Jeran and Lisha: Reunited
Jeran was speaking to the king when he suddenly paused mid-sentence. He looked up at the ceiling, listening intently.
“What is it, Jeran?” asked King Skarl, tilting his head a little.
“I thought I heard something upstairs,” replied Jeran, still looking at the ceiling as if it would tell him anything (which it wouldn’t). He shook his head.
“It’s probably nothing.”
* * * *
The noise was the arrival (via magic portal) of a yellow Aisha, a red Zafara, a green Quiggle, and a blue Blumaroo; otherwise known as Lisha, Kayla, Morris, and Boris.
Lisha looked around at her friends. They all had looks on their faces, a mixture of confusion and surprise.
“I get the feeling that we’re not at the ruins anymore,” said Morris uncertainly. “And we’re not home... and we’re not at school.”
“Then where in Neopia are we?” asked Kayla.
“Are you sure we’re even in Neopia?” asked Boris, looking doubtful.
“Oh, we’re in Neopia. I just don’t know where,” said Lisha quietly. She looked around. Suddenly, she heard footsteps approaching.
“Hide!” she hissed.
“Where?” asked Morris.
Too late. The two Draik guards reached the top of the steps, noticing them immediately.
“Hey! What are you four doing here?” one asked gruffly. Lisha stared. The Draiks wore armor. Red and blue together, with a golden crown in the middle. Now where have I seen that before? she wondered.
The green Draik that had spoken positioned his spear at Lisha’s back. She looked at the spear tip over her shoulder. Sharp. Very sharp. She thought hard and imagined what her older brother would say.
“Whatever you do, make sure it’s what he wants. And do not back up.” Yes, that’s what he would say. Lisha sighed inwardly. Even after all this time, she missed her brother. However, she kept in mind the painting she had seen at the museum. The likeness was uncanny. Oh well, I don’t think it was really him. Unless... No. She didn’t want to finish that thought.
“You realize you have intruded, right?” asked the red Draik. He had his spear tip at Kayla’s back. She looked frightened, but she answered.
“Y-yes, we r-r-realize that,” she stammered. “We’re sorry.”
“Saying you’re sorry does not change the fact,” said the guard.
He’s right, Lisha thought. Hesitantly, she asked, “What will our punishment be?”
“You’ll be thrown into the dungeon until the king decides what to do with you,” was the rough reply.
The kids exchanged nervous glances.
“Get a move on. We haven’t got all day!” said the red Draik. He put his spear closer to Kayla’s back.
“Hey! Watch it with that thing! I’m walking, I’m walking! Geez!” she exclaimed, forgetting her fear for a moment. With that, everyone began the long trek toward the dungeon. Or, it would have been a long trek.
A window shattered, startling the Fyora out of Lisha... and everyone else. Three hideous monsters jumped through. Snarling, one headed toward Morris. He drew his wooden sword and attacked the nearest monster, slashing with all his might. Boris joined him. Kayla revealed a potion she’d made herself, and flung it at one of the monsters that wasn’t being attacked by her two friends.
“Eat potion, you fiend!” she cried as the potion hit the monster. Smoke erupted from the bottle. The monster jumped through the window, screeching in pain and fury. The third monster went straight for Lisha. She held her wand out in front of her. Here goes nothing! she thought, and blasted the monster with her wand. The monster stumbled back from the force of the spell, then jumped out the window again, followed by the first monster.
“What were those things?” Morris asked. Both he and Boris were out of breath.
“I don’t know,” replied the red Draik. “Perhaps the king does. Follow me.” With that, he led them in a different direction.
* * * *
Jeran heard a noise again. He glared up at the ceiling. It almost sounded like shouting, coming from the third floor, he guessed. This time, Skarl heard it too.
“What in the name of Illusen’s Glade is going on up there?” Jeran muttered.
They both listened intently. Jeran pricked his ears. The sound of a window being broken. Shouting. THUD. WHACK. More shouting. Glass breaking, but not a window. A blast, as if from a wand. Screeching. Silence.
What was all that? he wondered. He exchanged confused looks with the king. They sat for a moment, but no more unusual sounds could be heard.
* * * *
The green guard stopped outside a pair of enormous doors.
“Wait here,” he ordered. Then he opened the door on the right and slipped in.
“Since this is a castle, that could be either the dining hall or the throne room,” said Boris.
“It’s the throne room,” replied the guard. “King Skarl must be in there at the moment. I wonder what he will say?”
* * * *
Jeran looked up from his conversation with the king. Sigh... interrupted again. What now?
The guard dashed in, stopping to bow.
“I am sorry to interrupt you, my lord, but along with a few others, I bear a burden of most importance and urgency,” he said breathlessly.
“Yes, what is it?” asked the king. His tone said that he was exasperated, too.
The guard told them about the intruders and how they had fought off the monsters. So that’s what the commotion was, Jeran realized.
“We are unsure of what to do with them,” the guard concluded. “We will let you decide what to do with them, oh great one.”
“Bring them in here, and have them explain themselves,” grunted Skarl.
“Yes, my lord.”
The guard bowed low and exited the room. He returned a moment later with the other guard and four children. The red Draik bowed, and the kids did the same. Lisha was so nervous, she was afraid she might fall over.
“Now, explain yourselves. What are you doing in this castle?” asked the King. The four friends exchanged glances. King Skarl’s tone was not impolite or unkind, but it was firm. Under the pressure, Morris, Boris, and Kayla all stared at Lisha. She took a deep breath, and began to explain. She told the king and the Lupe knight all she knew about how they came to the castle.
“And now we’re here, although I don’t really know where ‘here’ is,” she concluded.
“Well, your story seems more like a fantasy to me,” said King Skarl. He turned to the Lupe beside him. “What do you think, Jeran?”
Jeran... Jeran... Jeran... The name echoed in Lisha’s mind. Jeran paused. For just a moment, he glanced at the Aisha. She was watching the king.
“My lord,” Jeran said, taking his eyes off Lisha, “I wouldn’t believe their story either, if there wasn’t something... familiar about it.” He thought back, far back, to that time when he had been separated from his sister, and how he himself had come to Meridell.
“They did assist the guards today,” he said, coming back to reality. “We are entering dark times, but somehow, I feel we can trust them. Perhaps they can help us.”
“Very well,” said the King with a slight nod. He turned to the four kids. You may stay and help the kingdom.” He looked over at Jeran. He took the message.
“As for where you are now,” the knight began, “you are in the kingdom of Meridell. However, we are coming into dark times as I said before. We are counting on all of you to help us get through them.”
Lisha took a deep breath, and then asked, “What were those... those monsters we fought off earlier?”
The king explained that Meridell had nearly become a wasteland, and they had found a powerful orb that restored the kingdom.
“I suspect that those beasts have come to STEAL MY ORB!! We cannot let that happen!” Skarl exclaimed. He sighed.
“Well, I grant the four of you freedom.” He turned to the guards.
“Have the servants prepare rooms for them,” he ordered. The two guards bowed low, then rushed off.
“Now then, is there a part in the castle that you would each like to take?” asked King Skarl.
All four of the kids nodded. They each explained for themselves. Morris and Boris both wished to be squires. Kayla wished to be a potion maker. Lisha wished to be a sorceress, using her wand and magic abilities to help the kingdom. They each got what they wanted. All of them were satisfied. All of them, that is, except Lisha.
* * * *
A few days later, Lisha was in the library, looking at the shelves. “So many books, so little time,” she whispered. The History of Meridell caught her eye. She wanted to learn more about this kingdom, so she took it off the shelf, remembering where it was so she could put it in its proper place when she finished it. She opened the book, and began to read.
* * * *
In the evening, Jeran finished his duties and thought he’d go talk to Lisha. He just had to know...
He found her in the library. Of course she’d be here, he thought. As he walked in, Lisha looked up.
“Good evening,” he said pleasantly.
“Hello,” she replied.
“I haven’t seen you since lunch. Have you been in here all this time?” he asked.
“Pretty much,” she said. “I was at dinner, but you weren’t there.” She looked at him questioningly.
“Well, duties get in the way. Good thing the servants save dinner for those of us that eat late,” he said.
Lisha went back to her book. Jeran paused a moment.
“What are you reading?” he asked.
“The History of Meridell,” Lisha replied. “It’s fascinating.”
Jeran went to the shelves and picked out a book. He sat a couple of seats away from Lisha. An hour passed, and he finished the book. Jeran was a fast reader. Lisha soon closed her book, too. She picked it up and put it back on its shelf. She browsed the shelves again, and picked out another book. As she carried it back to the table, Jeran stifled a yawn. Sweet Fyora, I’m tired, he thought.
They had spoken, but they hadn’t had a chance to really talk.
“Are you bored?” Lisha asked, a hint of concern in her voice.
Jeran was a bit surprised.
“No, I’m just tired. It’s been a long day,” he replied.
“Kayla told me that you’re not... completely happy here. Is... is that... true?” he asked after a moment’s pause.
Lisha delayed answering by smoothing her skirt.
“Yes, it’s true,” she replied slowly. “I haven’t been completely happy for a long time.” A look of sadness swept over her face.
Jeran thought, Now is my chance to find out if she’s really...
“What happened?” he asked sympathetically.
Lisha bowed her head. For a long time, she didn’t say anything. The silence seemed like an eternity to Jeran. It pressed on his ears. Finally he broke the silence.
“You don’t have to tell me,” he said gently.
Lisha remained silent for a little while longer. Should I tell him? Or should I not? He’s being so nice. Maybe he deserves to know. But am I ready to tell him? Or am I not? Thoughts swirled around in her head. Finally, she reached her decision.
“I was separated from my brother.”
“Oh,” said Jeran softly. He sighed. “I was separated from my sister when I was a kid. We were in the middle of a game. I activated the same portal you did.”
Lisha sat down in a chair with the book in her lap.
“My brother disappeared during a game of hide-and-seek. I never saw him again,” she said quietly. Sadness hung onto every word. She bowed her head again. As she remembered the day, and relived her feelings from that day, her hands began to tremble so much that she dropped the book. Jeran gazed at her. Lisha didn’t notice that a sad smile was spreading across his face.
“You remind me of her. My sister, I mean,” he said. “I cared so much about her.”
“I miss my brother every day,” Lisha whispered, almost to herself.
“Then we have a lot in common.”
Jeran walked slowly toward her. He knelt down and picked up the book. Every action was deliberately slow.
Lisha watched him.
“It’s been a long time,” Jeran said. He put the book on the table and looked up at her.
“I’ve missed you, Lisha.”
She stared at him, eyes wide.
“Jeran?” she whispered.
He smiled and nodded once. She gasped.
“It is you!” She dropped to her knees, and found herself in the strong arms of her older brother. Tears of joy poured down both their cheeks.
“I’ve missed you so much,” whispered Jeran. “So, so much.”
“I thought I’d never see you again!” Lisha sobbed. Her entire body shook with her sobs. Jeran hugged her tighter.
“It’s okay. We’re together again, and nothing’s going to change that. I promise. It’s okay,” he whispered. His own shoulders were shaking. He was so happy, he was half laughing, half crying. He was right; they were together again.
“I thought about you every day,” he said, his voice shaking.
“I did too. I never went a day without. I would even imagine what you’d say if I wasn’t sure about something, or if I was scared,” his sister replied. Her voice was shaking, too. They sat that way for a long time, without a word. After a long time, they released each other.
Jeran smiled at her.
“Thanks for remembering me,” he said. Tears were still rolling down his cheeks.
“How could I ever forget you?” Lisha asked. Tears were still flowing down her face as well.
“I couldn’t forget you, either, Lisha,” Jeran said, smiling. “And I never will. I promise.”
* * * *
Thus, Jeran and Lisha were reunited. When the battle against Lord Darigan himself was fought, the two siblings fought side-by-side. And to this day, as we all know, they still live happily in Meridell. And, hopefully, they always will.