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The Rainbow and the Wind: Part Two


by neo_star_queen

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It was a beautiful day in wherever Happiness was. The breeze was cool and gentle. Was Cirsha controlling it? The wind that was pushing tiny waves onto the shore, the wind that was blowing through the leaves of the trees… was it all controlled by Cirsha?

     "There are a lot of petpets here," remarked Happiness, the feeling of wind through her fur and under her stomach already becoming a familiar feeling. "Did they all come in through the hole?"

     "Some of them did, but I brought most of them in by myself," replied Cirsha. "I like petpets. They're never too busy to listen to me. They never complain about their problems and then run off before I can respond. They're so carefree and simple."

     Cirsha winced and shook her head quickly. 'Why am I saying so much? This Cybunny is just like all the others, even if she pretends to be different.'

     Happiness, looking down at a herd of grazing Babaa, didn't reply. Suddenly she looked right into Cirsha's eyes and smiled. The Kyrii blinked in surprise and looked away. What was it about those childish blue eyes?

     "We'll stop here," said Cirsha, a swirl of wind circling her tail as it turned back into a pair of slim legs. She landed gracefully on a tree branch, one foot in front of the other. Happiness was deposited gently on the branch as well.

     "Are you hungry?" asked Cirsha.

     "Sort of."

     "Well I don't have any food that you'd like." Cirsha sat down on the branch with her legs dangling over the edge and continued, "I don't eat, and you won't like the food that I feed the petpets."

     "That's okay," said Happiness merrily. "You don't eat? I thought you said that you aren't made of wind?"

     "It's kind of hard to explain," said Cirsha, who really didn't feel like explaining anything. "I have three different forms. One is like this, nearly a normal Neopet, except for being transparent. Another is the form that I usually use for flying, where I can move through solid objects like wind, but I am still visible as one figure. And last is where I am completely one with the wind, and only my eyes are visible. I use that when I don't want to be seen."

     "Isn't it weird when people just see a pair of floating eyes though?" asked Happiness curiously. She let her own large feet dangle off the branch and bent her head forward dangerously far.

     "When I close my eyes, you can't see me at all."

     "Oh, show me! Please show me!" requested Happiness, clapping her little paws.

     Cirsha rolled her eyes. "I don't feel like it."

     "Pleeease?" begged Happiness. "I won't ask you for anything else, promise."

     Cirsha sighed and slid off the branch grudgingly. Happiness watched as the Kyrii's body disappeared slowly, dissolving into the air. Soon only her eyes were left. "See my eyes?" asked Cirsha's bodiless voice. Happiness nodded rapidly, entranced. The floating pair of sharp blue eyes suddenly closed, leaving Happiness with only a clear view of the sky.

     Happiness suddenly started to giggle. She giggled uncontrollably, her nails digging into the branch to keep herself from falling off. Cirsha reappeared beside her. "What's so funny?" asked the Kyrii in an annoyed tone of voice.

     Happiness grinned. "You remind me of my owner and me when we play tag. When we're gonna get caught, we close our eyes and shout, 'If I can't see you, then you can't see me!' But it never works."

     Cirsha raised her eyebrows. "That doesn't make any sense. We're not alike at all!"

     More giggles from Happiness. "It's just funny," she said cheerfully. "You should play with us sometime! You'd win for sure! I always lose, but I love playing with my family."

     Happiness turned to face Cirsha. "What about your family? Please tell me about them. Are they all like wind too? I'm really curious!"

     "My story is too long to tell," replied Cirsha, gazing out across her little world. "You'll be too bored to hear it."

     "I have lots of time."

     Cirsha repositioned herself so that she could lean her back against the trunk of the tree. She regarded Happiness over her knees. The little Cybunny was looking directly at her again, her ears perked up and an enthusiastic look on her face. She was clearly listening. Cirsha wound a lock of hair around her finger. She'd always wanted, no matter how unwilling she was to admit it, just to have someone to talk to. Someone who would give her all their attention, so that for just once, she could talk. And once she was done, they would reply, unlike the wordless petpets. Oh, talking to the petpets was nice, but she wished that just once they would reply, so she could be sure that they were listening. She could talk, instead of always drifting through Neopia, unseen and silent, listening to the Neopets and their owners go on and on. Always listening to others, never getting a chance to let someone else know, for once, how she felt. What her story was. Cirsha looked up at the sky and thought hard.

     "I was born in Faerieland as a Maraquan Kyrii," she said finally. "I spent my childhood living with a group of four air Faeries. We had a small house, but I didn't mind because we spent most of our time outdoors." Her voice was silent and uncertain. Happiness leaned forward so as to hear her better.

     "I loved to be outside. The air was always fresh in Faerieland, and the skies were endless. I loved to stare at the sky for hours, day or night, it didn't matter. The Air Faeries said that when I turned six years old, I would be old enough to fly, and they would buy me a Faerie Paint Brush. Because of my Maraquan colour, I had always found it hard to travel across Faerieland, having to drag myself by my fins… I had always dreamed of the freedom of flying… so I was thrilled, of course…" she stopped. "This part is probably boring," she said quickly, "should I skip ahead?"

     Happiness shook her head. "If I don't hear the whole story, how will I understand it?"

     Cirsha drew her knees up further and gazed down at the ground. "I never got painted Faerie," she continued. "Three days before my sixth birthday, I caught a terrible disease from touching one of Jhudora's petpets. The Air Faeries said they could heal me with a potion. However, the potion had a permanent side-effect: if I drank it, I would not be a normal Neopet anymore. I would turn into something almost like wind. I would melt into the sky.

     "Of course, I didn't mind at all. I loved the sky. It was my dream to soar across it, and being turned into wind sounded fantastic to me. The Air Faeries I lived with seemed apprehensive about it, and I couldn't understand why. But because the disease was so deadly, they fed me the potion.

     "The change happened instantly. I felt wind gushing around me, spinning so fast that I felt like I was in the middle of a tornado. When the wind subsided, I fell to the floor, dizzy and shaken. When my head finally cleared, I looked in the mirror and could not see a reflection. I looked at my paws and discovered that they were completely transparent, and only my faint outline was visible.

     "Technically, I had been turned invisible. That is how I was registered as a normal Neopet in the Faerieland census. It was not what I had expected… and the change was irreversible, unlike the effect of a paint brush. I was stuck as a being of the wind forever."

     Happiness still seemed completely enthralled by the story.

     Cirsha stared at her knees, wondering if she should continue. All that she had just said had only been her past, but the next part contained feelings that she had never shared with anyone. "I… well, that's how I became the way I am today," the Kyrii said awkwardly.

     Happiness smiled at her. "It was very interesting. The only part I didn't like was the ending. I hope you'll finish telling me this story later."

     Cirsha didn't reply.

     ***

     When Neofaerie and NSQ arrived back at the shore, looking exhausted but relieved, they found Neoangel already waiting for them.

     "Neoangel, did you find Happiness?" asked NSQ anxiously, her pleased expression changing as she saw that Neoangel was alone.

     "I searched the forest and scanned the nearby area from the skies, and I could not find her. I also did not find any sign of her in the forest, so I do not think any of the creatures in there got to her." Neoangel crossed her arms. "I sense that she is safe and unharmed, but I do not know where she is…"

     NSQ sighed. "Well, let's keep looking for her," she said, rubbing a crick in her neck. "If she's safe, than it's okay."

     ***

     "Tada!" said Happiness proudly, standing up on four feet. "That's how you do a Turmac Roll! Whoa!" The little Cybunny lost her balance and fell sideways off the tree branch. A blast of wind picked her up and dropped her back in front of Cirsha. "Umm… tada!" said Happiness again. "That's the real ending!" She beamed.

     Cirsha couldn't help but smile as Happiness leaped to the end of the branch energetically to show the Kyrii a cartwheel. The colourful little pet was so full of life. As Happiness stood up from her clumsy cartwheel, Cirsha suddenly remembered where the Cybunny was really supposed to be.

     "It should be safe now," Cirsha told her, "in the forest. I can take you back there now… if you'd like." A little part of her, buried beneath that cold exterior, wanted the Cybunny to stay.

     "Oh? Okay, let's go!!" said Happiness brightly. "I hope Neoangel isn't too worried! I've been gone for quite a while!" Her smile widened. "I can't wait to hear how NSQ and Neofaerie did in Maraqua!"

     Cirsha felt a strange pang in her heart as her legs transformed into a tail again and she sent a wave of wind to pick Happiness up. What was that odd feeling? She felt it on a regular basis, but it couldn't be… it couldn't possibly be jealousy.

     'But it is jealousy,' thought Cirsha as they traveled towards the short tunnel that would lead back into the forest. 'I know it's jealousy, because I always feel jealous. Jealous of the normal pets, who can have conversations with each other everyday. And now I'm jealous of this Cybunny as well, because she has a loving family?' Cirsha bit her lip. 'Am I just becoming selfish?'

     They reached the tunnel. Happiness floated up slowly, coming to land outside the hole. She smiled and looked around. Same old calm, quiet forest. Cirsha flew up and hovered above Happiness protectively, her eyes darting back and forth suspiciously. The creatures hissed, but didn't dare go closer.

     "Are you coming with me, Cirsha?" asked Happiness hopefully.

     "Ah?" The Kyrii was taken aback. "Why?"

     "I thought you'd like to meet my family!" said Happiness cheerily. "Oh, wait, you said not to tell anyone about you… but… well, hmm…"

     Cirsha eyed a set of sharp claws poking out from behind a tree. "Fine, I'll take you out of the forest," she agreed. "But then I'm going back."

     "Okay! That's fair," said Happiness, nodding. She trotted off down the path, with Cirsha trailing behind her.

     They made their way through the forest, Happiness chatting away joyfully and Cirsha listening silently. Listening again. But somehow, listening to the cheerful little Cybunny talk was alright. Cirsha realized that some of the things Happiness had done were things that Cirsha could do too. 'Maybe it's been too long…' thought Cirsha dolefully. 'After my Faerieland friends suddenly stopped playing with me, and I came down to Neopia… maybe they were actually the only ones who shunned me because of my state. Maybe all this time I kept running away from people who wanted to get to know me…' Cirsha looked up at the sky. 'I haven't been to Faerieland in a really long time.'

     "We're heeeere!" announced Happiness, leaping out into the grass. The dock stood a few feet away, waves lapping beneath it. "Huh. Neoangel, NSQ and Neofaerie aren't here! Maybe they're still in Maraqua? No, they probably came back to Neopia Central… now I hafta go find them!"

     Cirsha looked around. It might be fun to go somewhere with the little Cybunny. She opened her mouth to offer her help, but before she could help it she found herself saying, "I suppose I'll have to help you search, then?" Old habits didn't die easily.

     "Yay, that would be really nice of you!" said Happiness brightly. "I think they're probably still in Neopia Central." A gust of wind picked her up and she rose into the sky, followed by Cirsha. "Neofaerie is a green Kougra, and NSQ has kinda medium-length black hair. I think she was wearing a red and white t-shirt this morning. Neoangel is a Christmas Zafara, and she wears this brown cloak." Happiness looked into the distance. "Let's try the main ring of shops first."

     "Alright," said Cirsha unenthusiastically. They moved with the wind, and had arrived at The Neopian Bazaar in a matter of seconds. Cirsha set Happiness down on a table outside the bakery and stood on the ground in her first form, trying to look normal.

     "Hi there!" Happiness immediately greeted a Shoyru coming out of the shop. "Have you seen a girl with a green Kougra anywhere?"

     The Shoyru shook his head blankly.

     "That's not going to work," Cirsha sighed. "At least ask the shop owner. Where does your family usually shop?"

     "Good idea," said Happiness cheerfully. She scampered into the bakery.

     The Shoyru, still standing by the door, was staring at Cirsha. "You… what are you made of? I've never seen this colour in Neopia before. Hey!" He turned and beckoned to three other pets near the garden shop. "Guys, come check this out!"

     "What are you doing?" asked Cirsha nervously, taking a step backward as the three youths ran up to her. Her legs automatically turned into a long tail.

     "Whoa, that's so cool!" they said admiringly. One of them plunged her arm through Cirsha's stomach.

     "Stop it!" yelped Cirsha, darting into the air. She backed away, her eyes flitting around uneasily. She was attracting a larger crowd.

     "Hey, you can fly too! Are you a ghost?"

     "How do you do that? Hey, teach me!"

     "Come back! Hey!"

     Cirsha had had enough. She flew up high into the air and evaporated into the wind.

     "Whoa! What just happened?"

     Happiness crawled under a pair of legs and looked around in surprise. Where had this large mob come from? Where was Cirsha? "S'cuse me please!" she said, worming her way out of the crowd. The wind was getting stronger. A few of the pets pulled their jackets around themselves tightly. Happiness looked around, and then, noticing a small blue and red roof on the other side of the bazaar, she started hopping towards it.

     Happiness reached the wishing well and climbed up the cool stone side. "Hello?" she said, peering down the well. "Can you grant my wish? I'm looking for my friend!" She paused. "Umm… I don't have any neopoints, but I'll pay you back!"

     "No need," said a small voice from behind Happiness. "I'm here."

     Happiness turned around and sat down on the ledge of the well. "Cirsha! I thought you'd got lost," she said in her usual bright tone of voice. "There are kind of a lot of shops here."

     Cirsha sat down on the ledge beside her and said nothing.

     "So, are we gonna search some more?" asked Happiness.

     "I think you can probably go by yourself," said Cirsha quietly. "I got you here, right?"

     "Oh, well… if you're too busy, I understand," replied Happiness. "I just thought it'd be fun to look for my family together! Like hide-and-seek."

     "I just remembered why I don't belong here."

     "Huh? That's not true!" Happiness sat up on her back legs. "I mean sure you belong in your peaceful little forest, but you belong here outside too. You can be in both places. I think what I'm saying is… is… well, what happened, Cirsha?"

     "I think I'll go home now," mumbled Cirsha. She slid of the ledge, her legs turning once again into a Maraquan's tail of wind. She paused. She wanted to invite Happiness to come over sometime… so they could talk again… Cirsha rose into the air. No, the Cybunny was better off in her own world. She started to float up slowly, like a balloon with no one to hold onto the string.

     "Ah, wait!" said Happiness. "Come meet my family! They'll like you, I'm sure! We can all go on a picnic! Cirsha, don't go yet! My big brother will want to race you! And my big sister, you probably have a lot in common! She likes flying too! She'll listen to you! Cirsha! Don't run away!"

     Cirsha stopped at once. She spun around and stared down at Happiness. "What did you say?"

     "I said… my sister likes flying?"

     Cirsha flew down until she was right in front of Happiness's furry face. "I'm not running away. I'm stronger than that. I don't run away."

     "I didn't say you were. Did I? I'm sorry Cirsha, I don't know what I'm saying! Please don't leave!"

     "I don't run away," Cirsha repeated. She frowned. "Why are you so desperate?" Happiness was almost relieved to hear Cirsha's quiet voice being replaced by her usual snappy tones.

     "I don't know. You're a good person. I don't think you should lock yourself up anymore." Happiness smiled and sat back. "You need a friend."

     Cirsha regarded Happiness thoughtfully. "Are you my friend?"

     "Yes."

     "Well you're my only friend, Happiness. Friends are people who accept you for who you are." Cirsha looked back through the trees angrily.

     "I want you to continue the story now," Happiness ordered. Cirsha looked at her in surprise. "After you drank the potion, what happened? Did you immediately come down to Neopia Central?"

     "Well, no. I… I stayed in Faerieland for a few more years."

     "Where'd you live?"

     "Same place, with the Air Faeries."

     "Really? They didn't kick you out because of what you'd become?"

     "I… no. They didn't. They…" Cirsha sighed. "Okay, they accepted me. Maybe I made a mistake. But everyone makes mistakes."

     "Yesterday I ate too much chocolate and got a stomach ache," said Happiness. "But today I'm fine."

     Cirsha gazed at her sadly. "I've been making mistakes my entire life, haven't I? And today I'm…"

     "Would you like to come meet my family?" asked Happiness, as if it were the first time she was offering.

     "No. No I… I think I'll go see how the Air Faeries have been doing for the past couple of years."

     "That's always nice," said Happiness, her voice cheerful again. "Well… goodbye, then. I have to go look for NSQ and my siblings."

     Cirsha nodded, rising slowly into the air. She paused again. "Happiness… you can always come and visit me. You know where I am. And… if I'm not there… leave a message with one of the petpets."

     "Oh? Why wouldn't you be there?"

     "I might be… somewhere else. I guess there are a few things that I've been missing out on."

     "That sounds fun," said Happiness. Wind tickled her ears and she giggled.

     Cirsha shrugged, but she couldn't help but grin. "It might be. Goodbye, Happiness."

     ***

     "HAPPIIIIII!" Happiness felt a pair of arms wrap themselves tightly around her stomach and swing her into the air. "NEOFAERIE!" her captor yelled. "I FOUND HER!"

     "Help me, I'm being kidnapped!" Happiness chirped, recognizing her owner's voice.

     "I'll save you!" chuckled Neofaerie, bounding up to the pair. "Roar."

     NSQ squeezed Happiness tighter. "I'm so glad you're safe!" said the girl.

     "And full," said Happiness, her smile widening. She pointed through the doors of the chocolate factory, which she had been sitting outside of before NSQ attacked her. "The nice chocolate factory owner gave me lots of ice cream!"

     "Aww man!" Neofaerie sighed. "It's gonna be just like yesterday! You need to learn from your mistakes, Happiness."

     Neoangel fluttered down before the Cybunny could reply. "Here we all are," said Neoangel, smiling. "It is good to see you safe, Happiness."

     "Oh!" Happiness poked NSQ. "Did you sign up for the war in time?"

     "Yep!" Suddenly NSQ and Neofaerie were glaring at each other playfully. "But I wanted to sign up with the pirates! This ummaginehead signed up with Maraqua!"

     "No way am I fighting for a pirate captain!"

     "You fuzzlebrain! I am a pirate! Kind of! Almost!"

     "Stop calling me weird names!"

     Neoangel patted Happiness's head and smiled. "So where were you, Happiness?"

     Neofaerie turned around. "Yeah, where'd you go?"

     Happiness leaped out of her owner's arms (which was not a good move for someone about to tell an exciting story, as it made her considerably shorter). "Oooh! I was in the most amazing place! I-" Happiness grabbed her ears. "I can't tell you!"

     "What?"

     "I made a promise to- nooo, I can't tell you that either! She made me promise not to tell anyone about her really cool home and- ahh, I've said too much!"

     "What are you rambling about?" asked Neofaerie.

     "I met this Neopet, and Neoangel, you two probably would have gotten along well! And she lived in this really neat foresty place, but I can't tell you where it is! Neofaerie, you would've really loved to explore it!"

     "Gee thanks," drawled the Kougra. "Are you making this up?"

     "I'm not! I wish I could tell you about it, but I can't!" Happiness suddenly smiled again. "She was really nice though. Maybe someday she'll be ready to meet you guys."

     "Hey, a promise is a promise," said NSQ. Neofaerie tossed Happiness onto his back. "Let's go home, guys. I think I left the oven on."

     "NSQ!" barked Neofaerie.

     "HAH! We don't have an oven, remember? It exploded last week!"

     "Oh, that makes me feel better," said Neofaerie with a groan. "Why don't we eat out tonight?"

     Happiness shook her head, her long ears tickling NSQ's chin. "I don't want to eat out. We can order food if no one feels like cooking, but I just… want to go home."

     "Homesick, eh?" said NSQ wisely. "It happens. We can order pizza."

     "I think that would be nice," replied Happiness cheerfully.

The End

 
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