IT WAS A very boring day. A Sunday afternoon, sweltering hot, and nothing to
"Somebody get some more ice," KiwiBonk the desert
Aisha said, holding out her empty cup.
"Pass the remote," moaned MinxJade, KiwiBonk's
younger sister. She was slouched in a chair with her ears hanging limp over
"No," said Rumples_Skin_Skin, who was also an
Aisha and was the third oldest in the family. Even though the remote control
was in his hand and he was sitting in the same chair as MinxJade, he could not
summon the strength to hand it over.
"I don't wanna watch Better Than You anymore,"
said the youngest Aisha, ChinoGod.
"Uh... Snuffs, go take the remote from Rumples
and give it to MJ," KiwiBonk told her Abominable Snowball.
"He melted this morning, remember?" MinxJade
said. Having a petpet made of snow and living in the Lost Desert was not a advantage,
as Snuffs II melted at least fifteen times every day.
"Come on, you guys, it's not that hot," Alison,
the four Aisha's owner, said as she walked in.
"You're not covered in two inches of fur."
"You do not have two inches of fur. Now, I want
all of you to go outside. It's a lot cooler out there."
The pets groaned in unison and slow as slugs
dragged themselves out the door.
"It's even hotter out here," Chino observed.
"No, it's not," Alison yelled. She threw
a rotten baggus out the door and then slammed it shut.
The pets groaned again. "Looks like we're stuck
out here for the rest of the day." Rumples lamented.
"Let's get out of this blistering desert," MinxJade
The other three agreed, and ran as fast as they
could to the Haunted Forest, where everyone knows it's cool.
They were surprised to see Alison there, talking
to the Brain Tree.
"How did you get here before us?" KiwiBonk gasped,
for she was quite out of breath from running a quarter of the way around the
"I took a taxi." She turned back to the Brain
Tree. "Anyway, as I was saying, Betty Blumaroo didn't die at all. She's still
alive, and I can prove it to you!"
Since Alison was very busy persuading the Brain
Tree that he ought to update his questions, the pets decided to enter a large,
rotting house with bats flying in and out of the chimney and boards over the
Inside, it was cold. The pets walked around
the battered suit of armour and into a dark room that appeared to be the parlour.
"Ahh, this is more like it," MinxJade said.
They arranged themselves on a moth-eaten couch with little wooden paws for feet
and breathed in the dusty air.
"Don't you find it weird that we're sitting
on a moth-eaten couch that is made of a cotton- like substance, not wool?" Rumples
"Pipe down, Rumples," KiwiBonk snapped. They
sat in silence. After several minutes, a desert Aisha with a lot of blonde hair
and gold hoops in her ears walked in. She seemed surprised to see them there.
"Oh, hello," she said.
"Good day. Nice day, isn't it?" said MinxJade
"I think we shall go for a swim in the pond
where we shall get cooled off. Wait a minute, why are we talking like this?"
"I'm Lady Osiri," the desert Aisha said,
curtsying gracefully. The Aishas introduced themselves. "Pleased to meet you,"
Lady Osiri said graciously. "I'm here to collect some pottery and fine ceramics
from this old mansion to reassemble in my shop."
"Oh, you own that pottery store? I bought something
from your shop for my owner's birthday!"
"Your patronage is addressed."
"NOBODY MOVE!!!!" a voice shouted from behind
"Goodness!" she gasped.
The Aishas did so. After several minutes, KiwiBonk
opened her eyes, and saw a blue Aisha with six ears holding a gun and standing
in the doorway to the room, looking as bold and heroic as an Aisha could.
"Who are you?" KiwiBonk asked. Chino, Rumples,
and MinxJade stood up as well, as did Lady Osiri.
"It was very rude of you to burst in like that,"
Lady Osiri said, delicately brushing herself off.
"My apologies, ma'am," he shouted.
"You don't have to shout," Rumples said.
"My apologies, ma'am," he said in a slightly
"I'm a guy."
"My apologies, SIR!!!" he bellowed.
"Right," KiwiBonk said, "So why in Neopia are
"This is Neopia?" the Aisha said, looking all
around him. "I'm miles off my target! I was supposed to land on the VirtuPets
"What do you mean, 'land'?" MinxJade asked.
They all ran to the window. Outside, in the middle of the weed-choked yard,
was a smouldering spaceship.
"Not a very smooth landing. Oh, excuse my rudeness.
I am Beerlap III, the Alien Aisha, and I am brave, quick-witted and full of
The Aishas introduced themselves again.
"Well, I really must be going," Beerlap said,
putting his gun in its holder and striding towards the door. We were about to
breath a sigh of relief, but he whipped around and hollered,
"This is the Prenderghast mansion, is it not?"
"Yes," said Lady Osiri. "It is."
Beerlap ran into the next room. It was the kitchen,
or something. One of the walls was missing, and a tree was growing in the sink.
The floor was missing and grass was in its place.
"Why did you want to know that?"
"This is part of my mission," Beerlap yelled.
"Not so loud. We don't want to wake any... one
up," Lady Osiri warned.
"Why? Someone lives here?" Chino said in disgust.
"You could say that," said Lady Osiri quietly.
"You don't mean to say you actually believe
in ghosts?" Beerlap asked. When Lady Osiri didn't answer, he slapped his leg
and laughed. "You DO believe. All right, ghost, if you can hear me, come out
and smite me!" Silence. Beerlap continued to laugh.
"Shh! Quiet!" a whispery voice said.
"AHHH!!!" Chino screamed, and jumped into Rumples'
arms. "You don't want her to hear you." A little green Aisha with the biggest
Faerie wings I have ever seen appeared through the door we had just came through.
"Who?" asked MinxJade.
"Who are you?" Lady Osiri asked delicately.
"My name is Flutter," she said. "And you are?"
They introduced themselves again. "Oh, I guess
we're all after the same thing," Flutter said.
"We're not after anything," KiwiBonk said. "Just
coolness, and we found that."
"But you two," Flutter said, looking at Lady
Osiri and Beerlap. "You're looking for something, aren't you?"
"I'm looking for pieces of art to reconstruct
in my shop."
"I'm on a top secret mission for the UAD," Beerlap
said. "And I'm not giving anything away."
"Fine," Flutter said, rolling her eyes. "We'll
just assume you're after the paintings, too."
"What paintings?" Rumples asked, and dropped
Chino on the ground.
"An Aisha named Mrs. Prenderghast used to live
here three hundred years ago. She had a collection of paintings and pottery
that was rumoured to be worth more than a billion Neopoints. The Neopians were
always after her to lend them of the paintings to put in a museum, but she wanted
to keep them to herself. She never let anyone see her art, not one person. After
she died of Neophobia, she still haunts this mansion, keeping those who would
steal her valuable paintings at bay."
"Pfft. Old wives' tales," Beerlap scoffed.
"The paintings are hidden somewhere on the first
floor, I heard," Flutter said as her fur slowly faded to pink.
"Your fur just changed colour," KiwiBonk
"Oh, I know that. I fell in the Rainbow Pool
when I was a child. I can change my colour whenever I want."
"Shh!" Lady Osiri said. She beckoned for them
to come into the next room. It was a lot darker in there. An antique carpet
covered the floor, and the solitary window was so covered in grime it hardly
let any light in. Beerlap took out his gun and pointed it all around.
"Nobody in here," Beerlap announced.
"Start tapping the walls to see if they're hollow,"
Flutter ordered. "If we find the paintings, we'll split them seven ways."
"We don't want any of the paintings," MinxJade
said. "But thanks anyway."
"Fine. More for me," said Beerlap.
"How many paintings are there?" Rumples asked.
He was helping them look too, as was KiwiBonk and MinxJade. Chino was down on
the floor, poking at something on the carpet.
"Hundreds, I'm told. These paintings are legendary.
They were painted by Neopia's finest artists. If we discover them, we'll be
the first people in three hundred years to see them," Flutter said. She seemed
to know a lot about the subject.
"Won't the paintings be ruined?"
"Oh, they're covered in a wax-like substance.
What are you looking at there, Chino?"
"There's a spot of wax on this carpet," he said.
"It's still warm."
Everyone except Beerlap looked at one another.
"Well... uh... you know, there's more than paintings
in Mrs. Prenderghast's collection," Lady Osiri told everyone as she walked around
the room with two of her ears pressed against the wall. "There's also pottery,
which is what I want."
"I want paintings with painted pets in them,"
Flutter said, hovering near the ceiling and tapping the wall there. "To display
at the Rainbow Fountain."
"I'm not going to say what I want," Beerlap
said. He had a pair of binoculars to his eyes and was looking all around. "It's
"Fine. Put those binoculars away and help us
look," Lady Osiri snapped.
"Uh, while all you worthless four-eared Aishas
were tapping the walls, I was looking through these Radioactive Energy Detector
X-ray Goggles, and I have pinpointed the exact location of the paintings,"
he said importantly.
"Ooh, where?" Flutter giggled as she changed
her colour to dark purple.
"I'm not going to tell you," Beerlap snarled,
and strutted into the next room. It was almost pitch-black in there. "There,"
he said, pointing to a bookcase covered in cob webs.
"We have to move the bookcase," MinxJade noticed.
"Come on, push!" Flutter said. Everyone gathered
on one side of the bookcase and pushed with all their strength. Instead of toppling
over like a regular bookcase, it swung open like a door.
The Aishas peered inside. There, among piles
and piles of framed paintings and dust covered pottery, sat an old blue Aisha
who was, strangely, transparent.
"Scat," she said, and immediately the books
flew off the shelves and attacked KiwiBonk, her brother and sister, Lady Osiri,
Flutter, and Beerlap.
"AAAHH!!" Lady Osiri screamed. She tried to
escape the book missiles by climbing under a table, but the chairs that were
arranged around the particular table flew up in the air and crashed down on
"Everyone, hold still!!" Beerlap thundered.
'ZAP!!' went his gun as he tried to shoot the flying books.
The moldy curtains wrapped themselves around
Flutter until she was a bundle of grey cloth. Two lamps grabbed KiwiBonk and
held her in their grips of steel. Beerlap was flung against the wall by a rug,
MinxJade was still being bombarded by books, Rumples was struggling to free
himself from an army of coat hangers, and Lady Osiri lay unconscious on the
floor with a bump on her head. Only Chino didn't seem to be hurt. He opened
his paw. Inside was the lump of wax.
"EE HEE HEE HEE!!!" cackled the clear blue Aisha.
She didn't have any legs or hands, and she hovered a few feet above the floor.
But she stopped laughing when she saw Chino standing there, unhurt.
"Well, what has happened here?" she said.
"Are you Mrs. Prenderghast?" asked Chino.
"Yes I am, and these are my precious paintings
and pottery, that you are trying to steal. Now, why haven't you been tied up
like the rest of your fellow thieves?"
"You're a meanie," Chino said. "You hurt
Lady Osiri, and all she did was try to steal your pots."
"And that is exactly why I hurt her. I know you all
want my paintings, but they're mine. MINE!!!!" Mrs. Prenderghast held out her
arms and a three-legged coffee table lifted off the ground. She tried to throw
it at Chino, but an invisible shield around him stopped her from doing so.
"You should share," Chino said. "You're mean."
Mrs. Prenderghast screamed and rushed towards Chino. But since she was a ghost,
she went right through him. "Help!" Chino screamed as Mrs. Prenderghast picked
up a piece of wood from the floor and rushed towards him. "Help! Help! HELP!!"
The piece of wood the ghost was holding smashed
into a million pieces. A candle appeared in mid-air, at Chino's eye level. Mrs.
Prenderghast gasped. A furry grey paw wrapped around the candle appeared. Slowly,
a glowing grey arm, body, and leg materialised also. At last, an Aisha head
and two fluffy, feathered wings took shape.
"I am Li-Sha," said the Aisha. "Whenever a young
Aisha is in trouble, it is me they turn to in their time of need." Li-Sha gave
his candle to Chino and stood heroically in front of the old Aisha ghost.
"Li-Sha!" Chino cheered. "Yay!"
"No!" Mrs. Prenderghast screeched. "You're after
my paintings, too!"
"Please, lady," Li-Sha said, and the light around
him faded. "Get a grip. Nobody's after your paintings. Just take a look at them.
"No, they're not!" Mrs. Prenderghast said.
"Yes, they are!" Chino called from inside the
bookcase. "They're all chewed up!"
Li-Sha brought some of the paintings out. Sure
enough, the protective seal of wax had been chewed away, and the paintings underneath
were coated in dust that would never come off. "NO!" Mrs. Prenderghast wailed,
and fell down on the floor, sobbing. "My priceless paintings! All my life's
"Whatever," said Li-Sha. "Now go to heaven, and blubber
to them there."
Mrs. Prenderghast lifted herself up. "You're right,"
she said, sniffing. "I should have done that a long time ago. I just loved my
"But why didn't you share them?" Chino said.
"I was parsimonious. I wanted to keep them for
myself," Mrs. Prenderghast sobbed.
"Well, now that you've learned your lesson,
I think they'll let you into heaven."
Drying her tears, Mrs. Prenderghast smiled and
glowed brilliantly as she was lifted through the ceiling and up to the sky.
"Who chewed up these paintings?" Chino asked.
"Probably mice or something, or maybe a hungry
Skeith came along," said Li-Sha. "See ya, Chino," he added, and left
the same way as Mrs. Prenderghast's ghost.
Chino unwrapped his friends. Everyone was quiet,
until Beerlap said, "There goes my mission."
"Be quiet!" KiwiBonk snapped.
"We were selfish," Flutter said.
Rumples cleared his throat. "So was Mrs. Prenderghast."
"Who was that?" MinxJade said. "He was pretty
"That was Li-Sha. Weren't you listening?" said
Chino. "He's kinda like a guardian angel to Aishas. A guardian Aisha..."
Beerlap picked the unconscious Lady Osiri up
in his arms and they all walked to their homes, following the trails of still-warm