Meow Circulation: 98,662,396 Issue: 167 | 19th day of Storing, Y6
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A Storybook Tale: Part One


by shadowcristal

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Lexicae wasn't looking when she bumped into a purple shadow and fell on the street. When she lifted her head, she saw into a pair of crimson red eyes. The blue Aisha quickly stood up and collected the items that had fallen out of her backpack. When she was done, she saw the faerie searching the ground for something.

     "I'm sorry," Lexicae said, helping the dark faerie to pick up a bunch of old, dusty books.

     "Oh, it's nothing," the beautiful faerie replied as she stood up and straightened herself. The tone that the pretty creature used sent chills down Lexicae's spine. The Aisha shuddered and started to walk away.

     "Wait! I have to reward you for being so kind!" the Dark Faerie called out and grasped Lexicae's hand before she could move any further. Icy threads on the faerie's hand made Lexicae shudder. The creature pressed a big, black book into the Aisha's hand and disappeared in a smoke puff. "Have fun with it!" she told the pet.

     "Have fun with what?" Lexicae thought, quite confused. "Oh well, a free book... I won't complain." She shrugged it off and walked home, despite that little voice in her head that told her to get rid of the book as soon as she could.

     -

     "Hey, you're back!" a green Uni shouted while running towards the Aisha.

     "Take it easy, Valkera!" Lexicae shouted back, afraid to break the old book that she was holding.

     "Typical you... Now, why were you late?" Valkera asked as she led her friend into the room they shared.

     "Well, I had to stay after school to take some extra classes..." the Aisha murmured.

     "If you study hard, like me, then you wouldn't have to bother with extra classes," Valkera muttered and arranged some flowers in a vase.

     "I'm not that intelligent... Just take the tests for example. You got twice my score! Almost perfect!"

     "And you failed?" the Uni asked, turning around to look at her friend.

     "Yes..." Lexicae whispered and stared at the floor. Valkera noticed the Aisha's embarrassed look and refrained from asking more questions. She shook her head sadly. Aishas were supposed to be intelligent, and for some reason, Lexicae wasn't. After a minute of silence, the Uni went off to play outside.

     "It's not like I'm good at anything..." the Aisha said out loud after her friend had left the room. She hung her head sadly. No talent whatsoever. Nothing in art, writing failed and bad scores on tests. If she'd dare to attempt to play sports with those thick glasses...

     Lexicae looked out of the gray windows. "It's no wonder why I haven't been adopted yet..." The big letters on the placard outside reminded her of where she was. The Pound.

     She swayed back and forth before she slowly sunk to the floor, like a wilted flower. The little pet immediately stood up as she had sat on something hard. It was the book, that black, shadowy book.

     "Open it..." the voices in her head whispered. "Don't open it..." another voice, louder than the others, called out. Lexicae shook her head, trying to get rid of the voices.

     With a snap, the book opened by itself. A surprised Aisha tilted her head as she read the writing that began to appear...

     "Once upon a time, there was a pet. This pet, this little Aisha had powers granted from Light in order to fight the darkness..."

     Lexicae looked at the soft, lilac handwriting and a scary thought crossed her mind. Why was it writing right now? Shouldn't the words be all written and not write themselves? Was this some kind of a joke? Fears began to enter her mind. It was too much for her! The Aisha slammed the book, afraid of the text that hid inside.

     The blue Aisha was panting as she looked at the shiny black cover. It had a deep blue pearl in the middle, and a few rings around it. The hard cover was frayed and some of the pages stuck out.

     "Open it..." a voice demanded, colder than the ones Lexicae had heard before.

     "DON'T!" the other voice screeched. The pet looked around, trying to find the source of the sounds. After a moment of panic, she realized they were in her own mind. There was no escape as the two voices bickered in her brain.

     "I'll... I'll...." Lexicae thought, torn between those two opposing forces that seemed equally powerful.

     "Hey! It's time for dinner!" The Uni poked her head into the room and broke Lexicae's concentration. The voices disappeared and the pet sighed with relief.

     "What were you doing?" Valkera asked when they walked to the dinner room.

     "Nothing," Lexicae replied curtly. She felt it was a secret that she couldn't tell anyone. Not even Valkera, who was her best friend.

     "If you won't tell me..." the green pet trailed off as they entered the room. "It was sure scary, seeing her so far away," Valkera thought as she sat down.

     "I'm sorry, but I can't." It would be bad to give more information than necessary. Lexicae sat down beside her friend and they all looked at Dr. Death.

     "Today we have received a great donation from the Soup Kitchen. For dinner, you'll all have asparagus soup!" the Techo declared.

     "Yuck! Asparagus! What's with these people?" a red Uni spat as she looked down at the green liquid.

     "Some pet can't show anything besides contempt and ingratitude for being in the Pound," Valkeria scoffed before she dipped her spoon. "Right?"

     Lexicae wasn't listening. She was trying very hard to figure out whether she would open the book or not. The voices weren't helping... But the book was scary and unnatural, yet alluring.

     "This must be what they call self-discipline," the Aisha told herself as she gulped down a spoonful of asparagus soup. "Well, I'll open the book and see what happens. It's better to do something and regret it rather than never do anything. After all, you miss 100% of the shots you never take."

     "Hello? Neopia to Lexicae? Neopia to Lexicae?" The Green Uni waved her hoof in front of Lexicae's face.

     "What is it, Val?" Lexicae asked, having reached a decision.

     "You know what? That disdainful Uni was right. Asparagus-flavored stuff is yucky," Valkera admitted sourly.

     "I guess..." Lexicae muttered. Now that she had made up her mind, she couldn't wait to read the book! Even if it was scary, with that eerie, cold voice calling out... She closed her eyes as she swallowed the rest of the soup. It wasn't as bad as Valkera had claimed it to be, but it definitely tasted odd.

     "I'm going back to our room," Lexicae told the Uni when they were done.

     "After Dr. Death makes his extravagant speech," Valkera commented as they listened to the Doctor expressing his gratitude for the fact they were all here today.

     A moment later the Uni nudged her friend. "I think you can go now, if you really have to."

     "Thanks." Lexicae took off running.

     "It has to be that book," Valkera told herself. "Anyway, I'll never have asparagus soup again!" She stayed for the wonderful spooky dessert they had while pondering some more. "I wonder why she was so... obsessed. Lexicae actually seemed somewhat afraid. It doesn't matter, since I'll find out sooner or later." She grinned, for it was her nature to be curious about things.

     -

     Lexicae ran all the way to her room, her heart racing as fast as a Poogle racer. She stopped in front of her door and took a deep breath. "Why this excitement?" she thought as she turned the doorknob.

     Inside, the Aisha gasped at the marvelous sight. Gray light emitted from the book, and it was open. Chills ran down her spine and the speckles blurred her vision. Was this some kind of magic?

     It had to be! As she slowly walked forward, Lexicae sensed a great power in the air. She looked at the page. It was blank.

     "Is this a dream?" the Aisha wondered and pinched herself. Ouch! No, it couldn't be!

     "What do I do now?" Lexicae asked out loud, before she realized that the door was open. The little pet flew to the door and shut it so the windows shook.

     It was calling her... The book was telling her to come closer, to read it with her all...

     Lexicae shivered. The decision at the dinner table had been so easy... But facing reality was much harder. "You can't chicken out," she told herself and took another deep breath. The Aisha was too curious to let it be. Lexicae marched forward, trying to hide her fear by glaring at the book.

     It glared back, almost challenging her to move closer. Did she dare to read?

     The blue Aisha frowned. A challenge? "But I'm not good at anything..."

     "It won't hurt to try," that cold, hard voice whispered inside her. Lexicae took a step forward. The turmoil of emotions inside her was overflowing, and she fell. The Aisha's face hit the book and everything went black.

     -

     "Where am I?" Lexicae asked herself, looking around. She couldn't remember what she had done to get there. This dark forest with its giant trees didn't suit her taste. The cold was overwhelming. The Aisha tried to move around, but found that her feet were stuck in the frost-covered soil.

To be continued...

 
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