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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 16th day of Eating, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 112 > Short Stories > For the Moon

For the Moon

by lugia

"I can fly higher than you!" Neidel said with a smug grin, thrusting his wings downwards against the wind while shooting above the clouds.

    "You can't do anything better than me!" Dainal laughed in reply, keeping speed with his brother. "I'm always gonna outdo you!"

    Panting, the two Gallions raced towards the silver, sickle-shaped moon that peered down upon them. Both of them were reaching their limits, but Neidel gave out first. His muscles suddenly became stiff and he plummeted to the ground. With a resounding splash, he fell like a rock into the ocean below.

    Dainal was laughing again when Neidel returned to the surface. His face beamed and his blue chest was puffed out in pride as he hovered a few feet above the water. Neidel growled beneath his breath. He had never been the best at anything. He constantly squabbled with his brother, but his words and challenges were in vain, for he failed every time. Just one day he wished he could impress his brother, but Dainal merely looked down upon him. Never would Neidel amount to anything but a pointless rogue Petpet.

    Neidel trudged his way up the Meridell shore. His brother had already left him and flown off ahead. They were making their way to the Rubbish Dump, for it was there that they lived among the garbage and filth, feasting upon leftovers that the Meridell citizens discarded. It was a hard life, but for two wild Gallions, it seemed quite decent. The moon was high in the night sky. It was midnight.

    "I saved some peas for you, bro," Dainal said when Neidel arrived at the Dump.

    "Yeah... thanks," Neidel said with a shrug. There was a clear hint of remorse in his voice. Groaning, he leaped upon a box and curled up to sleep, his back against his sibling.

    Dainal grunted. "C'mon, Neids. You've never taken a loss so hard before."

    Neidel didn't respond.

    "You started it anyway," Dainal stated matter-of-factly.

    There was a long pause in which the cool night air whistled with a soft melody. After what seemed like ages, Neidel spoke in a quiet and broken voice, "I can't stand you."

    Dainal was taken aback. Regaining his composure, he replied in a joking manner, "You don't mean that."

    Neidel spun around, his yellow eyes in flames of hatred, glowing in the darkness and staring straight at his brother. "I mean it! I'm sick of being around you. You don't even give me a chance. I don't even care if you let me win something, I just want to win! All I want is to be better than you!"

    By this time Neidel was standing on all fours, wings extended to their fullest and neck held high. He stared at his perplexed sibling. Dainal had never seen him like this. They had always joked around about their competitions afterward, but never had it crossed Dainal's mind that the losses had actually through into Neidel's tough hide.

    Suddenly, Neidel burst into the air with a loud roar of distress. He jerked his body about and sped off into the night air. Dainal was left alone, shocked and dismayed. "Neidel!" he cried, but heard only silence as a reply. Leaping to his feet, his eyes scanned the surroundings, yet found no trace of anything but the usual rubbish. Dainal knew he wouldn't be able to sleep with his brother wandering about all by himself. Thus, battling tired eyes, Dainal began to search in hopes that Neidel was alright.

    The sun was giving off a warm glow as it began to rise in the early morning. Dainal had fallen asleep among the crowded streets of Meridell during his search. As the streets grew crowded with peasants and the loud crackling of wooden carts sounded, the small Gallion stirred. He gasped as he realized that Neidel was still missing. By now, he could be miles away. Dainal took to the air in a rush of urgency, quickly resuming pursuit.

    After many hours, Dainal spotted a small, orange dot among the beings below. He immediately bolted to the ground. Sure enough, it was Neidel.

    "I'm so glad I found you, bro," Dainal said in a relieved tone. "Let's head home, shall we?"

    Once again, Neidel ignored his brother.

    "What is it this time? You never hold grudges this long," Dainal continued pleadingly.

    Just then, Dainal noticed Neidel was staring at something with a determined expression. As Dainal followed his gaze he released an audible shriek. It was the Turmaculus.

    "No, Neidel!" cried Dainal, leaping in front of his brother. "It's too dangerous! I don't want you near that thing!"

    "It's always been what you want," Neidel replied in a monotone voice. "But this time I want to show you that I can do something better. I'm going to wake the Turmaculus."

    Neidel began walking forward towards the beast's gaping, snoring mouth.

    "Come back here!" Dainal ordered, his voice full of panic.

    "I have to prove to you I can do something," Neidel replied, still walking.

    "You never had to prove anything! You're already better than me!" Dainal screamed.

    Neidel stopped. He turned his head about to look at Dainal with a confused expression.

    Dainal saw this and smiled, a sense of relief filling him with the glimmer of hope that he may have stopped his brother from certain doom. "I mean it. The only reason I never let you beat me is because I wanted to push you. What would it mean if you had nothing to work for? By showing you that there's someone better than you, you will constantly find the need to improve. And you have." Dainal paused as Neidel turned completely around. "You're my baby brother. As family, I only want to see you get better. I want to see you surpass me. If you had nothing to work for, you'd have no need to train. I created a goal for you.

    "I'm sorry that I never realized that you took it all this way. I was acting on what I thought was your best interests. I thought I was helping you." Dainal bowed his head in regret. "I'm sorry."

    Neidel sighed, feeling ashamed that he had let the harmless bouts let him down. He looked into his brothers misty eyes and smiled, expressing his deepest forgiveness. Without a moments hesitation, he leapt forward and the pair embraced.

    "I'm sorry I put you through all that," Neidel said with remorse. "I fooled myself by believing that you thought I was lower than you. I thought you really did look down on me."

    Dainal smiled, replying in a grateful tone, "Never. You've improved so much, I could never be as good as you'll be someday."

    "Thanks," said Neidel.

    The Turmaculus' snoring suddenly became blatantly apparent to the duo. They both turned in the direction of the monster that slept mere feet from them. Dainal gulped, but Neidel wore a smug grin.

    "Think you can wake him?" Neidel asked with a laugh.

    Dainal swallowed again, a lump of fear forming in his throat. Reluctantly, he quickly tapped the beast's nose and lunged backwards. The Turmaculus didn't stir at all.

    "Is that the best you can do?" Neidel exclaimed, grinning. "Watch this!"

    With a beam of pride, the proud Gallion lifted his long, scaly tail and slammed it down upon the Turmaculus' left nostril. With an echoing roar of pain, the giant petpet arose. He strained to open sleepy eyes, gaping at the two ownerless petpets standing before him. He let out a loud grunt, for he had been taken aback by the odd sight of a petpet without an owner willing to take such a risk. However, the thought left as soon as it came, and the Turmaculus collapsed into a sleeping spell once more.

    Suddenly, Neidel began to glow. He could feel power surging through every hair, every scale, and every inch of his body. His eyes widened. It was the greatest thing he had ever felt. As the glow faded, he turned his excited gaze to Dainal in search of some answer as to what had just happened.

    Dainal's eyes were misted over once again. He beamed with pride has he struggled to keep in his emotions. In a breaking voice, he responded, "You just gained a level."

    Neidel soared into the air with a sudden explosion of joy, releasing an ear-splitting roar. Jerking about, he zoomed towards his brother and hugged him, albeit knocking him off his feet in the process. Finally, Neidel and Dainal could fly together as equals. Never again could Neidel say that Dainal was better than him. Of course, as the two sped off neck-and-neck towards home, it didn't matter to Neidel whether he was better or worse. All that mattered to him was that he finally found the happiness he had been wanting for as long as he could remember. For in the end, it doesn't matter if one is more talented than another. All that matters is to accept oneself for what one is, and keep flying towards to moon.

The End


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