Faerie Search and Rescue
Ria the blue Cybunny glanced once more down the hall, making sure Milly’s bedroom door was closed, before padding silently down the staircase and into the kitchen. The room was lit brightly by the early morning sun, and Ria looked up at the sliced bread wall clock. There was still a few hours remaining before the rest of the family was due to wake up, and enough time for Ria to complete her task.
This Saturday was Ria’s turn to stock the family shop. Though she could easily have done it while everyone else was awake, she dreaded the interference of her sister Milly.
It wasn’t that Milly meant to ruin things, Ria reflected as she quickly downed a faerie pancake. It was just that she was too eager. Plus, this wasn’t just a normal restock.
Fae, Ria’s owner, had entrusted her with handling a box containing twelve bottled faeries and carrying them all the way to the shop without breaking or losing any of the bottles. Ria had taken her job very seriously, and as she did with everything, planned it out thoroughly. By waking up exactly twenty minutes after the sun had risen (and she had tracked the sun’s rising and setting hours for a week, just to be safe), she would have approximately 2.39 hours until the rest of her family came downstairs. This allowed her twenty minutes to eat breakfast---
Ria leapt up from the kitchen chair; the clock indicated that she had already gone over her breakfast time limit. She bounded over to the kitchen cupboards, and then delicately extracted a bulky cardboard box.
This is it, she thought. Careful, Ria. Remember that opening the door at a perfect acute angle will prevent the box from being shifted... Ria held her breath, and carefully positioned the box in her arms.
“Morning, Riri!” a voice chirped, and Milly the pink Gelert dashed into the kitchen, oblivious to her sister’s heavy load.
“Milly, watch out!” Ria cried, but it was too late. Gelert and Cybunny collided, and the box went flying. It landed a few feet away, and there was the unmistakable sound of breaking glass. Ria gasped, and rushed over to it. With shaking paws, she tentatively opened the top.
Faeries poured out, racing across the room, and soaring out of the doors into other areas of the house.
Ria stood, dumbfounded. After all her careful planning, after being entrusted with this special job... she had failed.
“You!” she roared, spinning around and glaring at Milly. “This is all your fault!”
Milly watched her apprehensively. “I’m really sorry, Ri,” she said quietly. “I didn’t know you were holding the box.”
Ria snorted. “You didn’t know I was holding the box? I guess I just didn’t realize it was acceptable to charge into someone if they weren’t holding a box. But the box, Milly, look at what you’ve done to the box. All the faeries are free! And in just under two hours, Mom will come downstairs, expecting the store to be stocked full of faeries.”
Milly didn’t respond, but flicked her tail nervously.
“But there won’t be any faeries,” Ria whispered, lowering her voice. “Because they’re going to be flying around our neohome!”
“Our neohome?” Milly asked, lighting up. “Oh, Ria, that’s brilliant!”
Ria’s angry look was clouded over by confusion, and she rubbed her paw despairingly over her eyes. “What could I have possibly said, Milly, that led you to that conclusion?”
“All we have to do is re-capture the faeries!” Milly crowed in delight. Ria gazed at her in vexation, and with an exaggerated movement, gestured at the dozen broken glass bottles in the box.
“There’s nowhere to put the faeries anymore,” Ria explained with irritation.
The pink Gelert paused, and then scurried over to one of the faerie cupboards, opening the doors to reveal a shelf stocked with empty glass water bottles. “Mom wanted us to recycle these, but we could always use them to put the faeries in. They look exactly like the old bottles anyways.”
Ria stood as still as she had when the box had first fallen, looking dumb-founded. “You... you thought of that all by yourself?” she asked incredulously, and Milly nodded eagerly.
“We’re spending too much time talking, Riri,” she chirped, shaking out her legs and heading for the family room. “We’ve got faeries to catch!”
An hour later, Milly flopped down onto a couch in the family room, while Ria sunk tiredly to the floor. Ten water bottles, each filled with a faerie, lay on the rug next to them. Ria looked over at them once again, counting each bottle carefully, as if to try to disprove that two faeries were still missing.
“All we have left is a fire faerie and a dark faerie,” she groaned. “And we have no idea where they are, and we still have to get the faeries we have into the shop before Mom and the others wake up.”
“I don’t know where else they could be!” Milly agreed, sounding slightly embarrassed. “And I’m really sorry I broke the bottles in the first place, Riri. You wouldn’t be in this mess if it weren’t for me!”
Ria was silent, watching as Milly self-consciously fidgeted with one a tassel on one of the pillows.
“It’s ok,” she finally muttered. “They were just faeries. And Mom won’t be that mad, I bet. Worst case scenario is she’ll just feed us omelette and jelly for the next week, but--”
“Wait!” Milly exclaimed, springing up from her position on the sofa. “Don’t give up yet, Ria! We haven’t checked everywhere in the house.”
“Yes, we have, Mills,” Ria replied.
“No, no. Ria, stop. Listen! We haven’t checked the bedrooms.”
Milly grinned, pleased with herself, while Ria stood up. The Cybunny looked a bit nervous as she glanced at Milly.
“You’re right,” she murmured. “We did check ours, but we haven’t checked Pepper’s, Cu’s or Mom’s. You know this might not go so well, right?”
“Affirmative,” Milly said. “But we might as well try. C’mon, Riri!” And she pranced out of the family room, her tail held high.
Both pets crept quietly up to the door leading to their sister, Pepper’s, bedroom. The door was slightly ajar, and Ria’s heart fluttered. If both faeries were in here, then they could safely capture them, stock them, and everyone else would be none the wiser.
Milly had slipped into the room first, and beckoned at Ria, placing her paw over her lips. Ria moved stealthily into Pepper’s bedroom, closing the door silently behind her so if the faeries were in here, they couldn’t escape.
There was a slight fluttering to their right, and both Milly and Ria spun around; a fire faerie hovered over one of Pepper’s red bean bag chairs.
“Do you have the bottle?” Ria whispered to Milly. The pink Gelert nodded her head. Ria glanced at Pepper’s bed to make sure she was asleep, and then slunk forward. The faerie continued to drift lazily in the air, unaware of her potential captors. When they were only a few feet away, Ria darted out her paws, clasping the faerie firmly, but safely, between them. Milly held open the bottle, and Ria gingerly tipped the faerie in.
“One more to go!” Milly breathed, and she quickly glanced around to make sure Pepper hadn’t been awoken by the disturbance. Her eyes widened as she saw a dark faerie lounging on one of the bed posts, inches from Pepper’s face. With exaggerated motions, she got Ria’s attention, and her sister paled at the sight of the faerie.
“She’s so close!” Ria murmured. “But how are we going to capture her without waking Pepper?”
“Let me,” Milly asserted bravely, though her paws shook as she got out the final bottle. She snuck up to the bed, so close to Pepper that she could feel her warm breath breezing against her paw. In one quick swoop, Milly cupped the faerie into the bottle and secured the lid before the faerie had even realized her hour of freedom had been interrupted.
Milly looked triumphant, and Ria relieved as they ran, barely attempting to muffle their footsteps now, back down to the family room. They scooped all the bottled faeries into a new cardboard box, and hurried over to the family store, just as the sounds of Fae and their siblings rising began to fill the house.
“Good morning, girlies,” a voice chirped, and Fae shuffled into the kitchen, her blonde hair messy from sleep, and pulling a fluffy pink bathrobe about herself.
“Good morning, Mom,” Ria and Milly chorused in unison, each nibbling on a Sutek muffin. Fae waved at them drowsily, pouring some banana crème coffee into a mug.
“I just stopped by the shop,” Fae began sternly, and Ria and Milly cast nervous looks at each other. Had they forgotten to clean up something from their recent adventure? “And it looked great!” she cried. “Ria, you did a stupendous job! Next time I need someone to stock faeries, I’ll be sure to put you on duty.”
Ria grinned. “Actually, next time I think I’ll pass.”