What Makes a Family: Part Two
How ironic this situation was. We left the Pound; a place that was meant to be of misery and sorrow, to be in a world filled with life and opportunities. Neopia Central didn't look like the place of promise when we stepped out. It looked as dark and miserable as the Pound did on a daily basis. The rain showed no signs of slowing down, either. We stood under the awning for a few seconds. I glanced up at my Foster Mom, and there was wicked glee in her eyes.
"Have you ever walked in the rain?" she asked me. I shook my head, not really wanting to know where this was going. "Let's go, then."
She stepped out and instantly she was soaked. She smiled, and offered her hand to me. I stepped out, and the sudden contact of the water made me jump back. I looked at Andy, but she showed no signs of moving from the rain. Bracing myself, I stepped out into the rain again. I stood beside her, my fur becoming wet and matted to my skin. She scratched the back of my head again, and we moved through Neopia Central to find the Pharmacy. The building was quite an eyesore; its white walls standing out against the dark clouds. Andy opened the door for me, and I walked in slowly, sneezing really hard in the process.
"Bless you," she said.
A nurse waited for us behind the counter. Andy told me to stay by the door, and she made her way towards the nurse. A few seconds passed, and Andy returned with a white bag. She reached into it, and tenderly pulled out a Magic Cookie. I took it from her hands and ate it, trying to savor the moment and flavor. It was still warm; freshly baked. As I swallowed, I felt my nose clear and my throat sooth. I smiled, telling her that I was feeling better. After saying our thanks, we went out into the rain again.
"Is there anything else you need?" Andy asked, kneeling down to my height.
"A towel, maybe," I answered.
She laughed. "I have some at home. I meant in Neopia Central."
I thought for a little bit, and shook my head.
"Good." She stood up again. "You're in for a treat, Al. I'm making lasagna tonight. Are you hungry?" I nodded eagerly. Andy laughed again. "Then let's go."
We walked through the rain again. The thing I found funny was that there was no one else out today. They were all cooped up in their Neohomes, staying dry and warm. There was the occasional person we passed; they were bundled up in a raincoat and umbrella. Andy paid no mind to them as she pulled her wet hair behind her ears. We were making good time; we were out of the heart of the city in about ten minutes.
"Andy?" I asked, looking up at her.
"Yes?" she answered.
"Umm... where do you live?"
"Wait... we are walking there?"
A smile lit her face. "No, no; we are walking to Faerieland and using the portal there to get to Altador."
From Neopia Central to Brightvale, she explained to me about how Altador came to be. She explained it with so much detail that I could almost envision every scene and every fight. She and a good number of Neopia's population did everything they could in their power to save the land of Altador from their thousand year curse and to fight off the Darkest Faerie.
"Wow..." I breathed. "Where are Tormund and Roberta now?"
"Tormund is a knight in Meridell, and Lady Roberta is now a sorceress in Brightvale."
"Could we meet them sometime?"
We continued on our way. The rain had slowed down, but had not stopped. We passed by the stores, and Andy went into the Window shop. I went in with her this time. The room was filled with different kinds of windows; four-paned, solid, colored... you name it. Andy went over towards the stained glass windows, and took her time looking through them. She would look at one for a few seconds, and rest it back on the shelf with care. She picked one up with the Library Faerie on it when the store owner walked in from the back.
"Hello, Ms. Anj6193." He greeted us. "Find anything?"
"I can't remember if I have this one already," she said as she held it up to the light.
"I believe you do; you got that one last week."
"Did I?" She looked at the glass gain, this time not in the light. She replaced it on the shelf with the others. "Do you have any recommendations?"
The shopkeeper looked around. "Do you have a Roberta? Those are being bought as they come out."
She nodded. "I'll take another, though; time to decorate the rest of the house."
He retreated into the back of the shop, and returned a few minutes later with a package wrapped in brown paper. He gently set it down on the counter as Andy pulled out the exact change from her pocket.
"No haggling today?" he asked.
"I've robbed you enough," she said, laughing. "Take it, please."
The exchange was made, and Andy gently lifted the window. Clutching it to her chest, she told me it was time to go. We said our thanks, and left without another word.
Andy and I talked about different thing as we went through Faerieland. She told me the shortened story of how Faerieland crashed to the ground, and that the Darkest Faerie got lost during the crash. She explained that there were search parties all around the Haunted Woods, looking for her statue imprisonment, but nothing has turned up so far.
"I hope I don't get to meet her anytime soon." I shuddered.
"Same here," she responded.
We made our way through the Castle, and we were soon standing in front of a swirling hole of pink and purple. Andy faced me, and asked if I was ready. Taking a deep breath, I nodded. Together, we walked through the portal.
"Close your eyes," she said as I felt myself being lifted.
I obeyed, and the sensation of flying took over my body. I was floating though the air (or at least it felt like it). Unfortunately, as soon as it happened, it ended. I opened my eyes, and I was standing in the Hall of Heroes. Andy was standing next to me. She smiled.
"We're almost home," she said. "Be prepared to be quizzed, though. The girls are too excited for their own good."
We walked out of the building to be greeted with: you guessed it, more rain. It was raining as hard as it was in Neopia Central. We made our way through the South Quadrant, and exited the city. The rolling plains greeted us. Neohomes were sprinkled all throughout. Atop one of the hills sat a tiny house. We made our way towards it. The closer we got to it, the less 'tiny' it became. It was no mansion, but it was no shack, either. We got to the front porch, and I opened the door for her. After saying her thanks, she propped the door open with her foot, telling me to enter first. I walked in, Andy close behind.
The first thing that hit me was the smell of something amazing. I breathed deeply, taking in the smell of the lasagna. My mouth watered slightly, and I saw two towels next to the door. I grabbed one and gave it to Andy when she set the Roberta Window on the coffee table. She thanked me; towel dried her hair, and started drying me off. It felt nice to be pampered after being in the Pound for as long as I was in there. She patted my head, and stood up, taking the towel with her. She walked deeper into the house, and I followed her.
As I had mentioned earlier, the house was a decent size. The front room was cozy, and the kitchen was not very big. It looked like a mini hallway that branched off the big one. There was a washer and dryer in the closet-like space at the end of the kitchen hall. Andy set the towel on a bar, and walked towards the oven. Putting on oven mitts, she opened it and slowly took out a pan. As she set it down on the counter, the front door opened again, and the three sisters tumbled inside, breathless and laughing.
"Good timing," Andy called over the laughing girls. "Get cleaned up; dinner is ready."
"Race you, Twin!" Sixey shouted.
"I'll beat you," she responded.
Both Wocky and Lupe tore through the hall, laughing all the way. Dragon grabbed the second towel that was by the door, and dried off. She redressed herself in her Christmas attire, pulling the hood up in the process.
"Welcome to our humble abode." Dragon greeted me.
"Why do they call each other twin?" I asked.
"Because they are twins. They may not look it, though. I'm a day older than they are."
"So... you call the shots?"
"No one calls shots except Mom."
"Mom!" Pup shouted from down the hall. "Where is my dress?"
Andy rolled her eyes and sighed. Dragon laughed. Andy removed one of her oven mitts, and showed three fingers. Then two... then one. She closed her hand in to a fist.
"Never mind, found it!" she called out.
I laughed. The twins came out again. Sixey slipped through the kitchen, and grabbed plates and eating utensils. As we set the table, Andy came out of the kitchen with two plates, each of them having a thick slice of lasagna on it as well as assorted vegetables. She set the plates down, and retreated into the kitchen again to grab two more plates.
"There are only four chairs," I pointed out.
"I know," Andy responded. She held a fifth plate in her hand and a glass in the other. She set them on the counter and brought out a pitcher of lemonade. As she filled our glasses, we sat down. "Go on ahead and eat up."
"Where will you sit?" Sixey asked.
"I'm fine." She leaned against the wall.
Pup, however, wasn't too keen on the idea. She excused herself, and retreated into the house again. She returned with an office chair, and pulled it up between me and Dragon. Andy smiled as Pup sat down again.
Not only was it good to eat a hot meal, but Dragon was right.
Andy's lasagna was amazing.
To be continued...