A Very Feepit Christmas: Part Two
Back downstairs in the kitchen, Athena was helping Elspeth
wash the dishes - and gathering up the courage to protest the situation. Athena
opened her mouth to plead her sister's case but, catching a glimpse of her owner's
face, closed it again. She had enough sense to recognize that was the end of it;
there was no changing Elspeth's mind once she got that determined look. Plus,
the Faerie Peophin didn't want to end up being punished as well. Although it's
not going to be any fun going without Cadmium, she grumbled inwardly.
"So, Athena, what's your reaction to the situation?"
Elspeth turned to her Faerie Peophin, delicate hands dripping with soap bubbles.
Do you really want to know, El? The Faerie
Peophin knew it was just a ploy to get her to agree with her owner. Despite
her true thoughts, Athena's good sense prevailed. She paused for a minute to
scrape up the right response. With all her heart, she wanted to tell the truth;
yet she did not want to say anything that would be a betrayal of her sister.
"Um, well..." Really intelligent response, Athena. Shaking her head,
she continued. "I wish that Cadmium had just done what you wanted her to in
the first place, but I understand that she gets a little...distracted sometimes.
But she really meant well, El! Really, honestly, and truly she did! She was
so excited to get upstairs after dinner last night and start her Christmas list!"
Athena realized she was using an abnormal amount of exclamations, but Elspeth
didn't seem to notice. The Faerie Peophin held her breath for one hopeful minute,
then let it out when her owner turned back to her, the same expression hardening
her pretty features.
"And what do you think of the manner in which
I punished her?" Elspeth demanded, a soap bubble clinging to one of her coffee
Resisting the urge to roll her eyes, Athena
gritted her teeth, then sighed. "I think she deserves it," Athena murmured,
shrugging her sweater-clad shoulders. No matter how much she wanted the Royal
Aisha to accompany her to collect the Advent prize, Athena knew deep down inside
that Cadmium deserved her sentence. Besides, that wasn't the first time the
Royal Aisha had gotten so excited about something that she'd forgotten what
she'd been told. Just two weeks ago, their class had decided to throw a party.
Cadmium had immediately volunteered to bake the cake (which translated to getting
Elspeth to make it), but as soon as she'd gotten home, the Royal Aisha had gotten
a scratchcard through a random event and had immediately run to the Lost Desert
to scratch it off. In the chaos, she had completely forgotten to ask Elspeth
to make the cake or buy one from the store; their class had ended up eating
canned pears that the kind cafeteria owners had scrounged up for them. Needless
to say, they hadn't been very happy with the Royal Aisha and had made life at
school quite miserable for her for about a week.
"Good girl. I knew you'd understand. As long
as she behaves herself and does a good job assisting me in the shop today, you
both will be able to go tomorrow. We just need to nip this little problem of
hers in the bud, eh?" Elspeth gave her a friendly punch.
"Eh," Athena agreed weakly, returning the gesture.
She finished washing her share of the dishes and went upstairs to prepare for
her long trek to Happy Valley. Upon reaching her room, she heard Cadmium singing
and dancing to "Bludolph the Green-Nosed Reindorf." I really shouldn't interrupt...
But she opened the door anyway.
"Then all the Reindorfs loved him-" The opening
of the door startled the Royal Aisha, and she whirled around, brandishing a
hairbrush. "HEY! CAN'T A DANCING AISHA HAVE A LITTLE PRIVACY?" a blushing Cadmium
hollered from her precarious perch atop one of the bedposts.
"Not when you share a room. But you can keep
dancing anyway," Athena giggled, helping the Royal Aisha down.
"No, that's really okay." Cadmium hastily switched
off the speaker. "So, you're going to get the Advent prize without me while
I have to work in 'Elspeth's Shop of Dreams Come True.' Don't have too much
fun." Seeing Athena try to speak, Cadmium held up a paw. "Don't feel sorry for
me, either. I deserve this. I should've just washed the jug like she asked me
to." The Royal Aisha shrugged as she tied a kerchief on her unruly hair. Glancing
at herself in the mirror, she gave an approving nod.
"Wow, Cadmium's not holding a grudge. What happened
to you while you were up here getting ready?" Athena asked, taking a sip of
mouthwash and gargling.
"Christmas happened, that's what," Cadmium called
over her shoulder as she walked down the hall to join a waiting Elspeth.
"Huh?" Having spat out the mouthwash, Athena
ran to the railing. "What do you-" But the slamming of the front door told her
that the two had already left. Sighing in resignation, Athena returned to her
bedroom and finished getting ready. As she slipped on her coat at the door,
a shiver of excitement traveled up and down her spine. I'm going to get the
Advent Prize! Humming a carol, she skipped down the sidewalk, receiving amused
glances from passersby.
That night after dinner, Cadmium and Athena
met up in their room to discuss the day's events. Sipping hot apple cider and
flipping through holiday-themed books, the two made a pretty picture in the
evening light. Tiny snowflakes fell outside, visible only in the faint glow
of the street lights.
"So, how'd it go at the shop today? You and
Elspeth sure didn't talk that much at dinner." Athena paused between flipping
the pages of her book to take bites of the white chocolate igloo, that day's
"Too tired. There must have been a thousand
people at the shop today!" A mischievous gleam dancing in her eyes, Cadmium
dunked a piece of chocolate in the hot apple cider and took a sip of the melted
"Cadmium! That's repulsive." But curiosity overcame
the Faerie Peophin, and she too tried dipping a chunk of chocolate into her
drink. "Hmph, dash' no haf bad," she mumbled with her mouth full.
"Talk about repulsive! Aren't you glad El's
not here to correct your manners. Speaking of El, what're we getting her for
Christmas?" Cadmium shuddered. "Not another 'How-To' book."
Last year, the two had gotten their owner a
book on how to make glue. Always one to save money, Elspeth had loved the idea
of creating their own adhesive mixture. The day after Christmas that year had
been "glue-making day." Three hours after they had begun, they were all three
in the emergency clinic - Elspeth to have glue removed from between her fingers,
Athena to have her tail unstuck from her right hoof, and Cadmium to have her
antennae pried apart.
"Definitely not. How about..." her voice trailed
off as she absent-mindedly twirled a lock of silvery-white hair around her hoof.
"We could draw her something. I mean, she did frame one of my pictures for her
desk at the shop."
"Let's not forget that not all of us are brilliant
artists," Cadmium pointed out as she gestured towards her drawing notebook,
which was filled with abstract doodles and stick-figures.
"Yeah. So how about I do a painting for her
and you..." Her hoof fluttered in the air, as if that would help her think of
something for Cadmium to give Elspeth. "How about you just buy her something?"
"Good idea. I'll get her self-cleaning dishes!
That'll make all our lives more pleasant." Cadmium grinned. "But wasn't it convenient
that the incident this morning kept us from having a 'talk about your feelings
"Cadmium!" Athena gasped. "Did you do that on
purpose?" She tossed a pillow at her sister.
Cadmium's green eyes glittered. "I would never
do something so malicious." She gave her cutest smile and smacked Athena in
the head with another pillow. An all-out pillow war broke out. Shrieking joyfully,
the two leaped from bed to bed and whacked each other with their pretty pink
pillows. The sound of creaking stairs interrupted their fun. They swapped panicked
glances and jumped down from their beds, straightening the covers and returning
to their former spots on the floor. A firm knock on the door told them they'd
been just in time.
"Cadmium, Athena, I've been thinking," Elspeth
began, coming into the room. She sat down on the edge of Athena's bed and continued.
"I know I said you could both go to get the Advent prize tomorrow, but..." Her
voice trailed off, and she actually looked nervous.
"But what? Go on, El." Despite her encouraging
words, Athena's stomach churned with worry.
"Well, Cadmium was such a wonderful help in
the store today, and I cannot afford to hire an assistant." She fiddled with
the tassels on one of the pillows that had, just seconds before, been used as
a weapon. She took a breath, and all her words came out in a rush. "I thought
you two could alternate helping me in the shop and going to get the Advent prize.
During the holiday season, it's just so busy, and I cannot usually handle it
all by myself, and..." Elspeth caught her lip between her teeth. "It was fun
having one of you there." She gave a sheepish smile.
"It was?" Athena asked incredulously.
"Well, yeah, kinda." Cadmium admitted. "We made
up names for the customers-"
"Remember that one? 'Snuffles Huffystuffypants?'"
Cadmium gave a snort of laughter. "Oh, yeah.
He didn't stop sneezing the whole time he was in the shop! His pet kept handing
him tissues until Snuffles sneezed all over him! After that, you'd think he
would have bought a paintbrush for the poor Techo."
"But he didn't?" Now Athena was intrigued. Elspeth
is laughing! This might be worth it...
"Nope. He went outside and sneezed himself into
the big Christmas tree near the Wishing Well," the Royal Aisha recalled. By
the time Elspeth and Cadmium had finished regaling the Faerie Peophin with tales
of their day, the two pets, their sides aching from laughter, agreed to try
out Elspeth's proposition. After all, Athena thought, anything that gets Elspeth
to laugh like that is worth trying. She smiled sleepily as the sweet sound of
her owner's laughter echoed in her mind.
To be continued...