Leave Room for the Impossible
Eliss hung the "closed" sign on the shop door, relieved the day was finally over. She was an assistant at the only furniture store in Tyrannia, and had been for as long as she could remember. It was boring, tedious work, but it allowed Ellis and her owner to decorate their Neohome for free, which she wasn't complaining about.
She stepped outside the shop into the dry, unwelcoming Tyrannian landscape. Around her were the same bogs and rocks and mud she had seen every day for the last eighteen years. Although she'd never say it out loud, she was tired of all the same. Everybody around her seemed perfectly happy to stay in Tyrannia and live the same lives they'd lived forever. But not her.
As she walked home, she passed over a river. She stopped, gazing at her reflection. Even her outer appearance didn't match what was going on outside. Eliss was a candy Aisha. Bright, shiny, and every color of the rainbow, she stuck out like a sore thumb. Her owner, Anna, told her she had chosen her color because, at the time, it was the newest color available, and she just knew Ellis would be "unlike any other Neopet out there." She wasn't far off.
Ellis smiled at the thought of her owner, who had always been supportive of what she wanted to do. Her birthday was tomorrow, and she knew what she wanted to ask Anna for.
Upon returning home, Ellis rushed to her room and closed the door, flopping down on her bed with a sigh. She rolled onto her back and looked at her ceiling, smiling. On her ceiling she had painted a map of the entire world of Neopia, and marked places she wanted to visit with big red X's. She promised herself that on her eighteenth birthday, she would go see everything and make her dreams come true.
Eliss was tired of the predictable. Eliss didn't want to feel comfortable, she wanted to feel alive. She didn't want to stay safe in the familiar, she wanted to marvel in the unknown. Rainbows weren't meant to stay in one place.
The next morning, Eliss awoke to her owner, Anna, walking through the door, a smile on her face and a breakfast tray full of pancakes in her arms.
"Happy birthday!" she exclaimed, her dark eyes shining with excitement. It was that moment that Eliss noticed that Anna had written "18" in chocolate icing on her pancakes.
Eliss smiled in appreciation as her owner plopped down on the bed next to her. She took a fork and began chewing at her pancakes, carefully eating around the "18."
"So what do you want to do today?" Anna asked her. "We can do anything you want! We can go to the concert hall, play keno, spin the wheel of monotony, maybe even explore the lair of the beast?"
She made her last suggestion with a teasing tone in her voice; Eliss rolled her eyes and shivered, recoiling at the thought of their last encounter at the lair of the beast. Eliss had been training a lot at the battledome lately, and had been feeling extra confident that day. She wasn't confident anymore once she found herself running out the lair screaming, with Anna laughing hysterically behind her.
"Oh ha ha," she said sarcastically with a smile. "As fun as that sounds, I had another idea of something in mind."
"Oh?" Anna said with a smile. She knew exactly what her Neopet was going to say, and had waited for this moment for years. She waited expectantly.
"Anna, I want to get out of Tyrannia," Ellis said, nervously. "The last eighteen years, I have always had a feeling that I was different. That I didn't really belong here, and I should see more of what is out there. I know we don't have a lot of Neopoints, but I am hoping there is some way we can make this happen and see the world. It's what I want more than anything."
She looked up nervously at her owner, and was relieved to see Anna looked bursting with happiness.
"Well it's about time!" Anna said. Eliss started at her, taken aback.
"You knew?" she asked.
"Of course I did!" Anna exclaimed. "Eliss, for as long as I can remember, you've been a dreamer. When other Neopets drew pictures of mud huts and the bog, you were drawing pictures of the faraway places. During school, you always got in trouble for reading during class. But you weren't reading the typical Tyrannian books like Skies Above Tyrannia or The Grarrl Who Crushed Tyrannia. You had gone to the travel section of the library and picked up books on Faerieland and Mystery Island."
Eliss grinned, one school memory surfacing in her mind. It was when she was eight, and had just read about Mystery Island for the first time. She fell in love with the giant stone heads and sandy beaches and tropical flowers. Eliss had enlisted the help of her art teacher to create clay replicas of the Mystey Island heads, and strung together some wildflowers to make leis for everybody in her class. The whole class was playing beach volleyball with a makeshift net when Eliss' teacher came back in the room. She wasn't very happy with Eliss, but it didn't stop Eliss and her imagination from wanting to see more of the world.
Anna spoke again. "Eliss, over the years, I've watched you fall in love with worlds unknown. I've watched you read your books and dream of faraway places. And I knew one day, you would ask me if you could see them. So I've been preparing for this day for a very long time. And I have something very special to give you on this day. Be right back."
She got up and walked out of the room. Eliss waited, expecting Anna to come back with some surprise Neopoints that they could use to go travel Neopia. Her owner returned carrying a book. Its cover was rainbow, much like Eliss herself. Eliss was crestfallen; how was a book supposed to help her see the world?
"Inside this book is something special," Anna explained to Eliss. "Every place you've ever wanted to go, any place you've dreamed of, or not dreamed of, can be visited just by using this book." She held the book out to Eliss, offering it to her.
Eliss gently took the book into her arms, skeptical of its supposed power. She flipped through the pages. The pages were filled with clippings of famous Neopian landmarks: The Brain Tree, The Rainbow Pool, Faerie City Castle, Illusen's Glade, and some more that even Eliss didn't recognize. Anna had written notes next to all of them, and some of them had dates. She skimmed the writing and caught a random phrase. Third day of the month of sleeping, Y13: Eliss got in trouble for reading about Faerieland Castle. It didn't take Eliss long to realize they were all clippings from books she had read, both as a child and when she got older.
She looked at her owner questioningly. "I don't get it. How is it supposed to take me anywhere? It just looks like a scrapbook."
Anna leaned back on the bed. "When you were younger, you wanted to go everywhere and see everything, right? And you thought it was possible?" Eliss nodded. "Well, you still do. And it's still possible. Anything is if you want it badly enough."
Eliss shook her head. "But Anna, the real world is different. You can't just wish for things to come true. You have to work hard, and even then, sometimes it isn't enough." She couldn't believe she had to explain this to somebody Anna's age. She felt like their roles were reversed, that Anna was the child, and she was the owner.
Anna smiled, a twinkle in her eye. "But that is where you are wrong, my dear Neopet. For you see, if you work hard and believe enough, anything is possible. When we are young, we believe we can be anything we want to be, and can do anything we want to do. And somewhere along the way, we stop believing in the power and magic of having dreams. But that doesn't mean they don't still come true."
Eliss was shaking her head. "I don't know…" she said. It just seemed too farfetched.
Anna shrugged, picking up Eliss' finished breakfast tray. "I know it seems bizarre. But try leaving some room in your heart for the impossible. You never know what could happen." With a wink, she left Eliss to her thoughts.
Eliss stared at the door a few moments longer, her owner's words circling around in her head. Leave some room in your heart for the impossible. Dreams still come true.
She flipped through the book, admiring the effort that went into it. Eliss was touched that her owner had gone through so much trouble to put this together for her, even if it didn't have the power she claimed it did. One image jumped out to her. It was a photo of The Rainbow Pool in Neopia. The pool was where Neopets who wanted to be a new color went to get painted. Anna had painted Eliss Candy there when she was very young, but she didn't remember.
After a moment, Eliss noticed the photo had somebody in it. Upon looking more closely, she gasped as she realized that somebody was her. Eliss was small and smiling, looking happier than she ever had in her life. On her face you could see the joy and innocence and belief in her eyes. She looked like a Neopet who was going to take the world by storm. She looked like a Neopet who wasn't afraid of anything. Who believed in the power of her dreams.
What happened to that Aisha? She asked herself.
With sudden determination, she said to herself, I'm still here. I still believe in the power of my dreams, and I believe in myself. And if I believe in that, there's nothing that will stand in my way. One day, I will go back to the rainbow fountain, and everywhere I have ever dreamed of. I won't let anything stop me from believing again.
All of a sudden, the book turned a magical golden yellow. Surprised, Eliss jumped, dropping it to the floor. The book began to slowly levitate above the ground, emitting a bright, flashing gold light. Before Ellis even knew what was happening, the gold light enveloped the room, blinding her. Ellis closed her eyes tightly, but the light still shone through her closed eyelids. She heard ethereal whispers of her owner's words. Somewhere along the way, we stop believing in the power and magic of having dreams. But that doesn't mean they don't still come true.
As quickly as it had started, the light seemed to fade. Cautiously, Eliss opened her eyes.
Eliss jumped, startled. She was no longer in her room. Instead, in front of her was a tall, tumbling waterfall of rainbow waters. The waterfall cascaded beautifully down from above, colliding into a giant puddle at the bottom, where Neopets of every color paddled in the water, splashing each other and smiling.
Eliss blinked and rubbed her eyes, making sure she wasn't just dreaming. But when she opened her eyes again, she was still there.
Try leaving some room in your heart for the impossible.
This certainly was impossible, Eliss thought.
To be continued…