Amelie Wins The Battle: Part One
“Amelie? Time to get up!”
Amelie groaned. She didn’t want to get up. She couldn’t remember what dream she’d been having, but she knew it had been a good one.
“Amelie? Amelie? AMELIE!!!”
Amelie woke with a start. Golden sunlight was streaming through the curtains, and Molly was standing in the doorway, looking half amused, half reproachful.
“Amelie? Come on now, sweetie, it’s Saturday! Everyone’s already eating breakfast!” Molly smiled as she started to fondly play with her long, chestnut hair.
“Sure thing, Molly.” Amelie stumbled out of bed, put on her cloud slippers and her fire dressing gown, and followed Molly down the stairs and into the kitchen, where indeed, everyone was sitting around the table.
“Afternoon, Amelie.” Geraldine grinned from behind her stack of pancakes. Amelie pretended to swat her, but missed and swiped thin air, thus unbalancing and toppling into one of the chairs. CRASH! Kingpin, their Warf, yelped and dived for cover, as the chair crashed to the floor, Amelie with it.
“Sheesh, do you always have to be so loud?” Alexander grumbled from the other side of the room.
“Shut up, Alex.” Geraldine sent a pancake flying across so that it hit him right in the face, knocking him off the chair backwards. “Don’t mind him, Amelie. He’s just grumpy ‘cos Kingpin ate his rare poisonous something or other, and then was sick on his bed.” Amelie stifled a giggle, and then burst out laughing at the sight of Alex emerging from the floor, holding the pancake above his head, ready to throw back, yet then thought better of it and took a big bite.
“Anyway, Soko, how are you doing this morning, huh?” Amelie asked the forlorn looking figure on the other side of the table.
“Mmmghgf,” he muttered, then turned his back on the lot of them.
Amelie shrugged at the others, and was about to join in the pancake fight that Alex and Geraldine were currently involved in, when suddenly, the room seemed to swirl around her.
“Guys?” she yelled, confused. She turned around, yet, although the room had stopped spinning, she was in a different room. The walls were just cardboard; the roof was stone, and leaking rain, the floor was only hay, and bugs scuttled out of sight. The creak of the door opening alerted her, and she watched in horror as a terrifyingly familiar figure stepped through the door. A flash of lightening illuminated that face that she had tried so hard to forget, and as the person started to laugh, cold, hard laughter, Amelie screamed and suddenly the cold was gone, she was back in her own kitchen, she was safe and everyone was staring at her.
“Er, Amelie, are you Ok?” Alex asked uneasily. “You kinda went all woozy for a second.”
“Yes, yes, I’m fine.” Amelie laughed, fighting the urge to be violently sick. “I just, um, had a, a- a head rush! Yeah, that’s it, a head rush. I stood up too quickly, but I’m fine now.” Amelie said all of this very fast, aware that she was gabbling. Thankfully, everyone seemed to have believed her story, everyone apart from Soko. He was still giving her a piercing look, as if he could see right through her, but Amelie turned away from him and began to dwell on what had just happened.
She felt terrible. She had spent the last two months trying to forget, but she kept getting flashbacks and then she would remember again. This awful thing that haunted her was the reason that she was so shy, the reason that she had a scar on her left cheek, that her fur remained matted and the reason that she kept having to lie. It had all started a long time ago...
When she had first been created, she had been loved. Her owner, Vanessa, had been a newbie, and was very excited with her first pet; besides, Amelie had been cute back then. She had been in her crowning glory, the prettiest Xweetok around. Her red fur had been sleek, and although she had no photos of when she was younger, she guessed that she must have been adorable. Anyway, Vanessa had been besotted, and with the joy of having a pet, created more. Sadly, she had not realised how much care neopets needed, and soon they started to take their toll. She would have to spend all day earning money, and still they were poor. So eventually, she cracked. Their neohome was sold for a horrible new one that was leaky and draughty. They were fed very rarely, and they were forced into labour, with terrible punishments if they failed to comply. One day, Amelie had stood up to her owner and Vanessa, in a terrible rage, had disowned her, and put her up for adoption.
Of course she had been glad to get out of that living nightmare, but she’d hated the adoption centre. People would nose in through the bars of her cage, asking her questions and patting her head roughly. She was too scared to talk to anyone, so no one adopted her. She was in there for a whole year. Yet one day, Molly came. She didn’t ask her questions or prod and poke her. She simply asked her if she would mind if she adopted her. Saying yes to that was the best decision Amelie ever made.
She was taken home, to Molly’s lovely neohome, where she met her new brothers and sister. Geraldine was a tall, green Shoyru, and had been very intimidating at first, but turned out to have a kind nature. Alexander was a short, blue Shoyru, who, though at first grumpy, was really extremely nice. They were both Molly’s original pets. Then there was Soko. It seemed that he had originally been a green korbat, but you couldn’t tell that now. He, too, had been adopted, yet his previous owners had treated him so badly that he was unrecognisable. He was so ragged and forlorn that you would have thought that someone had painted him grey, and his eyes had a hollow look to them. Yet there was one thing that made him so different. After his ordeal, he had never talked once. He would mumble incoherently, or moan, or hum, but he never talked. No one knew what could have possibly been done to him to stop him talking, because he never talked. However, everyone, including Amelie, had come to love him despite his frosty nature, and he was really nice once you got to know him.
Amelie had been living with Molly, Gerry, Alex and Soko for about two months, and had adored every second.
“Anyway,” Molly said, jerking Amelie out of her reminiscence, “Now, Amelie, what are we going to do with you?” Amelie felt confused. Alex did the Gourmet club, and Geraldine was in the beauty contest every Saturday morning while Molly, Amelie and Soko went grocery shopping. What was wrong with that? “I think we could start sending you to a club of your own, hmmm?”
“Oh,” Amelie muttered. She was tortuously shy. How would she survive a club?
“Now, it would be best if you had your own club, so that you could make some new friends. Hey, how about Battledome! That would be good!”
Amelie simply gaped at her, eyes open in horror. Battledome? This was the girl who’d screamed at the idea of skipping in Gym. P.E. was her worst subject ever! She’d seen the Battledome and had seen the sort of things that the Battledomers had been able to do. Flips, and punches and the like. She’d have been much more comfortable cruising round the shops with Molly and Soko than spend her Saturdays in extra Gym lessons, which she already dreaded in school. Amelie suddenly realised that she hadn’t spoken for about two minutes. She blushed.
“Ummmm, er, well come on, Molly, you saw my Gym report.”
Molly frowned. “That was really the reason I thought of it, Amelie. You do so well in other subjects, it’s such a shame that you keep getting Fs for P.E. You’re so talented, you could do well. And besides, I was thinking that it would be best for you to get some friends outside school that are interested in the same things that you are!”
Amelie looked at Molly’s pleading face, and then at Geraldine’s thumbs-up of encouragement.
“Well,” she said slowly. “It couldn’t hurt for just one week...”
“Excellent.” Molly smiled briskly. “OK, I just have to make a few neomails. Everyone, get your things, we have to leave in half an hour!”
Thirty-five minutes and seven nerves pulsing on Molly’s forehead later, they arrived at the Training Centre. “Well, go on, then,” said Molly. “I can’t stop to drop you off; I have to get Alex to the Gourmet club five minutes ago!”
Amelie smiled weakly at Molly’s lame joke, and headed off towards the large silver doors that marked the entrance. She looked behind her. Molly and the crew were out of sight by now; she could hide behind the bins for an hour and then come out and pretend that she had been to Battledome. Unfortunately the receptionist, a chubby blonde-wigged Chomby, looked up to see her hovering around the entrance, and called out enthusiastically, “Well, hello, dear!!!!!”
Amelie cursed under her breath. She couldn’t run now; it would look so rude. (Amelie was the polite type.) Anyway, if she ran away, the receptionist might follow after her, and that was the last thing that she wanted.
“Er...” Amelie croaked. Her voice seemed to have died. “I was just w-wondering-, I was, was just, erm...”
“Frog in your throat, dear?” asked the Chomby cheerfully.
“I-I-I, er, my name is Amelie, and I-I’m here for Battledome courses...” Amelie bowed her head. Please let the floor swallow me up now, thought Amelie, blushing beetroot.
The Chomby, however, didn’t seem to mind. “Amelie, now let’s see...” She scrolled through a large pile of notes on her desk. “Here we go, Amelie, grasshopper Battledome courses, owner Molly, is that correct?” she shot at Amelie, who nodded. “Right, you’re a bit late, but your teacher hasn’t arrived yet; I think you can just make it. Room 15. Have a nice day!”
Amelie set off at a run, making a silent resolution to never speak to anyone ever again. She counted all the doors lining the side of the walls: Room 13, Room 14, Room 15!!! She peered through the glass porthole in the door, and saw what looked like a group of pets standing around and talking. Amelie bowed her head, screwed up her eyes, and entered.
To be continued...
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