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Keepers of the Hidden Tower


by amykneogirl

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"Due to suspicious Grundo activity, the Space Faerie has called upon me to help her investigate this matter and discuss Dr. Sloth's absence. She has also been gracious enough to invite me to tea," read Zephyra the Air Faerie. "You, as one of my most trusted advisors, are to rule over Faerieland until tomorrow morning. You may choose one or two responsible and hardworking helpers to run the Hidden Tower. Goodbye and good luck, Fyora the Faerie Queen." Zephyra sighed. She lowered the paper she had been reading from to reveal two cheesy grins, belonging to a faerie Kougra named Strata and a pink Zafara named Pixie -- beside them was a pet Slorg. They batted their eyelashes and chorused: "PLEASE!!!!"

      "We agreed that your punishment was you're not allowed to leave the palace until tomorrow Strata, and Pixie. I'm not so sure, I mean after that Slushie Shop incident... and Urp, a little Slorg, can't run the place by himself!" Zephyra replied.

      "You promised not to mention that!" said the cotton candy-coloured Zafara, her cheeks becoming even pinker than the rest of her. Slushies had made her uneasy since then.

      "And besides," said the Kougra, "we can handle it for a day. How hard can it be?"

      "I dunno you guys…"

      This led to extensive begging.

      "Oh please, please, please, please, please, please, PLEASE!" Strata and Pixie gave the faerie their best sad puppy faces.

      "I'll have to think about it…" said Zephyra, "I don't know if you two could do it, I mean the Hidden Tower is really important, all those rare paint brushes and battle supplies, are you sure you want to do this? It's a tough job. I have to be able to count on the person running it."

      "You can count on us!" exclaimed Strata.

      "Maybe…"

      The Zafara then spoke up. "Maybe if you got another faerie to help us out we could - "

      "Pixie, NO! We can do this by ourselves! I don't want or even need any help!" Strata yelled back. Then she looked at the Air Faerie for some support. Which she didn't give.

      "Pixie has a point. Your chances of helping out would definitely improve if I got someone else to be there with you two." Zephyra stopped to think. "Yeah, I bet Pyrine would do it… Okay, you guys are hired. You know Pyrine the Fire Faerie? She works in the treasure department here in the palace. She can help you guys out, you know, keep stuff running smoothly, reporting any trouble to me…"

      "Okay," agreed Pixie.

      Strata snorted. "Fine."

      "Good," said Zephyra. "I'll show you to the Tower."

      *

      "Whoa…" both pets mumbled.

      "This is so awesome," said Strata. "Isn't it Pixie….isn't it?" But Pixie was too stunned to say anything. The Hidden Tower was amazing. It was filled with rare items, wall to wall. There was a huge window in front, and the floor looked as if it was made of clouds. The walls were glittering gold, and there were aisles between counters full of rows and rows of plushies, battle supplies, dolls and paint brushes; each one locked in its own display case.

      "This stuff is worth millions!" exclaimed Pixie.

      "This 'stuff' is also really rare and really old. But I can trust you two," said Zephyra. Then more quietly, "As long as Pyrine is here… Okay, some last minute reminders, I'm gonna have to get back to the palace soon. The Radish Bow is limited use if people ask, wear rubber gloves when handling the Battle Dung, the Jeran and Lisha plushies come together, the trading card is not a fake, the rainbow swirly thing is actually useful, there are no discounts, and DO NOT DAMAGE OR TAKE A BITE OUT OF THE EVERLASTING APPLE!!!!!! Okay, bye guys, see you tonight."

      Urp the Slorg gurgled.

      "So," Pyrine began. "I guess you're pretty excited. Is it your first time here?"

      "Oh, uh, yeah…" stated Strata dumbly. She and Pixie were still marvelling at the place they were in charge of. It was invisible, it was beautiful, and it was filled to burst with stuff worth truckloads of Neopoints.

      "How 'bout this: I run the cash and help you guys out if you need it, and you greet the customers, ask them what they want, and unlock the display cases," said Pyrine.

      "Sure," said Pixie, nodding her head. "Let's wait at the door Strata." The faerie Kougra followed quietly, opposite her loud self. Then the first customer of the day walked in. He was a Tyrannian Chia, wearing a dirty fur around himself. He had scruffy hair and his eyelids seemed to be swollen - you couldn't see his eyes.

      The pink Zafara gulped. "Uh, how may I help you, um, sir…?"

      "Aka-gal ahh de-bo?" the Chia said in incomprehensible speech.

      For lack of anything else to say, Strata responded with "huh?"

      "Ahh-ugga a-ugga-bo nah!" The two Neopets looked to Pyrine for help, but she had her back turned to them. Luckily, as the Chia was about to utter another sort of sound, an Earth faerie walked in. Apparently the Tyrannian pet's owner, she nodded at Pixie and Strata, then looked back at the Chia.

      "Where's Fyora?" she asked.

      The two pets replied, "She's not here. The queen will be back tomorrow morning, but while she's gone, we're filling in for her, along with Pyrine -- that's the faerie at the register. Can we help you?"

      "Yes. Tell the nice helpers what you want Akanaboo!"

      "Ugga-a gah ak-ugga de!"

      "Um…" said Pixie, feeling rather awkward.

      The faerie sighed. "He wants the Baggus Bomb," she explained.

      "Oh, of course…" replied Strata. "A good choice." The Kougra took out the ring of jangling keys to the display cases. She searched for the one marked 4966BB, and unlocked the Baguss Bomb case. Just like she had been told to, Strata tucked in an extra packet of fuel, and wrapped the Bomb in flameproof paper. Then she put it in a bag, and handed it to the earth faerie. "To the cash please!"

      "Thank you."

      "I think that went well," said Strata, proud of serving a customer for the first time. She heard the ring of the cash register, and Pyrine's voice chiming "Have a nice day!" and the faerie, with her swollen eyelid-ed Chia, exited the invisible building.

      "Hey Strata, do you hear that?" asked Pixie.

      "Hear what?" replied Strata.

      "That hissing noise…sounds sort of like something's under pressure, or…leaking…" Both pets looked toward the one thing that could be making that noise. The U-Bend of Great Justice!

      Pixie screamed.

      "It's gonna blow!" shouted Strata. Pyrine turned around and came out from behind the counter.

      "Uh-oh. Stand back you guys… this thing can be dangerous, it could send a lot water shooting out at you, just like that." Pyrine snapped her fingers to demonstrate. The display case that the weapon was contained in was now shaking violently. Then it burst. Water rocketed out in every direction. It sprayed everywhere, soaking Pixie, Pyrine, and Strata. Urp was floating in a puddle of water across the room. Water could not severely hurt the Kougra and Zafara, but a Fire faerie was a different story. Pyrine sat on the floor of the tower.

      "Good thing we didn't sell that…" she managed to say.

      "Pyrine, are you okay? Should we get help?" said the pets.

      "Uh, yeah, one of you go get the Water Faerie from the healing springs."

      Pixie rushed out the door, headed for the expert in healing. Pyrine's wings were now a dull orange colour, and her hair and clothes were soaked. Parts of her skin were steaming from the impact with the cold water. Strata coughed up a mouthful of water. She wondered how the U-Bend went out of control. As long as it wasn't her fault, she didn't really have to worry. Just then Pixie burst in to the Tower, the Water faerie right behind her. The healer examined Pyrine.

      "This doesn't look good, I'll have to take her to my spring. That's alright with you two, right? A responsible Zafara and Kougra can handle this," she said.

      "Hehe…right," said Strata.

      "But we're supposed to have -" Strata nudged Pixie - hard, to keep her from telling the Water faerie that they weren't supposed to be running the Hidden Tower alone.

      "Okay then, good bye!" the faerie said. Both faeries left, and Pixie and Strata were left by themselves.

      "I'm hungry," said Strata, breaking the silence.

      "Well, one of us can't leave! We have to stay here and work. Do you know how mad Zephyra would be if we left? Pyrine is already gone," protested Pixie, her pink fur clinging to her wet body.

      "Fine, Fine! Hmmm…URP. GO. GET. FOOD." Strata walked in place down a pretend road and bit into an imaginary faerie hotdog. The little petpet didn't budge. Strata sighed, and her stomach grumbled. "I could just fly to Faerie Food shop really fast and grab us lunch," the Kougra offered. But Pixie refused.

      "We can't leave! And anyways, aren't your wings too wet?"

      "Uh, yeah, but…"

      "Then that's that. We are not leaving."

      "You're right," remarked Strata. "We don't have to."

      "But the only thing in here is the rare items, and you can't eat…wait…no Strata! No way! Uh-uh, not happening! We can't!!!!!!"

      "Come on, Pixie, you don't have to be so proper all the time. Do something wrong for once! No one will ever know, I mean that's the point, it never runs out! Please, I'm starving!" the faerie painted neopet whined.

      "You heard Zephyra: DO NOT DAMAGE OR TAKE A BITE OUT OF THE EVERLASTING APPLE! We can't!"

      "Oh, loosen up!' said Strata, looking through the group of shining silver keys. She found the proper one, and unlocked the display case. "It's so cool!" The Everlasting Apple was perfect; no dents, no bruises, and perfectly red and crisp. It was sparkling.

      "No!"

      But Strata took a bite.

      "Mmmmmm! No wonder people pay so much for these! They're delicious." In a matter of seconds, the bite Strata had taken out of the miraculous fruit had grown back, and the apple looked as perfect and complete as ever. "See? No one will know the difference. I wonder where you get these things?"

      "I don't - woah."

      Strata turned to see what Pixie was so amazed about. "What is it that…" she trailed off when she saw what her Zafara friend was looking at. There was a grassy open space - a garden. In it was a glorious vegetable patch. It was full of colossal carrots, amazing asparagus, and remarkable radishes. These were no doubt for the items inside, like the Asparagus Dagger, Carrotblade, Radish Bow, and Asparachucks. But the most incredible thing in it was right in the middle of the circular garden. It was a huge tree. An apple tree. An Everlasting Apple tree. The tree had wide, bright green leaves, smooth and perfect, and there were hundreds of shining red apples, all glistening and attached to the branches. The entire garden was fenced off, and the wire fencing was glowing menacingly. The top of the fence was flared outwards, so no intruders could get in. The two friends assumed it was invisible if you weren't inside the Hidden Tower, offering even more security.

      "That is so cool," said Strata.

      "Sluuuurbg…" said Urp.

      "You know…." mumbled Strata, "No one would notice if there was, say, one apple missing. It grows back, so we could it back in the garden when we were done. Whaddya say Pixie?"

      "ARE YOU INSANE???!!!!!!!!"

      "I guess that's no…"

      "You think?"

      "Fine. I'll get it myself!" Strata snorted.

      She wiped down her purple wings with the Lisha plushie, ignoring a gasp from Pixie. Strata leapt up on the windowsill and flew to the glorious fruit tree. Hovering in the air, she grabbed an apple and plucked it off the tree. She landed back in the tower and strolled back into the store, where she settled into a corner to much her snack. She could imagine the questions going around in her pink, fluffy friend's head; What if a customer walks in? What will Zephyra say when she finds out? Why do you have such a huge appetite? But Strata didn't need to be reminded about how much Pixie looked upon her with disdain right now.

      "Strata! I've had enough! Go feed yourself to the Snowager! If you don't want to help I can do this by myself!" Strata stared. She had never seen Pixie this mad before. Then she really started to feel bad. Strata saw a small tear drip down the Zafara's face.

      "Pixie, I…"

      "Forget it, never mind what I said," she sighed. "Here comes a customer."

      A Dark Faerie walked in and asked to purchase a Werelupe Claw. Strata was about to deal with the customer, but Pixie cut in front of her and started talking to the faerie. She put the claw in a box and handed it to the customer. She then realized that without Pyrine, she was also in charge of the cash register. The Zafara and faerie exchanged Neopoints.

      Then Strata spoke up.

      "Pixie, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have been so careless. I guess I can put the apple back now. Can you forgive me?"

      Pixie looked upset.

      "No Strata…" she began. "You, well, you were sort of, right."

      "Wh-What do you mean?"

      "I mean I always play by the rules, and I guess that annoys you…You probably think I'm a total weirdo, but can we just put all the fruit back in it's place and you know, be friends again? It's my fault really. I shouldn't be such a, um, stick in the mud."

      "But Pixie, this is my fault! If I hadn't been so hungry, and wanted to get one of those apples, we wouldn't be so miserable. This isn't your fault at all! You were just doing the stuff you were supposed to."

      "Well," said Pixie. "Despite that, I'm going to run over to the faerie food shop and buy us some lunch."

      Before Strata could complain, her Zafara friend was out the door. She was left staring at the apple in her paw.

      After a couple minutes, her pink friend returned, carrying two Faerie Queen Burritos and a plate of Fruity Faerie Fingers. They sat down on the shining floor and ate their meal quietly, with Urp on Pixie's knee.

      The door of the tower creaked open, and a familiar face poked in.

      "Hi you guys!"

      Zephyra!

      "How was your morning?" she asked.

      "It was… pretty good," said Strata, who was stunned that only a few hours had passed. It was only noon!

      "We did everything just like you told us!" Pixie was half-lying.

      "Glad to hear it!"

      "How was your day?" inquired the Kougra.

      "Busy!" the Air Faerie replied. "Running a palace is hard work! Oh, and I heard about Pyrine." The pets looked at the ground.

      "Don't worry, I don't blame you for that. Accidents happen, although I'd like to know how that thing exploded. It's still damp in here!"

      "We don't know!"

      "Oh well. I better get back soon, my lunch break is almost over. I'll see you two this evening!"

      "Bye!"

      Pixie looked at Strata. "Do you think we should have told her? About the apple, I mean. She'd be pretty mad."

      "No," Strata replied. "I don't think she needs to know."

      The faerie Kougra and the pink Zafara gobbled up their lunch together, and served customers for the rest of the afternoon.

      "Bluuuuurbgg," said Urp. Strata and Pixie giggled.

 The End

 
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