Another Bathroom, Please
“Alfy! If you don’t get out of the bathroom in the next ten seconds, your usuki collection is history!” Ileire pounded on the door with her rainbow Korbat fist as she threatened her younger sister.
“Just five more minutes, please! Kyrii need to condition with pebeanjay conditioner twice a day to have a mane as shiny as mine!” Alfy yelled from inside the bathroom. Outside, Looga sighed and flopped down against the wall.
“Let’s face it, Ileire, by the time she gets out, it’ll be time for school. There’s just not enough time for all of us to have a shower before we leave.” The royal Flotsam had stepped away from the wall and was now busy brushing the delicate shell faerie wings sprouting from her back with a starfish brush. Ileire gave up on the door and began fixing her hair.
“You’d think that with five of us, Mom would have designed more than one bathroom for the house. I mean, how are we supposed to share when Little Miss Vanity commandeers the shower for hours at a time?” Ileire had finished with her hair and was now just standing in front of the mirror. “We can’t keep going on like this. We need to talk to Mom.”
“I agree. I hate having to go to school without a shower first.”
A waft of sweet-smelling steam tumbled out from the bathroom door and a short yellow Kyrii with a very shiny mane stepped out from the perfumed cloud.
“It’s about time, Alfy! We should have left for school ages ago!”
“Ah, that was delicious, Mom, thanks for dinner.” It was evening, hours after the scene in the bathroom. The family was seated at the dinner table in the center of their Shenkuuvian style home. Phocan, the girls’ spotted Tuskaninny brother, and Alfy were fighting over whose turn it was to do the dishes.
“Hey Mom, there’s a Twisted Roses concert that’s going to be showing on neovision in a few minutes. Could we stay up late to watch it, please?” Looga asked her mother, instead of getting involved in what could become another one of Alfy’s tantrums.
“Ooh! I want to see that too!” Alfy squealed, having won her argument. The kids’ human mother, Rain, thought for a second before replying.
“Well, it's Friday, so I don’t see why not. Before you watch it, though, you have to brush your teeth and wash your face first,” she answered as she helped Phocan clear the dishes.
The girls dashed to the bathroom, eager to be the first to the couch to claim the best seats. Despite the fact that her sisters’ legs were much longer than hers, Alfy managed to shove her way to the bathroom sink first and begin working on her pearly-whites. Ileire seized her gothic toothbrush and strawberry toothpaste and ran to the golden clawed bath tub to claim the showerhead. Looga tried to wedge herself between Alfy and the sink, but Alfy fended her off with a faerie toothbrush in one hand and a tube of lavender-scented toothpaste in the other.
“Go use the kitchen sink!” Alfy garbled through her frothy teeth. Grabbing her own Altadorian toothbrush and vanilla mint toothpaste, Looga flew to the kitchen sink, but Phocan was already busy scrubbing the black Osiris plates they had eaten off of. Frustrated, she rushed out the door to the river that ran through their property and next to their bakery, brushing her teeth with the cool clear water just upstream of the watermill that turned the flour-grinder in the mill room. By the time she had finished and raced to the living room, her siblings had already taken over the simple yellow couch and chia print chair, and the band on neovision had already finished their first song.
“That was my favorite song!” Looga cried, thoroughly irritated. She stormed off to her room and slammed the door before flopping onto her covered Isca themed bed. Her evening had been ruined, all because there was only one bathroom in the house.
A soft knock on her door, and Ileire and Rain walked into Looga’s room.
“Are you alright?” her mother asked.
“I’m fine. It’s just so annoying, there’s always someone using the bathroom when I need it. I never get to shower before school, and just now I had to go brush my teeth in the river!”
Rain sighed and sat down on the bed next to Looga and began stroking her wings.
“I’m sorry. When I designed this house, there wasn’t enough space to give us all private bathrooms unless you kids double-bunked, and when I asked you, you all were so set on having your own rooms. I just couldn’t make it fit.” She folded her hands in her lap and stared at them. “I thought it would be alright if we just shared one bathroom, but I guess I was wrong.”
“I have an idea!” Ileire cut in. “Since Looga’s room and my room share a wall we could knock it down and make a shared bathroom between us.” Looga raised her head off the pillows, thinking hard.
“That sounds like a good idea. I could move my desk and bed a little and get rid of a few things and we’d have plenty of space for a bathroom.”
“You have my permission, but you’ll have to work out the design and décor by yourselves. Tomorrow, I’ll take you two to our safety deposit box in Neopia Central to see if there’s anything that we can use there. Other than that, anything that you buy will have to come out of your own pockets.”
The next morning was a Saturday, and after a luxurious sleep-in, the Ileire uncurled herself from her gothic bed and yawned her way to the kitchen where Looga was leaning against the counter, her eyes glued to that morning’s issue of the Shenkuu Bulletin as she munched busily on a kiwi muffin.
“It’s about time you woke up. I’ve been up for hours, looking at the classifieds section. You wouldn’t believe all the useless things people are trying to sell. I haven’t found any bathroom items, though...” Looga paused to take a swig from a cup of blairnut tea.
“Well, we can always use the shop wizard in Neopia Central if we don’t find what we’re looking for in our safety deposit box,” Ileire said as she took a bite out of the fuzzly pear Looga had tossed at her and reached into the pantry for a protein bar.
“Oh, I almost forgot, here’s a floor plan I made for the bathroom. What do you think?” Looga shoved a sheet of paper under Ileire’s nose.
“It’s perfect! I never would have thought of putting a wardrobe in the bathroom, and that vanity table would be really useful.”
“Thanks. I can imagine it already, all beautiful purple floor tiles and lovely perfumed steam.” Looga shivered in excitement.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, girls.” Rain padded into the kitchen in her red cybunny slippers, tousling her thick black hair. “We still have to get all the items for the bathroom, and then it has to be built. The next flying boat to Neopia Central leaves in an hour. If we hurry, we can catch it.”
An hour later, Looga, Ileire, and Rain boarded the noon flying boat to Neopia Central after having left Phocan and Alfy under the care of Quinley, their pink Ogrin shopkeeper (“No sugar for Alfy!”). The ride was an hour long, and Rain sat on the bench with her head between her knees the whole way as Looga and Ileire took turns jumping off the ship and flying alongside it.
Eventually, they docked at Neopia Central, and Rain, who had regained her legs, struck out a clipping pace as she led the girls to the National Neopian Bank. A green Skeith approached them the minute they stepped into the stately silver building.
“Good afternoon, madam. It’s good to see you again. What can I do for you today?” he asked charmingly.
“My daughters and I are here to see our safety deposit box. Here’s the key,” she replied, pulling a hissi oil keyring from her pink knit purse.
“Very well madam, right this way.” He led them through an archway held up by two golden pillars and through a labyrinthine set of hallways until they came across the door to their vault. Inserting the key into the keyhole, he pulled open the door and waited patiently outside as the girls stepped into the forest of items.
The inside of the vault was dimly lit by lanterns that flickered overhead as the trio set off through a narrow alleyway between shelves that lined the wall, laden with all manner of junk.
“Oh, wow. Just how much stuff do we have in here, anyway?” Looga mused as she cast her eyes about.
“773 unique items, at last count,” her mother replied without batting an eyelid. “The furniture should all be at the back, in an alcove.”
After a surprisingly short amount of time, they reached the alcove where the neohome and garden items were gathered. Nestled amongst gurgling ponds and dung playpens was an elegant pink tub with a sparkling gold showerhead, floating a few inches from the ground.
“It’s perfect!” Looga cried as she fingered the delicate blue clouds painted on the side of the faerie bath tub. “Where did you get this? It’s an UB!”
“Auction snipe.” Her mother grinned. “The only time I ever won an auction, really. It floats, so you don’t have to carry it, just push gently.”
“Look what I found!” Ileire called from behind a dusty pile of pink rugs. She reappeared a minute later, tugging a babaa wardrobe out of the shadows. “I think I saw some other things in there that we can use too. I’m going in for another round.” She took a breath and ducked back underneath the rugs.
After a few dives, the girls sat panting on the floor of the SDB, surrounded by the pile of “useful” furniture for the bathroom, including: a faerie bath tub, babaa wardrobe and chair, coconut sink, autumn planter, coral lamp, Maraqua fencing, and a starflower.
“That was pretty easy. Now all we need to buy is a toilet bowl and a vanity desk. Help me pack all this up, will you?” Rain got to her feet and began shoving the furniture into her purse, which somehow managed to carry it all without stretching or getting any heavier.
“I’ve got to hand it to her, she can be annoying sometimes, but Alfy sure is good with that mage thing. That enchanted purse is a wonder.” Looga wiped her dusty fins on her royal girl Flotsam coat.
The shop wizard’s house was bustling with people, all looking for the best bargains. The girls wandered around aimlessly for a while until a yellow JubJub appeared in front of them with a puff of smoke.
“Alakazam!!!” he roared. “I am the shop wizard, your friendly guide to comparison shopping! Tell me what item it is you seek.”
Ileire emptied her dubloon bank and tried a few searches. Every time the shop wizard unrolled a magic scroll to reveal a list of shops selling that particular item, she tapped the name and was magically teleported into that shop. Before long, she had acquired both a pink vanity desk and a coral toilet, which she promptly forced into the purse.
“Well, I guess we’re done.” Rain sounded surprised as she headed out the door into the marketplace.
“Actually, Mom, I’ve still got a fair amount of neopoints on me. Perhaps we could buy a few grooming items to go in the new bathroom?” ventured Looga, shaking her icklesaur piggy bank for emphasis.
“That’s a good idea. I know just the place,” their mother replied, quickly changing direction and leading the girls to the notice board. “Hmmm, ah, here it is,” she muttered as her eyes skimmed across to a banner advertising a grooming superstore. She tapped the banner and was instantly teleported to the shop, followed by Looga and Ileire. “Go wild, girls, but meet me at the Money Tree in half an hour.” The girls split up and hurtled through the shop as their mother stepped out of the shop to buy food for their dinner.
A half hour later, Looga and Ileire landed by the Money Tree, carrying a basket filled with fragrant delights.
“I’m completely broke now, but it was worth it. For 40k, we bought lotus-shaped hand soap, a natural sponge back brush, rain water shampoo, gypsy soap, feather conditioner, white lotus glitter lotion, sunshine perfume, chokato aroma beads, and an orange kougra make-up case. Tomorrow I’ll play games all day and do some extra chores. That ought to bring me back to my original balance,” Looga rambled.
“No, you won’t!” her sister reprimanded. “Tomorrow we’ll be constructing the new bathroom.” Looga sighed as she scanned the crowd for her mother.
“There you girls are! I’ve got the ingredients for whomp berry noodles as a treat for dinner; now let’s get to the dock so we can go home.”
The sun was just fading under the cliffs of Shenkuu and burning the sky a dusty rose color as the three reached their home at No. 53, Draik Flower Rise. The girls plopped themselves down in front of the neovision set and relaxed as their mother prepared the evening meal, completely done in by their day's shopping spree.
The next morning was an early one for the Flotsam and the Korbat, as they gathered their purchases from the day before and pulled out the floor plan.
“Ok, I think we should start by rearranging the furniture in your room, then mine, so that we have enough space for the bathroom, then we’ll knock down the separating wall, remove the floor tiles, build the new walls and tiles, and then furnish it.” Ileire pulled out a hissi tape measurer and began scrutinizing her sister’s room.
“Wait, you mean we’re not hiring a contractor for this? I’ve never built a birdhouse before, let alone a bathroom!” Looga panicked.
“Of course not; we’re broke, remember? Besides, I helped my old owner build part of his neohome before I was pounded, and we have Alfy’s mage skills to speed things up, so relax,” Ileire replied from behind Looga’s desk. “Help me push this thing, will you?”
The girls worked diligently for hours, breaking only for a quick lunch of hot crossed buns. Occasionally, they would bribe Alfy with jars of gold Kyrii hair pomade so that she would wave her jeweled staff and the harder tasks would magically complete themselves. To their amazement, the girls were completely finished by the time the smell of pteri spaghetti began wafting from the kitchen where Rain was starting dinner.
Having set everything in its place, from the sea shell print and song flower print beach towels hanging from the rack on the autumn planter to the bottles of grooming supplies set neatly by the edge of the tub and in the shelves of the vanity desk, Looga and Ileire decided to indulge themselves in the hour they had before dinner would be ready. One steamy, bubbly spa treatment later, the girls emerged from the bathroom completely tranquil.
“I love our new bathroom! I’ve never really appreciated how wonderful an undisturbed bath could be,” Looga remarked to Ileire, who nodded in agreement. No more going to school unwashed for us, she thought happily that night before she fell asleep.
The next morning was Monday, and Looga woke in eager anticipation of a shower before school. She whistled as she glided over to the bathroom door, but to her surprise, it was shut.
“Five more minutes! Let me just rinse this pebeanjay conditioner out of my mane!” Alfy cried from inside when Looga knocked. The Flotsam shook her head and an ironic smile bloomed across her face.
Some things just never change.