The Kacheek Club: All Because of a Petpetpet Problem
This story is dedicated to TNT, who are the makers of all of the wonderful Petpetpets out there in Neopia! :)
"Guess what? My mom and dad gave me a Rainblug farm yesterday," Sarina the Cloud Kacheek told her friends as they walked home from Neoschool.
"Eew, aren't Rainblugs some sort of petpet... pet?" asked Bridgette the Faerie Kacheek. She twisted the straps of her Pink Kadoatie Backpack nervously.
"Yep! They're really interesting to watch," continued Sarina. "Rainblugs eat practically anything. I forgot to close the lid of the farm this morning before school, and one of the Rainblugs made it all the way to my backyard. My mom wasn't too happy to see it munching on the tomatoes in her garden."
"My neighbor's Puppyblew had a Mozito in its fur a couple of months ago," Gwen the Island Kacheek said. "My neighbor finally realized her Puppyblew had a petpetpet when she took it for a check-up."
"Petpetpets are supposed to be-" began Xana the Disco Kacheek, but she was interrupted by a sudden cloud of blue mist.
Once the mist settled, the Rainbow Fountain faerie stood before them. Her blond hair with blue streaks shimmered in the afternoon sunlight.
"Oh my goodness, it's the Rainbow Fountain faerie!" Bridgette squealed and started jumping up and down.
"I need you to find me my Jubjub Goggles," the faerie said to Sarina.
"Sarina, do it!" hissed Gwen. "Then she'll let you use her Rainbow Fountain!"
"You should stop by the Defence Magic store and buy a pair!" added Xana.
"Uhhh, no thanks," Sarina said, waving the faerie away. "I don't want to do this quest."
"What?!" Gwen, Bridgette, and Xana shouted in unison.
Sarina tried to walk past the faerie, but the faerie blocked her.
"Excuse me?" The Rainbow Fountain faerie looked at her in disbelief. "Do you know how many Neopians would love to have this quest right now? No one turns down a Rainbow Fountain faerie quest!"
"I think I just did," Sarina pointed out.
"You get weirdos in every bunch," muttered the Rainbow Fountain faerie, glaring at Sarina. "Hmph!" She clapped her hands, then she disappeared the same way she came.
"Why did you do that, Sarina?" Bridgette asked the Cloud Kacheek. "That was a once in a lifetime offer, you know!"
"What are you talking about? I get Water Faerie quests all the time," said Sarina, chuckling.
Xana sighed in exasperation. "That wasn't a Water Faerie quest, Sarina. It was a Rainbow Fountain faerie quest... emphasis on the 'Rainbow Fountain' part."
"Ohhh... well, she looked like a Water Faerie," Sarina replied, shrugging innocently.
"Regular water faeries don't have blue streaks in their hair, and they also don't ask for defence magic items," Gwen told her. "Water faeries usually ask for books, Sarina!"
"Okay, fine. So I rejected a Rainbow Fountain faerie quest," said Sarina, "What's the big deal?"
"The big deal is that tons of pets have only dreamed of getting an RF quest," Bridgette informed her. "Think of it this way. If I completed that Rainbow Fountain faerie quest by giving the faerie a pair of Jubjub Goggles, then I would be able to be a Chocolate Kacheek for a couple thousand Neopoints. Of course, I prefer being a Faerie Kacheek. It'd feel awkward eating a bar of chocolate if you were a Chocolate Kacheek." She unzipped her backpack, pulled out a chocolate bar, and took a bite.
"Seriously, Sarina, you really are a bubble brain at times." Gwen sighed and rolled her eyes.
"I'm a what?" Sarina asked, crossing her arms over her chest.
"A bubble brain," repeated Gwen.
"J-just because I'm not as smart as Xana or as popular as you and Bridgette doesn't mean that I'm dimwitted," said Sarina, tears forming in her eyes. "I was smart enough to pass last year's math final, wasn't I?"
"Sarina, don't take it personally," Xana replied soothingly, "I mean, maybe you are a bubble brain sometimes. But that-"
"What? You think I'm a bubble brain, too?" Sarina choked on her own words. A huge lump formed in her throat. "I guess everyone thinks that my head's full of cheap wool stuffing now, right?" She inhaled sharply, then began walking towards her house.
"Sarina, we totally think you're smart!" Bridgette shouted after her.
"Just leave me alone!" Sarina ran into her Neohome and slammed the front door.
Gwen paced back and forth over the pink shag rug in her room. Earlier that day, she had invited Xana, Bridgette, and Sarina to a Kacheek Club study session after school. Her mom had even set out all of their favorite snacks for the session: a Protein Bar for Gwen, Berry Topped Frozen Yogurt for Bridgette, Healthy Apple Pretzels for Xana, and Chocolate Ixi Ice Cream Sandwiches for Sarina. The only problem was, Sarina hadn't showed up yet.
"I wonder why Sarina hasn't arrived yet," muttered Gwen. She adjusted her primrose flower clip and turned over to Xana and Bridgette. "Do you think that she's still mad about the bubble brain thing?"
Xana cleared her throat and suddenly became absorbed in page thirty-two of her science textbook, while Bridgette lowered her eyes and lifelessly spooned her frozen yoghurt.
"Well?" Gwen raised her eyebrows at them. She tried to ignore the partially-melted Chocolate Ixi Ice Cream Sandwiches, but the emotions were slowly filling up every space in her mind. Had Sarina actually taken her words seriously?
"Um, you see..." Xana adjusted her green tinted glasses.
"She did seem pretty upset when you called her a bubble brain," Bridgette said slowly, "Of course, I didn't think she'd get mad when you called her that. I mean, obviously she's been called a 'bubble brain' before, right?"
"All I know is that I wish I could take all of my words back." Gwen sighed and fiddled with her charm bracelet. Sarina had given it to her for her birthday last year. The bracelet's chain was light blue, and the charms were in the shapes of reflective yellow suns, royal purple stars, and glow-in-the-dark green moons. It was, by far, one of her favorite birthday presents of all time.
After a long pause, Xana spoke up. "Hey, why is there a white wagon in front of Sarina's Neohome?" She, Gwen, and Bridgette ran over to the window and looked at Sarina's home, which was only a few blocks away. Sure enough, a white moving wagon was parked outside of Sarina's house. Two Grarrls were loading Sarina's mom's antique furniture into the wagon.
"Do you think Sarina's actually moving?" Bridgette gulped nervously.
"Well, it looks like those Grarrls are packing furniture into the wagon," Xana pointed out.
"C'mon, let's walk over to Sarina's house and find out," Gwen suggested.
"Um, hello. I know you're probably busy packing furniture and all, but I have to ask you a few questions," Gwen said to a red Grarrl who was carrying a grandfather clock out of Sarina's home.
"Look, whatever you're selling, I don't want it," the red Grarrl said, placing the clock on the ground and wiping the sweat off of his forehead.
"We're not trying to sell cookies, okay?" Xana crossed her arms over her chest and rolled her eyes.
"Fine. Whaddaya want then?" The Grarrl picked up the clock and continued walking over to the wagon.
"Do you know if the owners of this house are moving?" asked Bridgette, trying to keep up with the Grarrl.
"Well, I'm packing their furniture into a moving wagon, aren't I?" the Grarrl said impatiently.
"Do you have any idea where they might be moving to?" Xana asked next.
"No. All I do is pack furniture into the moving wagon. That's it."
"Okay, thanks for your help." Gwen sighed and began walking back to her house.
"So, what do we do now? Sarina's moving, we have no idea where she's moving to, and we may never see her again," Xana said.
"I have an idea," Bridgette offered, "How about we stop by her house in the morning while we're walking to school? Maybe Sarina didn't mean to leave without telling us. She could've left some sort of note or something in her room telling us where she's moving to."
"Okay, let's try it." Gwen nodded.
Gwen, Bridgette, and Xana each held their breath as they opened the oak door. Sarina's living room was bare; the lavender-colored wallpaper and wooden flooring looked oddly strange and unwelcoming without the usual Ultranova Sofa and Blackberry Rug.
Gwen's footsteps echoed throughout the empty Neohome as she led the way upstairs. She noticed that Sarina's Kayla Poster was still taped to the front of her bedroom door as they entered.
"Another empty room," Bridgette exclaimed, "I guess I was wrong. It doesn't look like Sarina hid a note in here."
"Well, I suppose we'd better go to Neoschool now before we're late," Xana said, looking down at her wristwatch.
As the three Kacheeks headed off to school, they talked about how they were going to miss Sarina.
"I'm going to miss having sleepovers at her house," Bridgette said. "She had an endless supply of popcorn and grooming items."
"Totally," Gwen agreed. "I can't believe that I called her a bubble brain. I wasn't expecting that to be the last thing I'd ever say to her."
"We all didn't," Xana replied.
"Hey, guys, wait up!" The sound of Sarina's voice made Gwen, Bridgette, and Xana freeze in their spots.
"Um, did anyone else just hear Sarina?" Bridgette asked slowly.
"I-" began Xana, but she was interrupted by a certain Cloud Kacheek.
"Didn't you guys hear me calling?" Sarina asked them. She was immediately bombarded with hugs from her friends.
"I don't get it. We saw those Grarrls pack all of your furniture into a moving wagon. What happened?" asked Gwen.
"Yeah, we all thought that you moved somewhere else," Bridgette added.
"Well, I'll start at the beginning," said Sarina, "Okay, so it turns out that after my mom found a Rainblug in her garden, she told me to put it back into the petpetpet farm. I guess when I slipped the Rainblug inside with all of the other petpetpets, then I forgot to close the lid... again." She giggled, then continued, "When I got home from school, my mom and dad told me that all thirty of my Rainblugs had escaped out of the farm. Apparently, they were roaming around the house. My dad called the Buzz-A-Way Insect Removal to take care of the Rainblugs. However, it turns out that the fumes they were going to spray to get rid of the petpetpets would be really hard to get out of pieces of furniture like couches. So my mom decided to move all of our furniture out of the house, and we're temporarily storing them at my Aunt Maria's house."
"But the red Grarrl we asked said that your family was moving," said Xana, "Well, he didn't actually say it out loud, but it was assumed that he said you were moving."
"Well, can you really trust a moving person over your friend?" asked Sarina.
"But if you can't stay in your Neohome for right now, then where are you staying?" asked Bridgette.
"My dad booked us into The Royal Neopian," explained Sarina. "Do you know how long it takes to walk from the hotel over to Gwen's house? I stopped by her house to walk with you guys to school, but Gwen's mom told me that you guys had already left."
"Well, all of this doesn't matter right now. What does matter is that I'm sorry that I called you a bubble brain," Gwen apologized. "I really didn't mean to call you that. I hope you'll forgive me."
"Apology accepted!" Sarina smiled at Gwen.
"Um, Sarina?" Xana looked at the Cloud Kacheek skeptically. "I hope you know that you've got a Rainblug on your backpack." She pointed to the striped petpetpet which was making its way to the top of the left ear of Sarina's Angelpuss Backpack.
"Wait, did you remember to close the lid of your petpetpet farm this morning before leaving?" Gwen asked her.
Bridgette locked eyes with the Rainblug and shrieked.
"Huh?" Sarina slid the Angelpuss Backpack off her shoulders and spotted the Rainblug. She groaned. "Oh no, not again!"