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Pet Name: ruby_flower
Numerous clocks tick and tock constantly in a small workshop in Neovia, all of which vary in many different shapes and sizes: Cuckoo clocks that tweet in mechanical bellows, pocket watches that hang below the ceiling like garlands, and grandfather clocks that blare out bells in such brazen fashion. It's collective, semi-unified ticking noise resonates like a classical symphony to the ears of an avid horologist, and at every hour all the clocks sing their bells in significant frequencies. Some locals say that the workshop clocks ring their bells louder than the city's central clock tower. This workshop, however, was not owned by a fellow Haunted Woods resident, nor a local citizen of Neovia, but a Mystery Islander from the other side of the planet. It was none other than Ruby C. Flower.
Ruby didn't appreciate his name nor his childhood back in Mystery Island. He was more of a curious crafter, and a timely tinkerer, while most of his childhood friends prefer more violent forms of leisurely time like skirmishing and sparring at the local battledome. After deliberate peer pressure by his friends, Ruby entered the Mystery Island Training School. Ruby didn't really like the way he was treated in the school, but at the very least he was disciplined enough to learn the basic understanding of attack and defense. He was still being scolded for his sub-standard behaviour, however.
After many training sessions with Ruby, his Master noticed something very peculiar. While many of his students tend to be very late for class (often busy skirmishing outside), Ruby had a keen note on punctuality. He would always be on time, and he would always end on time. He never had a schedule book on his hand, nor a watch on his arm, yet this peculiar Ruki knows where and when the precise time was. In addition to his punctuality, he has used many of his artisan abilities for fixing broken weapons, as well as his wordplay for calming down arguements. He wasn't a fighter, he was a thinker.
Another day has passed in the Training School, and Ruby was flimsily poking a dummy with a spear, clueless of what he was doing. Master was normally unimpressed, but he gave a faint smile. He walked up to Ruby and tapped him on the back.
"Ruby," Master called, and Ruby turned around to see him.
"I have a small question for you. Keep it honest." He asked. The island Ruki tilted his head in preparation. "Are you truly happy here?"
He hesitated answering the question, but in the end Ruby shaked his head, left and right, in disapproval of his treatment here in the school. Master's smile grew a bit.
"Then why are you here?" Master continued his line of questions.
"I- I wanted to fit in."
"But is it working for you so far?" He continued asking. Ruby again shaking his head in disapproval.
"You see young grasshopper, no pun intended, let me explain this to you in a way that you yourself could understand." Master has come down with a conclusion, as he sat down on the island rocks. Ruby followed him.
"You see, think of this school like a clock, every piece has their own roles of interaction. Wheels, gears, and cogs turn to keep the clock moving. On the other hand, cooperation between members and instructors is what makes the school alive."
"However, if you place a wrong cog -- a singular wrong cog -- in the wrong place, things may go wrong. Continuity would come to a halt, and the clock would stop, there wouldn't be any more liveliness, things won't work the way it was before. And I am deeply saddened to say, that you... are the wrong cog." Ruby felt disappointed when he heard this, but he brushed it off since he already knew that when he was forced to be enrolled in the training school. He didn't consider it as an insult, rather he considered it as a word in good faith.
Master continued, "You tried to fit in, but it seems like the teeth of your cog cannot fit in on any of the school's clockwork. What's worse is that members here are trying to fit it in for you, forcing you, damaging your teeth, changing you from who you originally are, which is -- in my opinion -- a very bad sign of friendship. Maybe it's time for you to move to another clock, yes?"
It took some time for Ruby to gather and understand such information, as Master's words hit home. He opened his mouth, but before he could quickly reply, Master said, "Follow me." As he walks into the school. Again, Ruby followed him.
Inside the school, across the hallways, and past the numerous training rooms, Master went to a small, wooden drawer, palm tree textured and carved of island-themed markings. He pulled out a small, brass pocket watch, which seems to be in a broken state. Multiple cracks can be seen from the glass protector. Several bits of the chain handle are unlinked from each other. The clock itself is still ticking, but its hands refuse to move on every tick. Ruby was amazed at the intricacy of the clock's mechanisms, as his eyes try to focus on every single detail within the insides of the clock itself.
"This was an old gift, but my previous students broke it after a sparring session. It's yours now." He placed the pocket watch onto his student's hands, as well as the other broken parts with it. He closed Ruby's hand as a sign of a permanent gift.
"But Master! Why would give me such a preciously broken gift to me?" Ruby questioned in shock.
"Your heart beats like time itself, grasshopper: slow, constant, patient, and persistent. It is who you are. It is what you should be. And with that broken watch in your hand, I believe it's time that you fix your life anew." Ruby couldn't help but smile wide. A thought finally brought into words, an understanding finally spoken and heard. Droplets of tears slowly went down from his eyes as he gave his master Master a long, warm hug, before he walked back home with his newly possesed pocket watch. He had finally quit training. His friends were disappointed and annoyed at first, but they ultimately respected it nonetheless, as Ruby is now walking towards the path to something more grand.
A few days later. a thud was heard in the front door of his house. It was a copy of the newest Neopian Times issue. He picked up the newspaper, and on the bottom right showed a small advertisement that said:
"NOW HIRING! Horologist and clockmaker. Fill out form to apply. Request from: The Neovian City Government."
His eyes widened at the sight of the advertisement. He knew that this was his dream, his passion, he could finally be what he wanted to be. He rushed into his study and quickly filled out the form with a stubby pencil. Though after he finished filling out the form with blissful excitement, he realized that he had to go away from his homeland, to pursue a dream he wished for so long. As much as he didn't like the training school, he will definitely miss Mystery Island in general, from its exotic cuisine to its tropical shores. Regardless, he took out a large, empty briefcase, packed out all his essentials, and moved out.
He gave a waving goodbye to his friends and his instructors as he entered the large sailboat. The sailboat moved out from the harbor and now far off to the Neopian seas. "Farewell, grasshopper! Until we meet again!" Master shouted.
Next stop: Neovia.
A sudden change of environment struck him as Ruby entered the once cursed city of Neovia, past the elusive Haunted Woods. The city fog had been there at an indefinite state, and the city itself never seemed to shine the light of day at all, or so that's what people say. Ruby felt like going back, but he didn't hesitate further, as he walked along the cobblestone road on the way to an old, yet renovated, building. "Two minutes early." He stated as he looked at the city's clock tower, "Good..."
When he knocked on the door, an energetic "Come in!" was heard, and Ruby opened the door. The workshop was covered with thick cobwebs and white dust, several bits of furniture of antique history stood tall yet stood old, and the wooden flooring creaked on every step as he walked past the old cuckoo clocks before him.
In one of the four corners of the room was a large worktable, lit by dim candlelight. Beside it was a busy Kyrii working on what it seemed to be another pocket watch. He had a frustrated look on his face when he was trying to fix the watch however, and decided to stop for a moment when Ruby walked in front of him.
"Are you the new youngin'?" The Kyrii asked.
"Y- yes?" Ruby replied back.
"I've been waiting for you. You look like someone who's really into time."
"Indeed I am, sir."
"Well, if that's the case," He takes out a large brown coat from a coat hanger and threw it to me. I looked at the coat, and with a determined look on his face, he swiftly wore the coat and adjusted it formally.
SEVERAL YEARS LATER...
Back in Mystery Island, the Island Training School Master continued his routinely task of training his students. After dismissing his students, his Nimmo assistant handed out a letter. It was an envelope of fine crisp paper, firmly closed on a wax seal. The seal had a certain image of a Ruki in it, and it was signed with the initials "R.F.". Master immediately knew who it was, and quickly tore out the envelope to read the letter.
It has been far too long since I last heard of you, yet it felt so short when I have been spending most my time within the four corners of my workshop here in Neovia. It's a bit disappointing how it took me this long to write this letter, but it's better late than never, right? How has the school been? I hope there aren't any more property damages after I left, though I highly doubt that considering that it's a training school.
In case you were wondering, have been doing well here too. The weather is constantly dark in contrast to my homeland, but I've gotten used to it. The bright lights, the warm campfire, and the very remnamt objects I brought before my departure were the only ones that reminded me of home. The residents here looked intimidating at first, but they were all in this together. Everyone knew everyone in Neovia, and they were at the very least pleased to find out that another citizen has now entered as a permanent resident, increasing their population by an increment.
The workshop was once owned by a previous clockmaker, a Kyrii of sorts who wished to be anonymous. Like you, he had trained me to become a professional clockmaker, and soon enough I was able to successfuly make my first watch. Over the years I had become better with this new profession, and every step of the way made me become a better person. This new bond between me and my new mentor felt indefinite. However, there was a problem. He had confessed to me that he had gotten sick of making clocks for so long, and wishes to retire. He even told me that I'd get sick of clocks as he did. I asked him why he wanted to stop, and he said that it didn't fit for him, and his parents forced him to work in such profession. This gave me the largest case of déjà vu I have ever experienced in my life. Soon enough, I told him to follow whatever his heart desired, the same as how you told me to follow mine. He's now a skier in Terror Mountain. It's a large leap of logic, I know.
I have been making clocks for a living now, and it brings be to an overwhelming amount of joy and happiness that I never thought I'd ever achieve in my entire life. When I entered this building, there were only but a few clocks, but now there are clocks uncountable to my own six fingers. It brings me on cloud nine, as well as an even stricter note on punctuality. Though as much as I like to say that I'm extremely punctual, I'm still a normal Neopian who makes mistakes.
Ultimately, I would like to say thank you Master from the bottom of my insect-esque heart for all the wisdom you have given to me. Soon enough, I learned how to love my life, my home, and my name. On that day, I never looked back into the dark forceful past. I kept myself going as a small cog in this enormous clock that I now comfortably live on, and it is all thanks to you.
I hope you do well in your future endeavors, as much as I do with mine. Let's keep in touch when you have time. We have our own clocks to deal with after all.
From your dearest former student,
Ruby C. Flower
P.S. Attached to this letter is a special gift. I know that you gave this gift to me at first, but now that I am away I must return the favor."
It was indeed noted that there was a gift, as the Nimmo then gave his master a small cardboard box packaged in brown paper and string. Tearing the brown paper and opening the box, it revealed the same brass pocket watch, now in its former mint condition.
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