A New Start for Meridell: Part Four
My mom had still not recovered from the shock of what she had read in The Neopian Times. Could it really be true? Were the guards going to administer another pound purge in one week?
I struggled to remember the details of the story my mom had told me just yesterday about the last pound release. The guards had demanded that the old neopets be sent back to their origins, whether or not they would have a place to go home to.
I shuddered as I thought about all the poor neopets who might not have had a home all those years ago and wondered if they were still ok today.
My mom and I were still in the kitchen although she had set the paper down on the table.
“I can’t let this happen again,” my mom said slowly. “I refuse to allow those neopets to come back and realize they have nowhere to stay.”
She looked up at me and said, with certainty and clarity, “Shieylah, we are going to have to move into that castle no matter what.”
After that fateful day in the kitchen with my mom, the next few days had been a whirlwind.
It turns out that Arianna was more of a gossip than anyone thought. Once Lori had told her mom all about my mother’s history here in Meridell, word had spread like wildfire.
My mother refused to be angry with Arianna and would hear none of Arianna’s continuous attempts to apologize. She had had no idea that the word would get all the way to the Neopian Times, she claimed. Even I knew that nothing stayed secret in Neopia for long, but I kept this thought to myself.
After my mom had told Arianna about our plan to move in to the castle anyway, Arianna and Lori had been nothing been helpful ever since.
The four of us had spent the last five days cleaning up the castle and building repairs as much as we possibly could.
This news, of course, also spread across town and we would often see neopets strolling by to catch a glance of our latest repairs. No one in the town knew yet of my mother’s plans with the place, but that was just the way she wanted it. They were all too busy talking about the upcoming pound release and tension was pretty high, as this time they had no neopet to take their anger out on.
I had just finished nailing up a part of a window when my mom came up behind me with a bottle of water.
“You know, I really appreciate how great you’ve been through all of this, Shieylah. I know I changed my mind about fifty times in the beginning about moving here, but I think it all worked out for the best,” my mom said as she smiled at me.
“I think so too, Mom,” I answered breathlessly as I took a chug from the bottle. I really was exhausted, but I was too excited to stop helping.
I looked back toward the castle, amazed how much we had gotten done over the past five days. The bridge had been fixed, the moat re-filled, the doors had all been replaced and the windows were now being secured by me and Lori, working on opposite sides of the castle.
All the neopets were to be sent back to their home towns in two days. I had high hopes that everything would be ready by then.
Ever since my mom had read the news of the latest pound purge in the Neopian Times, she had never questioned what we needed to do. She had looked at this as her opportunity to set things right. History had put a bad taste in the Meridellians' mouths about her family and Rosie was sure that this was her chance to change that. Rosie no longer blamed her father for all that had happened. Surely his decision had been hard, she knew that now, but she was not about to let history repeat itself.
She and Shieylah would move into the castle, fix it up and use it as a foster home for all the neopets that didn’t have homes after being kicked out from the pound. No neopet ever deserved to be homeless and Rosie was determined to make sure that it stayed that way.
By the end of the day Lori and I had finished all the windows and my mom had cleaned the entire downstairs of the castle.
Tomorrow’s plan would be to clean the upstairs and start buying some furniture to put in all the empty rooms.
“I think it’s really nice what you and your mom are doing,” Lori said to me on our walk back to our neohomes that night.
“Yeah, I’m pretty excited about it! It will be so fun to have so many neopets in one neohome!” I answered her.
“I will miss you, though. I know we’ll only be about a mile away from each other, but I’ve become so used to having you next door. We’ll still have our weekend adventures, right?” Lori asked me.
Through all the bustle and excitement over the castle, I had failed to think about the fact that Lori had just brought up. We would be living farther away from each other than we were both used to.
“Oh, of course we’ll still see each other. Every Saturday is our day for adventures. Besides, you can come over whenever you want; the castle is big enough to have sleepovers as often as we want!” This last reminder had done enough to lift my spirits back up. I was sure that Lori and I would never lose touch no matter how far away we lived.
The day before the big arrival, my mom decided it was finally time to announce our plans to the town. Besides, she would have to notify the guards so they could tell all the Meridell neopets being released where to go if they needed a place to stay.
My mom had sent out notification of a town meeting the day before, so a lot of neopets had already arrived in the front of our neohome by the time I woke up. My mom thought it was best to hold it at our neohome rather than the castle, since it wasn’t quite finished yet.
“Thank you all so much for coming,” my mother started after everyone had finally arrived. “I want to start by explaining to everyone who I am and my history here in Meridell.”
I was surprised at first about my mom’s indulgence to all the Meridellians about her history here when she was so sensitive about it. However, as she continued, I realized it was because she wanted everyone to know why it was so important to her to have their support in her foster home plans for the castle.
There were quite a few murmurs and gasps throughout the crowd as my mom explained her entire history here. By the time she got to her plans for the castle, the entire town was glued to her every word with anticipation.
“Well, it’s about time something good happens in this town!” I heard a neopet shout from the crowd once my mom had finished completely.
It was clear that the entire town fully supported my mom’s decision and she was very happy about it.
“I want you all to know that I think every neopet should have a say in what goes on at the castle since it is such a big part of this town’s history,” my mom continued. “I appreciate your support and hope you will all help me in welcoming home our fellow Meridellians tomorrow!”
A huge cheer spread throughout the crowd and they all started to clap.
The next day my mom was running around the castle like she was on fire. Everything in the castle was ready for the big arrival, but now she was busy cooking a huge meal for the fifty five neopets set to arrive later today. Only now there was not just the four of us in the castle, but about thirty other neopets from the town here to help out in any way possible.
Ever since the meeting yesterday, the talk in the town had been about nothing except for the reopening of the castle and its plan for the arriving neopets. Nothing had shaken up the town quite like this since the last pound purge, except now spirits were high with excitement and joy.
Once all the food had been prepared and everything was in place, all there was left to do was wait.
While we were waiting, an old and kind looking Speckled Gnorbu walked up to my mother.
“There is something we as a town have decided that we hope you and your daughter will accept,” he said to my mother, turning once to glance over at me as well.
“What is it, Naret?” my mother asked, apparently having met this Gnorbu before.
“Well,” Naret replied, “ever since your meeting, we have all been so excited about what you’re doing with this old place. We always thought no good would ever come of it, but here you and your daughter arrive in Meridell and just six months later turn the castle into a foster home. The town of Meridell could really use some guidance and structure that has long been missing ever since...” He paused, wondering if he should bring it up to Rosie when her mood was so positive right now. Deciding to take a chance, he continued, “Well, ever since your dad made his decision about the last pound purge. We would love it if you would rule over Meridell as our queen.” Naret smiled and waited for Rosie’s answer.
Rosie couldn’t believe what she was hearing. The town wanted her as their queen? Queen Rosie?
“Wow, what a surprise and honor,” my mother finally managed to answer.
She looked at me for approval and I quickly nodded back to her after my realization that if my mother was queen that would mean I was a princess!
“I suppose that would be quite enjoyable and I cannot think of a better town full of more kind neopets than Meridell. I accept your request and only hope that I can live up to your expectations as queen!” My mother was beaming with happiness as she answered Naret.
I hadn’t noticed before but it was apparent now that the rest of the neopets in the room had been listening in when a loud applause broke out after my mom’s acceptance.
“You will do great!” “I’m so happy you accepted!” “Hurray!” The entire room buzzed with excitement for what was to come for Meridell.
Later that night, when all of our special guests from the Neopian Pound had arrived and we were seated around a very large dinner table, I reflected on how much my life had changed in the past six months.
Little had I known that our move into Meridell would be our last move for a very long time. Not only had I made a great friend here, but I was also now a Royal Kacheek!!
I looked around the table at all the new faces, many of them talking amongst each other and some looking over toward my mom with gratitude in their eyes.
I had never been more happy to be a part of this family and more excited for what the future in this castle might possibly bring.
Meridell was finally at peace.