Dawn and Dusk vs the Bounty Hunter:Part Four
The final bell had rung releasing us from class for the weekend. Wila and I gathered our things, and headed out into the hallway with Mordred. We were about to leave when Mordred grabbed Wila and ran off with her into the crowd of students. I immediately saw why; Balthazar was standing in the school lobby chatting with Bruno and Sophie, who were here for their assignment buddies. I walked up to Balthazar with a big grin. I was soon joined by Jimmy and Carter who were doing their projects on Sophie and Bruno. I was curious about what we’d be learning today.
Balthazar said goodbye to Sophie and Bruno and I said good bye to Jimmy and Carter, (who thankfully had confused me for my sister.) and we left.
On the way to his shack, he mentioned we would be learning equipment management today. Wonderful, I was going to learn how to clean faerie nets. I had trouble just cleaning the room I shared with Wila. I hoped it would be a bit more entertaining than that.
* * *
"Ok, Wila," Balthazar said to me. "Which net are we cleaning first?"
I somehow felt this was a trick. He knew Wila liked the water faerie net, so she’d want to clean that one first. I told him the water faerie net and he nodded. He was paying very close attention to me. I had remembered to switch my charm bracelet with Wila’s. We had done that this morning, much to the chagrin of our teacher, who had learned our charm bracelets (A sun and a moon) were representative of our middle names. (Wilhelmina Dawn and Wila Dusk) and used them to tell us apart most of the time. I had sat the entire day in Wila’s seat because our teacher had confused the two of us.
Balthazar showed me how to clean the water faerie net. He even showed me how to polish it, so that it stayed pretty. That was really cool. It wasn’t long before I heard a knock at the door. Balthazar left me with the net and I continued to polish the handle. It was so pretty and shiny; I could see myself in it!
When he came back from answering the door, he had two large boxes. He set them down on the table and called me over. I carefully put the net away where it belonged and went over to him. He opened the boxes and began taking out empty bottles.
"Kauvara was just at the door," He started. "She brought back the bottles I keep faeries in. Part of a recycling program; keep Neopia clean, you know."
That was pretty cool. Wila and I had been on the returning end of bottled faerie bottles before. We’d never gotten to open one, but we picked up the discarded ones and often returned them to Kauvara when we visited Neopia Central with our mom. She gave five Neopoints for every five bottles returned. Wila and I could usually find ten. So we’d get five Neopoints each.
"We’re also cleaning these today," Balthazar said. "Tomorrow, I may show you how to bottle them."
This was bound to be exciting. We were going to finally learn the second biggest part of Balthazar’s career, next to catching the faeries of course. I couldn’t wait to go home and tell Wila. He set the bottles aside for now, and we went back to cleaning the nets. We cleaned the air faerie net next, (My favourite one!) I polished that one to a stunning shine, paying more attention to it than I had to the water faerie net. Balthazar had noticed my attention to detail too. After we had gone through and cleaned the nets, we started on the bottles. We only did one box. He said we’d clean the other box tomorrow.
Scrubbing the fire faerie bottles was annoying. It was really hard to get the scorch marks off the glass. I loved the earth faerie bottle though. It rinsed clean and it smelled like mornings after it had rained. The earthy smell reminded me of spring. The light faerie bottles were warm to the touch. Holding them seemed perfect for chilly autumn days. I didn’t want to go near the dark faerie bottles, those ones always spooked me. I was convinced dark faeries liked to curse their bottles after they were freed. There were no water or air faerie bottles in this box. I also took my notes on how to properly polish and clean the nets. I couldn’t wait until I got home and told Wila she’d be bottling faeries tomorrow. I admit I was pretty jealous about not being there for the bottling.
* * *
When Mina had told me that I might be bottling faeries, I got excited. She did warn me about washing the second box of discarded bottles, however. I didn’t care. I enjoyed washing the earth faerie bottles. I didn’t even mind washing the dark faerie bottles. I didn’t want to scrub the scorch marks out of the fire faerie bottles, however. Balthazar had been watching me the entire time. He had that amused smile again.
"Wila," He said with a grin. "Why are you washing the faerie bottles left-handed today, did you injure your right hand?"
"No," I replied, not thinking anything of the question.
"Well," Balthazar said. "Then tomorrow, do you care to introduce me to your twin? I’ve been noticing a few things about you and I decided to test my theory with the empty bottles."
That startled me pretty badly and I dropped the bottle I was washing. It fell to the floor and shattered. I also accidentally knocked over two more when I turned around suddenly. I began to apologize about the bottles. I think I apologized too many times. I also asked him how he had managed to figure us out so fast. He told us it started last Saturday. He had noticed Mina’s fascination with the air faerie net. He also noticed Mina was a little pushier than I was. He also mentioned that we both sign to our friend Mordred very differently. Mina’s never going to believe that. I had trouble believing we sign differently to our friend. I made a note to ask Mordred about fixing this giveaway.
Another dead giveaway, as Balthazar had pointed out just now was that I was washing the bottles, left-handed. Mina and I for all our talents had certain tasks we could not do ambidextrously. One of them was washing dishes.
"I never would have guessed so quickly," Balthazar chuckled, "If Magax had never asked me to help Mordred with his project last Sunday. You two might have lasted a bit longer."
He wasn’t mad about the bottles. He cleaned the broken bottles up while I continued to wash the remaining ones that were in the box. He did ask why we thought it would be funny to prank him. He also asked why the teacher had only given my name on the assignment sheet.
I explained to him that it wasn’t our teacher who had done it. It had been the student teacher who didn’t know my sister existed. This made him laugh so hard he almost dropped the broom he was sweeping up the broken bottles with.
"I’ll tell you what," He said, "Tomorrow I’ll show you and Mina how to bottle the faeries, ok?"
I nodded. Having my sister here would be much more fun.
* * *
"Alright," Balthazar said. "Which of you is which?"
"I’m Wila," I said, I showed him my crescent moon charm bracelet.
"I’m Wilhelmina," my sister said and showed her charm bracelet with a sun on it.
He nodded and grinned. He had agreed to only tell our parents about our prank. Our teachers would be none the wiser, seeing as how it was kind of the teacher’s fault for not telling the student teacher there was a set of twins.
We were going to be taking notes on bottled faeries today. Balthazar would be the only one doing the bottling. We just got to watch with our notebooks. I was fine with that. It didn’t matter if they were little faeries or the more powerful taller faeries, I really didn’t want to mess with them, not after cleaning the scorch marks out of some of those bottles the other day. He had set out some water faerie bottles, and we began.
Mina looked pretty shocked at the first faerie he pulled out of a container from his backpack. It had a water faerie in it. She was very pretty, she also looked pretty angry. I now understood why Balthazar had us watching and taking notes, while he did the actual work.
As it turns out her name is Aliannia and she didn’t look happy to see Mina. She took a glance at me and became confused. She looked from my sister and me, to Balthazar. Balthazar then told his little captive faerie the entire story. This didn’t make her any happier. I got the feeling she kind of liked Balthazar, but she still didn’t like being captured or bottled.
This was going to be a really fun end to our assignment.