Our story begins during twilight on Terror Mountain, which is experiencing an unsurprising blizzard of tennis ball sized hail and thick sleet. So being, all neopets and neopet owners are safely tucked in their cozy, warm neohomes; roasting marshmallows or snuggling in their heavy wool blankets by a roaring fire; their backs turned to the window. Yes, all of Terror Mountain’s Neopians are safe inside; except for one.
Far away in the mountains, a Kyrii is walking through the blizzard, but she is not struggling. She is not even stung by the touch of the howling wind or the icy ground; she glides through it as though nothing is there. The reason for this is simple: she is from the spirit world.
Trapped in our world, she must find the true meaning of selflessness and of friendship in order to return to her realm.
Soon she catches sight of an old-fashioned log cabin perched on a cliff not too far from her. As she approaches, she notices smoke coming from the grey brick chimney and that it is fairly lit; someone’s occupying it.
Curious, she peeps through one of the windows to see a family of four chatting happily around a kitchen table. Not wishing to be seen, she pulls the black hood of her long cloak over her head and ducks in the frosty bushes before continuing her observation.
The father was a brown Lupe who appeared to be wearing his working clothes: a miner’s outfit minus the helmet. The red Uni looked like the mother with her ruffled apron and messy bun, but she did not seem to care how she looked when she was with her family. Then there were the children: a blue Kau in a fuzzy lavender sweater and a speckled Ixi with an aqua knitted cap.
The Ixi seemed to be the elder of the two, trying to show his sister how to properly use a fork and spoon, and cutting up her food for her. The Kau did not care about getting more food on her face than in her mouth; she was carefree and innocent like most young children. She gazed at her father with sparkling eyes as he and his wife laughed at how messy she had become.
A tear trickled down the Kyrii’s pale cheek. It felt like an eternity since she last laughed, since she last felt the warmth a smile brings.
Quickly, she darted out of the frozen bushes and into the night; the little Kau almost saw her scarlet eyes.
It must have been hours before the Kyrii dared to go near the cabin. As she gazed through another window, she found the family together in their cozy living room; the mother and father were reading by a roaring fire while the children slept on a makeshift bed of tan, wool blankets and white, fluffy pillows.
Outside the world was quiet and peaceful once more: the storm had been replaced by a light snow fall. A gentle breeze rustled the nearby tree branches, causing dangling icicles to cling together to create a beautiful melody. As the ghost Kyrii gazed around at the trees, she did not notice that someone had stirred inside and was now looking at her. You can nearly imagine the shock she had when she turned and stared face-to-face with the Kau, who was smiling at her.
Immediately, she took flight, but the little Kau darted after her while trying to put her boots on at the same time.
“Wait!” the Kau cried as she chased after her, but she kept running. The ghost Kyrii went left, right, then zigzagged through the trees, but not until she made a sharp turn to her right did she finally lose the Kau.
Suddenly, there was a piercing scream. The ghost stopped dead in her tracks. Was it the Kau that screamed?
Quickly, she retraced her steps, and found the Kau hanging on a branch below the edge of the cliff. “Help! HELP!” the crying Kau screamed, gripping the branch even tighter.
Instinctively, the Kyrii reached down for the little girl’s hand, but snapped back at the last second. “Why should I save her? If I leave her here, she won’t come following me, but that may mean-”
A loud cracking sound interrupted her thoughts. Looking down, she saw the branch keeping the girl from sudden peril giving away. The Kau screamed as the branch broke from the cliff.
“NO!” yelled the Kyrii. She immediately snatched the Kau’s hoof, saving her for the moment. Question now was if she could pull her up.
With all of her strength, the Kyrii began to pull the Kau up an inch at a time. “I can’t let her lose her family and her life so soon; I won’t allow it,” the Kyrii thought, taking a step back and, after slipping slightly, pulled.
“I remember being in a life-or-death situation similar to this and how I wished someone would come and save me.” She grabbed the girl’s other hoof before pulling again. “What happened to me was terrible, but I can make sure that doesn’t happen to anyone else, starting with this girl!”
With that thought, she yanked the girl from the edge of the cliff and brought her to solid ground. The sudden surge of energy caused the Kyrii to fall on her back next to the Kau. The two neopets said nothing for a while; they only stared at the dark night sky.
“Thank you,” whispered the Kau, shifting her soft brown eyes from the sky to the Kyrii’s face. The Kyrii didn’t respond.
They walked back to the cabin in complete silence. Kreludor, glowing in the midnight sky, lit the way for the girls. When they reached the cabin, the Kau faced the Kyrii.
“Thank you again for saving me. I’m also sorry I scared you earlier; I’ve never seen a ghost neopet before.”
The Kyrii remained mute.
“Can you wait here for a minute? I want to give you something.” The Kau raced inside the warmth of her home while the ghost was left to her thoughts.
“I should just leave; I’m happy that I was able to help. But I don’t want to disappoint her by leaving without saying good-bye first.”
Within minutes, the Kau ran back with a little wooden box. She beamed as she held out the small box to her. “I’ve been saving this for when I make my first friend. And I thought, since you saved me and all, you may like it.”
The Kyrii stared at her, shocked. Slowly, she took the box and opened it. Inside, nestled in black velvet, was a pretty locket decorated with little swirl designs and a red, apple-shaped jewel. She opened up the locket and read the inscription:
“To my first friend, I hope you remember me every time you see it. –Penny”
She looked from the locket to Penny, who was smiling with glee. Never had she received something so wonderful in her life, both past and present. And never had she had a friend.
“Thank you, Penny,” whispered the Kyrii, tearing up.
Penny’s smile brightened. “You’re welcome. By the way, I never got to know your name.”
“It’s Marie,” she said while wiping her crimson eyes. Marie put on the locket and toyed with it a little before saying, “You should probably go and get some rest. It’s been a very exciting night for both of us.”
Penny nodded, but before stepping inside, she turned and asked, “Will I get to see you again?”
“Of course. I’ll come and visit you when ever I can.”
Satisfied with Marie’s answer, Penny waved good-bye before closing the door. Marie played with the locket some more before making her way to the surrounding woods. Finally, she had learned the true blessing of being selfless and of being a friend. As the shadows of the night began to cover her, she made a promise to never betray Penny and to be the greatest friend she ever knew.