A Very Special Friendship
I skip a stone into the water. It skips twice before sinking to the depths of Maraqua, never to be seen again. I grab a second rock. It skips once before being lost to the waves. When it sinks, I swear I can see the faces of two young Neopets, and the faint laughter on the breeze.
So I grab a third and final stone, throw it into the water, and suddenly the entire flashback is clear.
I was four years old, playing with my little toy sword, by this exact riverbank, in fact. No girl dared to come join me; they were too busy playing with Usukis, and all the boys called me a freak. So I was all alone, flailing my toy sword around in a circle, when a small, high pitched voice pierced the air.
"May I join?"
I glanced up to see a small blue Ixi standing there, his golden eyes sparkling with excitement. He looked around my age, and since he was the only Neopet to want to play with me, I said yes.
"Great," he said enthusiastically. "What are we playing?"
"I was playing guard," I replied. "I want to be a guard when I grow up."
"Cool," he said honestly. "Can I be a thief?"
"Um, okay!" I responded. "Say, what's your name anyways?"
The Ixi smiled at me, showing his small, pointy teeth.
I smiled back at him.
From there, a friendship developed. We'd play guard and thief in a version of tag, which included at lot of running. By the end of the day, we were usually exhausted, so we'd sit on the shorebank and watch the sun go down. Then we'd go home.
One day, however, when we'd finished playing guard and thief, Hanso grabbed a small stone and threw it into the water. It skipped five times before sinking.
"Wow!" I'd exclaimed. "How did you do that?"
"Practise and luck, I guess," he replied. He handed me a stone. "Here, you try."
"I-I don't know about that," I'd stammered nervously. "I really don't know how to skip rocks..."
"Here, I'll help you," he exclaimed, placing the rock into my right hand. He gently pulled my arm back.
"Ready?" he asked me.
"I guess so..." I replied nervously.
"Okay, one, two, three!" On three, he thrust my arm forward, and I released my grip on the rock. It skipped once before sinking into the water.
"That's okay!" Hanso said. "Like I said before, practise makes perfect!" He went to grab another stone, but then gazed at something curiously.
"Brynn, look at this," he exclaimed. I walked over to him.
It was a purple orb, fairly large, nestled in the dirt. When we peered closer, we could see the faint shadows of something in it.
"What is this?" Hanso declared, digging whatever it was out of the dirt. "It seems jammed in here pretty good."
I stooped down and helped him dig it out. What it turned out to be was mind-boggling.
It looked like an artifact of some sort, with handles on either side of it. Some sort of writing was written around the orb, along with an eye in a pyramid at the top, and what looked like the eyes of the Darkest Faerie at the bottom.
"Whoa," I finally managed to say. "Cool."
"Looks expensive," Hanso declared. "I bet this would go for a lot of Neopoints."
"Shouldn't we try to find the owner of it?" I questioned.
"Um, I guess so..." Hanso said, a hint of disappointment in his voice. Carefully, we picked up the artifact and walked into Brightvale with it.
The streets were pretty much deserted now, it was pretty late, but few Neopets hung around. I didn't exactly know where to put our find, but I realized we should find a trusted adult to show it to.
"Goodness me, that's where it went!"
We both looked up to see a speckled Xweetok standing over us, smiling strangely. She looked older then us, maybe by five years or so, but she was gazing at the artifact intently, like she was mesmerized by it.
"Hello?" I said. "Who are you?"
The Xweetok then gasped.
"Oh, silly me, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Alexandra, Xandra for short. And that artifact there, my, um, mother lost it earlier, and she's been looking all over for it. If you would just hand it over.... I have a reward."
Hanso blinked at Xandra.
"How do we know you're not lying?"
"Would I lie?" Xandra seethed, coming into the light more. When I saw her eyes, I'd gasped. She had purple eyes...
"You-your eyes are purple!" I exclaimed, peering closer. The Xweetok narrowed her eyes, and for a second I wondered if I'd insulted her, but then she laughed and gazed at us.
"Please, my mother needs this artifact for a, um, healing spell. My brother has fallen ill, and she needs to cure him..."
Hanso nodded, but I hesitated. Should we trust her? She seemed nice enough...
"Okay," I said, nodding at Hanso. We gave her the artifact, and she smiled the tiniest bit.
"Why thank you, you are so kind. Here." She thrust us a bag that jingled. "100,000 Neopoints. Split it. I must be off now, buh bye."
I didn't pay attention to the Xweetok's expression as she left. Instead, Hanso and I were staring at the bag of Neopoints. I'd never seen so many Neopoints in my life! Then again, I hadn't really seen many Neopoints in my life...
"Wow!" Hanso squeaked. "Here, 50,000 for you." He dropped some into my hand. "And 50,000 for me..."
"You can count, Hanso?"
"Well, not really..."
I thought about that for a second.
"Maybe we can buy something together?"
Hanso smiled at me.
We'd gone home right away, Hanso leaving the Neopoints with me. But I couldn't shake the feeling we'd done something horribly wrong by selling the Xweetok that artifact....
The next morning, I went to the riverside and waited for Hanso. When he came, we went into Brightvale together, looking for something to buy with out Neopoints.
"Look at this!" Hanso exclaimed as he picked up a small gem from a merchant's table. "Isn't it pretty?"
"It's not free, lad," the merchant snapped, snatching the gem away from Hanso. "It's a rare and valuable gem, something you could possibly use in battle, and it's 100,000 Neopoints."
Hanso looked at me.
"Brynn, I want to give you that gem."
"But Hanso, that would be all our Neopoints."
"Brynn, I wanted to but you something with the Neopoints anyways."
"But I'll have nothing to give to you!"
"You already have given me something, Brynn."
I cocked my head in confusion.
"I have? What?"
Hanso smiled at me, his eyes sparkling again.
The flashback ends there, and I'm standing by the riverbank again, all grown up. My hand reaches into the pocket of my tunic, and I take out the small gem, just as pretty as it was years ago, when Hanso bought it. Sure, we'd been through some hard times since then, like with me becoming a guard and Hanso becoming a thief, and me having to lock him up in Brightvale Dungeons a few times, but even then, the friendship had been there, in every silence between words.
Suddenly, the blue Ixi is right there next to me, and he smiles at me, for a second looking exactly the same as he did the day I first met him. He takes my hand, and together we sit and watch the sunset. Then, he picks up a stone and skips it into the water.
Most friendships don't last, but this one survived. And right now, I'm thankful for the friendship I have with Hanso.
It's a special friendship indeed.
I hope you liked it! I became so obsessed with the plot, I had to write this. Comments welcome! :)