Cerena's Song: Part One
This story takes place on the outskirts of Maraqua, quite a distance to the south but not quite reaching the shores of Mystery Island. Deep beneath the sea past the shimmery seagrass and prismatic sea ferns, past anything that may resemble anything joyous or blissful. The town is a just a simple, small town. Uncharted by any maps in Neopia, for nobody would ever desire to visit it. There wouldn’t be much to see; after all, it was destroyed years ago. The houses are littered with broken furniture and the walls themselves aren’t much better. Hundreds of mechafish have made the worn down residencies their home and are not planning on giving their dwellings up any time soon. The roads that were once traveled on by many are now encumbered with void plants and it would be impossible to take a step without crushing one. However, there was once a time when this town was cheery and prosperous. But that was long ago...
I was twelve years old living in the town of Roseate. It means “bright or promising”, kind of ironic, right? At the time it was exactly that. All around us was a rainbow of colors with the suns rays glistening down through the water. Each of our homes was built with the sturdiest coral we could acquire and decorated with a number of shells from the sea floor. I felt as though I were living in a fantasy. I only wish I could have stopped the events from happening and go back.
There were only about thirty Neopians living in my town. Everybody knew everything about each other and we all got along quite well. Among them there was our mayor, Dimitri Iesis. He was a diligent, hard working individual who always had a smile on his face. Of course, you could hardly tell with that large beard of his. He was a bit heavier than others, seeing as though he was a Skeith and that was quite common amongst that species, and was the strongest person I knew. However, he would never hurt anyone and cared deeply about those who lived in his town. He was my father.
If you are wondering why I am referring to him as if he is dead or something, well, I’m not exactly sure. You see, he has been gone for a long time now. Everybody I once knew is gone from my life. But I guess I should explain a bit more about what happened. I will start at the beginning.
My name is Jeanine Iesis. I was born October 12 in Maraqua to Dimitri and Lucille. My mother passed away shortly after I was born so I never really met her. My father tells me she was beautiful with long, wavy brown hair and a twinkle in her eye. I guess in a way I resemble her closely but I would never consider myself beautiful. I’m amazingly average. I am the only Maraquan Ixi in my town and love it; being unique is something I take extreme pride in.
I didn’t really remember much about Maraqua, but I heard plenty of stories. I lived in Roseate as far back as I can recall. My father told me the tale about how he and his friends branched off of Maraqua and built their own town from scratch. It’s quite impressive, I think. However, the spot he chose to build it on may not have been the smartest place in all the sea. Roseate lay on a flat surface amongst the cliffs that lie near Maraqua, but we later found out that the ground was gradually shifting downward. The council of our town put in supports to hold it up so we could all live peacefully for what they figured would be at least ten more years. Well, it may have worked. I guess we will never know.
Jewell Coy was my best friend. She was the loveliest Aisha you would ever meet. Her turquoise eyes and straight blonde hair always turned heads as she passed through town. Not to mention her sense of fashion was exquisite. All the girls in town wished they could be as dazzling as her, but I was happy with the way I look. Jewell and I did everything together. Well, not that there was much to do in our town. We mostly travelled out to the cliffs and made dolls from seaweed, coral, and shells and then played with them. It wasn’t the most exciting childhood, but we worked with what we had.
The Neopets in my town were mostly the average, everyday pets you would expect to find anywhere. Everybody was extremely welcoming and rarely ever fought. There was that one girl, however, who was a bit off. She was a Maraquan Gelert named Cerena and always kept to herself. I sensed that she was a bit darker than most. There was just something about her that always gave me the creeps, but I could not put my finger on it. I guess it was the way she never spoke to anyone. I had never heard her voice before, but I still made an effort to talk to her, since nobody in our town should feel left out. It was my birthday and I was turning thirteen, so I invited all the kids in our town, including Cerena. I wasn’t expecting her to come so when she showed up it was quite a surprise.
Jewell tapped me on the shoulder in the middle of the festivities and whispered in my ear. “Hey, look who came.” She nodded in the direction to my back door and there was Cerena, just sitting there glancing around as if she was in some foreign land. Her black hair was draped over her left eye and she was wearing a purple dress with a dark red bow tied around her waist. The headband hidden in her hair matched the bow and fastened onto it was a single rose. She finally made eye contact with me and I smiled but didn’t receive one in return. She simply nodded and turned away again. I suppose that meant “Happy Birthday.”
My birthday party wasn’t anything extraordinary. It was a simple one with food, cake, games, and presents. What was extraordinary, however, was the present I received. When that time rolled around, everyone stood in a semicircle watching me unravel the wrapping paper with small birthday cakes and confetti plastered all over it. I received some clothing items, usuki dolls, a hair brush, and some makeup. I don’t understand why I receive all this girly stuff. I’m definitely not the type who runs around with five layers of makeup on her face. I don’t even care so much about my appearance, but of course I would use the makeup. I didn’t want to be rude.
My eyes scanned over the table, searching for any final presents. “Alright, looks like that’s it. Thank you, everyone, for your gifts.”
I started to collect the garbage from the table when Karin, a girl a few years younger than me who was sitting crisscross in the grass, spotted something under the table. “Jeanine, there’s one more!” She pointed toward the bottom of the tablecloth and proceeded to eagerly crawl to it and pass it up to me.
Everyone who had turned to leave gathered back and looked at it, speculating who it could be from. I glimpsed down at the small purple package with a red bow attached to the top and saw a small note tied to the base of the bow. I read it aloud: “From Cerena.” I scanned over the audience of spectators, making eye contact with each new face, for the one who had given it to me. Everyone searched along with me, but it seemed as though she had already left. Pretty soon the group was looking intently at me, expecting the gift to still be opened anyways, so I ripped the side and slipped a small box out.
I didn’t really know what to expect before I lifted the lid off. What would a girl like Cerena possibly give me? I was half expecting a shell or something, so when I saw what was inside I was taken by complete surprise. I slid the lid off the box and inside was a golden piece of jewelry. I grabbed the chain and lifted it slowly, revealing a necklace with a brooch attached on the end. Everyone stared in wonder at the sparkling purple gem, which I figured must have been an amethyst. It was beautiful and as I rotated it the suns rays shining down through the clear water reflected off of it. The amethyst sparkled and showed every shade of purple I could imagine. I instantly slipped the necklace on, still holding the gemstone in my hand and looking deep into it as if in a trance.
I wondered why she had given me this extravagant gift. I didn’t quite understand it, but I had to thank her. I had to find her the next morning and let her know how much I appreciated it, even if she didn’t care to hear it. I awoke the next morning, put the necklace on, and made my way to Cerena’s home. If only she were there...
To be continued...