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The Eternal Paint Brushes: Part One


by rider_galbatorix

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It is an ancient tale, a tale of a time that existed long before even Doctor Sloth had first set his evil glare on Neopia, before even the first faerie existed. It was a time of a different Neopia, a world much different from what it is today.

      It was a world without color. A world that was cast in nothing but white, until they came. The Eternal Paint Brushes. No one knows who made them or how they came; that knowledge is long lost from us. They were objects of the greatest beauty, painting the world and for the first time, bathing it in a myriad of colors. The leaves got their verdant hues of emerald, bark the shade of brown, clouds the shade of dirty gray. However, much more important was how these brushes affected the neopets. The brushes brought not only color, but joy and hope to the neopets.

      The Eternal Paint Brushes gave the neopets their colors, they made them Royal, Faerie, Halloween, Gold, Silver, and almost every other color imaginable. Later on, the neopets, unhappy at the prospect of having to live their entire lives with one color, invented new, lesser brushes that vanished once upon use.

      As for the Eternal Paint Brushes, they were slowly forgotten, and then, one day, they were locked away, and so their history almost faded from existence. Yet, they still exist somewhere, merely waiting for the time when someone will come and beckon for their use, for the Paint Brushes are everlasting, they can paint over a thousand pets and ten times more, and still be used.

      With such power, many will wonder why they are not sought, why is it that every treasure hunter within the land doesn't seek to find them, for fame and fortune, both will be there for anyone lucky enough to chance upon them. However, there is good reason that no one seeks them, for they are so old that they are the myths of legends, one would have to seek through a thousand records merely to read a line that tells even a single word that they may have existed, and few will believe, and even fewer will try to truly seek them, and none will find them, for they are hidden with the greatest care, safeguarded by magic that precedes Fyora and every single faerie alive.

      * * * *

      The way Sheldon walked was enough to turn heads and raise eyebrows. True, no one in the chaos and hustle and bustle in Neopia Central cared to even spare a glance, let alone a thought, to how the Split Lenny was walking. He walked with his head held high, with an aura that would fit a king, with an air as if he owned the entire place.

      However, no matter how he walked, it surely didn't change who he was. He was simply a recent graduate from Neopia Central Academy. Many of his friends were busy searching for jobs, but he was above such crude things, running around like an agitated petpetpet for work was definitely not for someone like him. He was special, and deep down he believed it. To the very core, he was sure that unparalleled greatness awaited him, that soon he would occupy a place among the very stars and heavens, looking down at these people who surrounded him from a place far above.

      His thoughts were interrupted by someone tugging on his coat sleeve. Sheldon looked down, annoyed at being interrupted during his train of thoughts. It was an Acara, who couldn't have been more than five years old, whose rags made Sheldon's most old and tattered clothes look like the finest silks in comparison.

      "Mister, could you spare something? I haven't had anything to eat in days," he said; the voice was slow and raspy. Immediately, Sheldon tugged his sleeve away from the boy.

      "Go away!" he shouted, anger and disgust dripping from his words. "I don't have time to waste with beggars like you! Go to the Money Tree if you want some charity, because I sure won't be giving you anything!" He turned around and continued walking, not even bothering once to look back at the child. As a matter of fact, in merely two minutes, he had quite forgotten about the incident and his thoughts turned to something else.

      When he had been at Neopia Central Academy, on a boring day when he was doing nothing but staring at the dusty volumes, his eye caught upon something. Something special, in a corner of the table where he was sitting, there was a scroll. Odd, that hadn't been there before. He looked around, no one; the library was deserted save for the librarian, who was currently busy restacking some books. Sheldon reached across the table for the scroll, and something fell out from the inside. It was a ring, a ring made up of a dark metal band and a single violet stone. He couldn't tell what it was made of, but it looked expensive. He put it on, and then opened the scroll.

      Sheldon was so lost in his memories that he almost bumped into an elderly Lupe, but stepped aside at the last moment, fingering the ring that he was still wearing on his left hand. He still had the scroll, but it was encrypted, it was written in a language that he had to spend months to decipher. It consisted of three sections, the first describing what the scroll called the Eternal Paint Brushes. That excited Sheldon, and he decoded the second part as well.

      It was then that he had decided that he had to have them, imagine what he might do with them once he found them. He could paint pets for a fee, become rich, and moreover, earn everlasting fame! The only problem was how to find them. The first two sections said that the brushes were hidden, but he had a feeling the third would give him their location.

      There was only one problem; the third section was encoded in some special language that he just couldn't decipher. He had been to the Neopian Library every day, spending hours among dusty volumes in an attempt to figure out what the lines said. Until now, he had failed, but he felt optimistic today. He entered the library, it was a large and majestic building, though notably not as good as the one in Brightvale. Sheldon set to work at once. Over the many weeks that he had tried, he had checked almost every book, and now, today, would be the last day of his search in this library. If he couldn't find anything, he would move on to some other library, most probably Brightvale. It was imperative that he succeeds as soon as possible, his funds were running a bit low, though, he thought for a moment, not so low that he couldn't have given something to that child.

      He shook his head, what was wrong with him? There was no need to think about such meaningless manners. He had work to do.

      The amazing thing was, he found it. He found it in a very old journal that described various ancient languages and ciphers, and quickly decoded the last part.

      What he read both excited and confused him. True, he now knew the location, but he had to figure out where it was on a modern map of Neopia. Taking an atlas from a nearby shelf, he set to work. He finger flipped over the pages, until he found out the location.

      The location was a problem. It was somewhere in Altador, though the brushes had obviously been hidden there long before King Altador had even been born. It was most likely that it had been in some chamber that was hidden, forgotten long ago. Sheldon took out another book; this one about Altador, and the best that he could ascertain was that it was hidden deep beneath Altador, in a chamber that was always locked. The problem would be opening it, he could take the keys, but according to the book, it would require a bit of King Altador to open. That meant that he would need a lock of hair or a nail clipping to open it.

      It would be pointless to try and impersonate a servant in the King's palace; after all, any toenail clippings or haircuts were probably cleaned up in seconds. Not to mention that it would arouse a bit of suspicion if someone like him went to Altador. No, he would have to take a few hairs from King Altador himself. He sighed, mentally preparing himself for the task.

      He mulled over his plan while going home. King Altador was currently looking for the Betrayer's statue, so he would have to be quick to find him. The fields around the Haunted Woods would be a good place to start. He didn't waste any time at home, he got his things, and set out to work, determination etched on his face.

To be continued...

 
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