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Dusk in Tyrannia: Part Seven

by alkuna_


Chapter 7: Can You Be Homesick When It's Not Your Home?

The first day of school in the Month of Gathering was kind of a letdown. I was used to my freedom to see the sights, and I just didn't want to have to sit still in a classroom when I could be diving to the bottom of Kiko Lake hunting clams. Or hunting down ingredients for Edna, the witch in the Haunted Woods. Or scratching off Scratchcards in the Ice Caves. Or... well... ANYTHING else.

     I sat on my seat, chin cushioned on my paw in utter boredom as students filed in and jabbered to one another while waiting for the bell. And I wanted to shiver... It was terrible. I wasn't cold, but the inside warmth I had gotten so used to just wasn't here. I felt cold inside and I just wanted to wrap myself in blankets and huddle. I felt a stab of almost physical pain as I saw some poor social outcast get knocked down in the halls.

     Some girl behind me was in total valley girl mode, "Like, OMG... I got this deal on Shadow Usul Black for my nails and it's just... totally my color!"

     Shudder. Darigan save me from shallow people.

     Lunch proved to be better as those of us who had gone on a trip last year kind of gravitated toward one another and began sharing stories. We explored and commented on how we had changed since our trips.

     "I can hardly believe I miss it," I sighed to a Zafara, sporting Faerieland Pastel Purple highlights in the tuft of hair on her head and along her back. "I mean... It was miserably hot, blindingly bright, the language was difficult to learn and the furniture was extremely hard. And yet... " I growled in frustration and ran my claws through my head fur.

     "It was so terrifying." A Peophin shivered, making her witch hat fall askew. "The darkness in the Woods had more things creeping around in it than here. And not every pair of glowing eyes belonged to a Lupe or Kougra. But now... I dunno, it just seems like the shadows here are empty. There's no thrill."

     "Can you feel homesick for a place you were only visiting?" A Lupe sighed, idly tracing electric blue swirls in his fur and sending his Maractite accessories jingling.

     "Those trips sure made us 'worldly' all right," the Zafara groused. "So worldly, I really don't want to be home. I miss racing across the clouds."

     We all murmured in agreement, each reliving something we had loved about our temporary home.

     "You can't fall when you're underwater." The Lupe smiled reminiscently. "You could dive as deep as you want, then go exploding out of the water and land with a major splash."

     "The food was always fresh." I smiled a little sadly as I plucked the last leaf from my Farn Plant and popped it in my mouth. "And everybody there was so open and honest. You never had to worry that someone would shove you around."

     The Peophin adjusted her witch hat. "I got to meet a real live Werelupe. He was big and scary looking but when he and his pack howled... it was almost like music."

     As the bell rang, telling us that lunch was over, we all reluctantly broke up and went our separate ways. I resumed my bored pose in my seat, only half listening to my teacher droning on and on about Long Division.

     A mildly interesting spark came when a Hall Monitor slipped into the room and handed my teacher a slip of paper.

     "Is there a 'Dusk' in the room?" she asked, peering over her spectacles at the lot of us.

     Curious now, I raised my paw.

     "Dusk, the office wants you to go outside. Apparently there's a Tyrannian transfer student that needs guidance and they think your skills with the language will be a big help. Go on, just be sure to get the homework assignment from one of your classmates later."

     I scrambled out of the chair and raced down the hall, ignoring the "Hey! No running in the halls!" that a monitor shouted after me. Obsidian kept pace with me, a happy expression on his face at the unexpected but welcome sprint around campus.

     Could it be?! Even if it wasn't... I remembered my first day. And the school was as inefficient as ever, waiting until after classes started to send help to a poor, confused...

     I skidded around a corner, sprang over a low fence, dodged the Gardening Club in their field and came into sight of a rather familiar scene.

     Migga was standing in front of the building, trembling as she looked at the forbidding building before her and darting frightened glances into the dark shadows that pressed in on every side.

     "Migga!" I shouted happily. "Ugavu ugg! You're here!"

     Obsidian gave a "Rrrowl" and sprang neatly onto Migga's back, where he proceeded to knead her mane happily with his claws.

     Relief flooded Migga's face as I hugged her muscled neck happily. ^^Oh Dusk! I was afraid I was at the wrong school. I only understand half of what's said around here, and that's only because I learned it from you.^^

     ^^Don't worry.^^ I smiled warmly. ^^We'll get you settled.^^

     Together, we made our way into the Mugga, I mean, the Office to get her set up. The principal greeted her in his pompous, deep voice and loomed over her. "I am not sure what kind of racket you are used to, Missy, but I will warn you now we will not tolerate any disruptive behavior. If you start running around smashing things, I will suspend you immediately."

     Confusion washed over Migga's face like a tidal wave.

     I whapped a paw over my eyes and clenched my teeth angrily, fighting back shame at how he was treating my friend. I hadn't received any prejudice whatsoever in Tyrannia. It just wasn't fair that Migga did in mine. I was grateful that she didn't understand most of what he said...

     ^^Dusk? Dusk, what is it? I know he seems stern about something but... Please translate?^^ Migga was looking at me worriedly.

     ^^He... Oh Migga, he's not being nice at all. He's threatening to expel you if you run around smashing things like a barbarian... ^^ I was almost afraid to look her in the eyes, fearing I would see the hurt and rejection in her expression.

     To my surprise and a great deal of relief, Migga smiled and stood tall, tapping her chest formally with her chin and meeting the principal's eyes evenly, ^^Sir, I assure you I have no such intentions. I came to your magnificent school to learn from your teachers and your students.^^

     I translated her words, as literally as I could.

     The principal's lip curled into an almost sneer and eyed me suspiciously, "You aren't putting words into her mouth, are you, Dusk?"

     I shook my head, "No sir."

     "Humph. We'll see... Very well, off you go. Get her painted a proper color before school tomorrow. I won't have some shaggy, shedding Mountain Zebie in my halls."

     I bit my tongue, fighting back a biting remark about exactly who was acting civilized and who was not. How dare he!

     ^^Dusk? Dusk come on, it's okay. I'm not surprised at all that there are prejudices toward my people.^^ Migga laid her head over my shoulder reassuringly as we walked away.

     ^^Oh Migga.^^ I fought tears. ^^Our home has been through two wars, faced countless prejudice wherever we go and still we treat everyone else like trash. Your people were so kind to me and this is how my home repays you... ^^

     ^^Heeeeyy, come on.^^ She shook me lightly by pressing her shoulder against mine. ^^Come on, if there's one thing you should have learned it's that we're a strong people. That goes emotionally as well as physically. Anyway,^^ she changed the subject, ^^I have this list of supplies I'm going to need. Let's go shopping and you can tell me hour your summer vacation was.^^

     Slowly I brightened up as we made our way off the school grounds. ^^Okay. Fist rule of thumb here is; it never gets light. We have Dim, Dark, and Pitch Black. Likewise, temperatures are Cool, Cold, and Icy (in winter).^^

     We made a brief trip down to Neopia Central to get her painted Darigan; her school had given her plenty of Neopoints as well. That was a relief... I just couldn't imagine having to convince that grumpy old Skarl clone to spend precious Neopoints on a 'barbarian.'

     I introduced her to the foods we readily had available and she became fascinated with the vegetables, berries, cheeses and meats that we always got shipped up from Meri Acres. I warned her ahead of time to never touch the cafeteria food; it was usually just on the threshold of turning moldy and rotten.

     That evening, I took her on an easy trek (walking speed only) to teach her how to see in darkness and get around without tripping over things.

     ^^Light is your enemy when you're trying to see in the dark,^^ I told her, guiding her away from the dim street lights that the tourists clung to. ^^Every time you see a light, your eyes will try to adjust to it, and ruin your ability to see in the darkness.^^

     Migga listened intently as we walked, shopped and explored. I added a Quick Reference Dictionary to her sack of supplies and chuckled when I saw that Migga now had Murrov's "Speak Tyrannian" book so she could translate.

     "I am looking forward to this semester, Dusk," Migga said slowly in Common Neopian that night.

     I smiled warmly and hugged her close. Well now, this year would be 'gedd' after all!


The End

From the author: Wheee! It's such a rush to finally finish this mini-epic story. Questions and fan mail are welcome. Flames will be fed to the Delete button as I laugh manically in the night.

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Other Episodes

» Dusk in Tyrannia: Part One
» Dusk in Tyrannia: Part Two
» Dusk in Tyrannia: Part Three
» Dusk in Tyrannia: Part Four
» Dusk in Tyrannia: Part Five
» Dusk in Tyrannia: Part Six

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