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Rain, Rain, Go Away

by yarnandclay


I'd like to dedicate this story to Shantell77 and my guild University. :) Thank you.

The sun shone brightly outside, warming the kitchen of 1423 Neopia Central. The sweet smell of a baking cake drifted through the window and spread all over the house. If you peered through the window, you would see a blue Xweetok with a worried expression on her face. She appeared to be hastily trying to prepare something. Beside her was a starry Koi; unlike the Xweetok, he looked absolutely calm and serene.

     Zhina had been working for what felt like days, but was only about an hour, with her brother Nemo. Out of all her brothers, Nemo was the only one who she trusted enough to help her in the kitchen. Aura was incredibly clumsy, even for a Lenny. She knew that bringing him in to help would end with jam smeared all over the floral shell curtains, a broken dish, burnt food, and Aura in tears. He meant well, really. But he was of no use in the kitchen. And Pudhina... That was completely out of the question. He'd probably put a rubber slorg in the sandwiches as a "joke". Although Zhina was a bit of a tomboy, she was incredibly serious about cooking, and despised being disrupted while preparing a meal.

     It was their owner Steph's birthday. Zhina and her brothers were planning on taking her out for a surprise picnic. A basket covered in a red and white checkered blanket sat on the table. It was filled to the point of bursting with curried chicken sandwiches, a bowl of lemint green salad, apples, soft Tyrannian cheese and crackers, chocolate chip cookies, and bottles of water. All Zhina needed to do was finish icing the deluxe chia cake, and everything would be perfect.

     "Do you think she'll like it? What if she's disappointed in the cake? I've never iced a cake before!" Zhina said, a hint of panic in her usually calm voice. Zhina only ever let down her tough exterior with Nemo.

     "Of course! Your cooking is delicious and personally, I think the cake looks amazing," Nemo replied reassuringly. "Everyone loves surprise parties."

     Suddenly, footsteps pounded down the stairs. Pudhina the spotted Mynci hurled himself into the kitchen, nearly crying from laughter, holding a magical hair usuki high above his head and almost knocking over the picnic basket on the table. More foot steps clumsily beat their way down the stairs. The three neopets in the kitchen flinched as they heard a loud crash and what sounded like something shattering. Aura ran into the kitchen in tears. He slid on the tiled floor, flailing his wings, and came very close to knocking Zhina into the cake she has spent the past twenty minutes decorating.

     "Aura! Pudhina! Look at you two running in here like a pack of wild doglefox!" Nemo scolded. "You nearly knocked over all Zhina's hard work! What are you two thinking?"

     "H-h-he dyed m-my magical hair usuki's hair snotty green! I-it's so awful!" Aura sobbed.

     Pudhina's laughter became even louder. "I think she looks much better that way. Plus, you're a boy; why are you playing with usukis? Usukis are for girls."

     "S-stop it! U-usukis aren't only for g-girls!" Aura made a grab for his precious usuki. "M-magical hair usuki is m-my favorite! H-how could you?"

     "Are too!" Pudhina dodged the attack, once again nearly knocking over the picnic basket.

     "Are not!" Aura continued making futile attempts to grab his beloved toy, until finally he snatched it back and hugged it close to his chest.

     "Stop it right now, both of you!" Zhina shouted, her hands on her hips. Both pets stopped dead in their tracks. She looked ready to pounce. "You are both unbear-"

      "Zhina, calm down," Nemo said, standing in between her and their brothers. "Steph will be home from the marketplace in only twenty minutes! Let's wrap the cake up and put it in the basket. Then we can wait by the door to surprise her! Pudhina, do you mind helping me with lifting the cake? It's a bit heavy."

     As they lifted the cake, a large crack filled the room with light. Aura shrieked and dove under the table. Zhina looked out the window, and burst into tears. Her brothers were shocked. This was the first time they had ever seen her cry. The sight of it was completely new to them. She didn't let anyone push her around, and she certainly never allowed negative things to get to her. She was an incredibly hard-headed Xweetok. But there she was, sitting on the floor sobbing.

     "Zhina?" Aura crawled out from under the table and sat down beside her on the floor. "Are you... alright?"

     "It's raining!" she wailed. "Everything is ruined! All my planning. Everything! I ruined Steph's birthday. How could I be so dumb? Why would I suggest a picnic without checking the weather? Look! It's pouring! It's thundering!" Her sobs grew louder.

     Nemo and Pudhina set the cake back down on the counter, and joined their siblings on the floor. It seemed, among all the chaos, none of the young neopets had noticed that the sunny sky had become cloudy and gray, then proceeded to rain.

     "Shhh. Zhina, it's alright. You didn't ruin anything; you did such an amazing job preparing all of this. Steph will be happy either way," Pudhina said, and placed his hair over her shoulder.

     "Yes, I did! All this food is going to go to waste. The salad was made from vegetables from Nemo's garden. I wasted his vegetables. He could have made neopoints off of them!"

     "No, no, you didn't. Nothing's wasted." Aura also slung his wing over her shoulder, "I'm the one who always spills and knocks everything over. It's not your fault it's raining."

     "Yes, it is! I didn't even bother checking the weather!"

     As if to add more fuel to the fire, there was a bright flash of lightning, causing the power to go out. They attempted to flick the light switch a few times, but the room remained dark.

      Her tears were now making a puddle on the kitchen floor, and her brothers continued trying to reassure her. The whole time Nemo was oddly silent usually he would have been the first one to offer help and advice. His fin was resting on his chin. He appeared to be deep in thought. Suddenly a smile appeared on his face, and he stood up.

     "What are you smiling about?" Zhina snapped. "Can't you see everything's all wrong? Now even the lights aren't co-operating."

     "No. Nothing's wrong." He continued smiling, "Nothing's wrong because I have an idea."

     "What's your idea?"

      "How about we set up the blanket on the floor in the living room and set it up like a regular picnic... but indoors."

     "Bright idea. How can we even see what we're eating if the power's out? Oh right, we can't."

     "We can get candles!" Pudhina chimed in.

     "It'll be even better than an outdoor picnic because no spyders will crawl on our food!" Aura shuddered at the thought of spyders. "And if we run out of food, we don't have to walk all the way home to bring more."

      Aura and Pudhina stood up now, smiling. They appeared to have found a new bout of energy through all the new ideas. Pudhina held out his paw to help her up.

     "Come on!" he cried encouragingly. "Steph will be back in about ten minutes! We need to set everything up before she gets home."

     "I'll go grab the candles." Nemo grinned. "And maybe even some flowers?"

     "I'll round up the petpets; they must be scared upstairs with all the thunder and lighting!" Pudhina raced up the stairs at top speed.

     "And I'll spread the blanket and set up the food!" Aura ran to the living room. "Zhina would you like to help me?"

     After they had lit a bunch of orange candles, spread the blanket on the floor, laid the food out neatly, and created a mini picnic for their petpets, Zhina's eyes once again filled with tears.

     "Oh no! She's crying again? What's wrong?" Aura appeared to be very concerned for his little sister. "Is everything alright?"

     "We tried, Zhina, we really did." Pudhina shook his head sadly.

     "I'm not crying because I'm sad," she said softly. "I'm crying because I'm happy. I'm so grateful to have a family like you guys. Before I was adopted by Steph, my siblings bullied me and my owner wasn't very kind either. She always took their sides, then she told me I was way too much trouble and abandoned me. I'm so fortunate now. You all care about me so much. You're all going out of your way to help me. Thank you. I know sometimes we don't get along, but I appreciate every single thing you guys do for me. I love you all."

     As the siblings all joined into a giant group hug, the door opened. It was their owner Steph. She smiled at the sight of her pets getting along so well, then noticed the picnic.

     "You guys... you didn't have to," she said, overwhelmed.

     "Surprise! Happy birthday!" they all cried in unison.

     So they sat down, and ate the delicious food Zhina and Nemo had worked so hard to prepare. Not only was it a great surprise party, but it also taught Zhina and her siblings a good life lesson. Sometimes, things don't always go as planned, but with good friends and family you can help each other get through anything. The little Xweetok was finally beginning to realize that not everything needs to be absolute perfection; the flaws in life are what make things beautiful.

The End

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