My Year in Shenkuu: Part Three
Also by heeken
“That extra five thousand Neopoints and the gold trophy should have been MINE!!” yelled Tanny angrily as she punched the pillow, oblivious to all the flinching and wincing. “That stupid Acara took it all from me.”
She paused, catching her breath. Just before it was thought to be safe to breathe again, though, she continued.
“First, she gets all these random people to steal my stuff. And then, they bully me for my lunch money! I bet she already got plenty of money off me! Seriously, if she’s so cool and rich, why would five thousand Neopoints matter so much to her?!”
“Well...” Tanny’s foster sister, Ferrellin the striped Flotsam, tried to cut in.
“Shush, I’m not done yet! And then, she turns all the teachers against me, saying I threw bits of random items at her when if they checked, they would have seen none of my feather prints! But no, everyone believes her because she’s oh-so-cool-and-popular-and-pretty...”
“We...” interrupted a red Pteri by the name of Hokdes, the siblings’ family friend, only to meet the same fate.
“Be quiet! And then she’s dominating over the whole grade, and then she won’t let anyone in our grade at school, even the less popular Neopets, be friends with me! I mean, what have I done wrong? I think my singing is perfectly fine, thank her very much. In fact, she was the mean one. If anyone has the right to, it should be me that gets to be slack.”
Ferrellin and Hokdes looked at each other doubtfully before they turned back to Tanny, who was still ranting. Unexpectedly, she suddenly stopped and screamed. Then, she faced them, staring angrily.
“Well? Aren’t you supposed to say something to comfort me?”
“We were trying—”
“See? You’re not! What kind of friends are you?!”
Ferrellin gave up.
“We were trying to talk to you all throughout your rant! You were the one who didn’t let us talk!”
“I’m not... oh, really? Sorry about that...” The angry expression on Tanny’s face morphed into a confused one. “Oh... you spoke?”
“Yes, and we—”
“But that doesn’t matter, because I’m not done,” continued Tanny. When her companions exchanged annoyed looks, she yelled, “I’m unhappy! You should be here to comfort me!”
Before they had the chance to protest, Tanny fired away again.
Ferrellin and Hokdes waved to Tanny as she finally walked out the door of her old Neohome. Turning once more, she waved back, and swam back up to the surface to return to Shenkuu.
Sighing, Ferrellin closed the door, and flopped back onto a sofa that was conveniently put there, just for the purpose of breaking falls. She sighed in relief.
After a while of silence, the Flotsam’s mind started working again. She turned to stare at Hokdes.
“Don’t you go to school?” asked Ferrellin coldly, eyeing the Pteri suspiciously. Hokdes flinched.
“Well... yeah...” She could tell where this was leading, and it was not good. The fact that her companion was slowly climbing off the sofa and flipping towards her was not a good sign either. Despite being a mere thirteen centimetres, Ferrellin was stronger than her and that was all she needed to know. Instinctively, she moved back.
“Then, why is that annoying thing here...”
Ferrellin tended to dislike her little siblings. After all, her losses to them were countless. It had been a while, but some so-called ‘friendly’ Flotsams, including her, held grudges.
“Because she needed someone to talk to.”
“She can go bother you!”
“She did, just that you got bothered as well!”
“Well, get her to find you some other time! Leave me alone!”
“I spend most of my ‘other time’ here, Neopet,” replied Hokdes indignantly. She had enough of being interrogated by someone a third of her size. However, it was not as if Ferrellin recognised the dangerous tone, nor did she take the hint. She kept advancing.
“TALK TO HER AT SCHOOL!”
“WELL, OUR SCHOOL DOESN’T ENCOURAGE INTERACTION BETWEEN GRADES!”
“THEN TALK TO HER...” Ferrellin trailed off as she just realised what had been said. “Well, um... um... um...” She struggled to find a way to tactfully round off her sentence. Rolling her eyes, Hokdes strolled into the kitchen for some cold water (well, yes, Maraqua’s full of water, but let’s not go into that). They could both do with some.
When they had finally calmed down, Ferrellin looked at the clock. It was rather late already. Hearing her stomach rumble, she scanned the snack shelves for any food, but there was none. That probably meant there was no food in her home.
“Hey, Hokdes?” she began, trying to catch the attention of the Pteri who was staring into space.
“Yeah?” came the mumbled reply.
“I think I ran out of food. We’re having dinner at your place.”
That caught Hokdes’ attention. The red Pteri jumped up immediately.
“WHAT?! You can’t be more sudden about it, can you? We won’t even have enough time to cook!”
Ferrellin was oblivious to her friend’s surprise. “Oh, I just ran out of food. I’m hungry – let’s go.”
I wonder if they actually listened... thought Tanny as she flew back to Shenkuu. However, that did not dim her spirits. A good rant could do wonders... to the one who ranted, anyway. But being the young, naïve little Neopet she was, it was not as if Tanny knew about any troubles apart from her own.
A noise, not unlike the screeching of the blackboard while dragging claws down on it, disturbed the peaceful atmosphere as Tanny picked the concrete areas of her Neohome to land on. Not surprisingly, a similar shriek came from everyone in the neighbourhood who heard it.
Hey, that’s cool! Tanny thought as she stared up to Aceliane’s home. I should do that when she comes back from her Neopia-Wide Singing Contest that I should have gone to!
Just then, out of the corner of her eye, Tanny caught some movement in Aceliane’s home, in where she thought the Acara’s room would be.
That’s great! She’s back already! I can do that sound now!
This time, more prepared, Tanny covered her ears as she landed, but still listening intently for Aceliane’s shriek. It would make her day. However, to her surprise, it was not a high-pitched one as the Pteri had expected, but more a deep one.
As she looked up at Aceliane’s window again, she saw a shadow opening boxes and taking out random things, putting them into a larger bag. And although Tanny was not the fastest thinker in the world, she soon realised what was going on.
But how am I going to get in there?!
Normal people did not really care when their enemies had their homes raided – in fact, they would most probably cheer and celebrate. However, Tanny had always fancied thinking of herself as some type of hero who just happened to burst into enemies’ homes and manage to catch some lawbreakers.
In desperation, the Pteri flew at the window as hard as she could. To her pleasure, it cracked, and she tumbled right through the curtains, into Aceliane’s room. Quickly, she dusted herself and stood up. She gasped.
She was standing in front of a blue Skeith. And she did not like his expression.
This unexpected meeting caused an awkward silence, until the burglar ‘attempted’ to ‘make friends’.
“Err... Hi! The name’s Phil!” he said cheerfully, looking around suspiciously as he did. “I’m... um... sorry about the mess.”
“That’s okay,” replied Tanny awkwardly, noticing the poor state of Aceliane’s bedroom for the first time. She glanced around, which turned out not to be a smart idea.
“Yes... now, if you don’t mind, I’ll be going now. It was nice meeting you!” said Phil quickly. When Tanny turned back, he had already dashed out the door. Without a second thought, she began chasing him.
Aceliane’s home could have been specially designed to make the burglars’ lives hard. Tanny had to weave through a thousand little who-knows-what-they-were objects, although the Skeith had already crushed most of it. The next room was worse – a maze of many different expensive wardrobes. And unfortunately, these were not quite so easy to just sit on and hope they break.
Amazingly, both Phil and Tanny managed to make it out of the room before starving to death. The third room was filled with slippery icy and glassy furniture (the arrangement almost left no floor space), but this time, the Skeith obviously had enough of all the obstacles. With a little difficulty, he slid over to the window, ran at it headfirst and broke it, and jumped out. Surprised, Tanny looked out at him for a moment, not realising that she could have done something much more useful than just standing there looking out the window (looking as if she was enjoying the scenery).
She came back to reality when a shrill scream reached her ears. Turning her head nervously, she came face to face with Aceliane. The Acara had obviously gotten home early.
“Err... Hi!” said Tanny awkwardly, in an attempt to break the silence. It was not the smartest thing to do.
“What do you think you’re doing?!” yelled Aceliane, gesturing wildly around at all the broken furniture. “Knowing you, maybe you would have destroyed my other rooms as well!”
“It wasn’t me! It was a blue Skeith named Phil!”
Aceliane’s eyes widened significantly, and from her expression, it was clear she was trying to register that fact. However, it was not so easy.
A few seconds of uneasy silence passed. Then, suddenly, came Aceliane’s outburst.
“WELL, IDIOT, WHY AREN’T YOU CHASING HIM IF YOU’VE ALREADY STARTED DOING IT?!”
Tanny snapped out of her dazed phase and stood up straight, saluting. Then, before Aceliane had another chance to yell at her, she flew out the window. Behind her, the Acara dashed out the door, and ran in the direction she was flying in. It took a while to find Phil again, but given her height advantage and relatively good hearing, Tanny quickly located him. Not wanting to lose sight of him, she dived down lower. That way, it was also easier for Aceliane to follow.
Behind her, Tanny could hear the Acara puffing, but she did not slow down. The blue Skeith was of more importance. Despite his bulky appearance, Phil’s stamina was more than Tanny had expected, and she chased him across many streets, around many blocks, and in and out of unfortunate shops. Eventually, she flew into an alleyway. Loud breathing told her that Aceliane had caught up.
“Where is he?” she puffed. Tanny looked around, but Phil had miraculously disappeared.
“I saw him turn into here!”
“Well, he isn’t here, is he?!” shouted Aceliane, and despite her puffing, it was still way too loud for Tanny’s liking. However, someone else answered her question.
“Don’t worry, little girl. We are.”
As Aceliane and Tanny turned towards the source of the sound, they saw no less than ten Skeiths of all different colours armed with bin lids as both weapons and shields come out of the shadows to surround them. Things did not look so good.
No, they do not, thought Tanny tiredly as Skeiths leapt from the top of the buildings and threw nets over Aceliane and her. Before anything else happened, they both fell asleep in exhaustion and the constant rocking as they were carried away.
To be continued...