My Life-Changing Realization: Part One
"Just... a... little... higher!"
"Saphirie, are you sure you don't need help?" asked the doubtful speckled Draik watching from below.
"I've got it, Emerelda! There's only one banner left to put up, and then the decorations will be perfect!" Saphirie answered as she stretched to reach the nail she was hanging her favorite flower blossom banner on.
Goodness, is there anything I can't just do on my own for a change?! She's always there, just waiting for an opportunity to put me down, and take charge of everything. That's seems to be the big sister thing to do, I suppose. This, however, she has no control over; I'm in charge of the decorations this year! And I refuse to let my Miss Perfect sister push me around to get her way! The decorations will be so spectacular, she will be forced to admit I can do something on my own.
It was that time of year, when the trees begin to bloom beautiful blossoms. Pets awaken from their months of slumber, and everything comes forth with a new life in them. That feeling of newness and of a fresh beginning had struck the citizens of Shenkuu with such passion that they decided to create an entire ceremony to celebrate the occasion.
First they had to come up with a name for it. The group of pets pondered its title by taking note of all that would be symbolized in the celebration. They deliberated on all sorts of names, from names such as "The Revitalizing Ceremony", which some thought sounded like a celebration of grooming products, to names like "A Celebration of All Things Refreshing, Beautifully Spectacular, and Purely Awesome", which were thought to be too long. After a few days of discussing and saying various names over and over to see if they flowed well, they finally found what they were looking for. By a unanimous vote, they decided to call it "The Annual Roseatte Celebration". Why roseattes you might ask? They are a sweet succulent berry that also had a divine rose scent. It represented both the beautiful flowers that began to bloom and the delicious fruits that would begin to grow, two of the most anticipated parts of the coming events.
Now that they had their name, they decided to plan various events that soon became traditions for it. The group of pets, no one remembers names for sure since they didn't want any credit, decided to plan various games, poetry readings, firework shows, and the biggest event of all, the Roseatte Waterfall Parade. Those few who were chosen would ride down the small river with gently sloping waterfalls in a handcrafted boat. This event was the one most looked forward to, since those who rode in it had a breathtaking view of all nature had to offer. Roseattes would begin to grow all around them, filling the air with its lovely rose aroma, and it had a great view of all the blossoms in the trees.
Tomorrow was the Roseatte Celebration, and both Saphirie and Emerelda were chosen to ride in the boat, along with their longtime fire Kougra friend, Amberosia. The two sisters were hurriedly finishing their decorations before heading to bed, so they could be well rested for their big day.
Emerelda sighed as she admonished, "I'm only asking because I know you're just gonna push yourself until something goes wrong. That's how you always are. You never know when to stop until you do something you'll end up regret-"
Just then, the desert Gelert started to tumble down from her stack of various books, toys, and whatever else she managed to find in her room. Adding on to the slight physical pain she felt, the pile of items began to fall all around her, giving her more mental grief of having to clean it all up.
Emerelda sighed once again as she gently took the banner from Saphirie's paws and began to fly up to where it would be placed, much to Saphirie's dismay, and set it in the perfect spot.
"All finished!" the speckled Draik said with approval.
Saphirie thought while annoyed, Yeah, and all the credit goes to you, at least in your mind.
With all the work finished, and wishing to get out of there, the desert Gelert yawned and headed out of the room. "Time to go to sleep, can't be tired for tomorrow. Goodnight."
"Oh, goodnight, Saph-" She stopped as her sister slammed her room door.
The two sisters then headed off to bed, unknowing what life-changing adventure would befall them the following day.
"Hurry up, Saphirie, the Parade is going to start soon! And they told us to be there early!" said Emerelda impatiently as she pushed her way through the crowd.
"I'm coming, I'm coming. It's not my fault you took twenty minutes to polish your claws!" answered Saphirie with anger in her voice as she ran to keep up with her sister, who practically was flying by how fast she was moving.
Of course, anything imperfect is always my fault! You've always been the perfect pet, showing me up in everything in our owner's eyes.
The sisters reached the waterfall about five minutes before it began. They met up with Amberosia, and began to one by one get into the boat.
"This is so exciting! I've never been in a boat before, especially one like this!" gushed their Kougra friend.
"Me neither! I can't wait for the Parade to start!" said Emerelda with a squeal, "Saphirie, aren't you excited?"
"Sure am!" the desert Gelert said with a forced enthusiasm. It wasn't that she didn't want to go on the ride, it had always been a dream of hers, but after all the incidents with her sister, she was getting pretty fed up with it all. There's only so much one can take before they crack.
It was time for the Parade to begin, and a red Gnorbu came up on a little stage with a microphone and everyone in the crowd hushed into silence.
"It's nice to see you all today, hope you are enjoying all of the festivities! Now it's time for everyone's favorite event, The Roseatte Waterfall Parade!"
The crowd cheered and waved their banners frantically and various foods they were holding in excitement.
The red Gnorbu walked over to the boat and cut the ribbon securing it on land, and the three friends looked at each other with huge grins on their faces as they began to sail away from the stage and took in all the scenery that nature was offering them. They heard the experience was unforgettable, and that was an understatement compared to what they felt. The water was a rich blue color and was sparkling, the roseatte trees were hanging over them and Amberosia even picked a few blossoms for them. Best of all, the sunset was at that perfect time when the sky turns into different beautiful shades of oranges, pinks and blues.
None of them spoke a word as they continued to float by, the trio wanted to take it all in and enjoy all their sense were taking in. The gentle sounds of water at the upcoming waterfall, the scent of roses, the beautiful sunset, the cool water on their fingertips as they brushed their hands through the river. Everything was absolutely perfect; even Saphirie forgot what she was frustrated about before.
As they approached the upcoming waterfall, they anxiously awaited the drop, and wished the boat would go faster, and it almost seemed like it was. Their wish was the river's command it seemed, because it flowed even faster. As it went faster, and faster, the three had to hold on to the boat tightly to keep from going overboard.
"What's happening?" Emerelda yelled, panicking, as the sound of the water was growing louder and louder.
Everything was going so fast, they couldn't see the crowd, the trees were disappearing from view, and the sun seemed to quickly fade into darkness. All of a sudden, the three friends, afraid for their lives, dropped off the top of the waterfall and disappeared into the misty waters.
With a giant splash, the boat of neopets crashed into the water below and the three were separated from each other by the impact. It was still dark outside, making it even more difficult to find land or any sort of way to stay above water.
After finally opening her eyes after closing them in fear, Saphirie found herself underwater and the boat, or at least the boat's remains, slowly floating away on the surface. Running out of air and racing to reach the only way to stay above water, she kicked her legs as hard as she to try and swim above the surface. But it was no use; the pressure of the cascading waters were far too strong to push up against. Thinking quickly, the Gelert decided to stay towards the bottom of the river and swim away from the waterfall so that the pressure would be lighter.
Finally after what seemed like forever, she finally emerged gasping for air. A wave of relief came over Saphirie as she saw a large wooden plank floating nearby. But that relief left as quickly as it came when she thought, But where are Emerelda and Amberosia?
Grabbing onto the former boat, the frantic Gelert quickly headed back toward the rushing water in search of her companions. Hanging onto the rocky wall surrounding the waterfall, Saphirie braced herself and felt along its surface to make sure she searched everywhere. She approached the waterfall carefully to search behind it, and as she did, her shoulders brushed along a sharp corner. It wasn't just one little corner, but as if an entire ledge was there. When she turned around, there was an entrance to a cave there. Normally that would seem a bit typical for a story, but the thing was, she used to swim in this river all the time. She, Emerelda, and Amberosia would play tag and would go right behind the waterfall to rest and cool down by its mist. But seeing as everything else around her was changing, discovering a cave didn't exactly come as a huge surprise.
As she entered the cave, she looked back outside for one last look to see if she saw her friends. Instead as she looked at the waterfall, she could see that outside it looked as everything did earlier before she got on the boat. The sunset was still there, she saw some distant roseatte trees still around the waters, it was as if nothing had happened.
"How could that be possible?" the Gelert wondered aloud. She hurried back to the entrance of the cave and peered out the side of it, where the water didn't fall. Outside it was still as dark as it was when she was out there a minute ago. Looking once again at the waterfall, it appeared bright outside. Looking at her hands and shoes, Saphirie tested to see if she had come down with Blurry Vision, but she saw them with clarity.
Considering her options were to stare at the strange waterfall and do nothing or explore the cave to see what she could find, she chose the latter. Who knows? Maybe Emerelda and Amberosia came down here assuming I was in here too.
With hope for the safety of her friends, she headed into the mysterious cave.
As the desert Gelert continued into the cavern, the sound of the waterfall began to fade away and was replaced by silence. It was the type of silence you could only experience by secluding yourself from any sort of civilization.
She began to run through the cave, making sure she didn't trip over any rocks, which was a bit challenging with the dim light that illuminated the cave.
Come to think of it, how am I able to still see in here? There's no lights, and nothing can shine through the rocks, it's too isolated from the outside. Not even a glowing petpet following me around! But whatever this is, I'll be glad for it, at least there's light-
But before she could even complete her thought, she heard a faint click and the entire cave floor collapsed beneath her. Saphirie looked down as she began to fall and saw nothing but darkness. And as she landed, her mind also went dark as she lost consciousness.
To be continued...