The Kacheek Club: Day of Giving Edition - Part One
Dear Gwen, Bridgette, Xana, and Sarina,
I am sure that you four will be more than pleased to find that I have placed all of you into the same group for the 'Happy Holidays' project at Neoschool. As you probably know, Happy Holidays is a seasonal project that I always assign near the Day of Giving; this project will also count for most of your Neopian History grade for this semester. Each group will have a different Happy Holidays area that they will be working at. But enough about that; here is your project.
Your group will be helping out the Soup Faerie at the Soup Kitchen for three days. She will assign each of you a different job at the Soup Kitchen, and you will be graded on your progress during this time.
Remember, the whole idea behind Happy Holidays is to give back to the Neopian community. Neopia has prospered and grown due to the various acts of kindness that Neopians give out around the Day of Giving. The best gift we can give near the Day of Giving is a helping hand.
Your Neopian History teacher,
Gwen the Island Kacheek sighed and stuffed the note into the pocket of her bubblegum pink parka. It wasn't as if she didn't want to spend the next three days of her life at the Soup Kitchen. After all, the whole 'stretching out a helping hand' idea was always popular near the Day of Giving. But still, the closest thing to pure work Gwen had ever performed was homework, and she was nervous about working at the Soup Kitchen. "At least my best friends are going to be working with me," Gwen thought to herself.
"Is anyone, uh, kinda nervous about the Happy Holidays project?" Bridgette the Faerie Kacheek asked. A puff of hot air flew out of her mouth and met the chilly, winter air of Neopia Central. She shivered in her furry lavender coat and continued, "I mean, I've never actually served soup or helped poor pets before."
"Actually, I'm pretty excited. This is our chance to give back to the community," said Xana the Disco Kacheek excitedly.
"I'm up for it... as long we get free lunches." Sarina the Cloud Kacheek pulled a Bar of Chocolate out of the side pocket of her Taelia Style Coat and took a generous bite. "Mmmm, this chocolate is deee-lish. Who could ever dislike chocolate?"
"Um, I guess lactose-intolerant Neopians wouldn't like it very much," Xana replied.
"So? The Chocolate Factory sells sugar-free chocolate." Sarina shrugged and continued walking down the sidewalk.
"She does know that lactose-intolerant means that you can't eat anything with milk in it, right?" Xana asked Gwen and Bridgette.
Gwen and Bridgette shrugged.
"Uh, hello? Are you guys coming or what?" Sarina was standing a few blocks away from them.
"Coming, coming," Xana muttered, adjusting the Rainbow Kacheek Scarf around her neck. It matched perfectly with her Rainbow Kacheek Backpack, which was sitting in her bedroom right at this moment.
The Kacheek Club continued walking in silence until they came to the Soup Kitchen. The kitchen was the only building shaped like a large soup cauldron. Tantalizing smells of soup wafted out from the open window, and the Kacheek Club could hear the chatter of some of the pets as they waited in line for their soup.
"Let's go!" Gwen put on one of her encouraging smiles, then pushed open the wooden door.
She was immediately engulfed by the smell of Turnip Broth, which was written on the Soup of the Day chalkboard in the back of the room. Tons of pets jostled her around as they tried to get in line for a bowl of soup. The Soup Faerie was in the middle of the commotion. She was stirring the giant soup cauldron with a wooden spoon in her right hand while balancing a recipe book in her left.
"This is... welcoming," Bridgette muttered as a Starry Skeith pushed her into a rack full of wooden spoons in order to get a second helping of Turnip Broth.
"Oh, great, you guys came!" The Soup Faerie placed her wooden spoon down and walked over to the Kacheek Club, despite the protests of the pets waiting in line.
"Hey, we were in line first!"
"They don't even look hungry!"
"That's for sure, that Cloud Kacheek over there has a chocolate bar in her paw!"
"Um, hi. My name's Gwen, this is Br-" Gwen began, but the Soup Faerie interrupted her.
"I already know who you guys are. Mrs. Green, your Neopian History teacher, sent me a neomail about the Happy Holidays project." The Soup Faerie opened a wooden trunk in the corner of the room and pulled out four pastel blue aprons. "You can hang your coats on the coat rack over there," she explained as she handed each member of the Kacheek Club an apron.
"This is sooo cool," breathed Xana as she tied her apron.
"More like creepy," muttered Bridgette. Having never worn an apron before, she was having a bit of trouble tying on her apron.
"Here ya go." The Soup Faerie handed out four white hairnets.
"Are you serious?" Gwen's eyes were as wide as saucers as she slowly accepted the hairnet.
"Very," replied the Soup Faerie, "Nothing is as gross as having fur in your soup."
"Wait, but you aren't wearing a hairnet," Xana pointed out.
"And mess up this hairdo? Puh-lease." The Soup Faerie scoffed and delicately finger-combed her brunette hair.
Bridgette scowled and put on the hairnet. "Listen, can you assign our jobs now? The sooner I get out of this place, the better."
"Speaking of jobs, Bridgette, you'll need these for your job," the Soup Faerie told her, swinging a pair of gloves in front of Bridgette's face.
Bridgette shuddered in disgust as she slid on the pair of yellow rubber gloves.
"Jobs, please?" Gwen said impatiently. She sighed as some of the pets in the soup line giggled at the Kacheek Club's new clothing.
"Right!" The Soup Faerie snapped her fingers, and a clipboard appeared in front of her. "Let's see... Sarina, you'll be making the soup."
"Yippee!" Sarina quietly cheered for herself.
"Gwen, you'll be serving the soup to the pets."
"Guh-reat," Gwen groaned.
"You'll wash the bowls and spoons, Bridgette," the Soup Faerie told the Faerie Kacheek.
"What? I object!" Bridgette exclaimed.
"Overruled! I'll just tell Mrs. Green that you don't want to be a part of the Happy Holidays project," the Soup Faerie said. She pretended to scribble a note in the margin of the paper on the clipboard.
"Sorry," Bridgette mumbled.
"Okay, then. Get to work, everybody!" The Soup Faerie watched as Gwen, Bridgette, and Sarina hurried to their places.
"Wait a minute, what's my job?" Xana crossed her arms over her chest.
"Right, right, there were four of them," the Soup Faerie muttered more to herself than to Xana. She glanced at the clipboard, then cleared her throat and said, "You have the most important job, Xana."
"Really? I do?" Xana bounced on her toes in excitement. "Let me guess - I get to order more soup ingredients for the soup, right? I'm really good with mathematics, so I can add those ingredient prices easily."
"That's great, but I kind of had something different in mind." The Soup Faerie led Xana to the back of the room, where a Jhuidah Table and a Jhuidah Chair stood next to the Soup of the Day chalkboard. Piles and piles of colorful envelopes were scattered all over the table.
"What does this have to do with my job?" Xana asked skeptically. Her eyes wandered over to an Air Faerie Pen that was laying next to an unfinished neomail.
"You see, tons of pets from all over Neopia send me letters each day," explained the Soup Faerie. To make her point, she picked up a magenta-colored letter from the pile and said, "See? This one's from Portia the Spotted Kau. She sends me, like, a dozen letters each week. Anyway, I'm pretty busy with running the Soup Kitchen everyday and whatnot, so I usually get backtracked on replying to all of these letters."
Xana sighed. "Let me guess - I'm going to be replying to these letters?"
"Bingo, we have a winner! You're sharper than you look." The Soup Faerie smiled and tossed Portia's letter back into the pile. "Good luck!"
Xana scowled as the Soup Faerie walked away. "Happy Holidays project? More like Horrible Holidays project," she thought.
Sarina carefully flipped through the pages of Soup Faerie Recipes. "I hope I got the recipe right," she muttered to herself. Whisking her wooden spoon out like a sword, she dipped it in the cauldron and took a sip. "Eeew, needs salt." After tossing some salt into the mixture, she tasted it again. "Hmmm... this Turnip Broth is missing something," Sarina muttered quietly, tapping her chin thoughtfully. After a moment, her eyes lit up. "I've got it!"
Gwen snaked through the numerous wooden tables and chairs, all the while trying not to drop the bowl of steaming Turnip Broth in her paws. "Here ya go," Gwen said, carefully placing the white-and-red bowl in front of a snobby-looking green Usul.
Without a single thank-you, the Usul picked up her spoon and cautiously tried some of the soup. "Ugh, this is absolutely, positively horrible!" The Usul made a face and forcefully pushed the bowl away from her.
"Um, excuse me?" Gwen adjusted her hairnet and raised her eyebrows at the Usul. "My friend Sarina made this soup, and I can assure you that she used the same recipe book that the Soup Faerie uses in order to make this Turnip Broth."
"Oh yeah? Then why's there a radish floating in it?" The Usul pulled a soup-covered radish out of the bowl and glared at Gwen angrily.
"H-haven't you heard? Radishes are the new turnips!" Gwen smiled weakly.
"Hmph!" The Usul threw the radish onto the table with a soggy splat and stomped out of the Soup Kitchen.
"I take it that you aren't a regular subscriber to Neopia Weekly!" Gwen called after her. "There was a whole article in issue fifteen about the radish-turnip thing!" She sighed and turned around to see the Soup Faerie.
"Gwen, what is our motto here at the Soup Kitchen?"
"Second helpings of soup are our specialty," Gwen recited.
"Oh, sorry. I mean, what's our second motto?"
Gwen rolled her eyes. "The customers are always right."
"Correct. Now, do you think that there was a better way you could have dealt with the Usul?" The Soup Faerie tapped her wooden spoon against her hand while she waited for Gwen to answer.
Gwen felt like she was a special guest on the Neovision show which her mom always watched at home, which was about a middle-aged green Elephante who helped solve Neopians' problems. "At least there's only two more days of working here," she muttered under her breath.
To be continued...
Happy Holidays! All feedback is appreciated and replied to.