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Noelk's Valentines Day


by hmlanden

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It was an icy day in February, no different from any other cliché winter scene: large white snowflakes drifting down on a gentle breeze, neoschool canceled because the school (which was in a small hollow) had been snowed under, the Great Hill on the far edge of Neopia Central thick with sledders, and lacy grey clouds sliding across the dim sky.

      Our Gelert, however, was not amongst them. She was in bed, struck with the worst case of Neoflu in a century. She sneezed, hacked, choked, and spat phlegm out with every word. Landen had taken to wearing a protective suit into her Christmas Gelert's room, armed with soap and water. Dr. Greenheart had prescribed a vile green concoction that was supposed to battle her infection. And battle it did: it struggled to come back up her throat when she drank it. Most unpleasant.

      Her room, completely empty since Landen wanted to dispose of anything infected, was too warm. And since her blankets were too heavy for her to shift, she lay burning under several feet of cloth. A faint draft came from her window, briefly soothing her aching head, before being destroyed by another heat wave as Landen flounced in bearing another fire orb.

      Argh. Can't you see I'm warm enough? The Gelert tried ineffectually to communicate this to her demented owner but only succeeded in producing a groan of agony.

      "Oh, you poor dear!" Landen exclaimed with gentle concern. "You're still cold? I'll send Oreo to fetch another three fire orbs; I hope they have good resale price... I'm almost out of Achyfi..."

      Noelk's mouth was drier than three feet under the Lost Desert. She would've preferred a nice glass of water to more heat; it was over ninety degrees in her bedroom. Her head throbbed, and just as her eyes drifted shut, she happened to glance upon the calendar...

      Oh, wow... it was Valentine's Day...

      What?!?!? Valentine's Day already? No, I will not be sick on my favorite holiday. Fyora save me, no... she whimpered unhappily and buried her burning face into her scorching pillow.

     ~*~

      Oreo clumped home through the snow with a heavy heart. It was Valentine's Day, Noelk's special day, and her beloved sister lay at home stricken with flu. Even though the red Gelert clutched a thick handful of lacy pink hearts, she was miserable. When she'd stopped by the Neomail Center to collect the Christmas Gelert's valentines, Oreo had discovered something terrible.

      Noelk hadn't received a single one, not even from her best friend Nikki.

      She slowly turned the icy doorknob and slipped into the house like a miamouse, heading for her younger sisters' rooms. Landen was stumbling around the house in a sugar daze, having eaten herself sick on candy she'd purchased for herself, and would be absolutely no help in this situation, unlike what had occurred last Halloween.

      This time, the Gelerts in a small neohome in Neopia Central were going to take over Neopia.

     ~*~

      Well, not quite Neopia. Due to lack of proper funding, they decided to merely commandeer the Valentines Party at the Neopian Writers Guild. However, since Sloth appeared and turned their amulet of sleep into a pile of sludge, and a ghost stole their remaining neopoints, they settled for the next best thing: attacking the middle school's dance before anyone got there, while the candy lay unattended. It was brilliant, the best plan Oreo had ever concocted.

      Except she forgot about the people setting up the gym for the dance.

      "AIEEE!" screamed a terrified Acara, a bowl of punch flying out of her paws and sloshing onto an indignant teacher. Cream, Oreo, and Pwuppy, swathed in black and wearing thick masks, lightning guns in paw, stood before them. Glittering light from the swirling disco ball sent cascades of color over their impervious robes; red and pink streamers flew everywhere as shrieking student council members scattered.

      In a gruff voice, Oreo said, "We want the candy and a valentine, nothing more. Nobody'll get hurt if you do what I say."

      Three Cybunnies scooped the chocolates and other sweets into the backpacks Pwuppy and Cream held out, their sweet faces masked with terror.

      Then, without warning, all were blinded with a flash of... purple and green light?

      "No, Illusen, I'm going to attack them!" a dark faerie, waving a glowing orb around madly, shrieked. "I thought we already agreed on this."

      Illusen shook her willow wand at the raging Jhudora. "We agreed to disagree. I wanted to turn them into trees."

      "Poison orbs."

      "Trees."

      "Poison orbs."

      "Trees!!"

      "Enough!" Oreo shouted, dropping her assumed voice. "What in Neopia is going on?"

      The two fell silence, then Jhudora replied, "We read the story your owner wrote about us in last week's Neopian Times, and it was very unfortunate that we did so. In order to gain our revenge, we have formed a temporary alliance and are plotting your evil owner's destruction." She sounded matter-of-fact quite suddenly.

      Oreo thought of her silly Landen back home, hiccupping with wild abandon and dancing around the house, the song of the sugar plum dreams on her lips, and found it hard to believe that someone would want to destroy…that. "Err, I assume we were part of this insidious demise."

      "Duh," Illusen said impatiently, coating her lips with more green gloss. "It was Jhudora's idea. You know, the usual dark thing: destroy the family and then the last one. Increases mental agony, or something like that. Anyway, we decided that enchanting all Achyfi to vanish the instant it comes within three feet of Landen was punishment enough; that and turning you four into something... well, something."

      "Speaking of which..." Jhudora peered around curiously. "Where is your other sister? Not hiding somewhere ready to pounce with a light beam, is she?"

      Pwuppy's babyish voice trembled. "N..no. She's at home, sick. And nobwody got her any vawentines! We wanted to get her somefing, but we didn't got any neopoints..." A perfectly timed sob emitted from the tiny gelert's throat.

      Cream groaned inwardly. Not again...

      Pwuppy's sob transformed into an all-out wail, complete with shrieking, flowing tears, and adorable eye-rubbing. Illusen's heart melted at the sight and, scooping the pup up in her arms, cooed, "There, there, sweet little one. We'll get your sister something for Valentine's Day."

      Jhudora glared at the earth faerie, snapping indignantly, "What about ultimate revenge?"

      "Eh, it can wait."

     ~*~

      Noelk drank the last of her water, savoring the relief from her burning throat. Landen was in the living room, her snores echoing all around the house like a heard of Gnorbus. Outside, the sun sank behind the clouds, casting orange and blue streaks through tiny gaps in the mist. Noelk's heart ached with loneliness. The day had been so empty, pointless. Why bother celebrating?

      Her scratchy throat burned as she coughed once more, a metallic taste hovering in the back of her mouth. Her eyes fluttered for a moment then shut, savoring the blackness...

      "SURPRISE!!!"

      With a scream, Noelk tumbled out of bed and snatched up her useful crystal, brandishing it blindly. "En guar... " A violent cough flung her back into bed.

      Pwuppy and Cream set down two heavy bags at the Gelert's bedside, a bit of candy spilling over the top. Noelk stared at it longingly: jellybeans, lollypops, root beer barrels, and a caramel cream that Oreo snitched when she thought no one was looking...

      Next to them stood Jhudora and Illusen, who both carried stacks of red, lacy stuff. They dumped them unceremoniously next to the candy, and Noelk recognized them as her much longed-for valentines.

      Finally, Oreo shuffled forward, carrying a gigantic pink heart edged with gold and silver glitter. "Hi, Noelk. I hope we didn't startle you too bad, but we... Cream, Pwuppy, and I... we really wanted to do something for you, since it's Valentine's Day. We know you adore this holiday, and uh... I'm not very good at this 'emotional speech' thing, so..." She shoved the heart into Noelk's feverish paws.

      Dear Noelk,

      We know you don't feel well

        On this holiday so swell.

      We hated to see you so,

      Just to let you know.

      So we began to plan

      As only we Gelerts can

      And came up with the lamest plot

      (Which we do quite a lot).

      That idea failed,

      But when Pwuppy wailed,

      A new path presented itself

      And we bought you candy off the shelf!

      Jhudora and Illusen tagged along,

      Helping us write this song.

      But all we really wanted to say...

      was we love you!

      And happy Valentine's Day!!!!!

      Joyful tears filled Noelk's eyes, and she was about to thank her sisters when she remembered, How am I supposed to eat this candy with a sore throat?

The End

 
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