Card Collections - The Fontaine Sisters
Also by yatomiyuka
The hustle and bustle of the morning was starting. It
was quite early in the morning, but already the blacksmiths were hanging up
freshly made swords, and the market owners were setting boxes of fruit for the
locals to buy out. Ships carrying goods were swarming all around and the various
restaurants that were dotted around the Island were beginning to open. It was
all normal. One of the restaurants that would be opening was the famous Golden
A humming sound was coming from downstairs. A
green Aisha was wiping down the tables, getting off the spilt grog from last
night and any spare crumbs from the food they'd served. The Aisha's name was
Loretta, one of the beautiful Fontaine Sisters, who were famous for their serving
skills. Her sister was upstairs, and had been snoring peacefully when Loretta
had left her to do the morning work. Her sister was called Rosetta. She was
a pink Aisha and was more sociable than her sister.
However, without her sister noticing, Rosetta
had come downstairs and was leaning against the side of the bar, giving her
sister a doubtful look. She was wearing a brown corset with a white dress underneath
it, which ended at her knee. Her orange hair tumbled down her back like a waterfall
- it hadn't been brushed and tied into its usual bun yet.
"Why do you get up so early, sis? It's like you
actually want to do the morning jobs," she said, scornfully, running a paw through
Loretta jumped - she hadn't noticed her sister
was there because she was so caught up in her work. She listened to the question
that her sister had asked her and smiled.
"Rosetta, these jobs have to be done. It's because
you're too lazy to get up and do them. In this job, you have to be quick and
able so you can-"
"-make a good impression to the customers. You
told me a million times before. Look, I'll go get ready and then I'll help you,
okay? Does that make you happy? And..." She stopped; her eyebrows knitted together,
"I am not lazy!"
She turned on her heel and dramatically swung
her orange hair around so fast it looked like a flame that had almost been blown
out. Loretta shook her head, still smiling and threw the rag she'd been cleaning
the table with down and went to get some coasters to put on the table.
"Hurry up, Rosetta! We are due to open in ten
minutes, and there is still so much to do!" With one green paw, she gestured
at the plates, which were clean but heaped in a disorderly pile, and then at
the overturned chairs, which no doubt concealed thousands of crumbs.
"You know I can't work as fast as you in the
morning." Stepping out from behind the bar, she picked up one of the chairs
and set it right. Her sister darted around her, sweeping the crumbs into a dustpan
with feline speed and agility.
"You will one day."
"Loretta..." Rosetta's pretty features were twisted
in an uncharacteristic frown.
"What is it?"
"I've been thinking."
"That's a first," her sister replied whilst rearranging
the plates and dusting down the bar for the eleventh time.
"I love working here at the Golden Dubloon. I
really do. But it's been so long since we had a day off..." She trailed off
at the look on Loretta's face.
"You know what I'm going to say to that. We struggle
to make a living as it is. We can't afford to stop, even for a day." Already,
pets gathered outside--some with pockets stuffed to overflowing with dubloons.
"What are we supposed to do? Turn them away?"
"No, no, you're completely right." With a sigh,
the younger sister picked up the silver key and strode towards the door. Loretta
hastily ran her paws through her hair before taking her position behind the
"The Golden Dubloon is open for business!" Rosetta
declared, flinging the doors open. Within seconds, the restaurant was a hive
of activity. There was always an order to fulfil, a drink to be poured or a
meal to be served. Finally, as the dinner hour passed unheralded, the crowd
began to thin. In the lull that followed, Rosetta poured a drink for herself
and Loretta and they took a seat in front of the bar with the other customers.
"It's been a long time, hasn't it?" Loretta muttered.
"What?" Rosetta looked at her sister curiously.
"Since we opened this place, I mean." Stirring
her drink absent-mindedly, she continued, "Sometimes, what seems like a curse
can be a blessing in disguise."
"Maybe." Her sister's words evoked something
in her memory, something long-buried and half forgotten. "Do you still remember?"
"Like it was yesterday..."
A splash of water, a crack of lightning, a crash
of thunder, a scream of terror. These were the sounds that could be heard as
the ship that had been crossing from Terror Mountain to Krawk Island was being
destroyed by the monstrous storm.
"Loretta?" a voice called, barely audible above
the terrible storm that raged above them.
However, someone responded. A voice that sounded
more mature than the one that had just called shouted, "Is that you? I can't
see! It's too dark!"
A gasp pierced the cold air as a bolt of lightning
struck the tall, wooden mast in the centre of the ship, making it fall. The
green Aisha, Loretta, ran out, paw outstretched, eyes wide. The pink Aisha,
Rosetta, crawled out from under some wreckage and bolted towards the other Neopet,
shouting, "Sister!" Their paws locked together, the two embraced and leapt into
the freezing cold sea...
Loretta could feel soft, warm sand and as she
opened her eyes, she saw a blur of colours. Where was she? Why was her vision
blurred so badly? Why was she on a beach? Where was her sister? Loretta sat
up quickly, and then grasped her head. It hurt...
"Rosetta? Where are you?" she called out softly,
her voice breaking. A tear started to fall down her cheek. Could her sister
have been hurt by the storm? Then she saw she was on a beach.
Loretta stood up, staggering slightly, and spotted
a few pirates. Wait... Was it possible that they had got to Krawk Island? No,
the ship was destroyed! She must've been washed ashore.
"Ah!" Loretta let out a cry, as a paw grabbed
her shoulder. She turned around.
"Rosetta!" she exclaimed. Her younger sister
looked weak, her eyes drooping - it was as if she was to fall unconscious at
any moment! Loretta took her sisters shoulders, and shook them. Rosetta's head
was limp, and flopped around weakly.
"Look, we need to find shelter," began Loretta,
but then Rosetta fell to the floor.
"Stay awake!" she said, kneeling next to her
sister. She looked around desperately, but no one was around.
Rosetta's breathing was laboured, as if it hurt
her somehow; her face was pale and troubled. As Loretta watched, she felt tears
glaze her eyes and make salty tracks on her cheeks.
"Please wake up," she whispered, barely managing
to keep her voice steady. A fresh rain began to fall, soaking them for the second
time. The younger Aisha slept feverishly for almost an hour. Then, as Loretta
was about to call for help, her golden eyes snapped open.
"Oh, my Fyora! I had the most terrible dream!"
Tears poured freely down her cheeks and mingled with the rain. "I dreamt...
I dreamt that we were shipwrecked in a storm and our-"
"Shh," Loretta said softly. "I know this is hard
to accept, but it wasn't a dream. At least you're okay. I thought for a moment
that you were too badly hurt..." She pulled Rosetta into a tight hug, then took
her paw and pulled her onto her feet. "Are you okay now?"
"Yes," Rosetta said, breathing deeply. The rain
had stopped. They were still alone on the edge of the island.
"Then let's go," Loretta replied, setting off
at a brisk walk towards a distant cluster of buildings. "We have to find a place
It was a long, hard day. The two Aishas were
young, and the buildings were much further away than they had seemed to be.
By the time they had reached them, dusk had settled in, lengthening shadows
and giving the atmosphere a creepier edge.
"Here we are," Loretta said, exhausted but happy.
"We can spend the night here and catch the ferry back tomorrow."
"I don't think that's such a good idea," Rosetta
said quietly. "Our parents are gone, and none of our family back on the mainland
wants anything to do with us. It might be easier to just stay here."
"Well, first of all, let's find someone who will
give us a room for the night." Loretta reached a paw towards the dark doorway
and rapped three times. The only response from inside was a hollow, chilling
"There's no one here," Rosetta said urgently,
dragging her sister away from the building. "Let's try some of the other houses."
The two sisters visited every house in the village.
All were similarly abandoned, many were thoroughly dilapidated. It soon became
clear that if anyone had ever lived there, it was many years ago.
As the night drew on, the clouds finally began
to clear, allowing the occasional star to peep through. The two sisters slept
on the doorstep of the old manor building, huddled together to guard against
the bracing breeze.
Rosetta observed that Loretta fell asleep quickly.
The pink Aisha, however, remained awake, her eyes glistening in the darkness.
Thoughts were whizzing around her head like annoying buzzing insects. Rosetta
shook her head, wanting it to be possible to make thoughts disappear just as
quickly as a blink of an eye.
The night sky is beautiful when the clouds
go away, she thought, rolling on her back to look at it. The arctic air
swept over her as she moved away from the warmth, which was her sister. Her
fur stood on end, but still Rosetta stared at the large midnight black area
above her. It dotted with sparkling stars. Rosetta's eyes wandered until she
spotted the North Star, the brightest of all. It seemed to calm her and she
found herself lying down back next to Loretta. The warmth enveloped her - it
was like sinking into a bath.
Suddenly, Rosetta found herself feeling quite
cosy, despite being stranded with no food or water, no home or shelter and just
her sister for company. She didn't care. A soft whisper escaped her mouth:
"As long as I can hang onto this feeling, I know
I'll be alright."
She sighed - if only there was some way for them
to earn some Neopoints! Maybe she and Loretta could start something up... What
were the quickest ways of earning Neopoints? Rosetta pondered for a minute,
but it was hopeless. Loretta had always been smarter and more imaginative than
"I'll ask her in the morning," Rosetta murmured
to herself as she rolled over. The green Aisha's sleeping form was rising and
falling gently from each breathe she took. Rosetta smiled warmly at her and
let herself fall into an easeful sleep.
Loretta opened her eyes immediately. The sun
had risen and was practically luminous on her face. It made a change from rain,
she thought, stretching and standing up. There were still a couple of puddles
dotted around the place, though most had dried up. Loretta's eyes wandered down
to the ground, where Rosetta lay snoring softly, looking very peaceful indeed.
She didn't seem to be bothered by the sunlight that covered the ground like
a blanket of torridity.
"Maybe there is some food around here..." Loretta
wondered aloud. She placed her paws on her hips and stared around, as if expecting
a bunch of grapes to appear on the desolate tree nearby or maybe a loaf of bread
to appear on the dirt track which ran past the entrance to the mansion they
"Oh this is hopeless," Loretta snapped. "I would
look for some, but I can't leave Rosetta on her own. She'd get worried."
Kicking a nearby pebble, she sat back down, cross-legged,
and waited for Rosetta to awaken. By the time she finally stirred, the sun was
bright in the sky and the small creatures of dawn had retreated into their various
hiding places. For a moment, she lay half-asleep; then, resigned, she picked
herself up and brushed the dust from her now tattered dress.
"Good morning," Loretta said, grinning. "It took
you long enough."
"Morning," Rosetta replied half-heartedly. Her
eyes were squinting brightly at the horizon, her head resting on one paw. "I
had an idea last night."
"Well, anything is better than nothing at this
point," Loretta sighed. "We need to find food, or money, or just another living
soul with some knowledge of how to make a living on Krawk Island." She took
a deep, steadying breath. "It still looks pretty deserted around here, doesn't
"Are you going to listen to me or not?"
"Fine. Go ahead."
"Well, I was thinking that since no one else
lives here, we could... we could break in and make it our house. It wouldn't
be much, but there might be some food or money inside. And even if there isn't,
we'll have shelter for as long as we need it." A low breeze danced past them,
tousling their once-vibrant hair.
"You know," Loretta said, after a moment of thought,
"that's actually a pretty good idea. But how are we going to get in?" She gestured
at the huge metal locks on both sides of the oaken door. "There will likely
be more of these inside."
"Through the windows?"
"Worth a try."
The two Aishas raced around the house, trying
to find a window large enough to squeeze through. It was Loretta that finally
found one--on the second story of the house.
"Look! I bet you could fit through that one!"
The window was a large porthole with two semi-circle shutters. If there had
ever been any glass there, it was long gone now. "I'll give you a lift up."
"I don't know," Rosetta said quietly.
"This was your idea, remember?"
"Okay, okay. Give me a hand, then." Loretta crouched
down, and Rosetta placed her feet on her sister's shoulders. Her hands reached
upwards, ever closer to the window ledge, and finally caught on.
"Got it!" The younger sister pulled herself through
the narrow window. On her way down, she slipped, falling backwards into a dark
and dusty room. Barrels lined the walls; two smaller windows sat on either side
of the larger. Everything was grey with age and thick with dust and mould. From
somewhere below came a soft sound, barely audible.
Rosetta clamped a hand over her mouth to stop
herself from screaming. Breathing out slowly, her eyes slowly scanned the room
taking in every detail to see if there could be a glow of eyes or shimmer of
movement. There was none. Rosetta shook herself.
"I'm just a bit scared, that's all. It's just
my imagination..." she muttered awkwardly to herself. She edged slowly toward
the barrels that were propped against the crumbling walls. Rosetta reached out
to touch a barrel - nothing grabbed her paw. Nothing happened at all. A smile
of relief wiped away the look of terror on the Aisha's face and she picked the
barrel up. She dragged it towards the circular window (it was reasonably light
- Rosetta had guessed there was nothing in it) and tested to see if it fit.
"Rosetta, what in Fyora's name are you doing?"
shouted Loretta, "Why do you have a barrel? How is that going to help?" The
muffled reply that Loretta received was, "I'm getting it through the window
so you can climb up - incoming!"
A barrel flew down towards where Loretta was
standing. It landed and bounced a little, also making a hollow sound as it hit
the floor. Loretta jumped back, then rushed forward to steady the barrel. She
tested her weight on it.
"It seems sturdy enough!" she called out to Rosetta.
Two more barrels followed the first one, and soon Loretta joined her sister
in the senile room. Loretta stared around the room, wrinkling her noise in a
token of disgust. The sound came again - soft and haunting. Rosetta grabbed
her sister's paw. Loretta, however, did not seem fazed by the sound.
"Let's go downstairs," she said firmly, pulling
her sister along. The door was locked. Loretta paused before plucking a hair
pin from her own hair and started to pick at the lock. She'd learnt the skill
a while back, when she was with her old childhood friends.
Rosetta pushed the door open. The sound came
again, but louder. Loretta ambled casually out of the door and onto the rickety
looking stairs - they creaked as the two sisters started to walk down them.
Then, something small ran out on the floor that emerged at the end of the stairs..
It was like a small bird.
"Isn't that one of those Krawk Island petpets?
A Weewoo?" said Loretta, "One of Mother's friends used to own one of those petpets.
Do you reckon it's alone?"
"Probably," replied Rosetta, "Hey, can we keep
it? It looks scared." Loretta sighed and then said, "Fine. Hey, maybe we could
sell petpets!" Rosetta shook her head.
"Petpets sell too slow," she sighed, "Oh! How
about a restaurant, or a bar? Pirates love to eat and drink, so it could work!"
"You know, I think you're onto something there."
"And that's how it all began," Loretta finished.
By that time, everyone in the restaurant had gathered around the bar to hear
their story. Most wore expressions of respect. One, a small shadow Shoyru, held
a notebook in one hand and a pen in the other, and was scribbling furiously.
"You were the only survivors of the shipwreck?"
she asked, nibbling the end of her red pen.
"Yeah, I think so."
"And you were children at the time?"
"Yes. Well, more or less." A stunned smile broke
out on the face of the Shoyru as she continued to write.
"This is nothing short of amazing. Listen, I
write stories for the Neopian Times. I guess you could say that's how I earn
my way. Would you mind if I wrote this into a story?"
"No, not at all," Rosetta said, beaming. "In
fact, we'd be quite flattered, wouldn't we, Loretta?"
"Well, I suppose..." All three pets shared a
"It's settled, then." The mysterious storyteller
placed her notebook into the pocket of her shorts. "Thank you so much for sharing
your story with us."
"No problem," the sisters said in unison. "Drinks