"Oh, yes," scoffed Harvey. "VERY mature."
"At least you can actually see the floor in my
room!" snarled Wintria.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Wow! If you can't figure that out, you're
dumber than I thought!"
Harvey snarled and barked and crouched on his
haunches, ready to spring. "Wait! Harvey, Wintria," said Angie. "What's wrong?"
"Harvey ate my Halloween candy!" said Wintria,
glaring at my Starry Gelert. I had given up trying to break them up: my Skunk
Flotsam, Angie, was better at that.
"It was just a piece!" complained Harvey.
"Well," said Angie slowly. "Was the candy still
any good from Halloween, Winter?" she used Wintria's nickname.
"Well, not really," admitted Wintria. "But he
"Will you ask next time, Harv'?" Harvey nodded
and padded off. The war was off-for now.
I gave Angie a grateful look. "I don't know how
you do it," I said. She shrugged.
"It's an older sibling thing," she said.
"Well, now the Underwater Fishing Cavern won't
be a battlefront when we're fishing," I said, checking my watch. "I think it's
time to go."
So Angie, Harvey, Wintria, my Wocky Double A
and I went to the cavern. Double A squealed with delight when the Butterfish
she had just caught flopped around on the deck. We all cracked up when a few
moments later Harvey caught a Breadfish. The Blandfish Wintria caught followed
her hoof from its place in a clear plastic cup. Wintria said she couldn't bear
to eat it, so she was going to keep it.
Angie reeled in her line and nothing was attached.
She sighed. We went home after that.
"Mom! I beat him! I beat him again!" Harvey bounced
up to me, his eyes shining. Behind him the Pant Devil was looking a little more
blue than usual.
"That's great, Sweetheart!" I said. Then there
was a shout of joy to our left.
"I did it!" squealed Double A. "Mommy! I defeated
Punchbag Bob!!!" I swung her up and whirled her around, celebrating. Wintria
came over, smiling at Double A. She chose not to fight today. She'd just defeated
the Pant Devil the day before and was taking a break. She kicks butt in the
I looked over sympathetically at Angie. "We can
get some ice for that," I said. She looked at her bruises and scratches and
We left the Battledome and headed home, trying
to avoid the rain. I hoped we'd get home soon; lightning flashed the sky. When
we opened the door, a flash of lightning behind us lengthened our shadows. Wintria's
Angelpuss, Noel, mewed in fear and dashed under the couch.
She stayed there and no one could get her out.
Angie came into the room after she had been treated to a soothing healing potion.
She got down so that she was level with the bottom of the couch.
"Hi, Noel," she cooed to the little Christmas
Angelpuss. A pair of yellow eyes stared back at her. "Did the lightning scare
you? Well, it's gone now. Do you want to come out? Wintria has some milk for
you." She looked at her younger sister while she said this part and Wintria
nodded. Then she went into the kitchen for some Kau Kau Farm Milk.
Angie began to make little chirruping noises
and Noel stopped shaking. Angie started humming the tune to the game Word Pyramid.
Noel timidly came out and lapped up the milk that Wintria set down.
I smiled. I didn't know how Angie could do it.
She's so gentle! But she looked rather depressed for the rest of the night.
I wondered why.
"Whatsa matter, Angie?" asked Double A. "You
LOVE the beach! How about you an' me go swimming?"
Angie smiled but shook her head. "No thanks,
Double A," she replied. "I'm just gonna relax on the beach." Double A looked
skeptical but turned to splash in the surf. By now, everyone could sense that
there was something wrong with Angie: even the petpets. But as much as we knew
something was wrong, the less we knew what exactly WAS wrong. I watched from
my beach towel as Angie propped herself up on an elbow and drew in the sand
with a little stick.
She gazed out to the dock and I followed her
gaze. A Baby Lupe and Kougra were wrestling playfully while their parents were
talking. Suddenly, the little Lupe tumbled over the edge and there was a splash!
Angie gasped and leapt up. She plunged into the
sea and swam furiously for the struggling little Neopian, way ahead of the lifeguard.
I sprang up and darted for the dock, where the parents and Baby Kougra were
shouting hysterically. Crouching on my hands and knees, I held out my hand to
grab Angie's free fin while the other kept the Lupe's head above the water.
She hoisted up the soggy furball to the frantic mother while I, the other frantic
mother, pulled my pet close to me.
The Yellow Lupess, clutching her son dear, laid
her paw on Angie's shoulder. "Young lady, how can I ever thank you?" The Lupe
wriggled out of his mother's grasp and threw his arms around Angie's neck, and
his stunned sister followed suit. Angie smiled softly.
"It's really no problem," she insisted. "I'm
just glad this little guy's alright," she rumpled his damp hair.
That day, I was prouder of Angela than ever before.
"Woo-hoo!" Double A pounded the air with her
paws. "I win! Come to Mama!" she swept together all the pieces of Bubble Gum
we had bet on winning the board game. We all groaned. After the game, Angie
was very quiet for the rest of the evening, and shortly retired to her room.
It was dusk, and I wanted to go out to my precious
garden to watch my Autumn Sunset Daisy shoot up sparks in greeting of the setting
sun. So I got up out of my Curvy Recliner and went down the hallway to watch
the fun. But as I passed Angie's room, I heard… crying. I looked in and Angie
was lying facedown on her Fresh Bamboo Bed, crying quietly.
"Angie," I exclaimed. "What's the matter?"
She looked up and met my eyes. "Don't act like
you don't know what's wrong, Mom," she sniffed.
"Angie, I swear by Fyora's wings that I'm not
acting." I took a step towards her.
"I can't do anything right!" she sobbed. "I'm
the oldest, and Harvey, Wintria, and even Double A are better at everything
than I am! I'm so---worthless!"
"Worthless!" I cried. "Holy asparagus, Angie!"
I sat down on her bed. "Today you saved a life! What are you going to do tomorrow,
"Angela, you're not worthless! You're perfect!"
I gathered her up in my arms, but she pushed away.
"No, no, no, no, no!" she shrieked. "I'm
the last thing from perfect! I can't fish, I can't fight in the Battledome,
I can't even win a board game against my kid sister!"
"Oh, what do ANY of those things have to do with
anything?" I protested.
"Making you proud," she sniffled sheepishly.
I stood stock still, stunned. Angie took this
as an opportunity to add detail. "I want to be that pet you have that you can
brag about to your friends: 'You should've seen it when Angie kicked the Lava
Ghoul's butt!' 'Today Angie caught the biggest fish I've ever seen!' 'The Beauty
Contest judges just loved Angie!'"
"Sweetheart, ANY parent can brag about that!"
I cupped my hand under her chin to meet her incandescent violet blue eyes. "I'm
one of the few that gets to say, 'My Angie is one of the gentlest, kindest,
and caring Neopians I've ever met!'"
Her eyes questioned me.
"You're the only one who can stop Harvey and
Double A from fighting; fears vanish at the comfort you give to everyone; and
to top it all off, you can make flowers grow faster than Illusen!" I gestured
to where the vines Angie cared for clung to her window, begging for her attention.
Angie still looked doubtful.
"You know," I said slowly. "There's one more
thing you give to everyone, which always comes back to you; something so precious
and wonderful that it can only be felt inside you."
"What?" she whispered.
And from that day on, Angie never doubted how
much she meant to me.