The Mirror of Memories: Part Six
Malin lived in a small little area down one of the main streets of Neopia Central. Right as I stepped outside I noticed it was cold and raining a bit, but I kept on walking with Kin right behind me. I didn't need an umbrella. A little rain never hurt. After all, Malin's work was probably just a few blocks away.
My pink fuzzy slippers got soaked as I walked through puddles on the old cracked sidewalks. There were lots of people walking around with their umbrellas, most likely on their way to work or doing errands. The buildings were all made of brick and everything looked so... old-fashioned. Nearly all of the pets I saw walking on the streets weren't painted a fancy color. Most of them were red, blue, yellow or green, and some were brown or white. I saw one pet who was painted Christmas. The styles must have really been different back then. Where were all the Fire pets? Plushie? Faerie?! Everything was so boring! And I probably didn't help because of my disgusting orange coat.
Many people stared at Kin and I as we walked by. I thought at first they were looking because I had snot hanging out of my nose or something, but then I remembered that Malin had said Bori were a rare sight in Neopia Central... well, in this time period.
I looked at the signs on the sides of the streets, searching for anything that had 'café' in its name. I had to find Malin's work, and I was certain that it was somewhere nearby. I must have walked about three blocks before I found it. It was a tiny little place, and a pink canopy covered the little white front door. There was a sign by the door that read, ‘Rainy Day Café.’ I thought it was cute. I opened the little brass doorknob that looked like it would fall off if someone twisted it too hard, and stepped inside.
Kin shook his fur dry as we entered, causing little drops of water to fly all over the place. I grimaced and scanned the café for any sign of Malin. The blue Cybunny was near the back of the small little restaurant, wearing a pink frilly apron and carrying pots of steaming tea and cocoa. I smiled and walked around the small tables where pets were seated, reading the Neopian Times and relaxing. Malin grinned at the people she was serving, taking their menus away, then turned around and froze when she caught sight of me. Her eyes grew wide and her long Cybunny ears perked up.
"Oh! Sepra! What... what are you doing here?" she questioned, making her way to the counters and setting the coffee pots down. She rubbed her paws together and gave me a polite smile. She didn't seem too happy that I decided to follow her on down to her job. She probably thought I was stalking her.
"I uh, just decided to pay you a little visit," I told her, giving her a toothy grin. I sat down on a creaky wooden chair, scratching the surface of the table in front of me. There were round cup stains all over it. "So how's the job? You like it? Hard work or what? Mind getting me a cup of Thornberry Java?"
Malin's expression went blank. "A cup of what?"
"Oh, we don't get Thornberries..."
"What? But Thornberry Java is my favorite! What about a Zeenana Cappucino?" I asked her. How could a café not get Thornberries...?!
"Oh, no... Those are tropical fruits you're talking about. You'd have to go all the way to Mystery Island to get those. I'm surprised you're even asking for that. Here, this is all we have," Malin explained, handing me a sturdy piece of paper that read, ‘Menu.’
"Ah. Thanks." I snatched it from her, muttering under my breath.
Rainy Day Café Menu
Tea ..................................... 20 NP
Coffee ................................. 20 NP
Banana Cream Coffee .......... 25 NP
House Blend with Cream ...... 25 NP
Authentic Tyrannian Coffee .. 30 NP
Tigersquash Ice Cream ........ 20 NP
Chocolate Ice Cream ........... 20 NP
Vanilla Ice Cream ............... 20 NP
"What?!" I exclaimed, looking up at Malin disappointedly. "This is all you have? What kind of coffee shop is this? Where are the cappuccinos? Where are all the good Mystery Island drinks?" I frowned down at the menu again.
"Oh, the cakes and food are on the other side--"
"Well, I guess I'll take a Banana Cream."
Malin smiled crookedly. "I'm sorry we don't have what you prefer... maybe you should put it into the suggestion box." The Cybunny pointed over to a yellow box on the front counter, nodding. "Maybe we'll put your idea into consideration. Sorry, I'll get right on your drink." Malin went behind the counter and began to stir some gross-looking ingredients together.
"Oh, and while you're at it, can you get me some Tigersquash Ice Cream? Thanks."
I then realized that Kin wasn't with me anymore. I nearly jumped right out of my seat, frantically looking around the café for the baby Ogrin. "Kin?" I called. I could already feel the sweat forming on my forehead. Oh, no, if I'd lost him I'd be dead...
"Ahh!" someone screamed from across the café. I jerked my head in the direction it came from and I saw Kin on top of one of the tables, sniffing all of the drinks and little cakes on tiny china plates. My eyeballs nearly popped right out of their sockets. I gasped, practically flying out of my chair and rushing around all of the tables and people to where Kin was romping around. I hastily picked the troublemaker up off of the table.
"Kin!" I chided, setting him down behind me. I looked at the shadow Tonu who was sitting at the table. He was wearing a long black coat and looked thoroughly annoyed. "I'm sorry," I told him, frowning down at Kin. "He just kind of ran off, and..."
The Tonu just gave me a dirty look and I noticed that his coffee cake had been stepped on and his teacup knocked over.
"Sorry!" I repeated.
"What happened over here?" said Malin's voice, and the blue Cybunny came up behind me looking at the scene worriedly. "Oh, sir, I'm terribly sorry! I'll get you a new cup of tea and a new piece of cake; you just wait and I'll be right back..." Malin hastily wiped up the spilled coffee and scooped up the plate, then dashed off to the kitchen. I embarrassedly made my way back to my table, where my cup of Banana Cream and the Tigersquash Ice Cream were sitting.
I let Kin eat the ice cream and I quietly sipped my coffee, keeping an eye on the shady-looking Tonu on the other side of the restaurant. Malin brought him his new cake and tea, and he sipped it while reading what looked like an old issue of the Neopian Times. I probably looked like a freak, sitting hunched over, silently sipping my cup and staring at him. If he'd known I was doing that, he would've been scared.
Kin smacked his lips as he stuffed the ice cream in his mouth. I watched the Tonu eat his cake like a fat Moehog, and then he downed his tea in a few drinks. He stood up and I noticed something shiny fall out of his large coat pocket and onto the seat of his chair. He took his receipt up to the front counter to pay, and a wide smile spread out on my face.
Malin was coming my way and I finally averted my gaze from the Tonu to look up at her.
"Here's your receipt, Sepra," she said, setting a piece of paper down on the table in front of me.
I then remembered that I didn't have any money. "Sorry, but... I'm broke. I forgot?" I smiled innocently, and to make it up to her, I said, "Better go check out that Tonu's table." I was going to go over there and see what that shiny thing was, but since she'd have to pay for my ice cream and coffee with her own money, I'd let her have it. The Tonu had left by then, so she wouldn't have to worry about returning it to him.
Malin confusedly made her way over to his table and began to collect the dirty dishes. Something on the chair seat caught her eye, and she looked behind her shoulder at everyone in the café, probably making sure nobody was watching her. She picked up the object, looking at it for a few moments. She then slowly slipped it into the pocket of her apron, and, as if nothing had happened, casually continued with her waitress business. I grinned smugly. I hadn't expected Malin to just take it... whatever it was.
Malin went into the kitchen, and when she came back out she was headed straight my way, her eyes wide. She stuffed her paw in her pocket and grabbed the object she had 'found' over at the table.
"What is it?" I asked.
"You'll never believe..." she whispered, cautiously pulling it out of her pocket to give me a quick glimpse. It was a large and beautiful - not to mention shiny - red jewel. My eyes grew big as I admired the beauty of the gem.
"What is it?" I repeated, still staring at it. Malin dropped it back into her pocket.
"I... I don't know. It's probably worth a lot, though. Do you think I should try and find the Tonu...? He'll probably be missing it!" Malin told me, looking worriedly at the front door of the café.
I shook my head. "No, I'd keep it. And if he comes back, just tell him that you have no idea what happened to it."
Malin hesitated, still looking over at the door. "Are you sure...?"
"Yeah. It's his loss, anyway." I grinned slyly and patted Kin on the head. The baby Ogrin was slumped down in the chair snoring loudly in his sleep. He sure did nap often.
The Cybunny went quiet for a few moments. I looked up at her, wondering what was the matter. She murmured, "Sepra... you'd better go. I don't mean to say this in a mean way, but I would find my work less distracting if you weren't here. Sorry. You can go back to my house and find something to do..."
I bit my lip, nodding. Finally, she found the guts to tell me to do something. After I had been bossing Malin around all that time, making myself too welcome to her house and her job, I wondered when she'd start to stand up for herself. "Okay, then." I looked over at Kin and poked him until he stirred from his sleep, shaking his head confusedly.
"Oh, I forgot to tell you, Sepra," Malin started as I stood up in my chair. "My friend Enzie is coming over this afternoon. I hope you don't mind... we had already arranged plans, and she isn't the type to reschedule things like this."
I grinned. "Oh! That's fine. Yes, perfectly fine." I had forgotten that Enzie was coming over today. That reminded me, I still needed to read Malin's journal again and see what that ruby she'd found was. Somehow I felt that it was more than just a pretty piece of jewelry.
"Okay, I'll see you later this afternoon at about one o'clock then!" Malin told me, smiling her goofy bright smile. I nodded again and looked down at Kin.
"C'mon. It's time to go now."
To be continued...