Life at Yurble Manor
Vykroth the white Yurble jumped up from the couch
in the Victorian Living Room and hurried up the wide staircase in the entrance
The noise originated from his study and as much
as he wished he was wrong he could imagine what the cause of the noise was.
He opened the door and there it was! The cause
of so much damage, the reason for so many migraine attacks.
Sitting in midst of pieces of the Totem of Wisdom
of the Ongatoova tribe that he had brought home from one of his many journeys
was a googly-eyed baby Yurble.
'Sowwy!' it said.
'Sorry? Petit, I'm afraid sorry will not do this
time! How often have I told you my study is not a playground?'
Petit's lower lip quivered, first as if she would
start crying but then the lip was pushed forward and her little face hardened.
Vykroth slowly counted to ten, reminding himself
that he was talking to a little toddler here.
'Then why don't you take your little Angelpuss,'
he said calmly while picking Petit's little partner in crime from a shelf full
of ornaments and trophies that it was just about to climb, 'and go and play
in the garden?'
'Bowing!!' Petit proclaimed but couldn't do much
when Vykroth picked her up and carried her and her squirming pet Susie down
the stairs, through the hall, and out of the back door.
'There!' he said as he put her down on the grass.
'Now eat grasshoppers or do something else that babies like to do.'
Petit pulled a very disgusted face and started
giggling when she saw her Angelpuss trying to imitate it.
Then she looked around the garden and just before
Vykroth managed to sneak back inside she asked: 'Uncle Vykwoth???'
'Yes??' Vykroth froze and turned his eyes skywards.
'Why don' we have any pwetty flowews? Butte'flies
Vykroth turned around. Unfortunately he had to
admit that Petit had a point.
The garden of the old Mansion was surrounded
by mighty trees and had a healthy, green lawn that was in desperate need of
mowing, but besides that it was missing some flowerpots or beds, maybe even
a little pond with an ornament or fountain.
They only moved in a few months ago in late autumn.
The trees around the house were impressively painted in shades from bright yellow
to orange brown back then.
This was their first spring in the Manor and
with the sun shining warmer each day the garden really seemed to lack some color
'Well, my little Petit, maybe we should hire
a gardener to take care of that. I definitely don't have the talent for this
kind of work.'
'I can help!' Petit said enthusiastically and
started digging on the spot.
'Hmmm?' It took a minute or two before Petit's
remark sank in as Vykroth was imagining how the garden could look like if they
would find somebody to take care of it. By the time the remark finally hit his
brain, Petit had already managed to turn herself in a muddy brown Yurble with
an even dirtier Angelpuss that was always eager to help her in her mischief.
'Oh Petit! Look at you! Now I have to take you
upstairs and run you a bath!'
He picked Petit up with outstretched arms to
make sure he wouldn't get too dirty himself. And this time he didn't even waste
his time on snatching Susie the Angelpuss. He just relied on the fact that it
would follow wherever Petit went anyway.
After the usual water fights in the bathroom,
the mopping of the flood, the attempts of drying a squirming little Yurble with
a towel, Petit got tired and Vykroth put her into her room for a nap.
'So you can regain your strength for tonight's
food fight over dinner,' he whispered as he tucked her in.
This baby was really a handful. But at least
now he could return to his book in the living room and enjoy one or two hours
of uninterrupted reading.
At least he thought so, but as he passed the
study he was reminded of the chaos that Petit had caused in there earlier.
Sighing he started to clean up the mess. He never
really liked the totem that much, but it was a present and a part of his former
life when he was traveling the world, studying different cultures.
As he watched the last pieces of the totem sliding
from the dustpan into the bin he caught himself thinking: 'What this house needs
is not a gardener but a Child Minder!'
Finally he was able to return to the living room.
As he picked up his book he decided not for the couch but for a comfy chair
right by the window that was bathed in afternoon sunshine. He dropped into it
but jumped up immediately again as if he had sat down on a needle. The reason
for this leap was what happened directly outside of the window. He rushed out
through the backdoor again, around the house and managed to grab his Tyrannian
Babaa Byron by the neck before it could cause any more damage to the old rosebushes.
'How did you get out of your pen?' he bellowed
at the rare sheep as he was dragging the stubborn thing back to the enclosure.
Byron was offered him on his journeys through
the Tyrannian plains by a village of the Grongawoogo tribe. He accepted the
little thing because it looked like a cute, harmless fuzz ball.
The villagers called it Baai-rou, what he thought
to be a name, and therefore called him Byron.
But later on Vykroth found out that Baai-rou
actually meant 'nuisance' or 'plague'. And Byron really earned that name as
it grew, even though it had the best sense when it came to only eating and trampling
the most expensive flowers.
Vykroth decided to lock Byron in his stable for
a while as a punishment and he saw that these clever eyes behind all the fur
knew exactly what the Babaa had done.
And it didn't look the slightest bit guilty.
With the second troublemaker taken care of, the
old Yurble went to the rosebushes to see how much damage was done.
It didn't look good. One bush that looked like
it was here for decades had lost nearly all its leaves and stood there as an
ugly stem sticking out of the ground, and on another bush all flowers and blossoms
were bitten off with precision. Or perhaps determination?
Whichever, it was quite clear now what had to
be done! A Gardener was needed.
Vykroth returned to the living room, in hopes
that this time he would get a few minutes without being disturbed. He gathered
paper and pen and sat down at the coffee table.
'Required: Gardener for Victorian Mansion. Exclusively
outdoor activity. Landscaping Skills highly appreciated. Full accommodation
and catering provided. Interviews are held at 2pm sharp on the 8th of the Month
of Running at Yurble Manor, Tranquil Woods in the Endless Plains. (About 1 hour
ride from Neopia Central.)'
Happy with what he wrote, Vykroth didn't waste
another minute to get to his neomail to contact the Neopian Times, so his ad
would be published as soon as possible. After all the 8th of the Month of Running
was already in 10 days and the white Yurble was somehow doubting that the Garden
would survive until then without further Baby- or Babaa- destruction.
As he sent the neomail a thud upstairs signalled
that Petit must have finished her afternoon nap.
Vykroth sighed, took the book he was reading
what seemed to be so many years ago from the table, neatly put it back into
its place in the bookshelf and braced himself for whatever Petit would come
up with now.
8th of the Month of Running
Something lay in the air this morning. Petit
didn't quite understand was it was. Her always strict and grumpy patron was
humming all the time. Even when she toppled over her breakfast cereal and Susie
started to kick the flakes around the kitchen floor, he stayed in a good mood
and cleaned everything up without giving out to her. At lunchtime she couldn't
ignore it anymore and had to ask.
'Vykwoth?' she quaked. 'Why aw you so happy?
Haw you seen a butte'fly?'
He actually smiled even more and patted her head.
'No my dear Petit, not yet. But maybe we will
have lots of butterflies for you soon.'
Petit clapped her little hands and giggled. 'I
'I know', replied Vykroth. 'And this afternoon
a few good men will visit us. All I have to do is to pick the best one to stay
and to take care of our garden. And therefore,' and he raised his index finger
in front of Petit's face, 'I need you to be at your best behavior and play upstairs
for the afternoon. Think you can do that?'
Petit wrinkled her forehead and pursed her lips.
Sometimes Vykroth was not sure if that meant
that she was thinking or if she probably only had wind. This time at least she
seemed to think.
'But I wanna see the butte'fly man!'
Even this couldn't bring a shadow over Vykroth's
'You will, Petit, as soon as I choose the right
one. But until then you and Susie have to stay upstairs.'
With lunch still heavy in her stomach even Petit
didn't feel like arguing and gave in.
'Ok, but you haw to pwomise he knows how to gwo
Vykroth picked Petit out of her chair and made
his way to the hall.
'He will, Petit, I promise! And you have to promise
that you keep a good eye on your little Susie. The men will be here soon.'
'Pwomise!' smiled Petit, but Vykroth could have
sworn he saw her winking towards her Angelpuss that was following them up the
After putting Petit in her room and emptying
nearly all her toy boxes around her, so she would be distracted, Vykroth started
to get the living room prepared.
He boiled tea, arranged biscuits on a plate and
wondered how many applicants would actually arrive. After all it was a very
promising position at a great estate with full accommodation. Just to be on
the safe side he decided to gather some more chairs from the dining room.
At 2 pm sharp, as written in the ad, he opened
the front door.
A group of about 10 people were waiting already.
Not as many as Vykroth expected, but maybe some people turned around when they
saw the manor and realized what big responsibility it would bring with it.
He welcomed them all in and directed them into
the living room. It was an interesting mixture. One Ruki, a Halloween Lupe,
where Vykroth hoped he wouldn't be qualified because Petit would probably be
scared out of her mind of him. Two Blumaroos, that looked at each other in a
very suspicious way, a very old Ixi, a Bori, a tired looking Kougra and two
Yurbles, one of them female. As they went into the living room, the female Yurble
with rainbow colored fur stopped Vykroth.
'Excuse me, sir, I only came here to keep my
cousin Smoogle company on the journey.' She pointed at the purple Yurble that
was already sitting down with the other applicants around the couch table.
'If you wouldn't mind, I would prefer to wait
in the hall until after the Interview.'
'You don't have to stay in the hall, Miss. Feel
free to join us inside,' Vykroth offered. After all he never forgot what it
takes to be a good host.
She smiled at him and he noticed what a bright
friendly face she had. 'It's no trouble at all; I'd prefer to stay here. It
will not take that long anyway, I assume.'
Vykroth shrugged and wondered what she might
mean by that.
'If that is really your wish, but please join
us at any stage if you want.'
She smiled at him in acknowledgement as he turned
to face the waiting applicants in the living room.
Vykroth offered everybody around the table to
help themselves with tea and biscuits and watched them while they did. The two
competitive Blumaroos nearly started fighting over the teapot; the Kougra was
already dozing off and only awoke as one of the Blumaroos nudged him while swiping
a biscuit directly in front of the nose of the other one. The white Yurble made
mental notes of everything going on, as he knew that observation could tell
you so much about a person. He noticed how the purple Yurble named Smoogle poured
tea for the Ixi and the Bori first before helping himself.
'Very polite,' thought Vykroth.
As everybody was taken care off, he decided to
address them with the expectations he had, the responsibilities that the position
of the Manor Gardener would bring with it and he made sure not to mention Petit's
Meanwhile upstairs a certain Baby Yurble was
getting very, very bored and decided that she had spent long enough in her room.
It was not that she was directly disobeying Vykroth, she just forgot about what
she had promised. She was only a little Yurble and therefore only remembered
little things. And the little thing she remembered at the moment was a glass
sculpture with a paper butterfly embedded in it on the desk in Vykroth's study.
So she got on her way with Susie by her side.
Downstairs Vykroth decided to show everybody
the gardens around the Mansion after the tea was finished. That would also give
him a possibility to hear different opinions about what could be done in the
likes of features and landscaping in the back garden.
He had already narrowed his choice of candidates
down to three. The old Ixi, the Ruki and the Yurble. The Halloween Lupe luckily
failed to impress and also seemed a bit smelly, Vykroth noticed when everybody
kept moving away from him inch by inch on the couch.
Waiting in the hall, Twurie, the cousin of Smoogle
heard a bang from upstairs. Even though her manners didn't allow her to investigate
where the noise came from, she was curious who else lived in this huge estate.
She looked up the stairs but couldn't see anybody.
Suddenly a door upstairs swung open and a plushie
Angelpuss balancing on top of what seemed to be a completely round glass paperweight
came rolling towards the top of the stairs, followed on all fours by a Baby
The Angelpuss seemed to have no control over
the glass ball and rolled closer and closer to the staircase.
Twurie forgot her manners and leaped up the stairs,
just in time to catch the Angelpuss with her left and the baby Yurble that tried
to jump to catch her little friend with the right hand. She turned, slumped
down on the top of the stairs panting with the two terrified adventurers in
They watched the glass ball bouncing down the
stairs and crashing into a million pieces as it hit the ground floor.
The baby Yurble had tears in her eyes. She was
shaking from the shock and Twurie rocked her gently, whispering into her ear,
'It's ok, little one. You're safe. Everything's ok.'
At that moment Vykroth came running into the
hall. He saw his precious paperweight smashed into pieces and then looking up
the stairs he saw Petit sobbing in the arms of the rainbow Yurble.
'What happened? Are you alright, Petit?' He knew
Petit didn't cry until she was really scared or hurt.
'She's alright.' The rainbow Yurble got up from
the stairs and slowly walked down, still with Petit and Susie on her arm. 'She's
just a bit under shock. She and her playmate nearly fell down the stairs.'
Vykroth would have turned white if he wouldn't
already have been a white Yurble.
'Oh my poor Petit, why were you playing on the
stairs again?' He wanted to take Petit out of the female Yurble's embrace onto
his arm, but the baby had her face buried deep in the rainbow fur. So he just
proceeded to pat her back gently.
'She will be all right, but she shouldn't have
played so close to the stairs anyway. Where's her mother?'
A shadow fell over Vykroth's face. 'I'm the only
family she has.'
'Oh I'm sorry, I didn't know.' The rainbow Yurble
was a bit embarrassed but then gathered herself again.
'What about her Nanny?'
'Erm, I was meant to get one as soon as I found
a gardener. You know we are still settling in here...' Vykroth explained when
he suddenly realized that he had left all the applicants standing in the garden.
He looked at the female Yurble and noticed that
Petit was now breathing more calmly in her arms.
'Would you mind just taking care of my little
Petit for a few minutes longer? I really have to get back outside.'
The rainbow Yurble smiled one of her bright smiles
'Sure, no problem at all. I'll take care of her.'
And to the baby in her arm she said, 'So, your
name is Petit, I assume?'
Petit raised her head out of the fur, sniffled
and looked into the face of her rescuer.
'Uh-huh.' She nodded. 'And who *sniff* aw you?'
'I'm Twurie. Please to meet you.' Twurie smiled.
Vykroth had heard enough. Petit was in good hands.
He made his way out into the garden again. Before
he even reached the backdoor he already heard Petit giggling again. That was
a great relief for him.
Outside, the applicants were waiting, everybody
in their own way. The Blumaroos looked like they were close to a fistfight,
the Ixi and the Ruki were examining the condition of the lawn. The Kougra slept
curled up in the sun in the middle of the back garden and Vykroth could have
sworn he saw the Lupe sniffing one of the big trees. Looking around for the
purple Yurble he found him standing next to Byron's pen, softly talking to the
Vykroth cleared his throat and called all applicants
together. Even though it took a bid of nudging of the Lupe before the Kougra
'First off all I would like to thank you all
for coming,' the old white Yurble announced. 'It was really not easy for
me to come to a decision, but I can say that I narrowed my choice down to three
of you, the Ruki, the Ixi and the Yurble. Thanks again to the ones that didn't
make it. You may leave now.'
The first punch flew between the Blumaroos. But
aside from that everybody else left peacefully.
Vykroth now faced the finalists and to make it
easier to decide to guide them to the middle of the back garden and face them
with a challenge.
'Please tell me, if you would get the position,
what would you do with this particular part of the garden?'
After Vykroth had left, Twurie carried Petit
towards the chair she was sitting on just a few minutes ago. While carefully
stepping around the pieces of the broken paperweight, she noticed something
colorful amongst it. Petit saw it too.
'Butte'fly!' she said pointing at it.
'I'll get it.' Twurie sat Petit down in a safe
distance from the scattered glass and picked up the paper butterfly that was
once concealed in the weight.
'Will it be ok?' Petit asked.
Twurie kneeled down in front of the baby Yurble,
stretched out her left hand and placed the paper in her palm. Then she put her
right hand above it like a dome.
'Petit, do you like butterflies?' She looked
Petit straight in the eye and the baby smiled from one ear to the other.
'I luve butte'flies!'
Slowly Twurie lifted her right hand and in front
of Petit's eyes a real butterfly was sitting in her palm, slowly swaying its
wings and getting ready to fly.
Petit giggled as it lifted off and clapped as
it flew a few loops in the hall before it made its way to freedom through an
open window in the living room.
When Vykroth entered the hall again with the
three finalists he saw Twurie and Petit sitting in the living room watching
something outside in the garden through the window. He brought his attention
back to the two people that he would have to thank and send on their way home
and his new gardener.
He shook hands, wished them well and then entered
the living room with Smoogle by his side.
Twurie beamed at Smoogle.
'You got the position?'
'Yep.' He smiled back.
'It was a difficult decision to make indeed.
But the Ixi decided to withdraw his application because he felt too old for
such a big responsibility and the Ruki had nice ideas but 'Lost Desert style'
was not quite what I had in mind for my gardens. Mr. Smoogle here on the other
hand,' Vykroth explained while patting Smoogle on the back, 'had a very intriguing
idea about garden design that would attract song birds, bees and butterflies
that I bet Petit would love to see realized.'
'Twurie made a butte'fly! Look!!' Petit squeaked,
pointing out of the window.
'My gosh, there's the first butterfly already!'
Vykroth nodded as he looked out of the window.
'But nobody can 'make' butterflies Petit.'
'Twurie can!' Petit, still sitting on Twurie's
lap hugged her as much as her little arms allowed her.
Vykroth cleared his throat and faced Smoogle
who shared a bright smile with Twurie.
'I'm not sure about your plans, Mr. Smoogle,
but the position is available as soon as you like to take it. And as it is getting
rather late I would like to invite you to stay with us already tonight to save
yourself the journey home.'
'Can Twurie stay too?' Petit interrupted.
'Of course, I would be a bad host, sending somebody
away after rescuing my little treasure.'
'But the papa weigh' is bwoken!'
Vykroth leaned over Petit and tipped her on the
nose with his finger.
'Don't be silly, the paperweight means nothing.
You are my little treasure.'
Petit giggled and looked up to Twurie.
'You can stay for eva an make butte'flies, Twurie!!'
Twurie smiled at Petit and with a glance at Vykroth
'Well I don't know if I can stay forever. I'm
not sure if Mr. Vykroth wants to employ a Gardener and a Child Minder on the
Vykroth's face brightened up. There was so much
going on today that he didn't even think that Twurie might be interested in
a position as a Child Minder. But Petit seemed to love her and if her manners
were equally as good as Smoogle's he would have found two great employees in
only one day. He cleared his throat, knowing that Petit watched his every move,
hoping he would say what she wanted to hear.
'Miss Twurie, would you be interested in the
position as Petit's Child Minder? Including free accommodation and catering
Twurie smiled one of her bright smiles.
'I would be honored!'
Will Twurie master the Job?
What could possibly go wrong?
Will Petit ever learn how to pronounce the letter
What will Byron eat next?
Don't miss the next edition of 'Life at Yurble
Manor' at your local newsagent soon!