TigerWing woke up the next morning feeling refreshed.
She sat up and yawned, stretching her purple wings to the ceiling. Cali was
still asleep. The sunshine was coming in through the windows, bathing the floor
in warmth. Her stomach rumbled with hunger. She scribbled a note to Cali, explaining
that she was going down for breakfast, and left it on the table. TigerWing put
on her M*YNCI jacket that she bought from a concert in Tyrannia and pocketed
her room key.
She exited the third floor and made her way
downstairs. It was rather quiet since it was still early, but the restaurant
was open. She ordered a Bacon and Broccoli Omelette and sat down to eat it.
It was warm and delicious.
“Hey, TigerWing!” Tweetie was coming towards
her smiling. He sat down at her table and asked, “Did you sleep well?”
“Very well. I love those silk blankets. So,
what are your plans for today?”
“Wiseguy wants to check out the fitness room
and I want to go to the tennis courts.”
“I’m sure there will be enough for both of those
in one day,” TigerWing assured her little brother. “Is Wiseguy up yet?”
“Nope. He said to wake him at ten.”
“Well, that shows that we’re the early birds
of the family,” smiled TigerWing. “Oh, Cali and I met the Neopet in the room
next to us. He’s a blue Eyrie named Jack Kenton. He’s here on some kind of business.”
She quickly retold Tweetie their conversation last night, ending with, “And
when he got back to his room it was after one o’clock in the morning. Strange,
“Yeah,” said Tweetie, not really thinking much
of it, “Strange.”
Cali went to the fitness room with Tweetie and Wiseguy later that morning.
Since she liked to Battledome, TigerWing figured that Cali would go to the fitness
room first thing, and she was right.
So that meant TigerWing could spend the morning
doing whatever she liked. First she went to the sauna. The moisture from the
steamy room collected on her feathers. When she exited she felt relaxed. TigerWing
sat in the recreation room and watched some Neopets playing poker in one corner.
Her eyes were drawn back to Spectre, the red Jetsam, and the Cheat game.
TigerWing casually made her way over to their
game and sat down across from their table. Spectre looked like he was winning.
He had two cards left. TigerWing leaned in, trying to catch how the game was
A blue Acara, who was dressed very royally,
laid down a card and said it was a three.
“Cheat,” called Spectre.
The Acara sighed exasperatedly and picked up
the pile of cards at the center of the table. Spectre only had one card left
and when it was his turn, he said,
“Cheat!” Everyone at the table called.
Spectre turned his card over to show that it
really was one ace. He didn’t cheat after all. TigerWing applauded like the
other Neopets who had gathered to watch.
“Your turn,” the Acara said to TigerWing.
“Who? Me?” TigerWing asked.
“Yeah,” said the Acara, “Your turn to play.”
TigerWing smiled and took her seat. Spectre
dealt her 13 cards. She picked them up, not knowing what to do with them.
“I’ll start,” said Spectre, “Three fives.” He
set down three cards in the middle.
“Two sixes,” said a Blumaroo across from TigerWing.
The next player, a Uni, set down a card and called,
TigerWing looked at her hand. She guessed that
she needed a four, five or six. She picked up her two fours and played them.
The game progressed slowly. Cheat was called
several times in the past twenty minutes. Spectre looked smug. TigerWing said,
“So, are you really the best Cheat player in
Spectre looked bored by her question, “Of course,”
he said, “I happen to be the best at this game.” Yesterday, Wiseguy said that
Spectre was a millionaire. He seemed like such a snob, rich and stuck up. TigerWing
was watching him for the next few rounds. Sometimes he’d rub his chin or leaned
forward in his chair. He never did smile when he laid down a few cards, just
looked solemn the whole time. When he caught someone for cheating he’d grin,
revealing his pointy white teeth. TigerWing easily caught on. If you didn’t
have the same card or one lower or higher than the one played, you had to cheat
and say you did. Then the next player starts a new card for the others to match
or come close to. It was an easy game to play. TigerWing had lots more questions
about Spectre, but she felt that it would be awkward with everyone listening
to each one of them. Spectre’s fan club was watching intensely. If they stared
at him any harder their eyeballs would pop out.
Too bad I couldn’t get him alone… she
thought, Then I wouldn’t have to ask him my questions in front of all of
these Neopians. Oh well…
“How long have you been playing Cheat, Spectre?”
Spectre looked taken aback by being addressed
by his name. He looked surprised that TigerWing only said “Spectre” instead
of Mr. Spectre.
How long have you been playing Cheat, LORD
Spectre? TigerWing thought, and she suppressed a giggle. Spectre finally
“Longer than you, I can see.”
What a jerk! TigerWing thought, insulted
by the richest Neopian…well, two can play at that game… “My owner has played
you before,” said TigerWing, “And she beat you once.”
“Once,” said Spectre, “She beat me once. I must
let myself lose a little now and then... don’t want to look too much like a
professional. Typically, I don’t lose.”
“But if she beat you once then you did lose.”
Now Spectre looked very annoyed, “I’ve only
lost once to your owner,” he repeated. He laid a card down saying, “And three
other times. One king.”
What a big fake! And a liar! thought
the Pteri. She scanned the crowd and said to herself, they only like him
because he’s rich…
On TigerWing’s turn she laid down her last card,
which was a queen. She returned Spectre’s smugness, “I think you mean you’ve
lost four other times.” She had won! Everyone gave great applause for her since
hardly anyone had beaten Spectre. She smiled and shrugged, trying not to look
too pleased with herself.
A Techo whom she didn’t recognize came up to
congratulate her, “Well played!” He said. TigerWing blushed and thanked him.
After squeezing past all of the Neopets, TigerWing
exited the rec room. She waited for Cali, Wiseguy and Tweetie outside the fitness
room, thinking that they would be finished soon. When her three siblings emerged,
“Guess who beat Spectre in a game of Cheat?”
“Someone beat him?” asked Wiseguy. “Who?”
“Me,” said TigerWing. Wiseguy’s jaw dropped,
“Really? How’d you do it?”
TigerWing shrugged humbly again, “I just got
lucky, I guess.” She retold the Cheat game as they all went to the Burger Bar
for dinner. The food tasted great. Everything about the Neolodge was great.
The four Neopets sat in a corner, discussing their plans for the next few days,
“How about we go our separate ways, you and
Cali can go to the Bazaar and Tweetie and I will stay in the Main Shops. We
could come back here for lunch and then continue.”
TigerWing saw Spectre come out of the rec room,
followed by his admirers. She waved a little, but he rolled his eyes and climbed
the staircase. Noticing this, TigerWing said, “Spectre’s staying at the Neolodge?”
“Yeah,” said Tweetie through a mouthful of Honey
and Bacon burger, “he’s on our floor in the room across from us.”
“Wonder what he’s doing here…” Cali thought
“Most likely here vacationing,” said Wiseguy.
“But he’s probably so rich that he doesn’t need
a vacation,” TigerWing observed.
“Yes, but his room is AstroVilla.” Tweetie looked
awed. AstroVilla cost 500 Neopoints and was the most expensive room in the Neolodge.
Spectre passed again, followed by all of his admirers.
“Everyone waits on him hand and foot,” said
Wiseguy, “I bet he’s the richest and most spoiled pet in all of Neopia.
Maybe even on Kreludor too. But I do wonder what he’s doing here.”
“Maybe he’s here on business too, like Mr. Kenton.”
“Maybe, Cali,” TigerWing said, “Or maybe he’s
just here to play Cheat with all of the inexperienced players so he can win
“Pretty self-absorbed,” Wiseguy said with a
“He’s such a jerk,” said TigerWing hotly, “and
so full of himself! I wish he weren’t staying here so I wouldn’t have to put
up with him! His little fan club only follows him around because they’re hoping
that he’ll give them something. What a bunch of beggars! Don’t they know that
he’s not going to give them anything?”
“Don’t let him or his admirers ruin your vacation,
sis,” advised Wiseguy, “Just ignore him. I wish he weren’t here either, but
there’s some things that just can’t be changed.”
“Okay,” said TigerWing with a smile. Wiseguy
was always right. He knew how to give good advice when anyone needed it.
“So, how about we all go for a quick swim before
bed?” Tweetie piped up. TigerWing smiled. She knew that he just wanted to make
“Sounds great,” said TigerWing, and after she
was splashing in the pool, she completely forgot about Spectre.
To be continued...