Baby Adventures: The Safety Deposit Box
"Come on!" shrieked a Baby Usul as she playfully leaped across the silk red carpet strewn on the floor of the hallway. Her two little friends toddled behind her, trying to keep up with the Usul without getting injured by copying her daring maneuvers. The three babies were heading to the Playroom together. Each had crawled out of their cribs and wandered through the hall to meet up with the others. They were looking forward to the bright, inviting rose pink and spring green walls, the many toys sitting properly aligned on the bookcase instead of the books they could not read, and the many fun games waiting to be played.
"Treaphie, wait up!" Kasthie babbled, flapping her little light-pink wings tirelessly to propel herself forward further along. A small Baby Korbat, Kasthie was rather shy when in the presence of others, but to babies, she would chit-chat away for hours if given the time. She wore a little baby-blue bow on her head, a pink Valentine's Day Dummy in her mouth, and had a sugar-white body with teeny pink wings that did not provide her flight at her age.
Kolyae, the Baby Chomby, nodded. He was a rather calm, quiet baby to all, even to his friends, who he knew more than anyone else. Kolyae had been created as a Chomby on Chomby Day, and he had been painted baby by his owner not long afterward. Because of being a Baby Neopet within the first year of life, he was truly a baby in the way he acted and looked. The same was for his sisters, who were indeed painted Baby during the first hour of life. He was on a different account (a "main account") than his sisters (who were on a "side account"), and so he had to come a much farther distance away than his friends. The way their Neohome was set up, each account had its own corridor made up of bedrooms on the top floor, but on the bottom, there was a main Kitchen, Bathroom, Dining room, Living room, Playroom, and Storage room (known as a Safety Deposit Box), which all of the family shared. The babies had never set foot in the attic or the basement and didn't plan to. Those dark rooms looked scary.
"Well, sorry, but you guys are so slow!" giggled Treaphie, who couldn't wait to get to the much-awaited Playroom. She was the troublemaker, more so than any of the grown Neopets and her baby friends. With the combination of cute looks and cleverness of mind, Treaphie was nearly unstoppable. She was fluffy with her light pink fur and bushy pink tail. Big violet eyes allowed her to give the most adorable facial expressions. Treaphie had a lavender bow tied around each of her ears every morning, and one that rested on the tip of her tail. "Besides, we're here."
The two babies beside her peeked down nervously. A long, dangerous wooden flight of stairs that seemed to go on for miles to such small pets lay before them. Little Kasthie could not bear it; she put a small, thin wing over her two squinting eyes. Kolyae, meanwhile, simply glanced at the smiling Treaphie, who always seemed to strangely enjoy the danger. "Um, you do have a plan?"
"Well, of course I do!" babbled the Baby Usul, who simply pressed her little fluffy paw against the wall. At the touch of the Usul, the portion of the light blue wall retracted, and a metal cranking machine appeared in its place. It was similar to Brianna's, their owner's, old-fashioned pencil-sharpener that she had thrown into her Safety Deposit Box not long ago. A thick, sturdy rope coiled around it, and as Treaphie turned the handle, a mechanical clicking could be heard above their heads. Curiously, Kasthie and Kolyae shifted their gaze upwards. A system of ropes was now suspended down the railing. It went down alongside the rail, across the side of the staircase, then back up the other way. Three bulky black belts were fastened to the rope.
"Who goes first?" Treaphie grinned. The pets did not exactly mirror her smile, and instead offered weak ones as an exchange.
Treaphie unexpectedly turned to the Baby Korbat. She clung to Kasthie's arm, who shrieked in protest, and fastened her securely within the black belt. She then did the same to Kolyae, although for him she simply fastened her grip on a green hexagon that was on his head, as he was a four-legged baby who needed all four to walk. Treaphie cranked the pencil-sharpener and sent the two babies, still worried, down the stairs.
Their worried speaking soon turned into happy shrieking. "It's a ride, like at the park!" laughed Kasthie, and soon Kolyae was smiling, too. Reaching the bottom, the two unfastened each other's belts and then transfixed their curious gazes upstairs.
Treaphie was still at the top of the stairs. With steady paws, she tightly secured the belt around her hips. She then slowly walked backwards to the wall. Immediately after touching the cold plaster to her fur, Treaphie surged forward at incredible speed, pushing with all her might against the crank. It sent her down at tremendous speed, turning wildly. Once at the bottom of the staircase, Treaphie, whose paws were already gripping the belt clasp, squeezed it, and jumped as it came undone. As the third belt circled to the top, Treaphie pushed her paw against the wall just underneath the light switch, and the system automatically shut down. The wall came back to normal, ropes retreated to the ceiling, and all looked just as it always did by the time Brianna trotted to the stairs.
"Oh, how did all of you guys get down here? Haven't I told you that walking down stairs is dangerous?" She grinned. seeing their faces staring up at her, blinking questioningly. "Come on, follow me."
The three babies trailed after Brianna, and she soon led them in front of a room they had never before dared enter: The Storage Room. The babies' brothers and sisters were also there, apparently waiting for Brianna, and when they saw her they began peppering her with questions. But Brianna held her hand for silence, and the talking died down.
"As you know, I have been a packrat with the associated avatar for a while now. As a result, I have over a thousand different items in here. It's become impossible to find many of my great treasures. Therefore, today we are cleaning out the box."
The babies looked horrified. Though they could understand each other's babbles, they could not have their talking deciphered by older Neopets - and owners - no matter how much these older Neopets tried. But they could understand everyone of all ages. And they didn't like what they were hearing.
"All right, so you three will be looking for what seems to appear as cheap, unwanted, or otherwise inexpensive objects. Treaphie will hand her things to Awesomific, Kasthie to Oeur, and Kolyae to Curesa. Each pet receiving items from a baby will bring the collection of items to Toupahz. FairyCloudPuff will be responsible for final checks on all junk being cleared, so after you get it down to perhaps 600 items, she will check each of the remaining ones for junk. Toupahz shall put the junk in our shop and price it for 1 neopoint each. My lab pets are also going to be relieved of their duties today to assist us. Lirantha will look up each item in the Shop Wizard's quarters. Kysalas needs to make a list of every item going on sale, so that Lirantha can get the items checked, give the list of what to sell and what not to sell to Toupahz, and get the new one from Kysalas. Oh, and Silce and Equinare will make a board on the Avatar Chat for all future packrats needing junk to advertise our items, and the lab pets will post on the board to keep it from getting too far down the list of boards. We all clear?"
All of the Neopets Brianna owned surrounded her, and each nodded their heads solemnly. Gloom darkened their eyes.
"Good. Come on, everyone! Let's clear this space!" Brianna cheered. But the Neopets were less enthusiastic.
"T-Treaphie?" stuttered Kasthie, gazing worriedly around the dank room. Treaphie's little Usul head popped out of a pile of plushies in the far left corner.
"Yeah?" she asked, tossing a grimy kernel of popcorn into her mouth and munching it distractedly.
Kasthie stared at her friend in horror. "How old is that?" she whispered, momentarily distracted from her previous concern.
"Probably as old as this," Kolyae commented, trotting up behind the two. He made a face, sticking out his tongue as he raised the moldy hamburger in his left paw.
"This is disgusting!" complained Kasthie, sighing and sitting on the ground. "I hate working at a junkyard."
"A Safety Deposit Box," Kolyae corrected.
Kasthie glared at the Baby Chomby beside her. "Is there actually any difference?"
"Let's all calm down," Treaphie told her two friends, noticing a bit of tension arising. "We escaped the cribs. We escaped the top floor. We can escape a chore. After all, we're babies."
"That's just it!" Kasthie whined, a tear escaping the corner of her eye and dripping slowly down her cream-colored cheek. "We can't do anything. We're babies!"
"Exactly." Treaphie motioned to Kasthie, gesturing that she was correct. "Remember that. We can't do anything." Treaphie winked.
Kolyae was looking about him with distaste. "But, after all, this is our owner's chore for us, and we aren't supposed to just take a nap. She's even making the lab pets leave their duties for today, and they're pretty busy in their schedules."
Treaphie grinned, an idea pricking about and a plan developing. "Get cleaning, my friends," she told the two of them. "But don't worry about anything specific. Just clean everything."
"E-everything?" Kasthie stuttered, spinning around. Her gaze drifted over a couple of dung seats and a creepy portrait and settled upon a steaming-hot bowl of Toenail Soup.
Treaphie scurried to a metal rack in the far end of the room. Underneath the many beautiful dresses studded with jewels dangling from shining metal hangers, she grabbed a pair of Ultra Rubber Gloves. While passing the gloves to the Korbat, she smiled. "Yup. You may want to use these."
Kasthie shuddered. Afterward, she sighed, covered her tiny little paws with the Ultra Rubber Gloves and glared at Treaphie. "You better know what you're doing," she said icily.
Lirantha furrowed her brow, storming toward the home with a crumpled parchment in hand. The Blue Pteri was too angry to soar, too fed up to take the quickest route. No, she simply marched on, her Flowered Circlet seeming to darken with every step. The Air Faerie Necklace that hung around her neck was a spherical Air Charm held on her satin purple strand of ribbon. The orb's normal sky-blue hue became clouded with purple. This deep purple mist overpowered the soft blue shade as an assortment of greying clouds take over the sky.
As she approached her home, her two black beady eyes were raging. She marched on over to Kysalas and, as his newly completed sheet of neat printing in ink was handed to her, she swatted his feathery hand away with her own.
"Kysalas, what do you believe you are doing?" she questioned, glaring at her brother.
The Chocolate Pteri, Kysalas, could not help but be appalled. "Me?" he roared, gazing at the crumpled sheet clasped tightly in her hand, "What about you? Just look at my beautiful work there being ruined!"
She narrowed her eyes. "Kysalas, all of these items are treasures. Not junk. Why are you having me waste my time looking up the wrong items?"
"You're looking them up so that we understand which ones are junk and which ones are valuable, Lirantha."
"But none of them are worthless! All have sentimental value!"
"What?" Kysalas was aghast. The two left their posts and marched up to Toupahz, who was fluttering lazily in the entrance to the shop. There was a big sign hung on the simplistic doorway below her, advertising the packrat sale. The door was very basic, unpainted and still smelling of fresh oak.
Toupahz herself was stunning. Most of her body was such a thick black that it resembled coal from its deepest excavations into the far depths of the world. However, her stomach and face were creamy white, quite a contrast to the surrounding skin shade. And atop her gracefully curved wings, a shimmering, radiant blue was blazing in intricate patterns. But the Pteri siblings were in no mood to admire their sister today.
"Hey, there you are, Lirantha!" Toupahz brushed a dark, thick black paw against her brilliantly white cheek, and all expected some darkness to rub off on her. But not a single black speck showed on Toupahz's eager face. "Come on, then, what do I price the things for? You know, I'm surprised it's all junk--"
"Junk?" Kysalas interrupted.
"'Cause it ain't."
"Huh? But it was--"
"Picked by our family's three babies," Lirantha and Kysalas stated in unison.
Toupahz's face seemed to turn pale. "Oh, my," she whispered. "You're telling me that we almost sold this Green Uni Morphing potion... for 1 neopoint?"
They nodded simultaneously.
"Oh. Oh no." Toupahz's voice was quiet. Then, "And, and everything else, too?" Something had to be done.
"Come on, Toupahz! We have to tell Brianna!"
"I can't leave my post!" the Faerie Meerca wailed. "You two are going to have to do this. Did you check everything? Are you sure that it's all worth over 50 neopoints?"
"It's as if they had no idea what they were doing, which is probably true," Kysalas confirmed, nodding.
The two siblings left Toupahz at the shop to straighten up. Toupahz hurriedly pulled things off of shelves and stuffed them in bins so they could be brought back home, muttering the whole time, "Oh, no need to help me put away the junk. Carry on."
After Lirantha recited the tale of what had happened with the items a third time, Brianna had heard enough. She marched up to the Safety Deposit Box, thoughts swarming in her head. She had suspected it all along. The babies just weren't fit for such an important job. Brianna thought long and hard on the way over. It was clear. There was absolutely no point in having them do the chores. Yes, they would have to sit out from chores, or at least this one.
Brianna made her way to the door. She gripped the spokes of the wheel, which was metallic just like the box it barred the way of, and twisted it. The door unlocked. It creaked as it revealed a crack to slip through, and Brianna entered the room herself. She gazed with an admiring smile at all of the beautiful objects the room contained. "We could move that old worthless chair into the living room, perhaps, and maybe paint it a pretty rose color and put some of those Pink Pillows on the other side on top of it..." She snapped to attention. She had to find those Baby pets.
"Treaphie! Kolyae!" she hollered, checking in every corner of the box. She pushed her way through a barricade of edible socks (and picked up one to munch on that was surprisingly delicious) and found herself staring at her collection of Bottled Faeries on the other side. "Oh, how pretty..." she whispered, filled with thoughts of how to line up the house with their glowing bodies fluttering about in small bottles.
Meanwhile, hidden behind a wall of dung that no one could understand the purpose of having in the Safety Deposit Box, the three Baby pets waited, sitting in silence.
"How come she didn't say my name?" Kasthie moaned.
"'Cause you're the youngest," Treaphie explained. "She probably feels you shouldn't be yelled at or something."
"Oh." The Baby Korbat perked up immediately.
"Do we have to be silent?" questioned Kolyae impatiently, kicking the floor and stirring up a layer of dust that went floating through the Box.
"No, in fact, we gotta reveal ourselves." Treaphie motioned with a beckoning hand to the left, and they all tiptoed out.
"Kolyae, Kasthie, don't go wandering off! Follow me!" hollered Treaphie. The two obediently followed the Usul and plopped onto the cold metal floor underneath them.
"Now, then," Treaphie took a deep breath. "You all know that the only way to get out of this chore without doing it is to get fired." Treaphie made air quotes around the term 'fired'. "You know what we've gotta accomplish, correct?"
Kolyae tentatively raised a stubby yellow paw, as if in Neoschool wanting to answer the teacher's math problem on the board. "So that's why we grabbed random items?" he questioned her. "To do a bad job and trick them into firing us?"
Treaphie beamed. She was teaching the innocent Kolyae well in the arts of mischief. "Excellent job, Kolyae!" Her gaze turned to Kasthie, who was cowering, leaning against a large desk crafted of bamboo. "Now, tell me, why would Brianna be in here in the first place?"
"To fire us," Kasthie mouthed, too worried to speak. "What if we get in trouble?"
"We're babies. We don't get in trouble for not understanding." Again she made air quotes, this time around the final two words.
"But she can't find us!" Kasthie whined. "So now what do we do? Was it all for nothing?"
"No, we'll find her," Treaphie reasoned.
"So we have to find our owner," Kolyae whispered, "in this. This huge chamber."
"Yes," Treaphie explained. "But we have to do it as if we were unknowing babies pulling out random stuff and doing games with them."
Kasthie sighed. "I'll get the gloves," she moaned.
"They're both learning." Treaphie smiled. She had never been more proud.
"Goo!" Kolyae clapped his paws together, picking up a tambourine. It was a radiant blue around the rim, with a tan surface on the two circles. He began slamming this onto a Slushie Machine from the Altador Cup.
Meanwhile, Kasthie was using the rubber mittens for lifting up miscellaneous objects and bouncing all around. She was squealing, "Coo! Coo!" in baby babbling, but she still didn't know where her owner was.
And no one was coming to her. She didn't hear a single, "Oh, there's my Kasthie!", or, "Don't ever leave me again!", or even a, "Where are they?". She couldn't believe it. Feeling more lost than ever, she raced around the room, piling up treasures and throwing them into the piles for her partner to collect and deliver at the shop. She settled down in the plants section and began hugging a pretty plush faerie.
Treaphie was having no more luck than the others. She was dancing around, going, "Wee! Da! Doo!" She felt it was very pointless to talk in this way and wondered why everyone assumed they actually conversed with each other using such language.
The three ran into each other. Kolyae had slipped on a puddle and crashed into Kasthie as Treaphie danced into them. The three ached and rubbed their heads.
"What do we do, Treaphie?" Kolyae asked, tossing aside the tambourine.
Treaphie gulped. Her two friends looked to her as a leader, and she couldn't even lead these babies out of a chore. How could she help her friends?
She thought fast, gazing around her and imagining what Brianna would be doing. Wherever Brianna was, she was most likely distracted. There had to be some way to grab her attention.
She saw the answer atop the mountain of junk and treasures beside her.
"I know exactly what to do." She smiled mysteriously. The two babies gazed wonderingly at each other before shifting their look to Treaphie. She propped herself up by clinging to Illusen's Leaf Shield, wedged tightly between two cushions that were weighed down by many other items. Treaphie steadied herself, one firm paw on Kolyae's head (who had stood up on his hind legs so that she could grip him for support) and her other paw wobbling rather unsteadily on a large compass encased in a box. Treaphie dug her foot out of the mountain and placed it on top of a random item -- which she immediately hoped was Mashed Potatoes and not Brain Wrap. She looked down, saw the rich, creamy white, and smiled. Mashed Potatoes. As long as she didn't show Brianna and get stuck with bathtime tonight, that was fine.
She climbed higher and higher on the wobbling structure, calling out, "You know, maybe these items could be put to better usage than selling to another packratter for a single neopoint. Doesn't our cousin love reading books? And our new Baby cousin likes plushies a lot. I know a friend looking for a petpet, who would adore these." Treaphie continued rummaging through as she climbed higher and higher up the mountain. At long last, she reached the top.
"Wherever Brianna might be, this should snap her attention towards us - and get us out of the job." With a mischievous smile playing on her lips, Treaphie heaved a large black ball containing only three little holes off the top of the pile. A bowling ball. Its massive size and weight tumbled downward, and soon they all heard a thunderous "BOOM!" ringing in their ears. They clasped their paws over their earlobes.
All was silent after that for only a second.
Then an overjoyed owner called out, "I found them! They must've done that!" Squealing, she leaped over a plushie, then an empty water bottle, and then a disgusting pile of rotting dung and made progress towards the bowling ball. When she reached it, her gaze lifted up the towering mountain, up to Treaphie, her Baby Usul. "What? You're up at the top of that mountain? No! Treaphie, get down here right NOW," she snapped.
Treaphie obligingly climbed downward, and her two companions showed themselves.
"Oh, I'm so glad I found you! By the way, ah, your service is no longer needed." Overjoyed, but trying not to show it, the babies made their way to the entrance of the box. They crawled in an innocent manner from the box to their home's welcoming, warm interior.
"Stay out of trouble!" their owner called, flashing them a grin.
The three gazed at one another with mischievous eyes dancing in the light. "No promises," snickered Treaphie, and they crawled to the Playroom, where, they hoped, another adventure would be waiting for them.
This is the first of many adventures that my baby pets go on. Check back soon to read more!