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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 23rd day of Relaxing, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 147 > Short Stories > The Aishas Golden 'A'

The Aishas Golden 'A'

by softcouch

Dustin, named for his dusty-shadow-Aisha appearance, sat on the floor in his bedroom, trying to teach his Gathow various tricks; today’s lesson was jumping through a hoop.

     “C’mon boy,” Dustin pleaded, shaking the plastic red hoop slightly. “You can do it! Just think… we could one day start our own petpet circus! I could be the ringleader and you could leap bravely through flaming hoops of doom!”

     The Gathow cocked its head to one side then blinked a couple times. It finally walked over to its shadow Aisha owner and licked his face playfully.

     “Okay! Okay! Stop!” Dustin laughed as he pushed away his petpet. “Lesson over! Class dismissed!” The Gathow meowed and bounded away towards its bed, where it curled up and began to snooze happily.

     Dustin was watching his petpet sleep happily when his older brother came into the bedroom. The spotted Aisha tackled his younger brother and ruffled up the fur on top of his head.

     “Hey Dustin, whatcha doing’?” he asked, releasing Dustin from his tight squeeze.

     Dustin picked up the hoop and pretended to be a ringleader. And so, in a announcer type voice, he boomed, “Introducing the one, the only, Mathu the Gathow who leaps through the dangerous flamed hoop of DOOOOOM!”

     Mathu yawned from the bed he was sleeping on and growled menacingly at the sound of ‘DOOOOOM’.

     Dustin and Yura laughed at the Gathow’s antics. “That’s very interesting, bro!” Yura began. “But I got a question for you: Do you know how old you are?”

     Dustin gave his spotted Aisha brother a blank look and lowered his eyebrows. “Yeah; One year and a half. Duh!”

     “Exactly!” Yura winked his eye and smiled slyly. “And do you what that means?” He pointed to Dustin’s red collar. “This upcoming Aisha Day, you and all the other Aishas in Neopia march down Neopia Ave.”

     Dustin looked at his red collar and placed his paw where the golden ‘A’ would hang. Then, he glanced up at his brother and at his collar, absolutely stunned by the glow of the ‘A’ that hung proudly from his neck. Dustin’s ears drooped as he thought of the rest of his family; they were all older than him, and all of them had the gold letter that every Aisha was proud to wear. Oh, sure. Aisha Day was a week away, but it was more than marching down the avenue; there was more to it.

     Just then, as the two boys were going to continue having their conversation, Milay, the oldest sibling, burst through the door, her desert charms jingling around and making a racket. “There you two are!” she exclaimed, taking another step into the crowded room. “Dinner’s ready! Mum made us spaghetti and meatballs! You better hurry, or we’ll finish the pasta before you even get there!”

     Dustin and Yura looked at each other as their tummies growled from hunger. Spaghetti was one of their favourites, and they weren’t going to miss this meal. So, in the blink of an eye, the three siblings all raced each other to the table, eager for their food.

     Everyone began eating at once. Dustin gazed at the others while munching on a spoonful of warm pasta, covered in a meaty sauce. His starry Aisha mother sat across the table from him and thinking for a second, swallowed his food and opened his mouth to speak.

     As he was about to speak, Yura began chatting about how much he enjoyed the Twisted Roses concert he saw this morning. Dustin stuffed a meatball in his mouth and decided that now was not the time to ask the question he was dying to inquire.

     Dustin slipped under the sheet of his tiger bed, awaiting his mother to tuck him in. Soon, she arrived, a smile pressed on her lips. She sat down on the bed and was about to tuck in the shadow Aisha when Dustin popped his mouth open and started to talk.

     “Mum? Could you please tell me again how Aishas get their golden ‘A’? I want to know everything, including the story that goes along with the tradition.”

     The starry Aisha sighed and replied, “Okay Well, long ago, the world now as we know it was uninhabited. The only thing living here was berries and wild petpets, including Gruslens and Gathows.”

     Mathu lifted his head at the sound of his species being mentioned.

     The mother Aisha continued. “Then, one day, different breeds of pets sailed to the new Neopian world. Some came by sea while others, like the Aishas, came by space travel. Thing was, everyone got here at the same time. After much fighting over land, the pets made agreements with each other that they would live together without bickering. And so, time passed. Everything was going fine, when the Aishas had an uproar. They wanted to be different from the other pets. They wanted to stand out. So, they put their heads together and brainstormed ideas. Still, it was no use. They couldn’t think of a thing!

     With the thought of being individuals, some Aishas went on their way to farm or fish. Now, two Aisha farmers went a long ways away from the Aisha colony to see if the land was more fertile out in the jungle. While they were searching, a great cave stood in their path. Shrugging, they both headed into the dark rock formation, not knowing that they would find something that would change millions of Aishas’ lives everywhere.

     They lit a match and wandered around for what seemed to be hours. One of the Aishas wasn’t watching where he was going and tripped spontaneously on a strange something. After he had gotten up, he gasped out loud and called his friend over. His friend gasped to for, in the murky dark of the cave, was a whole stash of gold. Not just regular gold, but a radiant shinning gold in the shape of an ‘A’. Overjoyed, the two farmers raced out of the cave, their arms full of golden A’s. When they returned to the village, the Aisha colony was stunned by the golden treasure the two farmers had found. They now decided that THIS would make them different!

     After all the golden A’s were collected, the villagers began to weave the gold onto a red fabric. After the process was done, every Aisha in the village had his or her own special ‘A’ they wore proudly around their neck. It was what made the Aishas unique. And now, the ceremony.

     When an Aisha turns one year and a half, that following Aisha Day is celebrated mainly towards them. For at the end of the long walk, a crowd of Aishas is gathered, waiting impatiently for the young ones to arrive. When all the one year and a halves assemble, Princess Sankara will call each and every one of the Aishas to step forward, say the Aisha Pledge, then award that special pet with the golden ‘A’. Every Aisha in that age, must practice that speech for when the time comes to get your golden ‘A’, there will be no paper you can look off of to remember the pledge.”

     Dustin sat in his bed, eyes wide as he thought about the honour it was to receive the golden ‘A’! I must start practicing the pledge tomorrow! he thought eagerly. “Thanks mom!” he said, as he slipped back under the covers.

     Dustin’s mother smiled her maternal smile as she tucked Dustin in, gave him a kiss goodnight, and turned off the lights.

* * *

Aisha Day came at last. It was probably the only thing that Dustin was thinking about during the past week. He had been practicing his speech over and over again. Sometimes out loud, sometimes in his head, but despite his practicing, he was still nervous.

     He stood amongst all of the Aishas you could find in Neopia Central. Hundreds of excited pet owners and pets, especially owners and pets who were new to Neopets, stood on the sidewalk, waving and cheering to their pet, and all the other Aishas

     A shotgun sound was heard and everyone started walking. The older Aishas stood at the front, while the youngest ones walked in the back. The elder Aishas proudly smiled as their golden ‘A’ shown brightly in the sun. If you were to look directly at the shining piece of jewellery, you’d probably go blind.

     Unlike the other one year and a halves, who were having fun waving to everyone they saw on the street and just having a good time, Dustin was sweating and reciting the words over and over in his head. Also, many other thoughts crossed his mind. What if I stumble while going to meet the Princess? What if I get nervous from all the stares I’ll get? Will people gossip about me? And so on and so forth.

     Dustin spent his time worrying so much that it seemed like just a short time before the parade had finished and everyone stood still at the end of the road. There, standing and smiling, was Princess Sankara guarded by several desert Lupe guards. She motioned her paws for everyone to sit down, and the Aishas did as they were told. The royal desert Aisha gave a short speech with was followed by applause. Then she was handed a scroll and a crate of ‘A’ Collars was shoved by her feet. She began calling the excited young Aishas up to her, alphabetically. The one and halves each gave their pledge and in return, got the shining gold, which they hung around their neck. Finally, it was the moment of truth.

     “Dustin.”

     Dustin gulped as he got up from his seat on the concrete. He couldn’t believe it; was standing right next to the Princess herself! His heart raced into his throat and he began to sweat a bit. His mouth turned dry as Sankara asked him to recite the pledge. Gulping, he closed his eyes and remembered the words. As if by magic they came spewing out of his mouth and through the ears of all the eager Aishas sitting anxiously in the crowd. He opened his eyes to see that Princess Sankara was smiling as she held out the collar with the golden ‘A’ sewn onto the new silky smooth red fabric. She placed it around his neck as the Aishas clapped, happy for the new recipient of the valued treasure.

     Dustin walked calmly away and towards his Aisha family, who were now smiling. Even his mother was trying not to shed a tear. They gave him a pat on the back, hugs, and whispers of congratulatory words as they sat together, watching the others proudly go up and collect their ‘A’ as well.

     Night fall came quicker than a speeding Kacheek. The ceremony was over, and now, dozens of young Aishas talked happily with the others. Some, like Dustin, were admiring the golden jewel that hung from their neck. Dustin finally felt he had filled that empty spot that hung around his neck. He smiled at his family, and couldn’t wait for next year’s Aisha Day where he would see the happy glow on the new Aishas receiving their golden A’s.

The End

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