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Vacation On Mystery Island: Part One


by rrooaarrrr

--------

"Mom?" I asked.

     My mom sighed. She knew what I was going to ask. "Yes, Tala?"

     "Do I have to go?" I had been asking this question for months, ever since my mommy had announced that we were going on a three-week trip to Mystery Island. I had only recently made my way into the popular circle in my junior high, and I didn't want to loose all of my new friends over the summer.

     "Tala, you know the answer to that question. You are a mature faerie Grarrl. Of course you do. I've been planning this for months, and Frederic and Cara are excited. Don't ruin this for them, especially Cara. She's never been on a big trip before." Mommy glared at me.

     "But Mom, it's not like she's going to have any less fun. Frederic will be there," I said.

     "Yes, but Freddy is a baby. You and Cara are the same age. And I already rented the beach house, and I'm not wasting the neopoints now. You are going." She gave me a reproving look, then left the playroom before I could get another word in.

     "Cara's two years younger than I am. And she could take Hale on the vacation just as well as she could take me. He needs a break anyway." I sulked.

     Hale was my older brother, a moody blue Lupe. I remember when he used to be a lot more fun, but about a year ago, he stopped wanting company and started living shut up in his room. Mommy said it was a teenager thing, and he would get over it eventually. He didn't have to go because he was a teenager. A neighbor was bringing him food for the three weeks that we were gone. How come I couldn't stay behind too? I was a teenager- well, almost. A month to go before I turned thirteen.

     I poked my head into the playroom. Cara was sitting in the corner of the room, patiently entertaining Freddy. I remember when Mom created her, on Cybunny Day. She had spent the whole day at the creation center, and I was desperately hoping she wouldn't be able to create Cara because of bad timing, but no such luck. The stupid little goody two shoes came home that evening. Mommy painted her biscuit the very next day, for the glitch, but her looks were quickly fixed. Frederic is a baby Meerca, a cute little guy who was actually here before I was, but he never gets older. I was confused by this for a long time; eventually Mommy explained that he had been zapped by Boochi, and was going to remain a baby for the rest of his life, or until she decided to repaint him.

     "Hey, T!" Cara exclaimed, looking up and seeing me. I glowered at her; I disliked her cutesy nickname for me. She grinned sheepishly at the look on my face. "Have you packed for the trip yet?"

     "No. I'll do that now." Anything to get away from her.

     Upstairs, in my room, I found most of my clothing packed already. On my bed was a note that read:

     T,

     I've packed all of the clothing you'll need, but if you want anything specific, you should include it if I haven't. Also pack some things to do and anything you'll need. We leave for the boat ride tomorrow morning, so be up and ready to go early.

     Lots of love, Mommy

     P.S. I'm going to be out, making boat reservations and tying up a few loose ends. I won't be back until late. Make sure Cara and Frederic get into bed by nine.

     Argh. Mom had adopted Cara's annoying nickname for me too. And I was playing babysitter, a job I hated. The clock said 7:15 in the evening. It seemed like Cara was doing a fine job keeping Freddy entertained, and there was no doubt that she would get to bed at the right time. There was no need for me to do anything.

     A thought occurred to me. They had a trading post at Mystery Island, didn't they? That might serve as a way to keep in touch... I didn't know exactly how the trading post worked.

     Thoughtfully, I packed my drawing notebook and pencils, along with a Rainbow Quiggle Plushie that I've slept with since I was created. I decided that I would send a quick neomail to each of my friends telling them about this. It said:

     Going on vacation to Mystery Island. Very involuntary but Mom is making me. I'll keep in touch through the Trading Post. ;) TTYS!

     I sent a copy to Ari, Janie, and Alexa, my three best friends. I sat down on my bed, waiting for them to reply. I fell asleep waiting.

     The next morning, tempers were running high and patience was running very low. Frederic had thrown a fit when we tried to leave because he didn't have his pacifier, and halfway down the block, I realized I had forgotten my pretty sundress; I couldn't go to an exotic island without it. Cara realized that she hadn't brought her coloring book, but Mommy put her foot down and said that anything else we had forgotten to pack was going to be left behind; we could always buy her another coloring book if she needed one so much.

     When we got to the dock, we were very late. The other passengers that were riding the Mystery Island Faerie Ferry gave us dirty looks as we got on. The Mystery Island Faerie Ferry was a pretty boat with a polished bamboo deck, a colorful sail and high walls on either side, for which I was grateful. I hated water, and I hated the way salt water smelled. If I had had to look out at it the entire ride, I was going to be sick.

     We got there so fast that I barely had time to be impatient about getting there. When we got off of the boat with our luggage, we walked down a long dock. Playing in the water around the dock were happy, smiling Flotsams and Peophins and Tuskaninnies. An island Acara greeted us at the end of the dock, smiling warmly. She handed out maps of Mystery Island and told us to enjoy our stay.

     "Come on, T, look!" Cara was excited, caught up in all of the attractions set up for tourists. Before Mommy could stop her, she pulled away from us and bought a volcano rock for 300 neopoints. I groaned.

     "You know you can get those for free back at home, right, Cara? You just wasted 300 neopoints on that." Mommy glared at me.

     "Spoilsport," I thought I heard Cara mutter.

     The beach house was nice, I suppose. It was large, sort of sprawling, set back behind one of the big beaches on Mystery Island. We were going to be able to watch the volleyball games from the front porch. But I didn't really care about all of this. I ran up the stairs and claimed the first bedroom I came to. I ran back downstairs. Mom had barely gotten all of our luggage up the front steps.

     "Mom, I'm going to the Trading Post, OK?" I couldn't wait to be able to communicate with me friends.

     Mom gave me a quizzical look. "Sure. Why such a rush? We have three weeks, and I thought you weren't to pleased to be here anyways...?"

     I shrugged. I hadn't been prepared for questions. "I... just want to see the architecture. I read about it and I wanted to see how it was built... Because it must hold a lot of people." What a terrible answer. But Mommy brightened.

     "Well, if it's architecture you want, I'd be pleased to take you on a tour of all of the famous buildings on Mystery Island. You'll really like the training school. The roofs are adapted from Shenkuu, the red tile. And so is the design; the walkway and the roofed entrance arch. Some of the famous architects wonder if the people of Shenkuu have influenced Mystery Island before it was known to the rest of the world. I have some friends who would be glad to talk to you about it-"

     I shook my head quickly. "No thanks, Mom. I really only want to see the trading post." Her face dropped; she had evidently been very pleased that I was taking interest in something academic. "But if you want, I can stop by on my way back." She smiled. I hurried out before she could start talking about architorture again.

     The Trading Post wasn't very hard to find; the locals kindly pointed me in the right direction. When I got there, I was surprised to see a little building, not the large post office that I was used to. When I walked in, I was astonished to see not shelves of paper and stamps, but a couple of little chairs. Plastered all over the walls were posters of different offers that other pets and owners were making, in exchange for other things.

     There was a pretty faerie sitting in the corner, reading what looked like a recipe. I walked up to her shyly; she didn't look like any other faerie I had every seen. She had dark skin and frizzy hair; she didn't wear the type of dress that all other faeries wore.

     "Excuse me?" I asked.

     "Yes, neopet?" she replied gently.

     "Sorry, but I've never used the Trading Post before. How do you send messages to friends?" I inquired, feeling silly.

     The faerie laughed a soft laugh. "The Trading Post isn't for writing messages. It's for trading items. It is true that you can include messages with your trade, but it shouldn't be used as a chat board."

     "Oh," I said. I could tell my face was getting red, or it would be if my skin weren't already reddish orange. "I didn't realize." I backed out of the Trading Post, not able to bear her sympathetic look. I didn't want sympathy. I wanted to be mad, really mad, at everyone. I also wanted to be sad.

     All of the parties and sleepovers and shopping trips that I was going to miss- and I would never be able to hear about them! Ari would think I had forgotten about her, and Janie and Alexa would think I didn't like them anymore. How was I going to stay popular next year if I couldn't keep my friends over the summer?

     I raced back home. Back to the stupid beach house, that is. Back to Cara and Mommy and Freddy, who would ask about the tears in my eyes and the look on my face.

To be continued...

 
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