Battle Quills... ready! Circulation: 110,063,541 Issue: 170 | 19th day of Celebrating, Y6
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Love, Mr. Scary


by bitsy_dj

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It had been a busy day for Nanci the Ixi. She was in charge of the Meridell petpet shop and since the it was the Month of Celebrating, the Day of Giving wasn’t too far away. She spent hours bathing and grooming all her petpets to make sure they looked their best for any customers wishing to purchase them as gifts. As she was tying a bow around a Whinny’s tail, she heard a ring from the front desk, telling her she had a customer.

     When Nanci trotted up to the counter, she was surprised to find a tall, dark, hooded figure standing before her. His identity remained hidden under the dark hood he wore. Beside the stranger was a Crokabek on a wooden perch. The Crokabek looked at the stranger oddly, then poked at his arm gently with his beak. The stranger raised his hand to reveal long, sharp claws. Nanci was about to say something, then she saw the stranger gently stroked the bird’s head, meaning it no harm.

     Even though she felt uncomfortable, she still had to remember her position and smiled. “Good day, m’lord,” she said cheerfully. “How may I help thee?”

     “I wish to purchase one of your creatures...” the figure hissed.

     “Splendid!” said Nanci. “Are you seeking a companion?”

     “No...let’s just say I have a debt to repay....”

     Not far from the petpet shop was Meridell Acres. It was a beautiful snowy scene as the fields and acres were covered in a blanket of white. Although all the fruits and vegetables had been harvested for the winter months, the farmers were still busy shoveling snow from the walkways and decorating their houses for the Day of Giving. Children were seen prancing about merrily, throwing snowballs and building snow Chias.

     Watching from the window of her cozy little cottage was Sally the Usul. Normally, the Month of Celebrating was her favorite month of all. She loved to help her parents decorate the tree and bake cookies and cakes. Then, when the Day of Giving arrived, she would be the first downstairs before the tree, ready to hand out presents. This year, however, she wasn’t in a festive mood like she normally was. Ever since the war against Lord Kass, she’d hardly been cheerful at all.

     “Sally, dear,” said her mother, awakening Sally from her daze. “Why don’t you help your father put the star on top of the tree? He can’t quite reach it.”

     Sally smiled meekly. “Yes, Mama.” Sally went over to her father who was holding the lovely golden star for the tree.

     “There’s my girl,” said her father cheerfully. The Usul bent over to pick up his daughter, placing her on his shoulder. Sally took the star and very carefully placed it on top of the tree. Still on his shoulder, Sally’s father stepped back so they could both get a look at the beautiful decorations. The tree glowed with merriment as silver tinsel and sparkling ornaments hung on every branch.

     “It looks beautiful, Daddy,” said Sally, trying to sound a bit happier.

     “It certainly does, Peachy,” said her father (using his special nickname for her). The Usul lifted Sally off his shoulder and gently placed her on the ground.

     “Well, now that that’s all take care of,” said her mother from the kitchen, “why not a little treat?”

     Mother came in carrying a tray of sugary gingerbread Usuls, Sally’s favorite treat! The scent of ginger and spices filled the room, causing Sally’s heart to melt. Just as she was about to take one, she remembered who she use to give cookies to and her heart sank again.

     “Sally?” Once again, her mother’s voice awoke her. “Sally, are you feeling ill? You haven’t been yourself lately.”

     “Your mother’s right, Peachy,” Father added after swallowing a bite of gingerbread. “You’re normally more festive than this. Is everything all right?”

     Sally nodded, not meeting her parents eyes. “Yes, Daddy. I’m fine. I just...miss Fluffy.”

     Her father knelt down and placed a comforting paw on Sally’s shoulder. “I know you miss him, Sally, but it’s not your fault he ran away. The war was a terrible time for all of us. I’m sure he got away fine and is very happy wherever he is now.”

     “I hope so,” said Sally quietly. “Mama, can I go outside and play?”

     “Of course you can, Dear,” said her mother as she placed the rest of the cookies on a plate for dessert. “Don’t forget your coat and scarf.” Her mother then took the largest cookie off the plate and gave it to Sally as she wrapped her scarf around her neck. “Here you are. There’s nothing like a gingerbread cookie on a snowy day.”

     “Thank you, Mama,” said Sally, taking the cookie. She then trotted outside and headed towards the barn.

     Father shook his head. “Poor girl. She believed in Fluffy so much that she actually thought he ran away.”

     “That's how imaginary friends are," said Mother as she put the tray in the sink. "Children believe in them so much that they become real to them. Just give her time and she'll either come up with a new friend or move on."

     Little did Sally's parents know that Fluffy wasn't an imaginary friend. He was the creature Sally had found in their barn. The creature that had devoured the farmers' crops and produce. He was the creature Sally called "Mr. Scary."

     It was little over a year ago Sally met Mr. Scary. She was playing in the barn, making believe it was her castle and she was a beautiful Usul princess. She was having her royal feast (scones and berries) with her subjects (a few of her favorite plushies). She heard a low hiss from the corner of the barn. When Sally dared to look, she saw a large menacing creature with sharp claws, hideous wings, and glowing yellow eyes. Sally had never been so scared in all her life! She quickly ran out of the barn, not daring to look back. When she finally stopped to catch her breath, curiosity got the best of her. Hiding behind a large haystack, she peeked into the barn to find that the creature was not chasing her. Instead, he was eating the scones and berries she had left behind.

     Sally’s parents had raised her to be kind and courteous to all creature and to do good whenever possible. When she thought back, the creature did look awfully skinny when she found him. She remembered hearing her father talk about the crops mysteriously being devoured by some “bat thing.” Yes, he was scary, but Sally could not help feeling sorry for him. She then decided that if she fed “Mr. Scary,” then he wouldn’t eat her father’s crops anymore.

     So from that day on, Sally would ask if she could take her table scraps out to “Fluffy.” Sally was a very clever Usul and knew that if she had told her parents about Mr. Scary, they would be angry and chase him away. But Sally knew the truth about her new friend. He wasn’t mean; just hungry. Luckily, her parents thought that she had an imaginary friend and didn’t question it.

     Even though she grew to like the bat thing, she still feared him. She would always leave the scraps outside the barn door, call his name, then run behind a haystack and watch him devour the food in seconds. One day, after she left the food in the barn, her apron strings got caught on a nail in the barn door. Sally struggled to free herself, hoping to leave before Mr. Scary woke up. She could hear his heavy breathing as he advanced towards her. Sally wanted to scream, but fear had silenced her. She remembered dropping to her knees, waiting for the worst. Then, she felt the creature’s claws on her apron, pulling her free from the nail. She dared to look up to find Mr. Scary simply looking down at her. He then picked up his food and carried it inside the barn to eat in privacy. As Sally was brushing herself off, she swore she had heard him say “Thank you.”

     After that, Sally didn’t fear Mr. Scary as much. Some days, she would sit outside the barn door and talk to him. She wasn’t sure if he listened or not, but deep down, she knew he liked the company. Sally would tell him that when he was big and strong, they would go to market together and let the whole village know what a nice creature he was.

     Sadly, that day never came. Kass’s forces were on the move and all peasants were forced to evacuate into the forest for shelter. Sally had separated from her parents to find Mr. Scary, trying to urge him out of the barn so they could escape together. A large Darigan Skeith had crept up on her and grabbed her, threatening to eat her. Sally screamed for help, hoping someone would hear. The next thing she knew, the Skeith had dropped her when Mr. Scary pounced upon him. It was a frightening, yet exciting, spectacle. Mr. Scary attacked Kass’s soldiers in a wild fury, scratching them with his claws and teeth. Sally remembered the soldiers shouting “Run away! It’s Darigan! He’s alive!”

     After the soldiers retreated and the farm was spared, Sally was so happy she cheered for Mr. Scary. He turned to her, still blind with rage, but the rage quickly faded when he saw her. His face was soft, almost innocent. “Sally...” he had said softly. Without saying good-bye, he leapt into the air, flying towards the floating citadel.

     That was the last time she ever saw Mr. Scary. After the war ended and village was rebuilt, Sally looked high and low for her creepy friend. She would leave food outside the barn, only to have it rot or eaten by stray petpets.

     Sally sadly walked into the empty barn, still holding her cookie. It felt so big and empty...and lonely. She went over to the corner where Mr. Scary had normally slept. Kneeling down, she saw the tattered blanket she had given Mr. Scary so he wouldn’t be cold at nights. Next to the blanket was her JubJub plushie, Pooky. She had left it for him so he wouldn’t be lonely when she wasn’t there.

     Sally sighed. “I miss you, Mr. Scary,” she said aloud. “I didn’t even get to thank you for saving our lives. I wish you’d come back...just for a little while.”

     Just then, a small rustle came from beneath the hay Sally was in front of. Startled, she jumped to her feet. Could it be, she thought. Had Mr. Scary returned? She remembered the cookie and held out a shaky paw to the lump moving under the hay. She stepped closer and closer, excitement welling up in her heart.

     “Mr. Scary?” she whispered.

     Small nose peeked out from the hay, sniffing the cookie. Shaking off the hay, a small Zebie started to nibble on the treat. Sally gasped in delight at the tiny creature. The Zebie looked up at the Usul in wonder, bleating softly. Around its neck was a bright red bow, as if it were a present.

     Sally bent over and carefully picked him up. “Hi there, little guy,” she said sweetly. “Where did you come from?”

     The Zebie bleated again, licking the Usul’s furry cheek. Sally giggled as she tried to avoid the tiny pink tongue. Just then, she saw a small white piece of paper sticking out from under the bow. Pulling it out, she saw that it had her name on it. She unfolded it to read the message:

Dear Sally,

I’m sorry I haven‘t spoken to you in a while, but I had some

business to take care of. I’m afraid I can not come back to

the barn for I have returned home where I belong. Hopefully,

this little fellow will keep you company in my absence. Don’t

be sad. We will meet again some day. Although I can’t be your

“Fluffy” anymore, I will always be your friend. Have a wonderful

Day of Giving and thank you for everything you gave me.

Love,

Mr. Scary

     Sally felt her eyes fill with happy tears as she finished reading the note. “So he didn’t forget me,” she said softly to herself. She then saw the Zebie nibbling on the corner of the note. Sally laughed. “No, silly! That’s not for you!” She picked up the cookie and placed it in the Zebie’s mouth, who took it gratefully. “I think I’ll call you ‘Munchie!’”

     Sally then looked up at the lofts, hoping to catch a sign of Mr. Scary being there. She sighed softly when she did not. “Thank you, Mr. Scary,” she said. “I’ll take good care of him, I promise.”

     And so, Sally trotted out into the snow with Munchie tucked in her arms. A hooded figure then stepped out of the shadows behind the barn, watching the small Usul girl run happily into her home. Darigan lifted the hood off his head and smiled. In only a few weeks, that little girl had been a blessing to him. She had taught him kindness, love, sincerity; everything that cursed orb never had. Thanks to Sally, he had been given a chance to redeem himself. He promised he would never let Meridell fall at the hands of anyone as wicked as Kass ever again.

     “Good-bye, Sally,” said Darigan softly. “I’ll never forget you.” With that he placed the hood back over his head and leapt into the sky, flying back to his citadel. As he flew, he thought of all the ways to make the world a better place for his people and for Sally.

The End

 
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