Once Upon A Time in Brightvale: Part One
Dearest Rosalina Siara of the Castle of Brightvale,
She has been sent successfully through transfer and should arrive within a few days. You must remember now that she is different but very smart and she will certainly make a warm welcome in your castle. I understand what you have asked for and she is indeed royal. Her name is Avey and she is a Xweetok. She comes from a place quite different from yours and will need time to get used to being among other pets. I could never thank you enough for letting you take her in your care. I'm pleased and sure you will love her for who she is.
Rosalina Siara held the letter in her hand, unsure of what terrible mistake she had made.
But this Avey child's a royal, she told herself, trying to rid her nerves. All royals are mannerly and pleasant, aren't they? And Stacy is never one to let me down.
She pushed the thought away of Avey being a total let-down and disgrace to Brightvale.
Besides, she thought, she won't be here forever. And I have to remember, I'm doing this for Stacy.
Stacy was a dear friend of hers, an old friend whom she hadn't heard from in years. And out of the blue, she had received a letter from Stacy saying she needed someone to care for her neopet. She had asked Rosalina Siara to take care of her one and only Avey, for she could not give Avey the life she deserved. Stacy was poor. She couldn't really afford taking care of a neopet. So then she had asked Rosalina Siara to take care of her beloved Xweetok while she went away to find work. Only Rosalina Siara didn't know the situation Stacy was in; she only knew someone had to watch Avey and that someone was her. She was reluctant at first, taking another character into her castle. But if it was for Stacy, it was alright.
"Phillip!" she called sternly and very royally to her youngest neopet.
A young royal Zafara with deep blue eyes and a yellow feather perched upon his hat came bouncing in the room, his tail waving as he asked, "Yes, Mother?" in his most royal voice possible. Mother had a thing about speaking like that.
"It is polite for Royals to speak with their heads high and a manner of pride in their voice," Mother always told them.
"Go fetch the others. I have great news to tell," Rosalina Siara said. "And where has Violette gone? She's been cooped up in her room all day. Shoo, now," she said with a flick of her hand. "Do not keep me waiting."
"Oh, certainly, Mother."
Little Phillip's nose quivered with excitement as he went up the castle chamber where his older brother sat polishing his knight helmet, liking the reflection of the proud, green eyes he saw staring back at him.
"Oh, Monroe!" Phillip cried delightfully. "Mother says come. She has a surprise for us! Isn't it marvelous?"
Now for being an older Royal, Monroe didn't care much for surprises. But he did as Mother had said and placed his helmet on its stand before he followed Phillip back down the the long staircase chamber of the Castle of Brightvale.
"Gee, I wonder what the surprise could be," Phillip wondered. He looked at Monroe with wide eyes. "What could it be, Monroe? Oh, look! It's Violette."
The royal Gelert sat upon her big pink royal bed, writing in her diary with a dreamy look on her face. The brothers sat and stared a moment, surprised by their sister's sudden change. Violette was usually very moody and bossy, thinking she had the power over them and all of Brightvale. Not yet she didn't, but one day she would. The brothers were shocked she was actually calm and... royal-like.
Suddenly Phillip's excitement caught up with him, and he stifled a sneeze. Violette's head shot up and her purple eyes were glistening with anger.
"Get out!" she cried angrily. "Get away! Who said you could come and spy on me? You no-good little..." She was about to slam the door when little Phillip piped up, "But Mother has a surprise!"
Now Violette looked at her brother in wonderment.
A surprise? she wondered. Then she shrugged. Probably just some some new royal lessons. She wasn't very enthused about a 'surprise', whatever it could possibly be.
"Come on," Phillip said. "Mother said not to keep her waiting."
Violette sighed and followed her brothers. The life of a royal was never quite calm, no matter what anyone thought.
The royal children sat around in the 'big room', as Phillip always referred to it as. It was the largest room in the Castle of Brightvale and probably the most glorious and exquisite. Everything was lined in gold and jewels. Rosalina Siara sat in the big golden silk chair and the three royals sat in chairs nearby.
"Now, children," Rosalina Siara said. "I received a letter today-"
"A letter!" Phillip piped up excitedly, interrupting Rosalina Siara.
"Phillip!" she cried, shooting him a look of disbelief. "You know better than to interrupt."
Phillip shrank down in his chair, but nothing could stop his excitement. "Sorry, Mother," he apologized innocently.
"Thank you," she said and continued. "The letter was from a dear friend of mine named Stacy. She has asked me to care for her dear little Avey, and I have accepted."
The three royal siblings looked at each other in shock. Another neopet coming to live with them in the Castle of Brightvale? No way!
"Now, children," Rosalina Siara said soothingly. "Do not give me that look. She is royal."
The three Royals sighed in relief. They couldn't imagine not being around Royals! Why, the whole Brightvale was crowded and streaming with royals of every neopet. Brightvale was the home of the royals. But they still weren't too happy about the idea of an unknown neopet coming to stay with them.
"But... why, Mother?" Phillip asked. "Why is this girl coming?"
"Yeah," Violette muttered. "We don't need her here."
"Mother, please. Is this really necessary?" Monroe said, trying to be practical. "We don't need another bother and certainly not another large mouth to feed. And how do you know this Avey Royal is not high maintenance?" He shot a look at Violette, who glared at him defiantly.
"Please, children! I won't stand for this nonsense. Avey is coming to stay and that is final." Rosalina Siara had said what she meant and what she had said was final.
"But.... M-Mother!" Violette cried out in sputters of disappointment. "Why? We don't need another Royal! The Castle of Brightvale is proudly filled." Which wasn't true, they had about another five vacant rooms not already filled with guests or valuable objects. But Violette didn't want another Royal to come who could be better than her. She especially didn't anyone stealing her spotlight. To her, this Avey girl was just another low-class servant and a huge pain to deal with. She was not welcome here, and Violette would be sure to tell her that, too, when she got here.
The next few days were filled with anxiety and bewilderment for Violette and the other Royals. They wanted to know why Mother would let another neopet come stay in their glamorous castle. They were curious to see who this Avey could possibly be and if their Mother had gone simply mad by letting her come stay. And when the day finally arrived, the three Royals stood anxiously in the front parlor, waiting for her arrival.
"Gee, I sure hope she's a good Royal," Phillip said, his head in his paws as he stared out the window. "What do you think she'll be like? Do you think she'll like games?"
Monroe grunted. "Oh, please. If she's any Royal Mother would approve of, she would certainly not be one to play games like a rambunctious un-Royal child."
Phillip frowned. It was true. Mother wouldn't let any Royal who played childish games come stay with them. Phillip wished Royals could have more fun. Mother never let him play with normal children and never let him get dirty. He couldn't even leave the castle and play outdoors!
Violette said carelessly, "Like I care what she's like. Too bad she's not a maid. I'd like to order her to leave."
"Violette!" Phillip cried.
"Now, Violette," Monroe said, trying to act the oldest in this particular situation. "We're doing this for Mother. You don't have to like this Avey character, but please behave."
Violette groaned, which was very unroyal-like.
"Violetta Maria Anessa Rosemont!" Rosalina Siara's stern voice cried as she walked into the room. "How dare you." She was wearing her best dress of yellow silk and bejeweled with silver sequins. Her eyes were stone and her mouth was in a thin line, her lips pressed tightly together. "I won't have you ruin this for Avey. She is a nice girl, Stacy says. She is your age and I'm sure you'll get along just magnificently."
Suddenly then, there was a faint knock at the door and Violette froze in horror. "She's here!" she squeaked.
"Ooh, Avey's here! Avey's here!" Phillip cried joyfully as he ran to the big door at the front of the castle.
The others followed and Rosalina Siara reminded them, "Now, children, behave now. Please if you may put on your greatest face for Avey. We must make her feel welcome here. She is, after all, a fellow Royal."
And Phillip pulled open the door and they were shocked still at the face they saw. The little face they saw smiling at them was not the face of a Royal, or even a high-class neopet. No. She was a short, scraggly little Xweetok with dusty cheeks and a tattered newsboy cap that lay upon her yellow tufts of hair. She smiled at the Royals with a friendly smile and looked at them huge, golden eyes filled with greetings.
Rosalina Siara broke the silence with choking words of confusion. "Yes, hello, child. How may we help you?"
But the little Xweetok, seeming that nothing at all was wrong, only uttered the three shocking words. "Hello, I'm Avey."
They stood in shock for several moments. It probably would've remained that way for many, many days had not some little royal broke the silence with interesting words. "But... you're not royal!" Phillip cried. He didn't say that was a bad thing. He had a sense of admiration for the dirty little Xweetok in front of him. She looked very friendly to him with her warming eyes. Avey adored little neopets, and she smiled at Phillip with a look of apology.
Avey looked shyly away as Rosalina Siara cried, "Hush, Phillip! That is not very nice. We must welcome this Xweetok with open arms." She turned to Avey, who cowered down from the look on hurt Rosalina Siara's face. "Now, child, you must tell me the truth. Are you really Avey, the one who was sent here by dear Stacy of the Lost Desert?"
Little Avey nodded solemnly and said, "Oh, yes, ma'am, Miss Rosalina Siara. Stacy sent me here by transfer. I'm sorry if I'm not what you had planned on me being, but I am really Avey." She smiled slightly.
Rosalina Siara was the one to look solemn now. "Oh, Avey. We are sorry for any mix up, but Stacy said that you were royal and I specifically-"
"Oh no, Miss Rosalina Siara. I am not royal," Avey interrupted. "I could never be royal."
Violette had stood there in silent anger and she oohed quietly under her breath, "She interrupted Mother."
Rosalina Siara was disappointed and very upset. She puffed an angry spout of breath from her mouth. This Avey was not fit for living among Royals. She had interrupted her, which was very disrespectful. Even so, she said nothing of it but, "Of course. Monroe, show Miss Avey to her room."
Monroe nodded and motioned Avey to follow him. When they were out of earshot, Violette whispered, "Mother, she really isn't going to stay here, is she? She's not properly fit for royalty!"
Rosalina Siara sighed deeply and said, "I know, Violette. I don't want her here as much as you do, but she is a guest."
Violette looked sadly away. She didn't was a sloppy, dirty maid-girl living in their beautiful castle.
"Don't fret, dear," her mother assured. "She most certainly will not be here for long."
Rosalina Siara, as angry and confused as can be, scribbled a letter to Stacy in her best penmanship as she possibly could have at that moment.
I am confused at your description of Avey. She is not royal, or even close. Why would you tell be something as untrue as that and send that miserable little child into my home? She is dirty and just plain revolting! I don't understand how this could have happened, but Avey needs to leave.
The letter she received back was even more surprising.
Oh Dearest Rosalina Siara,
I'm terribly sorry, but I must have not understood your term of royal. You see, Avey isn't royal as you like, but she is royal at heart. She understands the way to act in the presence of royals and in your castle. She enjoys pretending she lives a royal life, and your castle is like a faerie-tale to her. I am afraid I won't be able to take Avey back for sometime. I'm sorry for all this confusion, but I hope you will be able to keep Avey for a little while longer.
Keep Avey? An un-Royal, in her magnificent castle? And faerie-tales? Rosalina Siara could not understand what was happening and she very much didn't know what to do. She sighed at getting herself into this mess.
"Well," she said to herself. "There's no use trying to change what's already done. We might as well treat Avey as grandly as any other being."
Now Avey was somewhat bewildered by the looks on her new family's faces as they opened the door to find an abandoned dirty little thing standing in front of their beautiful castle. But she smiled and looked wide-eyed into it, seeing all its beauty and glory. She was welcomed in and showed to her room, where she sat on her new bed and looked curiously around. It was the biggest, fanciest room she had ever seen and it was simply extravagant to her.
She opened her suitcase which contained nothing but books, a box of buttons, and a rag plushie, which she placed delicately onto her bed. Then she went out unto the balcony where she breathed in the lonely smell of her new home very far away from her old.
Avey was shaken awake from a horrible dream. Young Phillip was standing over her, his eyes wide.
"Mother says it's rude to awake another sleeper," he whispered apologetically. "But I was curious. Who are you, Avey? Where do you come from?"
Avey blinked a few times and smiled. "Well, Phillip. Far away. That's where I come from." She looked away sadly. "And, well... never mind.... It doesn't matter," she said quickly.
There was silence, and then she spoke again. "You don't want me here, do you? None of you do. I can tell. It's because I'm not royal, isn't it?"
Phillip was sad for Avey. "I'm sorry, Avey. I guess we've never had an un-Royal in the castle before."
Suddenly they heard the loud dinging sound of the breakfast bell.
Phillip said hungrily, "Breakfast, Avey." He pulled on her paw for her to follow. "Come on."
She followed reluctantly. She wanted to go home.
When they got down to the breakfast table, Monroe, Violette, and Rosalina Siara were already seated. Violette shot Avey a disgusted look and Rosalina Siara motioned her to sit.
"Come, Avey child. You must eat," Rosalina Siara said as a huge plate of crumpets filled with lumps of strawberries and blueberries was placed in front of her.
Avey looked around hesitantly. Maids and servants came in carrying yummy trays of fruit and delicious meats and pancakes and muffins. Avey's mouth watered, but she shook her head. "I'm sorry, Miss Rosalina Siara. I couldn't. I can tell I'm not welcomed here, and I will leave." She turned around and headed for the door.
Phillip cried out in protest and Rosalina Siara said, "Nonsense, child. You will come and eat as I have ordered you."
Avey turned around and did as she was told and sat down next to Phillip, who was stuffing a piece of pancake into his mouth. He smiled at her, revealing blueberry stained teeth.
Avey couldn't help but laugh at his comical childish manner.
"Gracious, Phillip!" Rosalina Siara cried. "Please do not act unmannerly at the table. Especially when we have a guest. I have certainly raised you better."
Phillip swallowed. "Sorry, Mother." He shot a glance at Avey and giggled.
Monroe wiped his mouth with his napkin that was placed delicately on his lap and said smartly, "Sorry you had to be stuck with a nuisance, Avey."
"Hey!" Phillip cried. "I'm not a nuisance, you old meanie... Shoyru you...." The words came out in parts, for Phillip wasn't good at criticizing people.
Monroe shrugged, Avey giggled, and Rosalina Siara's face went red as she said sternly, "Phillip, that's quite enough. And Monroe, be nice to your little brother. Do you want me to throw you in the dungeon where the mutant Meepits live?"
The brothers shook their heads solemnly.
"There's a dungeon?" Avey asked, interested. She had read about them in her favorite faerie-tale books but had never actually seen one. "Could I look at it?"
Violette snickered and Rosalina Siara looked at her in surprise. "Why, no, child! You may certainly not. The dungeon is a horrible, horrible place."
"Oh," Avey said. "Sorry, Miss Rosalina Siara."
"Wow," Violette muttered to herself. "She sure is weird. What a creep." Violette knew it was totally dishonest for a Royal to talk like that, but she didn't care. She hated Avey.
"Did you say something, Violette?" Rosalina Siara asked.
"No, ma'am, Mother." She shot a look at Avey who was laughing with Phillip again. Avey paused and looked at her, surprised by the hate on Violette's face. She quickly looked away in shame. She shouldn't have ever come here. She didn't deserve to be among Royals. She was far from it. And she was confused, too. Why did Violette hate her so? Was it really because she wasn't royal? Avey thought was an awfully selfish reason to hate a person.
When Rosalina Siara rang the bell again, breakfast was over and they were free to do whatever they pleased. She stopped Violette on the way out. "Violette sweetie, tell me, do you dislike Avey?"
Violette grunted, but after seeing the look of disapproval on her Mother's face, she said, "No, Mother. It's just..." She couldn't take being mannerly and 'polite' anymore. "She is not welcome here!" she exploded. "She is not Royal! She's nothing but a dirty, selfish good-for-nothing maid-girl! She is far from being Royal and has no right to-"
"Violette," Rosalina Siara said quietly. "I'm sorry you're not happy, but Avey is our guest. You must treat her nicely. She comes a long way and is unused to living in such a fancy place. Please try to be nice, dear."
Violette sighed. "But Mother-"
"Violette, I've certainly raised you better than to go badmouthing people behind their backs, especially sweet little Avey. Sharp tongues are not very royal-like, Violetta Maria Anessa Rosemont, and you know that. Now for this little unnecessary outburst, you will help Mary and the other cooks in the kitchen after dinner as a punishment."
Violette's face scrunched up. "Oh, Mother! You know how I hate the kitchen! It's an awfully dirty place. Couldn't I just-"
"No, Violette." Rosalina Siara's voice was stern. "Now run along."
Violette turned and went to her room. She was so upset she could spit. She hated being Royal! If she wasn't Royal, she could have told Avey the truth and sent her away. But no; she couldn't. She must be pleasant and friendly and loving and-
She groaned and plopped herself onto the bed, taking out her journal.
Dear Diary, she wrote. Avey is an unwelcome weirdo and has no right to be in my fancy castle. She is dirty and a total low-class maid-girl and I think...
Avey walked silently with her head down to her room. She sat at the edge of her bed and fished out a book from her suitcase. She opened it, looking marvelously at the pictures. She saw a beautiful princess and a handsome prince on a white Uni. They were both smiling.
Why aren't real Royals like this? she wondered. She read a line to herself.
"The princess held her paw out to the prince on the magnificent white Uni. The Uni tossed her glorious shining mane that sparkled like sunlight. The princess smiled and patted the Uni and the prince-"
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Avey glanced up from her reading. "W-who is it?" she asked, hesitantly.
"Phillip!" cried the voice. "It's Phillip."
Avey opened the door and little Phillip scampered in in delight. "Your room is stunning, Avey. Don't you think?"
Avey nodded. "It's lovely."
Phillip take a deep breath and glanced around the room. "Buttons?" He noticed Avey's button box. "What's a bunch of buttons doing in here?" He opened the box.
"They're my button collection," Avey explained. She felt silly. Collecting buttons was a silly thing to do. But when Stacy had worked as a dressmaker, she had saved Avey any buttons she could manage to get her hands on.
"Ooh, this one's pretty," he said, admiring some of the buttons. He set the box back on the shelf.
"Thanks," Avey said, managing a small smile.
Phillip sat down on the bed and gazed at Avey. Then he asked excitedly. "Want to go exploring? We never gave you a tour of the castle."
"Oh, I don't know-"
"Sorry to interrupt, but it'll be fun." He grabbed her paw. "You'll see."
Avey followed. Perhaps it would be fun to see the castle.
"And here's the Gallery Room!" Phillip cried excitedly as they walked into a room filled with lovely pottery and painted pictures. Avey looked around in awe.
"Wow," she breathed. "This place is amazing."
Phillip stared at a blue striped vase with the initials P. W. R. painted on it. "This is my royal vase," he explained. "Isn't it grand?"
Avey gaped at the vase. "Do all of you all have a royal vase?"
Phillip nodded. "Yes, but Mother says never to touch it. It's too fragile. She had this famous artist named Augusto make them. He's a Nimmo. Most of these paintings were done by him."
They looked around at all the pictures of all the past Royals hanging high on the wall.
"Wow," Avey said. She looked at the picture of Violette. Violette's face looked rather bossy, but Avey decided she was pretty too. She turned back to the vase. "Where are Monroe's and Violette's vases? Can I see them?"
Phillip led her to Monroe's vase first, the initials M. M. R. on it.
"What's that mean?" Avey asked.
"It's our initials," Phillip explained. "This means Monroe Maxwell Rosemont. And mine was Phillip William Rosemont."
Avey smiled. "That's cute."
"Yup," Phillip said. "And here's Violette. Her full name is Violetta Maria Anessa Rosemont."
"Violette has a pretty name," Avey said. "My name is just Avey." She loved Violette's vase too. It was a midnight violet and sparkled with pink. A royal Gelert was painted on it and she wore a crown of jewels. It was so pretty, she just had to touch it. Just a touch, she thought.
She barely touched and it started to wobble. She tried to catch it but it fell with a CRASH! Avey's heart nearly stopped and her and Phillip stared in frozen fear at the broken remains of Violette's royal vase.
To be continued...