I lived for it. It was my dream. The sound of the violin as it echoed through the emptiness of the room.
The ascending high notes of the trumpets as they blew.
The soothing sound of the harp as its strings were plucked.
The vibrations of the guitar as its strings were strummed.
But no more.
My name is Ariana. I am but a simple green Ixi, born in Meridell and moved to Neopia Central when I was given a chance. As you might have guessed, I'm a musician. Or at least, I used to be.
I used to work as a freelancer who would play around Neopia Central at concerts, events, festivals... you name it. I loved my job, I could be with the one thing I loved since I was a child. My mother and father, a red Kougra and a green Shoyru, were supportive of my career choice, and I'm grateful for that. Unfortunately, it seems their effort was ultimately in naught.
My younger siblings, Gerald, a yellow Lupe, and Nadia, a blue Kacheek, were a rambunctious bunch, but nevertheless kind. I remember that one time when I was sick in bed as a child with the neopox, and both Gerald and Nadia had decided to combine their saved up money to buy me a slice of Neopox Pizza from a merchant who was traveling through the area. Those acts of kindness kept us bonded together, at least as long as I was still in Meridell. I still keep in contact with them, though Gerald chose to stay behind and become a farmer, and Nadia opted to become an artist living in Brightvale. Their dreams became a reality for them, just as it did for me. That's something I am grateful that they managed to obtain. I wish I could say the same of my dream in the end.
My best friend in that small village, Pedro, a blue Pteri, also had a dream. He wanted to travel all around the whole of Neopia, meeting new people, seeing new sights, experiencing something completely different each day... That was the ideal life for him. Every day I remember he would say, "Aria, when I travel all over Neopia, I'll come and take you on an adventure too. That's a promise." It was something that made me both want to scoff at his naivete and hug him for his thoughtfulness and determination. I never admitted it, no matter how much he would pry, but he was the reason I went to his house that autumn day, not to bring the loaf of bread my mother had baked for his mother, but because he had broken his wing in an accident while attempting a flying stunt. He was a true friend, one who always encouraged me when I was feeling down, and one whose dream I wanted to see come true. And it did too, and he did come and take me on another journey around Neopia. He now has a permanent home in the land of Shenkuu, although that doesn't mean he doesn't travel anymore. He's just as energetic as before. Always.
My childhood was one surrounded by people who understood, accepted and loved me. And I'm more than grateful for it. So when I was given the chance by a local retired musician, a kind old Tonu by the name of Mr Qag, to go to Neopia Central to fully study as a musician, everyone was telling me to take that chance. They wanted to see my dream fulfilled. They wanted me to be happy. I accepted the offer. And I left the place where love surrounded me always, for what I thought might as well have been forever.
My first glimpse of Neopia Central was of the Rainbow Pool's waters glistening in the sunlight. A small Kyrii, who was accompanied by an auburn haired woman with a kind smile, was urging the young thing on while holding a delicately pink brush, with what appeared to be equally delicate translucent wings. The Kyrii gulped and slowly entered the pool, and the woman dipped the brush in the water and handed it to him. He slowly painted his entire body, spreading a paint that turned his fur pink and his mane violet. But the most wondrous thing was the emergence of beautiful, purple and pink wings from his back. The Kyrii stared at the unfamiliar appendages that grew from his back, and the woman began to laugh. It was a wonderful sound, one that showed true happiness and joy. That scene was something that I'll never forget.
When I arrived at the academy, I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. The place was humongous, with pristine windows, rows of flower bushes along the path to the entrance and flawlessly painted walls. I pressed on anyway, however, and upon meeting the principal of the school at the hallway beyond the entrance, my fears dissolved. He was a friendly looking cloud Skeith, with the toothy grin characteristic of his species, but with a dash of kindness to null the intimidation factor of it. He introduced himself as Mr Paston, and he was quite gracious in pointing out where everything was, the rooms, the classes, the cafeteria and the field. He had said that should I have a problem I didn't know about, to ask him. And throughout my stay there I did, countless times. He was like a second father to me.
The teachers in that place were just as nice as Mr Paston, but the nicest was Ms Dias, a rainbow Zafara. She taught with the passion of someone who truly believed in what they were doing, and that was something I admired. She and I were friends, which was something I cherished.
My best friend at the academy, though, was Kira, a yellow Buzz, who was always by my side if I needed her. Just like Pedro. Every day, when classes were over, and the other students were asleep, we would always sneak into a classroom and practice our music even more. I always played the violin, Kira the flute. When graduation came around, she asked me something. "Maybe we could start a band?". The answer to that was yes, everything just seemed so possible then. I wish I knew it was never to be.
I suppose it's time to retract from me reminiscing, and tell just what happened. A few weeks back, Kira and I were given the chance to perform in Faerieland, the grandest job we were ever given. Naturally, we were both starstruck at this chance. If we did well, who knows what it could do to our popularity? So there we were, the two of us riding the Eyrie carriage to the land of Queen Fyora. The land where we thought we could have our ultimate desires fulfilled. But... Then she appeared.
She was pretty, elegant, but her expression was wicked, a stereotypical staple of most dark faeries. Her long, purple hair swayed in the winds of the sky, and her wings were pitch black. The blue Eyrie pulling our carriage stopped; he knew better than to attempt to ignore a dark faerie. I was afraid. Afraid of what this faerie wanted.
She giggled and said, "I take it you are the musicians performing tonight?"
We were frozen. Her aura was powerful, menacing, silencing.
She then giggled that horrible laughter again and said, "Perhaps a curse would befit you three well?" She spoke words. Horrible, horrible words. Words that I can't even describe, lest I might be destroyed. And then suddenly everything went black.
When I awoke, Kira was nowhere to be found. The blue Eyrie and our carriage was lying right next to me, him unconscious. And what's more, that faerie had indeed done a cruel act. My violin wouldn't resound when I played it. The strings stayed immobile, unwilling to make a sound. I played the trumpet I had with me as well, and the same thing happened. Nothing. My breath was futile in making it blow. That faerie had cursed me to be forever live in silence with my own art. To forever have a meaningless existence.
To this day, Kira is still missing, and I will forevermore never understand why that mystery faerie decided to do what she did. Perhaps it was because as a dark faerie, it was in her nature. Perhaps it was because she wanted to stop our performance for her own personal reasons. Whichever, that faerie robbed me of my dream, my very sense of self. She is also an enigma, an unknown in Faerieland. None had seen her until that fateful day. But that doesn't mean I'll give up. Together with the encouragement of everyone I've met, my family, my friends, my teachers, I'm going to search for Kira with Pedro. And along the way, I'll find answers about that faerie who attacked us as well. I'll regain my own worth through this journey.
That's a promise.