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Pet Name: Aalilyah
The babble of happy peasants drifted swiftly around the marketplace. Neopians from near and far traveled to Meridell for a plethora of reasons. Some came to compete in the Cheeserolling, while some good citizens use their wealth to help Illusen. A few even decide to try and awake the colossal Turmaculus, in the vain hope of being rewarded for their courage. No matter what the people came for, they all stopped at the market for a bite to eat, a new toy to play with, or some shiny weaponry. It was always buzzing with action.
A young Aisha sidled gracefully through the throng, taking in all the strange sights and aromas that caressed the air. It wasn’t particularly difficult – the locals knew her type instantly from her tattered clothes, and immediately made room for her to pass by, afraid that if they resisted, she would bewitch them with an old gypsy curse.
“Such lovely people,” she murmured serenely, nodding kindly at an old Bori who had shrieked at the sight of the gypsy and pulled her groceries out of arms reach. “Much nicer than the folk of… umm…”
A small, fluffy Harris clung to the pale yellow exposed skin of her shoulders, hiding from the crowd behind the Aisha’s long, flaming hair. “Brrrrrrr… Fwap!” it shrieked quietly into her ear.
“Oh, yes, of course! The Darigan… City? Citadel… that sounds right. Thanks, Jenka,” she muttered. “And what did I tell you? Plenty of Neopians. We’ll be feasting tonight… Oh! This looks like a nice spot,” she said happily, pointing to a small, vacant area wedged in between a bakery and a Petpet shop.
The poor gypsy girl fluidly flipped her purple, green and yellow striped bindle from her shoulder and placed it lightly on the ground. Somebody had clumsily written a name and address on the piece of cloth.
Property of Scordol Aalilyah
If found, please return to:
142 Sushi Way, Shenkuu
As Aalilyah gazed at the scribbled out name, she couldn’t help but giggle as she remembered the day, many months ago, that she had begged her cousin to lend it to her. He wouldn’t want it back now. What use would a Pet trapped in limbo with a misbehaving owner have for a headscarf? A surge of strong remorse for her three lost cousins shook her. Why couldn’t their owner have been more careful?
Pushing her tragic family history from her mind, Aalilyah opened her bindle and pulled out a large, misshapen hat, and a dusty tambourine. “Come on, Jenka,” she whispered softly to the now sleeping Harris on her back – the only family she had left. She gently lifted him and put him on the ground. “Wake up, sleepyhead, time to earn your keep.” Aalilyah poked him until he blinked blearily, and as soon as he did, she had thrust the hat into his small paws.
The Aisha smiled, and then began to dance to the jingling of her tambourine. It was a captivating thing to watch – the way her lithe body twisted and turned so quickly that it wouldn’t have been possible for anyone who didn’t know what they were doing. Her hand struck the old tambourine with a combination of short, sharp blows and slower, more steady beats, summoning metallic clinks and tinkles to mingle with the sounds of the market. She spun around, and around, until all those watching felt dizzy with the effort.
Many of the older residents turned away from Aalilyah, having heard the deceitful tales of the gypsies. A lot of the younger, more daring and confident Neopets stayed to watch her defy gravity in her quickening movements, while the children giggled at the lethargic Harris tripping over the brim of the large hat, scurrying to collect the coins that were being flipped to his owner.
Aalilyah continued to dance, her torn and ragged clothes spinning out from her like a flower. Her fiery hair, barely held in place by a purple bandana, whipped out around her, creating a breeze. The dancer came to a sudden stop, and handed her precious tambourine to a young Usul in the crowd, who had been watching her play the instrument in interest. “Would you like to play?” she said gently to the child.
The Usul giggled, and took the tambourine shyly with trembling hands. She shook it in her small hands, and the crowd clapped in encouragement. Aalilyah smiled widely at her, before continuing her dance with more passion. Her steps became more complex, and when she placed both her hands on the ground and performed an impressive front flip, the crowd cheered.
Suddenly, a shriek pieced the air. The young Usul stopped playing the tambourine at once.
“What do you think you are doing, child? Consorting with gypsies! Don’t you know? She’d rob you without a second thought!”
A severe looking elderly Kyrii pushed through the crowd and grabbed the Usul’s hand. The old woman threw the tambourine away violently, and glared at Aalilyah.
”You stay away from riff raff like this, do you understand, child?”
Aalilyah hung her head. She was used to this, of course, but it still hurt. She gathered up her belongings, scooped up her Harris and her meager winnings – some Neopets had taken back what they had given her after the Kyrii’s outburst. She left Meridell to hisses and whispers.
Yes. The gypsy girl had a hard life.
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