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A Very Feepit Christmas: Part One


by rainpaint

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Ah, Advent - the time of year all Neopians, from Grarrls to Xweetoks, look forward to. If I asked you to give me a description of the season, the average Neopian would say that it's a season of miracles, family, and giving. The sentimental among you would say that the old become young once again as the snow, mistletoe, and Christmas cheer work their magic. Then the most truthful of you would say that it's about getting daily prizes from the Advent Calendar in Terror Mountain. (Come on, that was what was lurking in the back of ALL your minds!) Think of all those exquisite plushies, the Christmas-y furniture, and oh, the food! Don't get me started on the white chocolate oranges, the tins of chocolate chip cookies, and the sparkling jellies. Anyway, that's not the point of this story. The point is to tell you the tale of little-known events that occurred in Advent Y5. It's a tale of intrigue, tragedy, comedy, and romance (okay, scratch that last one). But mostly it's about the bond between an Aisha and her not-so-loveable Feepit that was only fully realized on a snowy Christmas morning when their lives were about to be torn apart forever.

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      "Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on Angelpi... Snowflakes that stay on my nose and antennae..." A green-velvet clad Aisha whirled around in the snow, singing and keeping the beat with the snowflakes' wintry dance. Her delicate feet made tiny prints in the snow as a jolly "Ho ho ho!" sounded from overhead. A red-cheeked human sitting in a sleigh pulled by eight flying Raindorfs dropped a package right into her paws. Shouting a "Thank you," she eagerly tore open the wrapping paper. A pair of tiny brown eyes gazed lovingly at her, and she scooped the adorable creature into her arms. "Cooo," it murmured as it nuzzled into her arms-

      SPLASH! A freezing cold torrent of water rushed over Cadmium's head, abruptly interrupting pleasant dreams. She sputtered and sat up, her green eyes blazing. Blinking water from her eyes, she took in her Faerie Peophin sister's figure, dressed in a thick, oversized sweatshirt and tailwrap. "Athena!" Cadmium whined, "What was that for?" She shoved her head back under the pillow, creating a puddle of icy water from her still-dripping antennae on her sheets.

      Her Faerie Peophin sister yanked the pillow from her paws, threw it on the floor, and stood by her bed, arms folded expectantly.

      With bleary eyes, Cadmium gazed over at Athena. "Why're you looking at me like that?" the Royal Aisha muttered.

      Exasperation showed in Athena's blue eyes as she observed her sister's desire to continue slumbering. "You really have no idea, do you?" she asked in disbelief.

      Despite her sleepiness, Cadmium glared at Athena with all the ferocity she could muster. "I'm tired. It's Christmas holiday. I stayed up until 4:00 NST this morning writing my Christmas list. Do not make my brain work any harder than it has to." She snatched the blanket from Athena's neatly-made bed and proceeded to sop up the chilly water still puddled on her sheets.

      A sigh escaped Athena. "Well, then, since you're so tired, I guess I'll go get the Advent prize myself," she said, her voice heavy with fake regret. She turned on her tail and started to leave the room, stepping over Cadmium's three-foot-long Christmas list. She shook her head, chuckling as she thought, Only Cadmium would stay up late writing her wish list down and then forget about today, of all days! But in the back of her mind, she knew exactly what would happen next. Three, two, one...

      Cadmium sleepily sank back down into her now-dry bed, but then bolted upright again once Athena's words registered in her sleep-deprived brain. "Wait! Today's the First of Advent!"

      "Yeeeaaaahhhh." Athena's voice was tinged with sarcasm, but Cadmium barely noticed. She moved around the room in a blur, hastily and sloppily making her bed, running a brush through her curly red tresses, and throwing on her warmest outfit. The two of them bolted downstairs to the kitchen, where their prim and proper owner, Elspeth, was cooking pancakes, eggs, and bacon. Their hearts sank as they realized she wanted it to be a complete, sit-down-and-talk-about-your-feelings meal.

      "Never should have bought her that psychiatry book as a gag gift for her birthday," Cadmium muttered through the corner of her mouth to Athena as the two walked into the kitchen. Remembering all of the meals of the same kind that they had eaten since Elspeth's birthday two months before (one of which involved a surprising confession from Cadmium that she continuously shaved her eyebrows and drew them back on with one of Athena's pastels), Athena gave a slight nod in agreement as the overwhelming odor of frying bacon hit them.

      "Good, you're up. I trust you slept well." Elspeth barely looked up from ladling gooey batter onto the griddle, instead directing them to wash their hands, set the table, and squeeze the orange juice. Once everything was completed to Elspeth's satisfaction, the trio sat down at the table, said grace, and helped themselves to the feast of steaming eggs, fluffy pancakes, crispy bacon, juicy fruit salad, and tangy orange juice. Athena and Cadmium filled their plates when, much to their chagrin, Elspeth cleared her throat. Swapping sidelong glances, the Royal Aisha and Faerie Peophin mentally groaned as they realized one of those prying conversations was imminent.

      "How do you feel now that Advent has started?" Elspeth questioned, her grey eyes serious. Waiting for her pets to answer, she took a sip of her orange juice, grimaced, and placed the glass back on the table. "What did you put into that orange juice?" she choked, her eyes watering.

      A wide-eyed look of innocence came across Cadmium's face. "What're you talking about, El? We squeezed the oranges just like you said."

      Choking and gasping for breath, Elspeth asked, "Into which jug did you squeeze the juice?" Blinking, she managed to swallow a piece of syrup-soaked pancake, which smothered her gasps.

      Someone could tell her that Meepits were going to attack Neopia, and Elspeth still wouldn't dream of ending a sentence with a preposition, Athena thought. "The red one - the one we always use," the Faerie Peophin replied, gesturing towards the cranberry-colored container sitting on the sparkling marble countertop. Her blue eyes widened in realization. "Oh, heh, that was the one you used for the chili mix, right?"

      Her owner's eyes flashed. "Yes, and the one that I specifically asked Cadmium to clean last night after dinner." Elspeth stood and inspected the jug. Sure enough, floating around in the orange juice were spicy-smelling specks of chili powder. "Cadmium, explain this." Now, her tone implied.

      "Um, well, see..." Cadmium fished around for an appropriate answer. With a hasty smile, she shoved a piece of bacon in her mouth, hoping to further delay her need to respond.

      "She spent eight hours working on her Christmas list last night and needed a head start?" Athena supplied. Eating the last strawberry off her plate, the Faerie Peophin deliberately placed her plate in the sink, careful not to make any noise that would break the awkward silence.

      Elspeth shattered the quiet. "You spent eight hours writing a Christmas list, yet you didn't have time to thoroughly clean out the jug?" Elspeth's voice was a mix of disbelief and anger as she tapped her finger impatiently on the marble counter. Realizing she might chip one of her manicured nails, she stopped and tapped her foot on the wood floor instead. But then she realized this might cause a scratch on the floor or (heaven forbid) on one of her shoes, so she twirled a lock of dark brown hair around her finger. This sufficed to release some of her anger until she accidentally twisted her finger so tightly into her curly brown hair that she couldn't unwind her finger. Elspeth jerked her hand down, causing sharp pains to shoot up and down her skull.

      "Want me to get the scissors?" Cadmium asked, relieved for the diversion. Suppressing a groan, Athena rolled her eyes at her sister's pitiful attempt to get out of a lecture. The Faerie Peophin knew that Cadmium's excuse would only fan the flames of their owner's irritation.

      "NO!" Elspeth yelled. "Cadmium, why did you not clean out the jug last night as I asked you? Yeek!" Elspeth finally managed to free her finger from its hairy trap. Running a hand through her carefully-tamed tresses, she was relieved to find everything still intact.

      "Uhhhhh... well..." The Royal Aisha gave her cutest smile. "I wanted to write my list so that you would be sure to have enough time to buy everything on it!" She fluttered her impossibly long eyelashes. Please, please, please don't punish me! She tried to send brain waves to Elspeth.

      Apparently Elspeth was immune to Cadmium's pleading. "That is no excuse, Cadmium Gold Aisha," she reprimanded. Her use of Cadmium's full name let her two pets know just how fed up she was. "Now, if you had been doing something more" - she fished for the right word - "productive with your evening, such as cleaning up the mess in your room, I would not be so disappointed in you. But since you did not do the one task I gave you, you must stay home today and help me at the paintbrush shop."

      "Aw, but El," Cadmium whined, "it's the first day of Advent. You know, the time of year when you go to Happy Valley-"

      "I am well aware of what today is. Now, that does not mean you will not get the prize for today. Athena will go by herself and get it. Go upstairs and get ready for work in the shop." Seeing the Royal Aisha open her mouth, Elspeth added, "NOW, CADMIUM!"

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     Cadmium turned on her heel and stormed out of the kitchen. She was going to stomp her way up the stairs, but then she realized Elspeth would hear it and maybe sentence her to TWO days of working in "Elspeth's Shop of Dreams Come True." "Elspeth's Shop of Nightmares Come True" is more like it, Cadmium thought sardonically. The Royal Aisha grudgingly went through her morning routine of brushing her teeth, washing her face, and styling her hair. She tied on the apron Elspeth required all her employees to wear and went over to the full length mirror. She stuck her tongue out at her reflection, hearing her owner's voice echo through her head. If you had been doing something more... productive... productive... productive...

     "She can't tell me that writing for eight hours straight isn't productive. If that's not productive, I don't know what is," she groaned. "Now I'm going to have a 'productive' day at the paint brush shop." She made a face at herself, then felt a pang. In an instant, the futility of her words hit her. She stopped herself before going any further with her rant, ashamed thoughts flooding her mind. Wait a second. What am I doing? This is the CHRISTMAS season. I need to have a better attitude than that. "Besides, she did ask me to wash the stupid jug," Cadmium admitted to herself. She slapped herself, turned her speakers on to Christmas music, and started to smile as the tinny voice sang the song from her dream.

     "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on Angelpi. Snowflakes that stay on my nose and antennae..."

To be continued...

Merry Christmas! I hope you like my latest installment in the Cadmium and Athena series. Comments are welcome!

 
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