"Tell us a story, Mommy!"
The twin Kacheeks excitedly bobbed in their beds, looking at their mother with glittering, hopeful eyes.
Their mother, a White Kacheek, chuckled. "It's late, children," she said as she tucked them in, adjusting their blankets, "And I've already read you all the books we own."
"Can you read The Magic Paw again?" sweetly asked Rosie, the Pink counterpart to her sister's Rainbow.
"No, we read that just three days ago! I want a cool, new story!" replied Ashley.
Their mom put a paw to her mouth in concern. "Oh, dear. I don't know if I'll be able to come up with a new story right now."
"You can read The Magic Paw!" suggested Rosie.
"Nooo! Not again!" whined Ashley.
"Quiet, children," soothed their mother. "We can come up with a solution to this easily." She tapped her mouth in thought. "Hmm... oh, I've got it!" She smiled kindly. "How about we make up our own? I can't do it all by myself, so you two can help create a whole new story with me."
The twins looked at each other and grinned. "Yes, Mommy!" they said in unison as they turned their heads back around.
She laughed softly. "Very well. I'll start.
"Once upon a time-"
Ashley stuck her tongue out. "Bleh. So many stories start with that, Mommy! It needs a better beginning."
"Well, Ashley, if you're so keen on pointing out my impromptu story's flaws, you start it out." There was a strange glimmer – perhaps amusement? – in the White Kacheek's eye.
Ashley gulped and shamefully covered part of her face with the blankets. "No, you can start, Mommy."
"I see. As I was saying...
"Once upon a time, in a kingdom long ago, lived a beautiful princess. She was so beautiful, many princes came from far and wide in Neopia, hoping they'd be the one to charm her."
Their mother looked at Rosie. "Now you add something to that, sweetie."
Rosie grinned. "Okay! Um, lemme think... ooh, I know!
"The princess's name was Lily and she was a very pretty Royalgirl Zafara. She named after lily flowers because they were her favorite! She loved them so much that her garden was full of all different kinds of lilies – lilies-of-the-valley and Kougra lilies and Aurora lilies! Her garden was a colorful and scented flowery arrangement! She loved to walk in it day and night, sniffing her flowers' delicate perfumes.
"A big reason the princes failed to make any impression on her was the fact they didn't like flowers! Little did the princes know Princes Lily tested them by asking if they liked plants, and if they said no, she didn't pay much attention to them the rest of the time! A whole year went by, along with many suitors, but the princess still did not have her prince!"
Ashley pretended to gag. "Yuck!" she said, "This story is so sappy and mushy so far. I'm going to make it awesome!
"Though Princess Lily had a lot of admirers and she refused hem often, that wasn't the foremost thought on her mind. No, she had better things to do – like skateboarding!"
"Skateboarding?" Rosie cocked her head. "Princesses don't skateboard!"
"Well, Princess Lily did, because she wasn't an ordinary princess!" insisted Ashley.
"Rosie, it's your sister's turn to add to the story," said their mother. "Let her say as she pleases."
Ashley smiled smugly. "Thanks, Mommy. Anyhoo...
"Princess Lily would skateboard all over the castle! She would ride so fast along the hallways, she could go up the walls and upside down in the ceiling with no problem! There wasn't a Neopet in all of Neopia that was better than her riding a skateboard!
"But her dad, King... er, King, didn't like it. 'That's not proper for a young lady such as yourself!' he gruffly told Lily, 'You need to be a dainty princess and go to your lessons!'
"'But Daaad,' whined the princess, 'They're so boring, and skateboarding isn't. It's fun and I love to do it, so why do you make me let it go?'
"'It isn't princess-y' was her dad's response."
Ashley pointed to her mother. "Your turn!"
The White Kacheek hummed in thought. "Okay.
"Princess Lily was very angered by her dad's seemingly carelessness of her life. How dare he stop her from doing what she loved! He was the king, but he was still her father. He had no right to stop her from making such a choice. So the princess decided to run away."
The twins gasped. "Run away?"
"Indeed she did. Princess Lily waited until nighttime for her escape. She dressed herself in her most comfortable clothes, as dresses were quiet the annoyance, armed herself with her skateboard and her wits, tiptoed out of the castle, and rode off into the darkness.
"She rode and rode until she was so tired, she had to stop for a nap. She thought it would be very quick, and that she'd be back up in no time, but alas, she ended up falling into a deep, deep sleep and woke up the next morning. Startled, she exclaimed..." Their mother trailed off and looked at Rosie expectantly.
"'I've go to go get food'!" Rosie giggled. "The princess was really hungry. Luckily, she'd happened to fall asleep under a tree right outside a humble village, so she didn't have to go far. She rode into a little food shop and asked them for fruit and cereal.
"The owner obliged and quickly served Princess Lily, who ate in great happiness. 'It's so nice here!' she thought as she nibbled a strawberry, 'I don't ever want to go back home!'
"But when she finished, she got up and was about to leave – the poor princess forgot that you had to pay for things outside the castle!
"The owner stopped her and asked for his neopoints. The princess mumbled an apology. 'Sorry, I don't have any.'
"Your turn, Ashley."
"'You've got to pay me something!' said the shopkeeper, annoyed," promptly replied her sister, "'How about that nice skateboard of yours?'
"The princess was stunned. Give up her prized possession? But she didn't have any form of payment!
"Just as she reluctantly was about to give the shopkeeper her skateboard, a rough-looking Draik flew in and laughed evilly. The shopkeeper whimpered and backed away slowly.
"'Where's the Chia?' asked the Draik, 'I need my neopoints!'
"The princess looked at him funny. Who was that fellow and what did he want? Just then, she noticed what was tucked under his wing.
"'A skateboard!" she said aloud, 'You ride, too?'
"The Draik looked up in confusion and blew a ring of smoke. 'Don't tell me a girl like you can ride a skateboard?' he snickered.
"Princess Lily turned red. The nerve of that Draik! 'Yes,' she tremblingly replied, 'And I'm pretty good at it, too!'
"The Draik didn't believe her. 'What a hoot!' he laughed, 'This Zafara thinks she's good at something only boys can do!' He grinned maliciously. 'How about this – if you beat me, I won't take the Chia's money.'"
Their mother started. "The princess debated the issue. She didn't know the Chia, so why bother helping him? But then again, she had just been served his food and had no money – maybe this could serve as payment! She accepted the Draik's request, who asked the Chia be the supervisor in the competition.
"The three went outside. It was a lovely summer morning, perfect riding conditions. The princess gulped as she saw the Draik spin his skateboard on his claw, a bored look on his face. Could she really beat him?"
Rosie blinked sleepily. "I bet she.... did," she said after a brief pause as she yawned.
Ashley stirred groggily, fighting to keep her eyes open.
Their mother smiled. "I think the story is great as it is," she said as she pecked the Kacheeks on their heads.
"But it needs an ending," mumbled Ashley.
"You can come up with your own ending as you dream. Use your imagination to the fullest."
"Good night, Mommy," said Ashley, as Rosie was already lightly snoring.
"Good night." She closed the door, smiling.