Magic in the Mist: A Lesson Learned
"WE'RE MOVING???” gasped a certain distraught-looking White Lupe from where he stood at the door of his Neohome.
“I don’t see what’s the big deal, Seiran,” grunted a Desert Hissi, a long-staffed fan in her hand. A mystical-looking blue aura surrounded her and various floating furniture pieces that drifted about the bamboo-walled room. It was quite apparent that she was in the middle of packing. “We’re just moving down the mountain.”
The family lived on the side of one of the Shenkuu Mountains in a simple Neohome. Cyra, their owner (although she told them to never call her that), had been saving Neopoints to move to a more ‘suitable’ location down the mountain. Judging by how she earned Neopoints in playing games, Seiran had always assumed that it’d probably never happen. A strange anger bubbled, and he tried his best to force it down. That was unusual. He normally didn’t lose his temper. Seiran didn’t think that he was altogether successful.
“Even the house has been built. On top of water too, I hear!” called a Robot Cybunny by the name of Vwem. She carried a stack of boxes in her arms, all with her name written neatly in large letters on their sides. “Apparently Cyra wanted it to be a surprise.”
“But nobody lives there!”
“Don’t we all know that,” retorted Verity the Hissi. She waved her fan and large bags of clear plastic proceeded to wrap around the furniture, to protect it from mud and possibly rain. They flew out of the house as soon as they were done to settle gently on the pavement outside. “At least it’s quieter down in the mists. I’ve had quite enough of the family next door, with loud parties day in and day out.”
“They do have quite a few Neopets,” said Vwem reasonably, padding out through the door.
Verity snorted. “That’s no reason to sing karaoke until two in the morning.”
Seiran ducked as a large, empty cabinet sailed past his head. Deciding that standing near the doorway was probably dangerous and hazardous to his well being, he retreated to stand beside some open boxes next to the fireplace. Weapons of all kinds stuck out of them, and he could recognize his swords among them.
“What are you standing there for?”
The White Lupe glanced up, only to look into the fierce eyes of his eldest sister, a Maraquan Eyrie named Cyprus. Due to a gift a water faerie had given her when she did a favour for the faerie two years ago, Cyprus could control water to a limited degree. This allowed her to appear on land instead of lurking about in the sea all the time, for all she had to do was to summon a floating bowl of water to swim in. She was in her bowl of water now, instinctively controlling the water so as to not wet the boxes as she moved near them. The Eyrie shooed him away from the weapons, then bent to pick up one of the boxes.
“Where were you, anyway?” she asked as she straightened up. Her head tilted to one side as a poker whistled past her ear, only to hit the wall and drop straight into another open box. Behind her, someone that sounded like Ryuki yelled, “Score!”
“Well, since you disappeared so early, we’ve already sorted out your room. Your stuff was packed into those black boxes over by the umbrella stand. Why don’t you give your room a last check, in case we missed anything?” She whisked away before Seiran could say anything else. The Maraquan Eyrie appeared to be heading for a certain Christmas Uni (named Ryuki, by the way), who disappeared into the kitchen once he saw the victim of his poker attack approaching.
Seiran decided to heed her advice before she took a sword to him, so he dodged a pair of flying socks and edged past a sleeping Hydruplit in a wooden basket engraved with the words ‘Bakuya’ to make it into his room.
It looked nothing like it did when he left it that morning. The usually purple walls were now a dull white, as though somebody had sent the wallpaper packing. The curtains around his two windows had been neatly folded away, and his wardrobe and shelves of snowglobes (he collected those) were bare. Boxes and bags littered the floor. His bed was gone, though. Seiran imagined it flying out of the room under the guidance of the wind sorceress, Verity, then dismissed the image. So were the shelves and wardrobe, he saw now that he had moved those precariously tall stacks of boxes away. A sudden movement caught his eye.
“Misty! Get down from there!” The words were directed to a frisky Juma snarling at a crystal ball from atop a large box that could have housed the family refrigerator. The Juma ignored him pointedly and pounced. Seiran knew that he shouldn’t have stopped those Petpet obedience lessons.
The crystal ball (most likely Verity’s. How it got into his room was a mystery to him) fell down. If Seiran’s head had not been its way, it would have most likely fallen onto the ground and shattered into a million pieces. At it was, it collided with the cranium of the Lupe and bounced off to land into a box of clothes. Rubbing his head and grumbling, the victim of the crystal ball picked up Misty the Juma and set him on his basket, where it was less possible that the Petpet could somehow cause another wound to be inflicted upon him.
After a brief check around the room, he deduced that indeed, everything had been packed mostly messily into boxes and bags of all sizes. However, as he was rummaging through the huge box that contained his precious collection of snowglobes, he found that the bottom was strangely wet, and several ornaments and glass shards were scattered about. It didn’t that a genius to figure out what had happened.
Counting, he found that one of his massive collection was missing. Thankfully, it wasn’t a terribly expensive one, so he should be able to pick up another one in Terror Mountain the next time he visited there.
Seiran jumped as the door slammed behind him. Turning, he spotted his good brother Ryuki panting heavily with his back to the door. Strangely enough, but not too much, a pair of mechanical hands that he appeared to have invented himself covered his wings. Between those hands were a snowglobe identical to the one he had lost.
“It’s for you,” he explained between breaths, seeing the Lupe’s surprised gaze. “I, uh, accidentally broke it when that pesky Juma of yours-” He glared nastily at the ball of fur curled up in the comfortable basket- “jumped at me while I was keeping your things. I hope you’re not very angry at me.”
“That’s alright.” Seiran took the snowglobe with a knowing smile. “You didn’t have to, actually. It only costs about 23 neopoints.”
An expression of dismay and annoyance crossed the Uni’s face. “23 neopoints! That shopkeeper totally ripped me off! When I-” His words broke of as the door bent under the onslaught of an apparently furious Maraquan Eyrie yelling for Ryuki’s blood. The Uni paled considerably.
“Got to run. Don’t tell Cyprus anything, okay?” He then proceeded to leap out of the window, leaving an amused White Lupe staring after the open window.
Seiran heaved the final box into the sunshine. It was about four in the afternoon, and the Neohome was more or less cleared. He wiped the sweat out of his eyes as he scanned the sky.
It wasn’t long before a shadow appeared above. It appeared to be a chariot. A loud whoop rang through the air as the driver looped the loop around a cloud before descending. Seiran barely flinched as the chariot skidded to a stop just millimeters from his nose.
The chariot was closed at the back, and appeared rather spacious inside. The body glowed gold in the sun, and luxurious velvet blue seats were built in facing the front. Strangely, the chariot’s wheels blazed flames, which went well with the flaming Vaeolus that pulled the chariot. The Vaeolus appeared to have swallowed a dose of Kayla’s Turtum Enlargement Potion, for the Petpet was the size of a Uni. A rather large one at that. Holding the reins of the Vaeolus was an even stranger sight: a Baby Bori. She grinned at them and saluted. “Are these the last boxes? Pepper here will probably appreciate a good nap after all that furniture.” She petted the Vaeolus affectionately, who tossed his head.
Seiran smiled. Aena was the youngest in their family, and also a Messenger. She carried mail and packages all day around Shenkuu. The Baby Bori had taken a day off to help with the moving by carrying their belongings to their new home.
“So...” he asked as casually as he could manage while loading the boxes in to the chariot. “What does the new house look like?” Despite all his annoyance aimed at the move, there was still some curiosity left in him.
The Bori chuckled, amused. “You’ll see,” she said mysteriously.
“Aena!” called out someone from behind. Seiran didn’t need to turn to tell that it was Ryuki. The Christmas Uni ran past Seiran and leapt straight into the chariot. “Excellent timing! Let’s go.”
“Alright! Blazes, Pepper! Is that an Aboogala in your beak?”
The Vaeolus shook his mane in a most casual way and broke into a run with the chariot behind him. The flapping from his wings soon stirred the wind, and they soared into the blue sky, with Aena trying to coax him to spit out the Petpetpet all the way. From behind Seiran, Cyprus yelled at Ryuki as she skidded into a stop.
Seiran left the Maraquan Eyrie roaring curses after the Uni to survey the Neohome. It was a plain looking house, no different than all the other houses around. Yet as he took a final walk around it, he could see the scars on the wall from all the things it had suffered through during their occupation. A slightly different shade of crimson, black and gold marked the place where the wall had been rebuilt and repainted after Ryuki demolished the kitchen with a tub of mayonnaise and a clock. Then there were the remains of soot left over from Aena’s first flaming chariot. It had crashed into the wall when Pepper had decided to go and chase a Lightmite. And that leaky pipe under the edge of the roof, the one that resisted repair no matter how hard Vwem tried. The house held a lifetime of memories for him, memories that he did not want to forget. This was his home from the very beginning. Why should he give it up, and let someone else into the house?
Footsteps sounded lightly behind him, and he turned. A young girl approached, her hair the colour of obsidian, tied into a ponytail. Her dark eyes behind oval spectacles ran over the pipe, then fixed on him.
“Are you ready to leave?”
The Lupe shook his head, his throat too clogged up to speak.
The girl shrugged. “We need to get to the new Neohome before high tide comes. Cyprus can come by herself later.” She started down the mountainside, not noticing how Seiran stiffened at the word ‘new’.
The Lupe paused to think. He could always say no, and sit there stubbornly until Cyra came to her senses. But he didn’t want to try her patience. For all her good nature, she had quite a bit of a temper. So he followed, jogging to catch up with her.
When he finally trusted his voice enough to speak, he said, “I don’t understand why we have to move.”
Cyra didn’t reply. Seiran gave her a mile before he posed the question again. Yet as he opened his mouth to speak, she interrupted, “Wait.”
Seiran closed his mouth, and waited.
They crossed several rivers, and then became shrouded in the mist. Seiran had to keep close to Cyra in order not to get lost. It was remarkable how she knew the way.
“I had no choice.”
Seiran had not been expecting an answer, so words did not come to his tongue for the moment. When he found them again, it was with rage imbedded in them that he spoke.
“No choice? How do you call moving away no choice? No choice to leave the house that you bought, no choice to do what you had every ability to prevent? How can you....”
She let him rant on until he was hoarse, and had to stop. When that happened, Cyra took the opportunity to cut in.
“Remember when we voted several months back, on whether or not we were to move.”
Seiran felt horror driven into him. He had forgotten. The weight of her words crashed onto him, and he tripped over a most annoying branch during his moment of dreadful realisation.
“You voted to stay, didn’t you? Yet you were the only one.”
“You never gave us a warning. I thought you had forgotten,” he said weakly.
“You hoped I had forgotten.” Cyra did not turn back to look at him. “I cannot go against the wishes of my family.”
“But I’m your family as well.” Even while saying that, he knew that he had no chance of winning the argument. All he could do was keep his pride.
“I know. But before anything else, tell me why do you hate moving so much?”
Seiran thought back. “The place holds a lot of memories for me. Why wouldn’t I want to stay?”
The girl in front sighed. The slope started to flatten out. They must be close to the mountain base. “I hoped you wouldn’t say that.”
His brow furrowed as Seiran felt annoyance building up. Was she planning to drive him around in circles. “What do you mean?”
“You cling to things too much, even those which, to the logical mind, are pretty much not worth it to cling to. You need to learn how to let things go. If you keep on looking back, how would you know what wonders lie ahead?”
“You’re telling me to dismiss years of my life. How can I not protest?”
The scent of salt breeze touched his nose. “Then why are you telling me this? I don’t understand.”
Cyra stopped so abruptly that Seiran nearly ran into her. It was then she turned to face him. “It’s something that everyone has to learn in life. Every goodbye eventually brings about another hello. You will find many things waiting for you ahead. Just let go of the past, for it no longer concerns you. What can be affected is your tomorrow.”
He could feel his temper rising again, heat that he had tried to squash down before. But some part of his mind had absorbed what Cyra said, and slowly, the heat dissipated, leaving a weary White Lupe behind. The girl nodded.
“Well done. Now, I have something to tell you. I didn’t sell the house.”
Seiran blinked. “What?”
“I didn’t sell the house. Do you need your ears checked?”
“No.... no, I didn’t mean that.” In spite of himself, he found a grin spreading across his face. “It’s just that... wow. I didn’t expect it. I thought you had sold it.”
Cyra smiled. “I never said that I would. Really, a person is quite allowed to have more than one Neohome. Anyway, our new one is a bit disconnected from the rest of Neopia. The house up there would make a nice holiday home. Or a detention dungeon.”
“But.... all the furniture...”
“I’ll buy new ones,” she said airily. “I’ve only wanted you to learn how it feels to be a carpet before I told you.”
“You’re most welcome.”
Part of the mist cleared, and Seiran found that they were close to the sea’s edge. A most curious bridge of stone seemed to have been raised, forming a long walkway that stretched out endlessly into the ocean. The end was nowhere in sight.
“Privacy,” said Cyra as Seiran arched an eyebrow. She extended her hand in invitation. “Are you ready to leave?”
Seiran smiled. This was a second chance, and he knew Cyra rarely gave those.
“Count on it.”