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Upon Spiralling Mountains


by sylviau

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It is said, that a long time ago, when Shenkuu was a small village - smaller than it is even today, great flowers covered the surrounding hilltops. These flowers were among the most beautiful ever to grace Neopia, with their intricate petals and heart warming colours. They covered the lush green hills with vibrant splashes of colour, and the perfume of their petals was enough to mesmerize someone. These flowers bloomed freely, and naturally, appearing at the beginning of spring, where they remained until the first breath of winter.

     It is said, that a great river flowed down the mountain, bringing clean, pure water to the locals below. The water itself was the colour of diamonds, and each wave shone in the dazzling sunlight, casting rainbows on its surface. Atop this thriving hill, there grew a single bush, which bore the sweetest of fruit. Every day, each of the locals made the journey up the hill to pick it. Each neopet took no more than one, and every day, new fruit grew overnight to replace what had been eaten.

     The people of Shenkuu were happy. The fruit of this bush brought them health and contentment in life. The villagers never starved, and they never became ill. The crops bore much grain, and every man had what he needed to sustain his family, and to give to his neighbours as well. That’s the way it worked in the village. Occasionally, an ill traveler would wander into the village square. The locals would take him up the mountain, so that he could drink from the stream, and eat the fruit of the bush, and become well again.

     There was peace in the land of Shenkuu for quite some time. Each day the mist surrounding the village would part to reveal a glorious sunrise; morning radiance was reflected off every dewdrop that formed on the delicate petals of the spiralling mountains. Each morning the children awoke to the sweet chirping of Naleaps as they took flight. They would wake their parents with eager smiles, anticipating the morning’s climb.

     And together, every villager would slowly exit his house and make his way toward the top.

     There was a sense of unity; of belonging. Each neighbour loved the other like family. They were friends. Brought together by kindness; their love for each other thrived like the sweetest fruit on the mountain.

     One little Cybunny in particular loved to make this climb. She was an orphan, the poor little thing, barely five years old. The only thing she had from her past life was her doll, filled with petals and seeds of the beautiful flowers of the mountain. She treasured it with all her heart.

     The doll itself was wonderful. Her hair was the colour of sunshine, her dress the colour of lilacs and roses, and of the majestic flowers that grew around the village. She gave off a sweet perfume, thanks to the petals she was filled with. It was a gorgeous doll, handcrafted by an elder of the village long ago. Things had remained simple since that elder’s time, and the people of the village hoped it would stay that way.

     But one day, something went wrong.

     It started off with one arrogant Ogrin.

     “Look here,” he thought to himself. “Every day, people pick the fruit, and every day, it grows back. This fruit has the power to heal any ailment. If I was to collect it, I could sell it and make millions!”

     And so, armed with his horrible plan, the Ogrin proceeded to take two fruit from the bush. Then three. Soon enough, other villagers began to follow his example.

     Every day, villagers would go and grab all the fruit they could, so that none would remain. This caused several arguments, and folk began to steal from their neighbours. The village began to break apart.

     The town was unsettled. Family turned against each other, neighbours stole and cheated each other, and there was an unpleasant aura all around.

     The bush itself began to wither. Slowly at first.

     Whenever fruit was taken, one among them would not grow back. If five hundred fruit were picked by the villagers, only four hundred ninety nine would be found the next morning. Gradually, the number began to diminish; until one day, to the villagers’ utmost horror, only a handful of fruit remained.

     One such dreadful morning, the young Cybunny made her way up the mountain. She had woken early every morning, to get her one fruit. She was the only one in the village who had not taken any more than she needed. Unfortunately, some would not even give her that.

     Reaching the top of the mountain, she found only one fruit upon the bush. A delighted smile bloomed across her features as she lovingly reached up to pick it.

     A rough hand pushed her aside, and closed around the fruit.

     As she got up, dusting off her dress, she looked up into the face of her neighbour. “Mine,” he snarled, baring his teeth.

     At that moment, the fruit in his hand withered. It simply gave up.

     Dropping it as if it had burned him, the villager gasped. The moment the blackened fruit hit the ground, the tree itself trembled. It split in half, as if struck by lightning.

     An audible gasp came up from the mountain. A silent tear rolled down the face of the Cybunny as she looked down on the face of the whole village that had followed her up the mountain.

     With a trembling voice she said, “Look, look what you’ve done.” She pointed behind them, down the side of the mountain.

     Every flower now drooped, low to the ground. Every petal had been crushed by the stampeding of feet as people rushed up the hill to steal from the bush. These flowers were dead, everyone could see, and they would not grow back, for they had lost their seeds.

     “This bush gave us everything we needed,” the Cybunny whispered. “We were happy, we were friends. But look now. Your crops have withered, your Kaus are thin. And some of you have become ill. But we have no bush to make us well, and the waters of the great river have become polluted because of your carelessness. Every flower on the mountain has withered.”

     Looking around, the villagers realised that she was right.

     They had been greedy and careless, and now they would pay for it. The village suffered.

     But strangely enough, this only brought them together again. They had lost everything they had once so tenderly cared for. One by one, the neighbours apologized, and bonds were strengthened again. The river became clean, and the crops were plentiful. Though the villagers no longer had the fruit to sustain them.

     They had to work hard to make the mountain beautiful again. Every one of them would plant flowers, and every day they had to be watered. These flowers were not nearly as beautiful as the old ones, nor did they grow freely. They had to be cared for. Eventually, the village went back to normal, though they grieved for their losses.

     One day, the young Cybunny stood upon the hill, next to where the bush once stood, clutching her doll to her chest. She knew what she had to do.

     The villagers watched from below the mountain as she carefully cut through the stitching that held her doll together. Carefully she took the petals from inside, and set them free to spiral downward.

     The wind took the seeds from the petals, and spread them out, taking them to every corner of the mountain. The Cybunny smiled.

     The next day, the flowers grew back. They were not quite as pretty as before, but they grew freely on the mountain. Some were the colour of sunshine, others the colour of lilacs and roses. Because of this young Cybunny who sacrificed her only belonging, the lush, spiralling mountain was beautiful again. A single stem emerged from the place where the bush once grew.

     It is said, that long ago, beautiful flowers grew upon the spiralling hilltops of Shenkuu. These flowers were among the most beautiful ever to grace Neopia, with their intricate petals and heart warming colours. They covered the lush green hills with vibrant splashes of colour, and the perfume of their petals was enough to mesmerize someone. When the villagers took for granted what they had, the flowers withered.

     It is said, that because of one Cybunny, whose name remains unremembered, the flowers grew back; not quite as pretty as before, but they grew freely, and naturally. They represented sorrow and repentance, sacrifice and love.

     It is said, that every once in a while, an ill traveler will wander up the mountain. He will know to drink from the stream that flows there, and find the fruit that will have grown for him to consume.

     It is said, that if you wander the hills of Shenkuu, you will come across the most beautiful flowers; that bloom freely and naturally, appearing at the beginning of spring, where they remain until the first breath of winter.

The End

 
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