Overworked and Underpaid
"Phew!" sighed Mori_Kumo, the blue Gelert. "I'm done." It wasn't that she didn't like cleaning and cooking. Moriko loved making the house sparkling clean, but with this lot, it was a bit much.
She put up the broom and apron she had been using where they belonged, and pushed open the kitchen door, just to walk into a Common Room that looked like a tornado had hit it.
Asteroid26 the yellow Ogrin had been chasing down Sol, the malignant little Faellie that belonged to her sister, AKoumori. AKou loved that little guy, but he was such a handful that the whole family pitched in to help take care of him.
Asteroid finally closed his paws around Sol. Sol squirmed and growled, but Asteroid didn't let go of him until he was shut up in the petpet room.
"Hey, Moriko! You can clean this up, right?" Asteroid inquired delicately. "Fire's got a new game, and he said I could drop by."
"Yeah, sure..." she said helplessly.
"Okay, thanks, Moriko!" he called as he raced out the door. She sighed as she set to work on the monotonous task.
The next day, the neopet family's owner, Saru, came home.
"Hey, everyone! I brought home some slushies!" she shouted.
"Yaaay!" they exclaimed, and they all came and got their favorite flavor. Saru did this from time to time, but didn't do it very often.
"Jotaro, Asteroid, Reis, Gorga, AKou, Ardie, Jeri, Moriko..." she counted off all her pets. "Where is Moriko?" Saru searched the house until she came to the Common Room, where she found Moriko sleeping on the couch, still in her apron with a mop on the floor.
"Moriko!" Saru shook her. "What's wrong? It's 3:31 p.m. What are you doing asleep?"
She awoke groggily, then sat up with a start. "What time is it? Oh, I'm so sorry! I didn't finish this room!" She picked up the mop with all intentions of getting to business, but Saru took the mop away.
"Mori, I think you've been working too hard." Saru sat next to her, forgetting all about the slushie. "You need a vacation bad."
That Saturday, the neopet family helped Moriko with her bags and sent her away. There had been some debating about where she would go for her vacation.
"You could take her to a yooyuball game," Jotaro03 suggested.
"Yeah!" agreed Asteroid, looking at the blue Shoyru, or you can let her play some arcade games!"
"No way! I bet she'd love to participate in a Beauty Contest," interrupted Gorga478, the Striped Kougra. "Of course, she won't be as good as me..."
" I think she'd rather go on a nice, quiet tour of Kiko Lake," Jericho_25 the purple Zafara contradicted the egotistical Kougra.
"Take her to a concert," AKou threw in.
"How about the Roo Island Merry-Go-Round?" said Arden_Varkk, making sure the red Korbat was done.
"No! She should go to the Secret Lab Ray!" Reis_6EQ laughed maniacally.
"Reis," said Saru sardonically, "we don't have access to the Secret Lab."
"We can use my --"
"No," Saru cut off the maniacal genius that was her only red Aisha.
"Aw!" Reis whined.
"Umm..." Moriko started, "how about Mystery Island?"
"Mystery Island?" everyone chimed in curiously.
"Well, yes. They have a beach, strange fruit, a volcano, and water-dwelling petpets."
"Oh, yeah, petpets." They all nodded, having known Moriko long enough to know what her greatest interest was.
"Are you sure you guys will be okay while I'm gone?" Moriko asked unsurely as they packed her things.
"Well, sure, Moriko, we're not helpless," Asteroid scoffed.
"We'll be fine," Saru told her encouragingly. "We'll all pitch in."
So it was decided that Moriko would vacation at Mystery Island for three days.
It was the first day of Moriko's absence. Today was Asteroid's turn to tend to the petpets. He was bringing Delly her food. He climbed a ladder up to the top of the large water tank his sister's Delphin was situated in. He dropped in the food.
"Here's your food, Delly," he told her and she rewarded him by giving him a whopping shower of water through her blowhole.
"Stupid, girly fish!" Asteroid yelled at Delly. The former Wocky hated to get wet.
"It's not a fish, Asteroid," Gorga's voice came from behind him.
"What are you doing here?" yelled Asteroid, slightly off-key. His temper was always short when he was soaked to the bone.
"I'm making sure you aren't killing my petpet," she replied calmly, "and you're giving her the wrong food. She needs diet frozen shrimp. I don't want her to get fat as you."
"I am NOT FAT!" he screamed, and pounced on her.
They went rolling through the house, knocking down everything in their path.
"Hey," she Kougra-growled at him, now enraged, "you're making a mess... of the floor and my hair!"
"That's ENOUGH!" Saru yelled, busting through the front door. She glared at her first two neopets. "Now, clean up this mess!"
Everyone was eating dinner by the time Asteroid and Gorga were done. Arden_Varkk was staring at Asteroid and Gorga, whose hair was all disheveled. Gorga gave Ardie the evilest glare, making the fearful green Bori almost swallow his fork as he ducked his head under the table. Asteroid and Gorga sat down.
"Toast? We're having toast?" Asteroid grumbled.
"Well, today was my turn to cook, and toast is the only thing I know how to make." Ardie chuckled nervously. They all grudgingly finished their dinner and shortly after, went to bed.
The next day, after Jotaro had fed the other petpets, he was playing with Kiatsu, his Dandan, in the Play Room.
"Catch it, Kiatsu!" Jotaro laughed, throwing a tennis ball. It landed, wedged between two books on a bookshelf.
"Can you get up there, Kiatsu?"
Kiatsu grinned as if answering to the challenge. He jumped and latched his claws on the window curtains. He climbed up, tearing the curtains on the way, and leapt up to the bookshelf. It stayed strong for a minute, and then crumbled under his weight. Kiatsu squealed as he fell to the ground.
"Are you okay, Kiatsu?" Jotaro said in concerned voice.
"Ow," Kiatsu said in the form of a low squeak.
Just then, Reis burst in the room. "Uh-oh. I see a mess!" she said playfully. She had a large ray gun in her arms, probably that she had made herself in her "secret" lab. She shot the pile of books, and it disintegrated into nothing more than a pile of soot.
Oh, yeah, thought Jotaro, it's Reis' turn to clean today.
"Um, Reis..." Jotaro said. "Is that an actual cleaning supply?"
"Yup! It's my Biodegradizer 4000! I'm lucky I was able to get it done before my cleaning day." she said.
"Reis, what else did you 'clean'?" he asked her. Then, he stepped out and saw that all the rooms had something that had been "cleaned" by Reis.
"Oh. Hey, Jotaro, have you seen my CD player?" AKou asked him.
"Who took my clip?!" Gorga yelled through the house.
"Oh, no," Jotaro said, looking at the missing couch in the Common Room that seemed to be replaced by a pile of soot.
"Hey, everyone! Dinner's ready!" called out Jeri. They all accumulated in the Dining Room.
"Ugh! What is this stuff?" Asteroid groaned.
"It's leek soup, and garlic toast with seasoned tomato paste spread," Jeri listed to them, feeling like a chef.
"Well, it looks disgusting," Asteroid snapped at him.
"Well," Jeri huffed, "if you don't like it, make your own darn dinner!"
"At least it's not toast." AKou snickered, glancing at Ardie. Besides, it looks good, she thought.
It was the third day. Moriko's coming back this afternoon, thought AKou, listening to a Twisted Roses CD, while vacuuming the Den. I love this song.
"Aaaaaarggh!" AKou heard a scream that made her jump in her skin, but after a couple of seconds, she could tell that the scream was Jeri's voice.
"Oh. No big." She smiled and went back to vacuuming. It was only a matter of a few moments, though, before she found out what the scream was for.
"AKou, don't move!" shouted Asteroid from behind her, but she didn't hear, because she was wearing headphones, and the vacuum was set to high.
"AKou," he tried again, louder. "The petpets escaped and trapped Jeri in one of their rooms!" Luckily, she had just finished vacuuming and now that the vacuum was turned off, she could hear Asteroid over her music.
"AKou, it's Diablo! Watch out!" he warned her one more time. She turned quickly to see the unpredictable Darigan Quetzal strike at her. She screamed and flew up faster than she ever had in her life. Diablo missed her by an inch, and instead, hit the vacuum cleaner, which burst its contents all over the previously clean room.
Meanwhile, Jotaro was preparing lunch, as it was his turn to do so.
"I know how to make a nasty ramen!" he told Gorga478, who was in the kitchen with him.
"If its nasty, I don't want it!" Gorga was looking at him like he was crazy.
"What I meant by nasty, was that it's delicious," Jotaro explained to her, and then started whistling as he proceeded to make the ramen.
"Say what you mean next time," she growled at him. He turned on the stove to boil water. He was placing the pot when Gorga said, "Jotaro! The stove is on fire!"
"Wha?!" He looked in front of him alarmingly. Then, he pushed Gorga out the door, accelerating with his wings, just in time to get out of the exploding kitchen, and part of the rooms connecting it.
Saru had just come in then. "Nooooo! What happened to my kitchen!?" she wailed. Jotaro chuckled nervously.
"What happened?!" called a distant voice.
"Oh, nothing!" Saru raced out to Moriko, whom Saru had just brought home. "You know what?" She smiled to Moriko. "Let's not go in the kitchen, for today. I'll just buy takeout until the kitchen is built again - I mean, my treat!" She grinned at Moriko.
"Okay." She was looking at Saru strangely.
"Oh, yeah, and you should probably get Jeri out of Delly and Sol's room, too."
"So Moriko, how did you like your trip?" Saru asked her. All the pets were seated in the Common Room.
"Well, the beach was a little crowded, the tour guide left me in the jungle, I got hit on the head with twenty volleyballs, and the volcano erupted while I was on that mini-island..." Everyone leaned closer. "But the Rock Pool was amazing. It was like a normal petpet store, but they weren't even in cages! It was like they were being sold right from their natural habitat! An open environment! I had lots of fun playing with them, and I think I would like to go again someday, I mean, if it's okay with you guys..."
Everyone looked at each other and groaned.