A Tale of Two Unis: Part Two
I fumed, shaking with rage in my cottage. How dare she! She had taken away every opportunity for luxury in my life, and then she demands to come into my house? I certainly showed her. We may be related, but she's no sister of mine!
It was getting late. I wouldn't have my magic again for half a year after this day - it would return at the Autumn Equinox. I thought about chasing down that prissy Princess Oeur, who wasn't far yet. It was well-known that she could only do magic at the Summer and Winter Solstice. I would have a huge advantage and could really show her.
But I decided against it. I didn't want to get in trouble, and, as Oeur was a Princess...
But I should be one.
I stormed off to my tiny bedroom and lay there, awake. I could feel magic tingling in my hooves and couldn't believe I wasn't spending my time using it. Glumly, I waved my hoof. A glass of water appeared in it, and I took a long sip. I peered out the window and saw the Royalgirl Uni just sitting there. My sister, Oeur, just sitting there in the pile of mud I used magic to throw her into. I wanted to snicker, but she looked rather surprised and a bit scared, and some good part of me just told me not to do it. Her blue eyes met mine, and then she slowly stood up and trotted along back to her palace.
It was late in the evening now. I decided to go to sleep.
Hours later, I sat up in bed, waking very suddenly. I glanced at the clock. It was 11:50. I knew from my reading that the magic of the royal family of Opalia - the one I had recently discovered I was part of - alerts you when there's danger. Was this an alert?
I looked out my window and saw the clouds of Faerieland. They were very dark and were rapidly plummeting. The sky was filled with the smoky masses, falling at an extreme rate downwards. I screamed and ran out of my house.
The magic in me allowed me to fly far faster and stronger than Unis usually can, and I soared through the sky with purpose. It was only seven minutes until midnight now. I had to get myself out of the way!
I made it entirely out of the area of danger. Smiling to myself, I knew I was safe. But then my dark amber eyes viewed the village, where so many innocent neopets were sleeping, unaware that an entire land was about to fall on top of them.
I looked back at the beautiful palace where my sister lived. My sister. The one I wished never existed. If she disappeared, I knew that I would become the Princess.
It was such an easy decision to make.
I flew full-speed back toward the palace. The clouds were falling rapidly now, and the clock was ticking. Five minutes. I made it to the palace and ran through the gates. A guard tried to stop me, but I easily used my magic to get him out of the way. The magic of the royal family, though it came only twice a year, was far more powerful than the full-time magic of local sorcerers. I raced inside the building and looked desperately for Oeur. I spotted a Pink Eyrie in bed nearby.
I shook her awake.
"Where's Oeur?" I demanded.
"What?" she sputtered.
"Show me Oeur!" I cried. "Or else her life is in jeopardy!"
The Pink Eyrie looked uncertain, but she slowly got out of bed.
"You've got to hurry!" I shouted.
She flew very fast up to the highest room of the palace. She unlocked the door and woke Oeur. When Oeur saw me, she looked alarmed. She tried to hide herself behind her quilt again.
"I'm not here to argue! I'm here to save your life!" I said hurriedly. Oeur looked skeptical, but she did not say a thing. She simply put on her regal cloak and trotted over to me, gazing at my eyes as if trying to read my expression. I watched her impatiently.
Suddenly, I heard the terrible bangs of thunder and flashes of blindingly bright lightning. The ground seemed to shake beneath my hooves. "We've got to hurry!" I cried.
Oeur looked worried now. Her bright blue eyes widened as she struggled to stay standing. "What's happening?" she whispered quietly.
"I don't know, but we have to leave!" I shouted. I didn't understand why she wasn't moving. This was dangerous!
Oeur's lips trembled. She looked at Melanie, who was quivering by the window. "Melanie, what do you suggest?" she asked.
"Oeur!" I fumed. I suddenly understood what was happening. "You're a princess, and I get that you're used to being taken care of. But sometimes you have to act on your own! You have to get yourself to safety. I know you think that you are invincible, that nothing can hurt you, but you're wrong, Oeur! Believe me!"
I noticed a change immediately. Oeur tensed, then she bolted towards the window. Melanie noticed her coming, squealed, and ran out of her way. I galloped after my sister. I expected her to try to jump out the window, which seemed like a bad idea because of her lack of magic and the fact she was on the highest floor. However, when I got there, she was still inside. Her head was out the window and she was gazing frantically from side to side.
"What are you doing?" I asked loudly.
"Saving my people!" Oeur wailed. "They're oblivious to this danger - they're all sleeping! They won't know until... until..."
"Oeur, who's more important: you, or them?" I asked, frustrated. Oeur turned to face me. She looked me straight in the eye, her deep blue ones meeting my dark maroon. An understanding passed between us. I somehow got what she was going to say before she spoke.
"Equinare," she said quietly, "I know you have grown up alone. I know there has never been any family or friends to help you learn how to feel care towards others. But other people are important in life! Think about how I'd feel if the ones who always looked up to me and helped me... if I betrayed..."
I silenced her with an intent gaze. "I get it," I said in a small voice. As if to remind us of the urgency of the matter, the floor shook again, and another rumble came from the clouds. I glanced at a clock hanging on the wall. The black hands were in the position of 11:59. If we were going to make it out, there was no way we could bring the whole village.
"My magic will be gone in one minute," I gasped. Oeur's blue eyes widened. Melanie came staggering over to us.
"My Lady," she addressed Oeur, who looked as if she had forgotten she was there. "Save yourself. It's what your people want."
"No!" Oeur cried, tears spilling out of her eyes. She whipped around and stared directly at me. "Equinare," she said, "Save the village, please!"
Time was ticking away. The clouds were whooshing down quickly, and I knew the villagers must have been awoken by the loud noise. I closed my eyes and concentrated. I had never used my magic before in my life except for today. So many years of my life had gone by without me using any magic at all. I had read once in the book Magical Rumors that stored magic is more powerful than magic used every day. Still, something of this magnitude... it was highly improbable.
Oeur, weeping, gave me a hug. My eyes shot open. No one had ever given me a hug before. No one had ever cared about me. I hadn't thought she of all people would be the one to give me one...
Happiness overwhelming me, I thought of Oeur's wish: to save the villagers. I wouldn't let her down. With confidence, I raised my hooves, closed my eyes, and began performing magic.
The seconds whizzed by. I opened my eyes in a state of absolute calmness and noticed that all of the villagers could be seen outside the window. They were screaming very loudly, but I couldn't blame them. It looked as though giant fog had enveloped each individual and was carrying them quickly to safety. Oeur and Melanie were among them.
The Uni was smiling, and tears made her blue eyes sparkle - but I knew that she was crying for joy. She saw her people going to safety, and she was following them.
It was almost as if Oeur had always wanted to be the one who followed rather than lead by the content look on her face.
The clouds were hurtling downwards with immense force. I knew there were seconds left. The clock struck midnight, and my magic left.
Suddenly, I realized a problem.
How was I going to get out?
Panicking now, I watched as the clouds slammed toward the ground, flattening everything in their way. I didn't know how long the building would hold, but was debating between one second and five.
Strangely, my spirits felt lighter than usual. I didn't understand why, seeing as clouds were racing towards me and I was doomed without my magic. For once, my heart was not filled with sorrow, with regret, with emptiness that I hoped could be filled with random facts from stories.
I had found family. I had found family who loved me. And I had helped her.
The roof was collapsing above me. I saw a grey smoky mass push it down, and the roofing material fell in pieces all around me. I instinctively covered my face with my hooves as it came crashing down, but I felt nothing touch me. I took a few breaths. Still nothing. Despite my feeling of uncertainty, I lowered my arms.
All around me was rubble. The pieces of the destroyed palace were surrounding me like an ocean. Above me were angry storm clouds, swirling around and puffing rapidly.
I looked at myself. My body was covered in a thin neon blue coat. I was confused- what was going on?
I don't know how long I was there. It felt like an hour or two at least. But I felt surprisingly calm the whole time. Soon, though, I realized I was running out of oxygen. It didn't feel good, but I did what I could to hold my breaths for longer periods of time. My magic wouldn't return until the Autumn Equinox, which would be in a long while.
I heard a sound to my right and my head turned. The large pile of rubble was there as it had been for quite some time. I noticed part of it fall and saw a paw scraping away at the pile. I gasped. Someone was there.
I said loudly, "Please! I'm in here! Help me!"
The paw paused for a second, then began digging more intensely than ever. The creature continued working until there was a small hole just big enough for them to lower their face and see through. I saw the face of a Purple Mynci through the hole. It was so close, and yet I couldn't move because I was stuck in the rubble. "Help," I whispered.
I heard the Mynci call out to others. It sounded like, "Aye! I found her!" There was a chorus of cheers, and soon many paws began working on the immense wall of waste. Finally, there was a hole big enough for someone to slip through. The pet was none other than Princess Oeur with a wide smile on her face.
"Sister!" she called out happily. I was glad to see her. She tried to give me a hug, but she bounced right off of the blue covering. She gave me a weak smile instead, which I returned. Swiftly, Oeur led me to the hole in the rubble, and I followed her diligently. I copied her movements and soon found myself out in the open. It was dark outside. "What time is it?" I asked Oeur.
"Around 3 am," she replied.
It was just light enough for me to faintly make out my surroundings, but I was too weary to do so. We kept trotting until I heard a large eruption of noise. I instantly became alert.
There was everyone in the village, clapping and waving to me and Oeur. Oeur took a step backward, and everyone continued their applause. I realized they were cheering for me.
The blue coating disappeared, and I noticed an entire group of magicians were panting and lowering their arms. Oeur stepped back to me and explained, "Oh, Equinare, I'm so glad you made it! As soon as we all arrived here on the outskirts of the kingdom, I had the most talented magicians focus their energy on creating a shield for you. Apparently their combined efforts were enough. They've been at it for a while, and I worried that they might soon tire."
I looked at Oeur. My sister. I had always been so angry at her, and yet now I felt nothing but happiness. I thought back to late last night, when I had so quickly decided to save her and risk not making it out of the danger myself. What had changed?
Oeur locked eyes with me. "I'm so sorry," she apologized sincerely. "I never even knew you existed. I've been a rotten sister to you- I should've found more out about my history. We could've lived together and helped each other, just like sisters should. You've done loads for me, even though you were the one our family abandoned. But what have I done for you? Absolutely nothing. I doubt you will ever forgive me, but I will try my hardest to make the most complete apology I can, and I mean every word."
I stared at her. Yesterday, I would have screamed in rage at her for even daring to apologize. But now I knew better.
"I accept your apology," I said to her, my eyes watering a bit. "I can't promise we'll get along perfectly, but I know that it's not your fault. You didn't do anything wrong. You were just born first. You shouldn't feel bad for that."
"Thank you," Oeur whispered. She laughed happily, and I did, too. "You shouldn't feel bad for being born second, either," she added. I realized that she was right. Why should the logic I applied to Oeur not also apply to me?
I turned my head and gasped. "Your kingdom..." I said, open-mouthed.
"I know," she said sadly.
Where the beauteous land of Opalia used to rest, there was now a crushed and weakened Faerieland. Everything Oeur owned was gone - her throne, her kingdom, her homeland.
"I'm so sorry," I said softly.
"You shouldn't be sorry!" Oeur said quickly. "You're the reason I'm alive! The reason that the town is alive!"
I looked over at all the villagers who were chatting amongst themselves. All seemed in high spirits. They didn't mind that their homeland was crushed since everyone had survived. I smiled. They seemed to have their priorities straight.
"Listen," Oeur said uneasily. "Apparently, about a week ago, the baby princess of Brightvale went missing."
"That's horrible," I said honestly. I could relate to the poor princess. I should have lived in royalty, but was abandoned from it. She, too, was taken away from the regal life she had been born into.
"I want to help her," Oeur told me earnestly. "She's only a baby. She needs to be found before it's too late. And, besides, with my kingdom gone, what am I going to do now?"
That was also true. I said nothing and simply waited.
"So," Oeur continued, "I'm going to try to find her. I was wondering if you might want to come with me." She sounded uncomfortable asking.
"Of course I will come," I said before I even contemplated it. I guess my pity for the lost princess was influencing me, or maybe it was because I wanted to make up lost time with my sister.
Oeur smiled. "Thanks!" she said happily. "And I want to give you a gift, Equinare."
"You don't have to-" I tried to say, but Oeur showed me a beautiful Faerie Feepit before I could finish.
I gasped. "She's so pretty!" I sputtered, soon afterward finding myself lost for words. I reached out my hooves, and Oeur gently placed the Feepit in my arms. I stared at the creature. She had light purple skin speckled with white and a bushy tail to match. Her fluffy ears were adorable, and she had a kind expression on her face. The Feepit's belly was the color of the petals of daisies. The two wings on her back were a pink-white hue. They looked delicate as spider webs and had the structure of intricate snowflakes.
"Thank you," I whispered, finding my voice at last.
"She used to be my petpet," Oeur said. "But I think she would much rather be with you. When we were trying to find you, she was very eager to locate you, you know. She was trying so hard to dig you out of the rubble, it impressed all of us."
"But what will your petpet be?" I asked.
Oeur showed me a small Harris. "She's just a baby," she explained. I looked at the Harris. She had a tan body with ears the shape of spades and a dark brown, oval nose. "She fell out of a tree, poor thing. I'll take care of her. I named her Chi-Chi."
"That's a nice name," I said, smiling. I looked at the Feepit in my hooves. "Does she have a name?" I asked.
"Yes," said Oeur, her attention turning back to my new petpet. "Her name is Crescent."
"Crescent," I repeated. Crescent fluttered happily next to me. I pet her head.
I turned towards Oeur. She was giving up so much for this quest, and I would accompany her.
"Let's save a baby princess," I said with determination. "Where to first?"
"Brightvale," Oeur suggested. "It's best that we gather information."
I set off trotting past the ruins, Oeur galloping by my side and Crescent flying right above me. For once I felt optimism flooding my heart. I was with my family at last.