"Are you absolutely sure about puttin' this here?"
Florepa the Starry Zafara eyed the Snow Chia
Sculpture in the middle of the entrance hallway critically.
"Of course I'm sure, Flo," said his sister S_Dasher,
from where she was hanging a Holly Wreath on one of the walls. She turned her
head to her brother, her golden fur glinting with the movement. "What's wrong
with the thing?"
"Nothin'," said Florepa, still surveying the
statue with a disapproving eye. The effigy stared back at him with its fixed
jolly smile typical of Chias. "I just think it's a bit cheapskate to have our
Christmas décor composed entirely of things that we got for free at the Advent
"Oh, it doesn't matter," said the Gelert brightly.
"Kit and the others won't mind. They are family after all." Their owner Shell
appeared in the doorway to the living room.
"Are the pair of you finished with the hallway
yet?" she asked. "Kate and Ben just called to say they've arrived on Mystery
Island and they'll be here in about five minutes."
"What about Sentroy, Achi and Tai?" Dasher inquired.
"They are coming, aren't they?"
Shell was about to reply as to the whereabouts
of her brother when there was a knock on the door. Florepa opened it to reveal
a tall teenage boy about fourteen or so. At his feet were his two pets.
"Ah, good, Sentroy," said Florepa. "We were
just talking about you three. C'mon in."
Tilaxis the yellow Chia and Achievers_united
the blue Jubjub, more commonly known as Tai and Achi, slapped high-paws with
Florepa (though in Achi's case it was more like a high-foot-paw), greeted Dasher
and followed their owner and his sister into the living room, leaving Florepa
and Dasher to check their handiwork on the entrance hall. A green Peophin was
reclining on the sofa.
"Oh there you are, Su," Shell said. "Could you
go and see if Wen is finished with dinner yet? The others will be here soon."
Wen the red Grarrl poked his head out the door.
Clouds of delicious-smelling steam wafted out around him. "Just finishing up.
A pounding noise emanated from the entrance hall,
followed by a short growl of exasperation from Dasher, as her carefully positioned
Holly Wreath was knocked askew. Shell and Sentroy got up swiftly, trotted to
the door and opened it.
Immediately, their two cousins, Katespice151
and Bencheng, followed by their pets, poured in through the door in a colourful,
enthusiastic medley. It was Christmas Eve, after all, and as everyone knows,
Christmas is spent with family. That meant a reunion. This was their first real
reunion, as Katespice and her younger brother Bencheng had only discovered the
world of Neopia that year, and Shell being the eldest among the four, her house
was chosen to be the party site.
Dasher forgot her indignation about the crooked
wreath and in her usual jaunty manner trotted to the door to meet her cousins.
She nearly pounced on the cousin she was closest to, Kitspice, then stopped
as she saw the disappointed expression on the Aisha's face.
"Kit? What's wrong?" she asked, cocking her
golden head to one side.
"There's no snow," Kitspice sighed. Her long,
glowing, neon-green tail twitched as she gazed out of the pane-less window into
the pale blue sky as the late afternoon sunbeams slanted through the clouds
and trees. True enough, Mystery Island being a tropical island, snow never came.
"How do you celebrate Christmas without snow?"
Kitspice continued. "It just seems so…strange. The ground back at Neopia Central
is covered. It was so much fun playing in it, and making snow-pets and having
snowball fights…we can't do any of that here."
Dasher looked around at the rest of the group.
Bencheng and Katespice's pets did seem a little downcast, even though they were
settling in well. She threw a paw about the Aisha's shoulders. "Don't worry.
Snow or no snow, you'll have a ball here. I'll show you what a Mystery Island
Christmas is like!"
"Dash!" Shell emerged from the living room.
"We're going to go choose the tree now!"
"Oh boy!" barked the Gelert happily. "Come on,
Curious, Kitspice scampered after her cousin
as she bounded out the door.
"What are the humans carrying those for?" Bencheng's
mutant Chia, Chiamaster, more commonly just called Master, looked quizzically
at the large cardboard boxes each of the owners were carrying in their arms.
Florepa smiled at him.
"You'll see soon enough."
"Where's the axe?" Ben's young blue Techo, Cybzard,
had padded up beside them as the group started down the sandy path. "How do
you cut down a tree without an axe?"
"Just wait, Zardy," Florepa replied, strangely
with none of his usual impatience. "We have to pick a tree out first."
Eventually, the path led them down to the coastline.
The Neopia Central pets couldn't help but be enthralled as they stood on a grassy
sandbank overlooking the shore. The white-topped waves crashed repeatedly against
the sand as the seabirds wheeled in the sky. Further in the distance, the sun
blazed as it sank still lower towards the sea.
Two heads quite suddenly emerged from the sunlit
water. Tsunami and Samfire, Bencheng's Flotsam, had followed the river to get
to where the family was, as neither could do without water for long. Tsunami,
her long red mane plastered to her neck and her coat on the horse-part of her
darkened by the water, loped up the beach towards them followed by Sam, the
water dripping off his red scales and the green ones on the fish-part of Tsunami
to leave damp, dark trails in the sand. Still, they looked refreshed by their
"I think this one will work."
Sentroy was standing by a young casuarina tree,
about as tall as he was, with a hand on its rough trunk.
"That'll be great," Katespice agreed. She placed
her box carefully on the floor, and from it, took out a Christmas tree ornament
in the shape of a golden star. "Right, everyone, let's get decorating."
"We're not taking it home?" Katespice's Chia,
Chipster, nudged Tilaxis, who shook his head. "Nope, we're decorating it right
here. Don't worry, it'll be great."
The Neopia Central pets forgot about the absence
of snow as they turned their attention to the business at hand.
"You know, Dash," Kitspice said happily as she
hung a white, glittery snowflake-shape on one of the needle-like leaves, "this
is rather fun." Dash winked. "I knew you'd think so." Kitspice stood back to
admire her handiwork, dusting glitter off her paws.
"Excuse me, Kit," called Katespice, "we're putting
on the finishing touches now."
The pets all crowded away from the tree as Shell,
Sentroy, Ben and Katespice came towards it and draped gleaming, silvery tinsel
over the tree, threading it through the boughs.
Wen noticed little Flora, Katespice's Kacheek,
admiring the crystal Zafara angel figurine. As gently as he could, he picked
her up in his claws and held her next to the tree's peak. Flora needed no second
bidding. She quickly hung the shining ornament at the very top.
"Well, that certainly looks good." Zoxty, Ben's
Quiggle, eyed the tree with approval. "Absolutely in the centre, nicely done,
Flora! Couldn't have done it better myself!"
"No, you couldn't, Zox," chuckled Ealgcon, Katespice's
Eyrie. He arched his back and stretched his blue wings out in contentment. "I
could get used to this place." The pets and their owners sat back with happy
sighs and eyed their handiwork. The late afternoon sunlight turned the world
to gold around them; even the tree seemed to be covered with gold leaf. It positively
glowed as the glittering ornaments sparkled on its branches.
"And now we eat," Sentroy said. "Pass your box,
"We're eating here too?" Kitspice turned to
Dasher. The Gelert nodded.
"Good," said the Aisha happily. "I didn't want
to go back to the house, not after that." She waved her paw at the sky, with
its pink and gold clouds scudding and chasing each other across it.
The dinner Wen had prepared was soon taken out
and arranged on the tablecloth that had also been in Bencheng's box. There was
the traditional fruit-filled Seasonal Pudding with its sprig of holly at the
top, gingerbread cookies ornamented with icing and coloured sugar, fresh-baked,
crisp Apple Pies and all sorts of other food. Like all Wen's cooking, it was
delicious. The family ate and watched the sun sink below the sea in a firestorm
of vermilion and pink and gold, burning a trail across the water as it did.
Soon, the food was gone, but Shell, Sentroy and
their pets didn't make any move to go back to the house. The Neopia Central
pets and their owners waited to see what else was in store.
They didn't have long to wait. The dark indigo
of night soon enveloped the sky and the stars came out, bigger and brighter
than could be seen in the city. The slim crescent of moon could be seen too,
and not a cloud was in sight.
All of a sudden, a swarm of Flightning bugs whirred
out of the bushes in the jungle some distance behind and zoomed through the
night. They hovered over the tree, now gleaming in starlight, and then settled
on its branches, flashing their inbuilt lights every now and then.
Kitspice nudged Dasher. "Did you know that was
going to happen?"
Dasher shook her head. "Guess the Flightning
bugs took it into their heads to give us lights for the tree, too. Nice of them,
She turned teasingly to her cousin. "So, even
though this wasn't a white Christmas, I take it you had a good time?"
"Yeah." Kitspice smiled, remembering the gilded,
fiery sky of the sunset. "I'd call it a golden Christmas." From the nearby Mystery
Island houses, the merry strains of 'Deck the Halls' rose and seemed to carry
across the entire island. Cheerily, the pets and their owners joined in.
Author's Note: Many thanks to my brother Sentroy and my cousins Katespice151
and Bencheng for consenting to be in the story with ALL their pets. Merry Golden
Christmas to all of you :)