Avey's Castle of Hope: Part One
The sequel to the series Once Upon A Time in Brightvale.
Part One: A Little Light of Hope
"Rosalina Siara! Oh, Miss Rosalina Siara!" Avey cried gleefully as she proceeded out of the front door of the Castle of Brightvale. "I'm going to the pound now!"
Every day Avey traveled to the pound, packing a basket full of yummy goodies for all the children there. Once she left there, she went to the Brightvale Books, where she read to her content and chatted with the wise orange Ixi about how she wished she could save all the helpless pound children and find them loving homes.
"Oh, Avey, dear, must you yell so loudly?" Rosalina Siara came walking in the main hall of the castle, rubbing her temples as if she had a terrible headache.
"Oh, sorry, ma'am," Avey apologized.
It had been nearly a year since the once dusty-cheeked, abandoned little Xweetok named Avey had appeared on the doorstep of the Castle of Brightvale. At first, Rosalina Siara had been terribly upset, for Avey was not royal. But alas, throughout that faerie-tale, she learns that just because you aren't a Royal, doesn't mean you can't fit in with some, or be as sweet and polite as Avey could be.
"All right, dear, it's okay." Rosalina Siara reached out her slender hand studded with diamond rings and smoothed out the array of turquoise hair on Avey's head, which was covered by a very tattered newsboy cap. "Oh, Avey, must you always wear this foolish thing?" Rosalina Siara frowned.
"Yes," Avey said, smashing down the newsboy cap on her head. "I must." Avey couldn't be Avey without her newsboy cap. Even though she was faerie now and not yellow, she wished to keep her cap, even if it wasn't quite becoming to her sparkling, dreamy turquoise eyes or glittering wings covered in pixie dust. She smiled radiantly at Rosalina Siara.
"Okay, Avey. You may leave now," Rosalina Siara said warmly. "But you must be back by dinner. Belinda and the others will not wait for naughty little Xweetoks who choose not to listen to their guardians."
Avey giggled. "Okay, I promise!" And then she ran out the door, clutching her basket of goodies and battered rag plushie, Mitten.
Rosalina Siara sighed deeply, stating, "Oh, great kings of Brightvale, whatever will I do with that girl?" She much loved Avey, but didn't appreciate her wild habits, like running, skipping, singing very loudly, and dancing around like a crazed Chia. Running was for normal boy children, skipping was for normal little girls, singing was for special occasions and dancing was for balls.
Violette came up behind her mother, snorting, "She's going at it again? Ew! I'd never go to such a disgusting place as the pound, chatting with dirty little homeless children."
Rosalina Siara clucked her tongue and said, "Oh, Violette, that sharp tongue of yours will get you in trouble some day, I assure you. You must think before you speak, dear, or you'll hurt someone. Besides, what Avey's doing is quite sweet, even though I'm not sure I fully approve of it myself."
"Oh, Mother, she's so different. She'll never be accepted at any royal ball. I mean, who would dance with her? I wouldn't think a prince would even think about it! She's so loud and mischievous, without a royal bone inside of her," Violette explained. The royal Gelert herself did not act truly royal all the time, even though she pretended she did.
"Why, Violette, I thought you and Avey were friends now, honey." Rosalina Siara's eye brows went up.
"But we are, Mother... it's just that... we have our differences..." Violette couldn't quite explain, but she and Avey were very much different.
Rosalina Siara smiled. "Well, I don't make you guys share a room for nothing..." she said, covering her mouth with her hand to stop the laughter that arose inside of her.
Violette gasped, astonished. "Why, Mother! You mean... back then... when you said that... Avey and I had to share a room because of "visitors" that were taking up all the the other rooms... you were lying?" Violette went Spardel-eyed and pointed her finger at Rosalina Siara, whose cheeks were rosy-red with shame.
"Oh, Violette, that was an innocent lie!" Rosalina Siara laughed, pretending to be ashamed of herself. "Besides, because of it, you and Avey are friends. Isn't that all that matters, dear?"
"No, Mother, it's not. I want my room back!" Violette demanded, trying not to let her voice become too whiny. A royal's voice should never become whiny or equal to a whimper. It's absolutely unroyal-like.
Rosalina Siara smiled. "All right, dear. I suppose Avey can have her own room now, since you two have become so close over the year."
"YES!" Violette shouted, receiving a warning glare of her mother.
"Violetta, please keep your voice down, dear. Royals do not yell," her mother said sternly, then Rosalina Siara smiled again. "I'll get Monroe to it right away."
Avey walked slowly and jauntily to the pound, picking wild flowers and humming a jubilant tune to herself. She waved at the Draik standing by the Wheel of Knowledge and skipped across the stones of the Brightvale stream. She tossed muffin crumbs to the hungry Tapira that lived in the shadows of the Royal Potionery and tenderly set a tangled Beekadoodle free from kite strings a young JubJub boy had left there.
She was taking her grand old time when suddenly a mournful whine filled her ears and she looked wildly around.
"Hello?" she called. "Who's there?"
There was nothing at first, and then the whine came again.
Avey wasn't afraid, for such noises as whining or crying never frightened her. They only made her curious to find the poor soul who was making that lonely, sad noise and help them.
Avey, standing alone in the lush green meadows of Brightvale, wanted terribly to find that poor soul!
"Please come out," she said gently. "I'm Avey, and I want to help you." She walked a few steps to peer behind a Brightvale berry bush and gasped. A Doglefox! A Doglefox in Brightvale! Avey's heart melted at the sight of it; the huddled little white Doglefox; alone, sad, and hungry.
"Where did you come from, little fellow?" she asked, reaching a paw out to touch him. "Please, I'm nice... I want to help you."
The Doglefox gazed at her morosely with huge, curious eyes. He wanted desperately to meet this thoughtful, nice sounding girl... but he was sort of afraid. He started to back away.
"Oh, please don't go!" Avey cried, holding out her paws. "I want to help you. What's a little white Doglefox like you doing in Brightvale? You're a really dirty little thing."
She now stepped forward and picked up the Doglefox, who cuddled against her soft cheek, seeing that she was friendly after all. "Oh, you're such a friendly little Doglefox," she murmured fondly. She stroked his dirty fur. "Do you belong to anyone? Do you want to come home with me?"
The little Doglefox barked joyously, as if saying, "Yes! That'd be grand!"
Avey giggled as he licked her cheek and pawed at her face with his small white paws. "What should I call you?"
The Doglefox stared intently into her eyes and she stared into his.
"I'm sure you don't belong to anybody; you look abandoned." Her heart cried out for him, for she knew what it was like to be... abandoned.
The Doglefox's sad, doleful eyes told her everything- his hard past and unloved self.
"Well, you look hungry," she said, digging in her basket for a muffin. "Do you like muffins? They're Tangella flavored. Belinda always makes such yummy muffins made from all sorts of Brightvale fruits." She watched the Doglefox gobble it down and look up at her with thankful and starving eyes. Avey smiled and laughed. "Do you like it? I knew you would!" She reached into her basket. "Do you want another one?"
She watched in pure happiness that swelled in her heart as the Doglefox licked his paws after his delicious muffin meal. "Come on," she told him. "I have to get to the pound. The pound children will be looking for me!"
So Avey continued her daily journey to the Brightvale Pound, stopping to check if the little Doglefox was still at her side, and he was!
When they arrived, Avey noticed the children piling up at the window, crying, "Avey's here! Oh, Avey's here! And she's brought goodies!"
Avey's always smiled at the sight. She was always known as the goodie-girl, coming to bring delicious goodies to all of the pound children. "Stay here," she told the Doglefox. He took a step closer as if to follow. "No, stay," she said gently. "No petpets allowed." She pointed to the old sign hanging from the door of the pound. The Doglefox obeyed, and Avey joyfully pushed open the door of the pound, immediately being swallowed up in a sea of pounded neopets.
After everyone had had their share, Avey sat on one of the bunks, chatting with some of the pound children. She especially liked Gem, the green Cybunny.
"I can't believe no one wants to adopt me, I mean, I'm a Cybunny!" Gem exclaimed. "Why don't people like me, Avey? I'm a limited edition! I mean, who abandons a Cybunny? My owner Sylvia was absolutely nuts!"
Avey heart welled with sorrow. She wanted so much to see Gem get a nice home, with a kind, loving owner like Rosalina Siara.
"People like you, Gem," Avey said, patting Gem's paw for comfort. "Perhaps they just don't know what such a lovely Cybunny you are."
Gem's head went down. "I don't think so, Avey. I just think people don't like me at all."
"Oh, Gem, don't say that!" Avey cried in disbelief. "You are wonderful, just the way you are!"
"Easy for you to say, Avey," Gem said dejectedly, smiling weakly at Avey. "You're so nice, anyone would want you."
Suddenly both friends' heads shot up at the mean voice of Miss Beamon, the Brightvale Pound's founder.
"I told you to sweep!" she snarled fiercely at a little Xweetok. "And I mean sweep! FASTER! NEATER! Sweep neater, you despicable little Greeble!"
Avey shuddered and her heart thumped with anger and sorrow. How awful!
"Poor Clara," Gem said sadly. "Always being mistreated by Miss Beamon."
"Why?" Avey asked in total horror. "She looks so nice!"
"Clara is nice, probably the nicest there is. But Miss Beamon doesn't care. She doesn't care about anything."
Keke the Aisha walked up to them and sat beside them on Gem's bunk. "Aw, poor Clara." She shook her head. "She's so sweet, and Miss Beamon is so not. She and her sister are always being treated like that."
"Okay, children, you may go run along and play outside now," Miss Beamon said, not in an exactly a nice tone, but a decent one. All the children started getting their things together. Clara tried to scamper away from Miss Beamon, but Miss Beamon stopped her with a sharp, booming voice. "AND WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING???" she growled, furiously. Clara stopped and turned shamefully around. "I... I..." Fear flickered in her deep brown eyes.
"There's no "I" in work, now WORK! Where is your sister?" Miss Beamon snapped, infuriatingly.
Keke, Gem, and Avey were great friends, great friends whose hearts cried out for little Clara and her sister, being teased and put hard to work while everyone else got to run about and play.
Another littler Xweetok rushed forward, her head down and a worn Bear clutched in her paw. Avey couldn't see her face, but she could feel waves of fear flowing from her and Avey couldn't take it anymore. She couldn't bear to see such an innocent little girl treated like that! She was trembling with anger, and then something inside of her just snapped. She plunged forward, stopping right in between Miss Beamon and the tormented sisters.
"HOW DARE YOU!" she cried fiercely, her turquoise eyes flashing. "How dare you treat Clara and her sister like that? You should be ashamed of yourself, you... YOU WITCH!"
Miss Beamon, surprised and aghast, threw up her hands. "Why, you naughty little child! How dare I? How dare you!" Miss Beamon's old eyes blazed angrily, like burning vexed pits of gray fire. "Coming into my pound, pretending to be a sweet little goodie-girl, always bringing little goodies for my children. You're nothing but a liar, YOU MEEPIT!" she snarled savagely. "You are banished from this pound... FOREVER!"
The pound children gasped. No more goodies?! No more Avey?!?
Avey, still trembling, felt tears form in her eyes. Had she heard right?
"F-fine!" she spat. "I... I... I wouldn't want to even be associated with a place that treats innocent little children like this anyway!"
She pushed her way through the crowd, sobbing. Gem and Keke gazed in admiration and adoration after their friend.
No more Avey? How dreadful! Could this be true? they thought in disbelief at what had just happened.
Clara and her sister gazed after her too. Nobody had ever tried to stand up for them before... and now she was gone.
Avey pushed fiercely out the pound door. She threw herself into the wild flowers, when suddenly she remembered someone. "Little Doglefox?" she called.
There was no answer, and no little Doglefox in sight.
"Oh, little Doglefox, where have you gone?" she cried desperately, tears falling.
Still no answer. Only the whispering wind through the wild flowers.
"No! No! No!" Avey cried, weeping bitterly into the flowers. "Oh, no..." she sobbed morosely. "No!"
Suddenly something fuzzy nuzzled her tear-stained cheek and she looked up into the face of the little Doglefox.
"Don't give up now..." he seemed to say.
A new light suddenly grew inside of Avey and something flickered. She reached a paw out to the Doglefox and patted him and smiled.
To be continued...