A Very Feepit Christmas: Part Three
Ten days later, Cadmium and Athena sat at their kitchen table, drinking hot chocolate as the Royal Aisha braced herself to go out into the near-blizzard weather conditions. Ivy, Athena's Pink Miamouse, sat on the sofa and cooed to herself as the two of them chatted.
"Why is it that every time you go to get the Advent prize, it's clear and sunny, but whenever it's my turn, the weather is positively horrid?" Cadmium griped goodnaturedly. She took a sip of her steaming drink, a chocolate mustache forming around her mouth.
Athena grinned - both at her sister's complaints and at the ring of hot chocolate around Cadmium's lips. "Oh, come on, Cadmium, it's not THAT bad. I mean, you're the one with the fur coat. Anyway, maybe you'll actually bring home a better prize than I did."
The previous day's prize had been one thousand neopoints (which Elspeth quickly snatched up and deposited in her ever-growing bank account), a milk chocolate Snowbunny, and a Snowbunny chair. They giggled as they remembered the disgusted look on Elspeth's face when Athena brought it in the door. Apparently black-and-white fur covered chairs were not in her style of furniture.
"Who knows, the prize may even be a petpet!" Athena teased.
Cadmium smiled sheepishly. For weeks, the Royal Aisha had been hinting - quite cleverly, she thought - that she wanted a petpet for Christmas. "Yeah, right, and then I'll get a Fountain Faerie Quest on the way home." She sighed, stood up, and shrugged on her thick Babaa-wool coat.
Elspeth came down from her room, a relaxed look on her face. Since the two had taken to alternating helping their owner in the paintbrush shop, Elspeth had been much more laid-back. The trio had even gone out to a Christmas concert the night before. She was still her prim and proper self, as the Faerie Peophin and Royal Aisha soon realized. "Cadmium, what in Neopia is that around your mouth?"
The Royal Aisha stuck her tongue out and licked around her mouth. "Hoh choclish. Bu' ish gone now," she mumbled, her surprisingly long tongue still feeling around her lips for more hot chocolate. Elspeth rolled her eyes and was about to start another lecture before Athena interceded.
"You know, El, she really needs to get going if we want to make it in time for the dinner and caroling at Marcie's tonight," the Faerie Peophin reminded her owner.
Elspeth gasped. "That's right. It's at six tonight, right?" Her brow furrowed, Elspeth anxiously checked her heavily-booked calendar. Thankful that her ruse worked, Athena herded Cadmium to the door. Upon opening it, an arctic wind whipped inside. Cadmium groaned.
"Better you than me!" Athena laughed.
Cadmium rolled her eyes at the Faerie Peophin. "Thanks, you're so helpful," she muttered over her shoulder, her words quickly swallowed by the wind. She walked outside and high-stepped her way up the street through snow drifts, head bent down to avoid the madly swirling snow.
Three hours of arduous hiking through four-foot deep snow piles later, Cadmium arrived at Happy Valley. Weaving her way through massive crowds of bundled-up Neopets and their owners, she made her way to the Advent Calendar building. She opened the door of the shop to hear cries of "FEEPIT! FEEPIT! FEEPIT" bouncing off the walls and out the door, overtaking even the howling wind. Mass chaos ensued inside the normally peaceful store. A hassled Wocky stood behind the counter with her back turned, her fur standing on end. Behind the sweater-clad Wocky, Cadmium's attention was drawn to dozens of boxes, stacked haphazardly on top of one another but in imminent danger of toppling.
"Hi, I'm here to get the Advent prize," Cadmium shouted, her voice quavering slightly. What in Neopia is going on here?
The Wocky looked over at her, and Cadmium was astonished to see that it was none other than Lottie, the Scratchcard Kiosk Wocky herself. She had to yell to be heard over the incessant cries of, "FEEPIT! FEEPIT! FEEPIT!"
"Can you hear that? It's them... the Feepits! They have come... beware the Feepits! Beware the Feepits!" She quivered all over as she thrust a violently shaking box into the Royal Aisha's mittened hands.
Cadmium peered down at the box and glanced back up at Lottie. "Um, thanks. But what is a Feepit?" she hollered.
Lottie laughed somewhat crazily, her eyes red. "Feepits! Dozens of them! I'm surrounded by little fuzzy terrors!" Her left eye twitched spasmodically.
Sensing that even shouting wasn't going to make Lottie hear her, Cadmium left a card for the Neopian therapist on the counter and backed out the door. Her mind whirling, she trudged down Happy Valley amid hundreds of other bustling Neopets, still clutching the now-quiet box. The calls of the Feepits still rang in her ears as she wondered what in Neopia could be in that box.
Another three hours went by - three hours of shuffling through the snow and trying not to drop the surprisingly heavy box. Cadmium frantically banged on the door and stumbled into the house when a concerned Elspeth opened the door. She helped her pet up and shoved the door closed, struggling against the arctic gusts of wind. Cadmium shook the snow out of her eyes and stomped her boots, welcoming the blast of warm air emanating from the roaring fireplace.
Taking the Royal Aisha's coat, hat, and mittens, Elspeth cast a meaningful glance at the cardboard box. "Well, what is it?" she questioned.
"El, it was so weird! Lottie the Wocky - you know, the one from the Scratchcard Kiosk - was there instead of Charlie the Advent guy, and there were these things in boxes yelling, 'FEEPIT! FEEPIT! FEEPIT!' the whole time I was there. Elspeth, what is it? Why are you looking like that?"
A big smile had spread across their normally staid owner's face. "Open the box!" she exclaimed. Oh, good, now I don't have to spend two hundred thousand Neopoints on that Faellie... Elspeth thought, relieved. She mentally rolled around in her hard-earned Neopoints, which lay secure in the National Neopian Bank.
Cadmium pried open the cardboard flaps, and there before her was the most adorable little petpet she had ever seen. She gave a squeal of delight, which sent Athena running down from their bedroom upstairs.
"What? What is it? Did you get another whoopee cushion? Does this one have, like, a third nostril or something?" Neither Elspeth nor Cadmium were answering her questions, instead looking at the open cardboard box with sappy expressions on their faces. Curiosity overcame the Faerie Peophin, and she too directed her attention to the contents of the box. The tiny creature yawned and looked up at Cadmium, seeming to know that the Royal Aisha was her owner.
Cadmium felt her heart melt, and suddenly all the countless hours of trekking through the wilderness were worth it. She scooped the blue Feepit out of the box and held her close. "This is the best Advent prize ever!" She grinned. "Did you know that this was the prize for today?" she asked, addressing both her owner and her sister.
Elspeth shook her head. "This is such a lovely surprise! I am thrilled for you, darling." She gave her Neopet a one-armed hug, then realized she was still holding Cadmium's snow-soaked coat, hat, and mittens with the other hand. "I'm going to go put these in the garage," she said, nodding at the wet clothes. "Get ready to go to Marcie's as soon as you get the little darling settled."
"Now Ivy will have someone to play with," Athena added joyfully. At the mention of her name, Ivy hovered over from her usual perch on the chandelier to investigate Cadmium's new petpet. Ivy nosed the Feepit, who gave the Pink Miamouse a sharp but quick nip. Ivy shot backwards as Athena and Cadmium gasped.
"I am so sorry," Cadmium apologized, feeling quite mortified - and a bit odd at having apologized for her petpet.
Athena hastily shook her head and snatched Ivy out of the air, soothing the whimpering Miamouse. "Really, it's ok. Ivy can be a bit nosy at times. The Feepit's probably tired. You should take her up to our room so she can get used to her new surroundings."
Cadmium nodded, still feeling embarrassed and a bit bewildered. She walked up the stairs to her room with the Feepit in her arms, not noticing the glare that the tiny creature gave Ivy.
Later that night, the trio returned from Elspeth's friend Marcie's house. They had spent the evening enjoying Marcie's delicious dinner and singing Christmas carols door-to-door. Cadmium and Athena had broken the peaceful mood when the two started a snowball fight with Marcie's Silver Shoyru, Brett, and Maraquan Uni, Misty. What started as a few harmless snowballs being tossed back and forth turned into a full-fledged snow war as Marcie and even Elspeth joined in the fun. Now, exhausted from the evening's activities, Elspeth, Cadmium, and Athena were ready for bed.
Taking off their coats, hats, boots, and mittens at the door, the Royal Aisha and Faerie Peophin hugged their owner and traipsed upstairs to their cozy beds. Turning the doorknob and flicking on the light, Cadmium was astonished at the sight before her. She stood in the doorway, open-mouthed.
Athena bumped into her. "Cadmium, what-" She gasped, her words caught in her throat. "Oh my."
Her beady eyes gleaming and teeth bared, the Feepit was creeping up on a sleeping Ivy. Around them, papers, pillows, and clothes were strewn all over the floor. What had happened while they were gone became astonishingly clear to Athena. That creature wore Ivy out by running her around, and now that she's fallen asleep, the Feepit's going to eat her! Seeing her petpet in what she perceived to be mortal danger made the Faerie Peophin spring into action. She snatched her petpet from the Feepit's reach and immediately checked her over. She breathed a sigh of relief. "She's okay. That - that - thing didn't get to her in time."
Cadmium leaped to grab the Feepit before the blue-and-white speckled creature could cause any more damage. "What were you doing, missy?" Cadmium thought for sure the Feepit looked at her pitifully, but she shook her head. She can't understand what I'm saying. Can she? "Bad Feepit!" the Royal Aisha told her sternly. "Oh, no, I'll bet she's hungry," she realized.
"Nope, it looks like she already ate," Athena snapped. She stroked Ivy's head with a trembling hoof.
Cadmium gasped. "She didn't eat Ivy's tail or anything, did she?"
Rolling her eyes, Athena gestured toward a half-eaten frozen chicken lying on Cadmium's bed. "Have fun with that thing." She spoke the word with all the ferocity she could muster, but Cadmium noticed the Faerie Peophin was shaking. "Ivy and I are sleeping in the bathroom tonight. And possibly for the rest of our lives." Snatching her pajamas and a non-chewed up book from the floor, Athena strode down the hall to the bathroom and locked the door.
Sighing, Cadmium looked down at the Feepit, who was now snuggling in her arms. "Yes, you're very cute. But you and I have a lot of cleaning up to do. And what do you think you were doing to Ivy?" Upon hearing the Miamouse's name, the Feepit gave a little growl. Cadmium's eyes widened, but she pushed all the alarming thoughts out of her mind. It's okay. It's her first day here, and she's probably a little unsettled. Plus, I forgot to feed her.
As tired as she was, Cadmium knew she couldn't go to bed without cleaning up the mess first. Placing the dozing Feepit next to the partially thawed chicken, she listlessly picked up the debris with leaden arms. By the time she was finished, it was all she could do not to fall asleep on the floor. She dragged her pajamas on and fell into Athena's bed, not caring that a blue-and-white terror and a raw chicken had taken over hers.
Cadmium awoke the next morning with a start. Something's moving in here. Then she remembered the previous day's events. The Feepit! She shot up in bed, relieved to see that the tiny creature was simply eating the slimy chicken from the night before. Actually, she corrected herself, eating wasn't exactly the right word; it was more like the Feepit was attacking the meal, gnawing it down to the bone with surprisingly sharp teeth. Swallowing, she decided to try calling to it. "Here, girl," she tried lamely.
The Feepit glanced up from her breakfast. Upon seeing her owner, her ears twitched in excitement. "Feep?" she inquired. Not waiting for a response, she bounded to the bed and bounced into Cadmium's arms.
Looking down at the petpet snuggling into her neck, Cadmium felt all her previous worry melt away. "I love you, too, cutie," she murmured. Careful not to drop the Feepit, the Royal Aisha slid out of bed and put on her slippers. Seeing the Aisha's antenna dangling in front of her face, the Feepit reached up and grabbed a hold of it. Wincing slightly, Cadmium gently pried her antenna out of the creature's grasp. Not one to give up so easily, the petpet snatched it right back. "Oh, so it's a game now," Cadmium laughed. It went on for several minutes, with the Feepit grabbing the antenna and Cadmium pulling it back.
Athena's cautious knock at the door halted their playing. "Hello? Is anybody in here? Or should I say, is anybody alive in here?"
Rolling her eyes, Cadmium went over and opened the door herself, only to be nearly smothered by a relieved Athena.
"I'm so glad you're okay! I barely slept last night. I couldn't stand the thought of you being in here alone with that," she said, nodding at the Feepit.
"Aw, come on, she's not so bad. I mean, just look at her." Cadmium gazed lovingly at the tiny creature cradled in her arms. The Feepit gazed back, gave a cute smile, then looked at Athena. For a moment, the petpet tensed in Cadmium's arms. The Royal Aisha felt her tiny muscles bunch, as if she were getting ready to jump. "Oh, no, you don't!" she scolded, repositioning her arms around the Feepit.
Athena gave Cadmium a knowing look. "'Not so bad,' huh? If you hadn't been paying attention, she'd be all over me, chewing on my hair. But," she continued, seeing Cadmium about to protest, "I will give her the benefit of the doubt. I'm giving her a week to settle in." The two of them, plus the Feepit, went down the stairs, drawn by the scent of fresh cinnamon buns baking in the oven.
All the way downstairs, Cadmium had been deep in thought. When they reached the kitchen, she spoke up. "Yeah, I mean, that's about how long it took Ivy - not that Ivy ever ate a raw chicken or tore up our room."
Once again, at the mention of the Faerie Peophin's petpet, the Feepit gave a nearly inaudible growl.
To be continued...