No Height, No Weight, No Problem: Part Six
As usual, three young Peophins, a baby Uni, four eager Petpets, and an owner who adored each and every one of them gathered together to read from Peopeo447's journal. They were aware that tonight would be the last chapter and they didn't want it to end. For the first time, Jewels, the baby Uni, picked up the journal and slowly began to read aloud.
1st day in the month Awakening
We got a new Neomail from Fae today and I thought my cousins would like to know what she wrote so I swam over to their Neohome. They live in Maraqua too.
Splash opened the outside door for me and I floated on in. He activated the pump and removed the water that had rushed inside. Then he opened the securely locked, watertight inside door and in we went.
"Hey!" exclaimed Jewels. "Peo's writing about us!"
"That's right. You're reading beautifully. Keep going so that we can hear what he has to say about us," their owner encouraged kindly.
It was early evening. The first star hadn't appeared in the sky yet. Ruach was curled up on the sunset coral armchair in the living room, sipping jasmine tea and reading The Peophin That Couldn't Swim. Her lovely starry blue tail swished back and forth contentedly. Gala was in the schoolroom showing Jewels how to make a paper mache Faerie with a jar of paste, wire, and old copies of the Neopian Times torn into long strips. The baby Uni was enchanted to have her sister's undivided attention. Their owner, my Aunt Kitty, was enjoying a bubble bath, delighted that all was quiet.
Jewels put the lid back on the paste and Gala wrapped a damp towel around their nearly completed masterpiece. Then both went into the kitchen to wash paper and paste off their hands before they went to the living room to greet me. My Aunt came in with a towel wrapped around her wet hair. I live within swimming distance, but don't come visit as often as I should.
Aunt Kitty plopped herself down on their comfortable yellow sofa and absentmindedly rubbed her hand on her towel. Ruach remained on her chair, but Splash and his other two sisters gently elbowed each other for space on the red-colored floor as close to me as possible. It's nice to be liked!
"You all know that Fae has a tiny room in the Soup Faerie's small, vine-covered cottage in Neopia Central's marketplace," I remarked. "She wrote that the cottage is quaint and smells wonderful. It's filled with all manner of herbs and spices and secret ingredients known only to the kind Faerie that tends to poor Neopet's hungry tummies. The Soup Faerie begins preparing breakfast every day before dawn. Fae isn't permitted to do any of the cooking; her job begins after meals are ready. Each Neopet presents his plate or bowl and Fae helps the Soup Faerie ladle sufficient food onto it. No one goes away without Fae's words of encouragement.
"Times may be hard now," Fae might murmur, "but things will get better soon. Try playing Fashion Fever. You can get 1,000 Neopoints easily."
Sometimes she'll say, "Don't be discouraged. If your family is still hungry, take them to Tyrannia for a free omelette. No one should go to bed hungry." Then, after a pause, she might call after them, "After Tyrannia, why don't you play Fashion Fever and earn lots of Neopoints!"
Fae makes sure that no one leaves without a hot meal and some helpful advice given compassionately, not condescendingly.
Between meals, Fae spends time at the Pound. She goes from cage to cage and listens to as many Neopets as she can tell their tales of abandonment and illness. She tries to cheer each up and never lets any of them see how sad she feels that she can't do more to help. When Dr. Death isn't around, she sings for them. Her melodious voice always transports them to a happier place, if only for a little while.
Fae makes sure to visit at least a dozen shops every day. She's constructed large turquoise signs with bright red lettering that say, "FAERIES SHOULD BE FREE, NOT BOUGHT OR SOLD." She hopes that eventually the sale of Faeries will indeed become illegal. So far, there are at least two dozen shops in Neopia Central that have agreed to put up the sign in their front window.
Our Faerie Fae has made a lot of friends and more than one enemy. She's eluded capture more than once in the brief time she's been in Neopia Central, but that's a story for another time.
I was sorry I said that the minute the words came drifting out of my mouth!
"Tell us now," everyone urged and they were upset that I wouldn't. I just went on with my story, my way, and told them Fae was fine.
Rachna lives in Neopia Central too. Neopians are fascinated by the wing he wove for Fae. He's opened a gallery of his weavings and wall hangings. He also sells extremely strong fishing line. He supplies Maraqua's Underwater Fishing Cavern, you know. He won't admit it, but his reason for leaving the garden was to keep watch over our Fae and be there if she needs a wing repaired or replaced. It's in a wild Spyder's nature to bite any perceived enemy so he's wary, but careful. Customers are fascinated by him, but make sure they have Spyder containment potion on hand just in case. At night he sleeps outside the Soup Faerie's cottage. If Fae's window is open, he'll fall asleep on the ledge. That's how he foiled the kidnapping attempt I mentioned before. The Soup Faerie tolerates him, but has warned him that if he crawls up her cooking pot, she'll boil him alive and serve him on crackers.
Bronwyn is a serious martial arts student and the Techo Master is pleased with her dedication, though he doesn't let her know it. She's trying to understand the philosophy behind each movement she learns. Everything isn't just kicking and punching. She loves slow, graceful movements that flow into one another best, but occasionally she'll master something fairly lethal. More than one student opponent has refused to spar with her.
"It's unnatural and unfair fighting with a ghost. Did you see how she flew at me?" a young Xweetok complained to the Techo Master.
"Yes," he answered and neither said nor did anything more in regard to that issue.
When Bronwyn isn't at the Training School, she's either at the Trading Post trying to convince customers not to put up bottled Faeries for trade or at the Harbour or Beach watching to see if Faeries are being smuggled into the Island. She's asked the Island Mystic for advice, but all he's offered so far is: "You will carelessly lose all your Neopoints on your way to the Hidden Tower."
Quite often, she passes by the Deserted Tomb in the Lost City of Geraptiku to visit Zak and make sure all is well, but she'll only stay a little while.
She sleeps underneath the song flowers in Aunt Kitty's classic garden at night. She won't admit it, but I think she misses Fae and all of us something dreadful.
As for us, Phan and Ally have been practicing their clothing design and construction skills. They've been making Fae and Bronwyn all sorts of outfits. Mama continues to home-school us, but in her heart she wishes a public school system would finally be inaugurated in Neopia.
"Everyone wants that!" interjected Jewels forcefully.
"It would be so wonderful," Ruach said dreamily. "I could study science and math and Gala could study art and writing."
"Jewels could study how not to be such a baby," Splash mumbled to himself.
"And Splash could study manners," Jewels said sweetly.
Their owner gave her a "Let's Finish" look and Jewels answered softly, "Sorry," then began to read again.
Aunt Kitty asked me what I wanted for myself in the future. I told her that I've been thinking about that a lot. I told her that there are lots of caves in Neopia and tunnels and caverns and passageways. I bet Faerie poachers know all about them and use them to transport their illegal cargo and distribute them to shop owners who see only Neopoints and living merchandise. I haven't discussed this with my sisters or brother and certainly not my owner, but I want to close down every business that deals in Faeries. I want to enlist an army dedicated to eradicating poachers and thieves and pirates who traffic in Faeries. I want everyone in Neopia to stand firm against the purchase of Faeries in shops, at auctions, in trades, everywhere. Oh, and I want to write a book and have Galadriel illustrate it."
At that, Gala blushed and flashed a warm smile. "That's my favorite part of the journal," she said happily.
Then we talked and joked and played until way past our bedtime. Aunt Kitty neo-mailed Mama to let her know I'd been sleeping over. By midnight, everyone was sound asleep, including this adventurous Ghost Peophin who has no height, no weight, and no problems at all.
Inside the Hidden Tower, Queen Fyora was in deep discussion with her guest. He'd never received an invitation from someone so important, but then again, he hadn't needed to.
Was he a legend, a myth? Was he malevolent? Did he seek vengeance? Surely there must be some good in this restless spirit or the Faerie Queen wouldn't have considered bringing him into her castle.
"The three are quite extraordinary," Fyora stated as fact. "Young, yes, but worthy of nurturing."
The Ghost Lupe fixed his gaze on her rose-violet colored eyes. She likewise stared at this spectre of what once was a heroic knight.
"The Neopet is a ghost and yet he is not, though what he is I cannot fathom," the Lupe admitted. "He has powers he knows not. I may not be able to channel them."
"The other two are most unique as well. They are of my world, but have powers not seen in my days."
"Have you a plan, madam?" the Ghost Lupe asked.
"For now, let us watch them from afar."
Queen Fyora motioned to the ethereal being in the shape of a wolf to follow her. She led him down a circular hall. Its rock walls were etched with symbols he couldn't decipher. Reaching into her gown, she extracted a tiny golden key and inserted it into a seamless box she took from the middle drawer of curved rosewood table in the far corner of the tower. The queen gently opened the lid and beckoned the Lupe to look inside. It was empty.
"This object has powers of its own," the Faerie informed the Ghost. She spoke a few words in the ancient language of the fae and from the box emerged a ball, small in stature and crystal in form.
Queen Fyora passed her hand over the globe and recited a brief incantation. Then she spoke the name, species, and location of the one she sought:
"Peopeo447, Ghost Peophin, Maraqua."
Reflected in the crystal was the image of a Peophin sleeping soundly on a yellow carpet in a worn sleeping bag.
The Faerie Queen closed her eyes and chanted, "Bronwyn, Faerie Ghost, Mystery Island."
Bronwyn appeared in the glass ball lying peacefully on her back beside a bed of song flowers.
"Fae, Compassion Faerie, Neopia Central."
They saw the image of an exquisite Faerie sleeping soundly under the watchful gaze of a wild Spyder.
The Ghost Lupe was in the presence of a practitioner of powerful magic. "I bow to your skill, Madam. I shall watch over this young ghost and when it is time, teach him all that I can."
Queen Fyora bent her head in acknowledgment. "I shall do the same with our Faerie of the material world and our Faerie of the spirit realm."
She then spoke several more words to the crystal object. She enunciated each word again clearly and slowly and beckoned the Lupe to repeat what he heard.
"You must remember each word," she warned the Lupe. "Take the ball from my hands if you can. It is more precious than any treasure."
The Ghost Lupe reached out his paws and cradled the object Queen Fyora was holding. He closed his eyes and repeated the words exactly as he had heard them from the Faerie Queen. A spectral bond was formed and the crystal ball remained aloft.
Fyora nodded regally.
Queen Fyora brought the small, intricately carved chest to where the ball sat in mid-air. The ball floated to its home and lowered itself inside. The Faerie Queen then closed and locked the box. She presented it and the golden key to the Ghost Lupe. "I give you a great gift, sir. It will now respond to your touch and voice. I have its sister locked away for my own use."
The Queen started to walk away, then turned and said, "We shall meet again when time is of the essence."
She watched the Ghost Lupe bow to her, dissolve into fog, and disappear with the gift she had bestowed upon him. To herself she whispered, "There is powerful magic in him as well. I hope I will not regret this meeting."