Enter the Snowflake's lair... Circulation: 196,379,842 Issue: 904 | 12th day of Relaxing, Y22
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The Music Box

by eracina


"Are you really leaving, Filo?"

     Elon hung in the back of the Maraquan locker room as Filo was saying his goodbyes. Elon was personally thrilled to have the nosy pain-in-the-neck gone, but the others seemed to be upset about it.

     He wasn't.

     Not at all.

     Not in the slightest.

     Filo smiled and gave Barit a pat on the shoulder. "Don't worry about it, Barit." he said, "I'd been planning this for a while. It'll be fine."

     The team rookie, Oten, stepped forward. "Sorry to see ya go, bud." he said, "I'll never forget all ya taught me."

     Elon resisted the urge to roll his eyes. It wasn't like Filo was dying! They could visit him whenever.



     He began tuning everything out. The only reason he was here to begin with was because of that sneaky old Koi and his pestering. As if on cue Elon felt a tap on his shoulder and saw Tonie with his maractite walking stick.

     Elon glared at him, but Tonie didn't back down. Wordlessly he moved the cane and Elon stumbled slightly as he was pushed forward by it.

     Elon tensed as he felt all the eyes in the room on him. Now he REALLY didn't want to be here. It wasn't like he had anything to say to Filo. It was over. Done. By this time tomorrow, they would be playing with Dorina Hals as if nothing had changed. Why did he have to say or do anything?


     Elon turned his attention to Filo while silently cursing Tonie for putting him on the spot. The old Koi just couldn't let sleeping warfs lie.

     Filo's face was unreadable. "I'm not going to lie; you're a hopeless, stubborn jerk."

     This time Elon didn't stop himself from his eye roll.

     "Gee, thanks."

     Elon was tempted to just leave when he felt Filo push something onto him. He blinked a couple of times as he looked down on what was now in his arms.

     It was a present. It had blue wrapping and a neat, little yellow ribbon on top. Elon just stared at it.


     What just happened?

     "That's from me," Elon heard Filo say. He hadn't taken his eyes of the gift. "Consider it something to remember me by."

     Elon didn't say anything. He couldn't. There was some chatter, but Elon didn't really register it. He was completely frozen on the spot. Had Filo finally lost his mind? The Flotsam hated him! Or at least he was supposed to. What in Fyora's name had brought this on?

     Suddenly Elon felt someone pat him on the head, finally shaking him out of his short-circuit.

     He looked up at Filo who was smiling at him.

     "I don't understand you."

     The words just fell out of Elon's mouth much to his own horror. While Elon was always blunt he rarely betrayed his thoughts so completely unfiltered. It was too dangerous for him to do so.

     While Filo's smile faltered a bit, he didn't seem to be upset. He didn't seem upset at all.

     "Don't worry about it, Elon." he said, "You'll get it in time."


Fourteenth Altador cup, year 21

     Elon slowly opened his eyes as the soft tune started to come to an end. He looked up at the bedside table. His music box was perched right in the middle. From the bed provided to him by the Altador Cup Committee, he could see the water Kyrii coming to a halt and the maraquan Hissi going into the darkest corner of the blue velvet.

     That music box was his treasure. He always brought it with him for every Altador Cup. It had become one of those "everyone knows, but never talk about it" things for his team and Elon was grateful for it.

     He pushed himself up from the bed and picked up his treasure. On the opposite end of the Hissi was a button that wasn't as hidden as it used to be over a decade ago due to wear and tear. Carefully Elon twisted it and with a small click a little compartment in the bottom opened.

     Avoiding looking into the mirror behind the Kyrii, Elon took out a letter. It had been there when he got it and Elon had read it several times. Why was beyond him. It wasn't a flattering letter, yet he had the urge to read it over and over again.

     Gently he opened it and the familiar handwriting greeted him.

     The music box was a gift, but this letter was the final piece of advice that Filo Desenz ever gave him.

     Elon sighed heavily as he slowly began reading the familiar letter.


Elon. I'll begin this with apologising for not saying all of this in person. This will most likely be uncomfortable for you to read, but I ask that you do so anyway. Read every word to the very end.

     It was probably team Maraqua's worst kept secret that you and I couldn't get along. However, if I told you it had little to do with how you played yooyuball, would you believe me? Don't get me wrong, you are a most frustrating teammate to have, but the reasons for our fights was probably a lot different from my side than what you'd expect.

     Elon, the reason I was "Always on your case", so to speak, was because of your shell.

     If you've read this far you either have bought into your own lies and have no idea what I'm talking about or you know I'm right on the money. Perhaps it's both.

     It was always so frustrating to me, watching you go about as if the entire world was against you. It was obvious that something was wrong with your behaviour. Something was gnawing at you and I was determined to "fix" it. I was prepared to do anything to get through your defences, just so you could finally talk to me and we could actually get somewhere.

     Once Tonie told me that rushing someone into something they're not ready for, even if that something would be objectively good for them, can cause more harm than good. I waved him off at the time, but he was right of course.

     Instead of getting you out of your shell as I had hoped, I instead ended up making you feel threatened and thusly making you more guarded. It was the opposite of what I wanted.

     I know that I'm not exactly setting a good example for you by not apologising for my behaviour in person. Yet it’s all I can do. It might be the only way for me to say what I so dearly want you to hear and it might be the only way you can actually listen.

     I'm sorry, Elon.

     I'm sorry for not being a better captain for you back in Y8.

     I'm sorry for not being patient enough, for not giving you the space you needed to safely come out of your shell.

     I was the captain of team Maraqua for only one year, only one cup, but let me be the annoying captain for one last time with some final advice.

     Take your time, Elon.

     It doesn’t have to be today nor tomorrow. It doesn’t have to be next month. It doesn’t even have to be in the next 20 years, but I do ask this of you.

     Be brave.

     Talk to someone.

     It might seem like an impossible thing for you to do now, but if you keep whatever the problem is under lock and key it's going to keep eating at you. One day it might devour you whole.

     We aren't made to keep so much pain hidden away for long periods of time, Elon.

     At this point I can only wish you good luck and best wishes.

     Your ex-teammate.

     Filo Desenz.

     Gently Elon closed the letter again and put it back into its place.

     Filo's hunch had been right of course. Elon has been guarded since even before joining the team way back then. It was also true that something was gnawing at him and that it was getting worse and worse. These days he was too tired to really fight back against the world that hated him so.

     Elon bit his bottom lip as his mind flashed an old memory before his eyes. Elon silently cursed himself. The memory was hazy to the point where he could hardly make it out.

     He truly was a terrible person.

     Shaking his head as if willing the bad thoughts away Elon turned his attention back to the music box. The melody it made was one of the few things Elon found soothing, that and just losing himself in yooyuball practice.

     Elon picked up the maractite wind-up key and slowly began turning it. Maybe the tune would put him in a better mood.

     Just as the music box was about to play, however, something went wrong. The horrid sound of something snapping made Elon's heart race as the water Kyrii stopped moving halfway through her starting pirouette. The music box fell completely silent.

     Oh no.

     Elon tried winding it up again, but to no avail.

     No, no, no, no.

     The wind-up key fell from his hands as he realised what just happened.

     No, no, no, no, no!

     His music box.

     His most treasured possession.

     It was broken.

     To be continued…

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