The Possibilities are Endless: Part Three
“This is Mika,” I said hesitantly, pulling the little Yullie off my shoulder, where she had been snoozing. “I got her two days ago, in Happy Valley. I was staying with my friend Anna up there for the weekend, and when I saw her, I couldn’t resist. Do you think I’d be able to keep her here during the days I’m working? I have nowhere else for her to go.”
It was early Monday morning, and I had just arrived at the faerie’s cottage. I had left Terror Mountain yesterday afternoon. Anna and I had spent the morning in the Slushie Shop, catching up with each other. I told her about what it was like in the pound after she left, and she told me about having a real owner for the first time and how awkward it was at first. Our goodbye was tearful, and I promised to keep in touch and visit again sometime soon. Anna said she’d Neomail me every once in a while and send the letters to the Soup Faerie’s cottage.
“Oh, isn’t she darling!” the Soup Faerie exclaimed, looking down at the Yullie with large, eager eyes. “I just love petpets.” She took Mika in her hands and stroked the top of the head with a single finger. “Yes, Skyler, of course she can stay here during the day. As long as you watch her and make sure she doesn’t get into any trouble. You know I’m awfully busy during the daytime, and I won’t be able to keep track of where she is.”
The Soup Faerie handed Mika back to me. “I’ll watch her,” I promised. “Actually, do you have a box I could put her in? There are so many hiding places around here and I wouldn’t want her getting lost.”
“Oh, yes, of course. There are a bunch of cardboard boxes in the back room. Choose any size you like. Also, when you’re ready, could you run to the health food shop for me? I need you to pick up some broccoli, celery, and cabbage. Frances has it on order, and he’s expecting it to be picked up before he opens his shop.”
“Sure. I’ll be right back,” I said, and wandered into the back room, where the Soup Faerie kept her supplies. There were lots of pots and spare wooden spoons. Suddenly I clutched my nose, groaning. What was that horrible smell? “Ugh,” I muttered. “An old bag of rotten onions. I should do the Soup Faerie a favor and clean this out.”
I found a large box, which I decided to use. There would be plenty of exploring space in here for Mika, and I could decorate it with rocks, grass, and sticks. I checked the box for holes before putting her inside. Then I sprinkled the bottom with lots of thick grass that I had picked from behind the cottage, adding in some pebbles here and there and two big rocks. I also dropped in a few flowers, in case Mika would want to nibble on them. Then I put the box in the preparation room, where Gordy was chopping onion sprigs. I set the box on the floor, where it would be out of his way.
I raced to the health food shop in the Neopian Bazaar. I was so worried about Mika! What if something happened to her while I was gone? Would the Soup Faerie consider firing me if Mika ruined something?
Frances, the green Quiggle who ran the shop, knew exactly what I needed and had it waiting for me. With my own neopoints, I also purchased a small bag of almonds, in case Mika was hungry and ready for breakfast. “Thanks, Frank,” I called as I left, using the nickname he preferred.
“No problem. Have a nice day,” the Quiggle replied cheerfully as he opened his shop to the public.
* * *
“Are you up for a trip to Meridell, Skyler?”
The morning crowd had decreased, and the Soup Faerie was already planning dinner.
“Sure,” I answered. “What do I need to get?”
“A bag of raw potatoes, a bag of peas, and some turnips. Ask the shopkeeper to help you load the bags onto the ferry, because some are heavy, especially the potatoes. Gordy will meet your ferry back in Neopia Central to help you unload.”
I nodded. “Alright. I’ll be back in a few hours.” I had never been to Meridell before, so I was excited. A trip to a new place! To pick up food, of course, but still. The Soup Faerie gave me a bag of neopoints to pay for my ferry rides and the food. I went to the prep room, where I offered Mika a few more almonds before I left.
The boat ride was short, shorter than my ride over the weekend to Anna’s house on Terror Mountain. When I stepped off the ferry, I froze. Where was the shop?
I walked all around, lost. I ended up in Meri Acres Farm after searching the castle, so I asked someone for directions. Turns out I had passed the shop long before without even realizing it. I thanked the Kacheek and set off, determined to find it this time.
Merifoods was well stocked, but there were no customers. I stepped inside, and the Meerca at the front looked up. “Are you here for the Soup Faerie?” he asked, and I nodded. “I was expecting you. Your order’s in the back.”
It took half an hour to lug the heavy bag of potatoes to the ferry. Bihll – the Meerca – helped me carry it. We had to stop every few seconds, resting. The bag of turnips was easier, and we both carried it, stopping only once halfway. The bag of peas I carried myself.
* * *
“Oh, good, you’re back. Perfect timing; I’m just making a new batch of soup. Will you drop off the potatoes in the prep room? Gordy can peel them for the soup.”
I collapsed onto the small couch in the back room. I was exhausted! Then I remembered Mika. I hadn’t seen her since I left, and Gordy hadn’t mentioned her...
“SKYLER!” came a sudden shriek from the front room. I jumped, startled, and ran to Mika’s box. She was gone, and there was a giant, chewed-up hole in one corner of the box. The Soup Faerie’s scream came again, yelling my name. “Skyler!”
I raced to the front room, where I saw the Soup Faerie lunge after something on the floor. She missed, then she saw me. “Skyler! Mika got out of her box! We need to catch her before she gets hurt or scares someone. I have to serve dinner in less than half an hour!”
“Oh no,” I muttered, anxiously scanning the floor. I started calling the Yullie, hoping she’d learned her name, even though I had only had her for two days. “Mika... Mika, come here. Be a good Yullie and come get the tasty almond.” I held out an almond between two fingers. Where was she?
Just then, a red Kougra walked in. She stopped when she saw me sprawled out on the floor, searching under pots and cupboards. “What’s wrong?” she asked immediately.
“Oh, hello, Jenna,” the Soup Faerie greeted the soup-serving volunteer. She had been looking on the counters and shelves up against the walls, in case Mika was good at climbing. “Perhaps you can help us. You see, Skyler’s new little Yullie escaped from her box, and, well...”
Jenna got down on the floor and started helping me look. We searched for a full ten minutes before a small figure suddenly shot out from under the fridge, disappearing under one of the Soup Faerie’s pots. “Oh!” the faerie gasped, startled.
We were all at the spot in an instant. “I don’t see her,” Jenna said, leaning over the pot of hot soup and trying to look behind it. An onion peel had been accidentally discarded on the ground, but Jenna didn’t see it. She stepped on it and slipped, falling face first.
“Look out!” I yelled, grabbing the Kougra before she fell into the steaming pot. Then we both froze. “Mika!” I whispered. The Yullie was balancing on the far edge of the black pot, looking at us with her nose twitching.
“We have to get her before she falls in,” I whispered urgently. “I’ll go on the right, and you go on the left,” I told Jenna. “We’ll trap her in the middle, and then whoever’s closest will grab her.”
Slowly, we both started on our sides of the pot. Mika remained oblivious at first, but when she saw Jenna walking towards her, she scurried to my side, tottering dangerously as she tried to keep her balance. Then she saw me, and turned around. She sat in the middle, trembling from fright.
Poor girl, I thought. If I could just get her in my paws, she’d be safe...
And then it happened.
To be continued...