Why Are You Grey, Little Faerie?
Walking down the dusty staircase into the dirty alley where the smell of sewage and bad food filled the air, Maha took a deep breath and smiled. She skipped along the alley, humming a soft tune with the sun illuminating her shining, happy face and the soft breeze playfully dancing in her tangled red mane. One by one, a band of grey faeries came out to greet her laughingly and they all began to dance in a ring.
Grey faeries are often misunderstood. You'll only glance at them as they rush past you, moaning and groaning, but grey faeries are lonely creatures; very lonely because people overlook how they feel and instead judge them by their appearance. Who wants to be clad in such a dull, hideous colour? Nobody. But these grey faeries had their magic pulled out of them, and since colours come with their abilities, they turned grey, leaving them to roam around the world in loneliness.
Maha still remembered when she first made friends with a grey faerie. She was doing her daily exercise (well, what one can do in the very crowded garden of the pound), when something bleak and grey, moaning sorrowfully, darted past her shoulder. She cocked up her ears and turned around and saw the little figure fly into some bushes and weep her heart out.
Maha was a compassionate young girl and she couldn't bear to hear the voice weeping all by herself. Mrs. Bregre, the matron of her dorm, had always reminded the girls never to talk to strangers whether they were huge Darigan Eyries, cute Usuki Usuls or just a dull jelly Chia, because you'll never know who they really are. But Maha's heart told her that she needed to help this poor thing and so she slowly tip-toed to the bushes and peered through the leaves.
She gasped when she saw a young faerie with messy whitish hair drooping all over her face. The faerie was burying her head into her knees, sobbing softly. She was sitting on a branch and Maha saw the faerie's torn dress had little tints of soft green and some mossy stain. The faerie was startled by the sound of Maha's breath and picking herself up, she started to run.
"Wait!" Maha cried, but the faerie was too frightened and she flew away in panic. Not looking at where she was heading, she bumped into a tree trunk and fell down to the ground. Maha ran to where the faerie fell and saw her dainty face looking distraught. Her wings fluttered slowly until they stopped. Her forehead and knees were cut and scratched.
Maha was aghast at the sight. Guilt crushed her stomach as she had (although unintentionally) caused the faerie to hurt herself. She couldn't leave the faerie there, it was too cruel. Yet she couldn't take her in or Mrs Bregre would punish her. She felt like crying herself. In the end, she decided to take the faerie and nurse her back to health in one of her drawers.
She took out her handkerchief and carefully wrapped the faerie like a baby before gently placing her in the pocket of her large sweater. She walked fast past the other pets who were playing a game of basketball and a group of crying babies. She didn't dare to run and raise suspicion over her. She tried to hum a tune as she climbed up the stairs, almost colliding with an excited strawberry Kacheek. "Maha! Maha! I was called for by a nice girl, she wants to adopt me. Can you believe it?" the little Kacheek almost yelled, his eyes shining bright.
"I'm happy for you, Carly! Hope you would have a great time," Maha replied and gave him a big hug, careful not to squeeze the faerie. She could believe it, of course... exotic coloured pets are always everyone's favourite. Carly was just abandoned yesterday by an awful boy and yet, it took less than twenty four hours for someone else to pick him up. Of course, nobody would look at pets like her, just a dull red Lupe, although there were nice people she knew who picked up dull pets and tried to zap them into beautiful colours before returning them to the pound. Then they would be sought after too.
Carly giggled and ran down the stairs. "You've been very nice to me, Maha. I promise that I will send you a postcard and always pray for someone nice to adopt you."
Maha waved goodbye and made her way to her dorm. There was a game of pillow fight going on and Maha tried her best to avoid the flying pillows.
"Come play with us, Maha," invited a yellow Chia who had been there longer than she was.
Maha shook her head and said, "Next time perhaps." The Chia shrugged and joined his friends, while Maha, who had reached her bed, pulled the eiderdown covering her bed and opened her top drawer, which had always been empty.
Her previous owner had neglected her and she wasn't given beautiful dresses or nice toys. Her meals each day were scorched food and her owner was too busy chatting on the boards to take much notice of her. That is why although the other pets had a scarf or a necklace they kept in their top drawer, as a memento, she had none. There was nothing she wished to remember about her old life.
Maha took out a small piece of cheesecloth she kept for crafting session, folded it nicely and spread it in her drawer. She slowly took the faerie from her pocket, unwrapped her and softly placed her on the sheet. Picking up a small cup, she walked to the wash basin and fill it up with water. The others stared at her, but they didn't wonder for long. Maha was always on her own, doing things that nobody else would join.
Carefully Maha cleaned the faerie's forehead and knees and took out the first aid kit just beside her bed. She pulled out the smallest bandage she could find and cut it into three. She put some ointment on the cuts and scrapes and wrapped it with the pieces of bandage. She then took out another piece of her cheesecloth and folded it into a pillow and another as a blanket, as it was still early in spring and the day was cold. She even managed to sneak into the playroom and smuggled out a lamp from the doll house and placed it beside the faerie with the light on. Then the lunch bell rang and she had no choice but to shut the drawer, pull back her eiderdown and walk down to the canteen to have her dinner.
She finished her lunch quick and ran up into her dorm while the others were still enjoying their food. She slowly opened the drawer and saw the frail faerie slowly open her eyes, wakened by the sudden movement. She stared at Maha and tried to fly out and run but as soon as she sat up, she pressed her hands onto her head. Maha softly whispered to the faerie, "No, no! Don't run away. I am a friend."
The faerie looked doubtful and Maha quickly added, "I'm so sorry for surprising you earlier. I didn't know that you were scared. I'm Mahala Lynn, but everyone calls me Maha." The faerie smiled a little and started to sob. "Oh! Don't cry, dear! It's alright... I won't hurt you. Please don't cry," Maha pleaded.
"Oh, no... it's not you. You have been very kind to me but – oh!" The faerie started crying again.
Maha was so sorry for the faerie and asked her, "Then, what is it? May I help you in any way?"
The faerie looked at her doubtfully and shook her head. "I don't think anything could be done now. But I can tell you if... um..." Maha nodded violently and assured her that it won't be a bother at all. The faerie sighed and told Maha her story.
"I am Illusen's gardener... well, one of them at least. I do the petty work like cleaning the drain and weeding the lawn but I love it there. Everyone is very kind to me and well, I can cast spells and all that-"
"You are an earth faerie?" Maha gasped.
"Yes, I am – was. Just early this morning I woke up and saw that I am grey all over. My hair is in a mess and my clothes are torn. I have heard of faeries turning grey, but... but.. I've never thought it would happen to me," she sobbed.
"And so I flew to the garden and tried to make a rose bloom and I can't. I can't even cast the simple spells like moving a small grain of soil. And I was too ashamed to go back, so I ran away until –" she turned to look at Maha, her eyes streamed with tears, "you found me," she said and smiled sweetly.
Maha was touched by the faerie's story. She had never thought grey faeries had their magic stripped out of them just like that. She thought that they were punished for something bad they did, but apparently, it happened randomly to just any faerie.
Maha nursed the faerie back to health and when the faerie healed, she told the others how Maha had nursed her and she was loved by the grey faeries all over Neopia Central. She became close to them and befriended most of them. They shared many similar personalities, her and the faeries. She liked to have friends and dearly wished for someone to play with her but she was too embarrassed to approach anyone. She didn't have good battledome stats, she didn't have any apparent talent and she was not so good at getting engaged in a conversation. But with the faeries, she could open up herself because she knew, the grey faeries were just like her.
Although after a number of months, a teenage girl came and adopted her and she joined an eccentric family of sixteen siblings including herself, she would never forget the little grey faeries. Maha no longer felt no longer shy and lonely, but she could never leave the grey faeries because they were her first friends. So every day whether it was rain or shine, she would skip and prance about the dark alley, sometimes bringing a sister or two with her and they play with the grey faeries, cook for them, share stories together and cheer them up for as long as she lived.