I Wasn't Spying
Tsukushei sat on the edge of the dock, her paws dangling in the water. It was a warm fall day, and there was nothing to do. The brown Lupe watched curiously as the glass-bottom boat stopped somewhere out in the middle of the lake. Many Kiko Lake visitors eagerly grabbed their cameras and started snapping pictures of the underwater world.
Shei sighed and stood up. It wasn’t very fun watching excited tourists all the way out on the lake. She made her way slowly to the treat shop, not quite wanting to walk home yet. The familiar purple Kiko shopkeeper greeted her with a smile.
Shei smiled back and browsed through the empty shop. Everyone must be out on the lake, she figured, since they certainly weren’t here. She picked up a green rock stick, debating whether she wanted the candy or a Kiko fudge sundae.
The sundae was much more expensive, but Shei decided it was worth it. She paid for the cold snack and took it outside, enjoying it thoroughly. By the time she reached her family’s small Neohome, only the rainbow-colored bowl was left. She took it to the sink and rinsed out the ice cream drops.
That’s when her sister, Alyett, a yellow Eyrie, walked in. “You got a sundae?” she asked in disbelief. “Did you get me one?”
“No,” Shei answered. “I didn’t know you wanted one.” She licked her lips. The faint taste of chocolate fudge was still there.
“You didn’t ask.” Alyett gave Shei a hard look, clamping her jaws together and putting her paws on her hips, pulling in her wings tightly.
“You weren’t there, Alyett,” Shei sighed, rolling her eyes. “You didn’t want to come out to the dock with me. Besides, even if I had brought you back one, it would have melted by the time I got home.”
Alyett let out a huff. “Fine, then! I’m leaving for Neopia Central soon, anyways, to meet with my friends.” She inspected her talons, as if making sure they didn’t have dirt under them. “Chez wants to tell me about her trip to Tyrannia. She even learned the language.” Chezzanne, a blue Uni, was one of Alyett’s best friends. She lived in Faerieland, but came down often.
“You’re going to Neopia Central?” Shei asked in surprise. Her startled response dwindled after a half a second. “Have fun. Get me a new book if there are any nice ones. I’ll pay you back.”
Alyett frowned. “Whatever. I’m leaving now. Tell Kela, okay?”
Shei nodded. “Sure.” Majikel, also known as “Kela” to her pets and friends, was their owner. “Where is she right now, anyways?”
“I think she’s over at Pixie’s. So she’ll already know, then, probably. I’m sure Chez will tell her.” Pixie_29 was Chezzanne’s owner, and also one of Kela’s best friends. “In that case, I’ll see you later.”
Alyett left, and Shei went in search of her petpet, Moo. Moo was a grumpy little Blurtah, but Shei loved him a lot. The little creature was sleeping underneath Kela’s writing desk, on his pillow. I’ll let him rest, Shei decided. What else was there to do on an autumn day?
She could always walk to Brightvale, and spin the Wheel of Knowledge. It was an expensive wheel, though, and the walk was long. Shei had never walked by herself the whole way there before. Well, there was always Neopia Central and its shops.
* * *
Shei walked out the book shop, pleased with her purchases. Loyal Lupes, My Garden Book, Usuki Collector’s Guide (she wasn’t a collector, but she still liked Usukis), and Gelert on Treasure Island were all tucked neatly into her shopping bag. She couldn’t wait to get back home and start reading them.
But she wasn’t ready to go home just yet. Why waste this beautiful day indoors? Her stomach started grumbling, so Shei headed for the health food store. Inside, she bought a sprout wrap. It didn’t hurt to try new things... did it?
It wasn’t very good. Since she spent the money on it, Shei finished it all, but didn’t enjoy it, like the ice cream she had earlier. On her way out of the asparagus-shaped shop, she spotted Alyett, Chez, and a few of their other friends.
Quickly, Shei ducked back into the store and watched from out the window. Then she stopped. What was she doing? Spying wasn’t a “Shei-type” thing. With nothing else to do, though, why not?
After a few minutes of watching the group, who was at the chocolate factory, the shopkeeper’s voice bellowed from the counter. “Hey, Lupe!” the green Quiggle yelped. “Are you going to buy something or just stand there? I don’t permit loitering.”
With a frown, Shei snatched up a bottle of Vitamin A tablets and slapped them onto the counter. “This, please,” she said, forcing a fake smile. When he finished, she managed a “thank you,” and quickly left. He was grumpier than Moo!
Alyett and Chez’s friends had moved on into the grooming parlor. Shei followed them, hiding from their sight behind some shelves full of shampoo. She could hear them talking. One voice was particularly loud, and Shei recognized it as Tabytha, a yellow Usul.
“So, this morning, I like woke up super late,” Tabytha was saying. “My owner was like, so incredibly mad, I couldn’t even believe it! So I missed breakfast and stuff, and I was like, seriously, totally starving until we went to the chocolate factory.”
“Speaking of chocolate,” Alyett said slowly, “Shei went out and got a fudge sundae without me earlier. Isn’t that awful? I was so upset!”
“No!” a few of the girls gasped. “That’s horrible!”
Shei stood there, behind a shelf, with her jaw dropped open. How could her own sister talk like that behind her back? And make it sound so cruel when she told it to her friends!?
With jerky movements, Shei started shopping for items she wanted, making sure to stay out of the group’s sight. She found a case of new strawberry lip gloss, peppermint toothpaste, midnight-colored Eyeshadow, and herbal shampoo.
The group was still chatting, but this time by the register. Shei had to wait until they moved so she could buy her items. “Oh, look,” Alyett said. “They restocked in hypoallergenic lip gloss. I need some of that.”
“Hypo-what?” Tabytha asked, staring at the Eyrie in amazement.
“Hypoallergenic lip gloss,” Chez repeated for her, saying each syllable slowly as all her friends listened carefully. “It’s actually fruit flavored, but it’s for pets that have allergic reactions to normal lip gloss.”
“Cool!” Marina, a starry Scorchio exclaimed. “That sounds perfect for me. I think I’ll get a container and try it out.”
Alyett smiled at her, Shei noticed, and realized that her sister probably felt embarrassed about being allergic to normal lip gloss.
“Let’s all get some,” Chez suggested, coming to Alyett’s rescue. “It’s really good for you, I’ve heard.” They all purchased one and left the shop, laughing about some weird joke Tabytha told.
Shei bought her items in a hurry, eager to get outside and follow them. Through the big glass doors, she watched as they entered Fresh Smoothies. A smoothie sounds pretty good right now, actually, she thought, her mouth watering just at the thought of a sour lemon grape smoothie.
The foursome group of friends had left the shop and gone into Uni’s Clothing by the time Shei reached the area. She watched through the windows, seated in a comfortable chair, slurping down a large lemon blitz.
That’s when Shei noticed how uneventful spying on her sister and friends was. Sure, she’d been able to listen in on their conversations, but other than that, it hadn’t been fun at all.
“I’ll just go in and say hi,” Shei told herself, throwing the empty smoothie cup away. “It’ll be as if I just randomly found them, and wasn’t spying at all.” Have you ever tried convincing yourself of something you knew wasn’t true? Well, it’s quite hard.
* * *
Alyett sat in a chair, watching her friends try things on. When were they going to go to the plushie shop? She wanted to get a new Eyrie plushie.
“Hey, Al,” Chez called, “do you think this looks good on me?” She stepped out of the dressing room to reveal a beautiful jeweled collar fastened around her Uni neck.
It was dark blue satin with shiny bright jewels around the edges. “Oh, Chez!” Alyett gasped. “It looks fantastic on you!”
Chez blushed. “Thanks,” she mumbled, looking at herself in the mirror. Just then, a nimble red Xweetok walked out of one of the other dressing rooms, wearing a purple hat that looked pretty on her.
“Oh, sorry,” the Xweetok said to Chez. “I didn’t see you at first. I was going to use the mirror.”
“Go ahead,” Chez said. “I was just looking at this collar. I think I’ll get it, Al. let me go take it off.” She turned and went back into her dressing room.
The Xweetok studied her appearance in the mirror, and then seemed to notice Alyett for the first time, looking slightly surprised. “My name’s Candia,” she introduced herself.
“Alyett.” The yellow Eyrie scrutinized this “Candia.” There was something odd, something Alyett didn’t like about this Xweetok.
“Are you going to buy anything?” Candia asked, glancing at her grooming parlor shopping bag.
“N-no,” Alyett stuttered under Candia’s hard gaze. “I mean, there’s nothing I want here. I’m just waiting for my friends.”
“Hey Al!” Tabytha called from behind a curtain. “Do you think I should get this bow?” The Usul came out and modeled the blue-and-yellow polka dot bow for her friend. “It feels like it’s slipping off.”
“It looks fine,” Alyett was about to say, but Candia stepped in.
“Here, I’ll fix it,” she offered, adjusting the bow. “There. It looks great on you. My name’s Candia, by the way. I just met your Eyrie friend here. She seems a bit shy.”
Tabytha glanced at Alyett, giving her a raised eyebrow. She wasn’t normally shy. “I’m Tabytha,” she said to the Xweetok.
Chez came back out. “I don’t think I’m going to get it,” she told them. “It’s kind of a lot of money.”
“I’ll buy it for you,” Candia said, without flinching, hesitating, or anything. Tabytha, Chez, and Alyett all stared at her with wide eyes. Was this girl for real?
“Are you sure?” Chez asked nervously. “I mean – you don’t have to.”
“It’s fine, really.” Candia flashed the Uni a smile. “Let me just get my stuff together, and we’ll go.” She raced back into the dressing room and came out with a purse. “Here, I’ll take your collar. Meet me just outside, okay?”
The girls found Marina and did as Candia asked. She came out a few minutes later, looking overly cautious. And she freaked when a voice behind her said, “Oh, hey, guys!”
Candia swirled around angrily to face the voice holder. It was Shei, Alyett’s sister. “What do want?” Candia snapped. “Don’t come up behind people like that!”
Shei was startled. “Sorry,” she mumbled.
That’s when the shopkeeper came out, pointing her hoof at the group of girls. “It was THEM!” she shouted.
* * *
“I can’t believe this happened,” Alyett confessed to her owner, once back at home. “But I knew there was something strange about that girl Candia. And thanks, Shei, for standing up for me.”
Shei smiled and gave her sister a hug. “No problem, little sister. I’m glad I was there.” Maybe it was a good thing I went spying after all. My little sister needed help, and I was there to give it to her. She felt like a true hero.
“So,” Majikel said, “tell me what happened. I’m kind of lost here.”
Alyett told about how they were in Uni’s Clothing, and the Xweetok, Candia, immediately sucked up to them and tried to be friends. “She offered to pay for Chez’s collar,” Alyett said solemnly, “but apparently she didn’t intend to ‘pay’ at all.” Candia had walked out of the store with the collar and a hat carefully hidden inside her large purse. The shopkeeper had noticed the items gone missing, and when Candia was subjected of stealing, she accused Alyett of stuffing the things into her purse. Luckily, Shei had been there to stand up for her sister and prove the truth.
“I know now that I have to be careful who I call my friends,” Alyett said when her owner asked her what she’d learned.
“Good job. Both of you. I’m proud of you guys.” Majikel pulled her pets into a tight hug, and Alyett said to her sister, “Funny thing how you just happened to show up at the right time.”
Shei turned bright red. “Er... yeah. Funny thing.” She let out a nervous laugh, and said, “Say, how about we all go down to the dock and get some ice cream sundaes? My treat.”