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by jade_steel


C'mon, lady! Hand over the Cool Negg!"

      Shiirala, who was also called the Negg Faerie, rubbed her forehead, sighing. "Look, sir, you don't have enough Negg Tokens. The Cool Negg is worth-"

      She was interrupted again by the person in front of her. "I have four Negg Tokens and that's plenty! I can get any Negg I want! Now hand over the Cool Negg!"

      Shiirala was about to start another cycle of the argument when suddenly a better idea popped into her head, one that would have appeared much sooner if she'd been thinking clearly. "NOW YOU'VE REALLY MADE ME ANGRY! GET OUT OF MY SHOP AND NEVER COME BACK!" she bellowed with a wicked glint in her eye. It was the way her friend in Tyrannia, the one who ran the Weapons shop, always rid herself of recalcitrant customers.

      The teen across the table stopped, startled. Then he ran, yelling, "I'm telling Fyora on you!"

      "Sheesh." Shiirala rested her elbows on the desk contemplatively. "I hope the Queen doesn't rag on me too much this time."

      The bell on the door to the icy shop rang, alerting the faerie to the presence of a new customer. Shiirala glanced up, and was happily surprised to see a regular of hers come in. "Hello, Miryam," she told the girl.

      "Hi!" The girl was in a good mood as she withdrew the Negg from her backpack. "Here. It's a Super Icy Negg."

      Shiirala's eyes widened. "My! It's not every day I get one of those! Wait a moment, I'll be right back."

      Humming tunelessly to herself, Shiirala padded through a corridor at the rear, eschewing the use of her beautiful, dragonfly-like wings. She placed the fragile Negg gently in a large pile of others like it, amassed over many years, and walked back out to where Miryam and her pet waited. "This brings your Negg Token total up to an impressive 306!"

      Miryam nodded, satisfied. "Um, I have a favor to ask."

      Shiirala leaned forward, listening.

      "Um, do you think you could take Kalinea to pick out a Negg? I promised her she could have any one she wanted, but I have an errand to run for Taelia... Could you help her pick? She knows where to meet me."

      The Negg Faerie leaned over the desk and peered down at the quiet Striped Draik. "Sure. I'd be happy to!" she told Miryam.

      "Oh, good!" exclaimed Miryam. "I'll see you at the Rink, then," she told Kalinea, and trotted out the door, presumably bound for the Ice Cream Stand.

      Shiirala came out from behind the desk and knelt down to speak to the Draik. "Hey. You want to come in back with me and pick out a Negg?"

      Kalinea's face lit up. "Sure!"

      Shiirala took the Draik's paw and led her toward one of the icy rooms at the back. She grinned inwardly at Kalinea's expression of awe as the two came into the place where Shiirala raised the special Neggs.

      "Ohhh..." she let out a soft sigh of wonder. Kalinea gazed about the room, her eyes sparkling in the search for the perfect Negg.

      "There!" Kalinea walked carefully over to a large clutch of purple-pink Neggs and picked one out, returning to Shiirala with her prize. "I like this one."

      The Negg Faerie carefully examined the Negg in question. It seemed fine, so she voiced an opinion: "A Faerie Queen Negg! A good choice, indeed."

      Shiirala escorted the little Draik and her Negg to the entrance. "You remember where to meet Miryam?"

      "Yup!" Kalinea nodded enthusiastically, then ran out the door, precious Negg clutched tightly to her chest.

      Shiirala watched the Draik go, her mind already clouding with thoughts of Neggs. She would have to make some more Faerie Queen Neggs soon; they were going like crazy.

      The faerie stiffened suddenly. Someone with great power had entered the room. It was most likely another faerie, but it always paid to be careful.

      Shiirala was heading for the special Negg room when a hand tapped her on the shoulder from behind.

      "Eek!" Shiirala shrieked, jerking away and twisting around awkwardly so that she wound up on her bottom, facing the unexpected guest.

      As Shiirala's eyes traveled up the purple and pink visitor, she quickly found her guest's identity, and bowed her head. "Queen Faerie."

      The addressed faerie, one Queen Fyora, frowned, offering Shiirala a hand. "Negg Faerie, what do I have to do to get you to call me Fyora?"

      Shiirala ignored the proffered hand, standing up and brushing off her spotted, green, furry skirt. "Am I to bestow upon you an honor you will not give me?"

      Fyora looked confused, and Shiirala smiled thinly. First victory of the war, she thought, and proceeded to enlighten the bemused queen. "You ask that I call you by name, Queen Faerie," Fyora grimaced at this last, but did not interrupt, "while you persistently avoid the use of my name!" Shiirala finished triumphantly.

      "Well," Fyora pointed out, "You don't have one."

      "I DO TOO HAVE A NAME!" Shiirala shouted.

      Oh dear, Fyora thought, more than a bit abashed. Sounds like I touched a sore spot. "What is it, then?" the Queen asked aloud.

      Shiirala huffed, somewhat gratified. "It's Shiirala."

      "Shiirala..." Fyora muttered, turning the unfamiliar name over in her mouth. "Well enough, then. Anyway, I'm here about your attitude toward customers."

      Shiirala groaned. "Not this again. Look, Fyora-"

      The queen cut her off. "No, I don't care about your excuses. Iyana is coming here tomorrow, to watch you work. She's reporting right to me. If I don't get a favorable report..."

      Fyora left the threat hanging, then disappeared.

      Shiirala plopped down on a nearby icy chair and rested her head in her hands, shaking it slowly. "Today is just not my day," she commented ruefully.

      The next day dawned bright and early, and Shiirala was up and ready, expecting Iyana. She heard a small knock at the door, and flew over, opening it at once. She peered out and found an Earth Faerie, completely wrapped in fleece and apparently still cold.

      "Oh my!" Shiirala exclaimed. She ushered the Earth Faerie in and sat her down. "Stay right here. I'll be right back with some Fireball Neggs. They'll have you warm soon enough!"

      As the other faerie - presumably Iyana - nodded her thanks, Shiirala ran for the Dangerous section of the Neggery, bypassing the Ferocious Neggs at the door easily.

      Shiirala slowed as she approached the mound of fiery Neggs, careful not to make any move which could potentially knock them over. She reached to the top and picked the two brightest ones, thankful that her skin was extremely temperature-resistant. The Fireball Neggs held safely against her bare midriff, Shiirala stepped over a growling Ferocious Negg and ran back to the Foyer, hoping to get the Earth Faerie warmed up.

      She placed the Neggs in special fireproof holders and gave them to the cold faerie. "Here. These should help you warm up."

      With a shiver, the Earth Faerie shed her outer wrappings and eagerly accepted the Neggs, holding the holders close to herself. "How do you live up here?" she questioned.

      Shiirala shrugged. "I don't really know. Maybe it's because I am very temperature-proof. So, you're Iyana, right?" she asked, eager to turn the conversation away from cold.

      The faerie nodded. "Yeah. You're Shiirala, right?"

      Shiirala nodded. "Thanks for remembering my name. I just about exploded at the queen yesterday when she called me 'Negg Faerie'."

      Iyana let out a soft snort of laughter. "I've no doubt she deserved it! I don't know why she put me on this job, really. Fyora knows I don't exactly like her. But, of course, she made me give my word to report back to her, so..." she shrugged. "You know how it goes. I'm bound by my word."

      Shiirala nodded again, this time in sympathy. "I know."

      The bell on the little door rang, signaling company. Shiirala resumed her customary place behind the desk and groaned as the customer came in sight. It was the teenager from yesterday, smiling broadly. "I told Fyora on you," he informed her proudly. "Now you have to give me my Cool Negg! I have four Negg Tokens, and I already told you, that's more than enough!"

      Something in Shiirala snapped, as if she suddenly didn't care what the queen thought. "Sure, come with me," she told him, a wicked twinkle appearing once more in her eyes.

      She lead the teen back, along the path she had run for the Fireball Neggs earlier. She didn't turn off for the special Neggs, though, but kept going, to the Dangerous Room. Shiirala snapped her fingers, and the Ferocious Neggs around the door got ready as she strolled inside and looked at a mixed pile of Spiky Neggs and Sneggs. "Oh dear, where can it be?" she asked the Snegg she was holding, and as the snarls from the Ferocious Neggs commenced, she tossed a few Sneggs and Spiky Neggs over her shoulder, all the time murmuring, "Dear oh dear, where could it have gone?"

      Needless to say, the teen was running out the door in an instant, one persistent Ferocious Negg clamped onto his bottom. Shiirala gathered up the thrown Neggs, placed them carefully in their pile, and turned to encounter Iyana, laughing so hard she was crying. "That was -- so -- funny!" she managed to choke out.

      Shiirala smiled, patted Iyana on the back, and made a resolution: She would finish the day's work, then pack some Neggs, enough to sell for a living, and leave. It was clear from just this that she was going to be fired, or the faerie equivalent, anyway.

      The rest of the day went off without a hitch, and far too soon it was time for Iyana to make her report and Shiirala to run. She finished packing her belongings and took a few Cool Neggs, a few Ferocious Neggs, and a Faerie Queen Negg to smash. She was about ready to leave when a hand on her shoulder stopped her.

      "Hold, Shiirala," Fyora said.

      Shiirala turned, all controls on her temper gone. "Hold what? I'm leaving, isn't that what you want? You listen to all the complaints, and never listen to the good things. Typical." Shiirala picked up her basket and prepared to leave.

      "Well, you'll be happy to know that Iyana wasn't here today," the queen announced, smiling.

      Shiirala whirled. "Then who was that Earth Faerie?"

      Fyora shrugged, looking modest. "Well, I do have power over all elements, and Iyana was sick today, so I took her place. It's a good thing I did, or you'd be out of a job. But I heard it all, and yes, that was me laughing hysterically when you sent him running. I see now how hard your job can be, and why you're apt to get angry at times."

      Shiirala turned all this over in her mind. "Does this mean I can stay and look after the Neggs?"

      Fyora nodded. "But on one condition."

      Shiirala raised an eyebrow. "What's that?"

      The queen smiled. "That you let me make it known to all that the Negg Faerie has a name, and that is Shiirala!"

The End Author's Note: Con/Crit, neomails, etc. are all welcomed. I noticed that there are at least three 'special' faeries without a name. The ones that stood out were the Space Faerie, the Tooth Faerie, and the Negg Faerie. Soooo.... That's where the idea for this came from!

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