"Hey!" he shouted, flinging open the door and running
out into the street. But he might as well have called to the wind, for neither
of them took any notice. He smacked his head in frustration and went back inside.
Later, Eliotta hardly remembered the journey
to Faerieland. She only remembered that they travelled for half an hour, and
then they were up in the clouds. She could hardly prevent a "wow," from escaping
her lips. It was wonderful, more wonderful than anything she could have ever
imagined. She stood still for an instant, taking in the shops, the colours,
the other pets walking about. But her mother was already leading her away.
They reached the School. Eliotta looked at it
in awe. It was made of snowy white marble, topped with a great golden dome.
Through the open oaken doors she could see a bit of red carpet. She followed
her mother in, almost afraid to step on the fine carpet.
After registering Eliotta at the reception,
they went up the spiralling glass staircase and to the audition room. They passed
many other students on the way, in the uniform of the School. Eliotta felt more
and more nervous. Then they were in the large audition room, with the judges'
table in front of them.
Eliotta's mother withdrew and left her alone
in the room. The head judge began to ask her questions.
"What is your name?"
"Eliotta Beraisha, ma'am"
"Where do you come from?"
"Neopia Central, ma'am."
"You want to take the scholarship?"
When she was satisfied, the head judge sat back
in her chair. "Start," she said.
Eliotta was at the point of bursting her nerves.
With some horror she realised that although she had practised all the dances
she knew the night before, she had not chosen the one she would be dancing.
She couldn't. They would fail her, and her mother would be disappointed. "Dance!"
she pleadingly beseeched her feet.
Through her mind came floating a tap dance she
had learnt, and without her telling them, as though they had a mind of their
own, her feet began to tap. Tip tap, tip tap, they went. She began to jig, slowly.
Now the images began coming quick and fast. She
moved backwards, still tapping. Suddenly she stopped. She back flipped and now
began to wave her arms in a Maraquan water-dance she had made up when Maraqua
was destroyed, while her feet slowly moved together like a tail in water. She
spun around, and then she was on the dusty desert sands. She clapped and began
a dune dance from the Lost Desert, spinning and twisting her body. Now she was
a spirit dancer, ethereal and ghostly; now she was dancing and waving to strands
of imaginary Island music; now she was doing a series of cartwheels like a circus
entertainer. In and out of each set of steps she danced, through dances long
remembered and dances newly learnt. She danced through all the dances she knew.
Suddenly the dream stopped, and she was back in the audition room with the judges,
on the floor in a finishing pose.
The judges stared at her, spellbound. Then the
head judge came to her senses. She and the other judges began whispering together,
while Eliotta stood on the floor panting. Then the head judge turned to her.
"Eliotta," she said. "You may go now."
Eliotta looked at the judge and dashed for the
Her mother got up quickly when she saw Eliotta
come flying out. Eliotta ran into her mother's arms.
"Eliotta," her mother asked her gently. 'How
"I don't know, Ma," she answered quietly. Then,
remembering her nervousness, she burst into tears.
"Don't worry, Eliotta." Her mother stroked her
head. "It's all over now. We'll just wait for the letter. Surely it wasn't as
bad as that?"
Eliotta looked up into her mother's eyes. "It
wasn't the dance, Ma. I loved the dance. I was different; I became other things,
and I liked that. It was the coming back that hurt. I remembered. I was scared."
She was silent for a while. Then she gave a small sob.
Her mother sighed. "Let's go home."
When the two of them got back home, Eliotta's
father was not pleased. "Wasting money on such things," he said. "She's not
goin' to get in, I tell you. Mere fancies of women!"
They ignored him.
Eliotta and her mother waited persistently for
that special letter to arrive, despite Eliotta's father's pessimistic comments.
At last, one day, it came.
Eliotta was sweeping the cottage floor when
she heard the gate rattle. She yelled "Post!", flung down her broom and pulling
the door open she ran down the path to the gate where the postman stood waiting.
Gingerly she took the letter printed "Eliotta Beraisha, Country Lane, Neopia
Central" and then like a whirlwind she dashed back into the house. Her mother
turned to see Eliotta standing in the doorway panting, and holding a letter.
"I've got it," she gasped.
They sat down at the kitchen table. Eliotta
held the letter while her mother slit it open with trembling hands. The young
Aisha drew it out slowly, glancing swiftly down the long line of words...
Eliotta's father walked down the street towards
his house. He put down his farming tools and opened the rusty gate. It creaked
outwards slowly. He stepped inside and closed the gate. He was walking towards
the door when...
"YESSS!" He dropped his tools, flung the door
open and ran into the house. He saw his wife and daughter standing by the table,
wearing expressions of shock and delight. On the table flapped a limp envelope.
"What is going on?" he asked in a whisper.
Eliotta turned to him, her eyes glowing with
elation. "Pa," she said softly, "I entered for the Faerieland School of Dance
audition. They sent me the letter, and... and I passed!"
The news spread like wildfire. All the neighbours
were pleased; they were mostly poor like her and it was rare anyone in their
neighbourhood would receive such honours. But none were happier than Eliotta
herself, as she flew around helping her mother to pack her things for her stay
in Faerieland. Her heart sang with excitement, and joy sped her hands as she
folded clothes and packed her few personal belongings into a little suitcase.
At last the day came, when she was going to
leave. Her parents followed her to the School gates. There she set down her
suitcase so that she could say goodbye to her them. She hugged her father and
kissed him on his cheek. Then she turned to her mother. "I never could have
done it without you, Ma," she whispered, and embraced her. Then she stood up,
trying to hold back her tears as she watched her parents diminish to little
figures as they walked back to Neopia Central. It would be very long before
she saw them again. She would miss them.
Then she turned her face to the bright future
before her. "I'm going to dancing school! I'm going to be a dancer!" she cried.
Then she picked up her suitcase and ran inside.
Five years later...
The Faerieland School of Dance gleamed with
hundreds of light under the starry Faerie sky. A great crowd was pushing in
through the tall gate and past the oaken doors. Tonight, the School was holding
a great performance, a dance called 'The Faeries' Court, in which its highest
and best pupils would be performing.
Among those that crowded into the seats in the
huge theatre were two middle-aged Aishas. It was none other than Mr. Beraisha
and his wife, come to watch their daughter perform. They, like everyone else,
held their breaths as the light dimmed and the curtains swept open.
The background was like an azure blue sky, embroidered
with little clouds. Against the background was set a throne covered in gold
cloth. Around the stage, in a circle, were several other smaller thrones. The
music began, and the dancers entered.
First came the Uber-faeries, each flanked by
two of their own lesser kind. Each of them danced up the stage and did a pirouette
before seating themselves. Then the other faeries came, one after the other.
They too, pirouetted and glided gracefully over to their seats. When they were
all seated, the audience looked back to see what was next.
Suddenly the music changed to a great majestic
tone. Everyone gasped as graceful, lovely, queenly, the Faerie Queen entered
among her maids-of-honour. She was clothed in flowing white robes, and behind
her trailed a fine mantle of violet material embroidered in gold thread. Upon
her head there was a circlet of gold, and she wore a thin gold girdle. It was,
of course, none other than Eliotta herself, though now she was fifteen and she
was painted white. Eliotta's parents felt immeasurable pride as their daughter
mounted the stage and they heard the audience's gasps of awe. It might have
been the happiest moment in their lives.
As Eliotta danced her part as the Faerie Queen,
she too felt proud. All her hard years of climbing the pipe to the ventilation
window had paid off, and so had her diligent studies and long hours of practice
in school. As she gracefully danced, she caught sight of her parents' joyful
faces filled with pride. Her heart grew happy and her eyes brightened with love
and joy. She smiled, lovingly, at them.