How She Became Young
Oh, misfortune. A long time ago, an Eyrie lived in the enchanting province of Faerie City. This Eyrie, Surmaaja, enjoyed all the pleasantries of life. Her home overlooked the cascading falls; her neighbors were healers, gorgeous faeries that helped her through all sorts of troubles. Surmaaja visited the bookshop often, often keeping the latest novels on hand in her orange shelf – Dream Clouds, Flight of the Battle Faerie, and The Wonders of Water. Surmaaja seemed to have it all, and maybe for a time she did.
Surmaaja’s best friend, Emma, a prominent Faerie Blumaroo, visited her home one afternoon. Emma was not particularly fond of the magical atmosphere and scoffed at most that wasn’t Roo Island, or anywhere else for that matter. Nevertheless, Surmaaja greeted her closest friend, Banango Bubble Tea in hand.
“Why, Sur, I do tell you – come live in Roo Island with me. We can get you a decent property on the shoreline and you can have a more... decent outlook.”
“Emma, I love it here!” Surmaaja exclaimed, almost spilling her tea. Her wings fluttered in excitement.
“I am sure,” Emma huffed. “But listen, will you come down to Brightvale with me at the week’s end?”
Surmaaja hesitated. Every time she and Emma had an adventure, there was always a flutter that arose because of Emma. Surmaaja was by no means jealous: Emma was a beauty, and Surmaaja wasn’t sure she would deny the trip, especially to Brightvale.
“Fruity Faerie Fingers?” Surmaaja asked, shuffling to her kitchen, not giving an Emma a chance to talk her into it any further. She’d go anyway, but this feeling....
“No thanks, I must be on my way. I am going to go now, Sur – see you at the week’s end!” Emma called.
The door to Surmaaja’s home slammed shut and the wind that pervaded through the house was warm, but not welcoming, entrapping her...
Surmaaaja shut the feeling of dread out of her mind and slammed the cupboard shut.
Emma stood outside of Surmaaja’s house, her black dress sparking in the midday sun. The waterfall glittered as Surmaaja exited her home, treading lightly through her garden, her blue shoes stepping noiselessly on the pavement.
“Oh! Aren’t you so excited? Brightvale is so quaint and chic and all and oh!...”
Surmaaja couldn’t hear Emma’s excited voice over that drawing feeling of dread that continued to creep over her.
They moved over terrain to Brightvale, pretty Symols and Hoovles, Turtums and Ganuthors greeting both ladies on their journey. They arrived at the bridge at noon, and began stopping for tasty Grenelons, to look in awe over Brightvale armour and chat at the glaziers shop. Surmaaja loved the bookshop; she even purchased a beautiful book, Poems of Brightvale.
Still, the feeling evaded and Emma seemed oblivious, so maybe it was nothing...
“Oh! The Wheel of Knowledge! Let’s have a spin!”
Emma’s voice was jarring to Surmaaja as Emma pulled her toward a tired looking Green Draik, who brightened as he saw them.
“Ladies! Welcome to Brightvale! Care for a spin?”
“Yessir!” Emma said.
The Draik hit the wheel and smiled at them as Emma claimed her prize.
“It’s darling!” Emma squawked over a Brightvale Guard Plushie.
It was Surmaaja’s turn. The wheel was a hulking figure. She placed a paw on the wheel and it spun, the world turning with it, a dizzying motion that could have carried her away like a petal on a breeze.
“Ah!” exclaimed the Draik, as it landed on a large red question mark. “‘If your Neopet becomes too sad, it may change its colour.’”
Emma looked mildly disappointed at Surmaaja’s apparent misfortune and hugged her prize a little closer to her.
“Such a strange event, no?” Emma whispered.
But they continued on their way. Life never stops, no matter how shuddersome the path may seem. And so was the case for Surmaaja.
Emma and Surmaaja took their own routes home – Emma to the bustling island, Surmaaja to her quaint home. For now.
Months passed without a mention of the strange advice from the Draik. It was almost as if it had never occurred and had been part of a reverie of an eerie fantasy that Surmaaja had imagined one day while sitting in her living room, reading carelessly. But it was real. Surmaaja had tried not to be reckless as time passed, for the words haunted her. She had tried to stay cheery, for she loved her color, her amber wings, her golden talons- being Gold. But words can cut deeper than any wound.
The morning was clear, but brisk. Surmaaja readied herself for a day on the town, smiling and sipping her hot tea. She left her home early, her Huggy side stepping and walking her to the gate. She had decided to visit the neighboring Haunted Woods the day before to pick up a Toffee Classic or too. Maybe Sssidney would be in today...
The Haunted Woods had never been terrifying to Surmaaja, just a little spooky. It was drizzling rain as she entered the city. She made it to the Deserted Fairgrounds, Ssidney leaning against a post. He wiped his hands on his striped pants and tipped his hat at the approaching Eyrie, a friendly face.
“Sssur, nice to ssee you.”
Surmaaja had visited the Deserted Fairgrounds during her life many times and always made a point to visit the ever lively Sid. They talked for a time but Ssidney noticed Surmaaja’s anxiety. After she told him of the issue, he smiled and said:
“I believe in fate. You turn colors, you turn colors. Say sssweet, Sur. Ssstay happy.”
The words were encouraging, but the road – so winding, so confusing.
The rain was pounding now, Surmaaja hurrying to get home and under dry covers. She was rushing now, the dread pervading....
The noise, the sound, the subtle explosion of light: her wings closed in around her, her tail shrank, her beak was squeezing on her face, her paws were becoming smaller and smaller.
And underneath a tree, dripping wet, a Baby Bruce stood smirking under the limbs of the trees. She always thought it was a myth, but here was standing before her like doom itself – Boochi.
“But why?” Surmaaja called, her voice smaller than it had been before.
Boochi smirked again, only slightly this time. He approached slowly, his weapon at his hip.
“You had your warnings,” Boochi said, calmly.
“But my friends, my life, my –”
“This will be your life,” Boochi said. “Learn to lead it as I have. Appreciate what you don’t have.”
The storm raged on, and Boochi disappeared, leaving Surmaaja in the pouring rain in her new state – Baby. This could not be the new life she was seeking, and surely never again to see the gold rays that flashed through her wings.
And as fast as it came, it was gone. The life she led, the life she was trying to lead. Now, Surmaaja lives among the gnomes and vagabonds, trying to escape what was. Her Huggy still travels along with her, of course.
But to tell of teas and books, Neggs and faerie dolls is no longer an option for Surmaaja. It fled as it begun. Oh, misfortune.