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Absolute Reality: Part Three


by shadowcristal

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"Obliterate!" Kali cried, pointing the star at the monster. The bracelet glowed violently, and a burst of flames rapidly flew towards the monster, engulfing it. They watched as the monster shrieked, enveloped by rose-colored flames, and finally was sealed away in a thick pillar of smoke.

     "Awesome," Theo whispered, staring at the place the monster had stood just a minute ago. "I could never do that..."

     The Kougra fell down on his knees, exhausted from the adventure they had rushed into. It took some minutes for him to recover from the trauma, but finally he got up again and took a look at the Shoyru.

     "You okay?" Theo asked.

     "I should be the one asking you that," Kali said. He took a look at his bracelet. The nine-pointed star was as bright as ever, and it seemed to glow in happiness because he had used it. The Kougra certainly didn't feel heroic, just tired. But now the item wasn't just a stupid bracelet that did nothing. No, it was a weapon, magnificent with lots of power that could be unleashed...

     "That was really amazing!" the Shoyru exclaimed, having regained his energy. Theo was flapping his wings excitedly, eager to have a look at the precious item. Kali happily handed it over.

     "By the way," the Kougra said, "we didn't get to finish that translation."

     "Oh, you mean this?" Theo asked, pointing at the inscription. "That's simple. It's in the old language, its meaning long forgotten to those who forget... But what it says..." The Shoyru looked at Kali as if he was looking for something. He seemed to have found it in Kali's face when he continued. "It means 'Reality is a Gift. Reality is Absolute.' I think that's about it."

     "I've heard of the Wand of Reality," Kali muttered, remembering how his friend had so devastatingly defeated him two months ago with that weapon, "but never a Bracelet of Reality..."

     "It holds a surprising amount of power," the Shoyru commented. "But really... You seem to dislike reality."

     The little pet frowned. "Reality is so boring," he complained. "Well, at least my reality... But this," he spread his arms around, "This is just cool!"

     "Reality is that which our imaginations build upon. Without reality, nothing would exist, and we would not be able to be here, experiencing things we would normally not do." The other pet smiled.

     The Kougra choked on the next few words, amazed at the sentences that had flown out of his mouth. What was going on? Why were he and Theo acting out Liza's story? He looked at Theo, who looked as surprised as him.

     Theo was the first one to speak. Grinning, he said, "Well... I must admit that I have a thing for fancy words. Let's get going, I suppose you'll want to go to your reality." The Shoyru looked up, as if he could see someone unseen, and added, "Yes, I've learned my lesson, thank you very much."

     "What was that?" Kali asked, confounded. "And how did you know...?"

     "It isn't that hard to figure out," the Shoyru said. "You see, a while ago I was most displeased by my own reality, and I tried to change it by a wishing ring..." He held up a golden item with a glow that was similar to Kali's item. "And then I ended up here, adventuring and stuff..."

     "Wow."

     "I think that they do this for overly bored pets who sit at home, whine and want an adventure. Of course, only a few actually dare to stare the adventure in the eye. Most of them just pop off home and read a book instead..." Theo grinned. "But you didn't. You tried hard to defeat that monster, and you tried to be brave..." He looked at the Kougra, who looked back with eyes that were glum from disappointment. "Don't look like that," he said. "You tried, and you'll be rewarded. If we get there, of course..."

     "There?" Kali asked, surprised by the knowledge that his companion held. He had not expected Theo to be this wise, though he figured that the Shoyru was probably pretty intelligent.

     "That's another story. Well, we're going to go to the person who created these things in the first place, or so I suspect. I believe you would like to go home, yes?"

     Home? Kali hadn't even thought about that. He looked around. This place wasn't like his boring home, like his reality, dulled down and everything... No, despite the bleak colors and the deadly shade of night that hung in the air, this place was exciting. After all, he had just battled a monster!

     Once again the Kougra walked forward to touch the trees. This place was unfamiliar... It wasn't his sunny, everyday life with Green Apples and Cups of Water, but something else. Did he want to be here, adventuring and beating more monsters?

     Yes, Kali's heart replied. But did he really want to stay here?

     "I see that you are dealing with a character-versus-self conflict," the Shoyru declared with the voice of a teacher. The Kougra couldn't help but to laugh at that thought, how Mr. Lown (the L.A. teacher) would classify his current confused state of mind as such.

     "I'll have to think about that," the Kougra told Theo.

     "Take all the time you like," the Shoyru said kindly. "There is no need to hurry."

     "But you..." Kali said, growing curious. "You chose to stay here?"

     Theo smiled, a genuine smile that reached to the bottom of his heart. It erased some of the chill that the Forest of Alstair gave Kali. "Yes, I chose to. I chose to be the Guide here, instead of returning home like all those other pets."

     "All the others?" the Kougra repeated, dumbfounded. "There were others?"

     "Well," Theo said, "Did you think you were the only one?" His face displayed a faked haughty look. "Those items are magical. If you think you found it by accident, think again. They choose who they meet, and they're the ones affecting you and not the other way around."

     "S-so... You mean, the item manipulated me?" Kali asked, looking at the bracelet with disgust. How could he not have seen it earlier? "Then, what about the inscription?"

     "I believe those are words of power," the Shoyru said thoughtfully. "But you know, they're different from pet to pet. Yours are the ones most directly hinted to reality... That tells a lot about you, for instance."

     "Really?" The Kougra stared wide-eyed at the stupid item he held in his hand. Then he laughed, realizing his use of words. "I really do look at 'reality' too easily..."

     "Every place is a 'reality', in a sense," Theo said. "But every place is different, and so is 'reality'. We both have different views of the world, and our own realities. The reality that you live in is a bit different than mine, though in the end it's the same because we usually see the same things... But in a sense we don't, because we're different. It's like a paradox... You see it, and you don't."

     "I don't really get it," Kali said plainly. "But it doesn't matter, does it? If I know what I want, then I can attempt to achieve it. Like how my will brought me here..."

     "There you go! Your will was channeled into the bracelet, who brought you here with its magic. If you hadn't spoken out, then it wouldn't have done anything..."

     "I see," the Kougra says. "That's why all those psychologists say that it all starts with you."

     "Yeah," nodded Theo. He made a gesture towards the heart of the forest, opening his mouth again. "We're really talking away all this, while we can be on the way to her..."

     "Her?"

     "Elycia the Air faerie," the Shoyru said. "The one that I talked about earlier... the creator of these golden items. You do want to meet her, don't you?"

     "I guess..." Kali trailed off, noticing the enthusiastic look on the Shoyru's face. Theo grabbed his paw, and quickly they strode to the center of the forest. "So the great rumor was about her? The faerie in the woods?"

     "Kind of," the Shoyru said wryly. "You see, she doesn't like to be disturbed, and there are lots of curious pets roaming around here besides the monsters. Only a lucky few get to the center where they can have a glance at our beautiful little faerie, the Queen of the Forest of Alstair."

     In silence the two pets trotted off, and very soon they had reached an open glade, where bright sunlight streamed in. It was quite a change from the dark, dank forest they had been walking around in for the few hours or so. Kali smiled when the sun greeted him with its brilliant rays. Suddenly he wondered why a faerie would bother to live in the woods like this, especially with those creepy trees and monsters, but he decided not to think too much about it.

     No, he had to decide now... The Kougra was fully aware of the Shoyru's intentions. It was now or never. He was probably allowed to stay here, just like Theo, if he wanted, and the Shoyru wasn't such a bad companion. This whole place seemed rather adventurous... Then again, Kali gulped, remembering his home. What about Liza? What about school? Leaving that old, safe life behind, to trade for this one, to be a hero and an adventurer? No one had ever heard of a proper hero having an owner...

     "So this is our little guest?" a melodic voice called out, and Kali spun around to find a beautiful faerie clad in sky-blue, pale garments to smile at him. "I am Elycia the Air faerie... I reign over my humble abode over there," she gestured towards her small cottage, with a smile sparkling in her eyes. "Your name is Kali... Well, Kali, welcome to my reality."

     Kali was stunned at hearing the word 'reality'. Never had he imagined that he would end up like this. "M-miss..." he said, quickly handing over the bracelet. "I believe this is yours."

     "Thank you," she said, picking it up deftly and placing it on her head, as if it was a circlet. It certainly fit, and as now Elycia really looked like a proper queen. "Your bravery will not go unnoticed, and I hope you've learned your lesson."

     The Kougra, remembering that Theo had muttered something about lessons, threw a quick look and received a grin in return. "Yes, I have," he replied as graciously as he could, trembling in the presence of such a magnificent creature.

     "So, have you decided? Will you stay here in my reality, or will you return to your own?"

     That lovely, pure voice asked the question he had been preparing for, yet he was struck with horror and fear. He had thought it through, but it was hard to reach a decision... "I-I," he stuttered, looking at Theo for help. The Shoyru shook his head, as if he told him that no one could help him with this.

     "Things may be more real than you think," the faerie added, with a small smile on her lips.

     The word reality... His had been shattered, his dull life swept away by the appearance of the bracelet. But he didn't really like this place either... It was all adventure, all excitement, everything he could yearn for, but it was all too much. Kali had to admit that Liza was right when she said that too much of a good thing was a bad thing.

     "I don't have a reality," he finally replied. "Everything is as real as it can be, and right now I'd like to go home." The Kougra had already admitted that he would miss his old life very much if he stayed here, and he had often wondered how the Shoyru managed during this trip. Perhaps Theo's life hadn't been as good as his...

     "I see," the faerie smiled. "You've learned the lesson. Everything is absolutely real... Then again, it really isn't." Her serene lips twisted into a grin, much like the one Theo usually wore. "Don't worry your owner too much, and visit us again when you feel bored."

     "Thank you," Kali said, as a gust of wind lifted him high up into the sky and carried him off. "I'll come back and visit sometime!"

     As he uttered those words, the Kougra wondered if he really meant it. Could he really come back? Wasn't this just his imagination? With questions that confounded and confused, Kali landed right in that old, familiar bed in his home with a soft plop.

     Kali jumped up, hugging the bedposts and the toys in his Toy Corner. Everything was real! He looked at his room appreciatively, remembering the cold forest he had been in. This life wasn't so bad, after all...

     "Kali!" he heard Liza call out. "Come down... I have something to tell you!"

     Quickly the Kougra jumped down the stairs, taking three steps at once with his powerful, sleek body.

     "Kali!" Liza entered his view to hug him, waving with a newspaper in her left hand. "Look! I got into the Neopian Times with my story about you!"

     "Story about me?" Kali mumbled, surprised. He snuggled close to his owner, realizing that he had forgotten how wonderful Liza smelled when she came back from a day of restocking in the Bakery. How could he have ever considered leaving all this behind?

     "Yeah! I just took the new, cool, tourist attraction, placed you in there with some other characters... Oh, Kali! I'm so glad, I got in!" She grinned happily, showing him the page where her story was printed.

     Immediately the Kougra's eyes fell upon the familiar lines he had read earlier in the day. "Is this the story... the story about reality?"

     "How did you know?" his owner asked, appalled by the question. "Did you read my draft?"

     "Not really..." Kali said elusively. "But tell me, is there really a Forest of Alstair?"

     "Of course!" Liza exclaimed. "That's the newest, coolest tourist attraction for everyone who wants a good scare! Rumor says there is a special thing in the center of the forest, and there's a kind guide who'll help you on the road..."

     Kali blinked, as his owner kept talking about the forest. Was it really real? Did the forest exist? Here in Neopia? The Kougra shook his head from old habit, now realizing what the faerie meant. That forest was real! They were real! And he really could visit them again...

     "I'd love to pop over there sometime," Liza finished, "After we've completed the Paint Brush collection, of course. That'd be a lovely place to escape to... Somewhere to get imagination, ideas..."

     "It's real," Kali said bluntly, looking at his owner with very serious eyes. After all, he had spent the last few hours of his life in that place, a place he thought he had willed himself to, a place of his fantasy. "Trust me, it's real." Taking a deep breath, he started sharing the amazing story he had been part of with his owner with a smile.

The End

 
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Other Episodes


» Absolute Reality: Part One
» Absolute Reality: Part Two



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