Part Three: Her Last Memory of Faerieland (5,237 words)

For part one, click here

It was a lovely Saturday morning in Faerieland, the flossets were singing and the sky was clear. The trees swayed from side to side as a gentle breeze caressed them, the most refreshing kind of breeze there is. The wheel of excitement was shining brilliantly as it spun round and round with colors too bright to be found anywhere in nature and yet not out of place in a land as whimsical as Faerieland. The weather was so nice that the faerie petpet shop owner was able to let the petpets outside to play. Faellies, Flouds, and Feloreenas fluttered by the Faerie passing through the streets.

But all was not well inside the castle, where Fyora sat at the edge of her bed, her head down. Her chandelier was not on, but a few stray rays of light filtered through her curtains, not enough to fully light up the room. The world seemed to be grayer inside of the Faerie Queen's room. She clutched a photograph in one hand and held her other over her mouth. Every now and then, a tear would run down her cheek, but she didn't have the energy to wipe it away. Her crystal staff was laid down on the floor, completely idle and not clasped in one of her hands like it normally was. Everything in her room, especially her, was completely silent and completely motionless.

A pastel pink xweetok tenderly approached her, holding a box of tissues. She had a similar somber look on her face, but she was at least able to walk over to the queen before sitting down next to her and placing a paw on her upper back. As she sat down, the queen finally spoke.

"Thank you, Sappho. I... I can't imagine how hard this is for you."

"...Yeah. I've just been taking it one day at a time." The xweetok's tail nervously wrapped around her own ankles. "It's hard, but I know she's still out there... She'll come back to us... right?"

Fyora choked up. "I... I'm not sure. I want to say yes, but... Today marks a month since she disappeared with Delina. No one has seen them, heard from them. What if she's-"

"No-" Sappho wrapped her arms around Fyora's shoulders and buried her face into one of her arms. "Don't you say that. I know she's alive... She has to be."

"I hope so... I really do, it's just that... Jhudora..." Fyora's vision began to blur with tears. One of them fell onto the photograph she was holding. She moved it a little bit so Sappho could see it, too. It was a photo of Sappho with her younger, purpler, sister, Schmuse. They were just cubs in the photo. Sappho was smiling wide for the camera, holding onto her sister. Schmuse was looking intently at something that wasn't in the photograph, her little mouth hung open.

Sappho pulled her face out of Fyora's arm to look at the photo. She held it steady with one paw and laughed a little bit. "I remember that day, we couldn't get Schmuse to put her book down for the photo. Baellia had to hold her book up behind the photographer so she could keep reading..." She adjusted a stray piece of hair on her head.

Fyora smiled bittersweetly. "She loved her books so much. She always just wanted to learn..." The faerie queen let out a sigh and adjusted her hair. "If only I knew dark magic, I could have taught her myself, maybe she would-"

"It's not your fault, Fyora." Sappho hugged her tighter. "If it's anyone's fault, it's mine..."

"Sappho, don't you start-"

"No..." The pink xweetok could barely speak between rapid breaths and tremors. "I showed her the room. The one with Xandra. I'm so sorry, I thought if I could show her what dark magic was capable of, she would change her mind..."

Fyora didn't respond. Sappho was terrified of the silence that followed her confession and regressed into a deeper panic.

"I'm sorry... I'm so, so, sorry." Sappho held onto Fyora as close as she could and sobbed into her arm. "It's all my fault, isn't it? She's all gone, and it's-"

THUNK THUNK THUNK

A sudden, thundering knock at the door interrupted the heavy moment between the two.

"My queen!" Aethia's voice sounded from the other side. "I have received a letter for you,"

Fyora huffed. "Aethia, I'm sorry, I'm... not feeling well. If it's not urgent, please just put it with-"

"Your majesty, you don't understand. The return address is from Jhudora's bluff-"

Fyora had never stood up, picked up her staff, and answered her bedroom door so swiftly. Sappho quickly followed her, rushing to catch the photograph that Fyora dropped as she stood up so hastily. Aethia was startled to see Fyora in this state, makeup smudging down her cheeks. Her eyes were drained of all joy and life, but at the same time wild with desperation for this new sliver of hope.

"Here you are, my Queen," Aethia handed Fyora the letter. The envelope was purple with a green wax seal, and the stamp had a picture of Jhudora on it. She gently tore it open and shimmied the paper out of it with her right hand, and she clasped the envelope in between her left hand and her staff.

To Queen Fyora, Sappho, and anyone else whom it may concern,

Hello, it's Schmusekatzen. I apologize greatly for my sudden disappearance and my lack of contact up to this point. I am safe, well, and Jhudora has been kind and hospitable towards Delina and I. My Dark magic studies are going well, and I have learned a great deal in my time here. The truth is, I really feel like I'm good at something for once, which is something I've never really felt with another type of magic. I want to keep learning dark magic with Jhudora.

Jhudora does not know that we come from Faerieland. I know you do not like me to be dishonest, but Delina said it was essential to our safety that we tell this white lie. She believes that Delina is a blacksmith from Moltara and that I am her apprentice. This hasn't been an issue.

I am writing to you because Jhudora has important business in Meridell, and she will be there for two weeks. She told Delina and I that we may return to Moltara during this time if we wish to. We intend to come back to Faerieland for a two week long visit during this time, AND I will have a guest. If you would still have me after I left you so abruptly, I would love to see you all. We will be making the journey towards Faerieland tomorrow. If you are too upset with us to allow us to stay, I understand, but I do wish to see everyone for just a little bit if that's alright.

Much love, miss you both, and see you soon,

Schmusekatzen

PS Can you ask Mira what her schedule is like during the two weeks I'll be in town?

"I.... I don't believe it-" Fyora gasped as she read the letter. Sappho anxiously peeked over her shoulder, trying to figure out what it said. "She's... alive and well? And enjoying her studies?"

"And she's coming back! Tomorrow!" Sappho's tail began to swish from side to side.

"Aethia..." Fyora embraced the battle faerie with a tight hug, which the pink xweetok soon piled onto. "I can't thank you enough for this wonderful news!"

"No need to thank me, my queen, I just gave you a piece of paper!"

After a warm moment of embrace, Sappho pulled away from the group hug to speak. "I am rather curious about this guest of hers. And why does she want to see Mira? She has never been interested in space before."

"I must admit I am also intrigued, and even a bit wary about this guest." Aethia stated. "Although, we will have to trust Schmuse's judgement."

"You're right" Sappho agreed. "She wouldn't bring anyone sketchy around. She's smart enough to know when she shouldn't trust someone."

"Is she?" Fyora questioned. "She ran off to see Jhudora without a second thought,"

Sappho huffed. "I'm going to give her guest the benefit of the doubt, at least for now. It's probably another pupil of Jhudora's."

"This is just a lot to take in, and I have to protect my queendom..." Fyora put her hands on her hips. "We will have to clean her sheets and set up a guest room. On the night of her arrival, I want a feast prepared. I want to assess the guest and make sure that Schmuse's friend is someone she can trust. Meanwhile, I want Aethia to keep watch near the guest room."

"Yes, my queen! You have nothing to worry about, this castle has state of the art security from the inside out," Aethia bowed a little bit before leaving the room to go take care of her new errands.

Once Fyora and Sappho were alone again, Sappho was so giddy with the idea of seeing her sister again that she forgot the confession she had just made moments earlier. Fyora broke the silence.

"Sappho! You showed her Xandra?!" Fyora scolded.

Sappho flinched. "Well- I just," She inhaled before saying her next words, as they were risky. "She deserves to know. I don't like keeping secrets from her-" She clutched the skirt of her dress.

Fyora rubbed her forehead. "Sappho... It was bad enough when you accidentally found the statue yourself, but your sister isn't like you. She thinks she's some kind of..." Fyora lost her words. "I don't know. I just don't want her to get hurt trying to take on something of this scale. You didn't tell her anything else about your origins, did you?"

Sappho sighed. "No, I didn't, Fyora." She lied. "I'm sorry. I just wanted to help. But she's coming back tomorrow, and we can talk to her-"

"You can talk to her, you should apologize to her, actually. I can't believe you made her last memory of Faerieland a horrid one... How will I convince her to stay if she doesn't think she deserves her place here?" Fyora took in a deep breath before she abruptly ended the conversation. "I'm sorry, Sappho. I shouldn't have said that... Get a good night's sleep, we have a big day tomorrow."

The pink xweetok bowed her head down before dismissing herself. "Good night, Queen Fyora."



On the night of Schmuse's arrival, Sappho anxiously paced back and forth down the castle halls. Earlier she had asked one of the castle staff to go tend to a different duty, because she, personally, wanted to be the one who prepared her sister's bed exactly the way she wanted it. The castle maid insisted that a noble scholar such as herself shouldn't be doing this sort of labor, but Sappho insisted. She put extra care into making the bed, taking the sheets out of the dryer last minute so they would be warm. Sappho made sure their room was extra tidy and welcoming, she even found Schmuse's childhood plushie from a storage room and set it on her bed. She was so excited to have her sister back, it felt lonely without sharing a room with her all this time. She smiled thinking about what they would do tonight, and decided to display some board games and puzzle boxes in their room so that Schmuse could pick out something for some sister bonding time. She wanted to make up for what she did, for making her last memory of Faerieland a horrid one, this was her chance to make it right by her sister, but also by Fyora.

A knock at the door interrupted her thoughts.

"...Sappho?" Fyora's voice sounded from the other side. "She's here-"

Sappho stood up at once. Her nerves began to set in. She hadn't seen her sister in a month. As she walked down the hallway behind Fyora, her heart was pounding. What if this was all a trap set by Jhudora and Schmuse has been dead this whole time? Is her head mounted to the wall? Has her whole body stuffed and taxidermized into some morbid Dark Faerie conversation piece? What if she never went to Jhudora's in the first place and was somewhere else this whole time? What if she found our parents without me? What else is she hiding? Do I really even know her anymore? Have I ever really known her?

She was actually quite surprised when Schmuse answered the door, looking very much fine, very much the same, happier, even. The purple xweetok looked equally as nervous about seeing her own sister. She was trembling a little bit, and at her side was a strange... acara? This was definitely not someone from Faerieland. She was gray, white, and had scruffy pink hair, but the first thing that Sappho noticed were the scars on her body, on her face, her arms, her legs. One of her arms was tied up in a sling, and the other one was holding Schmuse steady, paw in paw. She gently gave the xweetok a nudge with their conjoined paws. "Come on, purple. You got this! Just say that thing you rehearsed yesterday." The acara's voice was raspy but encouraging.

Schmuse sighed and let go of the acara before she stepped forward and spoke in a calm tone, exactly like this was something she had practiced several times in a mirror. "Listen, I... don't have any excuses to make. I... I'm terribly sorry for not giving anyone a warning, and I... um..." The purple xweetok choked on her words. "I do recognize, the um, the perils... of dark magic, and I want you to know that I... I have been practicing it with utmost caution. As for my mentor, she's, um, not as bad as many would say, I have found. But... I understand your skepticism, and I assure you, I'm being careful." She paused for a moment to fumble with her paws. Her tone changed to a much more frantic voice, she was losing her script. "I'm just... I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I know it was horrible. But I needed to do it, I needed to. I promise it's been worth it. I've been working so hard to make every second that I'm away from you guys worth it. I've learned so much in so little time. I promise I made it worth it. I can do shadow separation, shade shields, one sided voids, two sided voids, essence draining, novice necromancy-"

Sappho didn't let her continue a second longer. She lunged forward and nearly smothered her sister in a hug. "Schmuse... It doesn't matter to me if you can do 1 spell or 100... I just missed you, and I'm happy to see that you're safe.

Fyora wiped a tear from her eye before lowering herself down to xweetok height to join the hug. "Schmuse... Don't ever leave us like that again. I promise, we can go through the castle archives together, I'll teach you dark magic."

Schmuse couldn't bring herself to speak any longer. She wouldn't draw out her speech any more. For now, she just melted into the embrace of those she missed so much.

The acara, who stood alone outside the door as this all happened, interrupted the tender moment by clearing her throat. "Sooo.. am I invited to the group hug, or is this a Faerieland resident only thing, cauuuse-"

Fyora stepped back and looked the acara up and down. Earlier she was still a bit skeptical of this guest, especially as someone who came from Jhudora's bluff, but Schmuse was calm around her. She seemed like a good friend, someone well meaning but just a bit rugged. Most peculiar of all, Fyora thought she recognized this acara. "And who might you be? You seem.... oddly familiar."

The acara twisted her neck until it let out a firm pop, to the left, then to the right, her horns swaying from side to side. While she was tilting her head right, she showed off the scar on her chin. "The name's Thano, if you follow the sport of battledoming you might know me by.." She stopped to imitate the noise of a crowd cheering "Th-Th-Th-Thano Scar! Rahhhhhh!!" She paused to make sure everyone else was as excited as she was. "What? I'm actually pretty well known, you see-"

Schmuse interjected and grabbed the neck of her leather jacket, pulling her close to mutter, "Do not embarrass me in front of the queen! Show some respect, Thano!"

Thano laughed when the xweetok let go of her and bowed her head down. "I apologize, Queen Fyora. Your royal royalness. I just assumed the best of the faeries would be familiar with the best of the sports." The acara did a half bow to the queen.

"It's alright, Thano." Queen Fyora was laughing, which surprised Schmuse. "I'm glad that Schmuse has made a friend. And yes, I do believe that would be where I recognize you from," Schmuse's jaw dropped. "I sometimes watch the sport with my good companion Aethia, who specialized in battle and weaponry-"

"Hold on, hold on-" Schmuse shook her head. "Fyora, you know her?"

Fyora chuckled and shrugged. "I know of her. We actually prepared a feast in order to properly introduce your guest into Faerieland and acquaint her with everyone, as well as to celebrate your return." She clasped her hands together. "Oh! And where is Delina? We wanted her to come as well!"

"Oh, she went back to her house to take care of some errands. We can go grab her before dinner, but first, Thano, let's go put our stuff down. I'm carrying a much heavier bag than you."

Thano snorted. "Not my fault that you need more than one outfit in your life."

"Right, the guest room!" Fyora piped in. "Sappho, you can take your sister to your bedroom. I will escort Thano to her guest quarters-"

"Actually..." Schmuse butted in, her ears bent backwards. "I, um, think I'll stay in the guest room. With Thano. If that's alright."

"...Oh, yeah, that's alright!" Sappho seemed a little saddened after all that time she had spent tidying her sister's side of the room. "I made your bed, so if you want us to carry it in for you instead of getting a spare mattress from the closet, then we could do that, too. I mean, it's not too heavy, and Aethia loves to lift things-"

"Well..." Schmuse rubbed the back of her head, getting increasingly embarrassed. "We only need one bed."

Sappho furrowed her eyebrows, confused. It took her a second, but she had a mini epiphany and her face lit up with realization. "Oh... Oh! So you two are-"

"No!" Schmuse interrupted as fast as she could. "I'm just... used to sleeping in the same bed as her. We shared a bed at Jhudora's, you see. Cause... she doesn't have very many beds. That's all. And now I'm too used to it." She rubbed the back of one of her paws.

Thano used her good arm to mess with Schmuse's hair. "Sure, purple." She turned to face the pink xweetok. "Don't worry, Sappho. I won't take up too much of Schmuzey's time. You're going to see plenty of your sister." Schmuse desperately tried to fix her hair.

Fyora nodded. "Well, in any case, your guest quarters are down that hall, to the left, first door. You know the room, Schmuse."

Schmuse bowed her head down to the queen in gratitude and grabbed Thano by the good arm before the obnoxious grey acara could somehow blurt out something else completely inappropriate in front of Faerieland's most esteemed royal figure, leading her to the guest room.


The feast was grandiose, dignified, elite. Everything you would expect from a feast within a faerie castle. The table was lined with silk, and the seats were cushioned with velvet. Benyeroberry punch was poured into little chalices adorned with glass wings, looking like Faeries themselves. The heavenly roast was cooked to a nice medium rare with a Fire Faerie's flare, and the sauteed vegetables came fresh from the Earth Faerie farms. Schmuse took the smell of the air in. She forgot about how nice it was to live in a castle, to have all of these fancy things and gourmet dinners. She was beginning to get sick of having nothing but Achyfi and microwave dinners at Jhudora's place. As the purple xweetok took her seat, she looked over at Thano, who seemed to be doubly in awe of the cuisine, and the marble tables, and the glass chandelier, and the little decorative chalices with faerie wings on them. She almost seemed a bit terrified of it all. . Schmuse pondered the possibility that this casual castle dinner may be the most formal meal Thano has ever had in her life.

The dinner wasn't all napkins in sleeves and black tie attire, it also had the loud and homey atmosphere of a room full of loved ones seeing each other after a long time. Delina went straight for the roast on the table, and when she asked for some hot sauce to put on it, she was told that this 'wasn't really a hot sauce type meal'. She went to the kitchen and got it herself, which Thano snuck her a high five for. Schmuse was normally terrified of the idea of Fyora seeing her friends in this light, seeing her in this light. She didn't want Fyora thinking that she was this rugged, rude, stranger who liked hot sauce too much. But she did not expect Fyora to be genuinely entertained, nor letting out this boisterous laughter. She allowed herself to smile.

Sappho laughed as she poked away at her bowl full of veggies. She wiped some balsamic dressing off of her chin fur before she started a new conversation. "If I might ask, Thano, what brought you to Jhudora's bluff? How did you meet Schmuse?"

Thano did as much of a gesture as she could with her slinged arm. "Well, I'm out of the battledome until my arm gets better. They brought me straight to Neopian Central hospital and of course, nobody bothered to valet park my ride down here for me, so I've been stranded on this planet. Jhudora let me live in her crawlspace for a couple months in exchange for chores, it wasn't great, but I didn't really have a choice."

"And now, she lives in my crawlspace in Jhudora's guest bedroom in exchange for no chores." Schmuse crossed her arms and rolled her eyes, but she was still smiling.

"Right, right" Thano elaborated. "Jhu-dog kicked me out once purple came around. She doesn't need two errand mules. But luckily, Schmusey was nice enough to let me stay in her guest room. Which, by the way, what's up with that? I never got the guest room!" The acara grunted.

Schmuse tucked her ears down low and straightened out her cheek fur, hiding a hint of pink "I told you to not call me that in front of anyone else-" she muttered, only loud enough for the acara to hear.

Fyora piped in. "Well, Thano, you're welcome here in Faerieland. A friend of Schmuse is a friend of mine. I'm so sorry that your only experience of the great planet Neopia was that awful Jhudora, I promise we will give you a tour of Faerieland and show you proper hospitality, and we will make sure to get ahold Mira for you so you can get back to space."

"Wow!" Thano straightened her back. "Thanks, Queen Fyora."

"Then you can find your ship again, space cadet-" Schmuse smiled and fixated her gaze on the acara. "You promised to give me a tour of space, did you not?" She gently elbowed Thano.

"Oh, don't you worry, I'll let you sit shotgun." She smirked at Schmuse. "I'll show you the whole cosmos, within a 500 mile radius, of course. Fuel prices for spaceships are off the charts, and I'm not making my nerkmid money with my arm out of commission-"

"Thano, you should go to the healing springs. Maybe they can help you fix up your arm-"

Schmuse gasped. "Of course! The healing springs! Thano, we can try healing your arm there!"

"Really?" The acara continued. Her voice wavered a bit. "Wow. That sounds amazing. You guys are really just too kind. Purple has a good family." She smiled warmly at the xweetok, which Schmuse returned. It was rare when she got to see Thano go all soft, but she loved all of those moments. Thano noticed Schmuse looking at her, so she quickly took a drink of punch to cover her face with the chalice.

"Honestly, Thano, we should be thanking you." Sappho spoke tenderly as she set down her salad fork. "I've never seen my sister so happy. I'm glad she has a friend she can be herself around." The pink xweetok turned to face Fyora. "Some of us were a bit skeptical about an unexpected guest, but I think we should all be hospitable towards Thano."

Fyora sighed, and shot Sappho a was that really necessary? type glare before speaking. "I will admit, Thano, I proceeded with caution when I heard we were hosting an unexpected guest from Jhudora's bluff, but that was of no personal insult to you, I do adore you, and I didn't realize the guest would be Thano Scar from the battledome. Schmuse just wasn't very descriptive and I have a responsibility to protect my queendom."

"Oh come on, Aunt Fy-fy, it's no biggie." Thano made a dismissive gesture with her good paw. "No one likes a stranger danger in their house. I don't blame ya. You're the sweetest Faerie I know."

Fyora seemed delighted to be forgiven so quickly. "...Aunt Fyfy, hm?" She laughed. "You're a funny acara. I'm glad Schmuse finally met someone who can make her smile."

Schmuse was a little embarrassed about the way her sister and her queen spoke of her like some awkward recluse who couldn't take a joke until some stupid, goofy acara showed up and wore her down into being less uptight. But maybe they weren't entirely wrong. She went off to her room tonight with a joyful memory of a fun feast, and she realized she didn't really have many other memories like this. Even though she lived with Fyora, Sappho, and Delina was always close by, she had never been to a fun dinner like this with them.


After dinner, Sappho sat on the edge of her bed. She had just finished picking up all the board games she had set out earlier. She was a little bit sad that her sister would not be joining her tonight, but she knew they still had many days together to come. Besides, she was glad that Schmuse had Thano, now.

A knock at the door interrupted her pondering, followed by the creak of it opening. Sappho was surprised to see who was there.

"Schmuse?"

"Sorry, Sappho, I wanted to come grab some things before Thano and I go to the healing springs tonight." Schmuse was standing awkwardly in the door frame, clutching onto her halfway-unpacked bag.

Sappho blurted out. "I'm sorry I showed you Xandra, Schmuse. None of that was your fault, you have to understand-"

"I know." Schmuse stated. "I used to feel so bad, for being a special xweetok living in a castle, getting everything I wanted, while I knew that other innocent neopets were rotting away in the pound. I thought I didn't deserve it. I just felt so much worse when I learned the real reason that I got this life... But I'm making my own place in the world. I'm finally justifying my existence."

As Schmuse was speaking, Sappho closed the door behind her, shutting them into the room, making sure not a sound would escape. "Is it my fault you left?" She asked, eyes full of desperation for an answer.

"Sappho, it was my choice."

"But did I push you to it? Was that the final straw? Is it all my fault?" Sappho was on the verge of tears. She clutched onto her sister's paws.

"Come on, Sapph." Schmuse was getting annoyed. "I already told you why I left-"

Sappho was on her knees, still clutching her sister's paw, almost dragging her down. "Please, Schmuse. I know it was my fault. Tell me it was my fault. Tell me the truth so I can make up for it. It was my fault this happened to you-"

"Okay, you know what?" Schmuse stomped a foot down. "You and Fyora have got to stop talking about this whole thing like I was kidnapped or something. I left by choice, and it was a choice that I'm glad I made. I'm happier with Thano and Delina. I thought you and Fyora were finally realizing that tonight at dinner." The purple xweetok sighed. "You and Fyora were hoping I would choose to stay, weren't you?" She accused. "And that Thano would stay too-"

"Schmu... you don't want to stay with Jhudora forever-" Sappho stepped closer to her sister.

"No! I don't want to stay here forever!" She pushed Sappho aside, knocking her off of her knees. "I'm better at dark magic than I am at being your sister. I'm sorry, Sappho." Schmuse adjusted the shimmery part of her dress. "I really did miss you, and I want you to be in my life, still, but... living here was hard. I will never be as good as you if I stay here."

Sappho didn't know what to say. She was on the floor, still a little frazzled after her sister shoved her. She took a few labored breaths and looked Schmuse in the eye. The silence was uncomfortable, but Sappho decided to let it be. As the silence grew longer, Schmuse's gaze softened into something apologetic, she felt guilty seeing her sister sitting helplessly on the floor like that knowing she was the one who pushed her down.

Instead of speaking, Sappho held a paw up to Schmuse and let a single, purple, tulip blossom elegantly and slowly from the center. The petals were dark and velvety, folded together ever so neatly. The pollen stalks in the middle were very well concealed, and the leaves took up very little space at the base of the flower.

Schmuse wiped the angry tears from her eyes so she could see the tulip blossom better. Her knees became weak. "Sappho..."

"You used to love these as a kid. I had so much fun making flowers for you, you had the sweetest little smile. You loved it when they were purple like you. But one day when you grew up, you just got less and less interested." The pink xweetok sat down on her bed, holding up her flowery skirt to make room for herself. "I... tried so hard to learn the best earth spells I could, I just wanted to impress you again. I wanted to be a good sister again."

Schmuse sat down next to her and leaned her head into her sister's shoulder. "I'm sorry, Sappho. It was never your fault. I was always, you know... worse... than you" Schmuse felt a lump in her throat and her voice began to waver. "I just wanted to be as good at magic as you were. I wanted to help Faerieland like you did... I know Fyora would never say she has a favorite... but the way she looked at you, and the way she looked at me."

"Oh, please." Sappho interjected and gently shoulder-shoved her little sister. "She was worried about you, Schmu. I know she was because she kept telling me. You never made any friends, you barely slept, you threw yourself into your studies day and night-"

"Really?"

"Of course, she only wanted the best for you..."

Schmuse took a heavy breath. "I guess we should have talked like this earlier." Her sister chuckled in response.

"I know, Schmu. But I'm glad we talked now." She handed her sister the tulip. "I am proud of you, okay? And I'm glad you're here, but I understand if you don't stay." The pink xweetok sighed and put her hands in her lap. "You should go back to your girlfriend's room, she's probably waiting to go to the springs..."

Schmuse rolled her eyes and let out a dramatic sigh as she stood up to collect the things that she originally came in for. "She is not my girlfriend." That was almost the last thing she said as she walked out the door, but she popped her head back in "Thank you, Sappho. I'm happy to be back. Goodnight."

"Goodnight, Schmu. I love you."

"I... love you too." Schmuse smiled warmly at her sister before scurrying out the door.

As Schmuse left, Sappho clutched onto the sides of her arms, almost like she was hugging herself. Was that the first time her sister had ever said that she loved her? It didn't matter. Sappho was just happy she said it now.

Part Four