Under A Golden Wing
Enveloped by cerulean, watched over by a warming light, and kept company by fluffed, kindly clouds: here is where the Golden Pteri was content.
“Finally!” He exclaimed to himself, flipping over and back again in a mid-air circle. “A perfect day. Not a rain cloud, not even a glimpse of grey before me.” He flipped again, then dove down and up again, an oscillating gold coin beaming through the air over the Haunted Woods. It was as if someone was flipping a one hundred dubloon coin in the air, attempting to make a decision.
The Golden Pteri sighed contentedly. He had no need to worry about anyone overhearing his jabbering; no other Lennys, Pteris, or petpets flew at the altitudes he did. He was gifted with magical eyesight, enabling him to see far beyond a normal Pteri’s range of eyesight. This helped him be able to spot fellow Pteris, so he could complete his personal mission of awarding neopoints to them.
He had chosen this path long ago. Growing up in an orphanage and having to fend for himself, a water faerie took pity on him, blessing him with wonderful eyesight and powerful flight, then gifting him with a beautiful shiny gold colour, and a Midas-like skill: being able to create neopoints from nothing. He never wanted any fellow Pteri brethren to feel alone or without hope, like he once had. So, he set out to give all he had to Pteris.
He enjoyed his work. He was able to meet all sorts of different folks and see all of Neopia. He had not visited the Haunted Woods for a few weeks and had decided to search for Pteris.
It wasn’t long before he spotted a shadow Pteri, perched on a dead tree just outside the Spooky Foods shop. The Pteri was partially obscured, but in his giddy delight at the pleasantry of the day, he became slightly sloppy. He swooped low over the bird, intending to drop a small shower of neopoints just before him.
“Greetings, Pteri brethren!” He called, as he let loose a talonful of coins. However, though the magical Pteri has fantastic vision, his talon-eye coordination and aim were … lacking. A few coins plunked down onto the head of the shadow Pteri.
“CRAAAAWWWWWW!” A creaky, croaking voice screeched from below as the Golden Pteri rose up again. He turned back at the noise. This was not normally what he heard after a gift: usually an ‘ow’ or ‘thank you’ would drift to him.
He glanced over his shoulder, soaring around in circles over the strange Pteri. It was then that the Golden Pteri realized his mistake. It was no random shadow Pteri – it was none other than the Black Pteri, a famous Pteri known to lurk about the Haunted Woods, and travel across Neopia spreading words of foreboding and fear. No one was quite sure where his dark words came from, though, and was his motivation was.
The Golden Pteri had only met the Black Pteri once, in which him introducing himself resulted in similar screeches and a general warding off. He had to set this right, and he wanted to have a proper introduction, once and for all.
The Golden Pteri circled, lowering his altitude, and landed in a branch beside the Black Pteri.
The Black Pteri was much larger than the Golden Pteri. His feathers were a glossy onyx and appeared almost shaggy. His eyes were piercing as he gazed at the Golden Pteri, unwavering.
The Golden Pteri felt as if all of the sun from earlier had been blocked out. He felt a creeping cold in his stomach. “Uh … hello … sorry about that, I didn’t realize it was … you.”
The Black Pteri gazed steadily at his sunny famous counterpart. “I? And what do you make of this, now that you realize it is I?”
The Golden Pteri shifted his talons nervously on his branch, digging them into the crunchy bark. “I’m … sorry! About that.” He gulped. “But, I thought it would be good to introduce myself.”
The Black Pteri broke his stare, now looking out at his surroundings, appearing bored. “I know who you are. You know me. What difference does this meaningless information make.”
“Well, you know, we are both the most famous Pteris in Neopia. Don’t you think we should be … friends?” The Golden Pteri’s voice rose in pitch on the last word. He knew this was the wrong thing to say, yet said it anyway.
The Black Pteri coughed out a laugh. “Caw-caw-caw! That is amusing. I have no friends.”
“No friends!” The Golden Pteri exclaimed, now filled with vigour. He saw that this Pteri needed him, whether he knew it or not. And he would not abandon this task until he could cheer this Pteri and become his friend.
The Golden Pteri flew to the branch where the Black Pteri was perched, and fluttered to the spot beside him. “How about this,” The Golden Pteri said. “I try to cheer you up by taking you somewhere you’d like, and then you’ll have a friend.”
The Black Pteri scoffed. “Why would I ever agree to that.” He spoke in such a flat voice, that it was hard to tell when he asked questions.
The Golden Pteri fidgeted, adjusting his wings. “Because, if I fail, I’ll never speak to you again.”
The Black Pteri pondered this. This deal was appealing. The Golden Pteri did not realize this, but he had met him not once, but thrice before (though he did not remember the other two times). The Black Pteri would be free of the one Neopian the most persistent in ‘cracking’ him. And, he knew he would not enjoy anything the Golden Pteri could plan for him, so this was a perfect deal for him.
“Caw!” The Black Pteri laughed. “Fine. I agree. Where are we going.”
“Really? Are you kidding?” The Golden Pteri asked, almost jittering with excitement.
“I … do not joke.” The Black Pteri returned.
“Yaaaaaa-hooooo!” The Golden Pteri exclaimed, flying up in small circles, like a loose helium balloon.
“Yay.” The Black Pteri said, already regretting his plan.
The Golden Pteri had thought about a few options to cheer up the Black Pteri. It hadn’t taken long for him to brainstorm, since his brain seemed to flutter about as much as he flew around day to day. He also knew Neopia better than anyone.
The Golden Pteri’s first stop was Darigan Citadel’s palace. The two Pteris flew to Meridell, then up, up, up, gaining altitude until they spotted a tiny dark spot above them. The two flew up and over the edge of the floating Citadel, then towards the palace.
They flew to the doors, which were unguarded, and alighted before them. At this point the Black Pteri spoke.
“I don’t want to go in,” he stated flatly.
Startled, the Golden Pteri, stuttered, “But! But! He’s evil and dark and spooky! You like those things. I thought it might be nice for you to speak to someone who shares your … er … interests.”
“I’ve heard him give speeches. I don’t think we share anything.” He said, turning and flying to the edge of the Citadel. He stared out at the cloudless sky ahead, unblinking.
The Golden Pteri caught up to him. “Okay, okay, that was a failure. But I have another idea! Have you been to the Lever of Doom? Have you heard of Dr. Sloth? Space?”
The Black Pteri cast a sidelong glance at the Golden Pteri. “I … do not … wish to follow or worship madmen, villains. I knew this trip would be a failure.”
The Golden Pteri looked down at his talons, scuffling them back and forth on the Citadel’s dark red brick path. His new friend’s attention was waning; he had to think fast. He only had one more chance. Then, brilliance struck.
“I’ve got it!” He exclaimed, lifting a wing up in a fist in victory. “Our last stop on our trip. Trust me!”
The two flew from the Citadel south, lowering in altitude, where more clouds surrounded them. A shimmering, violet and magenta palace, perched atop a giant cumulus cloud began to rise from the clouds, surrounded by smaller cottages the same hue.
“Oh, no. No way. Deal or not, I’m not going there,” The Black Pteri said, halting and beginning to soar in circles.
“Trust me!” The Golden Pteri called behind him, continuing onward.
The Black Pteri hesitated, but followed. The Golden Pteri led him to the Faerieland Library, where they landed on the marble steps, then entered.
The library was empty, save for the Library Faerie, who sat at her wooden desk in the center of the library, hurriedly writing. Bookshelves of colourful books lined the walls, all meticulously organized. Ten or so books fluttered about in the air, propelled by thin, filmy wings on their spines.
The Library Faerie did not look up as the two Pteris shut the wooden door behind them.
The Golden Pteri stood on his tiptalons, leaning his glistening wings on the desk’s ledge.
“Hello!” He said cheerily. “Do you happen to have any poetry books? Could you show us where they are?”
The Library Faerie, busily scrawling out a new crossword puzzle, barely glanced at the two at the inquiry. She sighed, setting down her gold ink pen with more force than necessary. She pushed herself up from her desk.
“Follow me,” She grumbled.
She led them to the back of the library, where a small section labelled “Writing & Poetry” in small gold lettering stood against the back wall’s eastern corner. She finally glanced at the two Pteris, the Golden Pteri watching her with round eyes, and the Black Pteri watching her with narrowed eyes.
“Who is the book for?” She asked.
“Him!” The Golden Pteri said, pointing a couple of his primaries at his companion.
“I thought as much,” she said. She pulled out a black leather book with two fingers, then led them to a small wooden table with two chairs. She set the book on the table, then retrieved a silver ink pen and parchment from her desk. She set this on the table, too.
Now she stood before the two Pteris, looking down her glasses at the Black Pteri. “You have found what you seek. When you finish that book, I can retrieve another for you. I think you will find more solace in the parchment and pen, though.” She then went back to her desk, where she resumed her work.
The two Pteris sat at the desk, where the Black Pteri first flipped through the book casually, then shut it, reopened it, and paged through it carefully. Inside were poems about every shade of darkness: evil creatures, beasts, and shadows. Dark feelings that haunt you in the late hours of the night. He could not stop reading. When he finished reading, he picked up the pen tremulously, shut his eyes, let out a sigh, then began to write. It all flowed like water pouring from his mind.
Finally, the ominous messages, the dark inklings, could be put into something more. Finally, he could share and relate to this darkness.
The Golden Pteri could not hide his smile, having succeeded in bringing about happiness to another Pteri, this time without gold coins. He leaned back in his chair, shutting his eyes, ready for a victory nap.