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Fanetti: The Inside Story

by alt1981black


The Haunted Woods is a remarkable place for any Neopet to call home. It's a land that's free for all, without any sort of governing body or royal presence of any kind. That makes it rather hard for the Altador Cup team to really feel like they have a strong, united fanbase. However, there's definitely many admirers of the Spooky squad, even though they're scattered throughout the area. One such fan worth mentioning is the Crumpetmonger, who works in her pastry shop in Neovia. However, her admiration goes out to one member of the team in particular, and for very special reasons.

     "FANETTI! Give me some help with these bundt cakes, but wash yer paws, first!" It was a very busy morning at the Crumpetmongers' pastry shop. The Crumpetmonger, with her twinkling black eyes and ever-present smile, dusted her paws together and adjusted the lace cap on her head.

     "Alright, Aunt Florence! Mama mia, as if I'm not ordered around enough as it is!" groaned Fanetti, as he put on an apron and went over to the sink. In the off-season, in between practice sessions, Fanetti took the time to visit the Crumpetmonger, known to him as his sweet aunt Florence, in order to give her some help with back orders for the many delicious scones, crumpets, biscuits, and other baked goodies on hand.

     Today, Fanetti's job was to prepare chocolate bundt cakes, one of the Crumpetmonger's most popular bundt cake flavours. He measured out the flour and cocoa powder, and answered the many questions fired at him by his very chatty, inquisitive aunt.

     "I hope ye washed yer paws well. Don't forget the eggs this time, will ye? We got plenty of orders to fill, and time's awasting! Oh, will yer friends be coming in, by chance? I like to see 'em when they come. No no, pour the milk a bit slower, it makes the batter much smoother. That's the ticket!"

     "I think Krell might be coming in, Aunty Florence. Ya know he loves a good orange scone! But ya know I can't guarantee he'll stop in, or anyone else, for all that. I'm doing the best I can to pour the milk slower, Aunty Florence! Mama mia, fifty back orders for the bundt cakes? Who ordered them, anyway?"

     Aunt Florence smiled sweetly. "Everyone who knew ye'd be helping me make 'em, ordered 'em! Ah, that's alooking good, Fanetti dear!" She returned to her own batches of bundt cakes with a smile, chuckling to herself as she worked.

     Fanetti blushed crimson. So, this was why there were so many back orders for the bundt cakes, eh? He thought back to his childhood days as a youngster, long before his fame as the goalie for Team Haunted Woods ever happened. In those days, he had been living on his own, separated from his family during a day of exploring a part of the Haunted Woods, very near to where Neovia lay hidden, and long before the curse that surrounded it was lifted.

     Aunt Florence, as she had introduced herself to the frightened little Meerca, had been very kind, and took him into her home, a tumbledown shack with a rather cosy kitchen, where a most delightful smell was coming. Fanetti had lifted his little nose and sniffed curiously and eagerly, and the older Meerca had seen the interest in his rather sweet little face, which had tugged at her heart and made her determined to take in this youngster and treat him like her own.

     "Ye must be ahungry. Sit in, and I'll fetch ye something I made meself," the older Meerca had said with a twinkle in her snapping black eyes, and then she set a very plummy cake in front of young Fanetti, who grinned and made short work of it, then politely begged for more. He had made his home with Florence ever since, and joined the Altador Cup's local team at the insistence of his adopted aunt, after noticing he enjoyed to catch the Yooyus during the practice meets that were held, when the professional team was being selected. Later, he had encouraged Florence in turn to open her pastry shop, which she did, and her own success soon matched that of her nephew. Ever since, Fanetti had returned to help his aunt whenever he could, and they conversed about their individual careers, and future plans.

     Smiling at the memories, Florence returned to the present with a sigh, and Fanetti slid the cake pans into the oven. He went over to a wooden table and began to read the several books and magazines his aunt kept for him whenever he came to see her, sipping hot chocolate and nibbling fresh cookies. The bell above the door tinkled, indicating the arrival of a customer. Florence adjusted her cap and went to the counter at the front of the shop. Moments later, the call of "FANETTI" sent the younger Meerca to the front counter, where his fellow team-mate, Brains Mortigan, was standing.

     "Hiiii, Fanettiii! Oooooh, cakes and cooookies!" exclaimed the eager Usul, smiling at his team-mate and trying not to totter over. Zombies tend to do that easily, and Brains was certainly not the exception. Aunt Florence merely smiled. She welcomed customers of all kinds, and Brains was a regular client, particularly after being signed on as a member of Team Haunted Woods. Florence had been very proud of her nephew when he'd given her the news, and she was truly his biggest fan from that day forward.

     "Well, here's a fresh scone sample for ye, free of charge!" smiled the older Meerca, passing Brains a plate. "Try it, and tell me if ye like it. I'm trying to get new ideas for recipes, so yer opinion will be ahelpful." Florence smiled her cheekiest smile, and Fanetti shook his head, but with a twinkle in his eye that matched his aunt's.

     "Thank yooooou!" Brains grinned and picked up the scone after a couple tries, then ate it and smiled. "Yummmmmy!" It was all he said, but Florence seemed satisfied. She produced a small notebook and pencil, and made a note for herself, then closed the notebook and put it away. She hustled back to the kitchen to check on her bundt cakes, leaving Fanetti to mind the counter for a while.

     It proved another very busy day at the Crumpetmonger's, but Florence was pleased when the day finally came to an end. Fanetti waited outside whilst his aunt banked the stove, swept the floor, and finally joined her nephew outside, who held an umbrella, since it had started raining, as it frequently did in the Haunted Woods. He escorted his aunt to her shack, no longer in such a dilapidated condition as it had once been, in only what seemed a short time ago. The roof had been rethatched, and the walls repainted, and now a small garden in the back was blooming cheerfully. In addition, there were two window boxes that Fanetti had made in his team's colours, now planted with colourful geraniums. It looked very welcoming, indeed.

     "Ah, home at last! Want some hot cocoa before ye leave, Fanetti?" Florence asked with the warm smile Fanetti remembered from so long ago. Though Fanetti meant to refuse and return to his own home as quickly as possible, memories from those earlier days surfaced, and he returned the smile with one of his own, and followed his aunt inside, always happy to sit at his old place at a familiar table, where he always felt most at home.

The End

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