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Stolen Treasures: Part One

by uni_luver


It was a dreary and rainy autumn day in Meridell that morning. The rain pattered on the window steadily, as she gazed at the road leading to the castle grounds. She had lived in the castle as long as she could remember, but had never gone beyond the wall surrounding the courtyard. Kara was one of the King's many attendants. All day long, she cooked, cleaned, or sewed for the King. She couldn't say she disliked this work, and was quite happy to have the job. Kara might have been quite a beautiful blue Zafara, but the many years of toil for the King had made her look haggard and worn. The workday was about to begin, but as she couldn't sleep Kara had gotten up early and was now lost in thought. A sharp tap on the door broke her chain of thought.

      "Kara, it's time to get to work," said someone outside the door.

      It must be Ella, thought Kara. Ella was a yellow Kacheek, and they had been best friends for as long as they both could remember.

      "Coming!" Kara called back. She remembered that they both had kitchen duty today. It was one of their favorite jobs, as long as it didn't involve doing the dishes. Kara quickly grabbed her freshly cleaned apron from its hook beside her bed, and ran out the door. They headed up the spiral staircase to the kitchen, which was one floor above the servant's quarters. They would probably end up working for James, the head cook, who always could use extra help in preparing the various meals for the King and his guests.

      "Good morning," said James. "I'll need your help today, girls; King Skarl is having a special banquet tomorrow to discuss some important matters with Fyora. I'm sorry, but I can't tell you any more, because that is all I have been told. I think I'll have you go over there and help with the appetizer, Ella, and Kara, it would be great if you could help me with the dessert."

      They both went to their tasks right away, as this was their favorite work. Ella loved to cook soup, and fresh bread, while Kara loved to bake and decorate cakes and puddings with sugar and different types of berries. Despite the weather, it looked to be quite a promising day.

     * * * * *

     Meanwhile, in the King's chambers, things did not look so bright. Fyora and some others were coming from Faerieland tomorrow to discuss some important matters. He had not heard much yet, but it was not looking good. The faeries never came here unless it had been planned months in advance. This meeting had only been scheduled yesterday, and the necessary preparations had to be made in a hurry. From what he had heard, something dreadful had happened in Faerieland, but that was about all Fyora was able to send in the letter. It must be very awful business indeed, if it could not be sent in writing.

     * * * * *

      That evening, when Ella and Kara were finished cooking, they had a chance to talk. They were quite concerned with this dinner. Fyora must be in dire circumstances to schedule this so suddenly.

      "What do you think has happened?" said Kara.

      "I'm not sure," replied Ella, " but it can't be good if no one has been told what the meeting is for. I doubt the King even knows himself; it sounded very secret."

      "Yes, I think you're right," said Kara. "Nothing good could have happened. The faeries usually only come for celebrations, since it is such a long way. We would know if they were celebrating the King's birthday or something, but that was months ago."

      "I hope nothing dreadful has happened," said Ella. "It would be awful if something was stolen or if someone was kidnapped."

      "That would be awful; let's hope nothing of the sort has happened," said Kara.

      "Maybe we'll learn more about it tomorrow, but for now we should probably go to bed. This could mean we have to get up earlier than usual," said Ella.

      "You're probably right," yawned Kara. "I could use some extra sleep anyway; I didn't sleep well last night."

      With that they headed down the stairs to the servants' quarter silently, so not to wake those who were already asleep. They both lay awake for several hours before drifting asleep, thinking about what had happened.

     * * * * *

      The morning of the dinner dawned cold and crisp, and the ground was covered in a thick layer of frost. All the attendants had been up for some time, getting ready for the event. Since it was on such short notice, they had much more work than usual. Normally they would have done this days before. The morning was filled with scrubbing all the dishes and setting the table to be ready for later on. Fyora was one of the most important guests the King ever had at the castle, so only the best dishes and cutlery were set out on the table. The courses of the meal were some of the most spectacular James had ever prepared, and everything was delicious. Kara and Ella would help serve the food later, and so were preoccupied in sewing better clothes for themselves. Their current work clothes were shabby and patched in many places.

      Kara and Ella were working on these clothes now, having finished helping to set the table. Like all those who were to serve the food, they would get to wear beautiful dresses of red, blue, silver, and gold cloth. They were so happy to be able to wear the colors of a princess of Meridell. Kara would be wearing blue and silver, and Ella red and gold. This might be the only occasion they would ever get to wear them, seeing as they were not fit to wear while cleaning or cooking.

      There was much excitement in the air, as the day wore on. Everyone seemed to forget that this ordeal was to discuss urgent issues. The joyful atmosphere made Kara and Ella forget their worries of the night before.

     * * * * *

      In the King's room however, things were not so joyous. He remembered that the dinner was to discuss important issues that could have a big impact on Meridell, Faerieland, and the rest of Neopia. He tried to be as pleasant as possible with all his attendants, who were working very hard to get him ready for the evening. Normally he might have enjoyed something like this, but not today. Something just wasn't right.

     * * * * *

      When the banquet was about to begin, Fyora arrived. Though it wasn't as special an entrance as usual. Usually, as each guest arrived, they were announced by a person standing at the door. This wasn't the way it was done today. The King had waited for Fyora to arrive all day, and so was watching for her out the window. If the King had not been watching, no one would have noticed Fyora come up the road and up to the castle. She came up the road with a few other faeries who the King did not know. They looked tired from their journey, and they had not taken a carriage, which was strange. Normally, there would have been a train of carriages coming up the road, each occupied by one of the faeries. When they came to the door, they knocked sharply and it echoed throughout the entrance hall. The King opened the door and looking disheveled, Fyora and her companions walked through the door.

      "What happened?" asked the King.

      "We did not want to be noticed," said Fyora. "I think someone is following us. I'll tell you more over dinner."

     * * * * *

      Meanwhile, Kara and Ella were getting ready to serve the banquet. They both looked beautiful in their new dresses, which they had finished sewing that afternoon. Kara gazed out the kitchen door, wondering what the King and Fyora were talking about. From the look on the King's face, she could tell that the news must be quite unpleasant.

      "It's time to bring out the appetizer, girls," said James, startling Kara from her thoughts. Ella grabbed the salad and Kara grabbed the freshly toasted bread, and they walked out into the dining room. They would have to stay in the dining room until the King and the faeries were done eating to take away the plates. This could be their chance to hear something.

      "Someone has stolen absolutely everything from the Hidden Tower," Fyora was saying, "and I think they may have hidden the items in Meridell. I am too busy with other matters at the moment, and was wondering if you could help. If you know anyone who would be willing to assist, I would very much appreciate it."

      "I am sorry," said King Skarl, "but I am also quite busy myself. I will try to find some one to help you."

      Kara and Ella exchanged looks of shock. How did some one break into the Hidden Tower? It was one of the most heavily guarded locations in Neopia! Knowing that it might change their lives, Kara said, "Maybe we could help."

To be continued..

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