Alima's Tales: Betrayed Trust
"Manya, wait up!"
Tolli panted exhaustedly as she ran after her older brother. There was no way that her short Bori legs could keep up with Manya's incredible Meerca speed.
"I'm... sorry...." Tolli trailed off quietly and slowed to a walk, seeing that Manya was already inside their house, well out of earshot. How could I have been so stupid? she mentally berated herself as tears welled up in her eyes. She should never have told her best friend Patina that Manya had given her that meepit mirror. He'll never forgive me for this. What was I thinking?
Lost in her thoughts and not watching where she was going, Tolli collided with her mother's easel, which had been set up on the lawn near the rose garden. She shrieked in surprise and dismay as brightly colored paint splattered everywhere. Tolli's mother hurried over to her from the garden, where she had been adjusting the roses' positions for her painting.
"Are you all right?" Alima asked in concern.
This was too much for Tolli, whose tears started pouring down her cheeks like tiny waterfalls. Her mother hugged her close with warm, furry green Ogrin paws.
"It's okay, Tolli," her mother said soothingly, stroking the ruffled pink fur on the back of her daughter's head. "I can easily cover over those flecks of paint."
Though this news made Tolli feel slightly better, now that she'd started, she couldn't stop herself from sobbing into her mother's skirt.
"What's wrong, dear?" Alima's voice seemed to be coming from all around Tolli, resonating within her.
Tolli took a deep breath and let everything spill out. "Patina thought my mirror was really pretty and she asked me where I got it, so I told her that Manya gave it to me because I was really proud and grateful that he did and he overheard me and got really mad and he ran away from me when I tried to apologize and I couldn't catch him and now I've spoiled your painting!" New sobs overtook her and Tolli found herself unable to say anything more.
Alima hugged her daughter to her and said softly, "There once was an Angelpuss named Precious."
"Precious was well-cared for by her owner Ballama, a kind-hearted baker in Kiko Lake. He attended to Precious's every need and want, making sure she had everything she could ever desire. She in turn kept him company in his shop and provided a ready audience for his new creations.
"They lived happily for quite some time, enjoying each other's company. Precious's tenth birthday approached and Ballama decided to go all out. He closed his shop for the day and asked the twin girls from down the street to watch over Precious. Precious looked a little sad, not being used to being dismissed from the kitchen, but Ballama made sure she understood what he was doing.
"Ballama baked exquisite pastries and cookies and cakes, the like of which he'd never made before. He crafted layer upon layer of delicious sweetness, using exotic ingredients from all across Neopia. The prize jewel of the birthday treats was a life-sized Angelpuss white cake designed in Precious's exact likeness.
"The sun had already begun to set in the west by the time Ballama was done. He didn't even remove his apron before hurrying to fetch Precious. Precious mewed happily when she saw all of the treats Ballama had made for her. Ballama smiled as he watched her eat every single pastry, cookie, and cake. She didn't skip a single one, loving all that he'd made for her.
"By the time evening fell, the food was completely gone, leaving in its stead an incredibly full Angelpuss with a massive bellyache. Precious mewed pitifully at him with big sad eyes. Ballama was distraught - he hadn't wanted to hurt Precious!
"Ballama took her to Dr. Paw in Neopia Central. The green Gelert had him wait outside in the waiting room while he attended to Precious. Ballama huddled up in a corner and cried. How could he have done this to his best friend?
"Hours passed. The clock had just struck three when Dr. Paw came over to Ballama.
"'Is she going to be okay, doctor?' Ballama asked anxiously.
"'She'll be all right,' said Dr. Paw reassuringly. 'It was a long night, but she's a tough little gal.' Ballama slumped in visible relief. 'However,' Dr. Paw added. "There will be... side effects.'
"Ballama looked worried again. 'Side effects?'
"'Yes, Precious ate so much that she completely changed her genetic structure,' Dr. Paw explained gently. 'This change is permanent and cannot be undone, even with much exercise - which she should still get, I might add.' Ballama looked stunned. 'Don't worry,' Dr. Paw said. 'Aside from looking different, avoiding excess sweets, and needing to take extra walks, she'll still be your Precious.'
"As though on cue, Precious mewed from the doorway to Dr. Paw's office. Ballama blinked in shock. She was... she was...
"'A Plumpy now, as you can see,' Dr. Paw told Ballama as he scooped up Precious and handed her to him. 'You should be able to take her home tonight. I can't do anything else for her here.'
"Precious looked up at Ballama's tear-stained face and mewed. Ballama met her eyes and saw that she wasn't mad at him. She was scared he wouldn't accept her in her new form. Ballama hugged her tight and whispered in her ear, 'I'm sorry, Precious. I love you as you are, whatever form that may be in. Can you forgive me?' Precious purred and nuzzled his cheek.
"And so Ballama and Precious lived for the rest of their days - happily."
Alima smiled down at her daughter, whose own tears were still drying on her cheeks. Tolli sniffled and asked, "So all I have to do is give Manya candy and he'll forgive me?"
Her mother chuckled good-naturedly. "It would be a sweet peace offering, but understanding is the true key to forgiveness." Tolli looked skeptical. "If you tell Manya what you told me about the mirror, the results may surprise you."
Tolli still thought her mother had reached the point where she didn't understand boys anymore, but she knew when storytime was over. She hugged her mother in thanks for at least trying, then went to Manya's room and knocked on the closed door.
"Who is it?" came her brother's muffled voice.
There was a long pause before the door opened and Manya's sullen face appeared, his blue flower of the islands drooping moodily over his left eye. "What do you want?"
"I... I'm sorry, Manya. I know that you didn't want me to tell anyone about the mirror." Tolli blinked back fresh tears as she spoke - quickly so that he couldn't cut her off. "It's just that I'm so proud to have it and you for a brother because no one has ever done anything like this for me, not even Mom - not that Mom would ever break my mirror in the first place, but that's the point: only you could have done this and I'm so grateful that you did."
Manya's eyes grew shiny and he looked like he was going to cry too. That just made Tolli cry harder. She felt her brother's tail slide around her in a hug and she hugged him back tightly. "It's okay, Tolli," he mumbled. "Just don't tell Patina about this, okay?"
"Of course not!" she reassured him, hugging him tighter. "I promise."