Karamita and the Lab Jazz: Part Five
A week had passed since Karamita had first arrived in Tyrannia. She had spent the entire week playing with Lab Jazz and learning about each and every one of them. However, something felt off to her. With each passing day, she felt more and more confused. Part of her never wanted to leave, but something still felt off. She had been secretly longing for the moment when her sister bounded into the room to whisk her away to her home in Neopia Central.
The members had been extremely kind to her. They had let her stay in their makeshift dormitory next to the band room and fed her food that was imported from lands that had mastered cooking with anything more complex than an open flame. However, she still felt something off.
She was watching a koi with special thimbles on her digits to keep the strings from tearing up her ornate fins play guitar when she heard her sister’s voice cut through the din of the band members practicing on their own.
“Hey Karm!” Sue called out.
Karamita hopped up and ran to her sister, throwing her arms around her neck. Sue smiled and ruffled the fur on the top of Karamita’s head. Sue looked around the room. Everyone had stopped playing their instruments and turned their focus to the two sisters.
Bloomer stood and made his way to Sue, “Hey pirate! Here to take away our newest member?”
Karamita was glad that her green fur covered her skin, because otherwise she would be as red as a tomato from the nervous blush that had overcome her.
“Ah, only if she wants to be taken away!” Sue laughed, “But her big sister told me that she wants to see her sooner than later!”
Karamita looked down at the floor as she pulled away from her sister. She couldn’t say exactly what didn’t feel right, and she didn’t want to walk away without explaining why she was going.
Bloomer put his hand on Karamita’s head. Sue let out a soft gasp as Karamita didn’t shiver in revulsion. Karamita instead leaned her head into the hand as if it was a comforting touch as opposed to a strangely skeletal one.
“Karamita,” Bloomer sighed, “We’re here because we have no one. If you wanted to stay, we’d let you. And your sisters love you and would let you stay here if you wanted, too.”
Karamita glanced up at Bloomer with a look of pure confusion on her face.
“We’re here because we’re all we have,” Jubs sighed, “And we wouldn’t want you to give your sisters up for that.”
The koi who had just been playing for Karamita chirped up, “You told us why you left your old orchestra. We’d be doing the same thing if we asked you to stay.”
Karamita looked at Jubs and gasped, “But! Your owner!” She turned to Bloomer and threw her paws in the air, “You have your owner!”
Sue hugged Karamita tight and glared daggers at everyone in the room, trying to tell them not to mention owners. She and Due were always on edge when owners came up around their sisters.
Bloomer could sense that owners were a sore subject and gave Jubs a quick glance to make sure he wouldn’t provoke the feisty xweetok with a ghostkerbomb hanging from her belt.
There was a tension in the air until a quiggle in the back hopped up and saved for Bloomer and Jubs, “Yeah! But owners aren’t Neopians! And Neopians need Neopian friends or they aren’t happy! And you have Neopian sisters, but they didn’t!”
Sue used her eyes to express her deepest gratitude to the quiggle. Bloomer and Jubs breathed a sigh of relief when they realized they xweetok was no longer on the edge of using her weapons outside of the battledome.
“You’re a beautiful acara, Karamita,” Bloomer ruffled Karamita’s fur once again. “There are more orchestras than you think all over Neopia. You just need to practice and any one of them will take you. And . . .” Sue made eye contact with Bloomer as he continued, “You have at least one Neopian right here who will listen to you practice for as long as you need to.”
Karamita smiled brightly before turning and hugging Bloomer to the best of her ability. He glanced over at Sue, who was obviously relieved at how the conversation had steered away from such a touchy subject.
Karamita rushed to Jubs and pulled him into an embrace. “You’ve all been wonderful to me, but I think I’ll remember you the most fondly, Jubs!”
Jubs laughed softly, unable to do anything until Karamita pulled away. She stood on her hind legs and gave a grand wave before bounding over to her chair to gather her violin. Sue looked over the room and smiled. If anything, Karamita had learned a lesson in acceptance. Sue knew that would make the ride home much, much easier.
A few final goodbyes were exchanged before Sue and Karamita made their way out of the building and into the streets of Tyrannia. Karamita bristled visibly. Sue glanced over at her sister with confusion.
“I thought after a week in Tyrannia you’d be used to it,” Sue tilted her head to the side.
“I never left the building,” Karamita looked down at the sand beneath her feet, “So I didn’t.”
“Well! It’s no worries! With them sending you home, you never have to come here again!” Sue laughed, “I’d love that.”
Karamita bit her lip as tears began to well in her eyes, “I can’t see them again?”
Sue’s eyes grew wide as she realized what Karamita was most likely thinking. She pulled her sister into a warm hug and told her firmly, “They care about you and will be happy to see you whenever you miss them. They just know that you’d rather play for us than for them. And we want you to play for us instead of them too!”
Karamita smiled brightly as Sue pulled away and made eye contact with her, “We will always want you at home, Karamita. We will always want you close to us.”
Sue broke eye contact and began to walk towards the horizon. Karamita followed her out of the city. As they went further and further along, the grunts and growls of the Tyrannians grew softer and softer until they were faint echos that barely registered in the acara’s mind.
Leaving the desert of Tyrannia had a calming effect on Karamita and lulled her into a state of happiness and a feeling of acceptance that she had never felt before. However, when she realized what was coming up she began to shake and her pace slowed to nearly a halt.
Sue glanced back at Karamita and sighed, “Karamita . . . What’s wrong?”
Karamita sat down and covered her face with her paws.
“You’re scared?” Sue sighed as she bounded over to Karamita. Karamita gave a shallow nod. Sue put her paw on Karamita’s head and sighed, “Karm . . . You’re safe with me. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
Karamita looked up at her sister and smiled softly before standing and continuing on their path to the field where Samuel had dropped them off before.
Sue took her place leading Karamita. She glanced back. She could see the fear in Karamita’s eyes, even if she was carrying on. They walked in silence until they were at the loading station. Karamita began to shake again as they waited for Samuel to arrive.
“Karm . . .” Sue sighed, “There’s no reason to be afraid.”
Karamita looked up at Sue for a moment before her gaze darted back to the ground.
“Samuel is just another Neopian like you, me, or Bloomer,” Sue sighed, “He’d never hurt you!”
Karamita looked at Sue with a look of extreme confusion. She stared, speechless, until she fully understood what Sue was thinking. She began to laugh loudly, tears coming to her eyes. Sue took a small step back with a slight tinge of fear coming over her face.
“Sue!” Karamita laughed, “I’d never be scared of Samuel anymore!”
Sue tilted her head, her fear turned to confusion.
Karamita wiped the tears from her eyes and smiled, “No . . . Sue . . . I’m afraid of heights!”
With that, the sisters shared a short laugh. After waiting for a few more minutes, Samuel finally arrived. Though Karamita was no longer terrified of Samuel, she was still terrified of heights and their journey home was nearly identical to their journey from home. All Karamita could remember of the journey home was boarding and rolling off of Samuel’s back at the boarding station in Neopia Central.
Karamita gathered her thoughts as she watched Sue give Samuel one final hug before he flew away.
Sue turned to Karamita and smiled, “Home! We’re finally home!”
Karamita looked around, a slight bit confused as they were still in a field outside of Neopia Central.
“No, no, not literally our home!” Sue laughed, “We’re in the land where we started out. We’re in the land where we can feel safe and protected no matter where in it we are. We’re in Neopia Central!”
Karamita smiled brightly, “We’re home.”
Sue nodded, “And you’re where you belong.”
Sue and Karamita made their way home. Their sisters were sitting at the table. A cake that read ‘We Missed You!’ in giant letters was sitting firmly in the center of the table. Karamita gasped as she ran to her sisters and hugged them both as tightly as she could without squeezing the poor jelly usul and shoyru in half.
As Karamita began to regale her shoyru sister of all of her adventures, Due quietly made her way to Sue.
In a whisper so soft that only Sue could hear, Due asked, “Did everything go well?”
Sue smiled and nodded. She watched the acara and the shoyru have an animated conversation for a few moments before looking over at Due and whispering back, “Better than well. She knows we’re all she needs now.”
Due sighed a gentle sigh of relief, “I’m so glad. I’m so glad.”