Hitomi the Witch:Part Ten
PART TEN: MISS CRAZY IS REALLY REVVING UP HER ENGINES NOW
[The Month of Celebrating]
Hitomi, which if these bookmarks do you think suits Mickey best?" asked Erika, holding up two bookmarks; one tartan and the other blue with green pine trees.
"I’ll go with the tartan one," said Hitomi. The girls were shopping at the Ninety-Nine Neopoint Store for Christmas gifts, and Hitomi was busy eyeing a shelf of miniature Chomby figurines. She thought the figurines were darling in their little clothes, but nothing seemed right for the recipient of her gift. [And I don’t even know what he likes,] Hitomi thought as she admired a baby Chomby figurine. [How can I possibly find the perfect gift?]
"Say, are you going to get your Mom another figurine this year?" asked Erika.
"No. I might get her some gardening gloves instead." Hitomi sighed. "I just don’t know what I’m going to give [him], though…"
"You mean your Dad?" Erika wondered.
Hitomi shook her head. "I’m already embroidering an apron for him. The Neopian I’m shopping for is someone…more ‘special’, you know? Someone who deserves a very thoughtful gift that would make him smile." Her cheeks burned as she added, "I’m still indecisive about what to give him, though."
Erika whistled. "Ooh, I know exactly what you mean!" she teased, nudging Hitomi playfully. "This ‘extra special’ someone you speak of is a guy we know, right? Somebody who has always been there for you and made you smile during thunderstorms. And oh, let’s not forget his GORGOUS looks!"
"Please don’t say that out loud," Hitomi whispered urgently. "I don’t want anybody to hear."
"But this is sooooo juicy," Erika squealed. "Just think: my best friend, Hitomi Hoshizora, is shopping for the uptight Mickey Aino!" She laughed. "It’s hilarious—yet sweet, too. Like a sweet and sour plum snack."
Hitomi facepalmed. "No, Erika, I am not shopping for Mickey," she mumbled.
Erika stopped laughing. "Wait, you’re NOT?" she gasped. "Then who in Neopia are you shopping for? Hanso? Chadley?"
In a low voice, Hitomi muttered, "It’s for Kyuske." Her face enflamed with embarrassment, she added quickly, "But it’s only because he’s helped me a couple of times! Yeah, that’s it. The gift is more of a thank you present than a Christmas present."
"Whatever," Erika replied. "I’d rather buy something for Hiro; after all, it was because of [him] that our school won the Yooyuball championship last month! Therefore, he is more important than Kyuske."
Hitomi shrugged. "I suppose I can just make him something," she suggested. "My embroidering skills have been improving lately."
"Eh, I think you should just stick to buying something instead," said Erika. "You wouldn’t want to prick yourself a hundred times while embroidering a hankie."
As the girls headed home, Hitomi admired all the window displays they passed. Many of them were trimmed with furnished pine trees while others had mechanical Chias dressed up as elves. Although Hitomi liked admiring the different displays, her mind kept going back to Kyuske for some reason. She didn’t know why. Perhaps all the different Christmas decorations had her wondering how Kyuske was going to celebrate the upcoming holiday. Did he have any family members to spend time with? Or was he really a lone Lupe? "Say Erika, would you mind if we stop by Kyuske’s place along the way?" Hitomi asked.
"Why?" Erika wondered. "It’s not like he’s interesting."
Hitomi shrugged. "I don’t know. Maybe we can talk with him and—you know—get to know him better?" She shrugged. "Then again, we can always wait till the winter break is over and see him at Neoschool."
Erika nodded. "That sounds much better."
[I really hope he’s doing alright,] Hitomi thought wistfully. [It would be terrible if he’s celebrating Christmas by himself!]
Just as the girls were turning a corner, they saw a familiar figure running towards them. Hitomi gasped as the out-of-breath Neopian stopped in front of them, panting heavily. "Mickey is…is that you?? Are you alright?"
"Pfft, way to jog nerd," Erika snickered. "Maybe you should stick to reading than taking up track and field, huh?"
"Hitomi, I…." Mickey looked up and gave Hitomi an urgent look. "I need your help!" he pleaded. "Please, you have to do something! Save me!"
"Oh dear heavens!" Hitomi gasped. She couldn’t believe it: Mickey’s right eye was icy blue, a sign of an enchanted ice spell! And there was only one Neopian in the entire world that Hitomi speculated could do such a thing. "Mickey, did she…did Kirara do this to you??" she sputtered.
Mickey nodded. "I was walking home a few minutes ago when I met up with her at Shí Kè Square. Before I knew it, she blew this blue frost stuff into my face and then, suddenly, I felt this chill go down my spine." Mickey shuddered. "Kirara told me she would reverse the spell only if Hitomi agreed to meet her at the square. She also told me to hustle, so I’ve been running around town, looking for you."
"Oh no," breathed Hitomi. "Maybe I can find a way to–"
"Please Hitomi!" Mickey sobbed, grasping her shoulders. "You HAVE to go to Shí Kè Square right now! Kirara said something terrible would happen to me if you don’t meet her there tonight!"
Hitomi gulped. "But there has to be a way I can help you," she insisted. "I was able to save Hiro from the same spell just last month."
Mickey shook his head. "Kirara informed me that this spell would be impossible for you to remove on your own."
"Nonsense." Hitomi stepped back, poofed up a purple healing orb, and aimed it at Mickey. However, the orb had no effect. Hitomi tried four more times before collapsing to the ground, gasping for breath. "I don’t…I don’t get it…"
"Wow. Miss Crazy is really revving up her engines now," Erika remarked. "She’s like a…uh…some kind of vengeful Faerie, I guess."
"Maybe if I use another healing spell..." Hitomi said thoughtfully.
"We need to go now!" Mickey urged.
Erika sighed. "Well let’s do something," she fumed. "All this babbling is so boring."
Hitomi nodded. "Alright then. How about we go pay Kyuske a visit?" she suggested. "Maybe he’ll have a solution for us."
"I’ll do whatever you say," Mickey agreed. "But let’s hurry up and find him."
"Yes. Let’s go right now," said Hitomi. "We mustn’t waste any more time. I’ll poof us to his place immediately."
"Hitomi? What are you doing here?" asked Kyuske, arching an eyebrow.
"Kyuske, it’s an emergency," Hitomi urged. "Please let us in!"
Confused, Kyuske nodded and ushered the three pets into his apartment. Hitomi looked around the place: there was only one bedroom and a living room with an attached kitchen. Despite it being the Month of Celebrating, there were no holiday decorations and the apartment was a bit chilly. After the pets took their seats on Kyuske’s dingy sofas, Hitomi recalled everything that had happened just a few minutes prior. "Now we don’t know what to do," she sighed, "because we aren’t certain if Kirara was telling Mickey the truth. And I’m still not willing to give up my Spell Charm to her—no matter what she decides to do next."
"Even if I turn into a giant icicle," Mickey muttered wistfully.
"This is a tough spot you’re in," Kyuske mused. "I’m surprised Kirara would resort to using such a malicious tactic this time."
"Well I’m surprised Hitomi knew your address," Erika piped up. "She poofed us over to your doorstep in seconds! Can you believe it?"
Hitomi blushed. "I, uh, just made a really lucky guess," she mumbled nervously.
Erika laughed. "Sure, and I’m the Queen of Faeries!"
"Well Kyuske," Mickey pled, "what should Hitomi do? Would giving up her Spell Charm be the right course of action?"
"But if I do that, then she’ll just continue her quest for more Spell Charms," Hitomi insisted. "I have to stand my ground…no matter the stakes." She cast Mickey an apologetic look and added, "Still, I would like to find a way to reverse her spell for you, Mickey."
Mickey shuddered. "I’m feeling colder the longer we keep stalling," he sputtered. "We need to think up a plan and f-fast!"
"The only thing you can do now is confront Kirara at Shí Kè Square," said Kyuske. "Though it’s not a hundred percent guarantee that she would reverse the spell with a simple please-and-thank-you. She would definitely want something in exchange—and that thing would have to be Hitomi’s Spell Charm."
"Can’t Hitomi use a spell to get rid of Kirara?" asked Erika.
"And can s-somebody PLEASE l-light a fire in h-here??" Mickey asked, shuddering.
Hitomi poofed up a cup of tea and handed it to Mickey. "Here you go. This will warm you up." Then she said, "I don’t know if I can use any of my spells to stop Kirara for good. In fact, I think my magic is more intent on helping others than causing harm."
"Pfft, sounds wussy," scoffed Erika.
Kyuske nodded thoughtfully. "I understand what you’re saying: because your heart is pure and good, your magic would reflect those parts of your personality. Although you can use magic to defend yourself, using it to harm an opponent—even if it’s that malicious Kirara—would most likely be impossible for you."
"But what if protecting myself means harming Kirara?" asked Hitomi.
"I think that’s a risk you should make," Mickey insisted. "If you don’t, then who know what would happen to you."
"In any case, I think you two should go pay Kirara a visit immediately," Kyuske said briskly. "Along the way, Hitomi, make sure you think up a plan that would be plausible for you to execute."
"Oh, okay," said Hitomi, standing up. She bowed quickly and followed Mickey out of the apartment. "Have a nice day," she called over her shoulder.
Erika, who had decided to stay behind for now, narrowed her eyes at Kyuske. "So what’s you deal anyway?" she wondered. "Aren’t you going to go tag along in case Hitomi needs your help?"
"The only thing I can do now is watch her from a distance," Kyuske insisted.
"Well stalking isn’t going to stop that psycho and her attacks," Erika pressed.
Kyuske turned away. "The only one who can stop Kirara is Hitomi. You know it, and I do as well." He clenched his fist. "If she succeeds, then everything will be okay. But if not…then may mercy be given to us all."
To be continued…