Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 126,511,783 Issue: 256 | 8th day of Gathering, Y8
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Sol Dreaming: Part One

by 30pets


"I'm going on vacation, I'll be back in a week," Harry says to his three Neopets as he drops Aquamarine, Maroon, and Sunshine off at The Royal Neopian.

     "Bye!" the Neopets chorus as Harry waves jovially to them. As soon as they enter, Harry turns around and walks back to his Neohome, about a mile away. Of course, that is easier said than done when you are in a fancy business suit.

     Twenty minutes later, he enters his Neohome. He rummages in his office for a pencil and a pad of paper. He isn't aware that he's being watched.

     Captain Quack, Aquamarine's intelligent Mallard, is watching him from behind the door. Why is he here? He said he was going to Krawk Island for business... Captain Quack wonders.

     Earlier that week, Captain Quack had overheard a conversation between Harry and his Neopets. "I'm going to Krawk Island. I have some business that I have to straighten out there. But don't worry," Harry had said hastily when Sunshine, the youngest of his pets, had started crying, "because you'll be staying at the Royal Neopian!"

     The Neopets have been excited about it ever since that conversation. But none of them, not even Captain Quack, know what Harry's real plan is.

     "Aha! Here it is!" Harry says jubilantly in a low voice, snapping the Mallard from his memory. He walks briskly out of the room and into the kitchen. Captain Quack waddles as fast and quietly as he can to catch up with Harry. The man walks over to the classic dining table and begins to write. He says each word aloud as he writes it down. "Dear Aquamarine..."

    * * *

     Later that night, Harry sits in his Blue Velvet Chair, reading The Neopian Times before a crackling fireplace. A knock on his door stirs him from his resting place. He gets up from the luxurious chair and answers the door.

     An out-of-breath young man in a green trench coat is at the door, his face nervous-looking.

     "For a minute, I thought you wouldn't come," Harry says coolly.

     "Never would I do that, my Lord! I was busy cooking-"

     "No, you were not," Harry cuts in sharply. On the other end, the man cringes. "You were doing laundry. As if cooking would be a better excuse," Harry says, finishing harshly.

     "No, m'Lord. Both are bad," the man says very apologetically.

     Harry sighs. "The first phase is completed," Harry tells the man while settling back into his chair. He is a bit annoyed with the man; he had found that perfect spot before, and now it just does not feel the same.

     "Already done!? I mean, of course! I mean-" the man says, stumbling over his words.

     Harry gives a deeper sigh. He shakes his head. "Aizel, Aizel. Sometimes I wonder, Aizel, about how you ever made it in." He shakes his head again.

     "You said I was loyal. And I got people to join... and I brought Pendleton..." Aizel reminds him very quietly and somberly.

     "Yes, that is true," Harry muses, and then continues, "I'm relocating back to headquarters. It will be easier to operate from there."

     "When should I expect you?" Aizel queries timidly.

     "Tomorrow night. I'm coming by way of the shops," Harry notifies Aizel.

     Aizel takes in a miniscule breath. Harry holds the phone at arm's length as Aizel says shrilly, "But you'll be seen!"

     "By whom will I be seen that will notice me?" Harry says slyly. He is of average height and weight; the only thing setting him apart from the crowd is his dazzling smile, one full of trust and accomplishment. True, many of Neopia's inhabitants are younger than he, but a middle aged man is not exactly a unique sight in Neopia Central. He meets Aizel's quavering brown eyes. The younger man looks away.

     "Yes, no one will notice you-" Aizel begins, but then gasps in horror at what he just implied. "That - that came out wrong, my Lord! Forgive me!" Aizel begs as if his life depends on it, which it very well might.

     "You are forgiven. I know what you meant to say," Harry informs Aizel. Once again, Harry shakes his head, while Aizel lets out a sigh of relief.

     "Anyway, wouldn't it look suspicious if I came the other way? Then someone would notice me. It's not like I can turn invisible... although that would have its uses... never mind; I blend in with the crowd is what you are trying to say. Am I correct?" Harry says, in total control.

     "My Lord you are correct," Aizel says humbly, then continues a bit cautiously, "My Lord, how are you going to give them the letter? You're not going to be there after all."

     "I have that all arranged. At the end of the week I arranged it so that they'd spend the whole day out of the house. By the time they get back it will be so late they won't even notice that I'm not back."

     "Brilliant down to the last detail, my Lord!" cries Aizel.

     "Yes it is. I must retire to my bedroom to pack now... Until tomorrow," Harry says, giving his salutations.

     "As you wish, my Lord," Aizel says.

     "You can let yourself out."

     "Yes, Lord Harry," Aizel nods, and flees quietly out the door.

     Harry stares at the closed door for a moment. He gets up, putting the Times down. "Lord Harry... it has a nice ring to it...." Harry says smartly, and then walks out of the room.

   * * *

     On Saturday morning the sun is shining, the air is cool, and the day full of possibilities. Instead of playing outdoors Aquamarine is asleep, and planning to do so until well past noon.

     "Wake up!" shouts Sunshine, Aquamarine's younger sister. "We got to go have breakfast," says Maroon, the middle Neopet of the family. He continues, "I'm starving!" while his stomach rumbles.

     "Okay, okay. I'm up. Hold your Whinnies, I'm coming," Aquamarine says. She sits up in her bed and rubs her eyes. The sun is illuminating the room, but it is a little too bright for the Lupe. Aquamarine then yawns, and gets of the bed.

     "Last one downstairs gets the rotten omelette!" she yells, and runs out of the room, followed by her younger siblings.

     "Oh no you don't! I'm going to beat you!" Sunshine shrieks happily, and then flies past her older sister and brother. "I win!" she gloats, then collapses on the floor with giggles.

     "No fair," whines Maroon. "We can't fly! I'm telling Dad!" he tells his sister.

     "Come on, Maroon. She's a Shoyru; they fly. Besides, you can beat her tomorrow," Aquamarine tells the red Kau.

     "I guess so. I plan to beat her next time!" he yells. They all exchange smiles.

     "Daddy! Daddy! Guess what!? I won!" Sunshine yells, hovering a few feet above the ground.

     No response. The yellow Shoyru flies into the kitchen. A few seconds later, she flies out, carrying an envelope. She flies to Aquamarine, handing her the envelope. She is surprised to see that its label is "Aquamarine."

     "For me?" the Lupe inquires. Sunshine nods.

     "I found it on the table in the spot where you usually sit," she explains, and then continues, "Well? What are you waiting for? Open it up!"

     Aquamarine starts to open the envelope neatly, but she can hear Maroon muttering darkly about something under his breath. She then tears the envelope open while a smile flickers on Maroon's face.

     Aquamarine reads the letter out loud.

     "Dear Aquamarine,

     I've just got back from the meeting. Nigel the Chia has just informed me that the Meridell Potato Company that I've invested most of our Neopoints in has just gone under. I can't afford to keep you anymore.

     I want to explain myself. I didn't leave you in the pound because I did not want to ruin your opinion of owners. At such short notice, I could not find someone suitable to take you in. I could not bear leaving my Neopets with some stranger! That would be horrible.

     I urge you to find someplace safe to live, even if that means splitting up. I only want the best for you.

     Aquamarine, I address this to you because you are the oldest. I want you to take care of your sister and brother. You are in charge. You know what this means. Their needs come above your own, and their needs come before your own. Therefore, if you can find only one or two homes, they go to your brother and sister. I say this only because they are more vulnerable and you are witty and can look out for yourself longer than they would be able to.

     I wish you well. Send my love to Sunshine and Maroon.



     She just stands there, dumbfounded by what she just read. She looks up. Sunshine is crying silently while Maroon is sobbing dryly. Aquamarine even has tears in her eyes.

     Minutes of silence pass. Aquamarine could almost hear her owner, Harry, calling in his handsome voice, "Who's up for some Fluffy Faerie Pancakes?" But it's not heard.

     "Where can we go?" Maroon asks softly.

     "I dunno," Aquamarine answers even more softly.

  * * *

     "How could this happen to me?" Aquamarine hisses angrily, pacing in her room. It is nighttime. She has just put Sunshine and Maroon to sleep, but she herself cannot. The day has been a nightmare. Now she has some time alone to think.

     Captain Quack follows her pacing. Don't do it, don't do anything stupid, he thinks.

To be continued...

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