The Sought, the Sister, and the Sorceress: Part One
"Will you stop it?" I said, annoyed.
"I can't help it. No one at school wants to play
with me. I'm too short, I look like I'm in kindergarten," said Kari gloomily.
"Oh, that self pity thing is too cliché," I
encouraged her. "You should try and make new friends anyway! Don't wait for
them to ask you to play. You need to make it so they WANT to play with you."
Kari pulled a leaf out of her Electric fur and said nothing.
We emerged from the forest that separated our
Neohome and Neoschool. Our petpets came running out to meet us. Lucy, my Puppyblew,
toppled me over and started energetically licking my face. "Down, girl!" I said,
laughing. Kari's Angelpuss, Trina, just rubbed against her legs and purred.
We went inside, greeted Mom, and went upstairs.
Once before, when we were too poor to afford a staircase, Mom attached a rope
with knots in it for footholds to get up- and downstairs. We're better off with
money now, but we like the rope better than some boring old staircase.
We went to the room we shared (we don't have
a money problem, we just have a close family) and I got started on my homework.
Kari just flopped on her Kauvara Bed and sighed. I groaned. "I thought we talked
about this!" I complained.
"You don't know, you've always had plenty of
friends," she argued.
"Are you kidding? Everyone has to start out without
any friends, including me!" I interjected.
She didn't answer. I turned back to my Electric
Desk and wrote down some more on my essay about Howard de Kiko. A little bit
later, Mom called, "Sam! Kari! Come down here, we're going shopping!" Glad to
find an excuse to get away from History, I went downstairs with Kari.
At Neopia Central, Mom gave us each some Neopoints
to spend on something useful. Then we went our separate ways. Mom went to look
for a new Yellow Birdhouse for the garden since the old one's fiasco with the
Fire painted Buzzer. I went to look for an Illusen poster. And Kari poked around.
As I stepped into my favorite store, Sara's Shoppe,
I was welcomed with the cheery tinkling of a bell above the door and a scent
of Cinnamon Swirls. Sara, the old,good-natured Red Wocky that ran the store
and who happened to be my grandmother, looked up from the counter. "Oh, hello,
Sam!" she said. "How's my girl?"
"I'm good, Gran," I said. "Do you have any Illusen
posters left? Lucy decided to work out her teething problem on my old one."
Gran bustled around the back.
"Illusen poster, let me see…oh, here's one!"
and she pulled the rolled up paper out of a slot. "On the house."
"Thanks, Gran," I gushed.
"Anything for any one of my two favorite granddaughters.
I haven't forgotten: you and Kari have my ears!" she said, tweaking my ear.
"Thanks again," I said, clutching the poster
between my White paws. "Bye!"
We were all supposed to meet back at Pete's Coffee
House, one of Mom's favorite Marketplace shops, after we were done shopping.
I was the first one there, so I bought a Tchea Tea and sipped contentedly. Pretty
soon Mom came up, bought Iced Kougra Coffee, and sat down beside me, laying
the birdhouse at her feet.
We sat there until our drinks were gone. After
a while, Mom wondered aloud, "What's taking Kari?" I shrugged. "I mean, how
long should it take to browse?" she mused. Finally Kari bounced through the
door, a wide smile on her face.
"What time do you call this?" said Mom, clearly
annoyed, swishing her Brown tail.
"I finally found some friends!" said Kari happily.
"Really?" I asked. "That's great!" Kari sat down
next to us and took out a White Kougra Plushie, stroking it as she talked.
"I just met them! They don't mind that I'm short,
especially Sheila! And they all have really interesting ideas," she finished.
"They sound great," said Mom as we started walking
home. But Kari was deep in her thoughts. I searched her face and saw a glimmer
of doubt in her eyes. Not much. Just a little.
Saturday. I heard Kari dress in the EARLY HOURS.
Let me say that again. The EARLY HOURS on a SATURDAY. Sorry, but I just can't
imagine why anyone wouldn't sleep in on a Saturday.
I heard her scribble a note to Mom and leave
it on the Stone Bedside Table. Then she left. I rolled over to the other side
of my Regal Oak Wood Bed to read her note.
Went to meet some friends. Be back soon,
This early? Oh, well. Zzzzzzzzzzzz….
Finally I got up and dressed, putting on jeans
and a white T-shirt. I went downstairs, bringing the note to Mom. She read it
and shrugged indifferently. So I took Lucy out and attempted to give her a bath.
A few hours later I was sopping wet and foamy
and Kari still wasn't home. Soon it was time for dinner. No Kari. We began to
get a little uneasy, but Kari's stayed out late once before, and she got home
that time. So we felt safe going to bed.
The next morning Kari was lying facedown in her
Kauvara bed, looking exhausted. The following week, besides Neoschool, was the
same pattern. I was starting to get worried. So I did the one of the things
that sisters never do. I read Kari's diary.
I know I told you I've been making new friends,
but now they don't seem as friendly. Oh, well. They're teaching me a lot of
things that Mom wouldn't allow. She probably doesn't want me to have too much
fun. That's what Sheila and the gang says.
Not good, not good! Kari's joined a street gang!
A week later I heard a sound in the middle of
the night. Pretending to be asleep, I stole a glance at Kari. She was out of
bed and getting dressed. Then she left. Knowing uneasily that this was not good,
I quietly got out of bed, dressed quickly, and went after her.
It was really dark out. Had it not been for the
flash of jagged stripes ahead of me, I wouldn't have known which way to go.
It stinks to be White when you're trying to blend in at night. Luckily, Kari
never turned around.
I followed her into Neopia Central, where she
ducked into an alley behind the Shop of Offers. There waiting for her, was a
Darigan Kougra, a Halloween Ixi, a Mutant Grarrl, and a Ghost Krawk. Oh, THIS
"Hey, guys," said Kari as she approached. I hid
myself in the shadow of a dumpster. "What are we doing tonight?" I saw the other
Neopets exchange smirks that Kari didn't see. Those smirks were bound for trouble.
Then the Krawk turned to the Kougra.
"Yeah, what're we doing, Sheila?"
"Save your breath, Tony, you know what we're
doing," she replied. So this was the famous Sheila. She looked as friendly as
a Spooky Toilet. She turned to Kari and said, "We're gonna show you the tree
house," she said. And they led Kari into the wood that surrounded Neopia Central.
Quietly I followed them. I dodged from tree to
tree, always keeping them in view. But suddenly, the Halloween Ixi and Mutant
Grarrl told the others to go on ahead. They hung back, and I dared myself to
get closer and hear what they were saying.
"Remind me again why we're doing this?" asked
"You know perfectly well why we're doing this,
Lori," said the Grarrl, annoyed. Lori shifted her wings uncomfortably.
"I just don't think it's right. I mean, it's
not her fault she's the Chosen One."
The Chosen One? They couldn't possibly mean Kari!
"It doesn't matter whose fault it is. What matters is that Jhudora will have
our hides if we don't bring the Chosen One to her," argues the Grarrl.
"Tyrol, you KNOW there's another way without
anyone getting hurt! We can just notify Fyora!" said Lori, stamping her hoof
"And get Jhudora to hold a grudge on us?" interjected
Tyrol. "No thanks." Lori looked like she was gong to argue some more, but she
I took a step back and my foot snapped a twig.
They heard it. "Hey! Who's out there?" growled Tyrol. I started running, but
I was no match for him. I hadn't gone a few yards before he grabbed me. "We
have ourselves a spy, Lor'," he said as I struggled. Lori said nothing, but
she looked at me like she'd never seen anything like me.
Tyrol pulled a rope out of his Leather Jacket
and bound me. I was too angry and frightened to say anything. From ahead of
us, I heard an outburst of, "Hey! What are you doing? Let me go!" Kari.
I heard a sickening CLUNK, and the yells stopped.
I saw Sheila and Tony coming toward us, dragging an unconscious Kari. "Who's
that?" said Sheila at once; eyeing me the way you'd look at Dung.
"We caught her snooping around," replied Tyrol.
"What are you doing with my sister?" I spat angrily.
All but Lori laughed. Sheila's eyes glittered.
"You'll find out," then to the others she said,
"We'll have to take her with us. Come on. We need to get out of here by dawn."
To be continued...