A starry Uni nervously stares at the camera. She clears her throat. "Am
I on?" she whispers. Suddenly, an alert, businesslike look washes over her face
and she begins to speak.
CELESTILLA: For The Neopian Times Appreciation Guild, this is Celestilla,
coming to you live from beautiful Meridell. Taffy kindly asked me to host this
episode of Lifestyles of the Affluent and Illustrious, and I was honored to
comply. This week, we will be visiting the home of that memorable swordschia,
Sir Fufon Lui.
If the adjectives "affluent" and "illustrious" apply to anyone, it's this
eccentric pet. Though he's the much beloved and admired protector of his small
hamlet, he has a reputation for being rather pompous. Namely, he tends to ignore
the fact that the only trouble that has ever come near his remote village was
a pack of rogue Lupes with rainbow guns. Still, the townspeople did elect to
build a statue in his honor, and I might note that the sculptor commissioned
to do the job has become almost as rich as Sir Lui himself.
We are standing now outside the village of Draik End, where Sir Lui has taken
up permanent residence. If you look closely, you can see the turrets of his
castle rising over the walls of the city. As we make our way through the city
gates, you will get a clearer picture of our subject's home. Sir Fufon Lui comes
from a long line of talented and wealthy swordschias, and has a reputation for
being somewhat vain. It shouldn't surprise you, then, to notice that his magnificent
home is not only made from marble with inlays of gold, but it is shaped rather
like a Chia with a large, flowing moustache.
Celestilla makes her way through a winding boulevard crowded with tourists
up to the gates of Sir Fufon Lui's home. A flight of steps up to a colonnade
confronts her, and she heaves a sigh and begins to trot up them. As she approaches
the porch, it becomes obvious that the row of columns is actually made up of
several sculptures of Chias, most with a feathered hat and sword. Celestilla
finally makes it to the top and yanks the gilded handle of the doorbell. She
then leans against the nearest column, breathing rather heavily.
CELESTILLA: Sir Lui's great wealth comes almost totally from inheritance,
and he has obviously put it to extravagant use. As you can easily see by examining
the very shape of the columns on his porch, reports of Sir Lui's vanity have
not been … ah, Sir Fufon Lui! How wonderful to meet you!
Sir Fufon Lui himself answers the door. A gigantic musketeer's hat shades
his rather shapeless Chia face. An even larger purple feather swoops down and
around the brim, nearly brushing his elegant moustache. He also wears high leather
boots, an interesting effect on a Chia. A Crockabeck sits on his shoulder, wearing
a golden collar embossed with the name "Richelieu."
SIR FUFON LUI: Thou must be the worthy reporter, Celestilla! I have
been looking for thee for many a minute this past hour. Prithee, come in, that
we may get acquainted.
Celestilla fumbles for her dialect translator.
CELESTILLA: Ah… I thank thee, worthy Sir Lui. Couldest I possibly lookest
aroundest at thy un-humble abode?
Sir Lui wrinkles his nose disdainfully at her atrocious accent, but graciously
sweeps off his hat and bows her through the door, Richelieu swaying dangerously
on his shoulder.
SIR LUI: I fear that I must fly, my dearest Celestilla. I dare not
deviate from my daily fencing schedule, lest I leave my many students waiting.
Thou hast my permission, however, to tour my modest domicile freely. My servants
can answer any questions thou might harbor.
CELESTILLA: I understandest completely. I bid thee farewell, then,
most noble knight.
Sir Lui disappears through a back door.
As you can see, the front hall is the hub of Sir Lui's home. No less than
three marble staircases loom up from the marble floor, and a lovely marble fountain
gleams in the middle, decorated with frolicking Flotsams. Through this door
Celestilla troops through the kitchen, ignoring the six cooks who are looking
suspiciously at her.
The kitchen has its own separate wing of the house, apparently with six cooks
on duty at all times. As you can see, Sir Fufon Lui's affinity for marble extends
here, as all the countertops, and of course the floors are made of that material.
The oven is absolutely enormous… in fact, I believe I might be able to fit inside…
yes, and standing up, too! Come here, Andromeda, and see if the camera can get
a shot of this-
COOK: 'Ey! What are you doing een zere? You are ruining my pastries!
Celestilla suddenly seems to notice crème filling all over her hooves.
CELESTILLA: It appears that our knight has a fondness for pastries,
as I'd say there are… ah… were a good three dozen on that cooling rack. Well,
I'd say that's about enough of the kitchen. Let's move on.
Dodging ladles and frying pans, Celestilla escapes into the entry hall.
Entering the door between two of the great staircases, we find Sir Lui's gymnasium
and swimming pool. The pool appears to be shaped like (you guessed it) a Chia,
although how a Chia such as Sir Lui is able to swim with arms less that six
inches long is anybody's guess. Come to think of it, fencing must be rather
difficult as well. However, this triviality doesn't seem to faze Sir Lui. And,
being the fencing champion that he is, he must have a place to practice. This
(naturally) marble-floored fencing court serves the purpose extravagantly. Oddly,
he also seems to have tennis and volleyball courts installed.
Heading up the left-hand staircase, we encounter Sir Lui's private library.
Hmm…it appears that an entire row is dedicated to books he has written himself,
although I've never heard of any of them. Many seem to be private journals of
his. This could be interesting.
Celestilla looks around surreptitiously, then hefts one of the huge diaries
and leafs through.
"Monday, 12th day of Swimming: I arose this morning and noticed that Richelieu
seems to have left rather a mess on the floor during the night. I cleaned it
up before going downstairs. For breakfast this morning, I had some lovely Faerie
pancakes, followed by…"
She snaps the book shut with a sigh.
Absolutely no imagination. Ah well…on to his private quarters. On first glance,
it appears that he has a second, upstairs swimming pool, but this is actually
his (once again, marble) bathtub. As you can see, it's about the size of a peasant's
entire house. His bedroom features a gigantic painting of himself, or perhaps
one of his identical ancestors. The floor of rose tree wood makes for an interesting
variation from the rest of the house.
Our last stop for today is one of the most unforgettable features of Sir Lui's
home: the observation tower. The small room at the top of the very highest tower
affords a breathtaking view, as we are about to see. Yes, the climb is rather
long (according to the pamphlet that the guard of the city gates gives out,
it is a total of 648 steps from the street to the top of the tower), but, also
according to the pamphlet, on a very clear day you can see the obelisks of Sakhmet.
Although this seems rather unlikely, it can't really be proven anyway as there
are, to my knowledge, no very clear days in Meridell. In any event, today's
weather is predictably cloudy, and we shall probably only be able to see to
the next village over. Ah, and here, thank Faerieland, is the top of the tower.
Celestilla flings open the door to reveal a very small, bare room, with
an un-glassed picture window. For once, she seems to be speechless. The view,
although rather hazy due to the fog which is so common to Meridell, is spectacular.
Peasants move about the town like animated dolls, and the cultivated fields
beyond the city walls look like a gigantic patchwork quilt covering the hills.
After spending a moment admiring the view, our host turns back to the camera
with a slightly awed smile.
Well, I must say that the 648 stairs were quite worth that view. What's that,
Andromeda? Already? Well, I'm afraid that's all the time I have for today; I
must leave you with this awe-inspiring sight. For The Neopian Times Appreciation
Guild, I'm Celestilla. Make sure to tune in next week for more Lifestyle of
the Affluent and Illustrious!