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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 23rd day of Sleeping, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 59 > Continuing Series > Heilley Plays It Cool: Part Four

Heilley Plays It Cool: Part Four

by scriptfox

I was glad I wasn't in our owner's position of trying to placate Kallisari as she demanded that Heilley "fess up" to keeping her Cheat! winnings. He promised to talk with Heilley about it the next morning, and managed to get the subject dropped. I seriously considered warning him about Heilley's lack of trust in how owners treated their pets, but I didn't. I wasn't sure if it was my position to say anything, and besides, I didn't know how to say it anyway.

     Heilley left the next morning to go win her gold Cheat! trophy, and after she did I asked our owner if he'd talked to her about it.

     "Huh? Oh that. Yeah, got that taken care of first thing this morning."

     "Did you make her give you all her winnings?" Like Kallisari wanted you to, I didn't add.

     "No, of course not. She won those fair and square. I told her I wanted my original fifty points back."

     "Oh. What did she say to that?"

     Our owner gave that casual shrug that I'd learned to associate with Heilley. "OK, sounds fair to me," he replied.

     I grinned at his Heilley imitation and felt a bit relieved that we'd dodged one problem. Heilley came back later that day with her gold trophy, as predicted, and a bad case of the Cheat! bug. We actually settled into something of a routine over the next two or three days. Heilley would go with our owner on the "freebie rounds" in the morning, then she'd spend most of the rest of the day playing Cheat!. It kept her out of any big trouble, and I actually began to hope that the initial awkwardness would wear off. Then the omelette incident happened.

     It all started on Heilley's second day of getting omelette. She came back with a piece that looked strange, but I didn't think much about it. I'd seen just about every meat and vegetable combination there was on omelettes. After seeing bacon and broccoli, or carrot and peas, an omelette with nothing but some garlic butter (or whatever that was) on it seemed downright normal.

     Afterwards I wondered if there was something we sensed about that piece of omelette that caused us to instinctively avoid it. It sat in the fridge for a couple of days until the day when Kallisari decided to have a midmorning snack. I was busy mixing up some lemonade as she helped herself. Our casual conversation was interrupted by her gagging and coughing.

     I turned around to find Kallisari with nothing but some omelette crumbs in one hoof while the other was clenched to her throat as she coughed. "Hey, are you OK? That didn't go down the wrong way did it?"

     "Ick! Tastes awful," Kallie said hoarsely. "Where did this come from?"

     I looked at the few pieces that were left. "I think that's the one that Heilley brought home a couple of days ago."

     "Augh, she's got lousy taste..." Kallisari broke off into more coughing.

     "Are you sure you're going to be all right?"

     She shook her head. "My throat's sore," she rasped. "Water?"

     "How about some lemonade?"

     She nodded and I poured her some. She drank part of it, but was coughing too badly to enjoy it. It didn't seem to help much, either.

     "Here, maybe you better go lay down in the recliner," I told her. She acquiesced, and I called MonoKeras at his office while she coughed in the background. It was when he asked to talk with her that we began to realise the full extent of the problem.

     "Here, Kallie, MonoKeras wants to talk to you..." I held the phone out to her.

     She tried to talk, but her breath scraped through her throat and all she could do was make an "ugga-ugga" sound. MonoKeras told me to call our owner and have him get home ASAP, and that he was coming too.

     Now thoroughly alarmed, I did as I was told, and within minutes everyone got home. MonoKeras and our owner helped support Kallie and between them took her to go see the doctor. I was told to stay home and wait for Heilley.

     I waited, but not happily. I kept worrying about Kallisari... and Heilley. I'd told MonoKeras and our owner what had happened, and needless to say the reaction was less than pleasant. MonoKeras in particular was very cutting in his remarks about Heilley, although our owner seemed to take it more in stride. He actually blamed himself as much or more than he did Heilley, since he'd been there too when she grabbed the omelette piece.

     Heilley got home several hours later. She carried three more Cheat! trophies under her arms, and had that usual look of triumphant satiation that she got whenever she'd just finished playing a successful tournament.

     "Heilley!"

     "Hey there." She headed past me for her room.

     I followed her upstairs, trying to find some way to tell her what had been happening... and to warn her, too. I caught up with her in her room, only to see her shifting her growing collection of trophies around.

     "I dunno, this flat pyramid thing just isn't gonna work. Maybe I should do a four sided one, that way I could get a lot more cups in."

     "Ahhh..."

     She looked over her shoulder. "Hey. What do you think? Four sided pyramid, or do I just start melting the bronze and silver ones down?"

     "Uhh, whatever you want. Say, Heilley...."

     "Yeah, I guess you're right. I think I'll see about melting some of them down..."

     "Uh huh, OK. Um, Heilley..."

     "Yeah, that's my name, don't wear it out."

     "I won't, but I...." I heard the front door open and cursed under my breath. So much for telling her myself.

     "Blchocobo! Heilley!"

     "Uh oh, sounds like we're being summoned."

     "Yeah." I stepped aside to let Heilley past me and followed her slowly down the stairs.

     "Oh, there you are," our owner was saying as I walked into the living room.

     Heilley stared at Kallisari, who was a sorry sight indeed. "Whoa, man, what happened to you?"

     She got glares from MonoKeras and Kallisari both, but our owner managed to get the first word in. "MonoKeras, get Kallie to bed while I tell these two what's been happening." MonoKeras nodded curtly and helped Kallisari up the stairs.

     I gulped as I stared after them. Kallie's witch hat drooped over to one side. When you see that happen, you know she's sick. A sigh came from behind me, and I turned back to see our owner settling in his chair. "Have a seat, you two."

     Heilley immediately perched on the sofa. "OK, out with it, what's happened to her?"

     Our owner grimaced. "You remember that piece of omelette you found a couple of days ago?" Heilley looked blank. "The one that looked odd?" "Oh, yeah, that one. I said it oughtta be valuable because it was different."

     "Right. Well I don't know about valuable, but it was nasty enough. Kallisari ate it earlier while you were gone."

     "Aww, poo. That's what happened?"

     He nodded grimly. "Exactly. She's got a very sore throat. All she can say is 'ugga ugga'. MonoKeras and I took her to the doctor, and we found out the cure for it is sporkle syrup."

     "Sounds nasty. Didn't you get some?"

     "No. I looked in the shops, but it's basically unbuyable. If you can get it at all, it's about ninety nine thousand points."

     Heilley whistled. "So what do we do?"

     "Well, we took her to the water faerie. Sometimes she can heal pets, but she tried and failed. She suggested we come back tomorrow."

     "Aw, man, that rots. So she just has to lay there and suffer?"

     "Pretty much. I've got some magic mushrooms that would cure her, but she's too bloated from the omelette to eat them. I'm afraid she's in for a bad night."

     "Crumbs," was Heilley's succinct summation. We sat there, staring into space, each wrapped in our own version of gloomy thoughts.

     A faint "ugga-ugga" came from upstairs, and I heard a door shut. I looked up to see MonoKeras coming back down the stairs and I nodded to him.

     He met my gaze briefly before turning to Heilley and our owner. "Well? Does she know yet?"

     "Yeah I told her."

     "Lousy break, MonoKeras."

     MonoKeras glared at Heilley. "What, I suppose next you're going to sit there and say you didn't have anything to do with it? You're just an innocent bystander in all this?"

     "Huh? Well yeah...."

     "Hah! Quit kidding yourself. You were the one that got that rotten piece of omelette and brought it home. You put it in the fridge and you are the one that started all this! If it wasn't for you, Kallisari would be fine instead of laying up in bed groaning with every breath."

     Heilley shifted uncomfortably and refused to meet MonoKeras' eyes. "Yeah, well, she should be better soon."

     "Think so? Maybe. But if so, it'll be no thanks to you! So just do everyone a favour and quit playing dumb. And while you're at it, stay away from the omelette. You obviously don't know a thing about what you're doing there."

     Heilley had begun to curl into a ball as MonoKeras' stinging rebuke hit her. "Yeah, OK," she mumbled, but he wasn't paying attention to her anymore. He'd turned to look at our owner.

     "I'm not coming down for supper tonight. Kallie can't eat, and I'm going to be with her. I'll go grab something to snack on and see you in the morning."

     "OK, we'll let everyone fend for themselves tonight."

     MonoKeras left and I decided I might as well leave too now that the fireworks were over. I got up but as I began to leave, Heilley spoke up.

     "Hey blchocobo?"

     I looked over at her. She'd stretched back out again and was playing absently with a lock of her hair. "Yeah?"

     "What do you think? Is this all my fault, too?"

     I restrained my snort of exasperation. "Well you did pick out that bad piece of omelette," I retorted coolly. Heilley didn't say anything, just looked blank as I left the room.

     I regretted my burst of temper within seconds, but it was too late. I finally decided that Heilley needed to suffer a bit anyway. She didn't seem to care for anyone but herself, so maybe this is what it would take to show her that others had feelings too. The problem with losing your temper like that, though, is that no matter how justified it is it still leaves you feeling upset afterwards. Coming on top of Kallisari being sick and my worrying about her, it was no surprise that I didn't finish the tchea fruit that I filched from the fridge.

     I don't think anyone slept well that night. I know that I didn't. I just lay there staring into space and listening to the faint coughing coming from MonoKeras and Kallisari's room. I think it was about two o'clock when I drifted up from an uneasy sleep and decided to use the bathroom. As I walked by their room, I saw the bedside light on. I looked in to see Kallisari, her head propped up on pillows as she tried to fight back another coughing spell. MonoKeras was sitting beside the bed, leaning over her. His head and wings drooped with weariness, and the glazed look in his eyes suggested that he'd not slept at all that night. I saw him swallow hard as Kallisari finally had to let go with another series of coughs before subsiding with that cursed "ugga ugga" whistle. MonoKeras groped blindly towards the head of the bed, and came up with a bottle of syrup. As he did his best to get Kallie to take it, I looked at where he'd reached and saw most of our motley collection of partially used medicines strung out there on the bedstead. I turned away as a coughing choke came from the room. It obviously hadn't been the right medicine, and I was sure MonoKeras knew that, but... It was a long, long night.

     Physical exhaustion finally had its way with me and I didn't wake up until about eight the next morning to hear low voices downstairs. Blearily crawling out from under the covers, I headed downstairs myself just in time to say goodbye to MonoKeras and Kallisari as they went to see the water faerie again. I was still half asleep as I fumbled in the refrigerator for a breakfast omelette.

     "Was that the deadly duo I heard leaving just now?"

     I jumped as Heilley spoke behind me. "Yeah, they're going to see if the water faerie can cure her today."

     "Huh." Heilley quickly helped herself to her own breakfast. "Sure hope they do. That really stinks."

     "Yes, it does. But they should be back before too long, one way or the other, so we shouldn't have long to wait to find out what happened."

     "Yeah, guess so." Heilley wandered into the living room and we both wound up sitting there while eating our breakfast.

     Heilley was licking crumbs off her paws before I finally spoke again. "Uh, say Heilley?"

     "Eh?"

     She looked up at me and I swallowed the rest of what I had to say. I felt bad about the night before, but I wasn't even sure where to start on an apology. "Oh... nothing."

     "Ah." She fidgeted in her seat. "Wonder when they'll be back."

     "I don't know."

     She grunted After another five or ten minutes of staring into space while she nervously twiddled her thumbs, she jumped to her feet. "Oh well. I can't wait any longer, got things to do."

     "Cheat?"

     She flashed me a grin. "What else?"

     I sighed and sat back in my chair. What else indeed. I could make some pretty good guesses as to what else might happen, and none of them were good.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Heilley Plays It Cool: Part One

Heilley Plays It Cool: Part Two

Heilley Plays It Cool: Part Three

Heilley Plays It Cool: Part Five

Heilley Plays It Cool: Part Six

Week 59 Related Links

Heilley's Best-selling Guide to Cheat!
Heilley is the name, Cheat! the game, and mine the fame... whatever.

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Brother n' Sister
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