Alima's Tales: The Broken Mirror
Also by renrenthehamster
"MANYA! Give that back!"
Manya kept running, his little sister's shrill wails echoing in his ears. Girls can be SUCH pains in the tail! he fumed.
In this case, Manya meant it quite literally. His sister Tolli had been given a pink cobrall mirror as a Bori Day present some months ago and had carried it with her ever since, giving herself airs and telling anyone who would listen about how beautifully the mirror matched her fur. Manya had been annoyed by the whole thing, but had avoided saying anything about it unless Tolli had bothered him directly. But a few minutes ago, when Tolli had been too busy preening herself in her mirror to notice that she was stepping heavily on Manya's long Meerca tail, he had lost his temper and grabbed the mirror from her.
Manya dashed through his family's home and out the front door. He glanced over his shoulder. Tolli had not given up the chase and was hot on his heels. The Island Meerca scowled. This is all that stupid mirror's fault!
Manya whirled around to face Tolli, who screeched to a halt. "If you want your stupid mirror so badly, here!" he yelled, hurling the mirror as hard as he could at the nearest wall, where it shattered into hundreds of pieces. Tolli burst into tears and sank to the floor, her tears mingling with the scattered remnants of mirror.
Manya felt a slight pang of guilt as he ran to his room and slammed his door shut. He could still hear his sister's faint sobs, so he climbed into bed, burrowed himself under his blankets, and clutched his pillow to his ears. Manya had learned that his mother would find him no matter where he hid when he was in trouble, so there was no sense in trying to avoid her.
It felt like hours later when Manya heard a gentle knock at his door, though in reality, it had probably only been a few minutes. "Come in," he said, not removing the pillow from his head. He sensed, rather than heard, his mother enter and sit down on the foot of his bed.
Manya felt a soft, furry Ogrin paw stroke his back soothingly through the blanket. "It was a typical morning in Neopia Central," began Alima, her silky voice absent of anger. Manya cautiously uncovered his ears to listen.
"Dr. Paw, the green Gelert, was humming softly along with the Neopian Philharmonic music playing gently in the background as he finished setting up his diagnostic tools for the day. He nodded once at his secretary to unlock the hospital doors as he walked across the room to sit at his desk. Before he was fully settled, in rushed a frantic striped Yurble. 'Doc, you GOTTA help me,' the overwrought Yurble gasped for breath. 'Calm down, son, have a seat and tell me what's wrong,' the doctor manuevered the Yurble to a chair... or attempted to. 'I'll go get him!' the Yurble rushed right back out, leaving the doctor vaguely confused and wondering what just happened.
"The doctor shrugged, and went back to his seat. Moments later, the Yurble ran in again, holding a noisy bundle in his arms. 'Please, Doc, tell me what's wrong with him!' The Yurble opened the bundle, revealing a mewling Snowickle inside. 'I don't normally deal with petpets, son, but I'll see what I can do,' the bemused doctor replied as he lifted the sickly looking Snowickle out of the bundle and setting him on the metal table. The Snowickle slumped pathetically on the metal table and continued to mewl, although its voice was barely there anymore.
"The doctor took his time examining his little patient, ignoring the impatiently dancing Yurble. He muttered to himself and took notes, debated with himself and occasionally shook his head. Finally, he stomped off to his desk and wrote a quick note, handing it to the Yurble. 'Go take this to the Happy Valley Petpet shop, and wait for a response. When you get one, hurry up and get back here with it.' The Yurble nodded quickly and ran out of the door. After he left, the doctor gathered up several items from his desk, and laid them out in front of the Snowickle.
"Listlessly, the Snowickle snuffled at the items, then, amazingly cooed at one and nipping it up, carried it to the other side of the table under a white cloth, then trotted back for more. Astounded, the doctor examined the wriggling Snowickle once again, and was flabbergasted to realize all of the symptoms of sickness had vanished. He set the Snowickle down, and reached under the cloth to pick up the bracelet hidden underneath. The Snowickle charged forward and hissed menacingly. The doctor removed his hand obligingly, and immediately the Snowickle darted forward and grabbed up the little dangly and cooed over it.
"Experimentally, he picked up the Snowickle, who paid him no attention, being too wrapped up in his treasure. At that moment the Yurble came back in with another slip of paper. 'Here you are,' he said. 'By the way, I'm Rajiv, and this is Austru.' Rajiv stared at his newly cured Snowickle in astonishment. 'How did you DO that?' Rajiv questioned the doctor, taking Austru into his arms and staring down at him.
"The doctor chuckled and crossed his paws on his desk. 'Snowickles are hoarders. They need objects they like in order to feel safe and protected. Austru's object of choice, at least right now, seem to be these colourful plastic bracelets. I suggest you buy several... as many as you can, and scatter them around your house, so he can find them, and take them to a safe place.' 'Ohh. I sold one of these the other day... that's why my poor Austru got so sad!' Rajiv exclaimed. 'Thanks, Doc, thanks a lot!' Rajiv shook paws with the doctor and happily went home to set up a "cave" with old sofa cushions and buy bracelets for his petpet. And they lived happily forever after."
Manya's mother turned to Manya and gazed seriously at him. Manya avoided her deep green eyes, ashamed. "Do you understand Rajiv's mistake?" his mother asked.
"Buying a petpet that liked something as stupid as bracelets," muttered Manya.
His mother gently took him by the chin and tilted his head upward so she could look him in the eyes. "Rajiv failed to understand that Austru had different needs," she said gently. "While the bracelet meant nothing to Rajiv, it meant the world to Austru."
"But it's still a stupid girly thing to like," Manya pouted as he freed himself from her gentle grip.
"Perhaps to an outsider, yes, but not to Austru," his mother replied. "To him, it was a true treasure."
Manya pictured pirates fighting over a treasure chest full of colourful plastic bracelets, and stifled a laugh.
"Does your tail still hurt?" Manya's mother asked.
"No," he answered truthfully. It had stopped hurting a few moments after it had been stepped on, but Manya had been so angry that he hadn't realized until now.
"Good," said his mother as she rose. "Then I think you know what you need to do." She closed the door behind her as she left Manya alone with his thoughts.
He sighed. Yes, he did know what he had to do. But it wasn't going to be easy.
Manya knocked on the door to Tolli's room. "Come in," came the muffled reply. He opened the door and winced slightly at the overwhelmingly bright pink decor. Manya squinted slightly and was able to locate his sister lying on her bed, her eyes puffy from crying. "What do YOU want?" Tolli sniffled.
Manya fumbled with the pale pink gift box he had balanced on his tail. "I'm sorry I broke your mirror, Tolli," he said as he presented the box to her. "And I wanted to give you this."
Tolli blinked at him in surprise as she accepted the gift. "It's not filled with dung, is it?" she asked suspiciously. "Just open it," said Manya, offended that Tolli would think he'd do that again. The Bori skeptically opened the box, pinching her nostrils shut with her tail as she did so. Tolli's jaw dropped open in shock at the box's contents. "A meepit mirror?! Wow!" she exclaimed. "But these are really expensive!" Two months' allowance, in fact. Manya wouldn't be buying himself any new action figures anytime soon.
"It was worth it," he replied, grinning a bit at Tolli's excitement.
"Thank you, Manya!" Tolli squealed happily. "And I'm sorry I stepped on your tail," she added with an apologetic look. "I'll make sure to watch where I'm going from now on."
"That's okay," Manya said, giving his sister a big hug.