Slippery Soup: Part One
“Alysanne! Oh, Alysanne! I have a message for you.”
I yawned and went over to the door to open it for the messenger. Living in the castle as one of the faerie assistants was always a job of many messages and paperwork.
“Thanks,” I said to the messenger Scorchio. He handed me a lavender colored envelope. That could mean only one thing. The message was directly from Fyora, the Queen of the Faeries and the Western Skies. I sighed and looked at the neomail.
“More work for me,” I whispered to myself. Slowly, I grabbed the neomail opener and slit open the envelope. Inside was a piece of parchment, neatly folded and creased almost to perfection. I unfolded the parchment and admired the perfect penmanship written in bold, lavender ink. At the bottom was a large, loopy signature that seemed to be painted directly into the parchment. Next to the signature was the official Faerieland seal, two crossed Fyora’s scepters with a large, overlaying pink shield. At the bottom of the seal was a large cloud and this was all inside a thick, lavender circle. When I first took this job, I admired this seal too, but the incessant viewing of it in every single official message seemed to degrade the aesthetics of the seal. Heaving a sigh, I finally read the letter.
To my assistant secretary of state affairs, Alysanne:
I need to see you in my chambers immediately. You will report there as soon as you receive this letter. Important matters that cannot wait must be discussed. I will be waiting for you. See you soon.
Queen of Faerieland and the Western Skies
A powerful rush of excitement filled my veins as I finished reading. At the same time, a strong rush of fear countered the rush of excitement, as if the two forces were attempting to overpower each other in a Battledome match. What could Fyora possibly want that was so urgent? Was I in trouble? Was I inadequate? Was Fyora going to fire me? And why would she summon an assistant secretary to her chambers? Usually all the prestigious faeries received the summons and the subordinate faeries, *cough*, like me simply carried on with our repetitive jobs and took our rather generous salaries to the National Neopian Bank. Well, immediately meant right away so I quickly stashed the letter into my desk. I went to my closet and looked for a nice dress and then stood in front of the mirror.
“Hmm... I am a mess,” I commented to myself.
So I grabbed a hairbrush and a bottle of Fyora’s magical airspray and fixed up my hair, tying it back into two snorkle-tails. I then grabbed some red nail varnish and did my nails, one by one, careful not to mess up. The faerie queen noticed flaws easily and it would be disastrous to come before her looking like a mess. Finally, I washed my face. I put on my best dress. It was light blue with darker blue stripes and fit me perfectly. I then looked at myself in the mirror one last time, smoothing out my golden hair. I nodded approvingly and headed out of the room. Now it was the moment of truth, and I shuddered while walking down the corridor. Fyora’s chamber was one floor higher. I slowly made my way up the glamorous pink staircase, careful not to trip in high heels. The stairs seemed to go on for an eternity, and I wasn’t even on Fyora’s endless staircase. After what seemed like an hour I reached flat ground, only to realize that I had only made it to the first landing and needed to go up another set. I groaned and climbed the rest of the stairs, embarrassed that I had made such a stupid mistake.
“Why did Fyora pick such a fool to be her assistant?” I thought to myself.
Fyora’s chamber was marked with a huge double door and a giant, circular plaque with a cursive “F” in the middle. At the top of the doors was a large arch with Faerie Draik gargoyles on both sides. They looked almost as if they were going to breathe fire on any foolish intruder that tried to barge in and disturb the queen’s slumber. Of course, they did not help calm my fear and excitement. I took a final deep breath and knocked on the door. The door slowly opened and I was greeted by a pink Gelert that stood up on her hind limbs. She wore a pink apron and carried a feather duster in her hand. She appeared to be well groomed, almost pampered. I could tell that this was none other than Fyora’s servant and best friend, Celandra.
“Anything I can help you with? Alysanne, isn’t it?” Celandra asked.
“Yes. Hello, Celandra. Fyora summoned me here,” I replied.
“Oh, that’s right; she’s expecting you in the living room. Follow me.” Celandra beckoned.
I followed Celandra into the living room where Fyora sat there patiently on the couch. She wore her usual lavender dress and light blue crown with lavender gems. Her lavender hair shone in the bright sunlight that peered through the windows of the living room. It was perfectly straight, as if a hair stylist had done quite a spectacular job on it. Her arms were covered with multiple lavender colored bracelets as seen in most of her portraits. In the air was a wonderful aroma, presumably Fyora’s perfume. She was the faerie queen and she was beautiful. There was no doubt about that.
There was a silver tray set out on the coffee table containing a silver tea kettle and two silver cups, full of hot and steamy tea. Fyora’s calming lavender eyes were fixed on me for a moment. Meanwhile, Fyora covered her mouth as if trying to stifle a giggle. Finally, she could hold it in no longer and burst into a bout of giggling.
“D-dearie. Hehe. This isn’t a formal occasion. It’s only me. You didn’t have to dress up for me like that, although I’m quite flattered,” Fyora laughed.
“Oh... sorry,” I mumbled.
“No need to apologize. You’ve done nothing wrong,” Fyora replied hastily. “Now, Celandra, go ahead and take the rest of the day off. You’ve done so much work already.”
“Thank you, Fyora,” Celandra replied as she set down the duster and took off her apron.
While Celandra left, I looked on the coffee table and spotted some paperwork; it was pink. My heart sank quickly, even quicker than the fall that Roberta sustained when she fell off of Faerieland. I knew it. Fyora wanted to get rid of me. It was over. My career in the Faerieland castle was over and I would soon have to pack my bags. I would live out on the Faerieland streets, scavenging for leftover food. I wasn’t ready for it to be over, though. I wanted a second chance. So I fell to my knees in front of Fyora and burst into tears.
“Oh Fyora, please give me another chance. Please don’t fire me. I haven’t any other place to live. I haven’t any other source of income. Please give me another chance to redeem myself. If I’ve been inadequate, please help me improve. Please...” I begged through my sobs.
Fyora gave me a perplexed look.
“Hmm? Fire you? Where did that thought come from? I haven’t even said a single word. Oh and please, off the floor.” Fyora offered me her hand.
“*sniff* But, I saw the pink paperwork.”
“Yeah, it’s my favorite color aside from lavender. You don’t like pink? That’s quite a downer.”
“Pink slips are used to fire Neopets from jobs, though.”
“That may be true, but I would appreciate it if you allowed me to explain rather than jumping to conclusions. Now up off the floor, please. Allow me.” Once again she offered me her hand. For a moment I looked at the pink paperwork, then at Fyora’s outstretched hand, and then back at Fyora. Fyora gave a slight nod. I took Fyora’s hand. She gently pulled me back up and set me back down on the couch. She then took out a handkerchief and wiped my eyes. Then her smile came. It was clearly genuine and had a calming effect, as if her smile was a magical spell that could bring peace to almost any event of chaos. Inside, I could feel my heart come back to rest, no longer pounding against my chest.
“Now, please listen. You may ask questions later but right now, I would fully appreciate your attention and I ask that you don’t interrupt. The Soup Faerie sent me a Neomail yesterday. She’s been injured. She was preparing a new recipe when she accidentally knocked over a bowl of soup. The soup spilled and she was about to clean it up. She did not notice that the soup she had just made was quite slippery due to some mushrooms she had added. She slipped on the spill and broke her hip. She’s ok, but right now, she needs someone to fill her position in feeding the poor and needy of Neopia. This is the reason I called on you. You’ve always loved the stories of the Soup Faerie when you were in your younger years. Will you be up to the job?”
I was shocked with excitement. I was being given an assignment to go somewhere to perform some task in order to preserve the welfare of Neopia. At the same time, I was still confused. Why would Fyora pick such an insignificant faerie like me? It made no sense to me.
“Fyora, why me, though? Aren’t there more important faeries that get assigned these jobs?” I asked.
“Contrary to your thoughts and assumptions, those ‘important faeries’ are stuck here to help me around the castle with government affairs. It is, you, the ‘insignificant faerie’, that is given the ‘exciting job’. I dislike the fact that you think of yourself as ‘insignificant’. You know you’re all important to me. Don’t ever think that I favor one of my assistants over another,” Fyora replied, cringing as she quoted the terms that I had spoken to her earlier.
“Yes, your highness. I apologize for using the wrong terms,” I said, embarrassed. This certainly wasn’t going too well. I wasn’t saying the right things and I was almost sure that I had irritated Fyora with my anxiety.
“It’s just ‘Fyora’, my dear. I don’t like any of that ‘your highness’ business. No need for the apology either. Now, let us get down to business. I’ve given you this assignment; it is now up to you to accept it. The pink paperwork on the table allows you to leave your normal position to perform a special job. That way, I have a record of your service to Neopia and can properly compensate you for your hard work. Do you have any questions or concerns?”
“No, I do not. I will be happy to take this job.”
“Good, now just fill this out and sign it here and I’ll get you a ride over to the Soup Kitchen in Neopia Central.”
I was psyched. Finally, I would be able to leave the boring confines of Faerieland and travel somewhere else, all for the good of Neopia. My dream was coming true. I could hardly write straight when I was filling out the form, but thankfully, it was legible enough for Fyora to read without her reading spectacles.
“Alright then, thank you so much for coming in such a punctual manner, Alysanne. I can tell you are fit for the job already. Now get a good night’s rest and we’ll set out tomorrow in my cloud racer.”
Now I was even more excited. Not only did I receive an important assignment, but also I got to ride with the queen; such an honorable opportunity. Life couldn’t possibly be better.
“It is an honor to be able to ride with you, Fyora,” I said.
“Don’t mention it. Come down here for some breakfast first and we will set out at eight o'clock sharp."
To be continued...