The Keepers: Part Three
The moment they arrived on the hill, Arthur warned Kendrick not to step toward the battle. The spotted Shoyru didn't really need the warning, as he had no intentions of doing so in the first place, but his uncle's voice was extremely stern, so Kendrick asked him why.
"Well, you see," the glowing Zafara told him, as they both sat down to watch the epic battle unfold, "If we were to put ourselves into the action, even in the smallest way, we could drastically alter the course of history. Meridell could be defeated, years of peace destroyed. This is absolutely crucial, Kendrick. We must use the Timebender only to observe, to learn, never to change things."
Kendrick nodded. He supposed that all made sense. He still couldn't believe that Arthur had done it. Arthur, his uncle, his crazy uncle, had created a time machine.
Other than occasional adventures into history with Uncle Arthur, life in Brightvale for Kendrick was blissfully normal. He and the white Kacheek he'd saved from the bullies, Reid, had become great friends. Reid even managed to get Kendrick a job with him at the bookshop. The pink Xweetok, Adrina, came in a lot to talk to them. Sometimes Kendrick took an early break to walk around Brightvale with her.
Still, though Reid and Adrina were great friends, he was absolutely forbidden to tell anyone about that fact that he could travel back in time. That was such a shame. Reid would be just excited to visit the realms of the past as Kendrick had been. And surely Adrina would find that very impressive. He imagined how she would react. Her blue eyes would probably get as big as saucers. She wouldn't believe it of course, just as Kendrick hadn't, until they were sitting on an ancient beach on Mystery Island or something.
"Neopia to Kendrick? Kendrick? Kendrick!"
Kendrick fell off of his ladder at Reid's yell, and was too surprised to flap his wings and save himself, so he hit the floor of the bookshop hard. The books he had been shelving tumbled onto him, and Reid nearly fell off of his ladder as well with laughter.
"What was that for?" Kendrick asked his friend, more surprised than actually angry. He rubbed his spotted head where a book had hit him, though thankfully his glasses remained unharmed. He'd broken more pairs of glasses than he cared to remember.
Reid finally stopped laughing and just gave him a knowing smirk. "Oh, no reason... except, you know, you kind of zoned out on me."
Reid chuckled, "Yeah. You were staring out the window at a certain pink Xweetok."
Kendrick felt his spotted face turn red with embarrassment. He stood up and began picking up his books. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Don't know what who's talking about?" a soft voice said from the door. Much to Kendrick's humiliation, he jumped in surprise and dropped all of the books again. Reid began to roar with laughter, and Kendrick turned around to smile shyly at a pink Xweetok who was now standing in the doorway of the bookshop. She had her long mane of pink hair down today. He had never seen it like that before.
"Hey, Adrina," he said, "Reid was just... making a joke."
"Oooo!" she said, clapping her hands and walking into the shop and sitting on the front desk, "I wanna hear!"
Reid laughed even louder, and Kendrick hastily racked his brains for a way to change the subject. "Umm... you really can't sit on the desk, Adrina," he said. "Sorry."
She shrugged her small shoulders. "No biggie." She jumped daintily off of the desk. "I was just seeing what you two were doing."
Reid answered, "Mostly just stocking the new arrivals today." He jumped off of his ladder and grabbed another stack of books from a large crate on the floor. "Business has been really slow the last couple of days, but it was kind of a good thing, since we got kinda behind last week."
"It should pick up soon," Adrina said. "What with Neoschool starting back up in a couple weeks, everyone will get their book lists in a couple of days."
Reid rolled his brown eyes. "Don't remind me."
Kendrick couldn't help but agree with Reid. Neoschool. Hanging out with Reid and Adrina was fine - it was great! But he wasn't very good at socializing, and Pace and his gang, the guys who had picked on Reid, would be there, too. Not to mention he would have to cut back his hours at the bookshop, which would mean a significant drop in his Neopoints. And then came homework, which would cut back on his time with his new friends.
"Anyway," Adrina said, "when do you guys get off?"
"I've got two more hours," Reid said, rolling his eyes again.
"I'm off in fifteen minutes," Kendrick said.
Adrina smiled. "Cool. I'll wait for you in the square." As she exited the shop, Reid winked at Kendrick.
"Oh, be quiet," Kendrick said, but he was counting down the minutes.
True to her word, Adrina was waiting for him in the middle of the busy Brightvale square, sitting on the stone edge of a small fountain. She waved and smiled when she saw him, and he smiled back and joined her on the fountain wall.
"Hey you," he said, trying to appear more confident than he actually was.
"Hey," Adrina said with a smile. "How has your day been?"
Kendrick shrugged. "Alright I guess. I've been working since 8:00."
"I've never told you before," Adrina said, seeming to scrutinize his face, "But the spot around your eye is really cool."
Kendrick blushed. "I always thought it just looked like I had a black eye all the time."
Adrina laughed but shook her head. "No, it's cool. It gives you character."
He'd never been happier about being a spotted Shoyru in his whole life.
They sat on the fountain wall for a while, not saying much more after that. Kendrick was trying not to smile too stupidly and Adrina seemed deep in thought, absentmindedly twirling her pink hair with her fingers.
"Thinking about Faerieland?" Kendrick guessed. That's where Adrina's parents were from, and she'd lived there for a couple of years before her mother decided to move closer to their family in Brightvale. They'd spent many afternoons strolling around Brightvale and talking about all of her adventures in Faerieland, the time she got lost in the Faerie Caverns, and her friends there.
"Yeah," she answered with a smile. "I miss it a lot sometimes. Especially the area around the caverns. It's so beautiful there."
"It's beautiful in Brightvale, too," Kendrick said, hoping she wasn't missing Faerieland too much. She had talked about possibly going back to Neoschool there, but he didn't know whether or not her mother would let her. Kendrick really hoped, rather selfishly, that she wouldn't. It was nice to actually have friends, something he'd never really had in Neopia Central.
"Yeah, it's nice here too," she agreed. Then she looked up into the sky and pointed. "Faerieland would be about there if it was still in the sky," she told him. "I always wished I could have seen it then, when it was in the clouds."
"Yeah, I bet that would've been-" Kendrick paused. A sudden, extremely off limits thought came to him. He didn't even know if it would be possible. He would have to think of a way to get his uncle out of his lab, and even then...
"Kendrick?" Adrina said with a laugh. "Where'd you go there?"
He sure was spacing a lot today. Kendrick shook his head to clear his already plotting mind. "Oh, sorry. I was just thinking about something."
Adrina looked at him quizzically, obviously expecting an answer. He knew he shouldn't tell her. He was the first Neopet that Arthur had trusted with his work. He would be betraying his deepest secret. He couldn't do that. He wouldn't do that. But Adrina would be so happy, and he had to admit, seeing Faerieland in its former glory would be amazing. That was a place he and his uncle had yet to venture to...
He took a deep breath. "What if I told you... that you could?"
"That I could what?"
He should have stopped right there. "That you could see Faerieland while it was still in the clouds."
Her big blue eyes widened. "Kendrick, that would be impossible."
He sighed. Too late to change his mind now. "No, it is possible. You've just gotta trust me. You know where my uncle's house is, right?"
Adrina nodded. Kendrick could tell that the pretty pink Xweetok believed him just about as much as he'd believed his uncle when he told him he'd invented a pocket sized time machine.
"Meet me in the backyard, by the lake, at ten tonight."
She raised an eyebrow at him. "You're serious?"
Kendrick smiled a little. Arthur would never have to know about this, and besides, Adrina would never tell anyone if he asked her not to. It would all work out alright. "I'm serious," he said. "Tonight, we're going to Faerieland. In the clouds."
To be continued...