The Bookshop Owner's Daughter
Also by princesspesa98
I nearly groaned. Leave it to Father to find something boring for me to do. I slowly lifted my head, not letting my gaze fall from the sky. It was so beautiful; I was surprised I’d never seen it like this before.
“Brynneth!” he hollered again, this time as a command. I stood up and ran back to the cottage, before he realized I had been outside. As I approached him, I said, “It’s just Brynn, Dad.” He looked at me impatiently.
“Very well, Brynn, but how can you explain this?” he said, gesturing at the messy table overloaded with books. By the look of his stern face, he was not impressed. “We have to put these books out for sale tomorrow, Brynneth. How else will we make neopoints?” he asked sharply. I sighed.
“I’ll get started right away, Father,” I said, staring glumly at the stacks of sky high books, wondering which century I’d be done in. I started sorting; it always seemed so complicated the first few times, but after a while, I could tell which numbers went where, and what colours went in order. But it was a tedious job, and I often let my mind wander.
My eyes started to stray from the shelf and out the window. There were some kids, maybe a year or two older than me, marching. They didn’t look like they were having much fun, but from inside a musty old book store window, it looked wonderful. I didn’t really know what I was thinking, but I went outside to get a better look at the guards in training.
Burning curiosity and shyness washed over me as I saw the emerald green clad kids. Mustering some courage, I asked, “Hello. I was just wondering, what is it like being a guard?” Some gave me odd looks, while some chortled.
“Are you seriously thinking about joining?” one said. “There hasn’t been a girl guard in decades. You’d be better just staying at home playing with you Usukis.” As he laughed, I could feel my face burning. I glared.
“Is that so? Well then, I’ll be the first,” I declared proudly. Many guards snickered.
“The poor book store owner’s daughter? You have more a chance than only a thief,” a yellow Lupe told me. I made no response, turning on my heels and heading back to the cottage in my fury. The most terrible thought had just struck my mind. Was he right?
“What do you mean no?!” I asked across the kitchen table. Father buttered his roll calmly, oblivious to my obvious distress.
“Who will take care of the book shop in my old age?” he asked. “Besides,” he added, “guards aren’t paid very much anyway.” He said it as if the matter was resolved. I gave him a furious look in response.
“I’d rather be a guard than being here the rest of my life!” I said before storming up the stairs, my dinner untouched.
I went upstairs and buried my head under my pillow. I didn’t cry; I just thought angrily. Truthfully, the last time I had cried was when Mum died. I pressed my ear against the door to hear my Father’s footsteps. It was already dusk, but if I made good time I would be a Brightvale guard!
I strolled down the cobblestone path to Brightvale. It looked as though the city didn’t slow at night. People bustled around more than ever, haggling at different stalls. I smiled. I could definitely get used to this! After a moment’s hesitation, I crossed the street to a building with a sign of the Brightvale crest and a key over it. I cautiously approached the yellow Garrl.
“Yes?” he asked, raising his eyebrows at me.
Before my legs decided to start shaking, I asked, “Do you have positions available in your guard program?”
He smiled kindly, although it seemed rather alarming by all of the gleaming teeth. “No girl would dare to try out for that,” he said.
I gave him a cold glare, like I did to that yellow Lupe earlier.
His eyebrows seemed to go higher up his forehead. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” I said stubbornly. He suddenly roared with laughter.
“Don’t judge, girl. I was just checking! Now, where are your parents? I need them to sign a few forms.” A wave of guilt washed over me. I glanced back at my home, trying not to think of my Father.
“He’s... busy,” I finally said. He looked mildly impressed.
“You came all by yourself at this time? Aren’t you afraid of the thieves and rogues that come out at this hour?”
I shook my head defiantly. “Of course not.”
“I hate to break this to you, but I can’t let you join until I see your parents.” I felt my heart fall with a thud. When he saw my reaction, he said, “I’ll make sure to save a place for you, girl.”
“It’s Brynn,” I said stiffly. “Thank you anyway,” I added quickly, trying not to seem ungrateful. I headed out the door to the dark streets.
“Look out for thieves!” he called on my way out.
The streets were empty now and seemed ghostly quiet. As I crept under the eerie lamp light, I couldn’t help but feel like I was being watched...
There was a faint rustle. I nearly jumped out of my fur, and took out the only thing in my pocket to defend myself; a... pencil? A voice snickered softly.
“So the pencil really is mightier than the sword. You’ll get in the Neopian Times for sure.” I looked around, my heart pounding, and mind spinning. Then the thought struck me.
“Are you a thief?” I asked carefully. The voice chortled again. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the shadows.
“You catch on quick. So what if I am?” he challenged. I pointed my pencil at where I thought the voice was coming from.
“I’d turn you in within a heartbeat,” I said, trying to sound angry. “If you’re really a thief, you wouldn’t be talking to a guard.”
At that, he bolted down the street. I caught a pair of glowing amber eyes, and then he was gone.
I came down the steps the next morning feeling fresh, but with a pit in my stomach. I tried not to meet my Father’s eyes, as he did with me. He must’ve been remembering our argument last night.
“Look, Brynn,” he said, finally looking up. “I’m sorry for what I said last night.” I looked up too, maybe a little hopeful. “It’s just...” he trailed off. He bit his lip as if he was in a battle with himself. He sighed and said, “Do you really want to become a guard?”
My mind felt like it was going faster than an Eyrie cab. “Yes...” I unbelievingly.
He smiled. “Would you like to go to town today and sign all of the forms then?”
I grinned and gave him a hug. “YESSSS!” I squealed. Father laughed, but then smiled a bit sadly.
“You remind me so much of your mother sometimes, Brynneth.”
I didn’t bother correcting him.
The yellow Grarrl grinned as I entered, but it didn’t seem so menacing anymore. “You’ll make a great guard, Brynn. I’ll be training you for a month or two, and then you can go on your first patrol,” he said once all the papers had been signed. I smiled back at him.
Maybe... my greatest adventure was just beginning.