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Shackles of Love – My Sister, My Hero


by scarletrhapsody

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The dim sunlight still shone through the filters of the clouds, although evening was approaching. Periodically, a cloud would appear, then silently fade into the lavender coloured sky. Jasmine sat at the window in her favourite armchair, staring plaintively at the swirl of colours - purple, pink, orange - as they danced impishly across the skies. In a distance, home-going Pteris flapped their wings to a simple rhythm as they flew, as if they were graceful dancers in the air.

      How free they are. It must be nice to be able to experience such unrestricted flight once again. As Jasmine gazed enviously at the Neopets, thoughts ran through her little head. Why can't I be just like them?

      Tears flowed uncontrollably as she pondered upon that simple thought, feeling frustrated and disillusioned by her inability to fly in the air in spite of the fact that she was an Eyrie.

           An Eyrie who can't fly.

     Jasmine forced a strained smile as she tried to dry her moist feathers. Just then, a part of her permanently torn wing came under her teary glance. Inevitably, excruciating reminders of that appalling incident swarmed back to her mind.

     When she was still a young Eyrie, Jasmine was just like any other amongst her species - innocent, naive, and most importantly, had the freedom of flight. Oh, how liberating and invigorating it was to soar in the sky at one's will! Jasmine will never forget those wonderful days, when she was still a baby in her new adopted family, a new member who relished in bringing her only Ixi sister, Kim, on flights.

     To call it thrilling was to undervalue the experience.

     Yet it was one of those same rides that changed her entire life, crippling her not just physically, but emotionally as well.

     Like any other day, Jasmine had brought Kim on a tour around in Neopia. Kim's appetite for discovering new lands was insatiable, and Jasmine gamely agreed to travel to new places each time Kim sat on her shoulders. That day, Jasmine came to a corner of Neopia called Tyrannia Plateau. The novelty of the area got both the Ixi and her Eyrie sister excited, and, unable to contain her enthusiasm, Kim almost stood up to get a better view of the place.

     Even before Jasmine knew what her sister was doing, the Ixi had lost her balance and plunge down into the seemingly bottomless valley below, screaming for help at the top of her lungs.

     Instinct told the Eyrie that she needed to do something, fast. Without thinking twice, Jasmine plummeted down after her sister, managing perilously to act as a cushion for her, just as the both of them fell heavily onto the dusty ground beneath. Kim, still clinging on to the Eyrie for dear life, heaved a sigh of relieve as she escaped, unscathed.

     But her relief came too soon.

     By the time the Chia rescue workers came, Jasmine was screeching in pain, and could hardly move a muscle. The toughest bones on her wings, which controlled the movements, were broken by the impact of the fall, and Kim had unfortunately snapped a few other smaller bones in the right wing when she landed on top of the Eyrie.

     In other words, Jasmine's wings were paralysed. She could no longer use them for the rest of her life.

     By bolstering her beloved sister's fall, Jasmine had in turn forfeited her own life. By saving Kim, she had shackled herself to a whole lifetime of disadvantage, of inability to fly like the other Eyries, of being the subject of mockery from others who stared, wide-eyed and shamelessly, at her disfigured wings. However wistfully she looked on with envy, Jasmine could not deny the fact that she was never to be the jovial and free Eyrie she used to be. There was a gap inside of her, something that was missing and, as Jasmine felt, it was a gap that could never be filled again.

     Even if it could, it just wouldn't be the same.

     But she had done it on her own accord. It was for the love of her only sibling that she had done it, to willingly tie herself down for the sake of Kim. Compelled by a simple sense of siblinghood to shield her sister from all harm.

     Out of love. She had done it purely out of love. In that split moment the accident occurred, Jasmine only thought of her elder sister Kim, to protect her at all costs. She was prepared to give up everything for the Ixi. Including sacrificing an entire life of freedom for her.

     Jasmine knew very well, even before she fully recovered from the injuries, that her life would never by the same again. For a long time since then she seemed unable to get over the incident. Depressed and disillusioned, she seemed to find no meaning in her life at all. After all, what would an Eyrie's life be like if it couldn't even do what it was born to do - fly? How absurd the idea was, and how awful it was to be just that.

     Even until now the thought was very painful indeed.

     After that incident, Kim was sent over to her aunt's Neohome, for she was said to be the cause of all the misfortune, the root of the entire escalating problem, and that it was "better" for the two sisters not to see each other for a while. Protest the sisters did, but the adopted family's rule was for any pet which had caused serious mishap upon another to be sent over to a distant relative's Neohome, to be put in their care, while things "cooled down". Since then, Jasmine had heard that Kim was barred from meeting and visiting her, and the Eyrie speculated that it would be a long time before Kim was allowed home.

     Glancing away from the window, Jasmine's glance picked up a small card on the floor near the door. It seemed as though it had been slipped into the house through the gap between the door and the floor, Jasmine noticed. Curious, the Eyrie stepped up to it, bent over and picked it up.

     It was a small white card, folded carelessly in half, and did not have anything written on its front cover. Unfolding it, Jasmine saw that there were a few lines of words written in pencil, looking as if it was scribbled hastily:

     I cannot think of a better way to put this, and clichéd as it sounds...thank you, Jasmine. You are the greatest sister anyone can ever have. You will always be my biggest hero. This, from your sister, Kim.

     Jasmine stared hard at the words. It was unexpected, and came as a surprise for the Eyrie, albeit a pleasant one.

     Before long, her vision blurred, and tears spilled wildly out of her eyes once again. Yet she could not deny the overpowering feeling that came upon her. And she could not ignore the fact that the tears were actually tears of joy.

     For a first time in a long time, Jasmine felt liberated once again. An overwhelming sense of motivation to live on came upon her, as she clutched tightly onto the card. Somehow she knew that she must live, not for herself, but for the sister who loves her endlessly and wants her to find the meaning of survival again. It was this love that filled that emotional gap that was in her, telling her that everything was going to be fine even though she was crippled, that there was at least one person in Neopia who was willing to love her wholeheartedly despite her handicap.

     Though the sisterly affection did not break the shackles she had made for herself, Jasmine felt she no longer minded them. With or without the impeding inability, life must go on, and she must rediscover and once again be the Jasmine she used to be. The Eyrie was determined. No way was a little bit of handicap going to change her entire life so drastically.

     Slowly, a new smile broke out amidst the tears. Jasmine looked out of the window again. The sun was slipping fast below the horizon, but as it shone its brilliance for the last time that day, it seemed to smile back at Jasmine. But no longer was it a smile of mockery, Jasmine felt, but a nudge of encouragement, telling her to embrace her new life. It gave the Eyrie a hope, an indescribable sense of optimism.

     Jasmine watched as the deep purple sky took over, and the last of the Pteris flew by. Finally. She was looking forward to her new life.

The End

 
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