The Adventures of Lucy: Part One
“Welcome back, Miss Lucy,” the attendant at the front desk said, smiling down at me. I was always recognized here. “And nice to see you again, Mr. James.”
“Mr. James” is my owner. I hardly ever see him. He’s always busy working, making his next million Neopoints. The AstroVilla hotel, part of the NeoLodge, is pretty much my second home. I’ve stayed here so many times that I stopped counting after thirty-two, almost a year and a half ago. They aren’t just short trips, either. Four days minimum, usually a week. This time? Six days.
“Six nights in a deluxe room, for one, please,” Mr. James – I call him just Mister – told the red Kougra. Her name’s Marcie. She’s always been the lady at the front desk – at least, for as long as I can remember. Marcie’s super nice, and fun, too. She lets me come over for dinner with me sometimes when I get lonely. She lives in her own cozy room at the hotel. She’s also got great stories to tell about crazy vacationers that come here.
“The reservation goes under Lucy, the baby Gelert. Owner, myself.” He always told her this stuff – the same thing every single time, in the same order, too. I’m sure she has it memorized by now, though. Instead of saying so, she just nods patiently and types everything in to her special Virtupets computer.
While Marcie was typing and making my room reservation, Mister turned to me. “I’m going to Altador this week,” he said simply. “Perhaps if I find something nice, I’ll bring you back a souvenir, or a few books. Does that sound fine?”
I nodded. “Please!” I had a shelf full of things from around Neopia. They were all so lovely! I couldn’t wait until he started taking me along. Whenever I asked, which was often, he just said that he was on business and didn’t need me tagging along. One day, though, I’ll visit somewhere grand. Maybe a place where he hasn’t been. He usually goes to the same places every time. I know for certain he hasn’t been to Faerieland (he’s afraid of falling through the clouds), Desert Isle (he says it’s too hot and dusty), and Maraqua (he said he’s claustrophobic, which doesn’t make any sense at all, to me). He always goes to Altador, though. He likes how they’re so “smart and sophisticated,” he says.
“All right. See you in six days, Lucy.” He gave me a pat on the head and left. I sighed and watched him until he was out of sight.
“So, Lucy,” Marcie said, peering over the counter at me. “Ready to take your stuff to your room? I made sure it’s different this time, just like you asked.”
“Thanks!” I answered, my spirits bubbling up. I like to have a different room each time, but that didn’t always happen. I got lucky this week. “I only brought one bag with me this time, since it’s only six days.”
“Perfect. Do you need any help?”
Sometimes I stay for so long, I have to bring almost all my things from home. The longest I stayed was for just under two months. Mister did have to come back three or four times to renew my reservations. He always spent the day with me at the pool during those times.
“Nope,” I answered cheerfully. “I can carry it. It’s just my Angelpuss backpack.”
“How cute.” Marcie flipped through some papers, and then tapped the bell on the counter. “I can’t leave the desk just yet, so Hannah’s going to show you to your room. Is that alright with you?”
“Sure!” I like Hannah. She works at the hotel, but lives with her owner in Neopia Central. Hannah’s a yellow Usul. She claims she was named after the adventurer, and that one day she’ll be just like Hannah the Brave.
Not too long after the bell dinged, Hannah’s head popped out from around the corner. “Hi there, Lucy!” she greeted me perkily. “Ready to see your new room?”
I nodded. “Does it have a view of the pool?” I asked. The pool is my favorite place in this entire hotel.
“As a matter of fact,” Hannah said with a smile, “it has a very lovely view of the pool.”
“Perfect!” I cheered as we arrived at the elevator. “What floor? I’ll push the button.”
I pressed the button that read 12 and it glowed. “I’ve never had a room on the twelfth floor before.”
Hannah just nodded. She seemed kind out of it – probably thinking about something else. Maybe about how the flowers in the banquet room for an upcoming dinner party. I love banquets, but I’m usually not allowed to go, since I’m a baby.
“What’s wrong, Hannah?” I asked when we were passing floor six. This silence was going on for too long. Normally we had many interesting elevator chats.
“Nothing, really,” Hannah replied. “I guess I should tell you now.” She ruffled the top of my head. “I’m not going to be working here at the hotel anymore, Lucy.”
I gasped at stared at her with my jaw hanging wide open. It had to reach almost down to the floor, I’m sure of it. “What! Why?” I shrieked.
I guess I was a little loud, because she winced and started to cover her ears, but stopped. “My owner is moving to Mystery Island,” she answered calmly. “Of course, I have to go with her. I can’t stay here by myself.”
“But you could!” I wailed. “You could live at the hotel, like Marcie. Couldn’t you? You can’t leave!”
“Sorry, Lucy,” Hannah said, shaking her head, which I knew meant a for sure ‘no’. “I can’t just abandon my owner. Besides, I’ve lived in Neopia all my life. It’s time to try something new. And anyways, Marcie was hired here from out of the pound, and they gave her a room to live in.”
“Oh.” I hadn’t known that. Marcie was from the pound? Maybe she’d tell me the story later, but it wasn’t important at the moment. “When are you moving?”
“Tuesday. Sunday is my last day working, though. I’m spending Monday packing.”
Today was Friday! She only had a few days left. Perhaps... I’d talk to Marcie. “Oh,” I said again. Plans were spinning around my head, and it was my turn to space out. Did we have enough time to throw Hannah a going-away party before or on Sunday?
Ding. The doors automatically opened, and we stepped out on to floor twelve. “This way,” Hannah said, directing me over to the left. “You’re in room 126.”
“126,” I repeated, trying to memorize the number. “Got it.”
Hannah whipped out a small card that had the words “AstroVilla Hotel – Rm. 12-126” engraved on it. There was also a bar code, which made the door unlock when Hannah slipped it through the card slot. “Here we are,” she said, pushing open the large door.
I stared in amazement at the room. It was so big, and pretty, too! There was a giant bed (perfect for jumping on!), a little kitchen, my own bathroom, and a deck. I raced over to the sliding glass doors, dropping my backpack on the bed. I pulled them open and stood out on the deck, drinking in the view.
There was the pool! It felt like I could see half of Neopia from here. There was the Rainbow Pool, too, and the Money Tree. The Post Office was over there... How lovely!
“This view is amazing!” I cried out to Hannah.
She joined me in looking out. “It sure is, isn’t it?” she replied. “This is one of my favorite rooms in the whole hotel.”
“Look,” I said, pointing. “See the Rainbow Pool? I think that Kougra is getting painted. See, look! Her owner’s holding a Faerie Paint Brush. Oh, how beautiful!” The Kougra had emerged, purple, with glamorous wings. “She looks so amazing.”
Hannah nodded, watching, too. “She sure does,” she replied. I think I heard a tiny bit of sadness in her voice, but I was too excited to say anything.
“I wish I had wings!” I squealed. “But I like being a baby, too.” I frowned, thinking. There wasn’t such a thing as a baby-faerie paint brush. Mister had told me that the first time I saw a faerie pet. I turned to Hannah. “What color do you wish you were?” I asked her.
Hannah was silent for a little bit, while she was imagining all the colors, probably. “I think,” Hannah said slowly, “I would like to be island. Then I would fit in quite well at my new home.”
“Oh, Hannah!” I cried out. “You would so lovely painted island.”
She gave me one of those mixed smiles that say, “thank you” and “you’re embarrassing me” at the same time. I just grinned back at her. “Now,” Hannah went on, “do you have anything you need help unpacking?”
“I don’t think so,” I answered. “All I have this time is my backpack. I’m only staying for six days.”
Hannah nodded. “Okay. Well, I have to go tidy up a few rooms and get them ready for their new occupants, so why don’t you go on down to the pool?”
“Sure!” I said gleefully. “Mister bought a new bathing suit last week! Wanna see? It’s purple. He got it from the NC Mall.”
“I wish I could, Lucy,” Hannah said, “but I have to go clean those rooms. Maybe later I can.” She ruffled the little bit of hair on my head and left.
I shrugged and dug through my Angelpuss backpack, finding my suit. I slipped in to it, grabbed a pair of heart shaped sunglasses and my pretty pink flower hat. I plopped the hat on, put on the glasses, and snatched the room key up from the table.
The door automatically locked behind me.
To be continued...