I'm Iciefur, an average faerie Xweetok. I have two sisters, a brother, and an owner. Okay, okay, normal Neopian family, right?
Angeilyca, the perfect little angel Zafara, right? Uh-huh. Riiight. Angie spends all her time running away, getting into things she shouldn’t get into, and making a fool of herself. Like when she thought she could make a million Neopoints by displaying her atrocious - I’m sorry, I meant beautiful - singing voice on the main street in Neopia Central. I find it quite funny, and I am met with a scorching glare from my owner, Kate, whenever I laugh.
Sheiluu, he’s the brother, and he’s the lab pet. He usually enjoys it, except when he’s weakened or turned into a girl. Then I can really get at him; you have NO idea how much fun it is to beat your older brother in a brawl. Oh, not to mention the fact he’s stuck with eyelashes when he’s a girl. He gets into HUGE temper-tantrums after some zaps. When he was a Ghost Yurble, it was almost frightening. Almost. But that was a while ago; he’s been Yellow for quite some time, so we don’t have to worry about that anymore.
Miekeia’s a baby Kougra, but she’s the oldest. Boochi hit her a few months ago. If only you could have seen her face! While we were walking to the bookstore, that little baby Bruce pops out of the bushes and gets in a zap right between her eyes. A flash of light, and there Miekeia sat, her vividly electric body reduced to a big-eyed bundle of fur at our feet. I do give her credit, though: she got her poise back fast, and managed to pull off one good swipe at Boochi before he disappeared. She was seething with rage afterward. Now, she’s gotten used to it, but it’s still funny to see her beating the snot out of Meuka (literally), or giving me elder-sisterly advice, and she’s still only halfway to my shoulder.
Kate is my owner. Nice, but by Fyora above, she’s got a good glare. Of course, between reprimanding Angie, fawning on Miekeia, and putting up with Sheiluu’s pouts, I’m basically ignored. Expect, of course, when I do something wrong, and then I’m in SO much trouble and banned to my room for a week. (But, being ingenious as I am, I can fly out the unlocked window to escape. Don’t tell her this or she’ll find a way to lock that too.)
There’s your lovely background. Be thankful you don’t have to buy it with Neocash. Since you’re reading the paper, you must be looking for an interesting story, so I’ll give you one. This, my friends, is just a day in the life of me. Well, fine, just kidding. It’s a very, very exciting few days. A beautiful wake-up call, like the sound of twittering songbirds, starts my… adventure. I guess you could call it that.
"ICIEFUR! GET DOWN HERE NOW!"
See, I told you it was pleasant. Dragging my eyes open and shaking out my wings, I gazed blearily around the room. I was alone. Angie, Miekeia, and Sheiluu had already made it down to breakfast, and I was the late one. I pressed my ears as flat as possible against my skull and curled up again; Kate was really screaming loud, and I really wanted to fall back asleep. A distant bang sounded. Was Kate throwing things at the ceiling to try and get me up?! Pfft. She’d never do something that crazy. I think.
A few minutes later, I found myself being dragged into the kitchen by my tail. That’s how strong my "baby" sister is. A bit of struggling ensued, but I gave in to the inevitable. I always do; Miekeia’s stronger than me and I’m hungry. Breakfast is good.
Except when I’m late and all that’s left is the icky whole wheat bagel. Sheiluu always eats all the chocolate chip ones. And all the Kau-specialty cream cheese.
I shoved down my pitiful meal and grabbed my books. Kate shooed me out of the house with a look that clearly stated, Don’t try to pull anything past me this time, girl. Kate was clearly still remembering a certain ice-cream incident that earned me an in-Neoschool suspension. But that’s not important. I grimaced and ran out to catch my ride to school on a large carriage pulled by two powerful and fast Unis. The carriage was painted bright yellow, but the Unis themselves did not reflect that sunny cheerfulness in any way, shape, or form. No one who rode the carriage-bus did, really.
"Hey, faerie, do you want to sit here? Oh wait, it’s probably not clean enough for you, you pretty little faerie." A fire Yurble grinned stupidly at me. I shot him down with a rather snappy retort, if I do say so myself.
"No, it’s not," I said airily, taking a seat behind him and turning my head daintily away. "Namely, because you’re sitting beside it." I sniffed audibly. "You last bathed…. when? I assume water’s not good for you, after all." It was true. He did stink.
The pets around us sniggered. The Yurble’s face went bright red, but it could just be a simple flush. It must hard to control your body temperature when there’s a ring of flames around your neck. "Nyah, nyah, sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me," he said snobbishly. "Because you’re sitting beside it…" he mimicked in a high-pitched voice accompanied by a hearty snort.
I yawned and glanced pointedly at those around me. "Eric," I addressed him smoothly, "everyone here knows you’ve lost the argument now because you’ve had to resort to the defensive tactics of a five-year-old. Mimicry."
He was speechless. I must have skill. Miekeia winked at me from farther up in the bus. For the first time in my memory, Eric turned away from me and didn’t press an argument. Odd.
I threw him one last comment over my shoulder. "Also, I heard that band was weak, Sticks 'n Stones. If their musical talent represents strength, at least."
He ignored me.
School itself is completely different than the sunny-colored, chatter-filled transportation to the dreadful place. I always wondered: why must we spend our glorious youthful years in a boring room sitting behind a desk and pretending to pay attention while a teacher drones on and on about some vague topic that will be of no use to us in real life? It boggles my mind.
"Today I will enlighten you on the past of the Lost Desert… Found by, remember this name, it’s not hard, ‘Brucey B.’ He was chasing his coin and stumbled upon it by chance. The governing system is a monarchy, and the country was nearly infiltrated by Malkus Vile…"
It went on FOREVER. Seriously, if the name of that place is the LOST Desert, how can its recorded history be so long if it’s been LOST until that dumb Bruce found it? I just amused myself by doodling on the edge of my paper (occasionally coming to just long enough to scribble down a random name or date), yawning, gazing drearily out the window, and throwing pencils at Mrs. Couper’s desk when she wasn’t looking. The results of this were always amusing. She was the strictest, meanest Lupe in the world, and so finding a way to annoy her was about the only thing I looked forward to all day. Other than lunch and break, of course.
"Whoever is throwing these," Mrs. Couper began, with a steely glint in her eye. She slammed a fist down on the desk, impaled her paw on the point of my pencil, and then proceeded to say something you don’t usually expect teachers to say. "They’ll find themselves in a - a harsh situation," she finished through gritted teeth.
I exercised extreme self control to stop myself sniggering. After that, though, she kept glancing behind her when she was writing on the board, so I had to look like I was paying attention, while actually I was wondering about what they’d serve for lunch.
Of course, that was all before break. When the wonderfully welcome bell rang at last, I grabbed my bag and sprinted out into the fields where most of the pets spent their free time.
"Ice! ICE! Iciefur!" A Brown Gelert was sprinting towards me, her eyes alight. She’s my closest friend, studious as she is, and we actually make quite a good team. She takes notes and ingests every bit of information on the topic in an hour, I sleep, she gives me her notes right before a test or lets me copy off her, and I scrape up a pass. Sometimes decent ones, too. And when she’s not surrounding herself in piles of extra-credit books, she can be fun to be around. Except when she tries to think up plans to attempt a "rebel" appearance, like she seems to think I have. But she just can’t pull it off.
"Ice, girl," she panted, having run across the entire length of the field to get to me. I didn’t feel like meeting her halfway, which might have been more polite. "Ice, I just had a great idea!"
"Oh, no," I groaned. "Triya, love, you’ve gotta stop doing this. You’re not a rebel. Remember what happened last time? You were charged two hundred and fifty thousand Neopoints for those windows you ran into – they were custom-made in Brightvale! Not to mention the shrubberies."
"That was an accident," Triya protested. "Besides, this is different. Listen, Mina found a way through the fence!"
This was actually interesting news - which was not usually discovered through Triya. The fence that surrounds the school appears to be normal height, a simple chain-link, so Neopets don’t sneak off during they day, as we would be sure to do if we could get away with it. But it goes 20 feet underground, so even the most determined Lupe or Symol can’t get past it, and has invisible Light Faerie magic that extends high into the air, preventing flying Neopets from passing. Trust me, I’ve tried, it’s really humiliating to feel a simple shock and yet tumble helplessly from the sky.
"Impossible!" I said, not wanting to get my hopes up. "You know how many people have tried to get past it. Johnny Lupin’s fur never looked clean again since he tried to dig that far, and you saw what happened to me last year."
"Yes," said Triya, rolling her eyes, "but this is different. Come and see."
Skeptical, I followed her. She led me to Mina, an athletic red Kyrii who hopped and pranced with almost hysterical delight at the sight of us. "Come on, Iciefur!" She whipped around through the bushes behind her. Triya nodded encouragingly and I followed Mina, still not believing this was true.
"Look," Mina whispered, pointing at the fence. "A hole."
It was true. I couldn’t believe it. I blinked a few times. I held my eyes shut tight, shook my head fiercely from side to side, and opened them. It was still there. It really was true: a hole, in this impenetrable fence.
"Dear Fyora," I whispered breathlessly. My pulse was rushing.
"We could get out of here!" Triya whispered excitedly. I wondered why she wanted to leave so badly, academically oriented as she was. Then I answered my own question. She must really want to do something "cool."
"One of your very few good ideas," I mused. "Come on, then!"
"Now?!" said Triya.
"Of course now," I said scathingly, swishing my tail. "What, you thought we’d wait till after lunch for something this good?"
"Oh… right…" said Triya sheepishly. "Mina, are you coming?"
"Can’t," Mina sighed. "Test next period. You know what happens if you miss one, and I have a feeling you will be gone longer than twenty minutes."
Triya and I groaned sympathetically. Penalties for skipping an exam without an excused absence were harsh; you’d have to clean dishes for month. Of course, forging absence cards was ridiculously easy, but we didn’t have the time to do that now.
"I’m sorry," I said truthfully. Mina’s good fun to have around. "Come on, Triya. We’ll tell you about it when we get back though, Mina, promise!"
Mina smiled longingly. "Have fun, guys!" We gave her a quick hug of thanks, and with a bound that made my heart race, leapt through the hole and escaped from the terrifying confines of the dictatorship they call school.
However, Triya and I both leaping through at the same time and getting stuck in the hole, our fur snagging on painful pieces of broken metal, kind of dampened the triumphant moment. But Mina, laughing fit to burst, pushed us through and we escaped nevertheless.
It wasn’t quite as exciting as I thought at first. We had to pick our way through the thorny bushes that surrounded the fence, which I can tell you, is not a comfortable experience. Especially with my thin little wings and soft fur. It took Triya and I about half an hour to get out of that mess. But once we did, it was probably the best school day I’ve ever had.
Scrambling out of the bushes, we found ourselves on the edge of the Neopian Plaza. Humans and pets bustled around everywhere, and there was an even thicker congestion on the path heading to the main shops.
"Look, Ice! Defenders of Neopia Headquarters! And the Kadoatery! Aww, look at them in there, do you have any food?"
"None that those picky little buggers would want," I said. Triya clearly didn’t get out much.
"Come on!" she said, her eyes gleaming excitedly. "Let’s go to the Chocolate Factory! And the Rainbow Pool! And - "
"We might have to make it back to class sometime, you know," I said. But, I must admit, just the thought of the Chocolate Factory made my mouth water. "I guess we can spare a short visit."
We weaved in and out through the multiple pairs of feet or paws, barely avoiding being squished. No one paid the slightest attention to us; we were just another pair of Neopets in a growling, barking, purring, squawking, and chattering crowd.
The luscious smell of minty chocolate, creamy candies, and peanut butter chunks met my nose when we were about thirty pawsteps away from the Factory. I swear, if you’ve ever smelled a sweeter aroma… Well, you haven’t. Because this was to DIE for.
Of course, I never meant that literally.
Triya broke into a run as we neared the Factory, eager for those delicious treats, and I leapt gleefully into the air and flew as fast as I could along with her. She nearly ran into a Uni and I had to dart around a tall Ruki to catch up, she was running so quick.
Until I saw a certain someone out of the corner of my eye and nearly crashed into the wall of the Factory.
"TRIYA!" I whispered urgently, hoping she could hear, but trying to regain my composure up in the air after my near collision. I attempted to hide myself and my voice from the person I just saw across the street. "Triya, in the bushes! Hide! NOW!"
She didn’t listen. I’d thought Gelerts were loyal, but obviously her loyalty to her tastebuds came before her loyalty to me. She charged right into the store and I was left with a decision: follow her, or hide in the bushes? The person I saw was coming this way!
I wasn’t quick enough. As expected. I’m horrible with decisions.
And she saw me. I was doomed.
To be continued…