Cythesian scrambled down the worn path, her feet leaving imprints in the chilly frost. She wore a long blue silk cloak, which folded neatly over her two white ears.
“Cythesian! Come back here now!” a wicked voice called, cutting through the cold night like a hot knife through butter. Cythesian ran faster.
Frozen cobwebs melted away when she ran through them, her warm breath cutting a straight path through the otherwise gross strings. A tree branch whipped at her face, dropping its scarce leaves on her hood.
“Cythesian! Don’t you dare go to Lilly!” The voice was closer now, closing in...
Then, when she least expected it, Cythesian saw a door nestled in a mound of roots and soil. Dead leaves caked the handle, but she soon opened the door and was free; inside an enchanted room where her nasty owner could not find her.
“CYTHESIAN!” One last yell echoed all around her, but she shut the door and locked the latch. She turned around.
The room was dimly lit by a few torches. The walls, ceiling and floor were all packed mud, and proper furniture was unheard of; a ramshackle pot was to Cythesian’s left, with some bare twigs poking out from its opening. A large bamboo couch cowered towards the ground. A rug lay on the floor, made of intertwined grasses.
Cythesian started to walk until she came to a doorway. She saw a woman dressed in green and brown. A beautiful blue feather was strapped to each of her hands. She saw Cythesian and smiled warmly.
“My darling, how I am glad to see you!” she chuckled, throwing a small log into a nearby fireplace. “But why are you here? The festival has just started! Shouldn’t you be enjoying the festivities while they last?”
Cythesian waggled her small tail. She was a tiny Cybunny, no bigger than your average child. She had a smooth red mane, and her white fur gleamed. The woman took the blue silk cloak off of her friend and hung it up on a wooden hook.
“My... new... owner...” Cythesian panted, “I... he... bad... trade...”
“Take a deep breath and explain what happened,” the woman said. “I’m ever-listening.”
Cythesian sighed and looked at the lady with loving eyes.
“Okay... here’s my story,” she said slowly, and then she began.
It all began on May 3rd, when I was dressing for a tea party with my friend Shelly. It was warm and nice out, so I changed into a blue and white cotton dress. I looked beautiful, and I walked outside with pride. My owner, Ray, was talking to a stranger when they caught sight of me. The stranger smiled, but not joyfully; they grinned greedily, as if a wicked plan was forming in their mind.
I was introduced to the stranger; a man named Blake. He had oily hair and waxed eyebrows, which sadly didn’t hide his mismatched eyes; one blue left eye, one brown right eye. He was short and squat, like a large hourglass. I wanted to leave. Ray allowed me, but he said that I would be talked to later.
After my lovely tea party with Shelly, I went home, cake crumbs scattered across my fur. I had a tea stain on my dress, but I was ever so happy.
Blake and Ray were sitting on the front porch. Ray frowned when he saw my soiled gown and freckled fur. He told me to go wash up and change, and then to sit down with them. I obliged.
Soon, I was outside, sitting sulkily on a stool with my best pink dress on, my face clean and swirled. Blake was twiddling his plump thumbs as he grinned evilly at me.
Ray soon told me that I was going to be traded in the late summer, and my new owner would be Blake. I started crying, but he kept on going. He explained that he would be getting a paint brush in return, which was against the law, but as he put it ‘who cares?’ Not him.
The next day I told my friend Shelly. She started weeping, and I joined in. After awhile, we dined on some biscuits, but we both felt awful. I soon left, wondering what I should do.
That night, I went to visit Blake’s home. It was tiny, like a shed, and it was rotting and falling apart. Inside was a bed, a dresser and a TV. Blake then explained that I would live outside, and I would sleep on the ground with no blankets. In the morning I’d go and find some food, and he’d dine on some money tree food items.
Soon, the end of August came, and I was sent off to live with Blake. Ray cuddled with the baby paint brush which he had gotten as I trudged off with my horrible new owner.
When I arrived at his horrid home he went inside his shack. He came out with a half-eaten jelly in his hand, the other half in his stomach and smeared across his face. He grimaced when he saw me and he ordered me to find something to eat. Since I am a Cybunny, I ate a few specks of grass, and I drank from a nearby puddle. I then settled down into the lawn as he snored loudly in his home.
The next morning I woke up with him eating an omelette. The house was now surrounded by a few odd trinkets, all of which he had collected from the Money Tree. My stomach rumbled, asking for real food. I went off in search of something to eat. I came across a puddle of spilt milk and an upside down ice-cream cone, and started to eat.
I was soon noticed by a tall lady, and she asked me where my owner was. I lied and told her I had no owner. She asked if I wanted to be adopted. I truthfully said yes, and she took me to her house.
It wasn’t big, yet it was cozy and nice. It was very clean and tidy, with lovely oak floors in every room. Furniture was clean and dusted; I felt like I was at home. But I knew that I had to go back to Blake.
I told the woman about my story. She made me a deal; I could live at her house during the day and at Blake’s during the night. I agreed heartedly, and she sent me back home after a long snack of cookies and milk.
When I came home, Blake was drinking a milkshake and reading a scrap of a newspaper. He announced that a fair was coming to town. A large trading stage would be set up, and he soon said that we would be going, so he could trade me for something good.
I was cold that night, and in the morning I hurried to the lady’s home. Her name was Martha. She gave me a hug and a large breakfast, and then let me have a proper sleep in a fluffy warm bed.
Days past. Nights were cold. When I woke up there would be a pattern of frost across my fur. I could see my breath and hear the dead leaves fall to the crisp ground at nighttime. Winter was coming.
Soon, it was a day before the fair. The town was buzzing with excitement, yet I was scared to be traded. I went quickly to Martha’s house so I could discuss my fate with her.
But when I arrived at her crushed-seashell driveway, I could tell something was wrong. When I looked past her thick trees, I gasped.
The house was completely black. The attic was replaced with a gaping black hole, and smoke was laced through the air. There had been a fire!
Nobody had seen Martha, but they assured me that she was fine. I was shooed from the home and was sent back to Blake. I cried for a long time in the frigid grass until my warm tears had melted a large patch of lawn. Blake laughed at me all the while.
Then, it was the fair. News of the fire had spread quickly, though no one cared; all everyone cared about was that fair of theirs. Nothing else mattered to them.
When I went to the carnival, it was bright and cheery. Blake had me on a leash and didn’t give me a single Neopoint to use, let alone the time to look around. He just guided me through the masses of people, cackling with glee.
But then, my leash slacked. He had dropped it, for someone had stomped on his foot. He howled and waggled his foot about. I started to run away. I was already tired, but I thought of Martha, and she gave me strength to carry on. I ripped off my leash when I got to the thicket; it would slow me down. And I headed to you. He didn’t dare enter your fortress. I was safe.
Cythesian finished her story, chewing delicately on the biscuit that she had been given. Lilly leaned forward, raising an eyebrow.
“How did he know that he couldn’t enter my realm without permission? Did you speak of me to him before?” Lilly asked, “We’ve only met once before, at the fair last year... how did you think of seeing me?”
Cythesian smiled at the fond memory of their meet; she had been exploring the woods beyond the fair when she ran into Lilly. They immediately became companions, and they enjoyed each other's company.
“I don’t know how he knew about you, let alone the enchantment ... I never spoke of you to him or even Ray! And I thought of coming to you because I knew it was safe... you’d never betray me.” Cythesian sighed. “Life is very confusing.”
“Yes... but you are safe now...” Lilly smiled. “Even though you lost Ray, Martha, and even that horrid Blake, you still have me.”
Cythesian smiled, and bit into another biscuit.
“If those events never happened, you wouldn’t be seeing me right now. If you didn’t run, you’d be traded. If you weren’t traded, you’d be stuck with Blake. If Martha’s house hadn’t burnt, you wouldn’t have had the strength to keep on running away from Blake. If you hadn’t been traded, you would have been stuck with stupid Ray, who isn’t a very good owner. You see?” Lilly grinned. “Bad events can lead to good events. Every cloud has a silver lining!”