell.
“Coming!” called a voice from inside, then a speckled Uni opened the door. “Keziah, Xinkeyopi, you’re here!”
“Hello Zenfoxx!” Xin and Kz said simultaneously. Then a striped Kougra popped up from behind.
“Xin, Kz! Kitara, they’re here!” the Kougra called to their owner inside who was cooking something in the kitchen.
“Hey, Larkinzhu, I brought your favorite, lemon snowpuff,” Kz said, the Kougra jumped up and down and looked into the bag Kz was holding. A human appeared in the door holding a spatula.
“Hey, little sister, I’m glad you could come by.”
“Hi Kitara, it’s nice to see you again.” All of them went inside the house. The pets huddled together around a small coffee table loaded with crayons and paper.
“Xin, wanna catch some butterflies today?” Kinzhu said as he drew a blue butterfly.
“Sure.” Just then, the owners called them to the dining table for lunch. They had meat lasagne for lunch, which was Kz’s favorite.
“I forgot you could cook this well, sis.” She forked out a slice on her plate and popped it into her mouth.
“This is really good, auntie. No wonder Kz likes it so much,” Xin commented.
“Keep the comments coming and I might just make more dessert for all of you.”
After the meal, the pets hurried to Kinzhu’s room to get butterfly nets and empty jars with holes on the lid, and went out to the garden.
“Now, let’s look for those butterflies,” Zennie announced. So, they spread out all over the garden, looking over and under flower patches. Kinzhu crawled on the ground waiting to pounce on a butterfly he found. Xin and Zennie grew quiet as they watched Kinzhu pounce on the butterfly, but it managed to escape.
Kinzhu found a few butterflies and never caught even one. Zennie was distracted and made flower crowns instead. And it took them a while, when, Xin cornered a yellow butterfly.
“Catch it, Xin, before it escapes,” Kinzhu whispered, while Zennie hummed as she completed a fifth flower crown. And slowly but surely, Xin trapped the yellow butterfly in the net and placed it inside a jar with holes on the lid. “Yes! Xin caught a butterfly!”
“Snack time!” Kitara called from inside and the smell of cookies reached them. Kinzhu pounced inside and Zennie followed his brother, carrying the five flower crowns she had made. Xin stared at the closing door and looked at the jar she was holding. She looked at the fluttering butterfly for a while. Her hand moved slowly and touched the lid that kept the butterfly inside. She was lost in thought for a while, but she turned the lid and opened it, setting the butterfly free.
Kinzhu was gobbling down cookies and crumbs fell rapidly on the floor. Their eating was interrupted when Xin finally joined them, now holding her net and an empty jar.
“Hey, what happened to the butterfly you caught?” Kinzhu asked with his mouth full. Zennie and the owners stopped on their tea, waiting for Xin’s response. Xin looked at the empty jar and into the eyes of her owner. Kz winked at her.
“I set it free,” Xin responded.
“Why?” Kinzhu popped two more cookies into his mouth.
“Nobody wants to be trapped in a cold prison forever.”