The Kacheek Club: Science Fair Showdown
This story is dedicated to my pets. Hope you guys enjoy reading this! Feedback is appreciated. :)
"Now, as most of you may be aware of, this year's Science Fair is coming up." Mr. Noakes, the science teacher at Neoschool, picked up a small clipboard from his desk. "Prizes will be handed out to each member of the groups that win first, second, and third place. The first place prize will be a ten thousand Neopoints gift card eligible for use at either Uni's Clothing Shop or the Toy Shop, a gold trophy, and the chance to go to the National Science Fair held in Altador; the runner-up prize will be a microscope set and a medal. The third and final prize will be a homework pass for science class. Please be aware that each group will consist of two, and only two, students."
Gwen the Island Kacheek, who had been busy passing notes to her best friend, Bridgette (a Faerie Kacheek), raised her paw. "Ummm, Mr. Noakes? Will we be able to choose our science fair partners?"
"Aaah, I was just getting to that." Clearing his throat, the blue Tonu continued, "Unfortunately, Ms. Gwen, I have taken the pleasure of creating the science fair groups. It's just how the Science Fair rules work."
"Oh." Gwen's face fell.
"However, I bent the rules a bit this year by grouping the students together based on how well they work together in class," Mr. Noakes said, "Now, without further ado, here are the groups..." He glanced down at the clipboard. "Olive and Riyella, Gwen and Xana..."
Gwen quickly turned to her other friend, Xana the Disco Kacheek, and smiled. Xana was the smartest student by far in the entire class, and Gwen had no difficulty whatsoever imagining them holding the first place trophy.
Xana looked up from the book she was reading, excitement flashing behind her green-tinted glasses.
"Bridgette and Sarina, Loretta and Vanella..."
Specks of sadness washed over Gwen. Bridgette had always been her partner for practically everything in Neoschool, from book report partners to gym partners. They even created the Kacheek Club together. The Kacheek Club was a group that consisted of four Kacheeks: Gwen, Bridgette, Xana, and Sarina, to be exact. Bridgette insisted that Gwen should be the leader of the Kacheek Club, and Xana and Sarina agreed. Speaking of Sarina...
Gwen glanced over at the Cloud Kacheek, who had all of her attention on a bug on the windowsill and hadn't even noticed that Mr. Noakes had announced her science fair partner. Sarina was a bubble brain most of the time (thus her owner decided to paint her Cloud); she took advantage of her desk by the windowsill to look at all of the interesting bugs that appeared there during science class. However, she was very fun to have around and was now one of Gwen's friends.
"I have placed a couple of books over on that table that are full of science experiments that you and your partner can do for the Science Fair," Mr. Noakes explained once he was done announcing the groups. "I suggest that each group use the next thirty minutes wisely by searching through the books and deciding on an experiment."
As soon as he was finished, everyone scattered around the room, some trying to get to their partners and others making their way to the table to get their paws on the biggest science experiment book available.
Gwen turned around to talk to Bridgette about how exciting this was going to be, but she only saw an empty desk.
"Let's go over and talk to Bridgette and Sarina." Xana appeared next to her with a science experiment book. Gwen was almost about to ask Xana how she had managed to fight her way through the crowd swarming around the book table, but then she remembered that Xana sat at the desk nearest to the table.
As they got nearer, Gwen and Xana overheard Bridgette's conversation with Sarina. "...Those gift cards are as good as ours. Hmmm, let's see... I might spend my gift card on some Shell Faerie Wings... Well, I suppose they wouldn't be of much use, would they? I mean, seeing that I'm already a Faerie Kacheek and can fly and all..."
"Hey, Bridgette and Sarina," greeted Xana.
"Oh, hey, guys." Bridgette put down her purple glitter pen which she was using to write down experiment ideas into a notebook. "Have you guys decided on an experiment yet?"
"Nope, we-" Gwen began, but she was interrupted by Sarina.
"Hey, how about this experiment, Bridgette? All we have to do is smear different varieties of jam on pieces of toast, then wait a couple of days and find out which one molds the fastest." Sarina pointed her paw to page #12 of their experiment book, which showed different pictures of moldy toast including ones that had Chocolate Chia Jam and Chokato Jam on them.
"Ummm... great idea, Sarina, but I don't think my mom will like it if she finds moldy toast in my room when she comes in to vacuum." Bridgette had a doubtful look on her face.
"Mind if we stay here? Me and Gwen still have to look through our book." Without waiting for Bridgette's answer, Xana took a seat that was directly across from Sarina's desk.
"Your experiment is totally going to be the runner-up one, I just know it." Bridgette smiled encouragingly.
Gwen raised her eyebrow. "Runner-up? And who exactly do you think will win first?"
"Us, of course." Bridgette gestured to Sarina and herself. Noticing the skeptical look on Gwen and Xana's faces, she quickly added, "Well, runner-up isn't exactly that bad. Xana, didn't you always want your own microscope set? And Gwen, didn't you... uhhh..."
"Actually, I was kinda under the impression that my group could win first place." Gwen felt the beginning of a challenge coming on as Bridgette squinted at her.
"Okay... here's my idea. Since I think that my group will win, and since you think that your group will win, then we should make a bet. Whoever's group wins will get one cupcake each day for a week. Therefore, if my group wins first place, then you have to bring me and Sarina one cupcake each for a week, and vice versa if your group wins." Bridgette giggled nervously, then continued, "However, in the very unlikely prospect that none of us win first place, then... well, I'm pretty sure either my group or your group will win, sooo..."
"Deal!" Gwen said, then shook Bridgette's paw to seal the agreement.
Afterwards, it was as if someone had cast a silencing spell on the two groups. Xana had decided to move all the way across the room from Sarina's desk, and for the rest of the thirty minutes, neither group spoke to each other. Every once in a while, one member from the Kacheek Club would look over suspiciously at the opposing team, wondering if they had stolen a glance at their experiment ideas when walking over to get another book from the table (which, of course, was near Xana's desk) or grabbing a tissue from the box (which was right next to Sarina's desk).
"It took us forever, but we finally got it. Phew." Gwen proudly held up the medium-sized vial of glittering Rainbow Fountain water. The water was streaked with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple, not to mention the occasional sparkle that it gave off. She and Xana had immediately journeyed to Faerieland after Neoschool ended, along the way anticipating the fact that now they had all weekend to start on their experiment: finding out how the Rainbow Fountain water had the ability to change a pet's color.
"Yeah, who knew the Rainbow Fountain faerie was so unwilling to share the fountain water?" Xana carefully pulled out her microscope set from her backpack and set it on Gwen's desk. "I mean, all we wanted was two vials. I actually thought we'd be better off with three vials, you know, just in case, but since that faerie told us that we couldn't have any more of the water, then banned us from getting another Rainbow Fountain faerie quest for another five hundred ninety-nine seconds..."
"Well, at least now we might have a head-start on our experiment," Gwen said as she poured the water out of the vial and into a small, shallow container. Now she could examine the water through the microscope easier. "I heard from Olive that Bridgette and Sarina were doing some sort of experiment involving potatoes, and now they have to go all the way to Meridell to ask that Alton guy if they can have some of his potatoes because neither Bridgette nor Sarina had any."
Fifteen minutes later, Gwen was examining the water while Xana paced around impatiently.
"Is it my turn yet?" Xana asked for what seemed like the gazillionth time.
"Just a couple more minutes... wow, this water is amazing!" Gwen turned a dial on the microscope, and her view instantly zoomed in.
"Gwen, you said that ten minutes ago."
"Okay, fine..." Gwen stood up from her chair. There were two circular microscope lines around her eyes where she had pushed her face too close to the microscope, hoping to get an even better view of the sparkling water.
"Finally!" Xana took one step towards the microscope.
"No, no, wait, I think I'll need to observe this water a bit more before writing down some stuff." Gwen sat back down and looked into the microscope.
"Ugh! That's it; I'm going to go downstairs and grab some water." Xana turned on her heel and walked out of the room. She walked down the hallway and past Gwen's little sister's room, which had a piece of paper tacked to the door that read 'Quiet!!! Genius at work!'. "I can't believe she keeps hogging the microscope," muttered Xana, grabbing the first thing filled with water she could see in the kitchen, which turned out to be a vial of water. "At this rate, the Science Fair will be over before I finally get a chance to look at the water." Grumbling, she took a sip of the water. It was actually quite tasty. Xana guessed that it must have been multi-flavored water; first there was a strawberry flavor in her mouth, then an orange burst of flavor, then lemon... Looking down, she gasped. The vial of water was actually the second vial of Rainbow Fountain water!
"OhnothisisbadwhatamIgoingtodoGwen'sgonnacomedownanysecondIcompletelyruinedtheexperiment!" Xana always had a habit of talking fast whenever she was nervous or in trouble.
"Xana, it's your turn for the microscope!" Gwen came skipping into the kitchen, but she stopped dead when her eyes fell onto the empty vial in Xana's paw. "Please, please tell me that isn't our second vial."
"Ummm... it's not our second vial?" Xana said hopefully. Sensing that Gwen was glaring at her, she sighed and said, "Okay, okay, so maybe I accidentally drank our second vial. It was a complete and total accident."
"Accident?! Accident?! Xana, do you realize that without the second vial, we don't have enough water to finish the experiment?" Gwen tried to keep the anger out of her voice, but it was slowly creeping out.
"I know, I know. I'm really sorry," Xana apologized, "But can't we just use the first vial of water over again? Mr. Noakes doesn't need to know that our results are based off of one vial of Rainbow Fountain water instead of two."
"Well, seeing as we have no choice now... fine." Gwen turned around and walked back up to her room.
"What are we doing now?" Xana asked, following Gwen.
"I'm going to pour the remaining water into its vial and keep it safe," Gwen replied, "And you can come over tomorrow to examine it, okay?"
"Okay. Well, see you tomorrow, I suppose." Xana picked up her backpack and, with a small wave, walked out of Gwen's room.
"I told you, we should have bought our potatoes at Merifoods." Bridgette threw the sack filled with three potatoes on the kitchen table. She and Sarina had decided to make a potato clock for their experiment, and Sarina had insisted that they get their experiment potatoes from Alton. However, they hadn't expected that he was in the middle of guiding a Neoschool class around Meri Acres Farm. Thus, they waited outside his Potato Counter stand for a full thirty minutes before he finally showed up.
"Yeah, but Alton's potatoes are the best," Sarina insisted, "I heard it has something to do with the soil he grows them in."
"What do you mean? Alton buys his potatoes from Merifoods!" Bridgette rolled her eyes and tried to control her aggravation. She knew that she had to try and cooperate with Sarina, otherwise their science experiment would be a failure... and she'd have to learn how to bake cupcakes for Gwen and Xana.
"I'm really hungry," complained Sarina. As if on cue, her stomach growled.
"Hey, girls." Bridgette's mom (who was also a Faerie Kacheek) came into the kitchen. She slipped on a pair of oven mitts and peeked in the oven to make sure that dinner wasn't burned.
"Mmmm, that smells really good." Sarina took a sniff of the air around her.
"Why, thank you, Sarina." Bridgette's mom smiled warmly. "Would you like to stay for dinner? I made turkey and corn-on-the-cob."
Sarina nodded eagerly, then went to call her mom to tell her that she would be staying over at Bridgette's for dinner.
"I'll go up and put our backpacks in my room, Sarina." Bridgette grabbed the two backpacks and disappeared out of the kitchen.
"My mom said that she's fine with me staying over for dinner," Sarina said. "By the way, I can make a batch of really tasty mashed potatoes that would go along great with the turkey. Could you make the gravy?"
"It's always nice to have help with dinner, Sarina," Bridgette's mom said, "Feel free to use anything you need to make them."
"Hmmm..." Sarina opened the Purple Kacheek Fridge and looked around for potatoes. "Not here." She spotted the sack of potatoes on the kitchen table and grinned.
"Whatcha making, Sarina?" Bridgette appeared in the kitchen again and watched as Sarina mashed a potato.
"Mashed potatoes. Your mom didn't have any in the fridge, so I decided to take two potatoes out of that sack over there."
"Oh, okay." Bridgette was about to say that she couldn't wait to taste Sarina's mashed potatoes, but she had just realized something... "Wait? The s-sack? Did you say that you got the potatoes out of the sack?"
"Yeah." Sarina looked confused.
"In case you haven't noticed, that sack held our science experiment potatoes!" Bridgette grabbed the sack and shook it for effect.
"Ohhh... this is bad, right?"
"Very." Bridgette sighed.
"Pass the butter."
"Not without the magic word!"
"Ugh... Please pass the butter, Gretta." Gwen rolled her eyes as her little sister, Gretta the Pink Kacheek, passed her the butter dish without looking up from her latest book, History of the Lost Desert. Gretta was unusually intelligent for her age and loved reading books that usually weighed more than she could carry.
"Yay! I finished it!" Gretta closed the book with a loud snap. "All thirty-eight chapters of it!"
"Gwen, dear, you should really start reading more books like your sister," Gwen's mother said, stabbing a piece of salad with her fork. "Gretta managed to read that entire book that Aunt Fawn gave her in only four days."
Gretta smiled proudly.
"I would, Mom, but I'm kinda busy with a science experiment here." Gwen attempted to eat some of her Neggdrop Soup while reading over her notes about the Rainbow Fountain water. After the fiasco earlier, Gwen decided to keep the last vial of water near her at all times, which explained why she had brought the vial down to dinner with her.
"If I were you, I would read that book called The Rainbow Fountain," said Gretta, struggling as she tried to lift History of the Lost Desert onto the dinner table. "I heard it talks about the fountain's magical powers." With a huge thud, the book landed on the table, causing the table legs to shake under the new weight.
Gwen glanced at her vial of water to make sure it was still steady, but it was too late. It was as if it had all happened in slow motion. The vial, which Gwen had placed on the edge of the table near her, toppled slowly and fell to its doom. Gwen tried to catch the vial before it was too late, but she ended up falling sideways out of her chair, her paw lying inches away from where the vial had landed. Gwen watched in horror as the rainbow-streaked water soaked into the creamy white carpet. Bending on her knees, she yelled, "Nooooooooo!"
"Isn't it great that my mom let me sleep over?" Sarina unrolled her pink sleeping bag in Bridgette's room. "Now we have more time to work on the pumpkin clock."
"You mean potato?"
"Ummm... sure, let's call it a 'potato' clock, then. That'll make our clock more different because we're calling it a potato clock in case another group is doing a pumpkin clock." Sarina clearly thought she was onto something.
"Yeeeah..." Bridgette nodded slowly, trying to comprehend what Sarina had just said. "Anyway, let's just get started." Sarina followed her as they made their way to the kitchen.
Two hours later, the girls had all of the wires and switches set up.
"Can we test it out now?" Sarina was bouncing around Bridgette's kitchen in a mixture of excitement and anxiousness.
"Wait, let me check the instructions to see if we put the wires together correctly." Bridgette scanned the paper again. As this was their last potato, she had to make sure that they did everything one hundred percent accurate.
But Sarina didn't hear her. "So, am I supposed to connect this red wire with the blue one...?" Without waiting for Bridgette's response, Sarina attached the wires together.
Bridgette's eyes widened in disbelief. Potato guts and shavings were scattered all over the kitchen, and she and Sarina had potato bits in their fur.
Bridgette blinked. "Like, did you just explode our potato?"
"Sooo... uh, how's your experiment going?" Bridgette asked Gwen and Xana on Monday morning. The rest of the groups were busy working on their experiments; everyone was anxious about the judging of the science experiments tomorrow.
"Our experiment's a complete-" Gwen was cut off by Sarina.
"Me and Bridgette decided to do a pumpkin-"
"Potato, Sarina, it was a potato." Bridgette sighed.
"We decided to do a potato clock, but then I accidentally turned the first two potatoes into a side dish for dinner, and the last potato exploded," Sarina finished, blushing.
"Are you guys kidding?" Xana giggled. "That makes two ruined experiments."
"Xana and I decided to do an experiment involving Rainbow Fountain water," Gwen explained to Bridgette and Sarina, "But Xana accidentally drank the first vial..."
"It was quite delicious," Xana interrupted.
"...And then the last vial toppled over a table and dissolved into the carpet," Gwen finished, "so I guess both of our groups won't be able to win first."
An uncomfortable silence fell over the Kacheek Club. Bridgette finally said, "I'm really sorry for making that bet, guys. I guess I was just so excited at the thought of winning the first place prize that I made myself think that my experiment was destined for first place."
"Apology accepted." Gwen hugged Bridgette.
Sarina cleared her throat and said, "Sooo... um, about that pumpkin clock..."
Gwen, Bridgette, and Xana giggled and exclaimed in unison, "POTATO!"