"Wow, June," Katie exclaimed. "Your new room is awesome!"
"Yeah," Meg agreed. "Cloud's such a cool theme!"
June smiled modestly at the green Usul and yellow
Kougra. "Well, I do want to be painted cloud, so it only fits, right?"
"Of course!" Laurel spoke up. The green Kacheek
had only been silently admiring the room until now, which surprised June. Laurel
was her best friend. "Cloud's probably my favorite color for Poogles. Uh, not
that you don't look great in red, because you do-"
"It's okay, Laur," June laughed. "I get it."
Meg sat on the bed and looked around. "So, you
really got rid of all your old things? Absolutely everything from before you
turned a year old?"
June paused for a second, fondly remembering
her birthday party. It was glorious - everyone was there, Laurel, Katie, Meg,
Sherri, Mara…she shook her head and got to answering her friend's question.
"Yeah, pretty much," she shrugged. "Except for, you know, sentimental stuff.
Pictures, my first plushie, my good luck bracelet, Lola-"
"Lola?" Katie interrupted. "Who's Lola?"
June blinked rapidly. "Hey, you know what? I
think my owner has some leftover candy from half price day. Why don't you go
ask her if you can have some? I bet she'd say yes." She shoved Meg and Katie
rudely out of her bedroom door and closed it very quickly before realizing that
Laurel was still there.
"Yeah, June, who is Lola? Mind sharing? Why don't
you want us to know?" Laurel asked, raising an eyebrow. June sighed, slumped
against a cabinet, and smiled weakly.
"Lola…" she murmured. "Lola was my first toy
ever, a Fun in the Sun Usuki. I loved her so much that I carried her everywhere
with me for months. I thought Lola was such an exciting, exotic name, perfect
for a Fun in the Sun Usuki." She chuckled. "A party girl. Eventually I stopped
toting her everywhere, but I still loved her. She was always there when I needed
"Can I see her?" Laurel questioned eagerly.
"Sure," June replied. "Be careful, though. She's
practically falling apart." She began to root through her drawers, looking for
the doll. The search was fruitless.
She raced down the stairs of her Neohome. "Alicia!"
She called out to her owner. "Alicia! Have you seen-" she stopped short, seeing
two familiar pets sitting at her kitchen table. She had completely forgotten
that Meg and Katie were there. Currently, they were munching on pieces of chocolate,
chatting amiably. Their faces brightened when they saw her.
"June!" Katie squealed delightedly. "Join us!
There's still plenty of chocolate left." Meg nodded enthusiastically, mouth
full. June hesitated a moment before sitting down with them.
"Hey, where's Laurel?" Meg wondered aloud.
"Uh, she's still up in my room," June said hesitantly.
It had been hard for her to think up a good, plausible lie.
"Ah," Katie replied, looking slightly suspicious.
June flushed and looked at the clock.
"Oh my gosh, guys! It's getting kind of late.
I think maybe you should be heading home, don't you?" she said hurriedly. The
other two glanced at the clock as well.
Meg gasped. "You're right! I'm going to miss
Time Goes By," she shrieked.
Katie blinked. "What's that?"
"It's a soap opera featuring some teenage Cybunnies
going on a summer holiday. It's based on the book Cybunny Soap Opera,"
"Ooh, I want to watch it with you!" the Usul
squealed. "See you later, June!" The pair left, leaving June extremely relieved.
However, her owner was giving her a funny look.
"Why were you so eager to get Meg and Katie to
leave?" Alicia asked, raising an eyebrow. June cringed.
"I wanted to ask you something, but not while
they were here," she said hastily.
"Okay. What is it?" Alicia looked apprehensive.
"Well…I was wondering if…if…if you've seen…if
you've seen Lola," she finished lamely. "I can't find her. You do remember Lola,
don't you? I used to drag her everywhere with me."
"Do you mean that ratty old Fun in the Sun Usuki?"
Alicia inquired. "The one with chunks of her fur and an eyeball missing?"
June blushed. "Yes. That's her."
"Oh…dear, I'm sorry…I didn't mean to…I thought
you said you wanted to get rid of everything before you had your first
June seized her. "WHAT DID YOU DO?" she demanded.
Alicia replied, in a voice that was barely a
sigh, "I gave her to the Money Tree."
The young Poogle stepped back and released her
owner, absolutely dumbstruck. For a few minutes, she was silent. When she did
talk, her voice was practically inaudible. "The Money Tree?" she whispered.
"You gave Lola to the Money Tree?"
"June, I'm sorry - "
June ignored her. "That's like giving away my
childhood," she continued. "My memories. My best friend." Then, suddenly, her
face brightened. "Maybe she's still there!"
Her owner winced. "I'm afraid not. I saw a young
man pick her up greedily the minute I put her down. His name was calvin36453,
I believe," she reminisced.
June perked up, ran up the stairs and returned
dragging a protesting Laurel. Then she sprinted out the door. Alicia gasped.
"JUNE, WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING?" she
shouted to her pet, immensely worried.
"WE'RE GOING TO THIS 'CALVIN36453'S SHOP!" June
cried, not even turning back to look. "MAYBE HE'LL GIVE ME LOLA BACK!"
After June had disappeared out of sight, Alicia
closed the door, slumped against it, and suppressed a sigh. And then she grinned.
"That's my girl," she murmured.
"So - we're - going - to - Calvin's - shop?"
Laurel panted. "You - think - he - has - Lola?"
"I'm positive," June said cheerfully. "And if
he has a heart, he'll give her back." Now charged with emotion, she rushed faster,
with Laurel lagging behind and scurrying to catch up.
They finally reached Calvin36453's store without
a hitch. Laurel stopped to rest, gasping for air, but June marched right in.
"Hello," she said confidently. "I believe you
have something that belongs to me."
Then she actually stopped to look at the person
she was dealing with. She was horrified. He was a short little boy with an uneven
haircut and huge, long red sideburns. His eyes were always squinting, no matter
what, which probably didn't help his vision. His vision was probably already
bad enough, since he was wearing thick glasses with horrendous neon green square
frames. His black shirt was much too big for him, nearly covering his baggy
khaki cargo shorts. June couldn't do anything but stare, speechless.
"I do, do I?" he snarled. As if he wasn't bad
enough before, June now discovered that he had a lisp and spit when he talked.
This was the guy who had her Lola?
"Y-yes," she stammered timidly. "Um, you picked
up a Fun in the Sun Usuki yesterday? At the Money Tree? Well, uh, that's mine.
My owner accidentally dropped it there without asking me, but I'd really like
He laughed a cold, ugly, merciless laugh. "That's
the most pathetic scam I've ever heard, little girl. I'm never giving up my
Fun in the Sun Usuki Reject without a good price."
"Reject?" she asked, bewildered. "She's not a
"She might as well be one," he smirked. "She's
so beat up that she doesn't look like a normal Usuki! And I'm going to make
a fortune off her!" He sneered at her. "What are you going to do about it, little
As she was about to answer, a faerie Krawk came
thundering in. "CALVINNNNNN!" she screeched. She had a horrible, whiny voice
that made June have to cover her ears. "Jennifer here - " at this she threw
a human who was fearfully crouching behind her a disdainful look - "promised
me that you had one of the rarest Usukis here for my collection?"
"Yes, Charisse," he answered, a greedy glint
in his eyes. "I have this extremely rare Fun in the Sun Usuki Reject." He handed
it to her.
"Oooooooooooooh!" she cried, fondling it. "I
want it! How much?"
"Only two million np," he replied. June's eyes
"What a bargain!" Charisse crowed. "I'll take
it!" And with those words, a plan hatched in June's mind.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," she said
"Why not?" Charisse demanded.
"It's not a real reject," she said mischievously.
"It's just a regular Fun in the Sun that he ripped up to make it look like one."
The Krawk's face screwed up in anger. "WHAT?"
she exclaimed. "I'M NEVER COMING BACK HERE AGAIN! KEEP YOUR LITTLE FAKE, CALVIN!"
With that, she threw Lola on the floor. June quickly picked her up and hugged
Calvin was seething. "Okay, fine, you win," he
hissed, eyes glaring daggers. "Take your little reject and GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!"
"Okay," June agreed cheerfully. "But I'm never
letting her out of my sight again."