Mysterious Patchwork: Part Two
Surreal paced the house, a single question on her mind:
what would Midnight and the twins think? A single worry stained her brow: will
I be able to pull this off a fourth time? She wandered around, glancing from
time to time at the staircases that led to the second floor where the rooms of
her three pets were. She wondered what they were dreaming of and how they would
react to a new member of the family. She hoped Aurora would be okay with losing
Rooms to be added to the house, furniture to
be bought, Surreal made a mental list. I need to head over to the Rainbow
Pool to look at species and colors. Stop at the Petpet Puddle to pick possible
petpets and colors and ask the Shop Wizard for prices. I'll have to stock up
on codestones and dubloons, new toys, and books. And what games will he want
to play? Will I want to play them with him?
The next morning was hot. Neopia's sun had barely
been up and the temperature in Brightvale was already nearing thirty-eight.
But, Surreal and her three pets were up long before the sun rose and were out
of Brightvale before the temperature started to soar. In Neopia Central, the
weather was more pleasant.
The Toy Shop was empty, except for some Korbats
who stopped in, looking for glow-in-the-dark toys. Aurora, spurned by Midnight,
approached the counter.
"Excuse me," she asked. "Do you have any Plushie
"Plushie Kau Plushies were only available from
the Advent Calendar, miss. We don't stock them. You might consider asking the
Shop Wizard if he can find you an unused one for a decent price," the regular
shopkeeper was out for breakfast, getting that out of the way before the store
got busy. Her assistant, a blue Meerca, was manning the store.
"Oh," Aurora wasn't ready to admit she bought
a Plushie Kau Plushie the day before; it would sound strange to the Meerca.
"Are there any other Plushie plushies in stock?"
"No, miss. Those are very rare. What you see
is what we have, I'm afraid." He felt bad for not having what the pretty royal
Aisha was looking for, so he made a quick decision. "How about this: go pick
any two plushies you want and I'll give you the cheaper one free." The feminine
red Lupe was reluctant to leave her assistant in charge for long. She lost too
many potential neopoints with him behind the counter.
Midnight and Twilight each chose a plushie for
Aurora while Surreal looked on from inside the shop's doorway. Aurora paid for
the toys and held out her bag for Twilight and Midnight to throw them in without
even checking to make sure she didn't already have them at home. She trusted
the blue Meerca to give her a fair price on the more expensive of the two, and
without Cuddles, her plushies didn't seem to matter anymore. Funny how one thing
goes wrong and a lifetime of collecting is ruined.
Surreal's trip to the Furniture Shop was more
successful. She ordered a full bedroom set and some sitting room furniture,
making sure her pets didn't notice. According to them, she only purchased a
new office chair. Midnight, however, knew better. He clearly remembered her
last "new office chair," a Rolling Chair, just like this one.
The Neopian Builders gladly took the order for
two new rooms to be added to the second story of the Brightvale house. Surreal
gave instructions for them to be built over the company parlor and guest room
at the back of the house and slipped rolled up diagrams of furniture arrangement
over the counter before leaving.
Back in Brightvale, Surreal, Midnight, Twilight,
and Aurora straightened up the house. It was still in shambles from the previous
night's search. But, there was still no sign of Cuddles. They washed dishes,
put away toys and books, and even rearranged the living room furniture.
When the inside was clean, they moved outside
into the courtyard where they all helped prune trees and water flowers. The
rooms on the lower floor were arranged in a square around the elaborate gardens.
The weeds were growing rampant and needed to be pulled. The patio table and
chairs were moved into the shed and the Curved Pond was reassembled in the center
of the courtyard to offer a change of scenery. Aurora worked by herself in a
secluded corner of the garden between the shed and the door to the guest room.
That space was respected as hers. Hidden away from the rest of the yard by a
latticework of Instant Roses, she imagined what it would be like to have Cuddles
keeping her company while she worked.
From inside the house, the doorbell rang. The
metallic humm was designed to be heard in the downstairs rooms and carry out
into the gardens, but upstairs where the pets slept it was silent. Aurora ignored
the noise, hoping someone else would answer the door, and continued to pluck
rotting leaves from her beloved row of Perfume Mallows.
Surreal answered the door. With her amazingly
sensitive ears, Aurora overheard Surreal's half of the conversation.
"Yes, that's right, a Pirate Paint Brush." There
was a pause as Surreal listened to the visitor. "No, not yet. I haven't decided,"
another pause. "Yes, of course. Male, so I'm against pretty things like Bowlas
or Faerie petpets." The next pause was longer. "Naturally, no. They won't know
for some time. Yes, I think Midnight is expecting something." Aurora could hear
the visitor's voice, but not his words. "I don't know. I'm thinking Lupe or
Gelert. Someone to keep Midnight company. The girls do everything together and
he doesn't have that many friends." The stranger responded with something sympathetic.
"I've been putting it off, but now I have the points to take care of all the
minute details. It'll be a nice surprise for them and a perfect way to celebrate
the anniversary." As an after thought, Surreal added, "Can you grab a Weewoo?"
The whole conversation lasted only a few minutes
before the stranger departed. Less than an hour later, the building crew arrived
with their materials and tools to begin the construction. Thankfully, they remembered
the ladder this time.
Surreal made a lunch of Ham and Cheese Sandwiches,
Tomatoes, Broccoli, and Peach Ice Cream before she left on a curious errand.
It was Aurora's favorite meal, intended to comfort the upset Aisha when she
decided to come in from the garden. Surreal told her pets that she needed to
pick a few things up from the shops and promised to be back before the builders
finished so they wouldn't have to worry about the bill.
Twilight decided to retire to her sitting room
where she settled down at her desk to write a few Neomails to her friends. It
was good to write something everyday, just for practice. She made sure to write
to her best friend about the White Weewoo she would soon have: a White Weewoo
to be the true inspiration of a soon-to-be Neopian Times reporter.
Aurora remained in the garden, absently picking
dead leaves and stems, pinching of dead buds, and watching her plants grow.
She had wanted a Plushie Kau Plushie for ages
now, and when she finally got one, it disappeared. In her misery, Aurora didn't
hear the munching noises coming from near the pond. Or, if she did, she ignored
the noise and kept working. She could not, however, ignore the noise the Builders
were making, hammering and drilling as they were.
Aurora wanted to make them stop, but she was
afraid that if she asked them to quiet down, they would pack up and leave. Then,
Surreal would get angry with her, and that would be absolutely horrible. Worse,
even, than losing Cuddles. Not finished with her weeding, Aurora tried again
to block out the noise.
"Aurora," Midnight called, creeping through
the gardens in search of his sister. "I'm headed out. I think I'll stop at the
Petpet Puddle and paint Stargazer, do you want to come?" Watching anything get
painted was a treat for any pet.
"No," Aurora uttered, barely loud enough for
Midnight to hear.
"If Surreal gets back before I do, tell her
I'll be late." Midnight wanted Aurora to go so she could get out of the house
and away from her constant mourning over the lost Cuddles. He was reluctant
to leave her alone in the garden, but he couldn't force her to get up.
Midnight flew off to the Battledome to test
his newest weapon. A friend's owner recently beat Neoquest II on Insane and
let Midnight borrow the Sword of Apocalypse that was the prize. As soon as he
was gone, Aurora forgot about telling Surreal he would be late. She even forgot
that he was going to paint Stargazer.
The Builders were working at the back of the
house, separated from the courtyard by only a row of rooms. Aurora's room was
on the second floor at the front of the house, farthest from the noise. She
decided to go upstairs and rearrange her plushies, finally giving up all hope
of finishing her weeding.. This time there would be no Cuddles to grace the
very center of the windowsill.
Instead of racing up her Spiral Staircase like
she usually did, Aurora plodded along step by step. It would be hard finding
another plushie to take the place Cuddles had occupied for such a short time.
Maybe something gold, or how about that Halloween Meerca I picked up last month?
the Aisha pondered. Taking the stairs slowly, she resigned herself to the task
ahead. When she finally got to the landing and opened the pastel pink door,
There was something sitting on her bed. It had
to be a neopet, there was no other explanation for its size and general shape,
but Aurora never saw any pet like it: like a quilt had been glued to some pet's
skin. That was all the Aisha took the time to take in before she fled back down
her staircase, through the hallway, around a corner and up the flight of stairs
into Twilight's sitting room. She wasn't even sure that what she saw was dangerous.
To be continued...