So Not Fair!: Part Two
“Where have you been?” Amiyael, a red Uni, asked when her adopted brown Xweetok sister walked up to the bench near the Money Tree.
Thankfully, Mintyne was carrying a checkered umbrella in her arms. She looked exhausted, and she hardly had the strength to put up the umbrella.
Ami quickly helped her set it up, repeating her question and adding, “You were gone for almost an hour, Minty. I was so worried!” Ami had finished her lunch over twenty minutes before.
Minty kept it cool. “I found a place that sold umbrellas – the gardening supplies shop – but I had to wait until some came in stock, unless I wanted a straw one, which wouldn’t have worked very well. When the umbrellas finally did come in stock, it was a race for who could purchase one first, and they had limited supplies. I had a smoothie while I waited, but now I’m too tired to do anything.”
Ami frowned. Was Minty indicating that Ami should do it all herself, until she regained her strength? Then she remembered, “Here. I ran to the health food store, and I picked up a container of vitamin B tablets. Have one – it’ll boost your energy back up.”
Minty sighed, but accepted a vitamin. She scrunched up her nose disapprovingly when she realized they were orange flavored. Minty couldn’t stand anything orange flavored, but she chewed up the vitamin anyway.
Soon, Minty was back to her old self, and in a slightly better mood than before. It was a good thing, because just a few minutes later, they got their first customer.
“My name is Breezelyn,” said a pretty blue Uni, casting a friendly smile over at Ami. “I’d prefer if you called me Breeze, though. This is my Spardel, Loop. My owner just bought him for me a little while ago at the petpet shop, so he isn’t trained at all and he doesn’t know his name very well yet. Do you think you can handle training him to sit?”
Before Ami could say a word, Minty jumped right in. “Of course we can! We can train him to sit in only one hour, can’t we, Ami?” Ami opened her mouth to stutter something, but Minty continued before she could. “You can drop him off here, come back in an hour, and he’ll be the best sitting Spardel in all of Neopia. We do require payment ahead of time, though,” she added with a greedy smile.
“Well, alright,” Breeze said reluctantly, dropping her neopoints into the jar that Minty held out for her. It was labeled “Fee”. Ami hadn’t noticed it before. “Do I get a refund if he isn’t trained within the hour?” Breeze wanted to know.
Obviously, Minty hadn’t thought of that, because her smile immediately disappeared. “Sure,” she said through clenched teeth. “But it won’t be necessary.”
The Uni shrugged, gave her Spardel a kiss on the head, handed Ami his leash, then reluctantly left. She glanced behind her shoulder once before vanishing into the crowds. As soon as she was out of sight, Minty turned to her younger sister. “Would you like to do the first customer, Aim?” she asked sweetly.
Ami gave the Xweetok a look of disbelief. “No!” she growled. “You’re going to train him to sit, Miss Professional. Let’s see it. You have one hour.” She shoved the leash into Minty’s paws.
Minty gave Ami a rude glare, and was about to spit out some challenging words when another customer stepped up. This time it was a faerie Kougra, carrying a delicate little Faellie. “Hello,” the Kougra said cheerfully.
“Will you handle her, Ami?” Minty asked, switching to her fake sweet voice. “I’m busy with little Loop here. Come on Loopy, be a good boy and sit down.”
Ami rolled her eyes where the Kougra couldn’t see. “Hi,” she replied. “I’m Amiyael, and I’ll be training your petpet today.”
“Great!” the Kougra responded. “This is Angie. She’s been having some trouble flying. Do you think you can help her?”
“Sure,” Ami said, giving the adorable little Faellie a warm smile. “You can drop her off here then come back in one hour. We require payment first, but if it ends up not working out I’ll give you a full refund.” She grinned.
The Kougra smiled back. “Sounds great,” she said. “My name is Elusiviya, by the way. You can call me Lusi if you want – all my friends do.”
“Nice to meet you, Lusi,” Ami said. “You can call me Ami. All my friends do.” They exchanged smiles and Lusi handed over Angie.
“I’ll be back in one hour,” Lusi promised. “Have fun.”
I hope this goes well, Ami thought worriedly. That Kougra was really nice. I’d hate to let her down! She looked down at the Faellie in her arms, who looked back up at her with large, frightened eyes.
“Don’t worry, Angie,” Ami whispered. “You don’t need to be scared. I’ll help you learn how to fly.”
Gently and slowly, Ami coaxed the Faellie to try and flap her wings. Angie flapped as hard as she could, but she only got a few inches off the ground. Ami bit her lip, trying to think. Half an hour had already gone by, which didn’t leave much time.
Maybe I can try to tempt her with something. But what? She remembered that she had some leftover orange honey sticks from lunch, but would that work? Do Faellies even like honey sticks? she wondered.
After a few long minutes of trying to decide, Ami figured it was worth attempting. She dug around the cardboard box until she found the last couple honey sticks. Angie’s nose began twitching at the scent when Ami approached her, and the Faellie stretched up to catch a better whiff.
“You like this, Angie?” Ami asked, wiggling it over the Faellie’s head. “Come and get it.” The Faellie’s wings began to beat rapidly; so fast Ami wasn’t sure she could see them anymore. Oh-so-slowly, the little petpet began to rise.
* * *
Minty growled angrily as she watched Ami coax the Faellie into the air. She was flying! How could her little sister manage to teach a petpet to fly (something she couldn’t even do herself!), when Minty couldn’t teach a Spardel to simply sit? It just didn’t make sense.
Sighing, Minty turned back to Loop. They only had ten minutes left before her hour was up, and she did not want to back the money, nor did she want Ami to tease her. “We have to work this out, Loop,” the Xweetok told the petpet. “You will sit. Got it?”
She pushed the Spardel’s rear end down, but he only stayed still for a few seconds. “Sit,” Minty said firmly, putting him into the position again.
This isn’t fair! Minty frowned, glaring at Ami as she watched the Faellie nibble on a honey stick. Ami cheated. She had a treat for her petpet, but I don’t have any. That’s so not fair! Desperately, she glanced around. As far as she could tell, there wasn’t any food around that a Spardel would like.
“Need help?” a voice behind her suddenly asked, causing Minty to jump. She spun around to see Ami standing there, the Faellie snoozing contentedly in her arms.
“No,” Minty said firmly. “For your information, I do not need help. Not from you, or anybody. I can do this by myself. See how smart he’s gotten so far? Sit, Loop. Sit.” She bit her lip and stared down at the Spardel, who didn’t sit.
Ami sighed. “I can help you, you know. I don’t understand why you’re so independent. It doesn’t hurt you to ask for help.”
Minty didn’t know how to answer that, so she didn’t. “I never said it did,” she whispered under her breath. “And I didn’t ask for help.”
A blue Uni approached them, a hopeful look on her face. “Hi,” she said. “I’m Breeze, remember? Loop’s owner.” She glanced down at her petpet, smiling. “Were you able to teach him how to sit?”
It had to be the absolute worst possible moment of Minty’s life. She had never been good at apologizing, or admitting she was wrong about anything. Heaving a sigh and looking down at her toes, she whispered, “No. I’m... I’m sorry.”
Ami refunded Breeze the neopoints she had previously paid. Minty just couldn’t bring herself to do it. When she saw how disappointed Minty was, Breeze tried to encourage her. “It’s okay,” she said, offering a small smile. “I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it next time. Thank you, though.”
When Angie’s owner came a few minutes later to pick her up, she was overjoyed with Ami’s work.
Of course, Minty thought sadly. Why wouldn’t she be? Ami’s fabulous, and I’m... just not. What is wrong with me? It’s not fair! Ami’s never even had a petpet before.
“Let’s go home,” Minty said drearily after Lusi had left. “I don’t want to do this anymore.”
Ami was worried about Minty, but she decided against asking about it. “Okay,” she agreed, and began packing up. Together, they trudged home, but didn’t say a word to each other.
* * *
The next morning, a tap came from the door. Blinking her eyes sleepily, Minty rose from her bed. Yawning, she swung the door open. Her family stood on the other side, all wearing excited smiles.
“Surprise!” Eryn cried cheerfully. “We got you a gift. Go ahead, open it.”
Feeling tired and skeptical, Minty warily took the wrapped box her owner handed to her. “What is it?” she asked hesitantly, tearing off the paper wrapping. She opened the lid, and...
“Well?” Ami asked, shivering with delight. “Do you like her?”
Minty stared down at the quivering Kepru, who stared back up at her. The little creature slowly began to wag her tail, and a smile forced its way across Minty’s face. The Xweetok started to tear up. “Yes,” she answered, trying to swallow her tears. “I love her.”
The flow gushed out, and Minty found herself bawling in front of her owner and sisters. “I’m sorry,” she cried. “I’m sorry for all the times I lied or was mean to you guys. I didn’t mean it. I’m really sorry!”
They all gathered around her in a big family hug, telling her that they forgave her. Minty suddenly burst into laughter. “I can’t breathe!” she wheezed, and everyone started giggling.
“So?” Ginny asked impatiently. “What are you going to name her? All petpets need a name.”
Minty looked down at her new petpet thoughtfully. “I’m not sure...” she trailed off, all the names she’d ever heard before whizzing through her mind. “I think... I think I’ll name her Rosie.”
Eryn smiled. “What an adorable name!”
A mischievous grin formed over Ami’s face. “Why does Minty get a petpet and not me?” she asked teasingly, grinning at her sister. “That’s so not fair!”