Meow Circulation: 177,117,159 Issue: 318 | 16th day of Storing, Y9
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Finding an Assistant


by kaylabirdee

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Swiping across the white side table a clawed yellow hand snatched up a white bonnet, nearly tearing the red ribbon fringe in her haste. The fast moving blur of wings fluttered about the room, darting to and fro, trying to prepare for the exciting day that most surely awaited her. The movements of the Shoyru were quick, but not hurried. The racket she created was deafening, yet not a thing sounded out of place in her daily routine. Over her speedy decisive movements, she could barely hear the deep, rumbling bongs emanating from an ancient grandfather clock on the lower floor of her neohome. Somehow, the oddly sad sounding chimes reached the far location, and as each one finished resonating she counted it silently.

      ‘That was one... Two... Three... Four... Five (How on Neopia could it have gotten so late?)... Six... (Surely, there must be something wrong with my clock.) Seven.’

      Seven!? It seemed that the sun had only started to stream through the lacy curtained windows moments ago! Passing by said windows, the clock’s time turned out to be reality; for the cheerful shining ball was already starting to rise higher in the sky. A pause. If it were already seven... There was no time to waste!

      Nearly tumbling to a halt near a pink vanity table, the pet snatched up tubes, containers, and squares of paper towel. Multicolored clouds drifted about as various facial powders and make up were applied to the already rosy-cheeked face of a certain sunny Shoyru, who went by the name of Camellia. Reflected in the mirror, she studied herself. Before she nodded in satisfaction, she wiped a tiny bit of coral shaded powder off one cheek.

      There! All done! In Camellia’s mind, she checked things off mentally. Reaching a consensus that everything was done, she nearly flew down the stairs and out the door, which banged noisily on its rusty hinges behind her. And all before the little tune played by the grandfather clock was finished.

      Her destination didn’t take long to reach. Then again, being so used to the lengthy walk, a distance most Neopians wouldn’t consider doing daily, she considered it a regular trek, one that seemed to fly by.

      Despite being acclimated to the hike, she found herself breathing rather heavily as she arrived. Gazing about, the age-old Deep Catacombs spread before her like a lengthy roll of bluish-brown cloth. As antiquated as the shop designs were, it was hard to imagine the cavern being the same without them.

      Humming a cheerful tune, she set off briskly for her own shop, nestled near the entrance of the cavern.

      A shadow passed briefly over her face, as she stepped under the arch that served as a door to her shop. Expertly setting a variety of teas to boil, she ducked outside once again to hang up a little sign:

      Help Wanted, See inside for details.

      Now that that was over with, all she had to do was wait. Wait for the tea to brew, wait for applicants... A lot of waiting for one day. Blinking hopefully, she pulled a small chess set from behind the counter. With such a lot of time on her hands, it’d be excellent to brush up on her various strategies and maneuvers.

***

      “And why are you qualified for the position?” Sharp taps from her foot punctuated the sentence, and along with a sharp glare, made it sound more like a statement than a question.

      “I... um... like tea...?” The poor Kougra probably could have thought up a few more reasons, should he have been feeling a bit calmer, but poisonous looks didn’t do much for confidence.

      After a few more acidic glares, the poor applicant was fleeing for the hills. Watching his fast disappearing blue tail, Camellia sighed and plopped down into the nearest chair. What a nightmare! All she needed was an assistant to help her meet the rising demand for exotic and perfectly brewed teas every now and then. It was also preferable if they had good social skills, and didn't mind being told off by dissatisfied customers. Another extremely beneficial thing would be if they kept up their appearance. And perhaps had some prior experience with teas. Oh, and of course they had to be good at committing long lists of prices and such to mind. That wasn’t so much to ask, was it?

      The puzzling dilemma sat in her mind, until finally with a gentle flap of her wings, she hopped up and busied herself tidying the shop. Perhaps the perfect assistant would somehow spring from the ground if she cleaned it up well enough.

      As if in answer to her brooding thoughts, a sharp rap on the doorframe announced the presence of yet another hopeful employee-to-be.

      Still dubious, she didn’t bother to look up from her present task: swiping an old rag over the marbled counter ’til she could see her reflection in it.

      “Erm, I’m here for that job? The sign says to come on in...” Though she could already tell by the sound of her voice, Camellia peered up at her visitor, confirming that the pink Ogrin that stood in the doorway was not, in any way, that bothersome Gnorbu that had been pestering her earlier about how he’d have been just perfect for the job.

      Still doubtful (and frazzled, for good measure), the Shoyru repeated the quick and to the point greeting she’d been saying all day, “Hello. What is your name, do you have any prior work-experience, and does one take tea or drink tea?”

      The pink Ogrin blinked. And blinked again, this time very slowly. “My name is Rosi, and I have never worked at a cafe in my life,” Rosi stated simply, pausing slightly after she said ‘never’ to give the Shoyru another blink. Stepping inside the shop, she continued, “And I would think one drinks tea. It would be most impolite to steal tea from someone.”

      Camellia was a bit surprised by the frankness of the Ogrin’s answer.

      Apparently it must have shown on her face, because Rosi asked, “Is something wrong?” She ended the statement with another obvious blink.

      “Er... No, it’s just that, uh... What’s your favorite kind of tea?”

      “I like peppermint tea; it’s nice and simple,” Rosi replied. The scowl on Camellia’s face turned into a smile; peppermint was her favorite too, though she wouldn’t call it simple.

      As the yellow Shoyru recalled the many events and potential employees that had transpired throughout her hectic day, she declared, “You’re hired!” before she could change her mind. Out of all the wannabes who had come her way, Camellia had to admit that Rosi seemed likely for the position. There were a few exceptions, but all of the others didn’t seem to know what they were doing or were just in search of a quick dollar or two. And no one who liked peppermint tea could be that bad, right?

      The next day during a lull in the oncoming crowd of customers, Camellia set a pot of tea, peppermint, of course, to boil and retrieved an old marble chess set from the back of the shop, setting it delicately on the counter. Besides tea, chess was the one thing she could not live without, and was the only game she deemed worthwhile to play. If her new employee was to be any help at all, she’d have to learn it, if she didn’t know it already.

      Setting out a plate of scones for Rosi (now bearing a smart name tag and employee badge) and herself, she took a seat, gesturing that the Ogrin do so as well. “So Rosi, I didn’t ask you yesterday. Do you play chess?”

The End

 
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