Usuki Singing Stars #11: Patricia's Holiday Miracle - Part Three
"You pounded your daughter!?!?!" Patricia exclaimed, not caring that she was going to explode on an Ixi that she had considered to be her 'role model'. "How could you do such a thing, Mr. Ridgewood? And to think I thought that you were one of the smartest Neopians in Neopia Central! But you're nothing more than a common idio-"
Suddenly Patricia stopped her complaining to re-consider her words. Mr. Ridgewood had mentioned that he was struggling with taking care of his daughter, and even Patricia understood the desperate plea of the poor. She had remembered last year when she and Sparkles had decided to volunteer at the Soup Kitchen in order to help the less fortunate, and Patricia also knew how hard it was for younger kids to adapt to life in the Pound. Even Lola, who is one of Patricia's closest and dearest friends, was pounded last year for the same reasons as Elizabeth! Both girls had struggling parents who couldn't afford to feed them, and both parents had to pound their only child in order to give them a better future.
Mr. Ridgewood just wanted his baby girl to survive the winter, Patricia considered, and he also wanted her to find a better home as well. Perhaps both Elizabeth and Lola could understand each other through their experiences at the pound-even if Elizabeth was kicked out due to old age. After thinking over what she had just considered, Patricia sighed and bowed her head at Mr. Ridgewood with shame.
"I'm really sorry for what I had just blurted out, Mr. Ridgewood," said Patricia. "I didn't mean a single world I said! I was just... well, as soon as you said that you had to pound your daughter, I remembered last year when one of my best friends was pounded right before Christmas Eve. Her parents didn't want to hurt her feelings because they were doing this to help her, since they were also living off the Money Tree's donations. Anyway, I think it's best for me to go right now."
Mr. Ridgewood rubbed his chin and beckoned Patricia to sit down. "You mustn't get too upset about what you had just said," he insisted, "and I understand completely if you think my actions were, um, foolish and very unintelligent."
"But I was wrong! You had to pound her for her own good!" Patricia insisted, secretly feeling even guiltier about what she had said a few moments ago. "But, speaking of your daughter, do you know what happen to her? Did she ever get adopted?"
"I honestly believe that I will never know," Mr. Ridgewood sighed with despair. Patricia noticed that his eyes were tearing up again. "There is a very big chance that my Elizabeth could have been adopted before Christmas, since many parents these days are more sympathetic to a baby pet in the Pound than an older pet who would have suffered much more. But I guess it's their decision, and I'm also certain that my daughter would have found a loving new family by that New Year's Day. Excuse me."
Poor Mr. Ridgewood, Patricia sighed as she watched Mr. Ridgewood get up and walk away. She couldn't help but notice that his tears were now running down his cheeks at rapid speed.
Then a thought struck her. We're going to the Pound today to get the new baby! Patricia thought excitedly. She could not believe how happy she was feeling about visiting the Pound, which was a sad place that would make any normal Neopian ball their eyes out as soon as they catch the glimpse of a cold and starving pet.
But Patricia couldn't help but feel excited. I can go to the Pound and see if I can find anything on Elizabeth Ridgewood! she thought eagerly. Then I can help her reunite with her father on Christmas Day! I'm sure Mr. Ridgewood would be crying with tears of joy if he sees Elizabeth as a young lady. Without saying goodbye to Mr. Ridgewood, Patricia bounced off her sofa chair and ran to grab her coat and boots. She immediately ran out of his front door and sped as fast as she could to her home, while Mr. Ridgewood wept uncontrollably in his kitchen.
"Wow! Look at all of these poor pets," Patricia sighed as she followed her family down a damp hallway. Everywhere she turned, she could see cold and depressed pets frowning at her while they wrapped themselves in tattered blankets. Some of these pets tried hard to smile at their guests while other pets just frowned, making Patricia wonder if they were just doing this for donation purposes.
But I won't let them get in my way! Patricia insisted. While she had also wanted to see her family's new baby, her other intention was to find any records or Pound workers who could remember seeing a baby Ixi here. By the time she was finished with her personal thoughts, Patricia looked in front of her and gasped as a yellow Wocky placed a little baby Shoyru into her mother's arms.
"Oh my. He is certainly cuter in person!" Ms. Winston gasped. She knelt down to Patricia and Alan, and showed them the little wide-eyed baby Shoyru that was bundled up in a warm wool blanket. "Meet Brayden Winston," Ms. Winston said in a hushed voice.
"Awwww!" Alan and Patricia cooed. Brayden looked at his older siblings and gave them a happy smile. While Alan played a quick game of peek-a-boo with his new baby brother, Patricia quickly sneaked away from her family and ran back to the front office.
She gasped when Dr. Death asked her, "How did everything go? Did you find the baby alright?"
Patricia nodded. "Yes," she squeaked. After a few short breaths, Patricia asked Dr. Death, "Do you, by any chance, keep any records on all of the pets that check in and check out of here?"
"Why, yes, we do," said Dr. Death. "We do keep records on all of our-wait a minute. Is this all about your little friend Lola? You know that Cybunny that was pounded here last year-"
"Umm no, I'm not here to look at Lola's record," Patricia explained. "You see, I have a friend who had pounded his daughter here a very long time ago. Her name was Elizabeth Ridgewood, and she first came here when she was a baby Ixi. Do you remember seeing any baby Ixi come here before?"
Dr. Death rubbed his chin while he thought. Then he grinned at Patricia, and the grin made her feel a bit uneasy about his response. "The good news is that I do, in fact, know Elizabeth Ridgewood. She's a very good friend of mine and she also works part-time at the Soup Kitchen."
"Really! Oh thank you so much!" Patricia exclaimed. "So where is she? And was she ever adopted??"
"She was adopted by a promenade couple in Year 3," Dr. Death explained. "Her adoptive parents were apparently very kind to her, but Elizabeth learned a short while ago about her real father. I was the one who told her all about him."
"Did you mention all of the stories that Mr. Ridgewood wrote for the Neopian Times?" Patricia wondered.
Dr. Death nodded. "Why, yes, I did. But unfortunately, even that didn't cool her jets. Because you see: Elizabeth hates her father. And she told me that she would never want to see him ever again!"
"WHAT!?" Patricia exclaimed. She couldn't believe how cold Elizabeth Ridgewood sounded! She frowned at Dr. Death and asked him, "Do you know where she lives? I want to give that lady a piece of my mind!"
Dr. Death grabbed a piece of paper and quickly wrote down the address. "There you go. Now if you have any luck in succeeding, I want you to come here and tell me all about it!" While he laughed out loud over the thought of Elizabeth forgiving her father, Patricia stormed out of the Pound and looked at the address again.
After seeing her family come out, Patricia followed them back home. She also told her mother that she was going to go visit a friend. At least I hope she's friendly! Patricia gulped.
Here I am! Hopefully Elizabeth won't be as stingy as Dr. Death described her. Patricia gazed at the dark wooden door in front of her and began to shiver. What if Elizabeth was a cranky Ixi who would never forgive her father? After considering how regretful Mr. Ridgewood felt about his actions, Patricia knocked three times on the door and waited for Elizabeth to answer.
Sure enough, in a few moments a tall purple Ixi opened the door and peered down at Patricia. The Ixi had long, curly hair and she was wearing a lovely fur trimmed coat. "How may I help you?" the Ixi asked kindly.
"Are you... umm... Miss Elizabeth?" Patricia stammered nervously. The Ixi nodded while Patricia began to fidget with her mittens. "My name is... umm, Patricia and... umm... well..."
"Yes? Please go on," Elizabeth coaxed. "Are you here to sing a Christmas carol to me? Because I could really go for a few carols. Christmas has been very lonely for me ever since my parents moved to Altador and-"
"Really? That's great!" Patricia insisted. "Because I was hoping that you will come celebrate Christmas with your dad to make him hap-"
"My father? Not in a million years!" Elizabeth fumed. She gave Patricia a nasty glare and closed the door with a very hard force, which made Patricia jump and whimper at the same time.
To be continued...
To Eo, Bear, Secant, Tsar, Bella, Ben and Paeden: Good friends are very hard to find on Neo, but I'm very glad that I have you guys as a part of my 'Neo social circle'! It has been a pleasure to meet such high, and low, spirited people that I know are very kind people who care for their friends. Thank you for being my friends.