The Red Cybunny rooted through the creaky attic, miserably
remembering she hadn't taken her pill. She sneezed violently as dust flew off
a sheet billowing nearby. She looked at her sister, annoyed. Cindy glared back.
"It's not my fault you have allergies to dust,"
she retorted, and went back to cleaning her childhood dollhouse.
Valentine sighed impatiently. The old attic hadn't
been touched for at least five years and it was time for her owner's "annual"
cleanup. In other families, thought the disgruntled Cybunny, this
may actually be annual. Instead of their owner cleaning up the junk, she
employed her pets to. And, she added to the thought, she was allergic to dust.
Valentine opened the closet and got to work.
There sure are a lot of papers in here, she thought, and sighed as she
began dumping them into the black garbage bin laying nearby.
Shuffle, sneeze, and dump the papers. She fell
into a routine until it was disrupted.
Thump? She tentatively placed her paw in the
bin and felt around for something solid. She was sure it was just another doll
or wallet that had been misplaced. Her red fur touched something cold that felt
like metal. She clenched her paw around it and withdrew.
It was a dusty photo frame, silver and exquisite.
Something stirred in the Cybunny's memory. She wonderingly dusted it off with
Inside was a picture of a red Zafara, holding
up a vial of blue, bubbling liquid. She was standing next to Valentine, somewhat
younger and maybe not as allergic to dust.
Valentine raised her head and gazed out the window.
Outside it was a sunny day; many Neopians were out. Illusen was giving a quest
to an eager Acara while others were attempting Extreme Potato Counter. Meridell
was peaceful as could be, considering it had gone through a war. Jeran, Lisha,
and Kayla had saved it a while ago.
Something clicked in Valentine's mind. Kayla.
The name sounded familiar. Confusedly, the Cybunny looked into the photograph
again. Her old friend's name was Kayla. She peered closer at it. The lab coat,
pointed hat, vial… It all fit in!
Her old best friend was none other than the legendary
Kayla, who helped save Meridell!
Trying to keep the excitement out of her voice,
Valentine asked Cindy, "What was the name of that red Zafara who was my friend
about five years ago?"
"I believe it was Kayla or something like that,"
replied her sister, and then added with a trace of annoyance in her voice, "We
shouldn't be going through the past. We have to clean this attic up or we'll
have to work again tomorrow."
"Right," said Valentine. But she didn't move
towards the closet reeking of mothballs. Instead she looked down at the elegant
silver frame. Slowly she regained her memories, thinking vigorously of the Zafara.
It was always sunny when she was going to meet
Kayla, decided the young Cybunny as she strolled down the path towards the red
Zafara's house. From the window her friend waved, prompting Valentine into a
run. "Hey!" she exclaimed breathlessly as she arrived at the doorstep.
"You're exactly twenty seconds late," grinned
Kayla in response.
Valentine glared at her. She made to lunge at
her friend and Kayla shrieked. The two collapsed into giggles. "Guess what Lisha
bought me," she said excitedly. Not without fanfare, she withdrew a chemistry
set from behind the couch.
Valentine rolled her eyes slightly. Lisha was
Kayla's new friend, who seemed to be richer than nearly anyone. She was forever
getting Kayla gifts, but this one perked Kayla up even more than the usual ones
did. Grudgingly, Valentine admitted that she was slightly jealous of the brainy
"Want to go experiment with it, Valentine?" asked
Kayla, her eyes shining. Valentine shrugged. "Great, then, let's go," she exclaimed,
and without further ado, pulled the Cybunny down the stairs to the basement.
"VALENTINE!" screeched a voice from far away.
Valentine shook her head and blinked at her sister. "Time for lunch break,"
said the red Lupe, then added, "And what did I tell you about strolling down
Memory Lane?" under her breath venomously.
"Bite me," Valentine hissed back in her ear.
She gave her a strange look, filled with longing. Probably wants to bite
me, thought the Cybunny with a wave of renewed annoyance.
As they sat down to lunch, their spacey owner
asked them how cleaning the attic was going. With a sideways glare at Valentine,
Cindy replied, "It's going fairly well. It should be done by tomorrow." Silently
she added so only her sister could hear her, "If SOME of us would help clean
instead of being lazy…"
Valentine sighed and tried to enjoy her sandwich
while looking at Cindy's mouth carefully. She wasn't especially sure that Cindy
wasn't going to bite her.
When they returned to the attic, Valentine received
a glare from her sister. In a threatening undertone, Cindy hissed, "Could you
puh-LEASE try to clean up more? You're only hurting yourself by making me do
all the work."
Valentine sighed. "I'll try?" It had a questioning
tone to it rather than the usual I'll-try kind of tone. This was good enough
for Cindy. Valentine wandered back to the closet and tried to focus on cleaning.
She grudgingly admitted her sister was right; if she didn't focus on cleaning,
they would both pay the price. The sisters would be submitted to another day
of boring, dusty cleaning of the attic. Then they would go through the same
thing in another five years.
Attempting to clean didn't help. Valentine's
mind kept wandering to the silver-lined photograph. She wanted so badly to touch
it again, to remember her friend. She began struggling against herself. Eventually
she forced herself to return to her routine. Shuffle, sneeze, and dump the papers.
Each individual paper fluttered to the bottom of the garbage can. There was
one paper that seemed very prominent to Valentine. She picked it up.
It read, WHIZ ZAFARA DISCOVERS CURE.
Zafara? Oh no. She felt her mind wandering again.
Carefully she placed the paper in the photograph. Feeling slightly wrong about
it, she tried to remember if her owner said anything about keeping the items
they found interesting. After all, it was mostly old junk… Carefully Valentine
hid the frame under the rusty bed. She'd come back for it when the rest of the
family was asleep.
At midnight, Valentine crept into the old attic.
Having grown up here all her life, she knew where the creaky floorboards were
and was careful to avoid them. Reaching under the mattress, she felt the frame.
Quietly she pulled it out from underneath the rusty springs and snuck down to
Sitting in bed, she caressed the frame. With
a jolt she thought of the news article and pulled it out very carefully. She
unfolded it and read beyond the bold heading.
MERIDELL- A very brave Zafara has discovered
the cure for Neggitus. This disease has afflicted many Neopians for years and
so far no one had been able to figure out what was causing it, how to prevent
it, or how to cure it.
Until now, that is.
Kayla, using only a simple chemistry set,
was able to do what the experts couldn't with even the most advanced technology.
Says the genius: "I really wasn't even trying to, you know? I was just fooling
around and wham! I have this vial in my hand and when it accidentally spills
over Dad and into his mouth, he hasn't got the symptoms anymore. Dad's had Neggitus
for years, you know," she adds. "I'd always wanted to help."
The chemistry set was given to Kayla by an
Aisha named Lisha. Lisha was not available for comment at press time. Kayla's
sister says that she knew the Zafara had it in her.
Please see NEGGITUS, back page.
So that was what happened. Kayla had become famous,
and began to like Lisha more and more. Eventually she had come to be a potion-maker
to the equivalent of Kauvara, only younger. Then she had saved Meridell and
eventually forgotten all about her old friend. She had no memories, then, thought
Valentine dully. She won't remember anything if I shoved this frame in her
face. She sighed sadly and refolded the article, placed it back in the silver,
delicate picture frame. Slowly she stored it under her own bed, fighting the
urge to cry.
Down in a basement that next day, a red Zafara
was cleaning out her closet. Sneezing at the dust collected by old magazine
clippings and papers, she touched something worn down and soothing to the touch.
It was a black box. She took it out and put it
on the table next to her. Opening it, she saw a newspaper article entitled,
WHIZ ZAFARA DISCOVERS CURE. Underneath the clipping was an old item,
comforting her in its familiarity. Wiping away the dust, she saw it said, Chemistry
for Beginners. Inside was a silver picture frame, with a five-year-old photo
inside. A Zafara, holding a blue vial filled with some strange substance next
to a red Cybunny, grinning ear to ear. An old Valentine fell out, dated half
a decade ago.
Dear Kayla, it read, I hope we'll be
best friends forever! Remember me when you're big and famous. Love, Valentine.
Inside was a sketch of a red Cybunny, grinning and waving at her. At the
bottom lay a note: PS: Get it? A Valentine from a Neopet named Valentine?
She wouldn't remember me, thought Kayla.
Even so, she smiled as thought of the sunny Cybunny's grin.
Kayla let her fingers run over the intricate
patterns of the silver frame, letting her mind meander down Memory Lane, where
a red Cybunny named Valentine stood waiting for her as if she had been for years…