Usuki Singing Stars #9: In the Name of Science Class
"Patricia Winston! Come down here immediately!" Ms. Winston shouted with a stroke of impatience. "You certainly have some explaining to do, young lady!" she continued as Patricia trudged her way down the stairs.
Oh, now what? Patricia wondered while she tried to avoid her mother's concerned glare. Did she find out that I was the one who took the five hundred neopoints from her purse? I knew I should have asked her first! The faerie Shoyru waited patiently for her mother to speak. She hoped dearly that it was going to be a small problem that both she and her mother would think was just minor.
"Patricia," Ms. Winston said in a concerned tone, "your science teacher mailed me your mark and it seems like your grade has slipped tremendously."
"How bad is it?" asked Patricia, hoping that it was just a B- they were talking about.
"Oh, quite a lot apparently," Ms. Winston sighed. "He wrote that you're barely passing the class with a very risky 49.2%. Now of course I don't understand how your grade slipped so suddenly from your last report card, but Mr. Noakes has stated that you need to do an excellent job on your chemistry project in order to pass the class."
"But Mom," Patricia wailed. "Chemistry's so hard! Everything about it is dull and pointless! Why can't I just take a tiny quiz or something instead?"
"Because this was what your teacher said," Ms. Winston insisted. "And because he has also raised a concern about you not understanding anything, I did the only thing I could do; I hired a tutor."
"A tutor? You hired me a tutor??" Patricia gasped. Her mother nodded and continued by saying that the new 'tutor' was an actual science wiz from the Virtupets Space Station.
"He even works for Dr Sloth! Can you believe all of this good luck?" Ms. Winston smiled with delight at the thought of the tutor helping her daughter succeed in science class and in other possible subjects that Patricia struggled in. But before Patricia could protest the fact that she didn't actually need a tutor, the door bell rang and Ms. Winston rushed to the front door to open it.
"Oh, hello! So glad you could make it! I'm sure your trip was exhausting...." And on and on Ms. Winston rambled until she had finally closed the door and began to introduce a stout, disco Quiggle to Patricia. For some unknown reason, the Quiggle was wearing a pair of Green X-Ray Goggles that seemed to put Patricia in a strange, hypnotic trance that she immediately blinked herself out of.
"So this is Mr. Celeb, dear," Ms. Winston said in a sweet voice. "He's going to help you in any of your struggling subjects, and I've already informed him about your chemistry project that I hope will bring your mark up."
"Salutations, mortal," Celeb said enthusiastically. He gave Patricia a big grin and pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket. He opened it and read, "I am much obliged to be your new tu-tor, and I'm very pleased with the progress that you are making as well."
"But... I haven't even done anything," Patricia insisted. "And why are you reading from that sheet?" Caleb shrugged his shoulders and followed Patricia to the staircase.
"My word!" Celeb exclaimed as he knelt down at the first step. He looked surprised when he looked up the staircase. "What an interesting specimen! It is so beautiful, yet also so quiet. I am amazed that such a group of elevated blocks of wood can bring one up to a higher level!" He turned to Patricia and asked her, "What DO you call this contraption?"
Patricia cocked an eyebrow at her tutor. "They're called stairs. You walk on them to get to the second floor of... our house."
"How ingenious!" Celeb cried. He immediately ran up the stairs with a triumphant cry of success. Patricia face-palmed herself with misery. Her new tutor was acting like he had just climbed the highest mountain in Terror Mountain!
"And that was why Cuddles gave those socks he found to Auntie Shae," Scary explained. The purple Bruce was talking to her sister Sparkles when Patricia and Caleb entered Patricia's bedroom. The two Bruces were patiently waiting for Patricia to return from her chat with Ms. Winston. While Scary sipped her smoothie and read a fashion magazine, Sparkles was busy drawing diagrams for their chemistry project.
Sparkles sighed and gazed at Scary. "This project is the worst Neoschool project in the history of Neopia!" The pink Bruce dropped her pencil and then asked Patricia, "So what took you so long, Pat? Did you mom have a fit or something?"
"Did she find out about those neopoints you stole from her?" Scary wondered.
"Nope," said Patricia. "I was just waiting for my tutor to stop examining our upstairs hallway. Who would have thought that somebody would actually find searching for tiny fluff balls in carpeting a fun thing to do?"
"Weirdos," Scary sighed. She closed her magazine and briefly informed Patricia about their project plans. "So Sparkles was thinking that maybe we could do a potion or something with chemicals and stuff. Does your new tutor know anything about Neopian chemicals?"
"Hopefully," said Patricia. "Hey Celeb, what do you know about chemicals?"
"Chemicals, eh?" Celeb rubbed his chin as he thought. "Well, I do know some things about Neopium and Tyrannuim. And I have been practicing my skill at Faeryllium and Krawkite bonding."
"Really?" Patricia gasped, not knowing that Celeb had actually known something about actual science. "Do you know any good formulas that we can use for our project?"
"Oh, sure." Celeb grinned. He took out a pen and paper from his pocket and quickly wrote up a little equation for the girls. "Here you go, son. This 'ere formula will help you create a rainbow in a beaker! It was formulated by yours truly."
"Wow! I thought that you were just going to help us draw test-tubes on paper!" Sparkles gasped.
"And I just thought that you were stupid!" Scary exclaimed. She took the formula from Patricia and folded it. "I think it's safe to say that we will definitely pass science class now. So how about we go take a shopping break?"
"That sounds like a swell idea," said Celeb. "I'm sure that we'll find some wonderful sciencey-type toys for your project. I'll go get my wallet and then we can go to the Toy Store."
"Well, it's too bad that you're not subbing our class tomorrow," Sparkles giggled. "I'm sure you would do a lot of cool experiments instead of textbook stuff." Scary and Patricia nodded and began a very excited chatter while they left the room.
Celeb just stood by the doorway and said, "Subbing, eh?"
"Very well done, Johnny! That was an impressive model volcano that you've created." Mr. Noakes applauded the blue Zafara while he grabbed his model volcano and walked to his desk. Mr. Noakes checked his clipboard again and announced, "And now for our final project for today. Patricia?"
Patricia gulped. Here goes nothing, she thought nervously as she followed Scary and Sparkles to the front of the class. Everything that the girls needed for their demonstration was laid out in front of them: beakers, test-tubes, the chemicals, three pairs of goggles, and the formula sheet that Celeb wrote for them.
"We are going to create a rainbow in a beaker," Sparkles announced in a semi-confident tone. "The first thing we will do is put on our safety goggles for protection. Scary, would you please put the recommended amount of Neopium into the big beaker?" Scary nodded and carefully re-read Celeb's formula for self assurance.
After she put the Neopium inside, Scary said, "And now Patricia will put in the Krawkite to create a stable bond. These two chemicals will create the base of the rainbow."
"Ooooooooh..." The class cheered while Patricia placed the Krawkite into the big beaker. After placing the three recommended drops into the beaker, she and Sparkles waited patiently for a stable base to form inside the beaker. But things began to go a little weird when bubbles, instead of a little cloudy base, began to form and began to overflow out of the beaker.
"What's going on?" Patricia whispered to Sparkles. Sparkles shrugged her shoulders.
"Do you think it's time to add the Tyrannium yet?" Scary whispered to her partners. But before anybody could stop her, Scary grabbed the Tyrannium test-tube and dripped three little drops into the bubbling beaker. Now the whole table began to shake as the beaker bubbled more and smoke began to come out in small doses.
"I don't get it; we followed all of the instructions in that textbook Celeb gave us!" Patricia insisted. She couldn't help but stare at the bubbling concoction that she had helped to create.
"Maybe we forgot something?" Scary suggested.
"I don't think we did," Sparkles insisted. "Perhaps we read the instructions wrong? We did speed read it since you guys wanted to check out the Grooming Parlour before it closed."
"But this doesn't make sense!" Patricia exclaimed. By now the whole science classroom was filling up with smoke, and Mr. Noakes had ordered everybody out of the classroom in case there would be an explosion. Amongst all of the sudden commotion, Patricia saw her tutor enter the classroom with a tray of subs in his hands.
"I'm here to do some subbing," Celeb said proudly. He placed the tray of subs onto the teacher's desk and turned toward the bubbling mess. "Uhhh, I didn't do that," Celeb told Patricia.
"Of course you didn't! We made this fifteen minutes ago!" Patricia tried hard not to throttle Celeb with her bare hands, so she tried some deep breathing exercises before she continued. "Celeb, why did you bring a tray of subs into our classroom?" Patricia wondered.
"Well, one of you wished that I could sub you guys," Celeb insisted, "so that's what I'm doing! I got all of these fresh subs just a few minutes ago-"
"That's not what I meant by 'subbing'!" Sparkles insisted. "What I meant was that if you could sub-"
"Oh, enough of this stupid mumbo jumbo," Scary insisted. "If we can't stop this thing from exploding we'll all be blue in the face, and I'm not talking about face-paint blue! I'm talking about tacky, permanent, so two years ago blue faced!"
"Quick, Celeb, do you know how to stop this thing in time?" Patricia wondered.
Celeb thought for a moment. "I guess I can try to defuse it. But I've only managed to go up to level six before-"
"Level six?? What are you talking about??" Patricia demanded. Then after a quick thought of realization, Patricia gave Celeb a pleading look and asked, "Celeb, for the sake of Neopia PLEASE don't tell me that everything you know about chemistry comes from that game 'Chemistry for Beginners'!!!!!"
"Well, of course it does," said Celeb. "Sometimes I play it every day when I'm not at work, and sometimes I even play it at work!" Everybody was now giving Celeb a pleading look for action, since they were too scared to do anything themselves. With a final thought, Celeb exclaimed, "I have an idea!"
"You're not going to just throw that thing out of the class window, are you?" Scary wondered.
"Oh, heavens, no," Celeb insisted. He led the girls to the still bubbling mess and grabbed a test-tube marked 'Slothite'. After putting the whole thing inside the bubbling beaker, the girls watch in amazement as the bubbles began to pop at a tremendous rate and the unstable base began to settle down. The room was still smoky and there was a strong smell of chemicals in the air, but everybody was thrilled that Celeb was managed to stop the mess in time.
Patricia blinked. "How did you know that??" she sputtered in disbelief.
"Oh, everybody who works for Dr Sloth knows this old trick." Celeb grinned. "I'm just surprised that you girls didn't know this!" He looked around the empty classroom and then at his tray of subs. "Well, I guess I'm done subbing for today," Celeb insisted. "I suppose I can give these subs to my comrades when I go back to the office. Good-bye, Petunia!"
It's 'Patricia', Patricia thought, but she decided not to say it out loud. After the whole class was un-evacuated back into the classroom, Mr. Noakes decided to give the group a C for their efforts with their project. And Ms. Winston was so happy about the passing grade that she had decided to pay Celeb double the amount that he was offered. But Celeb admitted that he couldn't stay in Neopia Central any longer, since he was in deep trouble with Dr. Sloth for missing two days of work.
"I guess I should have told him about the tutoring thing," Celeb giggled. After waving goodbye to the Winstons and their staircase, Celeb walked out of the house and headed home.
"Well, now that we're done with all that," said Ms. Winston, "I couldn't help but notice that I'm now five hundred neopoints short. Patricia?"
Oh no! Patricia thought anxiously. Save me, Celeb! Save me!!!!!!